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Wikipedia Editing Changes Called "Unworkable" by Critics

 4:21 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wikipedia Editing Changes Sparks Calls As "Unworkable" [news.bbc.co.uk]
The online user-generated encyclopaedia Wikipedia is considering a radical change to how it is run.

It is proposing a review of the rules, that would see revisions being approved before they were added to the site.

In a blog entry, Mr Wales said the "nonsense" of the false reports would have been "100% prevented by Flagged Revision" and said he wanted the changes to be implemented as soon as possible. However, this posting caused a storm of comments on his site, with many editors saying the proposal was unworkable.



 5:13 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Having been through a couple wikipedia wars, some of which were won by vandals/trolls, I'd say they've got bigger problems than what they're trying to solve. And I further think that their suggested 'fix' is a meet-the-new-boss-same-as-the-old-boss fix. It's likely to cause as many problems as it solves. Or more.

For example, who's going to do review....and by review, that really means 'approve'.


 5:22 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, is proposing a system of flagged revisions, which would mean any changes made by a new or unknown user would have to be approved by one of the site's editors, before the changes were published.

Note that it is for new or unknown users. Existing users are not affected. So basically they are going to take final control of what they should have been doing all along, moderating the UGC (User Generated Content).

If the Wiki is to remain an authoritative resource, it really needs to focus on where many of their challenges are which lies in the editing of Wiki content. Ya sure, the politics are there just as they will be with any large organization like that. You either live with it or whatever. ;)

Unworkable? Not really, Mr. Wales is now offering a compromise...

...asking those who were opposed to the changes to make "an alternative proposal within the next 7 days, to be voted upon for the next 14 days after that."

I think that is fair for all involved. Let's see what they come up with. I'm definitely for the premoderated editing from new and unknown users. Do you let unknown users comment on your blogs or in your communities?


 5:33 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

while I personally don't have a problem with it, the whole "alternative proposal"-thingy is a little fake, isn't it?
I mean, cmon, IF they actually come up with something, I have no doubt that "follow the leader" overwrites anything else. IF it does not, some comitee will unleash the administrative forces to make sure that those who did not vote "right" will not be counted because they were "clearly trolling" ;)

other than that: It may reduce the vandalism-problem, but the "I can't believe you just reverted my change. EDITWAR!"-waste-of-time still remains.


 7:06 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Dude wheres my edit?


 8:08 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think wheel has a point the fix may not be enough to improve some basic problems that are going on.

I've also been involved in some edit wars, and it appears to me that edits by unregistered individuals should be disallowed completely. And then, edits by new and unestablished users should be reviewed for a period of time before getting approved.

The downside of this, of course, is increased bureaucratic hurdles to the expansion and improvement of articles. But, I think the need for reliability is now of much higher priority to the integrity of the project.


 8:21 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've also been involved in some edit wars, and it appears to me that edits by unregistered individuals should be disallowed completely.

that'd rule out my stuff. I don't work on any articles regularly, I just corrected small errors (mostly typos and/or grammatical stuff) in the german wikipedia and once or twice added content on topics I'm familiar with. Never cared enough to register an account and I still don't care enough, so right now, I just don't fix those little things nobody else seems to care about or catch.

As you point out, the bureaucracy would rise exponentially, and with alot of RC patrolling being done by bots now, I doubt that enough idealists can be found to watch thousands and thousands of potential trolls / legitimate users with little involvement.


 8:27 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I had no idea that Mr. Wales was also involved in theater. I take it that picture for the referenced article at BBC News was from a performance of "The Mikado".

Having now taken my cheap shot at Mr. Wales' wardrobe choices, I think Mr. Wales is 100% correct in his observations. Any site of the size and scope of Wikipeadia which allows people to operate without bounds is just asking for the kinds of abuse that their site is currently seeing. It is certainly sad that such controls need to be in place, but it is the way of the world.

Unfortunately, once again we see that because of a few losers with no ability to create, only to destroy, the rest of the world has to suffer yet another inconvenience.


 9:15 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Too much information + too little revenue to support proper editing + an army of webmasters wanting to infiltrate wikipedia for their own benefits = a very serious problem that will get worse unless managed.

I don't see that proposal as solving more problems than it creates.


 9:28 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I gave up on Wikipedia a long time ago. There was a long period when all the edits I made to correct incorrect data were reverted and flagged as vandalism. No point in contributing to something like that.


 5:26 am on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ah. Finally, Wikipedia becomes the next DMOZ. Was about time. Be prepared to pay (aka bribe) the approving editor for making changes or adding pages. Another example of "good idea gone wrong".


 9:51 am on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just what I thought on reading the news article but zett beat me to it with posting the comment.


 1:33 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's just like DMOZ many years ago. Just that the content has a little more value (arguable).


 2:54 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's just like DMOZ many years ago.

All except the money, since Dmoz isn't run as a charity. But it's an interesting comparison which makes me wonder what form the next volunteer-built behemoth will take.

UGC made Wikipedia what it is, so any barriers they put up will impede its growth. That's probably not a bad thing at this point, since it's pretty comprehensive on a lot of topics people care about.


 5:52 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

If the Wiki is to remain an authoritative resource

Wiki-based content can never be authoritative. The quality is always uncertain (and typically average, at best).


 6:01 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wiki-based content can never be authoritative. The quality is always uncertain (and typically average, at best).

Oh come on now, we know better. That's why the Wiki holds the #1 spots for almost everything. It has become a trusted, authoritative resource. It has replaced the Encyclopedia Britannica for many, especially GenX who have probably never seen a printed encyclopedia. ;)

I've always found Wiki content to be of good to excellent quality. I use it all the time for reference as I'm sure millions of others do.

And, you can knock a Wiki page out of its position. It takes one heck of a campaign to do it, but it can be done. :)


 6:05 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've always found Wiki content to be of good to excellent quality. I use it all the time for reference as I'm sure millions of others do.

and I personally know people who are happy that you use it for reference, as they are paid good money to place content in wikipedia for companies who need a "neutral, encyclopedia-valued platform" to market their products ;)


 7:57 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

we know better.

Really? Do we? Try asking any university why they don't accept Wikipedia sources. They know very well why (and I agree with them wholeheartedly).


 7:59 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

In other words, you have true peer-reviewed sources and then you have sources where any random amateur/troll can become an "expert" that wins one or two edit wars a week (and is typically more persistent than the opponent, who is not mentally ill).

[edited by: true_INFP at 8:02 pm (utc) on Jan. 27, 2009]


 8:14 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Being "trusted" and being "authoritative" are two very different things.


 8:32 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

There is no authority without trust.


 12:13 am on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

There is no authority without trust.

That is true. I do believe the numbers of those "who trust" far outweigh the numbers of those who "do not trust" the Wiki content. And that whole commercial product argument doesn't work with me. I can't remember the last time I bought something after following a link from the Wiki, I really can't.

When you have a page of information that references all the top authoritative resources on that topic, you've pretty much got a winning combination. Whether you trust it or not is your choice, that is why all the references are provided and there is superscript all over the place. There are plenty of access points to confirm the information that you are reading at the Wiki.

Sure, there are a few who have had bad experiences. Is there anything better at the moment? You have Google Knols, would you trust the content on a Knol? And back to the Wiki, don't University Staff edit there? Ya, I know there are institutions that won't accept anything from the Wiki but that is kind of hard to do these days. I would assume that most end up at the Wiki from their initial search. I know I have on many occasions. And by golly, the content I found there was pretty darn accurate. I've done quite a bit of comparison while developing my own historical pages. The Wiki is on par with being good to excellent in my view.


 1:52 am on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

I like to USE wikipedia

but I find that adding content is an incomprehensible mish-mash. (I've been doing computer programming and web pages for 28 years, with 60 gigs of web page non-video content online).

I added a page, added a picture (that I took), and it ended up being automatically deleted because I didn't somehow attribute something somewhere to say it was my picture.

Oh well, I tried.


 2:43 am on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wow .. that should be about as good as the DMOZ when it got too big. In other words... edits will never get approved.

I've only tried to edit wikipedia twice with valid data. Once it got reverted and when I tried putting it back some ninja editor banned me. And i wasn't adding links or spam. Blew my mind.


 11:20 am on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hilarious. Wikipedia will overcome this difficulty as mediocrity tends to persist. I'm still surprised that so many have so much time on their hands.


 11:37 am on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Like janharders, I just correct minor stuff - I am registered, but usually I don't bother to log in.

Unlike dmoz, I've come across editors who think they 'own' pages, and scream 'vandal' if you dare to correct their crazy stuff - I've long since ceased to argue; I correct, if they want to revert, I'll neither know nor care, as I'll likely never see that page again.

But I thought this 'new policy' already apply to the German language version. Anyone know? Does it work?


 4:50 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is there anything better at the moment?

That question is irrelevant (regardless of whether there is anything better or not, Wikipedia has never been authoritative/trusted source and never will be, unless the reader is insane).

By the way, the answer to your question is yes. (For example, scientific literature and encyclopedias written by well-known and verified experts).


 9:21 pm on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is there anything better at the moment?

Google's Knols are moving faster (3x faster than the early euphoric days of Wikipedia), and I suppose it's a matter of taste, but I trust G's management rather more than the infighting idiots at Wikipedia


 9:04 am on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yeah, gotta love G. Collecting all that information, controlling its dissemination, and advising the US Gov. Its all good.


 10:46 am on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yessirree; Google's allowing the US govt. to read knols about the Dog Whisperer ... take to the hills, and don't forget those tin foil hats! ;)

This 55 message thread spans 2 pages: 55 ( [1] 2 > >
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