Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Thursday, November 10, 2005

New rating system

There's a lot of talk in the mailing list about rating/voting on articles (as an interface selection, not a purely wiki-social process). I'd expect to see it rolled out within the next month (update, Dec. 4: Wales told the NYTimes it'll be rolled out, most likely, in January), once a good implementation gets worked out.

A good article can become a bit of a mess with just a couple of misguided edits (which, hopefully, get reverted); it'll be interesting to see how the voting system deals with rapidly changing articles.


  • Most users don't take time to edit, but many of them would click a vote box.

  • Seeing simple numeric ratings at a glance could make deciding how much to trust an article easier, and browsing more fun as you direct your attention away from the chaff.

  • A software-compiled list of low rated articles could provide a focus for editors' attention.

Rating articles this way could undermine the social nature of wikipedia. Artifically-created rating systems aren't subject to the caveats and nuance of thought and discussion, nor the incredibly complex and somewhat effortless interplay of human social interaction.


Anonymous said...

It would be intresting to see how articles with highly *contraversial* content get rated.

In my experiance, contraversial articles get filled with a bunch of useless crap.

Ben Yates said...

I'm not sure I'd entirely agree with taht. It depends on the controversy -- some controversial articles are in fact pretty good. The worst articles tend to be ones on minor controversies. They don't get much attention, so the editors that are good at writing/coding mutually agreeable text never find them and slanted info remains in place.

Another advantage of high-profile controversies is that most readers are familiar enough with the subject to ferret out the bias and take only the accurate-seeming stuff.