Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Top-down: not how we roll.

There are some big software changes coming: Flagged Revisions and Auto-Trust.

Flagged revisions will make it possible to improve the quality of heavily-trafficked articles until they're super-reliable and well-written. Hopefully. (Sighted versions and quality versions are two possible paths.)

Auto-trust (which is a name I just made up) will give you more information about the reliability of each individual word in an article. Hopefully.

The Wikiquality brainstorming page is a place for figuring out how to implement this stuff without killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

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It's kind of a delicate time, but a few jarring notes have sounded -- for example, a major British paper published a rather terrifying "scoop" that Wikipedia would basically stop being a wiki.

The piece is wrong. But Andrew Lih has some real concerns about how the changes are being pushed through:

What raises my concern is that this wiki page, created for "brainstorming", was made available just days before the New Scientist article was published, and it seems the publication has taken it as gospel as to what will happen. I’m not aware of how many people have seen or vetted this idea.


Another UK paper has published an article with a similar air of inevitability (minus the scary errors, this time), which makes Lih more convincing.

Is the Foundation intentionally cultivating this air of inevitability? It's been a year and a half since jimmy announced that stable versions were coming soon -- and that if they didn't happen, wikipedia had some serious problems. Have the powers at the foundation gotten sick of watching the community sit on its hands about this topic? I know I have. But ideally, top-down isn't how things should work around here.

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In other news, the Wikimedia Foundation is moving its offices to San Francisco from Florida.

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