Home WikiTrust Evaluates Wikipedia Text by Author Reputation

WikiTrust Evaluates Wikipedia Text by Author Reputation

Researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz have built a test extension called WikiTrust that evaluates every word on Wikipedia and highlights text that was added by authors with a less than stellar reputation.

The research is only live on a cached copy of Wikipedia right now, but it targets what’s possibly the biggest need Wikipedia has as it tries to grow into greater mainstream use – trust in an open system.

Reputation in this case is determined by an author’s history of past contributions – getting your additions to the site quickly reverted away hurts your reputation in the system and casts doubt on what you add to other articles in the future. Suspect text is color coded in different shades of orange and clicking on orange text will load the version of a page where that text was added. We think this is a really exciting idea.

First blogged about on the fantastic group blog SmartMobs, WikiTrust has the potential to be applied to any wiki anywhere. The researchers building it say they are now working on a version that will process the live content of Wikipedia in real time.

For now you can navigate around the WikiTrust dump of Wikipedia, including using the search box. It’s very fun to use. The entry for file format RSS, for example, is written by solid authors with relatively little history of contested text. The entry for “God“, on the other hand, is almost entirely written by authors whose reputations are highly suspect! That’s the case with the version of the God article saved in WikiTrust at least.

We think that this system for determining author reputation seems like a good one – do readers agree?

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