Gauging Wikipedia reliability: wikiscanner

I posted earlier about new beta software that enables one to gauge the reliability of Wikipedia posts through color-coding.   New software by Virgil Griffith called wikiscanner, enables one to unmask anonymous editings to wikipedia entries made by governmental, private companies, political organizations, etc.  [Thanks to Digg for the heads-up on this; article featured on this in Wired magazine.]

Community-created encyclopedias are nice, but it’s also nice to know who the “community” is that is creating/modifying these entries.  It helps to restore trust around these wikipedia entries if you know that the community that is editing these entries are hired guns and can discount certain edits.

3 responses to “Gauging Wikipedia reliability: wikiscanner

  1. Totally agree. Although I’m not sure I am up for going as far as Yelp’s policy of always using real names, I totally agree that credibility and accountability go together. If you have no way of knowing who the author is it’s hard to know whether or not to trust him/her. This becomes especially important with a resource that is cited as much as Wikipedia is.

  2. I think the argument has been a bit one-sided. A lot of editing has been done to present oneself in a positive light in an effort to offset something slanderous. It’s all POV, so everyone, most of all the subject of the article, has the right to weigh in.

    When it comes to an open source anyone can edit with anonymity, there can be no discussion of “ethics.” It’s preposterous to hold anyone’s behavior to ethical standards when their participating in something (Wikipedia) that is unethical intrinsically. Admins often take sides in disputes and preserve slanderous content (i.e. a reference to one netizen as a “kook” was defended by admins because they cited as an authoritative source some ridiculous vote in a Usenet news group). And one admin created a user box for some editor he didn’t like and defamed him in that user box. The admin in question, who calls himself Calton, admitted in a de facto livejournal entry that before Wikipedia was born, his hobby was writing negative reviews in Amazon.com of books whose author blogs he didn’t like. And we think there is any ethics attached to Wikipedia?

  3. Pingback: Your tax dollars at work spinning wikipedia entries « Social Capital Blog

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