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> If you owned Wikipedia, what would you do with it
Peter Damian
post Sat 5th February 2011, 8:16am
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Picking up on something Eva said here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Iri...12#Wikipedia_II which has affinities with some of the stuff what was discussed here http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?s=&sh...ndpost&p=267006

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thekohser
post Sat 5th February 2011, 12:42pm
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Eva's a bit delusional, though:

QUOTE
In spite of the godawful name and Greg's occasional bursts of spectacular obnoxiousness holding it back, in some ways I think MWB could be the shape of things to come. The Mainspace/Directoryspace divide clearly separates NPOV articles from spam-pieces while allowing the two to co-exist peacefully and borrow appropriate material from each other, and I think it's actually done a fine job in taking the best of Wikipedia's model (which, even in its terminal decline, does have a lot of strengths) while identifying and eliminating the systemic weaknesses which are killing Wikipedia (domination by cliques, vocal fringes dominating a silent majority in the middle, massive social inertia, an inability to control social networking, systemic failure of the article assessment processes, the cult of anti-expertism, the obsession with "civility" beyond any reasonable limit, a self-appointing and self-policing hierarchy...). If Greg changed the name, relinquished most or all of his control to a committee which wasn't selected to agree with him (I think a committee including Alison, Durova, Malleus, Moni, yourself and Shankbone, for instance, would do a fine job at covering the significant bases while avoiding personalities so toxic that debate is impossible), was willing to import content from Wikipedia under GFDL, and managed to get a "name" industry backer (Apple, Cisco or the like), I wouldn't be surprised to see MWB overtake Wikipedia within two years.
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Eva Destruction
post Sat 5th February 2011, 9:56pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Sat 5th February 2011, 12:42pm) *

Eva's a bit delusional, though:

QUOTE
In spite of the godawful name and Greg's occasional bursts of spectacular obnoxiousness holding it back, in some ways I think MWB could be the shape of things to come. The Mainspace/Directoryspace divide clearly separates NPOV articles from spam-pieces while allowing the two to co-exist peacefully and borrow appropriate material from each other, and I think it's actually done a fine job in taking the best of Wikipedia's model (which, even in its terminal decline, does have a lot of strengths) while identifying and eliminating the systemic weaknesses which are killing Wikipedia (domination by cliques, vocal fringes dominating a silent majority in the middle, massive social inertia, an inability to control social networking, systemic failure of the article assessment processes, the cult of anti-expertism, the obsession with "civility" beyond any reasonable limit, a self-appointing and self-policing hierarchy...). If Greg changed the name, relinquished most or all of his control to a committee which wasn't selected to agree with him (I think a committee including Alison, Durova, Malleus, Moni, yourself and Shankbone, for instance, would do a fine job at covering the significant bases while avoiding personalities so toxic that debate is impossible), was willing to import content from Wikipedia under GFDL, and managed to get a "name" industry backer (Apple, Cisco or the like), I wouldn't be surprised to see MWB overtake Wikipedia within two years.


A lot of big ifs there, but in the unlikely event Steve Jobs came knocking, I stand by that statement. MWB has some glaring faults, but I give you full credit for being the first to solve the "how to allow spam while maintaining a neutral point of view in important areas" problem which confounded both Wikipedia and Larrypedia, Britannica, Knol et al for the last ten years.
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thekohser
post Sat 5th February 2011, 10:25pm
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QUOTE(Eva Destruction @ Sat 5th February 2011, 4:56pm) *

A lot of big ifs there, but in the unlikely event Steve Jobs came knocking, I stand by that statement. MWB has some glaring faults, but I give you full credit for being the first to solve the "how to allow spam while maintaining a neutral point of view in important areas" problem which confounded both Wikipedia and Larrypedia, Britannica, Knol et al for the last ten years.

Well, then you should dash off a note to Karl Nagel. He's the one who created Centiare.com, which is pretty much the exact platform that the current Wikipedia Review.com resides upon, once I acquired the Centiare.com platform from him when he chose to give up on it. I had nothing to do with "solving" the problem you speak of. I just thought the solution was a really good idea, and I was willing to market it for a year.
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radek
post Sun 6th February 2011, 1:19am
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Sat 5th February 2011, 2:16am) *

Picking up on something Eva said here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Iri...12#Wikipedia_II which has affinities with some of the stuff what was discussed here http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?s=&sh...ndpost&p=267006


Well, I'm not sure that this is the relevant way to frame the question. I can certainly think of some institutional improvements which I think would make Wikipedia better - flagged revs, term limits for admins, higher thresholds for both notability and reliable sources, giving content editor more say in "judicial" matters, creating better incentives for existing article improvement rather the creation of new articles, and a few other things - but at the end of the day I'm not so sure that all these would add up to make it a real encyclopedia.

I think it'd be better to focus on the *how* of making it better rather than the *what*. In that regard I think the main thing is the complete lack of competition that Wikipedia faces. Part of this is just due to the inherent structure of the internets (this "critical mass" people have brought up - in economic terminology, "economies of scale" and "path dependence") and part of it is "artificial" like Google slapping Wikipedia links on top of its search pages. So in a way, I'm not quite sure what the exact policies that would make Wikipedia be better ARE, but I am pretty sure that if it had to compete for readers/editors with other free online extensive coverage encyclopedias it WOULD get better one way or another (or DIE, but then it'd deserve it and we'd all be complaining about whatever it was that replaced it). At the end of the day it's not that Wikipedia is really that awful - it's mediocre, really bad in some ways and even occasionally "good" in others - the problem is that it has such a monopoly in the market it serves.
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radek
post Sun 6th February 2011, 1:30am
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Sat 5th February 2011, 2:16am) *

Picking up on something Eva said here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Iri...12#Wikipedia_II which has affinities with some of the stuff what was discussed here http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?s=&sh...ndpost&p=267006


Ok, one thing I would do if I were the dictator of Wikipedia - and this is pretty limited and essentially reflects my parochial interests - is go through all the Economics related articles and delete about 80% to 90% of them and say "ok Wikipedia monkeys, this whole "gradual improvement" "piece by piece" "one edit at a time" did not converge to anything but garbage last time around. Maybe we'll get luckier next round so let's start from scratch".

And we're not talking stubs or limited interest topics here but a lot of major subjects and articles which 1. were written as total crap initially and the whole institutional inertia of Wikipedia has made it impossible to overcome that low starting point and 2. have accumulated an insane amount of "on the one hand on the other hand" "some people think this some people think that" "this idea is criticized by some while the criticism is criticized by others and then the criticism of the criticism is criticized yet again but this is also controversial" "we need to include every Joe Schmoe's ideas about how the economy works" cruft.

I'd do a similar thing for a lot of articles on Eastern European topics (60% to 70% of anything to do with Polish-German history) though there there are more "islands" of high quality work.

This post has been edited by radek: Sun 6th February 2011, 1:30am
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EricBarbour
post Sun 6th February 2011, 1:33am
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post Sun 6th February 2011, 1:46am
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Delete everything and use the servers as hosts for online games. People who want educational content can go to school.
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radek
post Sun 6th February 2011, 2:05am
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QUOTE(Text @ Sat 5th February 2011, 7:46pm) *

Delete everything and use the servers as hosts for online games. People who want educational content can go to school.


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radek
post Sun 6th February 2011, 2:15am
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QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Sat 5th February 2011, 2:16am) *

Picking up on something Eva said here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Iri...12#Wikipedia_II which has affinities with some of the stuff what was discussed here http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?s=&sh...ndpost&p=267006


Also I'd perma ban any grad students from editing the damn thing, especially in the topics they're studying (especially History and English lit). Finish your damn degrees first! As Pascal or Pasteur or one of those French guys said, "A little knowledge takes you away from God, a lot of knowledge takes you closer". Substitute your favorite aim for "God" into that, but the basic problem of arrogant hubris is the same.
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Kelly Martin
post Sun 6th February 2011, 3:16am
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QUOTE(radek @ Sat 5th February 2011, 8:15pm) *
Also I'd perma ban any grad students from editing the damn thing, especially in the topics they're studying (especially History and English lit). Finish your damn degrees first! As Pascal or Pasteur or one of those French guys said, "A little knowledge takes you away from God, a lot of knowledge takes you closer". Substitute your favorite aim for "God" into that, but the basic problem of arrogant hubris is the same.
The grad students aren't even close to the problem; it's the undergrads and high school students and tech school students writing articles from their lecture notes about a topic that they absolutely do not understand that are the real problem. There's lots and lots of articles like this in Wikipedia, especially on engineering, medical technology, and computing topics. It's incredibly easy to spot articles like this.
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victim of censorship
post Sun 6th February 2011, 3:27am
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QUOTE(Text @ Sat 5th February 2011, 7:46pm) *

Delete everything and use the servers as hosts for online games. People who want educational content can go to school.



AMEN.... Only thing different I would do, is to sell the servers, domain name and then take the money realized from the sale as well the monies left in in the foundation bank account and donate it to a real library. Then I fire Little Suzy Gardner overpriced fanny and send her packing to Canada.

This post has been edited by victim of censorship: Sun 6th February 2011, 3:51am
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radek
post Sun 6th February 2011, 3:29am
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Sat 5th February 2011, 9:16pm) *

QUOTE(radek @ Sat 5th February 2011, 8:15pm) *
Also I'd perma ban any grad students from editing the damn thing, especially in the topics they're studying (especially History and English lit). Finish your damn degrees first! As Pascal or Pasteur or one of those French guys said, "A little knowledge takes you away from God, a lot of knowledge takes you closer". Substitute your favorite aim for "God" into that, but the basic problem of arrogant hubris is the same.
The grad students aren't even close to the problem; it's the undergrads and high school students and tech school students writing articles from their lecture notes about a topic that they absolutely do not understand that are the real problem. There's lots and lots of articles like this in Wikipedia, especially on engineering, medical technology, and computing topics. It's incredibly easy to spot articles like this.


Sure, but the difference is that these kids often do have an idea as to the limits of their knowledge and when confronted with sources they back down (and as long as the topic is general they're often actually not too bad). On the other hand it's usually the grad students and the like who think they know all about everything and can just go into an article and awe everyone with their brilliance. Again, it's more of a question of hubris rather than actual knowledge - or if you'd like, the Socratian "don't know but think they know" vs. "know that they don't know".

The ratio of "things they think they know" to "things they actually know" probably peaks in grad school - though of course the denominator is large as compared to "the undergrads and high school students". To the extent these folks have some serious problems with ownership and accommodating views which are different from their own... well, that's how we get the Ottavas and the like.
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Kelly Martin
post Sun 6th February 2011, 3:38am
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QUOTE(radek @ Sat 5th February 2011, 9:29pm) *
The ratio of "things they think they know" to "things they actually know" probably peaks in grad school - though of course the denominator is large as compared to "the undergrads and high school students". To the extent these folks have some serious problems with ownership and accommodating views which are different from their own... well, that's how we get the Ottavas and the like.
That's not representative of grad students, or even grad students who edit Wikipedia, although it certainly is representative of Ottavas. I have no problem with banning all Ottavas from any and all internet ventures.
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radek
post Sun 6th February 2011, 3:40am
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Sat 5th February 2011, 9:38pm) *

QUOTE(radek @ Sat 5th February 2011, 9:29pm) *
The ratio of "things they think they know" to "things they actually know" probably peaks in grad school - though of course the denominator is large as compared to "the undergrads and high school students". To the extent these folks have some serious problems with ownership and accommodating views which are different from their own... well, that's how we get the Ottavas and the like.
That's not representative of grad students, or even grad students who edit Wikipedia, although it certainly is representative of Ottavas. I have no problem with banning all Ottavas from any and all internet ventures.


Hmmm, maybe it varies by area and our experiences are different in that regard.

Also, if I was a dictator, I'd make a {{POV}} tag the default for all articles everywhere in the interest of full disclosure, to be removed only after it's been thoroughly combed over several times. Better to admit you're imperfect than to misrepresent yourself.
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Zoloft
post Sun 6th February 2011, 5:51am
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First, I'd sit behind my big desk and put my feet up on it.

After a good toe-wiggle:
  • Eliminate IP editing entirely.
  • Establish a tier of editors.
    — Anonymous editors with accounts
    — Identity-verified editors (credit card verification or some such simple system)
    — Trusted Editors (length of membership, degree of involvement, reviewed edits)
    — Editorial Board members (paid staff, greatly expanded under my regime)
  • Establish a tiered system of edits.
    — Edits confirmed by the Editorial Board (go up first and stay)
    — Edits by Trusted Editors (go up after a review by another Trusted Editor)
    — Edits by identity-verified editors (held for 24 hours, then placed in article with flag)
    — Edits by anonymous members (submitted to pool of identity-verified editors)
  • Delete all biographies of people not dead at least twenty years.
  • Forbid the coverage of current events.
  • Hire some editorial staff from all those newspapers going out of business.
  • Contract out the writing of a style guide and deep-six the MOS.
  • Enhance certain edits with flags you can turn off or on to display these or not
    — Content illegal in certain countries
    — Content deemed offensive to certain large groups of people
    — Content of a 'mature' nature
    — Spoilers
  • License some content such as rights to display some photos not available for free.
  • Establish a separate Board for creation of content by experts in the field.
Also:
Fire the Arbcom.
Eliminate most of the drama boards.
Unlock a whole buncha IP addresses.
Drum out any employees who fail to pass a 'common sense' test.

Finally:
Pay a visit to Jimbo Wales, and hand him a gold watch. 'Go home and raise your kid, son.'

This post has been edited by Zoloft: Sun 6th February 2011, 5:59am
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radek
post Sun 6th February 2011, 7:32am
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QUOTE(Zoloft @ Sat 5th February 2011, 11:51pm) *

Delete all biographies of people not dead at least twenty years.


Like Noble prize winners, presidents, Ronald Reagan, Michael Jackson and Frank Zappa? Why would anyone read an encyclopedia like that?
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Zoloft
post Sun 6th February 2011, 8:37am
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QUOTE(radek @ Sat 5th February 2011, 11:32pm) *

QUOTE(Zoloft @ Sat 5th February 2011, 11:51pm) *

Delete all biographies of people not dead at least twenty years.


Like Noble prize winners, presidents, Ronald Reagan, Michael Jackson and Frank Zappa? Why would anyone read an encyclopedia like that?

For fewer lies, perhaps.

It's my encyclopedia, anyway.

What's yours?
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radek
post Sun 6th February 2011, 9:09am
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QUOTE(Zoloft @ Sun 6th February 2011, 2:37am) *

QUOTE(radek @ Sat 5th February 2011, 11:32pm) *

QUOTE(Zoloft @ Sat 5th February 2011, 11:51pm) *

Delete all biographies of people not dead at least twenty years.


Like Noble prize winners, presidents, Ronald Reagan, Michael Jackson and Frank Zappa? Why would anyone read an encyclopedia like that?

For fewer lies, perhaps.

It's my encyclopedia, anyway.

What's yours?


Not sure, but to paraphrase Emma Goldman, if the encyclopedia don't have Frank Zappa in it, I don't want it.
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A User
post Sun 6th February 2011, 9:12am
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QUOTE(Zoloft @ Sun 6th February 2011, 4:51pm) *

[*] Delete all biographies of people not dead at least twenty years.


Yes with the exception of recognised political, military, religious leaders, and major prize winners like the Nobel, with their biographies vetted and protected by a specialist biographies workgroup. Only the workgroup can edit the article as it normally stays locked. Any additions or corrections to be made on the Talk page first. All other biographies can be dispensed with and removed from the project.

QUOTE
[*] Forbid the coverage of current events.


I would still have it but in a separate section away from the main encyclopedia.

QUOTE
[*] Hire some editorial staff from all those newspapers going out of business.


Wikipedia should have done this long ago. It needs a full-time professional proofing and editing group to keep articles to a high standard.

QUOTE
[*] Contract out the writing of a style guide and deep-six the MOS.


The style guide needs to be simplified and streamlined. I think a MOS is still important particularly for new users who don't know much about how to edit in the project.

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