Ingo Frost wrote:
I am a bit disappointed about the available material
that tries to measure the quality of Wikipedia articles.
Me too, but let's all agree that it is a difficult thing to do.
(2) Political terms are sometimes very complex topics
where the NPOV may not work, because there is no
right nor wrong.
I think this is a serious misunderstanding of NPOV and of what it might
mean _for an encyclopedia_ to be "right or wrong_.
First, not everyone believes (and I certainly don't) that on political
topics there is no right nor wrong. But some do. And NPOV has to deal
with all of us. The point is that we can typicall "go meta" and avoid
taking a controversial stand ourselves. NPOV does not require us to
choose which of two sides is right or wrong on complex topics, but
rather requires us to describe the controversy.
Therefore, _for an encyclopedia_, it is quite possible to get it right
(or get it wrong) even when the underlying issue is complex and not
readily amenable to a final judgment.
I observed a discussion and an edit war on the
about Direct Democracy (in the Germen Wikipedia:
article "Direkte Demokratie") that led to a loss
of quality: only a minimal and weak consens
survived the different opinions: the evolutionary
process did not improve quality in that case.
This can certainly be true in any given case. But I wonder if you
aren't showing your own POV here -- I often wish articles read
differently, but often -- when I'm fully honest with myself -- this is
because I wish my own view were more prominently reflected, even if it
should not be.
My question: Is there a scientific study on the
quality of the Wikipedia ariticles? Does anyone
work on that problems? What methods could be used
to analyse the Quality?
I think this is a fantastic question and what I hope this list can foster.
It's an enormously difficult problem to get right, and you've identified
some of the tough problems here. Despite my criticism (highly technical
and based on internal jargon) of what you said about NPOV, I do think
that it is quite hard to judge the quality of certain contentious
articles because there is no simple "gold standard" to which we can refer.
In many cases, and I say this with full awareness that it is also not
true in many other cases, our articles on contentious or controversial
topics are _the best in existence_ simply because they are the _most
free from bias_.
It's easy to compare a wikipedia chart of the periodic table of elements
against a standard source and measure if it accurately reflects
received science. It is much harder in areas where the only reliably
objective presentation one can find _at all_ is in Wikipedia in the
first place. :-)
This gets us into some potentially insoluble philosophical issues with
measuring "quality" so what I recommend is that we remain steadfastly
practical, thinking of things which we actually can measure and test.