> On 09 Jun 2016, at 15:25, Julie McMurry <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> How big a problem is fact vandalism? It may be less likely to be detected/fixed in languages for which there are fewer editors. Only if a big problem, I'd suggest that specific text (not whole articles) be protected, but not locked. Eg implementing a requirement for confirmation by multiple editors before it is published. A lock would be too likely to thwart legitimate edits and could be abused by moderators.
> Some ostensibly hard facts do in fact change over time. Even the measurement of the mass of the electron took years to perfect.
Correct. But then, also, for the history of science it is valuable to know how that measurement has evolved over the years.
So you could have something like
- mass of the electron has <some imperfect value> / statement with reliable reference and ‘deprecated status' / valid from a certain date till a later date / <- statement protected
- mass of the electron has <some imperfect value> / statement with reliable reference and ‘deprecated status' / valid from that later date till an even later date / <- statement protected
- (current situation) mass of the electron has <today’s accepted value> / statement with reliable reference and ‘preferred status' / valid from a certain date / <- statement protected as soon as it has its reliable reference
- New research? Add a new statement, give it ‘preferred’ status, give the previous one ‘deprecated’ value.
Awesome stuff for science historians.
I have seen many frustrating cases of merges and changes to ‘good’ statements too; not all are due to vandalism, some can also be attributed to lack of experience or to agendas, for instance. And having a hard time to keep track of it via my watchlist. I’m very much in favour of a system where we have semi-protection of statements with reliable references, approved by a certain number of trustworthy editors, and editable only by trustworthy editors. (I know this is a very tricky thing to organise…..)
I have a hunch that this would also make Wikidata much more attractive for external parties. In informal discussions with GLAMs, for instance, this issue comes up all the time: how can we really trust that the data on Wikidata is good? Why should we link our own databases to Wikidata and re-use its data if anyone can add nonsense there? Is there a way to indicate that certain stuff on Wikidata is reliable?
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