[Foundation-l] [Wikipedia-l] Regards marking article revisions as stable

Birgitte SB birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 17 16:15:36 UTC 2007

I don't think "stable version" is supposed to mean
"error-free vesion".  It is simply supposed to mean
stable.  How each wiki decides to use this feature is
up to the local community. It is not something that
will be decided on a foundation level, which is the
topic of this list.  If you are interested in how a
particular wiki will mark stable revisions, I think
you should ask on the village pump (or equivalent) of
that wiki.

Birgitte SB

--- Virgil Ierubino <virgil.ierubino at gmail.com> wrote:

> I understand that this is a planned feature for the
> MediaWiki software.
> I heard recently that a co-founder of Wikipedia has
> become highly
> dissatisfied with it on account of it containing so
> many factual errors that
> it was useless (and beyond repair), and he's quite
> right - this is a major
> issue that needs to be addressed. Obviously, the
> ability to mark
> revisions is the perfect solution. If there was a
> way to pick out a revision
> as being error-free (I assume, synonymous with
> "stable"), Wikipedia could
> potentially progress towards being an
> academically-citable encyclopedia.
> I was just wondering who would feasibly *do* the
> marking as a stable
> revision? Obviously if this can be done by any users
> then there will be no
> advantage to it (as just the same liability toward
> inserting errors will
> transfer into a liability towards marking stable
> revisions which aren't
> actually stable). If you restrict it to registered
> users then there will
> still be no advantage, as even long-time registered
> users often vandalise
> and get things wrong. If you restrict it to admins
> then there will be too
> few of them.
> The real problem is that it will take proper
> peer-reviewing - by experts -
> to really mark an article as "stable" in the sense
> of containing none of the
> errors and mistakes that caused the aforementioned
> co-founder to give up on
> Wikipedia. Obviously this is because any average
> editor (even an admin) is
> not necessarily qualified to declare an article
> error-free. Certainly, if
> nothing else, it will take expert-reviewing to bring
> an article up to
> "citable" standards.
> So how do we currently suppose this will all work?
> Will the Foundation hire
> experts to check articles? Will we rely on expert
> volunteers contacting the
> Foundation so that they can be given "expert"
> accounts that can mark stable
> revisions? Or will we just allow long-time trusted
> editors to mark versions
> as stable, which leaves us in the same position of
> not knowing whether the
> article is *mistakenly* stable or not?
> One feasible way I can see this as working is
> defining an arbitrary amount,
> say 100, that has to be reached for an article to
> become stable. If one
> person marks a revision as stable, it gets +1, and
> if they are a more
> trusted editor (been around for longer, done more
> major non-reverted edits)
> then it may get +5. If someone marks it as unstable
> it gets -5 (weighting
> towards holding back). And so on. Then if the
> article reaches 100 it becomes
> stable. This method roughly solves the problem of
> there being vandal or
> mistaken stable articles, but assumes that one
> revision of an article will
> stick around for long enough to be evaluated in this
> manner. Will we have to
> freeze the page after an admin puts it into
> "evaluation mode", or perhaps
> set it aside into a subsidiary page where it is
> evaluated, after that
> revision has been nominated for Stable Revision
> Evaluation? Obviously this
> is all a very tricky issue because we're dealing
> with a wiki!
> I was just wondering what people thought of these
> issues, and what plans
> there are, if there are any.
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