[Foundation-l] Another look a bot creation of articles

Lars Aronsson lars at aronsson.se
Mon Jul 14 21:53:06 UTC 2008

Birgitte SB wrote:

> I think there was recently a thread about the press about the 
> paper A Gene Wiki for Community Annotation of Gene Function [1].  
> I was reading it today and found it interesting in respect to 
> views generally expressed on this mailing list against bot 
> created articles. Personally I can't see why this sort of work 
> described here should be required to be done by hand (as is the 
> case where some wikipedias don't allow this sort of bot 
> creation).  Especially when analysis found that after the bot 
> created stubs for all genes in the authorative database that 
> were missing from Wikipedia, "approximately 50% of all edits to 
> gene pages were made on the newly created pages."

PLoS Biology is a recognized journal for biology research, but not 
for wiki research.  Their statements about the usefulness in wikis 
of bot-generated stubs are not backed up by verifiable evidence. 

For example, they don't define what a "stub" is, and how the 
usefulness varies with that definition.  The stub shown as example 
in the article (fig. 1) is far longer and more well-written than 
what one usually has to confront when criticizing stub articles in 

Their statistic that 50% of edits landed in new articles doesn't 
indicate quality or usefulness.  It only says that carpet bombing 
might sometimes hit a target.

Their work is interesting biology.  But for wiki research, this 
paper is merely of anecdotal interest.  Maybe they are writing a 
separate article focused on wikis? Are the authors coming to 

> There is also interesting argument is made about how the 
> existence of a complete network (even if, as in this case, 
> partially consisting of bot-created stubs) leads to more 
> efficient browing of the entire subject area.

Yes, if your task is to create a navigational user interface, then 
a wiki might be a useful tool. But that doesn't imply that this is 
a good method for creating a free encyclopedia.

  Lars Aronsson (lars at aronsson.se)
  Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se

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