[Wikipedia-l] A proposal for the new software

Anatoly Vorobey mellon at pobox.com
Thu Oct 18 22:29:39 UTC 2001

You, lsanger at nupedia.com, were spotted writing this on Thu, Oct 18, 2001 at 03:12:09PM -0700:
> On Thu, 18 Oct 2001, Mark Christensen wrote:
> > I generally think this is a good idea.  I'm not sure exactly how the system
> > should work, but I propose something like adding 1 Karma Point (KP) for
> > signing up with a username, and one more for every day you connect to the
> > wikipedia after that (with the same username), and 2 KP for each day in
> > which you've edited an existing article, and 3 Karma points for each day you
> > add a new article.
> I don't much like this sort of "scoring."  That will encourage competition
> that isn't clearly in the interests of actually creating an encyclopedia.
> I like the idea of just being "in" or "out."  Remember, the problem we're
> trying to solve is simply to disempower vandals.  That's it.

I agree with this. Basically, every place I've seen with a system of points,
or ratings, or karma, or whatever quickly developed a social culture of elitism,
competing for points, comparing them, building hierarchies, and so on and so on.
I would go as far as to claim it's almost inevitable. And that's really not what
Wikipedia's about, is it?

I think that the solution of points is overdoing it. We only need to sufficiently
discourage vandals to make it not worth their time. The following measure will
go a long way towards establishing that:

1) Make some important pages, like the homepage and large categories, editable only
by users who actually registereted with an email address, and got themselves login
and password.

This already discourages the "casual" vandal, which I think is the majority of
vandals. To further discourage a "determined" vandal, try one of the following:

2a) Important pages, when edited, are saved automatically into a different category,
say "queue:original-name". Regulars are encouraged to periodically view the queue
category changes on a separate page, and to approve of changes using a special link;
once a change to an "important" page gets two approvals by other regulars, it goes

2b) Important pages are only editable by registered users who edited considerable
amount of Wikipedia pages during the last month; say, changed more than 200 lines
altogether; this would be measured automatically by the program. There're no
"karma points", no complex hierarchies, only a group of "privileged" users who are
only privileged because they know what they're doing, having edited a fair amount
on Wikipedia. The "privileged" status is invisible and isn't shown anywhere, except
a non-privileged user doesn't see the edit link on important pages.

What do you think?

Anatoly Vorobey,
my journal (in Russian): http://www.livejournal.com/users/avva/
mellon at pobox.com http://pobox.com/~mellon/
"Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly" - G.K.Chesterton

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