[Wikipedia-l] pitching an idea

Steve Lefevre lefevre.10 at osu.edu
Sun Apr 17 06:39:26 UTC 2005

Hey folks -

I'm pitching an idea for a postmodern wikipedia. What I mean by that is 
that there are multiple concurrent versions of an article. Instead of a 
zero-sum game where only one text can inhabit a title at any time, a 
user can choose from different branches. The user basis this decision on 
who the authors are, and how many people agree with the text.

A PGP sign-off system will keep track of who wrote what, and who agrees 
with it. Authors who have had a lot of people sign off on their word 
will get bonus scores on their texts, and articles that well-reputed 
authors sign off on will get also get bonus scores.

 A 'troll pit' of low-rated articles by low-rated authors will be 
automatically filtered from casual browsers.

The immediate wikipedia problems that this solves are:
 - Edit wars. This is common with articles covering controversial 
topics, such as abortion. Proponents of different truths will build and 
maintain their side of the story, including counter arguments, instead 
of trying to destroy the other side. There is no negative sign-off, so 
the only thing the article measures is how many people agree with it, 
not how many disagree.
 - Graffiti. Small, hard-to-detect changes to articles will not be 
signed off on by many people, so they will not survive a reputation 
filter. Those branches will go into the troll pit.
- Trolling. See graffiti. Giving a definition of trolling that makes it 
distinguishable from grafitti is left as an exercise for the reader.
- Lack of attribution.With a PGP sign-off system, articles can be 
attributed to authors, even if they are anonymous. 
-  Public perception. The steady maintenance of well-respected articles 
by reputable authors will make wikipedia a trusted source of information.

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