[Air-l] Trusted Wikipedia

Michele Sohn michele at spoke.co.za
Thu Sep 21 21:34:19 PDT 2006

The method (tactics) surely depends on the need (objectives) of the

Why is it needed?
Two separate but linked reasons:
1. To improve the content
2. To change perceptions that Wikipedia cannot be trusted as a source of

The assumptions
1. Some people are better at assessing and presenting information than
2. These people are likely to be academics rather than area experts from

Potential problems
1. What makes Wikipedia accessible (digestible) is the tone of voice of the
current material. Will a peer preview process change the style of writing?
2. Turn around time. How long will it take?
3. Consensus on the 'truth'. Yeah, right. Like that exists.

My suspicion is that it is more effective to fix Wikipedia from the inside
through introducing a tagging system where content chunks are marked as
opinion or verified and referenced 'facts'. Perhaps this merely becomes a
function of the number of editorial reviews (revisions) that the article has
been through. Additionally, a clear link to the author of the text will
ensure accountability for what is written.

Personally, I do not know what I would do without Wikipedia, but often turn
straight to the external links, as a trusted and endorsed source of
additional information. Hmmm, wonder how long it will take before Wikipedia
start to sell those links and undermine the whole idea of credible and
impartial referencing.


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