User:Alan Liefting/Essays/Openness or accuracy

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Openness or accuracy?


One of the often touted advantages of Wikipedia is that anyone can edit it. While this has some advantages it also attracts vandals and those who have an axe to grind. It also opens it up to systemic bias and hoaxes. As Wikipedia has grown so to has the scale of the problem and the effects of the bad edits.

Steps have been taken to address the problem with the degree of protection from bad editing being related to how severely Wikipedia may be affected. The Main Page, which receives hundreds of millions of page views per month has a very high level of protection. Pages that experience high levels of vandalism are given some form of protection of varying degrees for a varying amount of time.

Wikipedia has become an administrative behemoth as it has grown. Keeping Wikipedia accurate and free of vandalism is on ongoing problem. Some of the tools used to control content are:

There are two sets of people who use Wikipedia - the users (readers) and the editors. Of course, editors are also users but for the purposes of this discussion they can be see two discrete sets. The users want accurate, extensive content that is easy to find. The accuracy will never be able to achieve 100% with the open editing model that is currently used. At any one time at least 6% of the article will be vandalised. There will also be an unquantified number of good faith edits that will need undoing since they will be wrong or decrease the usefulness of Wikipedia.

There is a solution to these problems yet still allow for an open editing model. The answer is full implementation of Flagged Revisions. This caters for the readers and the editors. The readers will be presented with pages that are the most accurate and stable, well written and laid out article that is free of the template message boxes.


...to be continued.