Wikipedia:Flagged revisions/Quality versions

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Discussions about validation has been going on for some time.[1] The document Wikipedia:Pushing to validation summarizes the discussion at Wikimania 2006 about the need to validate articles. The vision is ambitious: to make Wikipedia a reliable source, and requires that we shift our focus from quantity to quality.[2] These proposals are modest beginnings towards that goal.

Quality versions[edit]

Quality versions are a second proposal which will be used on the most developed or most visited Wikipedia pages. The quality tag indicates that as the result of our quality assurance processes, the current version of the article has undergone rigorous fact checking and conforms to all our content policies.

While our current editing model is excellent for generating high quality content, it isn't necessarily the optimal means of maintaining quality. When as a result of focused community effort a page is pushed to Featured Article quality, it is unclear whether subsequent edits actually improve the article. The idea of this proposal is that once an article reaches a certain level of maturity, development can proceed in a less hasty and more deliberative fashion using an Edit-Assess-Update cycle, so that wider community input is sought on whether an article is improving or not.

When an article conforms to a certain standard it would be flagged as "quality", and article development can then continue without constant edit-warring and without the need to immediately revert edits from editors we don't trust.[3] Instead, we can evaluate by the feature article review process, whether after a month or so of editing, the article has actually improved or deteriorated.[4] If the editing has improved the article, then the new version would be promoted to "quality".

Only articles which have reached a sufficiently developed stage would have a quality version. For articles which have quality versions, the quality version would be displayed by default for non-logged in visitors. For logged-in users the option to display the current (default) or quality version of the article would be a user preference.

Reviewer rights[edit]

Reviewers are surveyors who can mark pages as "quality" in addition to "sighted". Such revisions will take precedence over normal "sighted" version as far as what revision the software selects as the default. Bureaucrats can grant or remove Reviewer status from users. In the future this flag may be given to trusted users in our quality assurance processes and will be assigned the responsibility to interpret the consensus of for example WP:FAC and flag the appropriate revision. Some other, more scalable, article consensus based method may be desirable.

Possible uses[edit]

The FlaggedRevs extension can potentially be used in other ways as well, and the system can be modified and added to in the future. After Sighted versions are in place, we may wish to add separate flags for Quality versions that have been intensively reviewed, e.g., through the Featured Articles or Good Articles processes. We may subsequently incorporate a broader system of quality rating, such as the Wikipedia 1.0 assessment system. Alternatively, it might be better to use only quality versions, and never use sighted versions.

"Examined versions" on German Wikipedia[edit]

See de:Wikipedia:Geprüfte Versionen

The German Wikipedia is to be used as the testing ground for this feature, and lessons learned there can then be applied on the English Wikipedia. An "Examined Version" is defined on the German wiki as "a particular version of an article marked to indicate that it does not contain wrong statements or substantial gaps according to the reviewer." Some other key details of the German implementation:

  • "The marking also includes a comment field. The right to mark articles as "examined" is assigned by a Bureaucrat. Examinations are stored in Special:Log and are observable in the article history."
  • "The "examined" mark should state: All facts represented in this version were checked against the secondary literature. No falsifying omissions could be determined."

Notes & references[edit]

  1. ^ See Wikipedia:Why stable versions, Wikipedia:Stable versions, and Wikipedia:Static version.
  2. ^ Bergstein, Brian. "Wikipedia Founder Seeks More Quality". Retrieved 2007-06-06.
  3. ^ Pages that are under constant attack from POV-pushers tend to be defended by well-meaning editors and admins, who are sometimes quick to revert edits. Some controversial pages are so heavily guarded that unless an edit is made by one of the regular contributors to the article, it may simply be reverted for no other reason than that. Constantly having to defend an article from heavy POV-pushing makes it much harder to assume good faith, especially towards editors that suggest similar changes to those previously insisted upon by notorious POV-pushers. Although we manage to write excellent articles on controversial topics, we pay a heavy toll for this: we create a combative rather than collaborative editing atmosphere.
  4. ^ This will naturally increase review processes on Wikipedia, but our goal isn't to edit just for the sake of editing, our goal is to improve quality, and how else can we ensure the quality of a Featured Article if we don't review and compare?