From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

WikiTrust was an extension to MediaWiki and Firefox that implemented an automated algorithm to assess the credibility of content and author reputation. When installed on a MediaWiki website, it enabled users of that website to obtain information about the author, origin, and reliability of that website's wiki text.[1] Stable content, based on an analysis of article history, was displayed in normal black-on-white type, and unstable content was highlighted in varying shades of yellow or orange.

It was undertaken by the Online Collaboration Lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in response to a quality initiative sponsored by the Wikimedia Foundation.[1]

WikiTrust was also mentioned on the Wikiquality/Portal site:

What you can do: Try Prof. Luca de Alfaro's trust coloring demo

Luca de Alfaro is an Associate Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is leading a research team to study the patterns in Wikipedia article histories. His team has created a demonstration which colorizes Wikipedia articles according to a value of trust, computed from the reputation of the authors who contributed and edited the text.

The Wikimedia Foundation is supporting Luca's work, and is considering different ways in which it could be usefully integrated into Wikipedia. See Luca's demo site, and send us your thoughts on the wikiquality-l mailing list.


Some of the confusion about whether Wikitrust would be enabled erupted due to an article in Wired.[2] The author of the article, Hadley Leggett filed her story based on a statement from Jay Walsh, Wikimedia's Head of Communications.[3] But according to Erik Möller, the Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, at the time of her story, the Wikimedia Foundation had no implementation plan or dates, which was contrary to what her story suggested.[4] Erik send an email on Aug 31, 2009 to the WikiEN-l mailing list in response to an email from Brion Vibber[4]. Erik clarified by saying the following:

See also (Wikimedia links)[edit]

News articles[edit]

Source Details & URL Date
Comments on page
(as of 09/27/09)
Wired Magazine Hadley Leggett, Wikipedia to Color Code Untrustworthy Text August 30, 2009 23 comments
Information Week Claburn, Thomas (August 31, 2009). "Wikipedia Considers Coloring Untested Text". Information Week. Retrieved 2009-08-31. Registered Wikipedia users may soon have access to software that colors text deemed untrustworthy. August 31, 2009
Mashable 08/31 9 comments
ReadWriteWeb 08/31 4 comments
ReadWriteWeb Marshall Kirkpatrick, WikiTrust Evaluates Wikipedia Text by Author Reputation June 27, 2008 8 comments
PC Magazine,2817,2352219,00.asp 08/31 1 comment 08/31 08/31
Techdirt 08/31 22 comments 08/31

WikiTrust software links[edit]

Luca de Alfaro is an associate professor at UC Santa Cruz, USA. He is developing WikiTrust, a reputation system for wiki authors, and a trust system for wiki text. Authors gain reputation when their contributions prove long-lived, and text trust is an indication of the extent with which it has been revised. The code, available under BSD license, also contains utilities such as fast block text comparison, and more.


  1. ^ a b Main Page from the UCSC Online Collaboration Lab[dead link]
  2. ^ Hadley Leggett, Wikipedia to Color Code Untrustworthy Text, August 30, 2009, [Wired Magazine]
  3. ^ Wikipedia to Color Code Untrustworthy Text, August 30, 2009, [Wired Magazine]
  4. ^ a b Email from Erik Möller (Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation) on Aug 31, 2009:

Relevant discussion archives[edit]

copied from Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2009-08-31/In the news
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The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

WikiTrust may be added to Wikipedia

Wired reports that the WikiTrust MediaWiki extension for evaluating the trustworthiness of text within Wikipedia articles may be deployed on English Wikipedia over the next few months. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, led by Luca de Alfaro, have been developing the WikiTrust software since 2007; they created a WikiTrust demonstration in late 2007 (no longer available) based on a dump of English Wikipedia.

The extension works by determining the origin of each segment of text within an article and calculating a trust value based on the reputation of the editor who added it and the reputations of editors who subsequently edited the article without removing the text. Authors' reputations are based on how much stable content they have added and how rarely their contributions are reverted. The extension is deployed on the WikiTrust wiki; the trust features are accessible through the "check text" tab. The WikiTrust team has also developed an experimental Firefox add-on that adds a trust tab at the top of article pages.

On a mailing list discussion, Brion Vibber confirmed that plans to eventually deploy WikiTrust are in the works:

We've been planning to get a test setup together since conversations at the Berlin developer meetup in April, but actual implementation of it is pending coordination with Luca and his team. My understanding is that work has proceeded pretty well on setting it up to be able to fetch page history data more cleanly internally, which was a prerequisite, so we're hoping to get that going this fall.

Erik Möller offered further clarification:

We're very interested in WikiTrust, primarily for two reasons:

- it allows us to create blamemaps for history pages, so that you can quickly see who added a specific piece of text. This is very interesting for anyone who's ever tried to navigate a long version history to find out who added something.

- it potentially allows us to come up with an algorithmic "best recent revision" guess. This is very useful for offline exports.

The trust coloring is clearly the most controversial part of the technology. However, it's also integral to it, and we think it could be valuable. If we do integrate it, it would likely be initially as a user preference. (And of course no view of the article would have it toggled on by default.) There may also be additional community consultation required.

Any integration is contingent on the readiness of the technology. It seems to have matured over the last couple of years, and we're planning to meet with Luca soon to review the current state of things. There's no fixed deployment roadmap yet, and the deployment of FlaggedRevs is our #1 priority.

imported from: Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 64#WikiTrust
This discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


Just came across this article in InfomationWeek:

Note: Same entry as in Wikipedia:Press coverage 2009. Doesn't seem to be covered here in en:Wiki, but see this search in Meta. — Becksguy (talk) 23:49, 31 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

So another thing that the press hears about before the community does? Cool. — RockMFR 00:41, 1 September 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Nah, it's been on the Village Pump before now IIRC. - Jarry1250 [ In the UK? Sign the petition! ] 07:40, 1 September 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I think it is also a case of the press going wild again. If we add an "optional" feature for registered users, then this simply isn't news. The fact that it is about "trust" and in the case of flaggedrevs about "approval", seem to be an easy handle for an article, that unfortunately almost EVERYONE of the journalists, seems to not have investigated. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:50, 1 September 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I have yet to find an article on that this works on. Anyone know what the deal is? (talk) 05:12, 1 September 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Maybe. I installed the suggested Firefox add-on from here and visited the Wiki Lab list of colored pages in en:wiki here]. Then I loaded articles and clicked "Trust Info" tab, which then downloads the trust info.
The first article on Computer science failed (Msg: "There is no trust information available for this text yet") but the article on Arawn worked, however all the content is colored with an orange background, which "... indicates new, unrevised, text..." The article on Chris Rock shows that almost all the content is colored with a background of white, which "... is for text that has been revised by many reputed authors".
So you need the following to see a demo on en:wiki: (1) Firefox, (2) An installed WikiTrust add-on (3) a working en:wiki page that Wiki Lab has set up for a demo, and (4) to click on the Trust Info tab. At least that's my experience, your mileage may vary. Note I'm using Firefox 3.0.13 on a Ubuntu Linux platform.
Becksguy (talk) 06:43, 1 September 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Ah, thanks, that explains it. I wonder if it will ever be rolled out for all articles. (talk) 16:43, 1 September 2009 (UTC)[reply]