Wikipedia talk:How to read an article history

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wikipedia Help Project (Rated NA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of the Wikipedia Help Project, a collaborative effort to improve Wikipedia's help documentation for readers and contributors. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks. To browse help related resources see the Help Menu or Help Directory. Or ask for help on your talk page and a volunteer will visit you there.
 NA  This page does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.
 High  This page has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

Waning importance of history pages[edit]

It seems like as Wikipedia gets bigger, users become more numerous, and the average number of edits per page goes up, the history page becomes less usable in the ways described in this article except for in the newest/least-edited entries. What can I tell about the content of the Islam article from this?

In talking with people about Wikipedia, I'm finding that people who have concerns about its accuracy are frequently told something like "all you have to do is look at the history--it's all there!" While this is, of course, oversimplified and the history is only one tool to use when vetting information here, there seems to be a common belief that history pages are how you can tell if a Wikipedia page is trustworthy. But how can anyone make worthwhile sense of hundreds of edits from dozens of users (and bots), not being able to tell where the big edits are, only some with meaningful summaries, etc?

This difficulty doesn't seem to be addressed anywhere here. Am I way off in thinking there's too much importance placed on histories? Not that they're not important--they're crucial--but importance from the point of view of a casual reader/user?

Rhododendrites (talk) 17:32, 1 April 2008 (UTC)