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Is Wikipedia Failing?
One approach is to add the concept of "experts." Citizendium (mentioned in the article blurb) has this concept, but I believe it could be much more powerful. The real question is how to choose who these experts are. It is unreasonable to think that the site administrators themselves can serve as (or even hire) experts to cover every possible subject.
How would you go about solving these problems?
So, what I would propose is this:
- Anyone can create or edit any article.
- Anyone can rate any edit that is made to an article.
- Articles and edits with the highest ratings are displayed.
- Users acquire "expertise" in their field according to how their articles and/or edits are rated.
- Gaining expertise provides two benefits: a) Articles and edits in the area of expertise start with an initially higher rating, and b) Votes on articles and edits in the area of expertise carry more weight.
What you would have is a community where experts are chosen from the community, by the community. However, everyone is still able to contribute.
Consider this example. Stephen Hawking writes an article on black holes. Stephen's expertise rating in astrophysics would be huge, because presumably he would have already written dozens of articles, and people would presumably give his articles good ratings. Now, you, Joe Schmoe, are reading the article, and you find a spelling error. Your expertise rating in astrophysics is tiny compared to Hawking's. You're still allowed to make edits to the article, but you do so knowing that you are the "underdog." You fix the spelling and submit your change. The change doesn't take effect, but the page does make a note that someone has suggested an edit (maybe a good way to show this is to change the text color for the section where the edit has been suggested). So anyone reading the article sees that there's an edit hiding there, and can click to see what it is. And if you are correct about the spelling error, people will "vote up" your correction until eventually it will rate highly enough to be displayed. And in fact, this might happen rather quickly because Stephen himself probably looks over his own articles from time to time, and might help you (and himself) by giving your edit a good rating.
The net result is that Stephen's article gets a little better, and you improve your astrophysics expertise rating a little. And you deserve it, even though you only made a spelling correction. You won't gain a huge amount of expertise, because once your correction becomes visible, people just won't care about it any more, so you'll stop receiving votes. But the article as a whole will continue to be read and appreciated by people interested in astrophysics, so Stephen will continue to receive expertise points.
Some additional things to consider...
- Edits with a rating below a certain threshold should just be removed completely to allow pornography, spam, trolls, ignorance, and misinformation to simply disappear without ever even being visible.
- It is important to restrict expertise to certain areas of study. In other words, Stephen Hawking's astrophysics articles don't earn him preferential treatment when writing about baking.
A nice thing about this approach is that the current Wikipedia content could be used as a starting point. Everything would just go in as a new, unrated article and would be voted up or down over time, and the good stuff would rise to the top, while the crap would just fall off the radar.
A Solution To The Problem Of Digital Media
LesPaul75 writes "The recent success of some alternative methods of media distribution is a sign that consumers are ready for a change. As an independent game developer, I stumbled onto a way to change the process of buying, selling, and distributing software. Copy protection schemes simply don't work. After some churning of the original idea, it became clear that this new model works not only for software, but for other forms of digital media, especially music. The concept is called "pay first," and is described here in detail. The introduction is probably a bit low-tech for the Slashdot crowd, but is intended to shed some light on the problem for a general audience."
Link to Original Source
Slashdot should have a page cache. Period.