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Is Wikipedia Failing?

LesPaul75 Possible Fix (478 comments)

How would you go about solving these problems?
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.

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.

more than 7 years ago



A Solution To The Problem Of Digital Media

LesPaul75 LesPaul75 writes  |  about 7 years ago

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.

LesPaul75 LesPaul75 writes  |  more than 10 years ago The slashdot effect is a big problem, and not only is it harmful to the unfortunate site that is being slashdotted, but it also detracts from slashdot itself. 99% of the time, the link given in an article leads to an unavailable page.

And this: [FAQ] is a weak argument, at best. Here's a rough translation of the FAQ:

Private: Sir, we've accidentally launched a nuke that's headed for downtown Maimi.
General: Boy, that sucks for Miami.
Private: Well, sir, we've got twenty minutes before the detonation -- shouldn't we sound some sirens or something and at least give them a chance to evacuate?
General: Sure, I know that evacuation sounds like a great idea, but think about it -- you'd be depriving all those people of their right to see the beautiful mushroom cloud that forms. And anyway, lots of people will probably survive the explosion. Only the unfortunate (half million or so) people who live right in the downtown area and don't have proper nuclear-bomb-proof apartment buildings will actually die. I mean, hey, maybe we could try to just evacuate those unfortunate few, but do we really want to go to all that trouble? In the end, private, evacuating Miami is "a complicated issue that would need to be thought through in great detail before being implemented."
Private: Excellent point, sir. Poor bastards.

(I took that from a comment.) Anyway, the bottom line is this:

1) Slashdotting (bringing down) a site is bad.
2) A site that is crushed by slashdotting can't generate any ad revenue, so the "depriving the site of ad revenue" argument is bogus.
3) Google caches pages, IE caches pages, therefore, Slashdot can cache pages. There simply is no legal or moral issue with caching pages.
4) Mirrordot is great, but it only helps after the site has been crushed.
5) If you're really worried about those precious banner ads, then don't cache them. Don't cache any images that are hosted by a different domain, or that are inside a link to another domain (i.e. <A HREF="xxx">, where xxx is not the same domain as the one hosting the article).
6) Just do it. Everyone wins.

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