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Wikipedia to color-code unreliable information

Wikipedia recently announced plans for a new feature that will color-code every word of every entry according to its reliability. Go ahead and make the obvious joke ("Aren't they all unreliable?" Ha. Ha.), but the way they're going about it actually sounds pretty smart. The optional color-coding feature is called "WikiTrust," and it codes each word according to how long it's been on the page and how reputable its author is.

The main worry when someone talks about reliability, or Wikipedia in general, is a serious lack of objectivity. Some controversial pages become battlegrounds that are changed back and forth daily, and all of those changes are (rightly, I think) going to hurt the pages' perceived credibility under WikiTrust. New text will start out with a bright orange background that fades gradually to white if it survives without editing for a while.

The only place I can see the system failing is in cases of vandalism. When a prankster seeds a page with fake information, it'll be new and labeled untrustworthy. That's good. When the correction suffers the same fate? Well, that might be bad. The saving grace is that a reliable registered user's changes start out with a lighter shade of orange than an anonymous vandal's, so they're not actually treated the same way.

[via Lifehacker]


Tags: color-coded, wiki, wikipedia, wikitrust

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