Wikipedia color-codes consensus

September 1, 2009 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

Starting this fall, an optional extension to Wikipedia will automatically color-code text backgrounds to indicate how “trusted” the text is.

WikiTrust (via Wired Science)Currently, text on a Wikipedia page is agglutinated from the contributions of multiple, anonymous authors. Anyone can contribute and over-write existing text. This leaves entries open to bias, vandalism, and editing wars.

The WikiTrust extension computes the author of every word of text and determines the author’s reputation based on previous, lasting, contributions. Less trusted text is backgrounded with an orange shade, which fades to white as the text survives later edits and is considered increasingly trustworthy.

Note that trust isn’t truth, it’s consensus. If you’re a new contributor to Wikipedia, your contributions will be colored with a bright orange shade. Established contributors’ new text is colored with a paler orange. But even as an established contributor, if you write something controversial that gets edited in and out, that text will also be flagged with color.

Readers won’t be facing a sea of orange, however. The overall levels of orange text-tagging are kept low in the interest of readability. And the entire trust mechanism will be a separate tab on the Wikipedia page, so you can choose whether to view your pages with or without it.

(via Wired Science)

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Entry filed under: Social Media, User Experience. Tags: , , , .

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