Friday, August 31, 2007

Trustworthiness of Wikipedia pages

I saw this mentioned on /. and followed the link through: UCSC Wiki Lab. It's basically a piece of software that analyzes Wikipedia pages and rates the text based on the reputations of its authors. Here's how it works:

In order to compute text trust, we first compute the reputation of all Wikipedia authors at all points in time. The goal is to be able to answer all questions of the kind "at 7:04 am UTC on Jan 23, 2006, what was the reputation of the user with ID 3546?". See below for the computation of author reputation.

Once the reputation values for all authors for all times are available, we compute the trust of each word of each revision. We compute the trust value of each word of a revision according to the reputation of the original author of the word, as well as to the reputation of any authors that have edited the page, especially if the edit is in the proximity of the word. We are still fine-tuning the algorithms, which will be described in a forthcoming publication.

What is cool is it tells you what specifically in the text can be trusted and what might be considered questionable. Here's a skitch of a random page.

Do you suppose now with this capability that schools will start allowing Wikipedia to be used as a source?

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