Wikipedia editing made transparent

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Wikipedia editing made transparent

Wikipedia users can now see how page entries are edited thanks to new technology launched by a Silicon Valley research company.

WikiDashboard will show users how many times each subject page has been edited and which editors have contributed the most to a page.

Users will also be given details about the editors, such as how involved they have been with other articles.

“The idea is that if we provide social transparency and enable attribution of work to individual workers in Wikipedia, then this will eventually result in increased credibility and trust in the page content, and therefore higher levels of trust in Wikipedia,” said the Palo Alto Research Center in a statement (PARC).

Trust in Wikipedia fades when editors get their facts wrong. This year US Senator Edward Kennedy was pronounced dead by the site, and news has just emerged that a Sunday Times correspondent was wrongly said to be the son of Roy Hattersley.

By naming writers involved in the site’s content, the new dashboard should help decrease the amount of errors in entries.

But the analysis tool could increase competition between Wikipedia and Google’s Knol project, which was launched last year as a Wikipedia rival.

The main difference between the two sites is that Google’s encyclopaedia allowed readers to see who edited each page.

Now, depending on the takeup of the dashboard, there could be more similarities between the two services, although the Google tool will still remain different because it prevents articles from being edited by participants unknown to the author, and prevents multiple contributions to one topic.

The Palo Alto Research Center works with new ventures and enterprises to discover technology concepts to solve particular needs and drive value to customers.

The centre is accredited with innovations such as Ethernet, the graphical user interface (GUI), object-oriented programming and ubiquitous computing.

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