Thursday, November 09, 2006
Discuss: Wikipedia Ideas
Wikipedia is a marvelous tool. What features would you most like to see added to Wikipedia to make it even better, for example, to make it even more usable?
For example, I’d like to see an option that may be selected to temporarily color code text by date of entry. Thus, text that was green, because it was five years old, might be more “trustworthy” than text that was red, which was ten minutes old or text that is orange that is two days old. The color option may be toggled on an off by the user.
Your WikiDumper site illustrates a fundamental weakness of the Wikipedia. It is not a democratic site to which anyone can contribute their knowledge. Sure, you can contribute, but every day over one hundred articles are marked for deletion by the Wikipedia elite. Reasons for the dump are often subjective. The elite does not think that a piece of knowledge is notable enough, e.g. a biographical entry is about someone who does not have enough Google hits. How many is enough? 100? 1000? 10,000? Is Google the final arbiter? Why not have a book of all knowledge, rather than a book of knowledge deemed notable by an elite gang.
Second, what I'd like to see from Wikipedia would be greater utility out of their "discussion" pages. As it stands, they're set up a lot like the "article" pages where anyone is free to edit anything anywhere anytime with, of course, a record being kept somewhere. For someone who uses a lot of wikis it's probably intuitive. But for me, I find it a muddled mess that's hard to use. I'd rather the discussion pages were a lot more like a traditional message board or this comment page. A permanent, persistent record of people talking to each other about something that can be refered to and used by just about anyone without any specialized knowledge. Because, for me, this is intuitive. And I'm not exactly unused to using wikis (and other forms and formats).
So, in short, I'd like to see an effort for a better interface for user input without having to edit a whole page. A threaded message board for discussions is the first step I'd take there but I'd go beyond to link placement and more. In general more automation, more customization, more user friendly, less clunky stuff. I don't want to think about it, I just want to do it. Just making it easier for more people to get involved and to contribute. Can't get rid of that elite gang of Wikipedia users but can at least make it bigger.
Which sounds a lot like Wetpaint which Ben mentions on his site (So, don't worry Ben, it might be spam for Cliff, but I checked it out and found it interesting. What more can you want?) in the untitled post from June 20th. I just got the gist so I'll leave it to Ben or someone else to explain better.