Keeping Wikipedia Honest

wiki2.jpgWikipedia is now the 9th most fre­quent­ed site on the web, and it hosts over 7 mil­lion arti­cles in over 200 lan­guages. Like it or not, Wikipedia is here to stay.

Rec­og­niz­ing this, some inno­v­a­tive pro­gram­mers have start­ed devel­op­ing ways to shore up Wikipedi­a’s some­times shaky foun­da­tions. In par­tic­u­lar, they’re find­ing ways to mon­i­tor Wikipedia entries for tam­per­ing and par­ti­san manip­u­la­tion. A cou­ple weeks ago, we men­tioned a new site called Wikipedia Scan­ner, which allows users to deter­mine whether par­ti­sans have edit­ed par­tic­u­lar wiki entries by match­ing the entries against IP address­es. Now, anoth­er site, Wiki­rage, lets you track the pages on “Wikipedia which are receiv­ing the most edits per unique edi­tor over var­i­ous peri­ods of time.” This is a nice fea­ture part­ly because it pin­points which topics/entries are gen­er­at­ing buzz at the moment (today it is Black­wa­ter USA, Michael B. Mukasey, Fred Thomp­son, the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion and Dane Cooke — a log­i­cal sequence, to be sure.) But Wiki­rage is also handy because it high­lights which entries “have high revi­sion, van­dal­ism or undo rates.” The upshot is that mil­lions of peo­ple have built Wikipedia. But it’s smart pro­gram­ming, mixed with some man­pow­er, that’s keep­ing the whole enter­prise a lit­tle more hon­est and reli­able. Stay tuned for more on how this works out.

See Life­hack­er for the 10 Top Wikipedia tricks, and to find the most pop­u­lar pages on Wikipedia in absolute terms, click here.

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