One of the Wikipedia projects that has been developing slowly over the past two years is the Article Feedback Tool. In its first incarnation, it let readers rate articles with a star system (1 to 5 stars for each of the areas of being Well-Sourced, Complete, Neutral, and Readable).
The latest version of the tool, version 5, shifts the focus of the person giving feedback to leaving a comment, and noting whether or not they found what they were looking for. After some interation and tweaking, including an additional abuse filter for comments, it has recently been turned on for 10% of the articles on the English Wikipedia.
This is generating roughly 1 comment per minute; or 10/min if it were running on all articles. In comparison, the project gets around 1 edit per second overall. So if turned on for 100% of articles, it would add 15-20% to the editing activity on the site. This is clearly a powerful channel for input, for readers who have something to share but aren’t drawn in by the current ‘edit’ tabs.
What is the community’s response? Largely critical so far. The primary criticism is that the ease of commenting encourages short, casual/random/non-useful comments; and that it tends to be one-way communication [because there's no obvious place to find responses? this isn't necessarily so; replies could auto-generate a notice on the talk page of the related IP]. Many specific suggestions and rebuttals of the initial implementation have been made, some heard more than others. The implementation was overall not quite sensitive to the implications for curation and followthrough.
A roadmap that included a timeframe for expanding the tool from 10% to 100% of articles was posted, without a community discussion; so a Request for Comments was started by an interested community member (rather than by the designers). This started in mid-January, and currently has a plurality of respondents asking to turn the tool off until it has addressed some of the outstanding issues.
The impression of the developers, here as with some other large organically-developing feature rollouts, was not that they had gotten thorough and firm testing, but that editors were fighting over every detail, making communication about what works and why hard. Likewise there has been a shortage of good facilitators to take in all varieties of feedback and generate an orderly summary and practical solutions.
So how did things go wrong? Pete gets to the heart of it in his comment, where he asks for a clearer presentation of the project hopes and goals, measures of success, and a framework for community engagement, feedback, and approval:
I think it’s a mere mistake, but it does get frustrating because WMF has made this same mistake in other big technical projects…
What I’m looking for is the kind of basic framework that would encompass possible objections, and establish a useful way of communicating about them…
WMF managed that really well with the Strategic Planning process, and with the TOU rewrite. The organization knows how to do it. I believe if it had been done in this case, things would look very different right now…
It is our technical projects that are most likely to stumble at that stage – sometimes for many months – despite putting significant energy into communication.
Can we do something about it now? Like most of the commenters on the RfC, including those opposing the current implementation, I see a great deal of potential good in this tool, while also seeing why it frustrates many active editors. It seems close to something that could be rolled out with success to the contentment of commenters and long-time editors alike; but perhaps not through the current process of defining and discussing features / feedback / testing (which begs for confrontational challenge/response discussions that are draining, time-consuming, and avoid actually resolving the issues raised!).
I’ll write more about this over the coming week.
Filed under: chain-gang,citation needed,indescribable,knowledge,meta,poetic justice,Uncategorized
Filed under: Aasw,chain-gang,indescribable,knowledge,meta,Uncategorized,zyzzlvaria
As usual, it was full of some of the best puzzle ideas in the world. (more…)
Original idea by Eva Vivalt and Jessica Richman, site and scraper by Patrick Socha.
Well covered by Kerim Friedman.
MIT looked into the problem, and some reported a link to a router configuration bug that’s been happening sporadically in recent weeks. This didn’t stop many on the Internet from seeing an omen or intervention or DDOS attack related to Aaron’s death.
But there may be a connection. An hour ago, after access to most of the MIT network was restored, two specific MIT sites cogen.mit.edu and rledev.mit.edu) were hacked by Anonymous to display a page remembering Aaron. The MIT Tech has the most up to date coverage: (“Anonymous Hacks MIT“)
The Anonymous message said, in part:
“We tender apologies to the administrators at MIT for this temporary use of their websites. We understand that it is a time of soul-searching for all those within this great institution as much — perhaps for some involved even more so — than it is for the greater internet community.”
As a former sysadmin at MIT, I was very curious about this case and eager for the facts to come out, and I guess they can, but not like this. Definitely not like this. I also had the job of chasing intruders out of a segment of MIT’s network (fairly light duty, actually), and having been there I will state the following publicly, because I am pissed off today. Seriously pissed off.
These over the top prosecution of nuisance intrusions makes sysadmins like me highly reluctant to initiate communication with the feds. The threat of criminal prosecution was enough to make Mr. Swartz back off from his actions. That’s why MIT and JSTOR backed off. Someone at DOJ decided to keep going, and he just made life harder for federal investigators in countless other cases, who will not be getting that first phone call from a sysadmin.
When an intruder is on my network, before I call the authorities, I want to know that the authorities will exercise judgement and prosecute accordingly. If he’s a criminal trying to use my resources for crimes, that’s one thing. If he’s a kid or a kook being a nuisance, then the authorities have a duty to exercise precisely enough muscle to scare him off my network and call it a day. If I have reason to think that the authorities will throw the book at a someone who is a mild nuisance, then I won’t make the phone call. I will investigate the intrusiion myself, kick him off myself, and keep my fucking mouth shut. These prosecutions are a waste of money, and today one of them became a waste of a life.
There will be a funeral on Tuesday in Chicago. Memorials in a few cities over the next two weeks: including Boston, New York, DC and SF.
Danny: He was funny
“Update: We talked. Ada cried, then we hugged, then Ada suggested we have a goodbye party, with ice-cream and sprinkles and a movie, and make a board where we could pin all our memories. We laughed at how funny he was. Aaron taught her so well.“
Tim Berners-Lee: “Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder…“
James Grimmelmann: Aaron Swartz, Was 26.
Cory Doctorow: RIP Aaron Swartz.
“Uncompromising, Reckless and Delightful“
Quinn Norton: “My Aaron Swartz, whom I loved.“
“Make the world that wouldn’t have killed him, please.“
Larry Lessig: on Aaron and the prosecutor as bully.
“He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius.
A soul, a conscience, the source of a question
I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think?“
Brewster Kahle: Aaron Swartz, Hero of the Open World, Dies
Chris Hayes, MSNBC: The Brilliant Mind and Righteous Heart of Aaron Swartz will be missed.
And at least seventeen more. (In Canada, works enter PD 50 years after the author’s final circumvention of their mortal coil.)
Happy Public Domain Day! Today millions of works – everything made by people that died in 1942* and not previously public – enter the public domain in most of the world.**
For a more US-centric view, with a heavy dose of “what were we thinking when we set up current copyright law?” activism, see the Public Domain Day summary by Duke’s insightful Center for the Public Domain. They also track the Alternate Universe Public Domain list for the simple alternate universe in which copyright laws remained as they were in 1976. This is a harder thing to visualize each year, since in this alternate universe so many other things (anything published between 1923 and 1955) would already also be free.
* in most countries
** but not in the US. The ‘Sonny Bono’ CTE Act created a backlog that will all enter the public domain in 2019.
Filed under: chain-gang,international,knowledge,meta,metrics,wikipedia
We hope this added intelligence will give you a more complete picture of your interest, provide smarter search results, and pique your curiosity on new topics. We’re proud of our first baby step—the Knowledge Graph—which will enable us to make search more intelligent, moving us closer to the “Star Trek computer” that I’ve always dreamt of building. Enjoy your lifelong journey of discovery, made easier by Google Search, so you can spend less time searching and more time doing what you love.
In the near future, I expect both Google’s knowledge graph, and the increasing awareness of the usefulness of such graphs, to change the structure and scope of industrial-scale knowledge processing. Thanks to all those working on these tools and solutions; see you in 2013!
The paper: “That’s What She Said: Double Entendre Identiﬁcation“
“Surely Yuriy Kiddon me”, I thought, reading this University of Washington monograph. But no, they really are that cool over there.
Filed under: chain-gang,citation needed,gustatory,poetic justice,Seraphic,wikipedia
Filed under: %a la mod,chain-gang,Glory, glory, glory,international,meta,zyzzlvaria
via Global Voices, the Top 10 Chinese Internet Memes of 2012.
A crisp, thorough summary of recent proposals to fix copyright, from across the political and economic spectrum. Postrel makes some effort to put them in historical context, and links to other even more detailed overviews of past and present trends.