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Tool Shows the Arguments Behind Wikipedia Entries 115

Posted by timothy
from the citation-will-one-day-be-needed dept.
Al writes "A team of researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center have created a tool that shows how much argument has gone into crafting an entry. Ed Chi, a senior research scientist for augmented social cognition at PARC, obtained access to Wikipedia edit data and used it to build a tool that shows whether users have fought over the accuracy of a page by rapidly re-editing each other's changes. Experiments suggest that the method provides a better measure of 'controversy' than simply having Wikipedia editors add a warning to a suspect page. Their software, called Wikidashboard, serves up a Wikipedia entry, but adds an info-graphic revealing who has been editing it and how often it has been reedited. Of course, this doesn't reveal whether a Wikipedia entry is truly accurate, but it might at least highlight an underlying bias or vested interest."
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Tool Shows the Arguments Behind Wikipedia Entries

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  • Other applications (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arogier (1250960) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @02:16AM (#26770087) Homepage Journal
    If this technology could be applied to counting and characterizing forum yelling, we could measure how little we really have to say in so many words on other internet venues as well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b4upoo (166390)

      Obviously popular topics will gather more view points and controversy. A person doing a report on tribal dances in Kenya is not likely to generate a lot of views nor a lot of disagreement.

  • by MarkusQ (450076) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @02:16AM (#26770091) Journal

    For a minute I thought it was a dupe of this story [slashdot.org] but it's not (different team, different school, and slightly different goal).

    It'd be interesting to compare the two...

    --MarkusQ

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @02:18AM (#26770105)

    Articles that I edit on wikipedia get flagged as being arguments because I usually edit them from both my home and work computers. as a reult when I am in a mood to edit there is rapid fire changes from multiple IP addresses. I see warnings when I log in that it looks like I'm in a dispute and I may be banned if further revisions occur.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2009 @02:50AM (#26770269)
      Well then register!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JoshuaZ (1134087)
      This is a known problem. It is one of the reasons I originally registered. One other way to handle it if one really doesn't want to register is to use the edit summary option to help make clear that there isn't any conflict. But there's really no good reason not to register. Registration provides a variety of different benefits: First, other users have an easy way to contact you if they want to discuss an edit you made. Second, your IP address is hidden providing a measure of privacy. Third registration ma
    • by Mana Mana (16072)

      Why doesn't login prevent this?

  • Not expansive enough (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2009 @02:18AM (#26770107)

    I had a similar idea, but instead colour the text directly by how long (in terms of edit survival) a piece of text has been around (with a little filter to ignore spelling fixes).

    The more recently added text can be made lighter, whereas "more reliable" text can be shaded darker.

    Also, with more recently added text, if it replaced something that was there for a while, then add a little mark or something that when you mouse over it the old text is shown (or use the alt-text).

    I just don't have the time to build it.

    • (with a little filter to ignore spelling fixes).

      That idea is very good!
      That idea is very goad!
      That idea is very toad!
      That idea is very tad!
      That idea is very bad!

      Sorry for the typos, but I think I finally got it :)

    • by joeljkp (254783)

      You want something like Stet [fsf.org], but with this controversy figure as the metric instead of user comments.

      I always thought Stet would be great for a general-purpose user-annotation site, but like you never got around to building it.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @02:19AM (#26770115) Journal
    I like tools like this much more than I like the various conflicts over what wikipedia's one true behavior ought to be. With so many people, and so many disparate objectives, you cannot have one wikipedia to satisfy them all. However, since the wiki preserves revision and comment data, and it is all available under a liberal licence, it is possible for parties both inside and outside wikipedia to build view into the wiki that are closer to their desired vision, rather than struggling endlessly over what the wiki will look like.

    One could, for instance, easily include or exclude comments and revisions based on attributes of the accounts that made them, produce "frozen" versions of pages believed to have gotten to a stable point, treat different pages differently based on input from a tool like the one in TFA, and so on. This is, obviously, more difficult than just using the default; but it seems a shame to treat wikipedia as just a strategy to get a static encyclopedia, when you could take advantage of all the other data that it preserves.
    • by timeOday (582209) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @03:04AM (#26770325)
      How much of a problem are the "wiki wars," really? On the one hand, I'm always hearing about these issues on slashdot and I can certainly see why they occur. On the other hand, I use wikipedia to get information all the time and it hardly ever seems to be an actual problem. I gather most of the fighting is over a relatively small number of entries that everybody knows to be controversial. You can hardly blame wikipedia for not having the final, undisputed truth about conflict in the middle east and other such things.

      In any case, where there is debate, I'd rather see a concise presentation of both sides rather than trawl through a lengthy edit trail or a bunch of metadata. Gathering gobs of information is relatively easy, what's valuable is condensing it into a usable form.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Demonantis (1340557)
        If a wikipedia article is well done. There will be likes to the articles it cites as sources. This makes wikipedia just as reliable as the rest of the internet as a resource. Maybe even more reliable cause you only see articles other people think are accurate. A keyword search like Google doesn't really do that.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by quadrox (1174915)

          But if these people are wrong about a source and either falsely omit or falsely include one or more, you are just as screwed. If not even more.

          I think on the whole you are no better off using wikipedia, unless you really trust the editors to know their stuff and not to be biased. And the way I know human nature, that's likely not the case for many of them (how many - I don't know).

          To me wikipedia is a quick means to gather some info on a subject. If it's a slightly controversial subject I won't rely on it a

          • by mdwh2 (535323)

            I think on the whole you are no better off using wikipedia

            No better off compared with what? Personally I find it better than trying to trawl through Google finding sources myself. (Even if having many editors is no less biased than a single author, they've still saved me the work...)

            And it's not like Wikipedia is some new concept - the time for debating over whether Wikipedia could work or not is years in the past. Let's judge it by how accurate it is in practice - e.g., comparing it to other sources. So I

      • I gather most of the fighting is over a relatively small number of entries that everybody knows to be controversial.

        The deletionist / inclusionist argument affects huge swaths of content, most of it completely uncontroversial other than its noteworthiness.

        • The deletionist/inclusionist argument is almost exclusively waged over really, really recent stuff, and most of that related to pop culture. If you're writing about 19th-century history, you have to really try to encounter a deletionist.

          It's basically an ongoing process of trying to find a good balance between erroneously/unnecessarily excluding recent and pop-culture stuff that is actually useful in an encyclopedia, and allowing Wikipedia to be used as an advertising platform by everyone with a company, bo

          • I agree that's roughly where the line *should* be drawn, but there are deletionists who would remove large amounts of stuff under this line, and inclusionists who would greatly grow the article set.

            I've personally had several well-researched, referenced articles that I regularly used for information removed due to people not finding enough hits on the subject on Google or similar sketchy criteria. I doubt my experience is unique.

            • by bit01 (644603)

              I've personally had several well-researched, referenced articles that I regularly used for information removed due to people not finding enough hits on the subject on Google or similar sketchy criteria.

              What? Give evidence for your assertion.

              In any case, whatever the proportion is it doesn't imply that any article [not] found is controversial in the sense that the viewpoint is contested, just whether the information should be included is controversial.

              Given the number of marketing parasites trying to use w

              • Actually, I shouldn't have used my past history as an example; I didn't mean to make this a criticism of current practice.

                My point was that the debate - including the farthest reaches of both the inclusionist and exclusionist side of things - includes a large range of articles, more than the number that are actually deleted. It'd be interesting to data mine how many are discussed for deletion to quantify that.

                • I've had a few articles deletion-nominated that ended up being kept, which I'd consider not particularly close to being worthy of deletion (and they were even cited!), so the gray area does extend a bit.

                • by bit01 (644603)

                  It'd be interesting to data mine how many are discussed for deletion to quantify that.

                  Yes, that would be an interesting statistic. It'd also be worth trying to mine the various reasons why an article should be included/excluded to find out what criteria people are actually using, as distinct from the formal criteria.

                  ---

                  A neurotic is the man who builds a castle in the air. A psychotic is the man who lives in it. A psychiatrist is the man who collects the rent. - Jerome Lawrence

      • by leuk_he (194174)

        They all seem unimportant inthe grans schema of things, but if you think see that the current economic recession is partly caused by short selling and the wikipeida edit war [theregister.co.uk] about it, you get a different picture.

        Also people that get caught in a edit war get frustated by people wielding policy and not the facts as way to preserve (opposed to improve) articles.

        wikipedia is dead, the problem is that there is not a popular replacement yet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ShakaUVM (157947)

        >>How much of a problem are the "wiki wars," really?

        Basically, on any article where people of differing political persuasions would write it differently, there's probably a wiki war going on. I remember editing the NPR article once, and getting dragged into a revision war where people were adding and removing a reference to Fox News being biased. Supporters of the inclusion said it said NPR looked nonbiased by comparison, opposition said the article was not about Fox News and didn't belong. Ended up g

        • by writermike (57327)

          Actually, the final straw was when I added ISBN numbers to J. Edgar Hoover's wikipedia page -- I noticed they were missing, so I looked them up and put them in. How controversial is that? It got reverted by a wikipedia admin (JayJG) with an ideological axe to grind. Twice.

          On the surface, it seems like a silly revert, but what was the context here? Was it an article about the current stimulus package where Democrats accused some Republicans of Hooverism? If so, ISBN numbers may have looked like a different statement: "Hey! Read these books to find out just how much of a bonehead Hoover was!!!!!!!!"

          I suppose the larger point is one can find bias in nearly everything. It's just like listening to songs in reverse. Go slowly enough and you're sure to find a naughty word.

          • by @madeus (24818)

            If a book is already mentioned, adding it's ISBN is never going to be invalid because of context, it's always relevant because it clarifies exactly which book you are talking about and makes it easier to lookup. There is no "other side of the argument" in that scenario, there is no defense for messing with it as administrator, it's just plain crazy.

            I can believe that happened because I've seen similar nonsense happen. There is no meta moderation, no accountability, no means by which to express dissent with

            • by ShakaUVM (157947)

              >>If a book is already mentioned, adding it's ISBN is never going to be invalid because of context

              Right, and all the edit was was the adding of ISBN numbers to the Hoover article. Nothing else. There was absolutely no excuse for the admin to revert it, nor to do so twice. When I complained on his talk page and linked his reverts, he wrote, "I have no clue what you're talking about." Pfft.

              >>It was clear from looking at the history the original author created this article but didn't want *anyone*

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jurily (900488)

        On the other hand, I use wikipedia to get information all the time and it hardly ever seems to be an actual problem.

        Of course. The page itself always looks consistent. But if you check back in 5 minutes, you might be surprised.

        • I recently looked up the name 'Chloe' (I thought it was an abbreviation for something and couldn't work out what. Turns out it isn't). Wikipedia informed me, in the first sentence, that it was the best name ever. Rather than revert this edit (which was a few days old), I decided to watch the page and see how long it took for someone else to do it. It was almost two weeks, with over half a dozen edits (all by different people to the person who edited the first sentence) before someone removed that change

      • by ukemike (956477)
        There are actually lots of controversial articles. One that I get involved in because of my profession is "asbestos." It might seem uncontroversial, but there are interests that work very hard to continually re-insert references to debunked psuedo research that claimed that chysotile asbestos isn't dangerous. This is a matter of simply defending scientific fact.

        On the other hand nearly all entries regarding the middle east and recent history of the middle east are continuously embattled because ther
      • And it seems "AntiVandalBot" is the most controversial user. Oh wait...

        Seriously, in years of casually editing Wikipedia on and off, I've never seen an edit war, but have helped revert vandalism often (in fact, just a moment ago on one of the pages I tested this tool with). Many edits happen on those pages daily.

        I've long thought the most useful page isn't the most recent, but the most durable...

  • Great summary! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AaronLawrence (600990) *

    Very nice job on the summary! It explained exactly what the topic was about and summarised the key findings and where to go for more information.
    No actual need to visit the article :)

    As to the tool, the display looks too complex to provide a simple guide as to edit wars/controversy. Presumably more read bars is bad, or is it? That's really just a slightly graphical form of the edit history itself, when whats needed is a simpler, thermometer style presentation.

  • As long as the edits aren't being made by a government or corporate entity and/or their minions, it should be valid.
    • As long as the edits aren't being made by a government or corporate entity and/or their minions, it should be valid.

      Oh, so if the edits are made by the dupes who drink their kool-aid whole it's fine?

      The problem with these entities is they have tremendous power and access to mass media, which is under their umbrella conglomerates, and will therefore never provide real fact checks or challenges to the BS they spew.

  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @03:26AM (#26770439)

    Lobbying groups for powerful business interests who know they are doing something ethically parasitic to society have a stanard MO of "manufacturing controversy" through thinly disguised think tanks or publications pushing an agenda.

    Example: Smoking doesn't actually cause cancer.

    Tracking the number of edits only shows whether an interest group is actively trying to revise reality. It does not say which side it is or whether the "controversy" is genuine.

    In other words, it's no more dependable than the signs they slap across half of wikipedia because powerful groups of outright looneys shry about it.

    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      It doesn't tell you whether the article is truthful or not; there's no automated system that will do that, since it would have to be pre-programmed by people to know what "truth" is anyway (in addition to all of the other complications of actually getting such a task done).

      However, if there is some sort of edit war on a page, regardless of whether or not it's only between one nut with an agenda and the rest of the sane world, it still means that at any given moment, as I hit a wikipedia page, there's a gr

  • "obtained access"? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Sunday February 08, 2009 @04:43AM (#26770763)

    Lest anyone thing you need to be a well-connected researcher to "obtain access to Wikipedia edit data", it's actually all public [wikimedia.org]. Although you will need 100GB+ of hard drive space, and some well thought out algorithms, to parse the full-history dumps that contain every revision of every page.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kaiidth (104315)

      Frankly the summary presents the research far more pretentiously than I hope PARC would prefer. It's a little like saying

      "In order to go to the corner shop for a bottle of milk, we negotiated release of planned security mechanisms on the warm/cool air boundary designed to limit unauthorised perambulation, thus obtaining access to the pedestrian displacement area."

      That said, the researchers according to TFA apparently did 'spend much of 2008 getting access to live data' - so apparently they are using somethi

  • "Controversy" doesn't even begin to let you know whether something's believable. Various well-funded oil industry whores have been questioning Global Warming and just about anything else that doesn't fit a "Burn More Oil" world view for decades. I think they took lessons from the tobacco industry.

    If there's a vested interest, they'll certainly have an army of well-paid, lying pricks standing ready to bury the work of honest researchers under a mountain of bullshit. Wikipedia needs to persuade some peop

    • by Eukariote (881204)

      You are right that vested interests are being carefully defended. So much so that very little of what is commonly accepted as truth actually is so. This includes your belief in the truth of global warming. The essence of it is simply this: the sun is a rather more dynamic system in terms of energy output than it is being given credit for. Hence periods of global warming and cooling happen. The greenhouse effect has a relatively minor impact.

      Of course, some research on your part is required to verify the tru

      • We saw the same sort of argument for years about cigarettes and cancer. Anecdotal evidence strongly supported the idea that cigarettes caused cancer, but tobacco companies did lie, extensively, about the evidence, and funded both outrageous and subtle campaigns to confuse the facts. Unfortunately, global warming attracts even greater levels of political and fiscal interest because of its effects on farming, fuel use, and population growth.

        One, at least, of you examples is correct. Diamonds are hardly as val

        • by Eukariote (881204)

          But water? _Clean_ water, suitable for drinking, industry, and growing crops?

          Yes, water. If you grant, for the moment, that energy is not really scarce, then it is easy to see that water need not be either. Given energy, you can easily create clean water using reverse osmosis anywhere near the sea or where there is brackish ground water. This is actual practice today: Saudi Arabia, the land where energy is cheap, is doing lots of agriculture out in the desert.

          And where there is no sea within pipeline range

          • I'm looking at http://www.coastal.ca.gov/desalrpt/dchap1.html [ca.gov], which seems a very reasonable report on desalination efforts. It shows the energy cost, for the best plants, as a minimum of 3500 kWh/Af, or 3500 kilowatt-hour/Acre-foot, or 1.26 * 10^12 Joules/1.232590 * 10^9 cc, or roughly 1000 Joules/cc of water. That's pretty expensive. Saudi Arabia's desalination is quite limited, and yes, they're in a place with plenty of energy (irreplaceably used for this process) and where water is expensive. The mainte

            • by Eukariote (881204)

              You are missing the point. Yes, energy currently is cheap only in a few places such as Saudi Arabia. But energy should and could be cheap, almost free even, everywhere. The reason that is not is because of artificially induced scarcity.

              A bold claim, I know, so let me substantiate it. Oil is the most glaringly obvious example of how energy is being kept scarce. Here is some fun reading you can do: what oil really is [gasresources.net], oodles of oil in Prudhoe Bay [sweetliberty.org], ditto for the Bakken Formation [snopes.com], Cuba [globalresearch.ca], and in several other pla

              • Again, there is a booby trap in your claims.

                > Well, there are at least a dozen implemented and reproduced means to produce energy that go beyond currently accepted physical science

                Name one that is "implemented and reproduced" that is "beyond currently accepted physical science". I'm sorry, but I can't be held responsible to do all the research to discredit such broad and ill-founded claims as you are making.

                One can even take another example in your post above. While oil supplies are _certainly_ manipulat

                • by Eukariote (881204)

                  Name one that is "implemented and reproduced" that is "beyond currently accepted physical science".

                  The most well-known and well-corroborated example goes by the name of "Low Energy Nuclear Reactions" (formerly known as "Cold Fusion"). In spite of all the efforts to repress and ridicule it, the diligent and mostly unfunded efforts of thousands of scientists in hundreds of labs have, over the past twenty years, established the reality of it beyond a shadow of a doubt. The following site provides and overview:

                  • by assert(0) (913801)

                    http://skepdic.com/pseudosymmetry.html [skepdic.com]

                    Cold fusion was a hoax. Get over it.

                    • by Eukariote (881204)

                      Cold fusion was a hoax. Get over it.

                      You are ignorant. Fleischman and Pons believed in the reality of their findings. So it was obviously not a hoax. And many others have corroborated their findings through a variety of experiments: excess heat, neutron emission, tritium/helium production, non-natural-abundance isotope ratios, elemental transmutation, and on the list goes. A large number of these results were obtained using experimental techniques, such as mass spectrometry, that leave no room for ambiguity.

                    • by assert(0) (913801)

                      CF was a hoax spread by the science illiterate and greedy media.

                      Pons & Fleischman were deluded. Scientists were unimpressed then. They still are.

                      LENR-CANR? Research articles? Yawn. Wake me up when a real journal publishes anything on "LENR."

                      http://www.amazon.com/Voodoo-Science-Road-Foolishness-Fraud/dp/0195147103/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234120041&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]

                    • by Eukariote (881204)

                      You sure do your handle "assert(0)" justice: you make assertions with zero basis.

                      Nature has spoken loud and clear, low energy nuclear reactions are happening. If you do not accept the data, much of it published in established peer-reviewed journals, then go and do your own experimental reproduction. Some kinds of experiment, such as the Mizuno type experiment, are sufficiently cheap and easy that anyone with a modicum of tinkering ability can have a go: http://jlnlabs.online.fr/cfr/index.htm [online.fr]

                  • You mean extremely low yield results that rely on extremely expensive and very tricky to set up setups of palladium and deuterium? Oh, yes, that's bound to represent an economic source of abundant energy.
                    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                      by Eukariote (881204)

                      You mean extremely low yield results that rely on extremely expensive and very tricky to set up setups of palladium and deuterium?

                      Nope. Cold fusion has come a long way in twenty years. The initial interpretation has fallen by the wayside, and many experimental configurations showing more pronounced effects and energy output have been developed. For a fun one that you can easily reproduce yourself, see this page: http://jlnlabs.online.fr/cfr/index.htm [online.fr]

                    • Really? Go read the papers. Relying on a high school science fair expo to validate your results is bad enough, but in another paper cited there, on of the authors, Mr. Kowalksi wrote this at http://jlnlabs.online.fr/cfr/ppclkrs/index.htm [online.fr]

                      > "Our container is an ordinary two-liters beaker."

                      In other words, the beaker was a beaker, not a Dewar flask. That's amazingly stupid for an experiment to measure thermal production: you would need to measure the actual heat transfer, and you _cannot_ do so reliably with

                    • by Eukariote (881204)

                      Ah yes, pick out one or two things, lump everything together and call it all bad. The low energy nuclear reaction field has grown remarkably diverse in terms of methods and results and cannot be dismissed that easily. The basic reality of such nuclear reactions it most utterly and undeniably obvious from the experiments that show the creation of new isotopes and elements where there were previously none. See these papers for some examples: http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MileyGHnucleartra.pdf [lenr-canr.org], http://www.l [lenr-canr.org]

                    • No, point out gaping holes in the most recent papers on the website _you cite_, and assume the others are similarly bad. The cold fusion research is _rife_ with contradictory and conflated claims: you are, in fact, citing several papers with admittedly fascinating results on transmutation for palladium based cold fusion to support the potentially very flawed results of two much more recent papers that use a different technology.

                      Citing the presence of isotopes does not help the fundamental flaws in the proce

                    • by Eukariote (881204)

                      I pointed you towards the Naudin website because it shows you how to do a replication yourself, easily. Not because of any papers on there. For that I suggest the peer-reviewed literature and conference proceedings.

                      You keep on coming back to the palladium experiments. From the perspective of energy production, they have not been of interest for a long time. Other much less expensive and scaled up systems have been validated. Read up on the state of the art before passing judgment. While doing so, take a bit

                    • Then stop doing a bait and switch with your claims. Since the nuclear reaction claims seem founded in palladium experiments, you _should not_ make claims about them for other technologies. You are consistently citing interesting, but incomplete research with wild-eyed excitement and expecting us to extrapolate them to wish-fulfilling promises for future energy. I'm apparently far, far more skeptical than you about these approaches because far too often, reality fails to fill those missing gaps.

                      Or simply put

                    • by Eukariote (881204)

                      Well, if you don't want your time to be wasted, then there is no point in pointing out what works either: you see, you are not allowed to use these technologies and as such will have no access to them.

                      One technology that is being kept under wraps by http://www.blacklightpower.com/ [blacklightpower.com]. Lots of experimental corroboration, also from other labs. But they are throwing up a large smoke screen by selling a bullshit theory. The underlying physical mechanism is closely related to the cold fusion phenomena. However, in

      • by hyades1 (1149581)

        It's a "belief" shared by a large majority of reputable scientists with credentials to comment intelligently on the matter.

        • by Eukariote (881204)

          Ah, the "defer to authority argument". In a world of lies, that is not going to get you very far when it comes to learning the truth. The fact of the matter is that anthropogenic global warming has been refuted by atmospheric, oceanic, and solar observations. Nature does not care about what people believe or want us to believe.

          • by hyades1 (1149581)

            Sorry, but you're just plain wrong on the matter, and probably a troll.

            • by Eukariote (881204)

              I find it interesting how, when pointing obvious truths out to people, more often than not they retrench behind their belief system. I submit to you the hypothesis that this is not because people because of their intrinsic nature lack an open mind, but rather because of careful indoctrination through education and the media.

              • by hyades1 (1149581)

                Very true. Which is why, rather than go to all the trouble of putting up page after page of peer-reviewed evidence, only to have it "refuted" by non-refereed publications, tabloid articles, and lists of alleged skeptics (many of whom have had requests that their names be removed ignored), I simply point out that an overwhelming majority of reputable scientists with good research records accept that global warming is happening, and humans have a significant role in it, and let it go at that.

                I've done thi

                • by Eukariote (881204)

                  You have a bit too much confidence in institutional science. Science could have set humanity free. That is why it had to be, and has become, controlled. Today's reality is one of censorship, destroyed careers, and revoked funding for research that risks upsetting the status quo.

                  • by hyades1 (1149581)

                    Yes, the Bush administration had a well-documented record of threatening scientists who publicized evidence about global warming, and even had junior PR hacks re-write the work of scientists under their direct control. They didn't want any real science upsetting the rosy picture they were painting, especially just prior to the last-but-one election.

                    • by Eukariote (881204)

                      When it comes to global warming, the situation is complex since some vested interests have been trying to deny the evidence for global warming, as you have rightly noted, while other vested interests have been trying to sell it. Both, in the end, serve the same overall interest: keeping control. It is just that the narrow agenda that the former grouping is serving is a less informed and more greedy one.

                      To state the obvious: by denying anthropogenic global warming you are basically saying that burning oil, g

  • Possibly old news? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Viridae (1472035) on Sunday February 08, 2009 @04:53AM (#26770811)
    Unless they have added a new feature, the wikidashboard is old news - as evinced by this Wikipedia signpost article from 2007: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2007-09-17/In_the_news [wikipedia.org]
  • I wrote a hackish Greasemonkey script [wordpress.com] to do something similar last year that just did it on the fly. Also tried to get a simple measure of how much was spam just by searching for simple keywords in the edit records.

    I'd like to revisit the idea some time, because I'm sure you can also capture more details about the nature of editing (ie, how often are different parts edited, what keywords get added and removed most frequently, how many people are involved or is it just a revert war between two stubborn edito

  • Instead of just showing such stats for the article in total, this tool would become much more powerful by showing statistics for single sections or paragraphs. How hotly was a particular phrase contested?

    Especially if it can also show when a particular sentence was introduced, or what was deleted from the article over time.

    I spend a lot of my time on Wikipedia restoring lost text, when vandalism was incompletely fixed and then forgotten about. Occasionally I've found entire paragraphs that were deleted more

  • Cabal-o-meter. That's a better name for the tool.
  • What part if *GUFFAW!* wasn't clear?

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Working...