Do you think using Discourse like discussion systems can help Wikipedia?


(Dharav Solanki) #1

…or how would you redesign flow of information in Wikipedia?

I have been thinking about the plain vanilla talk pages on Wikipedia, and the problems that arise as a result. On Wikipedia, each conversation is not an “object” in the Ruby sense, or a new discrete action taken by someone which needs to have consequences. Each new reply is simply a piece of text added on to an existing piece of text.

This creates a situation where different kinds of responses/texts can not be treated in a characteristic way. If someone posts a doubt regarding some text on the article, it could be sent in to a queue, with tags relating as “doubt”, article-name, article category, kinds of expertise, etc.

People monitoring different tags - expertise, article-name or the kind of responses that someone has received and aim to keep the queue at zero - a little bit like how inbox zero works.

Do you think there is a scope for making a third-party plugin+server that allows people to report issues from within their browser, to a server that maintains the queue?


(Wilfred) #2

Oh boy, absolutely. I’ve prototyped a few wikis, and concluded that talk pages shouldn’t be simple wiki pages.

  1. They’re personal. A comment in a discussion expresses an opinion, so the scope for editing by another individual is low.
  2. They’re easily abused. It’s easy to edit someone else’s comments and the vandalism is less obvious.
  3. They’re unstructured. You often see “the preceding unsigned comment was written by user 1.2.3.4” on talk pages from someone manually(!) adding attribution. Threads often end up as nested trees, but it’s inconsistent.
  4. There’s no voting on comments. It’s hard to filter the best comments.
  5. Mentions with @ don’t work.

That said, Wikipedia’s comment system is much better than that of C2. C2 doesn’t even provide separate talk pages, making the distinction between content and discussion fuzzy. E.g. http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork


(Erick Guan) #3

You may want to have a look at Flow which the foundation build for MediaWiki to replace the talk page.