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Author Topic: My ideas on presenting consistently high quality content  (Read 23284 times)
Peter Hitchmough
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Not short of things to do


« on: October 07, 2006, 21:09:48 UTC »

We have to reconcile a number of factors when designing Citizendium.

I'm thinking of the combined effects of the following:
  • Signifying approved, edited content.
  • Encouraging expert editor participation.
  • Encouraging wide author participation
  • Ease of use, trust and clarity of information.
  • Minimising workload on editors.

The Citizendium will be dynamic, but not everything written will be good enough. If we are going to edit: let's edit!

Consider a scenario where a user can be sure to see the content judged best by the editors, but full dynamic cut and thrust changes can be going on behind the scenes. This could be achieved by serving up the latest "approved" version but offering an on-page link to the frontier country which is undergoing live edits.

- To those users who demand quality - they have it effortlessly.
- To authors demanding a vibrant shared experience - it's there for the taking.
- And updates to the main pages take place more at an editor's pace. This reduces the need to "babysit" precious pages.

This is how fast-changing software releases are managed. The customer always gets a recent release. The developer gets to play with unproven material.

-Peter
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Kim van der Linde
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2006, 21:28:35 UTC »

This is actually closer to my ideas than the original CZ proposals....
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Zachary Pruckowski
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2006, 21:39:13 UTC »

This is actually closer to my ideas than the original CZ proposals....

And almost a carbon copy of the /draft idea.  I guess we haven't fully buried it... :-)
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Peter Hitchmough
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Not short of things to do


« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2006, 22:32:52 UTC »

I haven't buried it. It's a softer version though. I have a lot of respect for the ideas Kim vd Linde put together.
But who am I? Chopped liver?

I perceive Larry's vision as built on the experimental search for knowledge. Several sources compete for assessment and the assertions are tested. The result is an optimal gain in knowledge. I'm sure Larry has a great philosophical foundation for the vision, and I think he needs to hear us.

It's similar to a scientific experiment where a treatment (action that may cause a specific effect) is applied to a situation. The experimenter looks at what responses come from the situation.

I suppose the opposite of experimentally researched knowledge is revealed knowledge. I stop here because my philosophical brain cells aren't up to the task.

I contend that: we want a rich and varied input of knowledge to CZ, but we want editorial decisions to be applied to the results. That means we should take reasonable steps to stop a good article from rotting away.

Not my decision though. Just my 2c.

KvdL - good to see you here.

-Peter

Edited for typo
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Kim van der Linde
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2006, 23:08:03 UTC »

I want to say just one thing that might highlight the differences between me and Larry. I come from the work floor, as an expert in evolutionary biology with 9000+ edits at WP, including a substantial number of edits at a large number of really controversial pages. Larry comes from the other side, the facilitator of projects, the large scale of things.... I think continiously about what a proposal will do for me as an expert editor....
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Zachary Pruckowski
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2006, 23:34:33 UTC »

I never accused you of burying anything, nor did I mean to call you "chopped liver", I just noticed how similar it is to earlier ideas.  It seems that several of us are looking at the same problem and seeing similar solutions, which suggests it deserves a look.

I certainly intended no disrespect or offense, and I apologize if it came out that way.
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Larry Sanger
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2006, 01:35:11 UTC »

Let me clarify how I understand Peter's proposal.  At least, the way I've described it here, it's one I might want to get behind.  It is certainly better than relegating editable versions to a /draft subpage.

(1) In the content development space, an installation of MediaWiki allows work to proceed more or less the way it does on Wikipedia; i.e., there are no frozen pages, and everything is dynamically editable.

(2) Some feature of the software allows editors to bless certain versions.

(3) All of and only the most recent blessed content appears in a separate web of pages.  This, then, works as follows: the approved of an article appears just as that version of the article does in the development space, except: if an article has links to X, Y, and Z, and approved versions of only X and Y exist, then the "blessed articles" web version of the article links only to X and Y; there is no "red link" to Z, and no link to a version-in-progress of Z.  (We can invite readers to look at the most recent development version of the article to view links to not-yet-approved articles.)

Actually, this is quite similar to the system I helped plan out for the Encyclopedia of Earth.  The difference is that we do not use any sort of "draft" namespace, as EoE does (well, that wasn't my doing Wink), but instead simply use metadata (of some sort: be creative) to mark the approved articles.  I can imagine that, in the development space, on those articles that have some approved version, contributors would see at the top of the article: "An approved version of this article exists.  _View_differences_."  This helps keep the development area simple and easy to work in--which is very important.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2006, 06:16:15 UTC by Larry Sanger » Logged

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Daan
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2006, 06:30:33 UTC »

I like these ideas.
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Jason Sanford
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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2006, 17:11:34 UTC »

I also support these ideas.
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Peter Hitchmough
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Not short of things to do


« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2006, 17:20:01 UTC »

I never accused you of burying anything, nor did I mean to call you "chopped liver", I just noticed how similar it is to earlier ideas.  It seems that several of us are looking at the same problem and seeing similar solutions, which suggests it deserves a look.

I certainly intended no disrespect or offense, and I apologize if it came out that way.

Sorry - irony failure on my part. I was trying to be self-deprecating. You are welcome Zach. Words failed me. Again. Smiley

What I meant was I have no "status" on the project - I just want to get my twopennorth in (Queen's English) I was "casting my bread upon the waters" seeing what might come back.

All is comfy and warm here, no offence taken, none meant. (We'd never make a band of pirates would we? We're too nice to each other. (mostly))

Yours chilled,
-Peter
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Peter Hitchmough
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Not short of things to do


« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2006, 17:39:16 UTC »

(1) In the content development space, an installation of MediaWiki allows work to proceed more or less the way it does on Wikipedia; i.e., there are no frozen pages, and everything is dynamically editable.

(2) Some feature of the software allows editors to bless certain versions.
Absolutely behind these two points. 100% No contest. Bingo.

Quote from: Larry Sanger
(3) All of and only the most recent blessed content appears in a separate web of pages.  This, then, works as follows: the approved of an article appears just as that version of the article does in the development space, except: if an article has links to X, Y, and Z, and approved versions of only X and Y exist, then the "blessed articles" web version of the article links only to X and Y; there is no "red link" to Z, and no link to a version-in-progress of Z.  (We can invite readers to look at the most recent development version of the article to view links to not-yet-approved articles.)

Not what I meant.

I would say that:
(3) There is always a best version of a page. Blessed pages are always in play. If there is a link to an unblessed page it can stay there, but we flag that page as crap not so good.

(4) To bless a page, it should link only to blessed pages. We could make that a technical constraint. An editor blesses it - why would they allow links to crud anyway? This eliminates problems in (3). Also, blessed pages could be updated at a comfortable pace by the editors.

(5) The adventurous could go to a special "web space" where the "tip revision" of all the pages are linked and visible. This is useful when authoring and for kooks, cranks and ne'erdowells. Wink

(6) The public user sees CZ at its best - crisp, clean and unsullied.

Does that help?

-Peter
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bubeluf
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2006, 11:50:54 UTC »

(2) Some feature of the software allows editors to bless certain versions.

Are the blessed versions frozen?
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/Göran Wallin
Zachary Pruckowski
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2006, 14:40:54 UTC »

(2) Some feature of the software allows editors to bless certain versions.

Are the blessed versions frozen?

The blessed versions are historical versions.  They are frozen until someone blesses another version.  If you try to edit the blessed version, you'll be lead to the current version.  It could be just like the WP history system (it is still MediaWiki), so if you click history, we can probably toss some pretty icon (a diamond maybe?) next to blessed versions.  The page would default to the latest blessed version (or the latest version if there is no blessed version)
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Peter Blake
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Librarian and Amateur Game Designer


« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2006, 22:28:02 UTC »

It could be just like the WP history system (it is still MediaWiki), so if you click history, we can probably toss some pretty icon (a diamond maybe?) next to blessed versions.

I like the diamond idea, but here is why I don't think it's the right choice:

CZ = Citizendium
CZ = Cubic Zirconia

See?
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Zachary Pruckowski
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2006, 01:36:27 UTC »

It could be just like the WP history system (it is still MediaWiki), so if you click history, we can probably toss some pretty icon (a diamond maybe?) next to blessed versions.

I like the diamond idea, but here is why I don't think it's the right choice:

CZ = Citizendium
CZ = Cubic Zirconia

See?

I honestly can't tell if you're joking or not.  Fine, how about a ruby?
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Peter Blake
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Librarian and Amateur Game Designer


« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2006, 05:41:37 UTC »

It could be just like the WP history system (it is still MediaWiki), so if you click history, we can probably toss some pretty icon (a diamond maybe?) next to blessed versions.

I like the diamond idea, but here is why I don't think it's the right choice:

CZ = Citizendium
CZ = Cubic Zirconia

See?

I honestly can't tell if you're joking or not.  Fine, how about a ruby?

I wasn't joking. Perhaps this abbreviation isn't common outside the UK? Anyway... a ruby, a platinum medal, a best in show ribbon - all are great.

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Zachary Pruckowski
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« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2006, 13:45:00 UTC »

It could be just like the WP history system (it is still MediaWiki), so if you click history, we can probably toss some pretty icon (a diamond maybe?) next to blessed versions.

I like the diamond idea, but here is why I don't think it's the right choice:

CZ = Citizendium
CZ = Cubic Zirconia

See?

I honestly can't tell if you're joking or not.  Fine, how about a ruby?

I wasn't joking. Perhaps this abbreviation isn't common outside the UK? Anyway... a ruby, a platinum medal, a best in show ribbon - all are great.

OK, I didn't mean that meanly, I just hadn't heard CZ as Cubic Zirconium ever.  That said, I'm in college, so people here don't buy each other diamonds.  Personally, I'll never buy a wife/girlfriend a diamond for moral reasons.

Ruby, ribbon, medal, whatever, all are fine in my opinion too.  Basically, as long as it gets the point across and isn't a 5-pointed star or a circled plus-mark (or anything else resembling a WP symbol), we're fine.
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Larry Sanger
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WWW
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2006, 18:52:35 UTC »

CZ is actually the Czech Republic, you know.  Tongue
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Zachary Pruckowski
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« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2006, 21:27:39 UTC »

CZ is actually the Czech Republic, you know.  Tongue

Quiet you!  You came up with the name!  Smiley Smiley
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ChristophKoenig
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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2006, 22:44:28 UTC »

Let me clarify how I understand Peter's proposal.  At least, the way I've described it here, it's one I might want to get behind.  It is certainly better than relegating editable versions to a /draft subpage.

(1) In the content development space, an installation of MediaWiki allows work to proceed more or less the way it does on Wikipedia; i.e., there are no frozen pages, and everything is dynamically editable.

(2) Some feature of the software allows editors to bless certain versions.

(3) All of and only the most recent blessed content appears in a separate web of pages.  This, then, works as follows: the approved of an article appears just as that version of the article does in the development space, except: if an article has links to X, Y, and Z, and approved versions of only X and Y exist, then the "blessed articles" web version of the article links only to X and Y; there is no "red link" to Z, and no link to a version-in-progress of Z.  (We can invite readers to look at the most recent development version of the article to view links to not-yet-approved articles.)

Actually, this is quite similar to the system I helped plan out for the Encyclopedia of Earth.  The difference is that we do not use any sort of "draft" namespace, as EoE does (well, that wasn't my doing Wink), but instead simply use metadata (of some sort: be creative) to mark the approved articles.  I can imagine that, in the development space, on those articles that have some approved version, contributors would see at the top of the article: "An approved version of this article exists.  _View_differences_."  This helps keep the development area simple and easy to work in--which is very important.

Hi there, I just stumbled over this project, and think the idea is really exciting.

Sorry if the following is of no interest to you. There is a lot of discussion going on here, and I might have missed something. But I believe that you are describing something which we have been using on a small scale in the MusicBrainz project since July 2006. We call it WikiDocs.

We are using the MoinMoin wiki for our project documentation. "Editors" (we call them WikiDocs moderators) can select a certain revision of a wiki page as being official. For example the page http://wiki.musicbrainz.org/AboutMusicBrainz is currently at revision 12. An "editor" has decided that only Revision 6 is "stable" while later revision are still work in progress. He has put that number 6 in the row of that page AboutMusicBrainz in the  Transclusion Table. On the main MusicBrainz website that revision will be shown: http://test.musicbrainz.org/doc/AboutMusicBrainz. The wiki shows the most recent revision as always.

This way we have an official, moderated version of our wiki on the website, and an unmoderated current version on the wiki. Pages that have not been reviewed are still displayed on the website but with a warning that "This page has not been reviewed". Links to reviewed pages look differently than links to unreviewed pages. (erm, they should, but there's a bug. The former should be bold, the latter thin. Currently they have different title attributes, which is not really helpful).

All examples above are on the MusicBrainz test server. If you create an account you can play around with the transclusion table there and see the effects. For the next 14 days any user can edit the transclusoin table. Our production system uses the same urls without the "test." prefix. The whole system is somewhat documented on http://wiki.musicbrainz.org/WikiDocs.

We do not use Metadata to distinguish reviewed revisions, but
  • a plain wiki
  • a table in a database that contains the reviewed pages and the number of the official revision
  • a transclusion mechanism that displays wiki pages on the main site

If you are interested in the technical details, you should contact Robert Kaye (rob at musicbrainz. org). He can point you at the code etc. If you are interested in the organizational and social experiences we made with this system, then I am your man :-) (donredman at gmx. de)

I hope this is of any interest to you.
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Zachary Pruckowski
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« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2006, 03:34:13 UTC »

That's an interesting idea.  It's sort of like something Kim van der Linde and I discussed about a month ago (holy cow, has it been that long?) on the textop wiki.  Basically, we stored the development version at "article"/draft if there was an approved copy.

I really like the segregation of the production and viewing aspects.  In WP, when you're viewing it, you're only a mouseclick away from the production side of it.  On CZ as it stands now, you're a mouseclick and a log-in – not much different, honestly.

Separating the production and the viewing strikes me as clever and useful.  However, technically, I think we're married to MediaWiki instead of MoinMoin or whatever.  Maybe this feature is portable somehow?
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Simen Rustad
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« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2006, 06:42:07 UTC »

I think the problem is still that in the startup-phase the articles would be too spread-out for this to work. If CZ has a few good articles compared to a lot of articles at WP, I have a feeling quantity would be the winner.

However, I agree that the ability to view an "approved article collection" is good. Still, it would seem to me that this should not be implemented (at least by default) from the start, for the above reasons.
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David91
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« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2006, 09:57:37 UTC »

"I agree that the ability to view an "approved article collection" is good. Still, it would seem to me that this should not be implemented (at least by default) from the start. . ."

It is a balancing act.

We are going to produce a family friendly compendium that always shows its best face to the world through an approved article system.

But

When we launch to the public, only a percentage of the articles going live will be approved.

Thus

If people hear about CZ and come too early, they may not see so much that is approved.

And so

It might be better if we waited before "approving" articles. We could start it up as a wiki just like WP.

But then

There would be nothing to distinguish CZ from WP.

So

We will start off as we mean to go on. You are right. Quantity may be handicapped with a big lead when the race begins, but the experts are quicker than you think, and they will close the gap on those unapproved articles quicker than you can say "Lickety spit" (do people still say this? well, whatever phrase fits your needs) and then us experts will be showing that mean old quantity a clean pair of heels (washing of the feet is not actually required by experts for this purpose, but you get my drift).
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ChristophKoenig
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« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2006, 13:46:57 UTC »

Separating the production and the viewing strikes me as clever and useful.  However, technically, I think we're married to MediaWiki instead of MoinMoin or whatever.  Maybe this feature is portable somehow?

Yes, I believe it is. Our WikiDocs is a transcluder that sits on top of a practically unpatched wiki. It talks to the wiki via http requests as any browser would do. If MediaWiki has a url to request this revision of this page, then the transcluder should work with MW, too.
The wiki stores all the content, is the interface that shows the bleeding edge (latest revision) and which allows editing (example). The website shows all the content, too. However the content is transcluded from the wiki, which means that
  • the content is uneditable on the website
  • if a revision of the specific page has been approved, then that revision is shown instead of the latest. (example)
  • if no revision of that has been approved, then the latest revision is shown with a note that this content has not been checked. (example)

There are details of the implementaton which are probably unusable for you:
  • The transclusion table is implemented in the MusicBrainz database schema. Which is unnecessary complex for your needs.
  • The transclusion mechanism keeps a list of all approved pages in RAM. That's OK for our small wiki, but impractical for Wikipedia / Cityzendium.
  • There is a patch to MoinMoin, but this is only needed to support automatic redirects.

Actually such a transclusion system could even work directly off Wikipedia...
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ChristophKoenig
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2006, 13:57:41 UTC »

It is a balancing act.

We are going to produce a family friendly compendium that always shows its best face to the world through an approved article system.

But

When we launch to the public, only a percentage of the articles going live will be approved.

Thus

If people hear about CZ and come too early, they may not see so much that is approved.

Just to make this clear. The system we implemented shows all pages of the wiki. Just some like this and others like that.

The difference between such a system and Wikipedia would be that Cityzendium always has an information about the quality of the article, while Wikipedia never has one. The point is that the information "this content has not been reviewed" is nearly as valuable as the information "this revision of the content has been reviewed".

Note that we do not review many pages. One experience at MusicBrainz is that only very few pages need that reviewing process. Another is that the reviewing system should be tightly integrated into the UIi which the reviewers use to observer changes to their pages (which it unfortunately is not). That would mean integration into RecentChanges and the diffs and a one-click mechanism to approve a change.
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