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Aug312009

Wikipedia’s WikiTrust to color code untrustworthy text

Wiki Lab’ve created a system called “WikiTrust,” that assigns a color code to newly edited text using an algorithm that calculates author reputation from the lifespan of their past contributions. It’s based on a simple concept: The longer information persists on the page, the more accurate it’s likely to be. Text from questionable sources starts out with a bright orange background, while text from trusted authors gets a lighter shade. As more people view and edit the new text, it gradually gains more “trust” and turns from orange to white. WikiTrust has been available as a MediaWiki extension since November 2008, meaning that anyone who runs a wiki site has been free to download the code and add the feature to their site. Now bigwigs at the WikiMedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that manages Wikipedia, have decided to the add the WikiTrust feature to the entire encyclopedia. Starting sometime this fall, registered Wikipedia users’ll be able to click on a “trust info” tab and view the color-coded text, reports.

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