Why Wikipedia Needs A 'Kick In The Head'

In a post on The Signpost, Wikimedia Foundation Senior Designer Brandon Harris outlined a radical set of goals to improve Wikipedia over the next year. In short, the encyclopaedia is a broken, disorganised mess and the whole system for creating and editing articles needs a fundamental overhaul. Here's how he plans to fix it.

Wikipedia is bleeding editors, but that's just a symptom of the problem with Wikipedia. According to Harris, the encyclopedia's software is outmoded and hard to use, which keeps many would-be contributors from getting their hands dirty:

Let's face it: our interface would feel right at home in the year 2002. However, we find ourselves rapidly moving towards 2013. Our editors and readers deserve a modern interface with modern tools.

The plan, then, is to introduce a series new features that bring the encyclopedia up to speed with current trends in design and user experience. The goals for the next year include real-time notifications, an overhauled talk-page system, making mobile contributions easier, and a new data-rich "Global Profile" for users. [The Signpost via Hacker News]

Image by pernillarydmark under Creative Commons license


Comments

    The attitude of the Wikipedia editors could also use an overhaul.

    Well-meaning casual contributors get tired of being made to feel stupid and unappreciated.

      Exactly, I don't think a new skin is going to fix Wikipedia. They need to fix their community of arrogant nerds as their number 1 problem. It is not the encyclopaedia that "anyone can edit" it is the encyclopaedia that is "run by an elite conspiracy of nerds"

      They also need to enact basic decency guidelines that makes the images safe for work, schools and all ages (eg: Writing about Child Porn without showing images of it), comply with voluntary content filters on a per-page basis, improve tools so that casual contributors can join in with a 'proposed change' without it going live where it will be almost certainly rejected by the established contributors and their auto bots, Have a review phase for overall better quality instead of working off the live page, Appoint Fact-checkers who are appropriately qualified in the subject matter to approve the content before allowing it go through, haveopen-discussion areas so people have a place to vent their views instead of forcing their views onto the article or editing discussion, and pushing experts with first-hand knowledge and original research onto other sites like Wikia where their knowledge doesn't need to be sourced to be accepted into Wikipedia.

        There is no child porn on Wikipedia, a naked child is not porn.

          Yes there is. Much of it is old 19th century stuff. But they get a load of uploads by kids and young teens of their body parts.

    Yeah I wish i understood what all those goals/changes meant.

    Wikipedia is a "broken, disorganised mess" yet despite that it is by far the best resource available.

    of all the edits I've made only one has ever stuck. and I've posted some pretty obscure changes, fricken editors just flame me for self-imposed power trip it affords em

    They need to basically allow vandalism as long as it's funny. I've contributed dozens of improvements to Wikipedia over the years, and some of the funniest ones have stayed up only because they're on obscure pages that no one checks on.

    I used to update articles in my field periodically, and a few of the articles I started still exist. But I haven't edited in years - the citation police and editor/power trippers are over the top now.

    I have made thousands of edits and they nearly all stay. I have learnt how to do it properly and almost always use an inline citation to reference my statements. I'm not sure about these so-called power editors.

    They love to revert edits. It gives them a false sense of self-importance and significance in order to overcome feelings of the opposite : unimportance and insignificance. Their petty power tripping and pique-vendetta is required for ego-boost. And when they get their own way, usually by blocking you from the site, it gives them that certain Dopamine/Serotonin rush. Fucking pathetic, isn't it? The expression "Get a real life" comes to mind. I feel pity for the poor bastards

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