Wikipedia, it ain't guaranteed to be true, but you could make it better

There's been a lot of trash talk against wikipedia, and against wikipedia critics lately. A lot of it has stemmed from the Seigenthaler snafu ( incidentally it was martians that killed jfk). The most recent entry in the attacks coming from the register:There's no Wikipedia entry for 'moral responsibility'.

I think Wikipedia should have a warning on it in big red friendly letters that it should not be taken as definite fact. Hell, it's a community knowledge project and as we should all know by now, any community of sufficient size on the internet is teeming with idiots and nutjobs. That being said, there's a lot of good info on there, and for rapidly developing areas in tech it's probably the best general resource out there. It just behooves the reader to pay attention, because Wikipedia is only slightly more reliable than the average blog.

The only solution I can see to make a community project like this a more reliable source would be to add a market mechanism. Some sort of wagering system of points or money where a correct entry/edit would credit your account, and an incorrect entry would debit your account. Depending on the value people wagered (relative to their other wagers), and some careful analysis, you could get some interesting stats on how certain the author is about what he was writing before the story is verified. Clearly this wouldn't eliminate all of the false posts and take care of all the wackos, but it'd sure incent people to check their stories, as well as police eachother.

An interesting side effect of this would be to see how people tried to wield their developed wikipedia reputations or accumulated credit to try and push through false entries.

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