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This page contains all of the posts and discussion on MemeStreams referencing the following web page: Evaluating WikiTrust: A trust support tool for Wikipedia. You can find discussions on MemeStreams as you surf the web, even if you aren't a MemeStreams member, using the Threads Bookmarklet.

Evaluating WikiTrust: A trust support tool for Wikipedia
by noteworthy at 11:44 pm EDT, May 1, 2011

Teun Lucassen and Jan Maarten Schraagen:

Because of the open character of Wikipedia readers should always be aware of the possibility of false information. WikiTrust aims at helping readers to judge the trustworthiness of articles by coloring the background of less trustworthy words in a shade of orange. In this study we look into the effects of such coloring on reading behavior and trust evaluation by means of an eye-tracking experiment. The results show that readers had more difficulties reading the articles with coloring than without coloring. Trust in heavily colored articles was lower. The main concern is that the participants in our experiment rated usefulness of WikiTrust low.

WikiTrust seems to be slightly more useful when only small parts are colored, but even then usefulness is limited. Participants in our experiment were not sure what to do with the information on the age of words in the text. Further development of WikiTrust could benefit from knowledge about the (heuristic) strategies of Wikipedia users when assessing trustworthiness.

WikiTrust is a promising support tool and in fact the only one that made it to the stage where it is actually available to the Wikipedia public. This study has shown that the decision to present trust information by a separate tab was right since reading behavior is affected by its coloring. However, more effort should be put into the usability of the system. This study showed that users are having problems to see how they can benefit from it, even though a clear explanation was provided and the participants were highly educated Master's students.

Virgil Griffith:

They've hit on the fundamentally Darwinian nature of Wikipedia.


We believe that Wikipedia can be a useful resource if it is used properly and read with a critical eye.

Luca de Alfaro:

We are happy to announce that WikiTrust works on the English Wikipedia!

RE: Evaluating WikiTrust: A trust support tool for Wikipedia
by Decius at 8:06 am EDT, May 2, 2011

Its good to see that people are still doing research on this. This study provides some useful feedback as well as a number of references I was unaware of.

This article in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology directly challenges the notion that the age of an edit can be used to evaluate it's reliability. I'd like to be able to read this article (particularly as I'm referenced in the abstract) but like a lot of scientific scholarship the article is not available to the general public.

On the other hand, this study seems to indicate that the age of an edit could be used to evaluate its reliability.

I think the reason for the split in the results might relate to how easy it is for a layperson to identify that a given piece of information is incorrect. Some kinds of vandalism are more subtle than others. Subtle vandalism is more likely to survive.

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