Trust in Wikipedia: Reputation Systems

Trust in Wikipedia: Reputation Systems

Online collaborative media such as wikis depend on the users of the system to come up with content. Though this approach helps in getting views and contexts from varied perspectives and allows fast and easy compilation of content, the credibility of this content is questionable. There have been several discoveries of inaccurate or biased articles; although recent studies show that the science articles on Wikipedia are generally trustworthy. An example of inaccuracy, which led to wide media publicity and defaming of Wikipedia is the case of American journalist John Seigenthaler. Seigenthaler publicly criticized Wikipedia because of a collection of inaccuracies in his biography page. The article mentioned that he was involved with the assassination of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy (Seigenthaler, 2005). The primary reasons that this inaccuracy remained in Wikipedia for 132 days were:

  • The inability to identify a single entity that is responsible for the accuracy of content.
  • Users have no way to differentiate between accurate and inaccurate content.

It is therefore argued that despite rare inaccuracies, Wikipedia content is not reliable. This incident is a significant example and highlights the need of a reputation system for Wikipedia.

Full Paper: Trust in Wikipedia