Talk:Task force/Wikipedia Quality/Content quality

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This discussion page will be populated by ideas so far from the main quality taskforce.

I think it's best to split all these issues into three groups: related to the content itself, related to change in content (edits), and related to editors/community. The quality factors (you used the word 'aspects') of content are subject to change as content is changed continuously. If we look at content itself first, I've found 17 factors that define quality, of which 4 are content related, 4 others are demand related (this is also part of what you call 'quality of contact'). The other ones are project or form related ([1]).
I've tried to make some similar metrically applicable classification of edits. I think there are four types of edits: good, bad, both good and bad (they increase one quality factor but reduce another), neutral. The good edits need to be stimulated. The bad edits and both good and bad edits need to be discouraged. Imho we should do well to discourage the neutral edits too. At the moment, Wikipedias concentrate too much on bad edits, while the other types are often ignored. They are also the most difficult group to assess with statistical analysis. To improve quality standard, I think we should find better ways to deal with the 'both good and bad' (and neutral) edits and the editors that make them, instead of focussing on vandalism (which isn't a very big problem).
Additionally, there are some implicit assumptions in the current text. I think we should discuss them with our TF before we can go on. Point for point:
  1. Focus -> Do we want to make different aspects (factors) of content quality more important than others, focus on them? (Or should this be the communities' choice)
  2. Metrics -> Can all quality factors be described in simple metrics somehow? We already discussed feedback systems as a possible solution but there are probably more answers.
  3. Issues -> A bit vague, what do you mean by 'issues'?
  4. Priorities -> an excellent question
  5. Editor profile -> also an excellent question
  6. Long term basis -> also good question
  7. Community -> Is a 'healthy' community necessary for maintaining content? (I think it is) Too what extend?
  8. Detrimental behaviour -> also a good question, but most problematic cases are unfortunately not so black-and-white.
  9. Structures, beliefs -> Good question
  10. External interfacing -> good question
  11. Compromising -> The question is: what has been tried so far and what are the results? Unfortunately, we don't know much, due to the fact that no useful statistical research about quality has yet been done. 'Quality' isn't measurable as one quantity.
  12. Leverage -> very good question.

Hope you don't mind I comment here, Woodwalker 17:27, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

It's part of the taskforce, for sure you should edit and comment!
I have added "content norms", and also a section for major "other stuff" that falls within those but is worth highlighting: "Retaining existing quality content" and "perception" so far. FT2 (Talk | email) 18:07, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
All the points you make are open for (and would benefit from) discussion. FT2 (Talk | email) 19:07, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Good summary; I would add something about positive reinforcement. "Constructive attitude: if certain types of human interaction and agenda are helping to improve content quality, how do we increase and reinforce them." (specific examples: give more barnstars, have the arbcom say nice things about editors, etc. :D). --Piotrus 19:43, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Sorry I have been too busy to work here. I will try to put time to it tomorrow/today. -Brenda how do I date this so neatly?

The usual four tildes (~~~~) work. Additionally, like on Wikipedia itself, three tildes gives your signature without a date, five tildes give a date without signature. Woodwalker 21:32, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
I think "editor profile" is crucial, and one we should give real attention to - for one thing, it is not our mandate to assess actual articles. I think the best way we can have an impact on the quality of articles is by finding ways to have a positive impact on the quality of editors. Of course I think that anyone should be able to edit Wikipedia at any time. But I think there are a few serious problems facing articles right now:
  • most people can make constructive edits to any article if they rigorously comply with NPOV, V, and NOR. These policies in my mind are safeguards against common bad edits. But many newbies doe not understand these policies. Many do not even accept NPOV. educating them and enforcing these policies is I think crucial. Sometimes, I even think a second ArbCom just for violations of or conflicts over the application of NPOV, NOR, and V would help a lot.
  • still, the thing we ned most is to recruit more expert editors. We just have a pathetic paucity of editors with real expertise in the social scinces and humanities. In many articles one person is often responsible for maintaining the quality of an article. Even if that person is great, no one person is enough - great articles come out of collaborations among three or more people. We need to find a way to recruit people who have enough expertise to be able to assess the best sources in a field and to be able to understand nuanced debates.
  • when recruiting such expert editors I have seen two problems challenging retention. One is that some expert editors (who after all may be used to lecturing or writing their own articles) really do not know how to work collaboratively, and chafe when asked to comply with NPOV, V and NOR. This is a tough issue. It takes a special person to edit under these circumstances.
  • other times experts are pushed out by POV-pushers. I was recently involved in a dicussion at the race article with another editor who spotted a misrepresentation in the lead. Virtually no scientist accepts a taxonomic definition ofrace, but the article used the wasel word "some." I changed "Some people" to "most scientists" which was more specific, identifying the POV. I was reverted because "there was no consensus for change." In some debates with such users I have been accused of being incivil or lacking etiquette. Now, puttong aside the fact that sometimes I may indeed be uncivil, I think this illustrates a major problem at Wikipedia: most editors have come to elevate civil personal behavio over knowledge. People who have done no research and whose edits reveal a serious lack o knowledge on a topic are abl to do a great deal of damage to articles, as long as they are civil and make no personal attacks. I am sure one reason for this is that rbCom mediates personal behavior and not content. But too many Wikipedians have come to fetishize personal behavior over knowledge. This in my mind is the death o Wikipedia. Sure, we should be civil, collaborate, seek consensus. But it is an encyclopedia and first place should be given to knowledge; an editor who has a variety of reliable sources should win any argument over an editor who can cite no source (or no source other than a dictionary), regardless of personal behavior.

In my view these are the most serious problems causing an erosion of quality at Wikipedia. Slrubenstein 23:15, 11 December 2009 (UTC)


Again, I am struck by the absence of accuracy from this description.

And what kinds of quality for Wikipedia is there other than content quality? 06:22, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Accuracy is certainly an aspect of quality but is far from being the only aspect. Completeness, quality of images and whether something is up to date are among the others. 07:50, 21 November 2011 (UTC)