Jump to content

Defining quality

Defining quality is important, but I'll be the devil's advocate here and argue why it is not that important:

  • virtually all scholarly publications at WP:ACST, no matter how do they define quality, agree that Wikipedia's quality is high and raising
  • WP:ASSESSMENT has a widely accepted metric for determining quality (FA/A/GA/ down to STUB). It seems to be working well; I'd suggest focusing on recommenations to improve it which are as follows:
    • some articles are outside the scope of any existing WikiProject, and as such are not rated
    • most projects are not active enough to support discussions/votes for A-class assessment (not to mention B-class), WP:MILHIST is a notable exceptions

As such, my solution to determining quality is simple: we need more wikiprojects, and we need the existing ones to be more active. For that, we need more editors - which takes us back to the problem of their declining numbers (and if I sound like a broken record by stressing this over and over, please let me know :D). --Piotrus 22:11, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Piotrus22:11, 26 November 2009

Agree defining quality isn't important (for editors). It is useful at a WMF level, in promotion and when the media ask, to be able to point to specific evidenced data. That's important at that level.

What does help is to be able to give an editor a crude rating on an article they wrote or are reading, and say something like "This article is rated as 5.4, click here to see what's needed to improve it". Those kind of metrics are there to incentivize, and stretch users, to make them think "hey, I can fix that" or "yeah, I want my article to be a bit better and I wonder what the computer says is holding it down". I want to consider that maybe a user should see a box that says:

Congratulations! The article you just wrote is rated at 4.1. The major issues identified at present are 1) it's missing citations for a large block of text starting "Lorem Ipsum...", and 2) it's had its neutrality questioned by a user who has explained their concerns here. Fixing these would raise its quality to 6.2. Reaching 9 or more would allow you to seek peer review by other users, and official "Good Article" recognition!

We need quality things to be pushed, incentivized, fun, enjoyable, and desirable to go for. Not just "if you ever heard of it, it kinda... exists." Suggesting incremental ways to do better is Good, and in that sense a crude automated evaluation of an article's weaknesses is also Good.

FT2 (Talk | email)22:33, 26 November 2009

I think we have tools to do both. For readers, it is the WikiProject assessment rating. There's a lovely new gadget in preferences: "Display an assessment of an article's quality as part of the page header for each article" (more info). It would be easy to enable this by default (it is currently turned off). For editors, unautomated feedback on article is hard, even with WikiProject specific new article annoucements (courtesy of Alex's bot), simply because we don't have enough active people reading the bot generated lists (in WP:POLAND I am the only one doing that). But there is a useful automated tool that could be developed to provide a feedback for editors (AndyZ automated peer reviewer). I find it quite useful; unfortunately it has been abandoned for a year or so. A recommendation for it to be adopted by developers, turned on for new editors (who could opt out if they think its too annoying) could be a good idea (or even better: the scripts adds an option for automated review as a tab to each article edited - we could just implement it by default, and stress its functionality in tutorials for new editors). --Piotrus 22:46, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Piotrus22:46, 26 November 2009

You know how Macdonalds, Coke, Nike, and so on, do promotion? They make it simple, easy, intuitive -- and plaster things (tastefully) wherever they can that channel people towards the ways that help that organization.

We're no different in a way. We want readers to be nudged to check out possible corrections and facts to cite, and we want to make that really easy and obvious... we want editors who write an article to have it made really simple and attractive to revisit it to get it one more notch up a crude quality number... and so on. The latter tool you link (AndyZ's) has real potential if it could prioritize the key issues and suggest them, and if it was made simple with an integrated interface thing that was "once click away" on each page. Every last article that's not GA/FA could have a little tasteful slow-blink icon saying "Improvements we want on this article", listing 2 or 3 selected improvements the article needed and a "Let's fix it!" button.

Do it that way, not as an editor gadget. That would get the wider public's involvement!

FT2 (Talk | email)23:27, 26 November 2009

Sounds good - shall we endorse AndyZ tool as one of our recommendation for future development, per your description above? And KISS all the way, of course (incidentally, this is why I like Wizard 1.0 interface better compared to information overload in Wizard 2.0). --Piotrus 03:29, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Piotrus03:29, 27 November 2009

In some ways it seems that you are playing off of "branding," which is kind of where I have been going with my comments about framework and consistency. I am going to upload a branding document that may help us with consistency. It harkens back to "what is Wikipedia growing up to be?" When someone understands the brand, all else falls into place.

Bhneihouse04:09, 27 November 2009

Ok, Help! How do I post a graphic here?

Bhneihouse04:17, 27 November 2009

Upload a file, then include as usual ([[media:Filename.jpg|right|thumb|200px|Description]] should do it). if you can't upload here then ask for help from whoever runs this wiki, or upload it to commons and hope through-links work :)

FT2 (Talk | email)04:25, 27 November 2009

thanks but that assumes I have uploaded files in the past and know how to do it. I have never uploaded images to Wikipedia.

the fact that anyone on this team said they "hope xxx works" is a huge statement about reliability factors on Wikipedia. that is a quality statement right there.

thanks FT2.

this interface should allow for us to easily share information, as noted below in the PAGE thread, this isnt working for me.

Bhneihouse18:47, 27 November 2009

Sorry, figured anyone here would probably be a long term user and likely have that experience. Quick guide (it's easy enough):

  1. There's an option, "Upload file", on the sidebar to the left. Click it.
  2. Choose the file to upload, and the name to give it (often the same, but you can change it). Give a brief description -- on the major reference wiki's there's a lot to go here, but for this one a brief note will do.
  3. Click the button to upload it.
  4. The image will appear once uploaded, on a "File:" page, eg "File:Mypicture.jpg".
  5. Include it as follows (simple usage):
  • To include full size: [[File:Mypicture.jpg]] (As simple as that)
  • To inclue it as a small "thumbnail" with a caption, that can be clicked for the full image: [[File:Mypicture.jpg|thumb|position|size|This is my picture.]]
    where position is left/center/right, size is usually in pixels (enter as 200px, 400px, etc) and the rest is a caption.

Hope that helps.

FT2 (Talk | email)23:34, 27 November 2009

Branding, yes. If you think about the essence of (one aspect of) branding, it's to make life simple for users, who see conceptually similar thuings that look similar, are familiar and "known", etc. A number of branding truisms also apply to the work we do, in the sense we want to reach out and attract people and then guide them into best ways (if they choose). So yes, a lot in common. Not via "visual image" or graphical design, but philosophically.

FT2 (Talk | email)04:32, 27 November 2009
Edited by another user.
Last edit: 18:44, 28 November 2009

Branding actually goes a lot further than that. While branding may simplify the user experience as far as choices, branding is actually how a thing exists in the mind of the user. Brand is NOT a physical image. The graphic I wished to upload that I sent you actually explains the complexity of brand. What we are talking about here is really about what Wikipedia is, and thus how it does what it does, because how Wikipedia does what it does is a reflection of the Wikipedia brand.

In truth, we cannot have a conversation about quality without starting the conversation with brand.

Bhneihouse18:17, 28 November 2009

Because "Branding" is a word with strong connotations/meanings, it can confuse a discussion. Would you be okay using terms such as expectation and perception, which I think cover what you're talking about, rather than branding which tends to imply the visual design identity.

FT2 (Talk | email)18:49, 28 November 2009

Actually I would prefer other people understand what the word "brand" really means rather than use expectation/perception because brand is not encompassed by either/both concepts. I am not talking about expectation and perception, I am talking about what something IS and how the IS drives the what something DOES. In this case, Wikipedia is the something. An IS is not necessarily visual. Brand is intangible but is expressed through that which is tangible, whether it be a mark/logo, or the way customer service responds to a customer or the way that a user experiences Wikipedia (not necessarily tangible but could be.) I have uploaded the graphic, if you need me to explain it, please ask.

Bhneihouse20:51, 28 November 2009

for some reason my message asking for help uploading a graphic didn't show up. Help. :)

Bhneihouse18:27, 27 November 2009

It would be a fork with a similar concept. Used differently, coded differently, adaptable to different projects, highlighting and prioritizing and scoring issues, not just noting them, and feeding other processes that would live feed, notify them to users, allow editors to be notified when filtered types of edits were of interest on a page they viewed, etc. I wouldn't make this alone "a recommendation". I'd bundle the concept it's part of all together as one concept package (when we finalize our ideas) and say "this package of stuff that works together is recommendation #1".

But our final conclusions will probably be reshaped quite a lot between now and then.

FT2 (Talk | email)04:29, 27 November 2009

But this is constructive! I get the feeling we are really getting somewhere. How about presenting the reader with an optional little multiple choice-question list, which can be toggled by clicking a new, extra tab? My quality factors can be used to make statements:

  • The content of this article is neutral
  • The content of this article is balanced
  • The content of this article is complete
  • The sources cited in this article are good
  • etc

The reader can then choose between good/average/insufficient/bad/I don't know for every statement.

Woodwalker09:39, 27 November 2009

Flagged Revisions has such options already in its code. Possibly not too hard to extract the relevant code and use it "stand alone" for rating purposes only if desired (or by having the flagged rev's functions disabled) on wikis that wanted it. But yes.

One box to add: "I am <a casual editor | knowledgable | very knowledgable | formally qualified> on this topic", then we can see how it's rated based on respondent's self-claimed knowledge, and what its audience is like.

Also note an interface point: to most users, "rate this item" is so familiar from other sites, that a popup is likely to be ignored as spam and may even be seen as annoying. I'd do it how FR does it -- in a small bar on the interface itself:

FT2 (Talk | email)09:44, 27 November 2009

I totally agree about the interface. No pop-ups please, just a small tab that opens this rating plus the mini-questionnaire will do.

Also agree with the box to add about the expertise of the reader. The 'quality of demand factors' are also great to have feedback on, for example:

  • This article contained everything I expected to find, judging from its subject.
Woodwalker12:56, 27 November 2009

That's "coverage", isn't it?

FT2 (Talk | email)13:29, 27 November 2009

Yes, I think "coverage" is synonym with "completeness" (no 2.2). Woodwalker 17:38, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Woodwalker17:38, 27 November 2009


  • We're trying to raise quality, looking back and applauding ourselves is nice but gets us nowhere.
  • I wrote somewhere that the equivalent of WP:ASSESSMENT was deleted at wp-nl, much to my displeasure. We're just talking about the big projects then. I don't object to that but we should keep in mind that most projects are not that good in rating quality yet. As for the big projects, the rating systems between wp-en and wp-de are rather different, with different results too.

Having more editors is important, but let's be fair: for quality we especially love to have more 'quality editors'. We like to have more 'maintenance' and 'good' editors too, but these are second on our wish-list.

Woodwalker08:34, 27 November 2009