Friday, July 18, 2008

Reducing Vandalism on Public Wiki Sites

I’ve been reading an interesting article from the New Your times on Wikipedia’s experiment to cut down vandalism. The approach is rather simplistic: get the community to check the update for lack of valdalism before the article is made available for general use. It’s a bit more complex than that, but basically by making most posts subject to review before  general posting, vandals are much less likely to see their work. The hope is the vandals just pack up and move along. It’ll be interesting to see what success this approach has.

I contribute to MS’s TechNet and MSDN wikis (aka community contributions) where vandalism also occurs. The vast majority of what I’m seeing is pretty minor and there’s not a lot of it: 3 to 5 posts a day with what I call “non content” such as an article saying “great” or just containing an email address or a web link. I can see these posts by following the RSS feed from the two sites –but all too often, by the time I hit the actual web site, those non-content articles are gone or un-vandalised. As a result, the quality of the contrubutions is not really affected by vandalism.

I wonder if a ‘checking’ approach would improve the quality of the MSDN and Technet wiki sites?

1 comment:

cslemp said...

It seems to me that each wiki will have to make their own call regarding the balance that needs to be struck between controlling vandals (much more an issue on Wikipedia) and providing a "frictionless" publishing experience, which is our intention on MSDN & TechNet. However, the increase in vandalism that would inevitably come with a sharp increase in usage is a problem I'd love to have :)

Chris Slemp