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Dispatch from Wikimania: Aiming for Wikipedia 1.0

I'm in the middle of a Wikimania panel discussion that appears on the verge of becoming quite lively. The topic is article validation or fact-checking, primarily as it relates to the Wikipedia 1.0 project (a plan to produce a "stable" version of Wikipedia for distribution in print and other media). The panelists include an Martin Walker, active participant in the initiative, and a genial World Book editor who is dicussing that encyclopedia's fact-checking procedures.

The fact-checking process for print encyclopedias is intensive and apparently highly-labor intensive. Fact-checkers work on giant sheets of paper, annotating them by hand. Articles are set on "timers" for frequent updates, but are often revisited earlier as events dictate.

The notion of a stable or un-editable version of Wikipedia seems to concern a lot of the prople in the room. Martin notes that when his group uses language like "locked version," lurkers crawl out of the woodwork to voice their displeasure. Clearly, a stable version of important articles would be very useful to the project, but the process of generating the articles is hotly debated.

A suggestion was made that Wikipedia users should be able to show verifiable "badges" of their expertise, such as a "Harvard PhD" userbox... and all the hands in the room reached for the ceiling. So we are aiming for an expert-reviewed, stable encyclopedia. That sounds kinda familiar.

More later...

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