New Algorithm assessing quality of Wikipedia articles

An algorithm is assessing the quality of Wikipedia articles, which will reassure visitors about the content of site.

ANI| Last Updated: Nov 01, 2013, 12:30 PM IST

Washington: An algorithm is assessing the quality of Wikipedia articles, which will reassure visitors about the content of site.

The new method will also help focus editors on entries that need improving, according to the computer scientists who developed it.

According to Mashable, there are many high-quality articles on a huge range of topics in more than 200 languages on Wikipedia, but there are many articles of poor quality and dubious veracity.

This raises an important question for visitors to the site: how reliable is a given article on Wikipedia?

The new method is that of Xiangju Qin and Padraig Cunningham at University College Dublin in Ireland.

They have developed an algorithm that assesses the quality of Wikipedia pages based on the authoritativeness of the editors involved and the longevity of the edits they have made.

According to the report, the hypothesis is that pages with significant contributions from authoritative contributors are likely to be high-quality pages, they said.

Given this information, visitors to Wikipedia should be able to judge the quality of any article much more accurately.

Qin and Cunningham begin with a standard way of measuring the longevity of an edit. The method is that a high-quality edit is more likely to survive future revision.

They computed this by combining the size of an edit performed by a given author and how long this edit lasts after other revisions.

Vandalism is a common problem on Wikipedia. To get around this, Qin and Cunningham ignore all anonymous contributions and also take an average measure of quality which tends to reduce the impact of malicious edits, the report said.

Then they measure the authority of each editor.

On Wikipedia, they assume a link exists between two editors if they have both co-authored an article. So inevitably, more experienced editors tend to be better connected in the network.

Finally, Qin and Cunningham combine these metrics of longevity and authority to produce a measure of the article quality.

According to the report, to test the effectiveness of their assessment, they used their algorithm to assess the quality of more than 9,000 articles that have already been assessed by Wikipedia editors.

They said that the longevity of an edit by itself is already a good indicator of the quality of an article.

However, taking into account the authority of the editors generally improves the assessment.

The method has some limitations, as well. A common type of edit, known as a revert, changes an article to its previous version, thereby entirely removing an edit. This is often used to get rid of vandalism, the report added.