Wiki 1, Vandalism 0: Vandalism-Proof—but Still 100% User-Edited—Wiki Planned

(Text as it appeared in original press release:  Los Angeles, CA — June 6, 2006)

Summary:  A vandalism-proof but authentic wiki has been developed in one company’s attempt to merge the best of both the old-style, hierarchical editorial model and a Web 2.0 approach to content.

In an attempt to merge the best of both the old-style, hierarchical editorial model and a Web 2.0 approach to content, a vandalism-proof but authentic wiki has been developed by California-based product development company Inventerprise LLC.

As with conventional wikis, the next-generation wiki system provides an interface through which any Internet user can create or modify a page. However, once a modification has been submitted, other users must “ratify” the modification before it becomes active. This ratification process endows the resulting “wikument” with a level of authority and credibility that has been difficult to achieve in the context of wikis.

The ratification process is similar to that used in another recently announced Inventerprise experiment, Wicracy provides a sort of “wikiplatform” through which voters at large can create a political platform for their political party.

An Inventerprise representative commented, “We hope that the wikument approach captures most of the massive benefits of universal participation while eliminating many of the drawbacks.”

“Vandalism” is a term used in wiki communities to describe content that is added to or removed from a page in an attempt to be destructive or frivolous. While most vandalism is quickly caught and reversed by the community, such “soft security” measures are highly variable in effectiveness, depending on the size and sophistication of the relevant community. Some vandalism is very subtle — for instance, a changing of a date or spelling — and is therefore hard to detect. The constant threat of vandalism — or simply bad information propagated by misinformed but well-meaning users — has tended to undermine the credibility of publicly available wiki content.

The wikument system provides a “challenge process” in which existing content on a page is pitted against a proposed modification. Users vote on whether to retain the existing content or accept the modification.

“The authentication process used in the wikument approach certainly slows everything down. But, in terms of resulting credibility, this slowdown may be a good thing,” the representative continued.

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