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.org. 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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New Website May Offer Glimpse of the Future of Politics: Wicracy.org Provides a “Wikiplatform” for Political Parties

(Text as it appeared in original press release:  Los Angeles, CA — May 31, 2006)

Summary:  A new World Wide Web service, called Wicracy, has been made publicly available in beta form at http://www.wicracy.org. The system, perhaps best described as a “wikiplatform” for political parties, may be a preview of the way user-generated content sites will affect politics.

A new World Wide Web service, called Wicracy, has been made publicly available in beta form at http://www.wicracy.org. The system, perhaps best described as a “wikiplatform” for political parties, may be a preview of the way user-generated content sites will affect politics.

Through Wicracy.org, registered voters can create and develop a non-binding political platform for the party to which they belong. Users propose “planks” – i.e., particular stances on issues – to be included in the party’s platform and ratify planks proposed by others. Once a given plank has been ratified by enough members, it becomes adopted as part of the party’s political platform on Wicracy.org.

“Wicracy is a powerful vehicle for user-controlled content in the field of politics,” commented Wicracy creator Shelley Harrison. “We hope to have full functionality in time for the 2006 elections and to introduce a number of enhancements for the 2008 presidential race.”

One of the most powerful, unprecedented features made possible by the Wicracy.org model is called the “representativeness indicator.” By allowing party views to be broken down issue-by-issue and the strength of these views to be measured with precision, the degree to which a given political candidate represents the views of his or her party can be quantified more accurately and precisely than previously possible. The representativeness indicator function is anticipated for launch later this year.

Wicracy.org also expects to allow formation of user coalitions—essentially voting blocs—so as to further enhance the power of the user control model. The site also features a blog-like function that allows users to submit arguments for and against the adoption of a particular plank.

Eventually, Wicracy.org will allow users to fund individual planks, thereby putting the power of the purse behind their views on specific issues.

“We are using the catch phrase ‘Total Democracy’ for the site because that is really what Wicracy provides: a truly empowered electorate,” explained Nicole Theiss, quality assurance lead for the project.

Wicracy.org is provided as a free public service by Inventerprise LLC, an award-winning invention and design company. Additional information can be found through http://www.wicracy.org.

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