Wikipedia mainly consists of fact based content, which has been supported by authentic sources. As an encyclopedia, it is bound to maintain a quality standard within its content. To make this easier, the site uses automated systems for quality control, followed by a different set of tools that allows people to go through the content and evaluate it, and in times of need; make an edit too. In short, Wikipedia has a policy for everything which goes within their site, from internal disputes between volunteer editors to content management.
Wikipedia is an open community, which grants access to all. Their aim is to make information as accessible as possible, across the globe. Therefore, almost anyone can have the authority to edit content within their site. And as soon as the content is edited, it gets updated into the live version as well.
The software Wikipedia uses makes it easier for volunteers to erase mistakes and proactively make additions to the content. Although changes within the content and authenticity of the content is mostly judged on the basis of third parties, which are the sources which provide links and notability authentication for Wikipedia. As for content decisions, they are made unanimously amongst volunteers, these discussions can go for as long as hours and even a day depending on how crucial the dispute is.
Criteria upon which quality control takes an action
It isn’t a simple task to attain optimized content, based on facts and presented through a neutral point of view, as good as Wikipedia does. And for that, Wikipedia takes quality control measures at all stages, from beginning to the end. And even after the content has been published.
- Before the edit:
This comes in action before the edit is being made. That is to ensure that no useless edits are made which might cause the content to lose its essence.
– In-between the edit:
This part of the quality control measure requires the individual to have a registered account and an active one. This stage is called, semi-protect. There is another one that is known as full-protect, which stops everyone from making edits unless they have been authorized to do so.
– After an edit is made:
At this stage, everything gets active. The systems come into action to make sure there’s an edit history that will be acting as an assistance for those to come and make edits accordingly.
Different tools used by Wikipedia to control quality
There is a list of recent changes that enable the wiki page maker to go through all the edit histories. But for that one needs a special set of skills which humans don’t have, since there are thousands of edits being made each minute. All that constant changing on the list makes it hard to keep up with it.
Another one of the quality control measures is called watch list, which allows registered users to follow specific pages of their choice. This enables them to look out for edits, any changes within the content and feed. Another is called noticeboards, which is basically an internal page where reports are submitted. It includes inappropriate content, pages which require assistance, misbehaving volunteers and the list goes on.
There is another tool that is in the form of software programs that manage users’ registration, interaction, actions, and profiles. The software is mostly supported by the API or the Recent Changes tool.
Volunteer developers have been given the space to create scripts and gadgets which are automated to process certain tasks such as undoing tasks, safekeeping pages and connecting with other users.
But most importantly, there’s one most basic quality control tool which is required to be adhered to by everyone and that is the community guidelines. Those are a must to follow, may it for creating content, editing it, interacting with people, searching on the site; it’s all there. These policies and conventions cater to significant disputes which are not related to vandalism and spam.