WikiTrust

A reputation system for Wikipedia authors and content

WikiTrust is an open-source, on-line reputation system for Wikipedia authors and content.  WikiTrust is hosted by the Institute for Scalable Scientific Data Management at the School of Engineering of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

To use WikiTrust, you need to install a Firefox add-on, and then visit one of the Wikipedias on which it is active (currently, the the English, FrenchGerman, or Polish Wikipedias).  You will see a WikiTrust tab.  If you click on it, you will see the text of the Wikipedia, colored according to the degree with which it has been revised by high-reputation authors:

  • High reputation text, revised by many high-reputation colors, will appear over a white background.
  • Low-reputation text, which has not benefitted yet from revision by multiple, high-reputation users, is displayed over an orange background: the more intense the orange, the lower the reputation of text.
In this way, WikiTrust will help you spot recent, unrevised changes to Wikipedia pages.  Furthermore, if you ALT-click on a word, you will be taken to the diff where that word (in that context) was first introduced in the article: this enables you to trace the text back to its authors.

Data APIs also provide information on the probability that a given revision is vandalism, and enable the automatic selection of high-quality revisions for each page.

Here are some details on the algorithm used by WikiTrust, and on the goals of the WikiTrust project, as well as a list of frequently asked questions.  You can also take a look at some screenshots of the English Wikipedia pages analyzed by WikiTrust.  

Notes on the WikiTrust extension for Wikipedia

To use WikiTrust on the Wikipedia, do the following:

  1. Install the WikiTrust add-on for Firefox
  2. Visit the English, FrenchGerman, or Polish Wikipedias.  Check the news page for updates on which Wikipedias are available with WikiTrust; we occasionally add / remove Wikipedias, or take them down for "maintenance".
  3. On articles (excluding talk pages, and excluding the main page), you will see a new "WikiTrust" tab.  If you click on it, you will see the WikiTrust analysis of the page.  If you follow links (including the "next revision" and "previous revision" links), you will continue to see the WikiTrust analysis of the content.  
The extension detects when you visit one of the Wikipedias we have, and adds a trust tab pointing to our trust colored data.  The information on text trust, origin, and author is then computed and visualized by contacting both our servers at UC Santa Cruz and the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) servers.  This has two consequences:
  • As the code is not running at the WMF, our servers are not notified when someone edits a page.  Thus, when you request information on a revision, we occasionally tell you that we don't have the information, and we ask you to try again in 10-20 seconds.  In the meantime, our server at UCSC fetches from WMF the revision, and analyzes it.   
  • Since we cannot authenticate users (the WMF, not us, is sent the authentication cookies), we had to turn off a button that enabled users to vote for the correctness of text (inspired by the work on flagged revisions: indeed, we could tie the flag to this vote action).
We hope that in the future, we will be able to have this extension running at the Wikimedia Foundation, alongside other Wikipedia extensions.  This would make the service faster, it would allow people to vote, and it would not require a browser extension, making WikiTrust usable from all browsers and mobile devices.

Using WikiTrust on your own Wiki, or for Research

You can also use WikiTrust on your own wiki, or to analyze wikis for which you have content dumps.  To do so, you need to download WikiTrust, put it into the extensions directory of MediaWiki, and compile the code. You will find detailed installation instructions in the README file.  

WikiTrust has two main modes of operation:
  • The online mode is what you need if you want to add a wikitrust tab to your wiki (the name of the tab, as all text, is configurable). The extension analyzes edits, and displays trust information, in real-time; it can be deployed both on new, and existing, wikis.  WikiTrust can be configured to display the tab only to registered users who choose to activate it in their profile.
  • The batch mode is what you need to perform a batch analysis of the user contributions and interaction on a wiki. In particular, this mode allows the computation of the user-to-user social networks of interaction on the Wikipedia, with edges containing both positive and negative feedback, according to how users appreciated each other's work.  You can also easily write your own wiki analysis on top of WikiTrust.

Resources

Support

The main developers are Luca de AlfaroBo Adler, and Ian Pye; we are also very grateful to everyone who contributed to WikiTrust.  For all support questions, please write to the WikiTrust users discussion group.

We gratefully acknowledge the support received from:

Luca de Alfaro also gratefully acknowledges his employers, UC Santa Cruz (on leave), and Google Inc., for allowing the code to be open-sourced, and for their continued support.
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