Monday, 21 May 2012

WikiEN-l Digest, Vol 106, Issue 14

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Today's Topics:

1. Re: "How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by
Reddit", _The Atlantic_ (David Levy)
2. Re: "How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by
Reddit", _The Atlantic_ (Gwern Branwen)
3. Re: "How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by
Reddit", _The Atlantic_ (David Levy)
4. "Page Ratings" analysis? (Steve Bennett)
5. Re: "How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by
Reddit", _The Atlantic_ (David Gerard)
6. Re: "How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by
Reddit", _The Atlantic_ (Anthony)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Sun, 20 May 2012 19:47:05 -0400
From: David Levy <lifeisunfair@gmail.com>
To: wikien-l@lists.wikimedia.org
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] "How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got
Caught by Reddit", _The Atlantic_
Message-ID:
<CAKKrswCjdxyFPKu6ks2mW7yJfnUzyRqXSsHVe8p4eOR4RdBGBw@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Anthony wrote:

> Being devised and implemented unilaterally is the only way to get
> accurate results.

There's no harm in discussing the methodology (but not the specific
targets or IP addresses), thereby confirming its validity and ensuring
that the effort isn't needlessly duplicated by multiple editors across
countless articles.

If general knowledge of the experiment were likely to impact its
results, Gwern's public acknowledgment would have had that effect
anyway.

> Removing 100 random external links? ?For a few weeks? ?Then adding
> back the ones that deserve to be added back?

Where and when did Gwern specify a time frame and indicate that the
appropriate links would be restored?

>?Okay, I'm imagining it.... ?Sounds like something that would
> improve the encyclopedia.

Again, what if hundreds or thousands of users, whose methodologies are
undiscussed and potentially flawed, were to take it upon themselves to
conduct such "experiments" without consultation or approval? That's
the hypothetical scenario to which I referred.

> [rolls eyes]

That's unconstructive.

David Levy



------------------------------

Message: 2
Date: Sun, 20 May 2012 19:54:48 -0400
From: Gwern Branwen <gwern0@gmail.com>
To: English Wikipedia <wikien-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] "How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got
Caught by Reddit", _The Atlantic_
Message-ID:
<CAMwO0gxJa29k6OPOjrzTw39XSNc9zTka-mE6sAp-4HbygKQUgA@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

On Sun, May 20, 2012 at 7:47 PM, David Levy <lifeisunfair@gmail.com> wrote:
> There's no harm in discussing the methodology (but not the specific
> targets or IP addresses), thereby confirming its validity and ensuring
> that the effort isn't needlessly duplicated by multiple editors across
> countless articles.

Alright, fine, I will copy in my current writeup minus the list of
targets and the yet to be conducted analysis.

> Again, what if hundreds or thousands of users, whose methodologies are
> undiscussed and potentially flawed, were to take it upon themselves to
> conduct such "experiments" without consultation or approval? ?That's
> the hypothetical scenario to which I referred.

It's unfortunate that I am such a prominent figure and powerful
thought-leader that hundreds and thousands of Wikipedians have even a
tiny chance of mimicking my actions; but that's a risk you just have
to take when you are as world-renowned as I am. I'm sure Kant would
understand.

---

...
The procedure: remove random links and record whether they are
restored to obtain a restoration rate.

- Editors might defer to other editors, so I will remove links as a
anonymous user from multiple proxies; the restoration rate will
naturally be an *under*estimate of what a registered editor would be
able to commit, much less a tendentious deletionist.
- To avoid issues with selecting links, I will remove only the final
external link on pages selected by
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random#External_links> which
have at least 2 external links in an 'External links' section, and
where the final external link is neither an 'official' link nor
template-generated. (This avoids issues where pages might have 5 or 10
'official' external links to various versions or localizations, all of
which an editor could confidently and blindly revert the removal of;
template-generated links also carry imprimaturs of authority.)
- The edit summary for each edit will be `remove external link per
[[WP:EL]]` - which has the nice property of being obviously
meaningless to anyone capable of critical thought (by definition a
link removal should be per one of WP:EL's criterions - but *which*
[criterion](!Wikipedia "Wikipedia:External links#Links normally to be
avoided")?) but also official-looking like many deletionist
edit-summaries.
- To avoid flooding issues and be less obvious, no more than 5 or 10
links a day will be removed with at least 1 minute between each edit.
- To avoid building up credibility, I will not make any real edits
with the anonymous IPs

After the last of the 100 links have been removed, I will wait 1 month
(long enough for the edit to drop off all watchlists) and restore all
links. I predict [at least
half](http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6586) will not be restored
and certainly not [more than
90%](http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6585).
...

--
gwern



------------------------------

Message: 3
Date: Sun, 20 May 2012 20:17:22 -0400
From: David Levy <lifeisunfair@gmail.com>
To: wikien-l@lists.wikimedia.org
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] "How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got
Caught by Reddit", _The Atlantic_
Message-ID:
<CAKKrswD8wtCR_wBG45nZvJcrf179YSzL3kf6O_PdbtfPJKwgkg@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Gwern Branwen wrote:

> I don't recall any challenges, just people expressing their contempt
> for external links, which is not a methodological challenge.

It's been asserted (not by me) that you selected an element poorly
representative of Wikipedia's content as a whole.

> Alright, fine, I will copy in my current writeup minus the list of
> targets and the yet to be conducted analysis.

Thank you. That's helpful, but the idea should have been proposed and
discussed in advance. As WereSpielChequers requested several days
ago, please cease any ongoing vandalism and undo whatever hasn't
already been reverted. Then seek consensus for this experiment or
approval from the WMF.

> It's unfortunate that I am such a prominent figure and powerful
> thought-leader that hundreds and thousands of Wikipedians have even a
> tiny chance of mimicking my actions; but that's a risk you just have
> to take when you are as world-renowned as I am.

I meant that there would be nothing to stop multiple editors, whose
methodologies are unknown and unproven, from *unknowingly* duplicating
each other's efforts.

David Levy



------------------------------

Message: 4
Date: Mon, 21 May 2012 13:52:08 +1000
From: Steve Bennett <stevagewp@gmail.com>
To: English Wikipedia <wikien-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: [WikiEN-l] "Page Ratings" analysis?
Message-ID:
<CA+z=q=sY6wne4EUy-gfN7KCjR=yJLQ7aJBoy43_JZ6edcMDZHg@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Hi all,
Just wondering if there is any published analysis from the "Page
ratings" widget that appears on every page. My subjective impression
is that the ratings data is pretty bad, but I'd be interested to read
up.

Thanks,
Steve



------------------------------

Message: 5
Date: Mon, 21 May 2012 07:57:12 +0100
From: David Gerard <dgerard@gmail.com>
To: English Wikipedia <wikien-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] "How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got
Caught by Reddit", _The Atlantic_
Message-ID:
<CAJ0tu1Eyu2D+FsGGF8K0b79crZas2dBi_bT_wK1yMnRJBxjvwg@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

On 20 May 2012 22:32, Gwern Branwen <gwern0@gmail.com> wrote:

> There's nothing to answer; and I've been copying the most informative
> or hilarious quotes for posterity, such as an active administrator in
> good standing wondering if it might actually increase article quality
> and not constitute vandalism at all!
> The whole thing was worth it just for that quote; I could not have
> made up a better example of the sickness.


So, your attempt to prove that no-one cares about external links that
aren't references showed that ... no-one cares about external links
that aren't references.

And that editors should regard ELs on the talk page strictly as notes to self.

What I'm feeling about this *feels* just like hindsight bias, but I
vaguely recall saying something just like that.


- d.



------------------------------

Message: 6
Date: Mon, 21 May 2012 08:07:43 -0400
From: Anthony <wikimail@inbox.org>
To: English Wikipedia <wikien-l@lists.wikimedia.org>, gwern0@gmail.com
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] "How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got
Caught by Reddit", _The Atlantic_
Message-ID:
<CAPreJLS91072Vri9hAbKS54801hGy5kvGo4RZnmEFb0hSOLP5Q@mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

On Sun, May 20, 2012 at 7:31 PM, Gwern Branwen <gwern0@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, May 20, 2012 at 6:09 PM, David Levy <lifeisunfair@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Yes, there is. ?Your methodology has been challenged
>
> I don't recall any challenges

You haven't gone over your methodology. I highly doubt you've
selected the links randomly. And you don't seem to have done any
analysis of whether or not the links should be there or not.

That was my point "what percentage of the links were actually good in
the first place". Not to try to rationalize results which you hadn't
already presented, despite what you think.

> On Sun, May 20, 2012 at 6:22 PM, Anthony <wikimail@inbox.org> wrote:
>> Removing 100 random external links? ?For a few weeks? ?Then adding
>> back the ones that deserve to be added back?
>
> I think it's less questionable to just re-add all the links, no
> questions asked about 'deserving'.

I have no idea which way would be less "questionable", nor even what
that is supposed to mean. But the right way to do it is to only
re-add links which should be added back.



------------------------------

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