[Citizendium-l] Expertise, Editorial quality and Progressive Forking

Sandeep Gautam sandygautam at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 21 04:27:46 EDT 2006

Jon highlights the issue of identifying and measuring expertise.

How is that proposed to be done? Would it be a one-off activity and based on the CV of the expert (I know PhD not required) or would it be an ongoing process with the quality and quantity of content added to citizendium being a determining factor? IMHO, we require a KARMA like system whereby the number of hits, the frequency of changes to the page and perhaps some voting system that lest users rate the usefulness of that entry are all taken in account to calculate the KARMA of the contributing experts/ editors to that page/ entry. This would ensure that those who are contributing more and of higher quality (and are thus both better experts and significant stake holders in the concept of citizendium) are given more power to approve, reject, modify content submitted by the common folks. 

What we can conceive is that each addition to a citezendium entry is a fact or opinion or a collection of such facts/ opinions and is added to the developmental page. Just like in the Slash-dot commenting system, each such fact could start with a base value of  0 assigned to it and experts (who have high Karma value) can mod the fact up or down based on its significance, factualness, relevance etc. The experts can also add their own facts (with elevated initial values due to their Karma) to the entry, fragment the commoner's entry into many parts and only mod some parts, and in rare case modify/delete the submitted fact itself. this ensures good participation of the experts as modding a fact/content up or down would not take much time. Once the fact crosses some threshold value ( say it has earned a score of 6) then that fact has been scrutinized by a fair amount of collective experts (or a single expert) and should be moved to an editorial scratchpad page. The role of
 experts is over.

A separate set of copy editors, who are generally knowledgeable about the subject under consideration and also have good writing skills, should now take on and integrate that fact into the existing public visible entry in a nice way.  This ensures that both the content and presentation is of encyclopedic quality. The key is to separate the content process form the presentation process. Of course a Karma system for Editors should also be in place to keep them on their toes.

All type of content should be encouraged and the focus should be on a multimedia presentation with pictures and diagrams and  at times audio -visual content being an integral part of the basically textual entry.

Experts' and Editors' Karma and ability to modify the editorial scratchpad or Public pages should be on category and subject basis, thus excluding the cases whereby someone expert in Psychology, but a novice in physics is able to modify the entries pertaining to physics.

Regarding progressive forking, content from Wikipedia should be placed on dev pages for modding by the experts before it is synthesized and by the editors and placed on the public pages. Wikipedia is definitely a good place to start with and one should definitely go for the progressive forking so that we do have some base to start from.

As for me, I would be more than willing to be an editor ( as well as try my KARMA at being an expert) in my fields of interest viz. psychology and cognition.

Thanks and regards,
Sandeep Gautam

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