Wikipedia announced this weekend plans to launch a new rating system site-wide that will allow readers to rank the quality of articles. The Article Feedback Tool gives users the ability to rate articles, on a scale of one to five stars, in a variety of categories: trustworthiness, objectivity, depth of information and quality of writing.
The ranking system first debuted in May, in a limited capacity across about 100,000 English language Wikipedia entries. Article Feedback is now being deployed on an additional 370,000 new articles per day, the company says. That rate will continue until every Wikipedia article has the tool. Wikipedia currently has about 3.6 million articles that are written in English.
Wikipedia says the system has already proved useful in a number of ways, like helping to increase the number of “passive readers” who become article editors, and allowing the Wikipedia team to see, in real-time, particularly problematic articles or articles that deserve to be featured more prominently.
As with anything user-generated, the ability to more accurately find what’s working and what’s not with the system is good for everybody. Despite what some curmudgeonly high school teachers might tell you, citing Wikipedia has no longer seen as taboo in respected circles. The information on the site is actually surprisingly accurate, at least on the more high-profile topics. (Most notably, the scientific journal Nature found Wikipedia to be as accurate on matters of science as Encyclopedia Britanica — and that was all the way back in 2005!) And the implementation of the Article Feedback Tool only stands to increase the reliability of entries on the site.
To try out the new system, check out this entry on the United States Constitution. The “Rate this page” widget appears at the far bottom of the page.