Wikipedia Bets On AI To Rebuild Editor Ranks

Wikipedia is implementing an artificial intelligence (AI) effort to help it rein in online vandals who make malicious edits that must be vetted and deleted, and to scale its limited editing resources without discouraging the participation of new contributors and editors.

The online, community-sourced and edited encyclopedia's data researchers and specialists have assembled a package of machine learning tools to create the Web service called ORES -- an acronym that stands for Objective Revision Evaluation Service.

The goal is to equip machines to do what they do well and allow human editors to do what human editors do well, thus increasing the number of revisions that can be vetted and articles that can be updated.

Aaron Halfaker, senior research scientist at the Wikipedia Foundation told InformationWeek in an email that he estimates Wikipedia's volunteer communities put about 12 million labor hours per year into the effort of updating the online encyclopedia.

[Read more of Jessica Davis's article about Wikipedia.]

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps, Informationweek

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, predictive analytics, and big data for smarter business and a better world. In her spare time she enjoys playing Minecraft and other video games with her sons. She's also a student and performer of improvisational comedy. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicadavis.

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Re: Wikipedia Editor Bots
  • 12/14/2015 7:41:38 PM

With an amaing "12 million labor hours per year" put in by volunteers I'm sure those folks will applaud an effort using AI to keep those entries honest and accurate. Nothing more distressing I'm sure to put time into editing an article only to have someone revise it with trash facts!

Doctor Who episode
  • 12/6/2015 6:26:39 PM

Funny but the article reminded me of the Doctor Who episode, "Silence in the Library." People in a library planet (the whole planet was a library) were being killed by creatures in the shadows, then "saved" by an AI by downloading their consciousness into the system. Talk about a world of learning. Machine learning and Wikipedia together sound like a virtual library planet.

Wikipedia's AI deployment
  • 12/5/2015 10:45:49 AM


This sounds like an excellent application of AI to supplement human creativity (and thwart the malicious creativity of sociopaths). Good move, Wikipedia...



Re: Wikipedia Editor Bots
  • 12/4/2015 4:42:40 AM

@James, I was going to let you know the link didn't work a couple of hours earlier than PredictableChaos first mentioned it. I'm pleased you got it fixed.

Re: Wikipedia Editor Bots
  • 12/3/2015 5:10:04 PM

@James - thanks.

Reading the rest of the story - the AI was introduced in 2007 and they worked well. Too well - rookie human editors were more likely to have their first edits rejected once the AI was put in place. This was discouraging.

The current effort is to improve the AI so that real editors with sincere edits are more likely to be accepted. 

Re: Wikipedia Editor Bots
  • 12/3/2015 4:10:05 PM

@PC. Thanks, the link is fixed now.

Wikipedia Editor Bots
  • 12/3/2015 3:21:06 PM

It makes sense that AI would be a good way to filter 'junk' edits from sincere efforts to make the content better.

BTW - is the 'Read More...' line supposed to take  us to the rest of the article?