Medical dictionary wiki
Note: This idea, due to its legal nature, is very, very likely to cause arguments and disputes. Please read the entire proposal before commenting on it, so you understand the measures that can be taken to ensure that this is a safe project.
This is a recent proposal. If you feel anything is missing from the text, you have a question, or you'd like to bring something up, please bring it up on the talk page.
The eventual goal of the Wikimedia Foundation is to provide neutral and factually accurate information for the entire world for free. Part of that goal should include the ability to treat illnesses and provide medical assistance in areas where medical professionals aren't widely available. With the assistance of legitimate medical resources, as well as the cooperation of Wikimedia, developers, administrators, and the people worldwide, the goal will be reached. First, we must start a wiki.
For that purpose, a medical dictionary wiki (name pending) has been proposed to accomodate the development of a copyleft medical resource. As well as information about the illness in question, articles on the medical dictionary wiki would contain information on how to treat/cure the illness and who/where in particular to go for information. While this wiki would get into specifics, each reader is reminded that the website is for background information. It would not be a replacement for a medical professional; not even WebMD can make this claim.
A highly controversial aspect of this proposal is the legality of offering such information; by law, only medicine doctors may give medical advice. However, a medical dictionary wiki would not be giving medical advice per se — it would be retelling medical advice from legitimate sources, including scientific journals and critically acclaimed medical references on the Internet. Additionally, a mechanism may be set up to accomodate tagging people as medical professionals via a verification process through the post, allowing original research under the condition that the author indeed knows and understands the subject. It may be years before such a classification network is established, but the idea is that we are to use references with trusted veracity.
With veracity in mind, a number of precautions would have to be taken to ensure that bad information doesn't leak into the open. Remember, for every piece of misinformation published, lives are at risk. That is why a different method for editing is in order: one different from the typical wiki. The main namespace would be naturally protected from editing (in other words, only admins would be capable of editing it). In order for the regular person to make edits, they would have to edit the draft copy of the page. The draft page, of course, would be equipped with warnings about how it is used for planning. The benefit of this is that all vandalism would be restricted to draft pages not generally in the public view, therefore maintaining quality on the "official" version. When legitimate edits are indeed made, references are a must. Any edits that do not cite sources must be immediately reverted. Editors would be, of course, welcome to re-add the information citing appropriate sources. When the information has been verified, an administrator would copy the information to the main article.
In the course of work, alternative medicine will be most definitely brought up. While there is a possibility that an alternative medicine treatment may work, we aren't the ones to decide. Simply put: if there is no documentation in the scientific community that it works, we don't include it.
If the community cooperates, we can make this work.
About namespaces in this wiki: proposal
To help make this wiki more useful to people, we would seriously need to consider how people will be searching for information on it, and when they'd want to use it. The ideal situation is that when someone, anywhere, has an illness or is hurt, they can come to this wiki and get good answers. But what if they've got some illness with a name they don't even know - how can they possibly get the information they need?
Various systems of automation will help this. I suggest also having articles titled by symptoms (e.g. cough, leading to cough (disambiguation), listing chesty cough (details), tickly cough (details), etc., pointing people to the right symptom. The ultimate article tells them what to do about it, or suggests possible ailments they might have based on their other symptoms.) I wouldn't suggest putting these articles in the main namespace though, so Symptom:Cough might be in order.
- As far as I'm concerned, namespaces are used to designate different types of pages, not categorize articles. You'd have a project space for meta content, portal space for portals, and the main namespace for the actual content. Symptom pages could indeed be their own pages, but I wouldn't want a namespace for them. Messedrocker 22:53, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
- wikimd.org (taken)