The Sifter project is an idea that has a long history in Wikipedian terms. It was apparently originally an idea of Larry Sanger in 2002. It has never been clearly explicated; but its essential idea is to sift Wikipedia for quality articles which would form some form of reliable encyclopedia that can be trusted by users.
This idea has not been a forefront concern within Wikipedia while Wikipedia is in its early stages. As Wikipedia approaches the likes of Britannica in quality and quantity it will become a far more pressing concern.
Critical issues include:
- Who will be the referees?
- What standards will be used?
- Will the default version of Wikipedia be the dynamic, latest version of an article or the sifted version?
- How do you ensure the existing Wikipedia is not affected by the sifter project in a negative way?
- Will the sifter project alter the articles to fit the standards required for the CD or authoritative version of Wikipedia?