I would appreciate hearing people's thoughts on this project. There are a lot of details that would need to be sorted out that I can't do all by myself.
Essentially, the way I look at it there's one big problem: People view things differently. For example, if a company pays its workers very little, but has minimal environmental impact, different users would have very different opinions.
Another problem is systemic bias. The kind of values emphasized would be those preferred by young men from rich countries. Companies etc. with different constituencies wouldn't care.
Finally, the project doesn't seem very wiki-ish. It seems to resemble a more complex version of Facebook's "Like" button, rather than a collaborative project. And strict controls would have to be used to prevent double-voting.
Essentially, the way I look at it there's one big problem: People view things differently. For example, if a company pays its workers very little, but has minimal environmental impact, different users would have very different opinions. -- YPNYPN ✡ 21:38, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
- There would be two ratings for any matter of concern: a micro-effect rating, and a macro-effect rating. For example, Wikirate groups might rate a company with a single factory. This factory might produce an electronic component that is used in computers that the Wkirate group might deem to improve people's lives around the world. However, the company's factory might produce significant, cancer-causing, ecologically devastating pollution in its vicinity. Thus, the Wikirate group might produce a significantly negative micro-effect rating but only a neutral or slightly positive macro-effect rating for that company. Another example: a large multinational tobacco company has a generally clean, ecologically sustainable production process. It might receive a neutral or even slightly positive micro-effect rating but a moderately negative macro-effect rating due to the overall negative effects of tobacco on human health around the world.Xenobard (talk) 10:46, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
- The diversity of different moral perspectives held by different Wikirate groups I don't think would be problematic. To the contrary, it it would be its main strength. Firstly, its effect would be positive overall, for it would provide an opportunity for people to understand one another's differences and celebrate similarities in spite of those differences. Secondly, the more diverse a range of moral perspectives held by Wikirate groups, the more likely any single individual would be able to identify with a given Wikirate group's moral assessment criteria and rating. Third, as inevitably there would be similar ratings from different groups holding different moral perspectives on a given matter of concern, there would be indicated a useful consensus on that matter, which would be useful in creating a general sense of direction for human civilization as a whole to take in that regard. Overall, the more diverse a range of different Wikirate groups, the better representation of all humanity there will be on given matters of concern where there seems to be a general consensus.Xenobard (talk) 05:05, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
Another problem is systemic bias. The kind of values emphasized would be those preferred by young men from rich countries. Companies etc. with different constituencies wouldn't care. -- YPNYPN ✡ 21:38, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
- Any systemic bias would be expressed in the Wikirate group's reliability rating. Besides, rather than Wikipedians and Wikimedians doing the voting, most would simply prepare and present analysis to their group in soliciting members' votes of conscience. Wikirate groups would elect to have their Wikipedian members' votes count or not as they see fit. How it works is people would join Wikirate groups that they identify with, be it because their personal moral perspective fits with that held by a particular Wikirate group or because that group deals with matters of concern central to their region or community or for any other number of reasons. For example, a town's community center might be the venue where presentations of facts and analysis are conducted for a particular community-based Wikirate group, and votes of conscience might be taken by the good, old-fashioned ballet-box method. It might be held at a local library rather than online for those Wikirate groups that are community focused, or because it might be that a local library is sponsoring a Wikirate group itself. Another Wikirate group might be sponsored by a local elementary school, which might present research and analysis to the entire school for kids' to vote their conscience on matters of concern at a weekly assembly. Another Wikirate group might be established by an environmental group, which might even canvas and solicit votes from the general public on matters of concern. The point is that how each group would conduct and solicit its votes of conscience would be up to them.Xenobard (talk) 05:05, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
Finally, the project doesn't seem very wiki-ish. It seems to resemble a more complex version of Facebook's "Like" button, rather than a collaborative project. And strict controls would have to be used to prevent double-voting. -- YPNYPN ✡ 21:38, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
- This idea is far more than Facebook's "Like" button system. As per its 'wiki-ish-ness', I believe the idea fits, albeit perhaps extends, Wikimedia Foundation's mission statement in the sense that it is aiming to empower people with the opportunity not only to perceive educational content but to use educational content as the basis for their day-to-day decisions. I also believe it fits Wikimedia Foundation's values in the sense that each Wikirate Group would be independent, open and transparent, committed to diversity, and a community-building project, not only for the Wikimedia Foundation itself, but for communities around the world and humanity as a whole. As for preventing double voting and other electoral issues, Wikirate group members would be left to establish their own control mechanisms for their group, be it in terms of membership requirements, methodology of their election or voting process, etc.. Abuse is prevented by the reliability rating system, whereby a Wikirate group receives a reliability rating by being audited by other Wikirate groups who vote their conscience on other Wikirate groups' reliability. Wikirate groups would be able to audit and thus rate other Wikirate groups for their research and analysis, transparency of electoral and voting processes, etc..Xenobard (talk) 05:05, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
- I appreciate your constructive comments very much and hope these concerns can be addressed in further detail. Ultimately, however, I think what we need is an example of a Wikirate group in action, and I think the best qualified to start one would be Wikimedia Foundation employees and Wikipedians / Wikimedians who are interested in the project. Perhaps I am ahead of myself here, but perhaps the assessment criteria for, say, the Wikimedia Foundation Wikirate Group would be one based on "sociological effects". After agreeing on this issue, the Wikimedia Foundation Wikirate Group would then go ahead and compile research and analysis aimed at determining the sociological effects of the Wikimedia Foundation. Instead of voting, the group would just present this research and analysis for the community to vote their conscience in determining a rating. The Wikimedia Foundation could then invite the world to create Wikrate groups themselves so as to audit the Wikimedia Foundation's rating of itself by delving into the Wikimedia Foundation Wikirate group's electoral, voting, research and analysis process used in determining the rating. By doing so, people would themselves see how they too could create their own Wikirate groups. I think this could grow exponentially if the Wikimedia Foundation were to support it. By the way, I apologize if I didn't respond to your comments in the appropriate format; I am not an experienced Wikipedian / Wikimedian.Xenobard (talk) 05:05, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
- I've read your responses, but I'm still wondering about what exactly would a group consist of? Are the groups primarily ideological factions (such as environmentalists, socialists, libertarians, social conservatives, etc.), or would the groups be based on location (people living in Springfield) or organization (employees of Apple)? From your example of the Wikimedia Foundation Group, it would see that groups are organization-based, but I don't think that would be best. -- YPNYPN ✡ 17:00, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
- A Wikirate group could consist of anyone, really. Some could be organization-based while others could be simply random individuals who happen to agree upon an assessment criteria. Corporate groups would also be able to form Wikirate groups. For instance, Starbucks might start a Wikirate group where, in addition to presenting their own rating of the effect of Starbucks on the world, they might also rate the fair trade coffees they sell so that their customers could know which might be the fairest of them all. For this exposure, Starbucks might make a big donation, since, after all, they are a for-profit company and are getting some exposure by maintaining their Wikirate group. Non-profits, especially charities, would also create groups for similar exposure. Individuals, too, for various reasons would also participate, including polarized groups, such as, for example, a Wikirate group of at-risk urban youth and a Wikirate group of retired police officers of a particular community. Each group might elect to base their assessment on anecdotal accounts from personal experiences in the process of rating matters of concern to them. Also, both groups might rate anti-drug laws for their effects on their community quite differently. Granted, there is thus a possibility for animosities between these groups to be exacerbated in such a case, but there is also an opportunity for each group to gain understanding of each others' differences and the reasons for those differences. Overall, abuse would be mitigated by the built-in safeguard of the reliability rating system, where Wikirate groups would have it in their group's interest to present sound research findings and analysis and keep their inter-group dialogue civil in order to receive a high reliability rating and therefore be placed higher in searches by users. Additional safeguards could be designed into the platform to prevent other abuse. Generally, I think most Wikirate groups would be regular people from many countries compiling and presenting research and analysis in rating matters of concern to them. Groups would form in clusters over similar matters of concern, and therefore most Wikirate groups would not be organization or community-based. In general, there isn't much of a limit as to what kinds of groups there might be.
- The user also would define the sorts of groups there would be would and which would be most highly trusted, for the user would be rating different Wikirate groups according to the reliability of their methodology, research and analysis. They would select those Wikirate groups with whose assessment criteria they would identify. Also, users would rate for their reliability those Wikirate groups that presented facts and analysis in such a way that suited the users' purpose for accessing them. We have to remember that users would access the platform to find out quickly what is rated for its sociological, moral, environmental, etc. impact on the world so that they could make a decision on a particular matter of concern. Other users more interested in conducting research would prefer Wikirate groups that presented not just ratings or just facts and analysis, but the facts and analysis in such a way that the user could see clearly how a particular group derived their ratings. Overall, therefore, those Wikirate groups that would have a valid assessment criteria with which users could identify, a transparent process by which their group would operate, and sound facts and analysis presented effectively would be rated as highly reliable by users.
- The value of the project to researchers would come when enough highly trusted Wikrate groups produced enough ratings for averages to be compiled. This would allow researchers to search for average ratings of all fair trade coffees, not just those rated by the Starbucks Wikirate group. Researchers could do so by Wikirate groups' country or region, age demographic, company, assessment criteria, or any other defining characteristic of the group. Such averages would indicate to researchers valuable information that could help them in constructing policy, or, to use the fair trade coffee example again, to help coffee purchasers know which coffee they should buy if they wanted to help a particular community of a particular region. Lawmakers might search for an average rating of the effectiveness of anti-drug laws according to all retired police officers' Wikirate groups and delve into how those groups derived their ratings. Social workers might search for the average rating of the effectiveness of anti-drug laws according to all inner-city at-risk youth of their community and how those groups derived their ratings. Both lawmakers and social workers might compare and contrast the average ratings of both these groups for the purpose of understanding the reasons for the differences in ratings between disparate groups. Those involved in conflict resolution endeavors might compare and contrast average ratings of a matter of concern according to Wikirate groups of various traditionally hostile regions of the world in the pursuit of reconciliation and peace between nations of those different regions.Xenobard (talk) 05:05, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
- In general, with wiki projects, there's no way to know if it will work until we try it. So I think we should create a test project (maybe on Incubator) as soon as possible, and if it begins to work out, we can make it an official project. -- YPNYPN ✡ 17:00, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Creating some hype
I'm surprised there's as little apparent interest in this project as there is. I thought there would be more. Is it a matter of getting the word out, or are people really just not interested in this project? If it is only a matter of creating some awareness about the project, how would we go about creating some hype about it?
- A general problem with Meta (that's been discussed before) is that very few people know about it or pay attention. 2355 people are watching Wikipedia:Village pump, but only 704 users are watching Wikimedia Forum here. I suppose you could leave a brief note at the Village Pump at WP, but it's an uphill battle. -- YPNYPN ✡ 14:17, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
- See also W:WP:IGNOREMETA. -- YPNYPN ✡ 16:28, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
- Ypnypn, do you think Wikimedia Foundation would support us in using the business incubator? You seem to know something about it. While working with the incubator, at the same time we could generate some awareness about the project.Xenobard (talk) 10:35, 31 December 2012 (UTC)