Wikipedia tool allows readers to suggest changes to articles

The online encyclopedia has previously asked users to rate a page

Wikipedia plans to ask users to provide suggestions to improve articles on its website, which could be incorporated into the articles by its editors, Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit charitable organization that operates the site, said.

It said its research showed that the new tool can help readers become editors over time.

Since 2010, Wikipedia deployed its Article Feedback Tool which in its current V4 version features a rating form at the bottom of Wikipedia articles. Readers can rate a page on a scale from 1 to 5, using four different metrics: trustworthiness, objectivity, completeness and quality of writing. V4 however had limitations on the amount of input it provided editors.

A new version 5 of the AFT aims to provide new ways for readers to contribute to the building the encyclopedia, according to Wikimedia. The new version of Article Feedback asks readers to make suggestions about articles they are reading, and invites editors to improve these articles based on this feedback.

The feedback form can be viewed for example at the end of this entry on the golden-crowned sparrow. Users can also rate feedback and suggestions by other readers.

Editors get to view the feedback and can feature a post so that it can be noticed by other editors, hide inappropriate comments, or include the changes in the main article.

Wikimedia Foundation is currently testing the tool across 3 percent of the English version of Wikipedia with plans to take it up to 10 percent by the end of this month.

"After final testing and debugging in the coming weeks, we expect to release this new version on all English Wikipedia articles in early fall -- then to other projects in the following months," Fabrice Florin, product manager for editor engagement at Wikimedia Foundation said in a blog post on Tuesday.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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