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How do you make sure the right person gets credit for answering a WikiAnswers question?

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βˆ™ 2007-08-02 23:20:19

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This is a very difficult question. WikiAnswers is not a simple bulletin board system where one person asks a question and someone else (or even, multiple people) can post answers. Other Q&A sites, such as Yahoo Answers, do work this way. It is very clear who posted an answer and that person gets proper credit. On Yahoo Answers multiple people post answers and readers can vote on the best answer. For better and for worse, WikiAnswers does not work this way. WikiAnswers is a wiki. Questions and answers can be improved upon by members of the community. Instead of having lots of questions and lots answers, we aim to grow better and better questions and answers. Instead of having the same questions asked and answered over and over again, we aim to merge the questions together and combine the answers so they are the best they can be. This wiki system creates problems, including: * Trust. If no single person or central authority answered a question, how can you trust it? * Credit. How do you make sure people get credited for the good things they write, and not blamed for bad information they didn't write? All wikis face these problems. Wikipedia has become famous as an information resource, and infamous for disinformation scandals. But wikis do tend to work more often than not. Wikipedia has over 1,000,000 articles and a scholarly study found that the average Wikipedia science article had four errors, as compared to three errors in the average Encycolopedia Britannica science article. One of the main ways that wikis minimize the problems of trust and credit is through page histories. On WikiAnswers you can see a question and answer's entire history by clicking on the green discussion tab. This includes a complete record of everything that has been written and by whom. This information is permanent. The front page of the question and answer is constantly growing but its history is never lost. WikiAnswers has tried to go beyond the page history in addressing the credit and trust issues. First, the person who answered the question or the last person who improved it is given credit right at the top of the page. Second, everybody has a "trust" score: a basic count of how many other WikiAnswers have clicked to vote for their trustworthiness. The "last improved by" lines and trust score systems could use improvement. This is something we're working on. To participate in the discussion click the discussion tab above.

2007-08-02 23:20:19
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