Topic on Talk:LiquidThreads 3.0/Design

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Neatnate (talkcontribs)

The summary proposal is an interesting one; I haven't seen a discussion forum with such a feature before. A couple of questions:

  1. Would there be a mechanism to cross-reference individual posts in the summary? I could envision a summary along the lines of "Participants have proposed some advantages [1], [2], [4] and disadvantages [3], [2] of such-and-such." (where the bracketed numbers refer to posts within the discussion)
  2. Would there be a mechanism to ensure that all posts/ideas are covered in the summary? The ability to "control" the summary might allow participants to bias the direction of a discussion substantially. For instance, in a contentious discussion, a summary author might ignore some opposing points of view that were raised; there would then be a risk that the opposing ideas would be ignored by all but the most careful followers of the discussion. Even for conscientious users, I'd imagine the task of maintaining an accurate summary would be daunting once the conversation gets "interesting." Do you see any ways to mitigate these problems?

Ideas that come to mind for #2 are:

  • thresholding the number of times a given user is allowed to edit the summary relative to the rate of new posts
  • varying which users are prompted to work on the summary so as to encourage a diversity of perspectives
  • when the user goes to update an existing summary, highlight all posts added since the last time the summary was updated to call their attention to the user
  • require that all posts having some minimum number of words be "covered" in the summary, either cross-referenced explicitly or rejected as unimportant when the summary is edited
  • a voting/rating or reviewing mechanism for the quality of a summary or individual "improvements" to it; this could be tied to a trust score for users, such that some are seen as more trustworthy when it comes to writing adequate summaries, and are thus given wider latitude in doing so

I'm not sure which of these would be workable/desirable/necessary, but it seems like a viable summary feature will require a fair bit of experimentation. :-)

Jorm (WMF) (talkcontribs)

There are a couple things brought up here that I think are worth talking about. First, I'll (try) answer your questions.

  1. Such a mechanism already exists. You can find the links to any post within a thread and reference that, just like you would any other wiki page. For example, the link to your question (that I am responding to) is here. Currently, the "link to" action is located under the "More" menu. References to posts in a summary can just be done using those links.
  2. Since (currently) the summaries in LiquidThreads topics are hand-generated, there won't be any way to ensure full summary of all posts or ideas. Just like an article, summaries can be edited by anyone (so if there is a contention that certain POVs were not included, they can be added by anyone.

Now, the problems inherent with issue 2 are very interesting. We (the WMF) are currently talking with a couple researchers from the University of Washington who have developed a technology called REFLECT that does pretty much what you're looking for (or begins the technology roadmap for it). You can read about their design proposal here.

I am clearly interested in this technology but am unsure when we'll be able to start the study, which is a concern.

Nemo bis (talkcontribs)

On #1: there are some problems and suggestions for links to posts/threads: see bugzilla:24813 and the links I put there.

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