TechnologyI’m the principal research scientist at the nonprofit behind Wikipedia. I study AIs and community dynamics. AMA!
Jun 1st 2017 by halfak • 9 Questions • 99 Points
I’m here today to talk about the work I do with wiki knowledge communities. I study the work patterns of the volunteers who build Wikipedia and I build artificial intelligences and other tools to support them. I’ve studying how crowds of volunteers build massive, high quality information resources like Wikipedia for over ten years.
A little background about me: I have a PhD degree in computer science from the Grouplens Research lab at the University of Minnesota. I research the design technologies that make it easier to spot vandalism and support goodfaith newcomers in Wikipedia. I think a lot about the dynamics between communities and new users—and ways to make communities inviting.
I’m very excited to be doing an AMA today and sharing more details about how Wikipedia functions, how the community scaled their process to handle an internet’s worth of contribution and how we can use artificial intelligence to support open knowledge production work.
I’ll try to answer any questions you have about community dynamics, the ethics of AI and how we think about artificial intelligence on Wikipedia, and ways we’re working to counteract vandalism on the world’s largest crowdsourced source of knowledge. One of the nice things about working at Wikipedia is that we make almost all of our work public, so if you’re interested in learning more about this stuff, you can read about the team I run or the activities of the larger research team.
Edit 1: I confirm that I work with this /u/Ladsgroup_Wiki guy. He's awesome. :)
Edit 2: Alright folks, it's been a great time. Thanks for asking some great questions and engaging some awesome discussion. I've got to go do some other things with my evening now, but I'll be back tomorrow morning (16 hours or so from now) to answer any more questions that come in. o/
Hi Aaron, thanks for doing the AMA. How does the ORES quality assurance service currently fit in with other vandalism detection methods, such as CluebotNG on English Wikipedia?
Good Q. So, all of the vandal fighting systems in Wikipedia rely on a machine learning model that predicts which edits are likely problematic. There's ClueBot NG that automatically reverts very very bad edits and tools like Huggle/STiki that prioritize likely bad edits for human review. Before ORES, each of these tools used their own machine learning model. This would have been fine, but it's actually quite a lot of work to stand one of those models and maintain it so that it runs in real time. I think if it weren't so difficult, we'd see a lot more vandal fighting tools that use an AI. That's where ORES comes in.
ORES centralizes the problem of machine prediction so that tool/bot developers can think about the problem space and use interaction that they want to support rather than having to do the heavy lifting of the machine learning modeling stuff. Instead, developers only need to figure out how to use a simple API in order to get predictions in their tools. Currently, Huggle has switched over to using ORES, but I don't think ClueBot NG has. The developer of STiki was one of our key collaborators during the development of ORES. There are now many new tools that have come out in the past few years that use ORES.