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Overview: A wiki (twiki) is a collaborative environment and individual pages are often a work in progress. When I (or anyone else) post(s) a page that is not necessarily correct or complete, it creates a hazard for those who read the page. Thus there is a need for a rating / warning system ...


A wiki (twiki) is a collaborative environment and individual pages are often a work in progress. One person (for example, me, but others are more than welcome) might start a page, often with omissions, uncertainties, inaccuracies and/ or explicit questions. Others might work on it and fix those things or finish it (or it might never be finished, or it might remain a dynamic entity that evolves as knowledge of that subject evolves).

When I (or anyone else) post a page that is not necessarily correct or complete, it creates a hazard for those who read the page. Thus there is a need for a rating / warning system to give others some level of confidence (or worry wink ) about what they read on a given page. The rating is not intended to be mine alone -- in fact, it's better that most ratings be by people other than the authors, refactorers (editors), or heavy contributors to a page.

Because this is my "learning notebook", I do not avoid starting a page when I don't know what I'm talking about -- I start it anyway -- in some sense it's the "best" I can do at the time. ("Best" requires my standard disclaimer -- certainly I could drop everything else I'm doing and do thorough research on any given topic and deliver a much better "best", but that's not my intent -- my intent is to collect notes on things of interest, add to them when I find other notes or gain insight or need insight for a particular task, and hope that others will find this of value and contribute as well, in any number of ways, including fixing my (or others') omissions, uncertainties, inaccuracies and/ or explicit questions.

See AboutThesePages.


History and Plans

I originally created and used a (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) rating system for pages I created on the CLUG -- http://www.clug.org/. (Those pages on CLUG have been deleted, but I believe I have copies of most of them on either AskSam or my private TWiki -- I'll eventually recreate them here.)

When WikiLearn moves to its "permanent" site, I plan to have the PageStatus ratings incorporated in a form (field), and displayed as part of a bulleted list which will include other similar information.

Aside: I don't know how (in the current version of TWiki) to display form fields as a bulleted list. On my home TWiki, based on the 20010315 beta, I did manage to display categories (the forerunner of form fields) as a bullet item. UPDATE: I now know there is one way to do it (via a Codev.InlineSearch) and another way being proposed (addition of a function, something like %FormField(???)% -- I can find this again by searching in Codev).

Current Status

This page is in what I'm going to call a "stable" condition. It's not finished, but I think the best next step is to actually develop the updated templates with the "form" / bulleted lists for these ratings. I may put that on hold until I install a more up-to-date version of TWiki on my home LAN or WikiLearn moves to a more permanent site (where I can implement different "look and feel" templates).

Update: I just realized that some of these ratings may make more sense as checkboxes (this is discussed a little bit in other places on this page). So, I need to do some rethinking with that in mind.

And, in any case, I need to consider who to allow to make ratings -- I originally was going to allow anyone with editing authority (usually anyone with a web browser) to also edit the ratings, or even make things simpler. I want to consider this some more -- I may have some ratings that anyone can apply, and some others that only those with proper authorization can apply / change.

Current PageStatus Scale

Here is a preliminary list of PageStatus values (in use now):

"Original" Rating System from CLUG

Here is the set of WikiAuthoringBadges I used on CLUG:

Proposed Revision by Creating Checkboxes

See discussion below.

All of these have an implied (or stated) assumption that they apply to the current version of the page, i.e., after the last major refactoring if a refactoring has occurred or is in progress.

Leave these as a rating scale:

Make these a group of checkboxes:

Additional Rating Systems Required

Those ratings for the CLUG were clearly somewhat tongue-in-cheek -- I guess what prompted me to put them here is a recognition that I need more than one set of ratings, perhaps including:

  • A self assessment by the author / last major refactorer (and it should be "reset" after a major refactoring) -- maybe with a copy of the last rating before the refactoring as sort of a historical record, and maybe kept until refactoring is complete, or until refactoring is complete and the rating(s) of the refactored page(s) is (are) at least as high as the ratings of the page before refactoring started.
  • Assessments by casual users
  • Assessments by "experts"

And perhaps these assessments are along multiple axes -- readability, reliability, completeness, etc.

So, this is turning into a brainstorming page, to develop a set of ratings axes, a name for each, and values for each.

Note: Some of these are not independent, but should be. For example, the facts might be vetted by someone long before (or long after) the page is edited for readability and grammar. (Thus, factual accuracy and readability have to be independent ratings.) UPDATE: I just recognized that some of these could / should be checkboxes rather than part of a ratings scale -- for example, the following may make more sense as checkboxes:

And maybe some others??

The following are additional potential axes and values

Self Assessment by main Author

Self Assessment by last major Refactorer


  • Terrible
  • Good for the stated audience (e.g, beginner, reminder pages)
  • Excellent for the stated audience
  • Transcendant (good for a variety of audiences)

Intended Audience

Linux Newbie and so forth is only an example -- really the idea is newbie to the subject at hand. A newbie could be fairly experienced in related fields (a Linux newbie could be a Windows expert) and such an experienced newbie would have different information needs (or presentation requirements) than a rank "absolute" newbie, thus prompting the possibility of pages being slanted to newbies of different types and backgrounds. (On WikiLearn, the initial intent, at least for Linux, is to provide information for newbies from Dos / Windows wink and then reminder pages for those who are no longer newbies.)

The last four ratings (which include "Linux") could be changed appropriately for each web (Perl, Cpp, etc.), or Linux could be deleted, with an understanding that the (subject of the) web is implied.

Completeness of Information

Accuracy of Information

Some other potential ratings (or "tags" for the reader)

  • Don't read this
  • Don't pay any attention to what you read here
  • I'm pretty sure I know what I'm trying to say, but boy, do I need help saying it -- in fact I may have said just the opposite
  • I don't know if what I (he/she) said is true, but I think I (he/she) said it well

Ratings for Factual Pages (or Search Results)

Aren't there some pages (like GoogleSearchTestResults?) that are mostly statements of fact or collections of data? Do they require some different type of rating? (Or no rating -- maybe need "Facts", "Statistics", "Data", and "Opinion" ratings.)

See Also

Having listed these invites a discussion of the goals of WikiLearn -- this is briefly discussed on AboutThesePages.

See also:


  • RandyKramer - 14 Feb 2002
  • <If you edit this page, add your name here, move this to the next line>

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Topic revision: r8 - 2002-09-28 - RandyKramer
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