Wikipedia

Sep. 19th, 2006 01:27 pm
ciphergoth: (Default)
What do you think of Wikipedia?

If you were in charge of a project to create something like Wikipedia, but better, what would you create?
ciphergoth: (Default)
Citizendum is Larry Sanger's new project to improve on Wikipedia by explicitly giving more weight to the voices of experts.

I'd like to write a celebrated, widely-linked blog entry that changes the direction of the project, but I'm too lazy to put that much work in, so I'm just going to write a few bullet points here.
  • Sanger is right that there's a problem. I am an expert, and for the most part I can't be bothered to contribute my expertise to Wikipedia any more for precisely the reasons he outlines: I want to contribute but I don't want to fight, and on Wikipedia you have to fight all the time.
  • He is also right that the solution is to have more hierarchy, to explicitly identify experts and give them more control. And he's right to start with a progressive fork of Wikipedia.
  • However, he's dead wrong to try to use the existing, unaltered MediaWiki software to do it, because...
  • The thing that will make it possible to maintain a progressive fork, and to allow all to edit without causing disruption, is explicit support for forking and merging in the page history.
  • Anonymous users should be able to create new revisions freely, but these revisions would be on "branches" of the page, and not on the "trunk". Editors would be able to use powerful tools of their own choosing to identify and "cherry-pick" the useful revisions, merging the changes together into a single entry.
  • It's a bad sign that he's started by creating a pile of moderated mailing lists. Start with one unmoderated mailing list, and introduce moderation, extra lists and so on as the need arises.
I wrote about this before in the [livejournal.com profile] trustmetrics journal, but I'm not advocating the full "giant leap" here - just that the tools that we rely on for software development be made available to the creation of a better encyclopaedia.
ciphergoth: (Default)
This is what I've been doing in my spare time for the last couple of weeks:

Truncated differential cryptanalysis of five rounds of Salsa20 (PDF)

(discussion, Wikipedia on Salsa20).

This doesn't break the whole cipher, just a seriously reduced version.

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