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Inside Wikipedia’s Attempt to Use Artificial Intelligence to Combat Harassment

A range of tactics are going to be needed to solve Wikipedia’s problem with harassment.

Despite its noble goals, Wikipedia is notorious for harassment among its editors. Now, research from tech incubator Jigsaw and the Wikimedia Foundation is looking at how artificial intelligence can help stop the trolls. The research project, called Detox, began last year and used machine learning methods to flag comments that contain personal attacks. The researchers looked at 14 years of Wikipedia comments for patterns in abusive behaviour. Detox is part of Jigsaw's Conversation AI project, which aims to build open-source AI tools for web forums and social media platforms to use in the fight against online harassment.  A paper published last week on the arXiv preprint server by the Detox team offers the first look at how Wikimedia is using AI to study harassment on the platform. It suggests that abusive comments aren't the domain of any specific group of trolls, and that diverse tactics are going to be needed to combat them on Wikipedia. "This is not ground-breaking machine learning research," said Ellery Wulczyn, a Wikimedia data scientist and Detox researcher, in a telephone interview. "It's about building something that's fairly well known but allows us to generate this data scale to be able to better understand the issue." Read more on Motherboard