Wikipedia protects people pages as “flagged revisions” rolls out

Filed as News on August 25, 2009 8:28 pm

wikipedia-logoWikipedia moderation isn’t that new, with the German version of the site having had it since July of last year, but now a “flagged revisions” system is to be introduced on the main English language version of the online encyclopaedia in a bid to protect entries about living people.

The number of issues of deliberate vandalism or simply ill-informed updates to information pages about people is too long to list here, but has often involved derogatory and biased prose, factual errors and incorrect reporting of deaths.

“Flagged revisions” would create an additional editorial layer, whereby experienced volunteers review any changes made to people pages before they go live.

Such a move is due to the increased popularity of the site.

“We are no longer at the point that it is acceptable to throw things at the wall and see what sticks,” said Michael Snow, a lawyer in Seattle who is the chairman of the Wikimedia board. “There was a time probably when the community was more forgiving of things that were inaccurate or fudged in some fashion — whether simply misunderstood or an author had some ax to grind. There is less tolerance for that sort of problem now.”

As someone not in the Wikipedia “elite”, I’ve long since given up trying to edit entries on the site, having already wasted not insignificant time adding information only to have it reversed. I foresee that Wikipedia will increasingly become a place where only a minority of privileged and “trusted” editors have the keys to the kingdom.

What do you think?

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