Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wikipedia Tries Vetting

This was overdue. Democratic projects are fine, but facts aren't democratic. Wikipedia is a grand concept in need of some serious rethinking. It can, for example, add dozens of editors willing to work for nothing but interested in supporting the idea. But the present course is ridiculous. Celebrity A dies; detractors rush in to impugn him; fans turn up to defend and exaggerate his successes.

This will start in Germany but I hope it spreads soon. Wikipedia Faces the Facts
It might be visited by 7 per cent of internet users every day, and have helped to win many a pub quiz, but Wikipedia is still hampered by its inability to guarantee that information appearing on the website is true.

To rectify this the online encyclopaedia is to tackle its reliability problem with a package designed to improve its trustworthiness and reliability.

The German-language version is to pioneer the first and potentially most controversial change, by which ordinary readers will lose their ability to alter any entry and see their changes appear instantly on the screen, New Scientist reports today.

Instead, instant editing will be restricted to a group of “trusted editors”, who must first earn their status by proving their commitment to the Wikipedia concept. One proposal is to limit trusted status to those who have made 30 reliable edits in 30 days. Ordinary users will still be able to propose changes, but these will have to be vetted by a trusted editor before they appear. The English-language version will retain instant editing for now.

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