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Wikipedia Unlocks and Tightens Up

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Depending on your level of geekism, editing Wikipedia is a lot of fun, and to those that do, the temptation to slip something funny under the radar can be great. As such, this news should not disinterest you: Wikipedia has announced that they’ll be unlocking all sorts of pages traditionally the targets of malicious edits. Instead, it will focus on severely tightening its editorial control in what it calls Pending Changes.

Admittedly, I once changed the president of Burma to ‘M. Bison’, but that change lasted all of about 20 minutes. This new policy isn’t exactly trained on the casual prankster; rather the more hardcore vandals and ideologists. Explains Jimmy Wales:

These (pages) have had to be semi-protected for years just because they are too tempting for naughty people to try something funny. But semi-protection has prevented thoughtful and sincere newcomers from making good changes.

And you know what, Jim, that’s not a half-bad concept. The editorship of Wikipedia has declined drastically in the last little while (49000 dropped in early 2009, as opposed to 4900 in early 2008), and the inability to edit certain articles may be a partial cause. With a shiny new 1.2 million dollar grant under his belt, Jimmy can definitely afford to keep some watchful eyes on target articles.

But for all the good it could do, does the Pending Changes system serve to improve Wikipedia’s less-than-reliable reputation? All through college, man. I don’t think we were ‘allowed’ to use Wikipedia as an essay source once. We all did anyway, but even so, it would be nice to see Wikipedia officially redeemed and respected.

For a deeper look at the new system, punch this FAQ in the face.

[Via PCWorld]

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