…within weeks, the English-language Wikipedia will begin imposing a layer of editorial review on articles about living people.

The new feature, called “flagged revisions,” will require that an experienced volunteer editor for Wikipedia sign off on any change made by the public before it can go live. Until the change is approved — or in Wikispeak, flagged — it will sit invisibly on Wikipedia’s servers, and visitors will be directed to the earlier version.

Sounds like a good idea to me. Actually, it is rather astonishing that it does not already work this way.

This is from the NYT.

Comments

  1. #1 Jason Thibeault
    August 26, 2009

    I wonder if this is a direct result of Neil deGrasse Tyson editing his own article to change his declared religious views from “atheism” to “agnosticism”.

  2. #2 CyberLizard
    August 26, 2009

    More likely people altering the bio of some shlub who’s famous for being famous :-P

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    August 26, 2009

    I had assumed this was Henry Gee’s fault.

  4. #4 MRW
    August 26, 2009

    Jimmy Wales argues that this is actually a way to make editing more open. Right now, controversial biographies are temporarily locked when the people are in the news, or have restricted access so that only people are registered and have been so for a few days can edit.

    The new rules will allow anyone, registered or not, to make changes, but will require an “experienced” editor to approve the changes before they appear. Surprisingly, Wales didn’t know how these experienced editors would be chosen, but said that it would be a very large group. I think he gave some guess at the size, but I’ve forgotten it.

    The new rules will apply to the formerly restricted biographies, but Wales says that they haven’t decided to apply them to all biographies (although he says they might).

    Anyhow, I guess it depends on your point of view whether this is adding or reducing limits, but Wales seemed quite insistent that it was reducing limits, so I thought I should note his take on things.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    August 26, 2009

    I would not assume that “limits” is the proper measurement. I know that wikipedia’s approach has been to operate with few limits, and wikipedia has been a success, and once can see how few limits = success in this case. But to assume that zero limits = the best possible wikipedia is not demonstrable and may be wrong.

    Of course, if one believes in the domino theory, than this could be the beginning of the end.

  6. #6 Jason Thibeault
    August 26, 2009

    I mentioned the Tyson thing only because I had only read about it yesterday afternoon, not because I really thought there was a direct correlation. I suppose I should have been clearer that it was just me being silly, assuming correlation implies causation.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    August 26, 2009

    I got that you were being silly!

  8. #8 Paul Foord
    August 26, 2009