Wikipedia To Tighten Editorial Control

from the wiki-wiki-wiki dept

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says the online encyclopedia is deciding how to implement stricter controls over some of its content, including freezing “stable” pages and limiting editing access to certain controversial articles. While the Wikipedia community tends to remove vandalism on popular pages quite quickly, Wales is concerned that the fact that it appears there, even briefly, means “whoever opens the article at this moment will get annoyed — and therefore doubt our credibility”. Wikipedia’s reliability and credibility has come under attack numerous times from people for whom its accountability to the community isn’t as trustworthy as a commercial encyclopedia’s assumed authority. Indeed, Wales says setting up a commission to decide which pages should be frozen is one possibility, something many Wikipedia users and contributors may not like. Wikipedia already has a number of checks and balances for contentious entries, including the ability for admins to protect pages and prevent them from being edited. The changes Wales is suggesting sound like deciding certain pages are finished and complete rather than deciding they need to be protected from vandalism. But that could simply create more problems: it’s easy to not take a fight over content seriously when somebody knows they can be a part of ongoing changes to it; but if they’re presented with the possibility that something they don’t agree with may be enshrined in virtual wiki stone, unable to be edited, the fight will probably become much more intense. Any effort to enhance Wikipedia’s credibility with the outside world must toe a fine line and not alienate its community by becoming a source controlled by a select few — the opposite of the ideology upon which it’s based.

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Comments on “Wikipedia To Tighten Editorial Control”

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Ivan Sick says:

Re: Re: Re: So in other words

Oh, and come off it. I don’t approve of doublespeak, look at my ID frpetessake. The idea (again, if it were actually happening) is to combat malicious editing. First example that springs to mind:
“I protected the page because of all the vandalism lately. Redwolf24 21:41, 25 July 2005”

Anonymous Coward says:

Creating Knowledge

I may disagree with your opinion, but I defend your right to say it!
Without this truth, human knowledge will be stifled.

The phone, light bulk, the airplane, splitting the atom (the atom bomb) were all “impossible” – until they were made!
Locking Wiki pages will I think delay good ideas and society will bepoorer.

Perhaps there should could be a message on contentious views inviting experiments to resolve disputes.
Disputes are solved with more information – let’s ask for it.

Perhaps the solution is to encourage and invite experiments to help
clarify the issues. i.e. propose a new experiment to demonstrate a point and provide more data.

Is this not “the scientific method”?

The Wiki is a great tool and most of the material is excellent.

Bob says:


I agree with the poster who mentioned about quality control.

When you allow access to everyone, then you also unfortunately allow it for those bozos who would seek to ruin things either out of malice, mischeviousness or any other reason they would have to vandalize a page. It is an act against the work of the community.

Freezing pages and restricting edits gives control back to the community, and minimizes any rogue elements that would seek to discredit the content for their own self-interest.

Colum says:

Re: Community

Though this raises the obvious question of who descides who is a bozo. Surely requiring that a person be logged in to edit some pages might work and if they vandalise then their account can be locked or punished in some way. Or possibly locking down really bad users by IP address. Again, the mechanism for jury selection for this would need to be well chosen to prevent the pettiness of bureacracy and ignorance of censor creeping in

The real beauty of Wiki is that it is dynamic and not locked. New references and information come along all the time.

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