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Wikipedia To Require Editing Approval 453

Posted by kdawson
from the knock-knock-who's-there-anonymous dept.
The NY Times reports on an epochal move by Wikipedia — within weeks, the formerly freewheeling encyclopedia will begin requiring editor approval for all edits to 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. ... The new editing procedures... have been applied to the entire German-language version of Wikipedia during the last year... Although Wikipedia has prevented anonymous users from creating new articles for several years now, the new flagging system crosses a psychological Rubicon. It will divide Wikipedia's contributors into two classes — experienced, trusted editors, and everyone else — altering Wikipedia's implicit notion that everyone has an equal right to edit entries."
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Wikipedia To Require Editing Approval

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  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by imamac (1083405) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:03PM (#29181063)

    altering Wikipedia's implicit notion that everyone has an equal right to edit entries

    It sounds like everyone still does. They're just checking edits before making it live.

    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fictionpuss (1136565) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:12PM (#29181165)

      The fundamental aspect of the Wikipedia concept was the fact that there wasn't a bureaucratic layer between your information and the world.

      Grow a pair, Mr Wales.

      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:57PM (#29182067)

        Uhh, isn't this the way things always work when there's a user-generated-content scenario?

          1) "Hey, our site is Web 2.0 - everyone can contribute!"
          2) Massive amount of content mysteriously accumulates
          3) Oh wait, we need to put 'security' measures in place to prevent bad people doing bad things to our c.. (sorry, your) content.

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mdwh2 (535323) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:16PM (#29181209) Journal

      Indeed, and in fact, this is a step forward: currently the only method at the moment is to protect articles, locking anonymous and new editors out completely. With this system, they'll now be allowed to edit again.

      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:11PM (#29181675) Journal

        Indeed, and in fact, this is a step forward: currently the only method at the moment is to protect articles, locking anonymous and new editors out completely. With this system, they'll now be allowed to edit again.

        And in other news, our glorious leader has raised the chocolate ration to 25 grams, from the already generous 30 grams of last month.

        • Wait, what? (Score:5, Funny)

          by commodoresloat (172735) * on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:11AM (#29182487)

          Indeed, and in fact, this is a step forward: currently the only method at the moment is to protect articles, locking anonymous and new editors out completely. With this system, they'll now be allowed to edit again.

          And in other news, our glorious leader has raised the chocolate ration to 25 grams, from the already generous 30 grams of last month.

          Did I miss a slashdot article? Steve Jobs owns Wikipedia now?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DerekLyons (302214)

        in fact, this is a step forward

        Yes, yes it is - towards a day when the inner circle no longer has to use secret mailing lists, sock puppets, WP:CONFUSING, and the ol' boy network... They'll be the Law. And there will be no appeal.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mdwh2 (535323)

          And how exactly is "get an account and wait for a while" a secret "inner circle"? Because that's all you'll have to do to be able to edit (and presumably approve) - just as is currently the case for editing protected articles.

          From http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8220220.stm [bbc.co.uk] :

          This would mean any changes made by a new or unknown user would have to be approved by one of the site's editors before the changes were published.

          But hey, don't let known facts stop your wild speculation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by maxume (22995)

      They are editing edits before they go live, and only some people can do that.

      • by SEWilco (27983)
        Actually, they're burying edits of people who are live.
        But the rule only applies to edits of living people, so somewhere there must be a server that sees dead people so it can again allow edits to people's articles. :-)
    • I have been ignoring the Wikipedia for awhile now... true everyone can edit it... so long as you reference and summarise something somewhere else.

      ie. You can't contribute knowledge to the Wikipedia... only regurgitated leavings from other websites. It's just a dreary collection of the web predigested by a wasp hivemind mindset hiding behind the mask of NPOV.

      So they have just added another layer to enforce that fundamental limitation further. So what. Try everything2 [everything2.com] instead.

      Or just about any place.

      I

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:13PM (#29181713)

        That's always been the point. What you add has to have been published elsewhere first (and not just websites; scientific journals or other reliable sources are preferable to some nutcase's Geocities website). They aspire to create an encyclopedia, and such works do not have original knowledge in them -- the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy being an exception.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by lennier (44736)

        "everyone can edit it... so long as you reference and summarise something somewhere else. "

        Yes, that's exactly the policy Wikipedia was founded on. "An encyclopedia not a journal... No original research". So they're still doing that right, then.

        Got an actual criticism there?

        • Got an actual criticism there?

          Depends on your view of what an encyclopedia is.

          If your view is that an Encyclopedia is compendium of all human knowledge... then Wikipedia is a dead failure.

          If your view is that an Encyclopedia is a summary of somehow blessed, purified and sanctified knowledge... Yup. It works sorta for a remarkable and, umm, curious set of values for "blessed", "purified", "sanctified" and "knowledge".

          There was an exciting and all too brief a period in the history of the Wikipedia when it wasn't spammed with ugly tags disputing the relevance, citation, neutrality, copyright, and importance.

          There was that brief exciting time if somebody somewhere thought it important enough to write it, it was in.

          And that was the joy of it. It was the compendium of things someone, somewhere, anybody, anywhere thought exciting and interesting and important.

          Then they took all the fun out of it.

          So this /. article is merely about the next step in the long established agenda of "remove the fun and interest"... hey, it's no news. They robbed it of it's soul years ago.

          I have evil plans afoot to devise a competitor to Wikipedia that deletes nothing, sneers at the very existence of a Neutral Point of View, denies the possibility of Truth, but....

          • allows you to rank the veracity and importance of every article...
          • thus exposing your biases and interests...(relative to other users biases)
          • and with a bit of vector mathematics jiggery pokery (which I can rant on about in the unlikely event that you're interested)
          • allow the engine to rank articles based on your biases and interests as inferred from rankings made by other people with similar (or antithetical) biases.
    • by skywire (469351)

      You have a curious notion of equality.

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Funny)

      by wxjones (721556) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:58PM (#29182077)
      What Wikipedia needs is a moderation system. This will ensure that only the best informed, most intelligent, and highest quality material makes it through. Just like Slashdot. Oh wait.
      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @04:13AM (#29183685)

        Your comment is modded funny for obvious reasons. Moderation doesn't work perfectly but on the other hand I do think it's something that should get some serious thought.

        And a way to put opposing views/opinions in an article, as there is no such thing as a one and only truth, especially when you are talking about cultural or moral issues. As long as fact and opinion are clearly marked. E.g. there are the facts about cannabis (the plant it comes from, the chemical substances, where it's grown, etc) and the opinions (using it as a drug is good/bad, using it as medication is a good/bad idea, etc).

        And now I'm at it: a way to link to the same subject in a different language. I can read English, Dutch and German and with some effort also French. My wife can read English and Chinese. It would be very convenient to be able to include links to the same subject in other languages, if present. Then I can read the English language article on some subject, and then switch to the Dutch language article which may have a different viewpoint due to different cultures. Or maybe it contains more/other information.

    • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:36PM (#29182325) Homepage Journal

      Wikipedia is turning to peer review. And they need to. Because wikipedia is a top search-engine return, pretty much everybody who uses the internet understands it now, and every kid is going to want to joke it, and everybody with a gripe, the list goes on.

      If you are so unlucky as to be portrayed by a Wikipedia article, and you've read your article history, you'll know about the folks with gripes.

      Can you think of a way to have quality without doing peer review? Doesn't every significant Open Source software project have it these days?

      Bruce

  • So much for... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kranerian (1427183)
    ...The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
  • by russotto (537200) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:03PM (#29181073) Journal

    ...it's done. The control freaks have won, again.

    • by TFer_Atvar (857303) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:10PM (#29181133) Homepage
      ...make a fork of it?
    • by Nutria (679911) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:13PM (#29181175)

      The control freaks have won, again.

      Don't be stupid. This wouldn't have been necessary if jackasses didn't constantly toss unsubstantiated crap onto peoples' pages.

      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:17PM (#29181211)

        I heard that a few years ago, the page for George W Bush was vandalized on average every 30 seconds or so. It's definitely that people have proven themselves unequal when it comes to editing.

        (I'm no fan of Bush, that isn't bias)

        • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:21AM (#29182555)

          About 4 or 5 years ago I was teaching a class and demonstrating Wikipedia was part of the class. There was a projector in the room and this was all on a large screen in front of everyone. I showed the Bush page and several others, then for some reason went back to the Bush page. In the 5 minutes we were looking at it someone had replaced the entire page with the word "WANKER". The students went into hysterics.

          I have no doubts that every student in that class since understood why professors told them that they shouldn't cite Wikipedia as a source.

    • by Hittman (81760) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @12:54AM (#29182695) Homepage

      The control freaks have won, again.

      The control freaks have been in charge for years. Pages on straightforward subjects are fairly accurate, but if it is at all controversial, WikiNazis are camped out on it. It doesn't matter if your facts are stated clearly, documented, and presented in an unbiased manner. If they don't like them your changes are gone in an hour or two.

      I've tried adding facts to their Passive Smoking page, to no avail. The very name of the page is loaded with bias. The correct term is Environmental Tobacco Smoke. The common term is Second Hand Smoke, and the page used to be called that. But they've deliberately used the most loaded term possible for the page, and it's packed with inaccurate and biased statements. I've added facts, complete with references, and they've never lasted more than two hours. Even tiny edits to make a statement more neutral were quickly removed.

      If there's any controversy about a subject you can be sure Wikipedia will only highlight the POV of the resident WikiNazis. This has made the site useless for all but the most basic subjects for years. Now they're just making it even more impossible for facts they don't like to be displayed.

      • by VVrath (542962) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @04:08AM (#29183663)
        Am I the only one here who doesn't see any bias in the term "passive smoking"? It might be because that's what virtually everyone calls it in the UK ("second hand smoke" sounds like a barbarous Americanism ;), but surely if one who lights a cigarette and deliberately inhales the resultant smoke can be considered to be "actively" smoking, then one who inhales tobacco smoke only because they are in a smoky environment could be thought of as "passively" smoking.

        To my ears "Second Hand" smoke sound like the weasel words; a person who acquires something second hand does so by choice, I don't think (for example) Roy Castle [wikipedia.org] chose his fate.
  • It's now official (Score:5, Insightful)

    by christurkel (520220) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:12PM (#29181161) Homepage Journal
    "Altering Wikipedia's implicit notion that everyone has an equal right to edit entries."

    "implicit" is the keyword here. Reality has been different for quite some time. They are only making it official policy now.
  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:13PM (#29181177) Journal

    Oh please:

    It will divide Wikipedia's contributors into two classes experienced, trusted editors, and everyone else altering Wikipedia's implicit notion that everyone has an equal right to edit entries.

    For years, people here have ridiculed Wikipedia on the notion that anyone can edit it, and edits appear instantly without any checking by another person. Yet now they implement such a system - that's wrong too!

    I don't know if this idea is good or not, but at least put forward a proper debate rather than claims about creating "two classes" or whining that people no longer have an "equal right" (hey, do I have an equal right to edit the NYTimes article?) It's always the same. Some people say that Wikipedia has too much fancruft. Others blame Wikipedia for deleting too much stuff. Some people complain that Wikipedia allows edits from anyone without sources. Others whine when their edits were reverted. Can't both sides argue among themselves, rather than blaming Wikipedia everytime?

    Because the NYTimes don't cite their sources, it's hard to see what's being proposed. If it's like the current rules for protected article, then the decision on who can approve an article will purely be based on having an account for a given period of time. There's no unequal rights, no second class system, no old-boy-network.

    I can see this making sense - when Wikipedia was new, allowing anonymous edits to appear straight away was important to get people hooked, and get as many people using it as possible. Now with 3 million articles, that's really not needed - what's needed is to stabilise mature articles, and to improve the quality.

    • by Anonymous Cowar (1608865) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:23PM (#29181263)

      For years, people here have ridiculed Wikipedia on the notion that anyone can edit it, and edits appear instantly without any checking by another person. Yet now they implement such a system - that's wrong too!

      Wrong, only the media, public figures, and other entities that don't understand the internet, web 2.0, the FOSS movement, and the spirit of the internet have been criticizing wikipedia's credibility standards. The whole [citation needed] thing was a reaction to criticism by main-stream press and political figures who can't understand that facts are NOT handed down from 'on high' and that sometimes, the mob can be right if they leave the knowledge to the experts in the field that swoop down and make critical edits to a fleshed out piece, transforming an OK article into a good one.

      This is a Bad Move because it has been forced onto wikipedia by external forces and it's own internal cadre of esteemed editors with too much free time such that they protect their article from edits.

      If anything, the people here have been criticizing wikipedia for turning away from it's motto of "the free encyclopedia that anybody can edit" towards a more closed model, both from internal and external forces.

      Mostly we lament the loss of What Could Have Been and complain when wikipedia bows to traditional media's conform-to-our-paid-for-views mentality.

    • by Chuq (8564)

      +1

      For years, the same people have been simultaneously complaining about "Wikipedia not being accurate" and "nazis removing my edits". Honestly, how do you appease this sort of mentality?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PieSquared (867490)
      You, like most people, seem to be under the opinion that there is only one viewpoint that is "slashdot" and that it is therefor hypocritical when two opposing views are expressed. In reality, of course, there are thousands of regular users all of whom have slightly varied views. And of course you'll hear from the outraged ones but not so much from the ones who don't care about a particular subject, leading you to believe that 'slashdot' as a whole is outraged about contradictory things.

      But yes, the fact t
  • In my opinion, this isn't actually censorship, but a rather effective anti-trolling measure.

    Wikipedia is not a forum where everyone can post his opinion and let the user decide which one's right. It's an encyclopedia. If someone defaces it or uses it as a means to alter someone's reputation (for good or ill), it will lose credibility.

    For one, this "control freak" measure can be used, for example, to prevent mad scientologists from removing negative remarks on their current leaders, or right-wing zealots fro

    • I hope I can still view unapproved version. It would be great if this keeps the deletionist happy enough that we can start adding stuff again, because nobody has to look after the pages, maybe they can even give anon users the ability to create pages again.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by eldavojohn (898314) *

      If your contribution is indeed impartial ...

      Sounds like someone needs to visit the Ignore all rules article [wikipedia.org] which is approved policy for editing the English Wikipedia.

      For one, this "control freak" measure can be used, for example, to prevent mad scientologists ...

      In fact, in their section on how to break all the rules [wikipedia.org], they teach the right and wrong ways to push your agenda:

      • I want to argue my point of view on Wikipedia
      • The wrong way is to change an article to make it look like "Wikipedia" supports your position. If people read that Wikipedia says that roach racing is an inhumane practice, will it matter? It's just a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. The die-hard fans of cruelty to cockroaches would simply reach for their revert buttons and scowl at how their opponents are trying to skew the article.
      • The right way to push your point of view is to provide the facts that led you to believe what you do. Cite academic references on the prevalence of arthritis in insect athletes. Provide an external link to a videotape of a famous blatellid athlete falling to his doom from the table of honor. If the facts led you to a point of view, they'll lead others to the same point of view.
      • I want to wipe out the opposing point of view from the article
      • The wrong way to kneecap your opposition is to delete his "bogus" claims, sources and all, from the article. Never mind the revert war -- do you want your audience to remain vulnerable to the fallacies he raises? No, if he's raising a point that's been raised before, then you should be able to find rebuttals that people have made to it before. Again, provide your facts and sources. The battle goes not to the swiftest reverter, nor to the most strongly worded edit, but to those who persevere in their research and dig up citable sources for every fact that can be found.
      • There are an infinite number of perspectives on a subject, even if you are aware of only two. At the least, consider what ideas and assumptions you and your opponents share as common ground, and also what alternative solutions to a problem can be found that rely on neither your side's assumptions nor the other's for their validity. If you want to succeed in making an article include the facts about your point of view, accept that your point of view when you finish may be more informed than when you began.
      • I have a great company and I want to promote it on Wikipedia
      • The wrong way to promote your company is with blatant advertising and vanity links. They'll only get you in trouble and lead in the long term to suppression of future attempts.
      • The more wrong way is to start a brand new article about your company. Not only will you have trouble with policy, but imagine if you succeed! Then you'll have a page that you have to constantly monitor against vandalism, and you could lose control of it to some disgruntled former employee who can dig up true unflattering information and keep it in place permanently. Besides, how many people would read the article anyway?
      • The right way to promote your company is to bear in mind that "advertising" on Wikipedia can indeed be bought with the right currency - information. If you can provide a good, thorough, useful reference on a subject on your company Web site, then you can cite it sparingly in relevant articles and thereby establish your company as a legitimate, trustworthy authority. Literally or figuratively, go into the back room and see what you can take a picture of that the public doesn't normally have a chance to see. What is interesting that you can present for the first time? What data have you collected that you could present on the Web? Once you make an informative company Web site that bears your copyright and provides much useful information, the only way that Wikipedia can use it is by reference or external link, which brings readers to your doorstep.
      • The rules on conflict of interest can be strictly interpreted, but if your bait is tasty enough there will be no resisting it. If you can survive this examination, then your account provides another link back to the company and another chance for it to appear in a favorable light, if the account is used only with temperance and civility.
      • I want to make a legal threat against someone
      • Instead of screaming you're going to sue somebody, consider the rational approach. Mention what law you feel has been violated, Wikilinking the appropriate legal precedents -- start articles for them if they aren't in Wikipedia. Say what the liability for breaking the law could be. But say nothing that a disinterested third party observer idly commenting on the case might say, if he agreed with your analysis. Then see what the actual third party editors think, and that way you either get your point across, or save a bundle in legal fees for a lost cause.

      But go ahead and break all the rules and if you aren't sure just ignore your inhibitions and edit it! And if you want to push your agenda, just put up more and more facts. I enjoyed reading those articles when I started editing and before long (9 edits or something) I didn'

      • by TheLink (130905) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:52PM (#29182031) Journal
        "The more wrong way is to start a brand new article about your company. Not only will you have trouble with policy, but imagine if you succeed! Then you'll have a page that you have to constantly monitor against vandalism, and you could lose control of it to some disgruntled former employee who can dig up true unflattering information and keep it in place permanently. Besides, how many people would read the article anyway?"

        That's terrible reasoning. Even if you don't start a new article some disgruntled former employee could. At least creating a decent article about your company makes it more likely for a random wikipedia user/admin to revert the page back to your original if there's some clear vandalism- this means less work for you. Whereas if the disgruntled person started the page first, you'd be at a disadvantage - there's nothing to revert to.

        For example, a random person might easily revert a page that just says "Assholes" to your original. In contrast if someone creates a page about your company that just says "Assholes", a random person is far less likely to replace it with an entire page of content about your company.
    • by mqduck (232646)

      If your contribution is indeed impartial (remember we're only talking about living people entries), it WILL get accepted.

      Hahaha! Oh man, that's the funniest thing I've heard all week. Either you're a long-time moderator or you haven't done much editing on Wikipedia.

    • by Auraiken (862386) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:32PM (#29181369)
      This only works when the people who are in control don't have a bias on the subject.

      Using your example, somehow a scientologist gets editor rank and start disallowing any edits against it.
      • Yes, exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

        by snowwrestler (896305) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:40PM (#29182333)

        Command systems only do good if the commanding authority is good. If the command authority is compromised, the entire system is compromised.

        A better, more flexible system is the wisdom of the crowds and the marketplace of ideas, which naturally tempers extremist viewpoints. See: Federalist #10.

        I cannot believe I am having to make this point in a thread about Wikipedia.

    • The only problem is it's potentially open to abuse. But as long as the edits are preserved so anyone can see them if they want to, then the system should work reasonably well. It will be kind of like the slashdot moderation system, which can be described as not perfect, but better than anything else we've tried.
    • by techno-vampire (666512) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:42PM (#29181457) Homepage
      or right-wing zealots from removing negative aspects of their favorite political candidate.

      For that matter, it can also prevent left-wing nutjobs from removing favorable aspects from the pages of their political opponents. In fact, it will slow down and possibly prevent the vandalism of pages by fruitcakes from all parts of the political spectrum.

  • by ucblockhead (63650) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:14PM (#29181189) Homepage Journal

    It's been divided like this for years, as anyone non-anointed who has tried a perfectly accurate revision well knows.

    • Sorry if this is not the case - but whenever I hear this I have a mental image that the perfectly accurate revision involves some kind of govt/alien conspiracy.
  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:16PM (#29181201)

    As Gabe of Penny Arcade said it best [penny-arcade.com]: Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwad.

    Ultimately it catches up to anything. Forums, blogs, and now Wikipedia. I'm not sure this is a good change for Wikipedia, but at some point you have to do something to stop the fuckwads from completely tagging the place.

    • Yes you can, the same way it always worked before the 'net came along.

      Fuckwad + Audience = Total Fuckwad.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:31PM (#29181353)
    ... into the direction of the control of the content of articles to meet the agenda of the senior editors, just like other MSM.

    .
    Has Wikipedia's success killed it? We report, you decide......

  • Quick! (Score:4, Funny)

    by gardyloo (512791) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:33PM (#29181373)

    Everyone edit all the biographies to say that people died in 1997. Then we can say whatever we want!

  • not really a Rubicon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:34PM (#29181383) Homepage
    This is not really a Rubicon. I edited for several years with a WP account. Then I decided WP had evolved into a thing that was no longer fun for me, and to reduce my temptation to get involved in any more WP stuff, I disabled my account by munging the password. Ever since then, I've been editing without logging in. There are already a lot of things you can't do without being logged in. You can't upload an image, can't mark your edits as minor, can't make a new article, can't edit certain articles. WP's official policy is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with editing anonymously, but people are often very snotty toward you if you edit anonymously. There's a strong tendency for both humans and bots to revert anonymous editors' edits, even if it's a good edit, with a good comment line pointing to discussion on the talk page.
  • Modify the Slashcode to require Anonymous posters and registered users with low Karma to have their posts/replies approved by any user with a Excellent or greater Karma rating before the posts/replies become visible to anyone with less than Great Karma rating. Also have the following Slashdot moderation process affect the karma of the users who approved the posts.

    Just trial it for a couple of months and see the difference it will make.

    • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      There's really no need. If you're seeing to many trolls then just adjust your threshold level.

      I have as many beefs with slashdot as anyone but the one good thing I can say about them is that the karma/moderation system generally works pretty damned well.

  • Wikipedia may be working their way into having stringent editorial standards, but slashdot will always remain free and unencumbered by such things.

  • Unapproved view (Score:5, Interesting)

    by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:52PM (#29181519) Homepage Journal

    Can I set a cookie or something to always view the newest (unapproved) version? I also didn't see a greasemonkey script yet.

  • by Cinnaman (954100) on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:54PM (#29181543)

    "Wikipedia's implicit notion that everyone has an equal right to edit entries."

    Due to the presence of "administrators" who can bar non-administrators from editing (i.e. locking an article), that has never been true.
    Not that I agree with increased restriction but at least the anons can still submit edits and they'll be evaluated by editors who probably won't have the "what I say goes" attitude of the administrators.

  • by direwulf (917316) <direwulf01@@@gmail...com> on Monday August 24, 2009 @09:58PM (#29181591) Journal
    We just had a story a short while ago about Wikipedia having plateaued. With the current system, barely any revisions by members outside the WP "elite" actually make it through. Now with forced moderation, that will likely drop to zero. There's a distinct line between janitor and censor that I believe is being crossed here. I can understand the community trying to rid WP of garbage. That follows with the protection of some commonly vandalized articles. I just think that protection of articles was supposed to be the exception; this change makes it the rule. Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that anyone can try to edit.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:01PM (#29181611) Homepage

    Over the past three years, the standards have tightened up. Now, everything has to have footnoted references. Wikipedia has always required that material be verifiable, but now, "verifiable" means correctly footnoted to a reliable source.

    If you've published in refereed journals, or spent time in academia, this is no big deal. The problem for many inexperienced editors is that they're not used to writing with references. Most of the whining comes from people who just want to write their own stuff, not dig for references and write footnotes. Wikipedia calls that "original research".

    This requirement first appeared in politically controversial articles. Then it spread to most articles on serious subjects. Now it's applied even to fancruft. ("What do you mean I can't write about 'Zords in Power Rangers: Jungle Fury' because they weren't mentioned in a Journal of Popular Culture article?") The detailed fancruft is gradually moving to Wikia, which has lower standards.

    Wikipedia is an open source project with coding standards and quality control, not a blog.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kingduct (144865)

      The sum of human knowledge is far greater than the sum of academic knowledge. At one time, Wikipedia seemed like a place in which everybody could contribute to share their knowledge. That time is long gone, and now a certain class of people who think of themselves as academically superior run the site. It now strives to be a better Britannica, rather than a completely different and grander project.

      Does Wikipedia have value? Obviously. Is it what I thought it was 5 years ago? No. Do I wish it were? Yes.

      And t

    • This requirement first appeared in politically controversial articles. Then it spread to most articles on serious subjects. Now it's applied even to fancruft. ("What do you mean I can't write about 'Zords in Power Rangers: Jungle Fury' because they weren't mentioned in a Journal of Popular Culture article?") The detailed fancruft is gradually moving to Wikia, which has lower standards.

      I believe this is a conscious commercial strategy designed to drive more and more content to Wikia, which is a for-profit company founded by Jimmy Wales--who also happens to be the leader of the "inner circle" at Wikipedia.

      I've written about it before [slashdot.org]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Animats (122034)

        I believe this is a conscious commercial strategy designed to drive more and more content to Wikia, which is a for-profit company founded by Jimmy Wales.

        I used to think that too. But Wikia has been a flop. It ended up as a free hosting service for fancruft. They have the Star [Wars|Trek|Gate|Craft] wikis, fan fiction, and TV show wikis. Their demographic lives in their parents basement. Wikia Search, an attempt to "crowdsource" a search engine, shut down months ago. Now Wikia is a dumping ground

  • by syousef (465911) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:05PM (#29181635) Journal

    This won't work. The idea of encylopedia as wiki only works while editing is relatively straight forward and can be done by almost anyone. I know it hasn't REALLY been like that for some time, but I think what we're seeing is the next phase of a decline not a brave new world of better encylopedias.

    The fundamental problem: Make too many editors trusted, and you have the potential for wide spread abuse by the editors going unchecked. Too few trusted editors and you get edits stagnating and awaiting approval indefinitely. Both will turn people off contributing, and striking a balance is next to impossible.

    It's not a new problem. I remember the old "talkers" (social MUDs) in the 90's. Becoming a super user became a trophy win. You'd either get too few or too many, people would actually trade real world sexual favours for the privellege of being an SU (or use it as a pretext for sex - we're talking about college kids) and things would go to hell. If you don't have any experience with that, imagine how well a Unix system would run if every time you changed file permissions, a super user was needed to approve the change.

    This change has doomed Wikipedia. In a decade we'll all be reminiscing about it. The staff at the paid encyclopedias must be cracking open bottles of champagne. Wait and see.

  • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:22PM (#29181793)

    This means that, further, individuals with expertise will be probably undone when correcting common myth, perpetuating more falsehood.

    I used to be one of those gung-ho wikipedia defenders until I started trying to participate. THAT was an eye-opening experience. You know the type of person that is commonly known as the "bureaucratic fuck?" The type of person you find in government that is nothing more than a peanut in the system but has power over you so they wield it like a tot with a lightsaber toy? That is the wikipedia "bureaucrat" in a nutshell. They don't care about what the actual facts are (and are quite proud to say so), they care more about rules being followed and WILL revert or otherwise defend false information if it's corrected in a manner they deem against the rules. I was editing out obvious bias and conspiracy theory nonsense and got reprimanded for undoing his edit three times. The guy had a fetish for the article in question because he had some kook bias and watched it like a hawk adding in his garbage all the time. The wiki staff told me to "let the community sort it out" but a month later his garbage was still on the page and they wouldn't do anything about it and I still couldn't revert it out over three times.

    Eventually I did win especially when wiki started requiring more stringent citations, but I lost faith in the sham of their "arbitration" process. I once heard that wikipedia was just a bunch of nerds roleplaying a bureaucracy, and I'm convinced that's true. I'm sure the moderators and such watching over article revisions will be much like how the rest of WP works--the pro-Israel and anti-Israel crowds warring over the Israel article, the pedophiles whitewashing the pedophilia article (this occurs, I shit you not), and so on. This time though, whomever has the most moderators, wins.

  • by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@gmail . c om> on Monday August 24, 2009 @10:53PM (#29182039) Homepage Journal

    and I can tell you that from the Wikis that I have been on. Many times I had to revert an edit because:

    #1 Someone posted a "X is gay!" comment on the article about their friend or school mate.
    #2 Someone blanked the page.
    #3 Someone did a personal attack against an admin or another user in the article.
    #4 Someone used swear words to describe the article and what it was about.
    #5 Someone linked to 4Chan type links or Goatse, Lemonparty, etc.
    #6 It was a Spammer adding a link to their web sites that have spyware popup ads on them.
    #7 Someone uploaded nude or porno images and the article was not about those things.
    #8 Someone posted personal information and tried to cyberbully someone else. (Usually this needs an Admin to remove the edit history from the server and as a normal user I cannot remove it, so I flag down an Admin on their talk page to deal with it.)
    #9 Random nonsense is scribbled all over the page making it unreadable, and no it is not in a another language put a bunch of 1's and etc like this "11111112222333jrjfjdsubf3875uott7".
    #10 Sexual references are made throughout the article and the article is not about sex, but it is a form of vandalism.

    But in the case of Wikipedia they do things like say Ted Kennedy died when he didn't. Which seems like some sort of practical joke when many celebrities had died at once like Michael Jackson, Farra Fawcett, Billy Mays, etc.

    I am guessing to be a trusted user, one has to have gained enough trust to be a Wikipedia Admin and thus approve of edits to an article. The rest of us are just editors. Administrators always had more power and rights than the average user anyway, they just got a new power to approve of edits on protected articles.

    Ironically Wikipedia's rival Conservapedia had a system like that for quite a while, and also shuts off new user registrations from time to time. You'd expect that out of Conservatives, but most Wikipedia Admins are left-wingers, but they understand that these new controls are needed to protect the accuracy of the articles.

  • Citation needed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trickster721 (900632) on Monday August 24, 2009 @11:22PM (#29182233)

    Here's the actual policy draft [wikipedia.org]. The so called "articles about living people" are actually specific heavily vandalized articles that are already eligible for semi-protection, and the "experienced volunteer editor for Wikipedia" is any account at least four days old that's made at least ten edits. Not exactly the epic failure of Wikipedia's core principles that the mainstream news media would like it to be. It's heavily ironic that that the NYT is too busy bashing Wikipedia to concern themselves with the facts of the story here.

  • by BrookHarty (9119) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @02:42AM (#29183217) Homepage Journal

    I've had wikipedia editors removed my articles using standard wiki excuses for deletion. I decided to see if the editors who deleted the articles where biased, so I checked on their pet articles and backgrounds. These editors would delete, even when I got votes to keep it in I requested to undelete. Anything that confronted their pet projects would be deleted. Also, they are members in clubs that conflict with the articles.

    I've experienced the bigots on there, and if an editor has a vendetta, smaller articles will be deleted. The use this to promote their own views. Its not open when editors can use the rules to fight off any thing that conflicts with their personal beliefs.

    Sucks, because articles can have pros/cons on subjects, but seems only new subjects can be added. You try to add a person who had their 15 minutes of fame from the 70's, and most editors where not even born yet. So of course its not a valid article, articles about south park are..

    Wikipedia has censorship, bigot editors, and children running it. Its a sad state of affairs over there. But yet I keep trying to use it, even after dealing with these people.

    I find if anything other than fact based articles are ok, if they concern people, ideas, or beliefs, its too liberal to be fair, and too feminist to be accurate.

    Not saying I'm against that, but there are counter thoughts to modern feminism, and other issues. But only the popular view will be published on Wikipedia with these editors.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @03:01AM (#29183349)

    Can you already see the drama that will invariably come with edits to current events? Someone dies, something happens and thousands of people will start editing, since they can't see that the entry has already been made. Usually, today, when something happens, if you're 5 minutes late you will already see it being added. Then, well, depends on how quickly one of the Powers that Will Be (tm) will be there to review the entries.

    I bet you a sizable can of ice cream that there will be THOUSANDS by the time any reviewer wakes up and starts sifting through the edits. What will he pick? Hell, will he even read all of them? Unlikely.

    What will he do instead? Probably do what every sane person would do, take the easy way out: He'll read a handful of changes made by "important" people (read: editors known to be at least all right) and then, depending on whether he's trying to do a good job or trying to suck up to someone, pick the best or the one from the most important person.

    What does this lead to? Essentially, it will lead to you only having a chance to make a change (or rather, a change that will see the light of day) in respect to current events if you're already in the "in-crowd". Thus making it even harder for those not in this circle to gain "rank" in the normal, contributing way, forcing even more people into gaming the system mode, unless they just want to say "screw it" after being reverted for no good reason for the n-th time.

    And then watch the drama fly. "But my article was much better, his only got picked because he is $important_figurehead". I'll get the popcorn, someone please bring the soda. We can watch it in widescreen in my apartment if you want.

  • The online user-generated social networking site Wikipedia and the venerable Encyclopædia Britannica are both considering radical changes in how they are run.

    Wikipedia is proposing a software change that would see revisions on some articles being approved before they went live on the site. "Our featured articles on subjects such as 4chan cannot be sullied with false reports and vandalism BUSH IS GAY LOLOLOLOL," said Jimmy Wales.

    The change has proven controversial. "It's a slippery slope," said administrator WikiFiddler451 (real name WikiViolin451). "I don't see how we can reasonably keep the Pokemon and Naruto entries sufficiently up-to-date and welcoming of new contributors. I understand the queue for edits to go live could be up to an hour. The occasional accusation of paedophilia against minor public figures in the page thatâ(TM)s top Google hit on their name is a small price to pay for the most up-to-date neutrality."

    Meanwhile, the Encyclopaedia Britannica has considered adopting "wiki"-like methods (from the Hawaiian word "wikiwiki," meaning "your proposed edit is stalled on a six-month discussion by obsessive nerds who failed a Turing test and speak entirely in WP:INITIALISMS"), particularly when it comes to their publicity. Under the plan, readers and contributing experts from Encyclopedia Dramatica will help expand and maintain press releases about those deemed "suppressive" by the editorial board, comparing them to public toilets and assorted unflattering Internet memes, and darkly insinuating that Google only pushes Wikipedia because theyâ(TM)re in it for the money.

    Illustration: The hammer of Wiki crushes j00! [today.com]

  • Whatever works (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bfields (66644) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @09:40AM (#29186579) Homepage

    "altering Wikipedia's implicit notion that everyone has an equal right to edit entries"

    Oh, please. Is the purpose of Wikipedia to provide an outlet for its contributors, or is it to produce a high-quality free encyclopedia?

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