Wikipedia Seeks To Clean Up Revisions

Wikipedia Seeks To Clean Up Revisions

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Perhaps in response to the threat posed by Britannica, Wikipedia is seeking to change its editorial policy, but not everyone approves.

Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is proposing a system of flagged revisions, which 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.

Whilst the timing seems to coincide heavily with Britannica's recent announcement, the scandal caused by edits of the pages of Senators Robert Byrd and Edward Kennedy giving the false impression that both had died was also a motivating factor.

Jimmy Wales' stance has been that the shift in philosophy would eliminate the "nonsense" of the false reports and said he wanted the changes to be implemented as soon as possible.

"To the Wikimedia Foundation: per the poll of the English Wikipedia community and upon my personal recommendation, please turn on the Flagged Revisions feature as approved in the poll," he said in a statement.

The problem is that this is a radical departure from the original Wikipedia philosophy that allows anyone to make changes to almost any entry. A flame war has broken out across the editors, most of whom are saying that the flagging system is unworkable.

One user posted that "Enabling Flagged Revisions will undoubtedly create backlogs that we will be unable to manage" while another said that there were "gaping holes in what you propose to do."

Watching the row develop into attacks, "Jimbo" then offered a compromise: those who were opposed to the changes could make "an alternative proposal within the next 7 days, to be voted upon for the next 14 days after that."

The German Wikipedia has been using flagged revisions for almost a year now, but critics have said that the system is very labor intensive and comments can take weeks to appear.

Source: BBC
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it can be good and it can be bad, they do need to fix something tho

i still laugh at the guy who updated his own information to have a mod turn around and say it was false

I'm afraid Wikipedia may end up as just a big ol' failed experiment. Certainly there must be a better way to gather All Human Knowledge than just leave it up to any armchair expert; granted, it would involve hiring professional researchers and such, and hence Wikipedia would become just another pay-to-use database. Then again, I'm sure there are more than a few philanthropic academics out there willing to spend a few hours a week for the cause making a free-to-use knowledge base (though I doubt they would place any real value in the pop culture entries that makes me really, really love Wikipedia).

Hell, I can speak as somebody from the inside: there are probably more than enough librarians willing to use their office hours on authoring vetted, well-researched articles for Wikipedia and cleaning up the ones that need cleaning.

If Wikipedia would directly link to more original articles, that would vastly improve the quality IMO. That way, when you read something, you can be like, "Hmm, where did this statement come from?", then down in the footnotes, it directly links to it. The only problem with this is web domains are coming and going all the time, so all of the sources and citations would need to be checked upon regularly, to make sure they are all still there.

I'd really like to see wikipedia succeed, one way or another. There is not a single database anywhere that is as convenient. It just needs to be a little more credible.

cball11:
I'd really like to see wikipedia succeed, one way or another. There is not a single database anywhere that is as convenient. It just needs to be a little more credible.

Does it? I mean, I don't think people are ever going to use Wikipedia alone as the be-all, end-all for information.

If Wikipedia does become completely credible, people wouldn't have to turn anywhere else to check data, and we don't need books like the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

"If Wikipedia becomes completely credible... won't need... Britannica."

Eh... Britannica is an encyclopedia, and so isn't meant to be an authoritative reference. (nor is it actually much more accurate than Wikipedia)

*******

Back on topic, though: I don't suspect this will make much of a difference, even if implemented.
Most useful contributions are made by anonymous posters, and it's reasonable to presume that this is because the moderators (and other members) aren't particularly knowledgeable - so all they'll be able to check the contributions for is vandalism. And vandalism hasn't really ever been a problem, so that won't accomplish much.

But I'm sure discussion of these points is much more detailed and informed over here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2009-01-24/Flagged_Revisions

BoilingLeadBath:
Most useful contributions are made by anonymous posters, and it's reasonable to presume that this is because the moderators (and other members) aren't particularly knowledgeable

Yes, this is really the crux of their problem. Attempting to contribute to Wikipedia is already a chore due to their frequently random and draconian enforcement of their subjective standards. Increasing the barrier to entry is only going to reduce the ability to add and update content further. They've been falling into a common problem where they assume that the regulars are knowledgeable community pillars, without noticing that they're also exclusionary.

Of course, they might have enough content on the site and enough momentum that they can coast on what they have even without frequent updates.

 

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