The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is opening up some of its most divisive and controversial articles.
Wikipedia will open around two thousand “protected” or “semi-protected” articles up to the public to edit as part of a trial. Currently, new or anonymous users can only make suggestions for edits in the discussion section of a protected article, but during the trial any user will be able to submit an edit to a selected article.
These articles will not be completely open however, as any changes will have to be approved by one of the site’s senior editors.
Articles that currently hold “protected” or “semi-protected” status include topics such as Iceland, David Cameron, George W Bush and even homework. “These [articles] have had to be semi-protected for years just because they are too tempting for naughty people to try something funny,” said Wikipedia Jimmy Wales. “But semi-protection has prevented thoughtful and sincere newcomers from making good changes.”
During the trial selected articles, which have been picked by the site’s community, will have a magnifying glass icon displayed rather than a padlock. “This tool should help reduce disruptive edits or errors to these pages while maintaining open, collaborative editing from anyone who wants to contribute,” said Wales.
The trial starts tonight at 11PM GMT and lasts for the next two months.