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Wikipedia: less wiki more pedia

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Interesting. Wikipedia may be instituting an approval system. If the current experiment detailed in the Times article expands to all of Wikipedia, any change made to an article by a person who hasn’t made 300 or more previous edits will be held in moderation until approved. Contrary to the juicy exclamations of delight, this is actually counter to the original premise behind Wikipedia. Or at least, counter to my original expectations of Wikipedia.

Originally, I thought that Wikipedia would be edited by millions of people, focused specifically on areas of intense interest and expertise. Because of this, I would assume very few people would make 300 or more edits. Contrary to some people’s belief, we all don’t know everything. Additionally, if you’re expert in one topic or another, you don’t have time to spend hours at Wikipedia making changes, much less making edits across a wide variety of topics.

What the new philosophy means, then, is that these expert changes will now be held in review by people who are, for wont of a better term, know-it-alls. And until one of these know-it-alls has the time to check the change, it doesn’t show up at the site.

Supposedly the entire reasoning behind this move is to eliminate vandalism. However, I’ve not seen vandalism in most of the articles I’ve read at Wikipedia. Of course, I never use Wikipedia to get information about a “controversial” topic, either. It also seems to me that if an article is vandalized, someone fixes it fairly quickly. Then there are concerns about the “tyranny of the editors” at Wikipedia, and I’m not sure this move would add to the warm and fuzzy feeling about the site.

Regardless of the good or bad of the idea, what a time for Seth to go on vacation. Great cartoon, though.

update Looking at Kathy Sierra’s entry in Wikipedia and the history of revisions (per discussion in comments), I noticed edits by Seth. Now Seth would be one of the authorities eligible to OK edits under the proposed new plan under consideration, because he has made many edits, usually to wikify an article, or correct grammar or reverse vandalism. If anyone could be guaranteed to remain neutral regarding any article, it would be Seth. I imagine the same could be said of other people whose main contribution to Wikipedia is to wikify articles, or make grammar and spelling corrections. So I need to be careful about associating 300+ edits with a person being a “know-it-all”.

However, I’d still hate that an edit of mine on, say, the supposed hidden Confederate gold in the limestone caves of Missouri, would have to wait on even Seth’s official okee dokee. I’d probably edit once, and then never edit again.

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