Wikipedia Changes Its Open Editing Policy
The New York Times reports:
Wikipedia is the online encyclopedia that “anyone can edit.” Unless you want to edit the entries on Albert Einstein, human rights in China or Christina Aguilera. . . .
The list changes rapidly, but as of yesterday, the entries for Einstein and Ms. Aguilera were among 82 that administrators had “protected” from all editing, mostly because of repeated vandalism or disputes over what should be said. Another 179 entries — including those for George W. Bush, Islam and Adolf Hitler — were “semi-protected,” open to editing only by people who had been registered at the site for at least four days. (See a List of Protected Entries)
While these measures may appear to undermine the site’s democratic principles, Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s founder, notes that protection is usually temporary and affects a tiny fraction of the 1.2 million entries on the English-language site.
The writing was on the wall that Wikipedia would have to put more restrictions on the editing of articles. I think that these changes are a nice balance between an open editing policy and controlling against abuses. Perhaps the next step is to create a group of “trusted editors,” who will always be allowed to edit, and then have certain restrictions for anonymous editors.
1. Solove, Wikipedia, Politics, and Anonymity Don’t Mix (Feb. 2006)
2. Solove, Wikipedia Irony: Jimmy Wales Edits His Own Entry (Dec. 2005)
3. Solove, Wikipedia Vandals (Dec. 2005)