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August 28, 2009

Wikipedia modifies editing policies

Requires edited articles by a new contributor to be verified by an authorised editor before publication

By CBR Staff Writer

Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, has tightened its editing rules by placing new restrictions on editing of articles in order to prevent misuse. Under the new policy, edited articles by a new contributor need to be verified by an authorised editor before publication.

The new policy which is applicable to the English version, includes a software feature called ‘flagged revisions’, which will allow for editor and reviewer users to rate revisions of articles and set those revisions as the default revision to show upon normal page view. These revisions will remain the same even if included templates are changed or images are overwritten.

The Wikimedia blog said that the reason behind this proposal is to allow regular contributors to systematise a first, basic assessment of all edits by new contributors. The new rule will apply to high-risk articles, which were completely uneditable by new contributors and are currently protected from being edited.

According to the blog, the new rules are an improvement over the previous policy of not allowing new contributors or unregistered users to make any changes to high-risk articles. “Edits will have to be patrolled, which is clearly a step up from edits not being possible at all,” the blog said.

Erik Moeller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said in the Wikimedia blog, “It’s a very thoughtful proposal that attempts to balance the desire for higher quality, and more systematic assessment thereof, with the immediacy of Wikipedia as it exists today, and was supported by a large majority of interested Wikipedia editors.”

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