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The Internet

Wikipedia Semi-Protection Begins 326

seanvaandering writes "Admins began applying their recently announced 'Wikipedia semi-protection' feature this week. The first articles to be semi-protected were George W. Bush, Hitler, and Jesus Christ, barring the newest 1% of all users and anonymous visitors from modifying the article (apparently Satan didn't make the cut). Does this mark the end of the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit?"
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Wikipedia Semi-Protection Begins

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  • by reality-bytes ( 119275 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @04:35AM (#14331518) Homepage
    I'm sure theres a joke there when you lump George W. Bush, Hitler and Jesus together...

    ...but I'm not going to crack it because there are 2 kinds of zealots out there waiting to lynch me for it.
    • by Bob Cat - NYMPHS ( 313647 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @05:02AM (#14331583) Homepage
      George W. Bush, Hitler, and Jesus walk into a bar. Jesus says, "What shalt thou have?". Bush says, "I don't drink alcohol anymore. Diet Coke for me.", Hitler says, "I never drank alcohol, orange juice for me.", and Jesus says, "No, I don't think they are.".

      • Wilt, not shalt. Hey, maybe Jesus didn't understand the RFC.
      • A better joke (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Freexe ( 717562 ) * <serrkr@tznvy.pbz> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @06:44AM (#14331738) Homepage
        Say it is time to elect a new world leader, and your vote counts. Here are the facts about the three leading candidates:

        Candidate A associates with crooked politicians, and consults with anthologists. He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

        Candidate B was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whisky every evening.

        Candidate C is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and hasn't had any extramarital affairs. Which of these candidates would be your choice? Decide first, no peeking, then scroll down for the answer.

        Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt
        Candidate B is Winston Churchill
        Candidate C is Adolph Hitler

        Sorry it doesn't involve bush, but it shows you can never judge a book by its cover!

        And another ones for kicks:

        If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis; would you recommend that she have an abortion?

        Because she gave birth to Beethoven.
        • Re:A better joke (Score:3, Informative)

          by ccady ( 569355 )
          Candidate A associates with crooked politicians, and consults with anthologists. He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

          You're not serious? Roosevelt consulted with anthologists? [thefreedictionary.com] That takes him right out of my book!

        • Re:A better joke (Score:2, Insightful)

          by endemoniada ( 744727 )
          I'm sorry, I just can't help mentioning that I actually judge things like this based on how capable they are of being a president, rather than take a magnifying glass to his/her life. Whether they're christian, jewish, muslim or vulcan, I consider their values and ideas higher than their religion

          My two cents...

        • Re:A better joke (Score:5, Informative)

          by sylvester ( 98418 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @09:55AM (#14332134) Homepage
          • Speculative abortion (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Jeremi ( 14640 )
            The snopes article linked to in the parent post makes an interesting point:

            But maybe a different woman who did opt to terminate her pregnancy might have
            spared the world another Stalin or Hitler. This is the sort of speculative "What if?" game that neither side can win, so it's best not to play at all.

            I think an assumption is being made that baby Adolf was destined from birth to become "Adolf Hitler, der Fuhrer and Killer of Millions", and that if only he hadn't been born the Holocaust would not have happene

    • by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @05:16AM (#14331609) Homepage Journal
      hmmmm, let me try...

      Dubyah and Hitler are at the pearly gates on judgement day, with Jesus conducting a group admissions interview. One of them says "I did my best to do the will of God, conducting war against your enemies, securing my homeland, and campaigning against the godless.", the other says "But he's Hitler!"
    • So Dubya and Hitler are stranded on a desserted island. Up onto the shore comes a lamp. One of those magic lamps. Dubya picks it up and rubs it. Whoosh! Out comes Jesus.

      Jesus sez: "I will grant you each one wish"
      Hitler: Me first! I wish that the neo-nazis of Germany rise up, take over the country and then invade America!
      Jesus: Your wish is granted. Your turn Dubya.

      But Dubya is stunned by the apparent granting of Hitler's outrageous wish and exclaims loudly: "Because of him Germany gets to take over my co
    • There is an connection.

      Jesus Christ, Adolf Hitler and George W. Bush are pretty much the first article a 12 year old will look up on Wikipedia. These youngsters are so open to information fed through the media, that when they fill in or click random links, their brain gives priority to the above mentionen names.

      Blocking those pages could mean, they will stop vandalizing, or that they will start vandalizing what is next on their subconcious treshold.

      lets see, trying to find the biggest icons todays culture,
    • Jesus, Hilter, and Dubya walk into a bar...

      Oh wait, Jesus was the only regular drinker in the bunch.

    • Bush, Hitler, and Jesus are walking down the street. Bush and Hitler walk into a bar, Jesus ducks.
  • He-man (Score:4, Funny)

    by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) <mark@@@seventhcycle...net> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @04:36AM (#14331520) Homepage
    I can't believe He Man [wikipedia.org] didn't make the cut after the Penny Arcade comic [penny-arcade.com] about wikipedia.
  • by Kevin143 ( 672873 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMkfischer.com> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @04:37AM (#14331523) Homepage
    No.

    It marks the end of the free encyclopedia that can be edited by any idiot. Now, it can only be edited by 99% of idiots and most importantly, those specific people that spend the time actually editing the articles.
    • I agree 100%. Requiring prior participation is not the same as requiring a "premium" subscription fee or some other such nonsense. IMO, anything that protects the quality of Wiki is in the best interest of us users.
      • by Yst ( 936212 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @05:03AM (#14331584)
        Exactly. Complete obliviousness to the premises and principles on which Wikipedia functions is a virtual guarantee of poor contributor content. And that's completely independent of any prior expertise a given individual may possess in the area of knowledge to which said contributor is offering content. If you're a genius in your field and you've haven't the slightest clue how to contribute to Wikipedia, you'll contribute bad content no matter how well-intentioned and well-informed the knowledge behind it is. You can no more write encylopedia articles on, say, wiki programming without the slightest idea what constitutes encyclopedic writing than you can program a wiki without the slightest idea what constitutes good code.

        Maybe there is a dream which still survives among some idealists, that everyone, everywhere, should be able to contribute equally, and with equally fruitful productivity, to a knowledge database, absolutely regardless of any ability they possess to summarise and intepret knowledge in a useful and logical fashion. But for those with a realistic outlook, Wiki article writing ends up looking like any other skill set. It isn't intuitive. It takes a bit of experience. And the more experience you have, the better you'll be at it. Closing off, in effect, those with no experience whatsoever, and requiring you be reqistered at least for a few days to edit specific articles, ultimately, is no loss.

    • I've had some zealots come in and delete things I have written. I try to be fair-and-balanced, but when people start deleting things to keep them slanted, what can be done?
      • The fact is that what you view as fair and balanced is viewed by others as ridiculously partisan. What they view as a fair and balanced view you probably view as ridiculously partisan.

        Genuine political discussion on the internet is impossible, chanting slogans, preaching to the choir and insulting your enemies is about it.

        BTW how is it that conservatives still have a persecution complex? I don't really understand it myself, they have pretty much owned the political arena in the US for about 25 years now

    • IMHO, this is a great compromise that protects the validity of Wikipedia while still allowing edits by anyone on the large majority of articles, and edits by 99% of people on even controversial ones.

      In fact, it looks like they've taken a page from the Slashdot moderation system [slashdot.org], which only takes something like the earliest 90% of accounts as possible moderators. This system (with certain exceptions, e.g., +1, Funny) has always worked pretty well for me, and I'm confident this one (with tweaking) will as we
  • Too Hard Basket (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 24, 2005 @04:43AM (#14331534)
    These measures may slow the casual trolling and idiocy but it will do nothing to deter or prevent the more dedicated trolls.

    I run a small not-for-profit educational and science facility which receives many visitors. One kind visitor decided he was doing us a favour by adding a Wiki article about our small organisation. Soon after an unfortunate soul suffering from a bi-polar disorder and who we've had problems with before "attacked" our Wiki entry, at first adding unpleasant claims about us, then simply blanking the article. The Wiki entry had become a very important first-referrer for us and our website, and so we wasted a lot of our time dealing with the issue. In the end I submitted our entry to the Vote for Deletion list, but even this turned out to be contentious, and lead to even more problems. After months our article was finally removed, but not before it had caused problems out of all proportion to what it really is.

    I believe the Wikipedia is a great idea in theory but mostly unworkable in reality.
  • No (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tyir ( 622669 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @04:44AM (#14331536) Journal
    No.

    This has been gone over several times now. This will be used to bridge the gap between no protection at all and total lockage (i.e. only an administrator can lock it).

    In fact, I expect this will promote more freedom, since pages which would have been put to administrator-only locking will now be under this type of protection, where most users can still edit the page.
    • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

      by porkThreeWays ( 895269 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @05:00AM (#14331578)
      The story submitter is a fucking idiot. Why he added that comment at the end was merely to troll. He's probably the same type of jackass to troll on wikipedia. Wikipedia needs sane troll control. It's more than reasonable to say "for controversial articles you need to have an account that's been around for a few days". I think this should be the default policy rather than just for controversial articles. Wikipedia needs a lot of work done to get the trolls under control. The idea of wikipedia works only in a world of no trolls. People who have nothing better to do with their day than post false or idiotic content for no other reason than their amusement.

      They are probably taking the wait and see approach not to scare off users. Ultimatly much more needs to be done to get the problem under control. Filters need to be in place to stop the common GNAA type of garbage. Also, they _really_ need a more sensible heirchy. Mod points maybe? That way, people with mod points can tag certain content as garbage. Then a higher up can just browse content marked as garbage and lock articles, ban users, etc etc.

      The current system is working ok, but to keep good content contributers for the long term we need to get some sensible restrictions and a better authority heirchy.
    • First, only the "orginal" wikipedia (not really orginal, there is still nupedia. the one with american english language) is using this semi-locking.

      Sorry, but _there are_ other big wikipedias out there even without any control to american laws. Even CIA can't change pages on that (but they could kidnap wales of course).

      Second, locking big pages that are changed daily by pranks does not mean you can't change them. Is registration such a big step? Even your IP is not really anonymous unless you use a prox

      • What does anything 'american' have to do with it at all?

        And I'm trying to figure out why you wouldn't want a publicly contributed knowledge base of everything supported by the protection of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution?

        Just think about it for a while.

        Cheers.
        • yep, this wasn't an anti-american rant. I just wanted to state that all wikipedias are different in the world.

          There are of course some pros that wikipedia is based in america. but it could even exist if it would have been founded in mexico for example.

  • by porkThreeWays ( 895269 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @04:44AM (#14331538)
    Reading the policy, it's not very aggressive. So it's not _that_ bad. It's only for selected articles prone to vandals, and you only have to have an account more than 4 days.

    I think it's very sensible and over time will become more aggressive. I think it's quite akin to how slashdot started. Slashdot started with good intentions. Then the trolls came. Slashdot had to figure out a way to deal with trolls, and over the period of years, has the trolls mostly under control. If you browse at -1 you can see how many trolls really post on slashdot. Wikipedia's first step really needs to be just to get the trolls under control. Once you weed out that crowd and have (semi) mature individuals serious about the content, it's much easier to improve the quality of wikipedia. I think we want wikipedia's only inaccurate content to be true unintentional mistakes. Not trolls and edit wars.
    • Slashdot had to figure out a way to deal with trolls, and over the period of years, has the trolls mostly under control.

      Hahaha!

      It's been, what, 6 months or so now since the most blatant trolling stopped getting modded to +5? I sure as hell hope Wikipedia will have much more success, and in much less than the 10+ years it took Slashdot. And still, there's a lot of terribly bad information, and less-obvious trolls that get modded-up all the time on /.

  • by Gregory Rider ( 923948 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @04:47AM (#14331551) Homepage
    This is post is a near word-for-word copy of my entry on Digg [digg.com]. The irony is that I originally submitted the story to Slashdot first, and they rejected it!
  • by obli ( 650741 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @04:53AM (#14331566)
    The articles that are semi-protected are mostly huge writeups that are more or less complete by now, it's not like they would be edited much anyway, it would be a different thing if the page about George W Bush was to be semi-protected as a stub, i.e. when it needed a huge flow of information to be made. A good reason for unprotecting a page would be if huge discoveries had been made about it and it needed much input, like if someone proved Jesus was a hoax.

    It's also a good thing to have to keep the vandals out, it's been rampant since the John Siegenthaler controversy.
  • Some articles (like the ones in question) are already very comprehensive and offer a good amount of information. There is usually no need to actually edit those articles anymore, so it's all in the best interest of keeping the content good by locking out noobs from vanadalising.
  • Idiotic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by deglr6328 ( 150198 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @05:12AM (#14331597)
    Articles like "George Bush" and "Hitler" are precisely the articles which need this protection THE LEAST!! Those articles must be on like a thousand users watchlists, there's no way vandalism even lasts a few minutes there. It is small obscure articles that aren't watched by anyone hardly that have vandalism last for months and need this kind of protection most! That is impossible however because there are thousands of times more of those articles than there are high profile ones. That is why all totaly anon editing needs to be stopped and a mandatory wait period of say, a week for new users wanting to begin editing articles needs to be put in place. Wiki is already VAST, it doesn't need huge numbers of new articles anymore, it needs to fix the errors in the article it already has and that is the only way it can be semi-reliably accomplished. (full disclosure:I have over 3000 wiki edits and am very familliar with the system used there)
    • Actually... (Score:4, Informative)

      by tmk ( 712144 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @05:33AM (#14331635)
      Actually Wikipedia implements a new feature to identify which articles are on many watch lists. Admins will test it and perhaps it will be available for every user. You can find a German description here [wikipedia.org].

      I wish they would switch the email feature on, so that Wikipedians are informed of changes who do not log in every day.

    • Re:Idiotic (Score:3, Interesting)

      Actually, I have many articles on my Wikipedia watchlist, but I tend to avoid watching "high traffic" articles, because it's far too much work to verify every edit. I wouldn't consider putting a frequently vandalised article on my watchlist, because I don't have enough hours in the day. If all Wikipedia editors are doing the same, then perhaps some of those articles aren't ask widely watched as you might think.

      I think Wikipedia needs to consider a reputation system so that editors can vote for good/bad

    • Now that this system is in place, though, maybe some of those people can stop watching the high-traffic articles and start watching smaller ones, just like you suggested.
    • Re:Idiotic (Score:4, Interesting)

      by squoozer ( 730327 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:16AM (#14332403)

      I agree that all user who want to post should be registered but I think the 6 day cooling off period is going to turn away a lot of people that would otherwise help (me for instance). I have written a couple of articles and edited a few (some edits were to remove abuse). I have done all of that without registering simply because it was quicker but I would still have done it if I had to register first. I wouldn't have done any of it if I had to register and then wait x days simply because that's not how I help with wikipedia. Some people devote hours to writting articles for wikipedia but a lot of us just help out now and then.

      If you _really_ want to stop abuse I suggest this method: Everyone has to be registered to write or edit an article. Each account has a score associated with it. New accounts have zero points the top posters have 100. Every time an edit / addition is made it has to be checked and score 200 points to be accepted. Until it is accepted only registered people can view it. Each registered person can vote for the article either + or -. The number of points awarded to or removed from the article is the number of points assiciated with the moderators account. Each time you get an article or edit accepted your account scores one point. Articles that score -200 are removed and 10 points are deducted from the users account. So, for instance, an article could be accepted with as little as 2 votes from top submitters or 200 votes from people with one accepted article. It might slow down the acceptance of articles but it would ensure that there is no trolling and keep the immediacy in it.

  • Troll summary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @05:12AM (#14331599) Homepage Journal
    "End of the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit" sounds very ominous, but 4 days is nothing. Any halfway serious contributor should have no problem with that waiting period, especially since it is only applied to a small handful of articles. Plus the policy states that it should be applied reactively and not proactively in anticipation that an article may be vandalized. All said, a minor change that has been blown up because of the connection to the Seigenthaler ruckus.
    • In reaction to the Seigenthaler ruckus, *every* change to wikipedia has been magnified a hundredfold, and seen as the spectre of doom, etc, etc. It wouldn't surprise me if there were news sites overreacting to trivial changes in the CSS....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Currently semi-protected articles:

    5: 50 Cent

    A-K
    A: APOCALYPSE pRODUCTION cREW, Adolf Hitler, Anus
    B: Biff Rose, Bill Clinton, Bogdanov Affair
    C: Chuck Norris, Crazy Frog
    D: Daniel Brandt, Disputed status of Gibraltar
    F: French Revolution
    G: George Bush, George W. Bush
    H: History of Gibraltar
    I: Islam in the United States
    J: Japanese media, Jesus, John Kerry

    L-Z
    L: List of warez groups
    N: Nigger
    O: Oklahoma Christian University
    P: Penis, Poop
    R: Ronnie Coleman
    S: Sexual slang, Sound Forge
    T: TV.com, Talk:Bogdanov Affair
    U: U

  • by guardiangod ( 880192 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @05:18AM (#14331615)
    Does this mark the end of the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit?

    No. It marks the beginning of someone taking responsibility for spreading false information.
  • Message (Score:4, Funny)

    by StaticFish ( 839708 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @05:49AM (#14331658) Homepage
    This wikipedia-related article is a stub. You can improve Slashdot by deleting it.
  • Censorship (Score:2, Insightful)

    by axelei ( 843427 )
    Wikipedia doesn't censor texts. Users do.

    Those mechanisms aren't intended to kill the "anyonecanedit", but the "anyonecanvandalize"
  • We Can Only Hope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @06:09AM (#14331679)
    >> Does this mark the end of the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit?"

    We can hope so.

    Letting everyone contribute means your standards sink to the lowest common demoninator, which is lieing, cheating, self-promotion, and the demonstration of ignorance.

    Rather like Slashdot.
  • by Jamesday ( 794888 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @06:09AM (#14331681)
    Obviously it's the end of the wiki anyone can edit, because anyone can no longer edit those parts of it. It's not the beginning of that because it already happened a few weeks ago, with the recent "experimental" ending of the 14,000 new page creations a month by those without an account (about 1/3 of all new pages). That's likely to have a far larger effect on decreasing content creation and improvement.

    Possible negative consequences include creeping de-wikification, if this spreads to pages which are called "finished" or just spreads to a lot of pages.

    Possible positive effects include reduced vandalism, though if a few pages are affected, it seems unlikely to have a significant effect on total vandalism levels.

    So long as it is contained to a hundred or two pages it seems unlikely that semi-protection will do significant harm. It is likely to decrease the chance of seeing silly vandalism on a few hot target pages.

    Personally, I'm more worried about one person choosing to discard 14,000 pages a month based on the story of the day. It seems fairly unlikely, unfortunately, that we'll see Mr. Seigenthaler apologising for the lasting harm he's indirectly caused by provoking that reaction over a silly joke making unbelievable claims about him. So, the correctable and somewhat quality-controlled version of the web is that much weaker.

    For anyone who missed it in the fuss at the time: the offensive content in the Seigenthaler article was first removed by an anonymous contributor. What one put in, another removed. Which is exactly how it's supposed to work.
    • It seems fairly unlikely, unfortunately, that we'll see Mr. Seigenthaler apologising for the lasting harm he's indirectly caused by provoking that reaction over a silly joke making unbelievable claims about him.

      Somebody had to say it. He just happens to be the one who was in the right place at the right time.

      Although he's somewhat harsher on Wikipedia than I would like, Tycho did a very good job explaining why this whole system (allowing errors, and waiting for someone to correct them) just doesn't work ou

  • new system (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sensei_knight ( 177557 ) <sensei_knight AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @06:18AM (#14331698) Homepage
    There should be an equation for article editing. An article should be given a value ranking its popularity and users should be given a rank, ranking their contributions to the wiki community. Only highly valued contributers should be able to modify high ranking entries.
    If you want to edit Hitler you must frist be a proven, intelligent, useful contributer. If you want to write an entry on the superconduction uber widget, knock yourself out. My 2
    • Re:new system (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nutshell42 ( 557890 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @06:35AM (#14331727) Journal
      So let's say Ian Kershaw wants to edit the Hitler article. Should he really be barred from doing so, just because he didn't edit some of wikipedias extensive pokemon articles first?

      Yes, he could edit some other articles about the 3rd Reich or whatever but it nevertheless defeats the purpose of a collaborative encyclopedia where everyone can contribute his/her specific expertise.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 24, 2005 @06:46AM (#14331745)
    I was working on the article on Pieter Villem Botha, a former President of South Africa. Reading through the article I found it said that Botha ordered the bombing of an ANC ("African National Congress") meeting in South Africa...

    I know there are allegations floating around that the South African Secret Service was involved with a bombing like that so where it said in the article "It has been proven that..." I changed that to "It has been alleged that...".

    Five minutes later, some helpful individual reverted the article back to its former state and claimed I was vandalizing the page.

    I went back to the article and changed it back to that the bombing is alleged to have been Botha's work when someone cut in again and added a link to the infamous "Truth and Reconcilation Council" that had somehow proven beyond doubt that Botha was guilty of doing that.

    Now the problem is, whatever the "TRC" comes up with, it will always be the ANC's version of what happened, largely and mainly because the ANC is funding and staffing it, meaning the link to the "hard evidence" is worth crap. However someone who doesn't know any better will swallow the pitch, hook and sinker.

    A group of ideological crazed people with admin rights on Wikipedia have set their minds to the proliferation of the political correct version of history and they'll tolerate zero deviation from that.

    And this is, in a nutshell, why Wikipedia does not work.

    I was going to post this with my slashdot ID but I don't want people to associate my slashdot ID with what I use on Wikipedia. If somebody would donate a mod point to this article I would be much obliged.
    • That's silly. Whatever you think about it, the TRC is the legitimate and internationally recognised authority with regards to the apartheid era in South Africa. Whatever it says is legally the truth, and it's findings are legally way beyond mere allegations and rumours.

      What's next? It is alleged that the Nazis killed millions of Jews? It is alleged that Stalin sent people to the Gulags? Feel free to include a section on groups that are notable for disputing the findings, but changing verified and legally va
      • Whatever it says is legally the truth, and it's findings are legally way beyond mere allegations and rumours.

        Wow! Scary isn't it? You don't happen to be from China, FhnuZoag????
      • "Whatever it says is legally the truth"? If you're going for sarcasm, the rest of your post was a little over the top, but if you're serious, your claim is rather irrelevant to the issue in question.

        First, what is "legally the truth" in South Africa certainly has no force over Wikipedia -- otherwise, Wikipedia would have to publish only glowing reports about countries like North Korea, or about e.g. China's human rights records, where the "official truth" is rather at odds with the known facts.

        In this part
    • I suggest the following approach:

      1. Find reputable news source reporting the disagreement - the more reputable the better. Possibly several.

      2. Change the text to use words to the effect of "The TRC concluded that whatever, a finding which is disputed [cite dispute with source].

      3. Include the source link in the references and also if useful in your edit comments.

      It's a lot less likely that a well sourced edit will be reverted and if it is, the next stop is the talk page to point out that all substantial view
  • by Brushen ( 938011 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @06:55AM (#14331771)
    Hi, I'm the writer of the History of Alaska [wikipedia.org] article on Wikipedia, which appeared on Wikipedia's main page on September 27th. Wikipedia's Director of Featured articles, Raul654, who decides what featured articles [wikipedia.org] go on the main page, has a policy of not using protection on featured articles on the main page. I'm not sure about semi-protection, but when History of Alaska was on the main page, it received a lot of vandalism. On one occasion, someone replaced the Prehistory section with obvious vandalism. I think it might have been something like "native americans suk and brains mom's a whore," and rather than reverting to the last version, another Wikipedia user instead removed the comment, and this went unnoticed for several hours! When I awoke that afternoon, I had to readd the entire prehistory section! This made me wonder how much content is lost, temorarily or permanently, for a time through errors when reverting vandalism in a hurry without checking through the edit history. With vandalism not occuring as often, people will have more time to look through the edit history, I would hope.
  • just drop the "wiki", if it isn't supposed to be editable by the users...
  • by sbaker ( 47485 ) * on Saturday December 24, 2005 @08:28AM (#14331929) Homepage
    Aside from the principles of the thing - that's three articles out of 800,000 that can't be edited by *everyone* - and with the number of members growing at a rate of 5 to 10% per month - anyone who has been a member for a week or so will out of the 'newest 1%' catagory. Sure, more articles will inevitably get added to that list over time - but it's never going to be more than a vanishingly small percentage of articles.

    In terms of practical limitations, that's pretty minor - and if it keeps the site maintainable and useful - it gets my vote.

    As a matter of principle - well, Wiki isn't about giving people the right to free speech - it's about getting facts into an encyclopedia.

    It is believed that the encyclopedia will be better if everyone can edit any article at any time because 'Many eyes make all bugs shallow'. Even as an uninformed layperson looking up Aardvarks, I can spot a spelling mistake in an article and fix it right then and there...but in the case of the kinds of articles being restricted here, there are already PLENTY of eyes on them and adding more won't improve the encyclopedia.

    From that perspective, how likely is it that someone who has authoritative knowledge about those few articles will know something that is verifiable that can't wait one week to be posted?

    You might argue that (say) some insider in the pay of George Bush needs to be able to post especially incriminating evidence that he/she just discovered onto the Wiki page - and might need to do so either urgently - or anonymously. But that kind of information is unverifiable and falls under the 'no original research' criteria which would eliminate it from Wiki anyway. Wiki isn't a news site - information of that kind should be posted elsewhere first - and only end up in the encyclopedia when it's been verified, understood, etc.

    People who visit the Wiki and search on 'George Bush' should not expect to find the latest, juicy tidbits about him there. It's an encyclopedia - they should expect to find historical information that's reasonably well established. It should contain information ABOUT any controversy without actually being controversial itself.

    The VAST amount of work that goes on in the Wiki is far more mundane. The other day, I looked up Red Squirrels - found that a sentance about the number of young they bear was incomprehensible - so I looked the information up on half a dozen web pages about squirrels to find out the truth - and corrected the sentence right then and there.

    Red Squirrels - not reigning US monarchs^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hpresidents.
    • Wiki isn't a news site - information of that kind should be posted elsewhere first - and only end up in the encyclopedia when it's been verified, understood, etc.

      That's mostly true. News coverage should be edited at Wikinews [wikinews.org]

      What I mean by "mostly" is that there is a small amount of acceptable news posted at Wikipedia. That news usually relates to disasters and similar topics.

      For example, the Wikipedia acting-like-a-newspaper coverage of Hurricane Katrina was incredibly well done compared to most
  • The humor of the triumvirate of Jesus, Bush, and Hitler aside, what is needed here is a longer view.

    So what if there is some vandalism. Yes, vandalism is bad. What is important is whether the Wikipedia is useful. I find it useful, not perfect. How many people on this planet are using it now? As more and more people use it, the ethos of actually valuing it will increase. Right now amongst certain kiddies and manics there is some "cool" or "control" that arises from vandalizing or posting a screed. Gra
  • Just as you have a broadway show, and off broadway shows, there should be an off wikipedia level of entry and edit..

    There can be value found in such alternative entries and editing. Perhaps even the application of some sort of slashdot like moderation system.

    Maybe its not time for that yet but doesn't hurt to plan for the future.
  • by mrchris516 ( 765896 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @09:09AM (#14332036)
    Maybe this has already been well discussed, but why doesn't Wikipedia use a system of meta-moderation like slashdot? Before a change was accepted it would have to pass some other random moderators check, who would simply approve or disaprove whether or not the content seemed plausible. What do you think? What do I not know about this debate?
  • Does this mark the end of the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit?

    Anyone with a computer. Think about it.
  • by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2016q1@virtual-estates.net> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:01AM (#14332155) Homepage Journal
    Yes, the entire 50+ volumes from the 1960-ies. There are entire apages missing with articles on certain politicians (primarily -- Soviet, of course), which the party members (no one else was really able to subscribe to the encyclopedia) were instructed to cut out and destroy.

    And my grandfather, of course, abided...

  • by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @01:01PM (#14332742) Homepage Journal
    If Zonk an the Slashdot editorial staff want to take offense at Wiki putting some controls in place, they should get rid of moderation and karma. Conceptually both are means of reducing the visibility of trolls and vandals on a web site and promoting useful content. It's hypocritical to think otherwise.

    Any president is going to be the target of political activists who wish to defame or mock the opposition party. I'm sure Bill Clinton's profile is guarded just as Bush's.

    The fact is nobody wants KKK members editing MLK's profile either.

    Suck it up. There's trolls on the internet and Wiki is doing something to control them.

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