“Living People” Wikipedia Entries
The NY Times reported today that Wikipedia will limit changes made about living people. The policy change comes from embarrassingly inaccurate information posted about individuals that was false and even defamatory. The quote from the Chairman of the Wikipedia Board caught my eye.
Wikipedia, one of the 10 most popular sites on the Web, was founded about eight years ago as a long-shot experiment to create a free encyclopedia from the contributions of volunteers, all with the power to edit, and presumably improve, the content.
…the English-language Wikipedia will begin imposing a layer of editorial review on articles about living people.
The new feature, called “flagged revisions,” will require that an experienced volunteer editor for Wikipedia sign off on any change made by the public before it can go live. Until the change is approved — or in Wikispeak, flagged — it will sit invisibly on Wikipedia’s servers, and visitors will be directed to the earlier version.
The change is part of a growing realization on the part of Wikipedia’s leaders that as the site grows more influential, they must transform its embrace-the-chaos culture into something more mature and dependable…
“We are no longer at the point that it is acceptable to throw things at the wall and see what sticks,” said Michael Snow, a lawyer in Seattle who is the chairman of the Wikimedia board. “There was a time probably when the community was more forgiving of things that were inaccurate or fudged in some fashion — whether simply misunderstood or an author had some ax to grind. There is less tolerance for that sort of problem now.”