Wikipedia To Highlight New Editors’ Changes?

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The current rumour is that Wikipedia intends to add a highlighting system based on the level of experience the editors of a particular article might have. This means that new editor’s changes would be immediately recognisable as potentially incorrect.

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Wikipedia’s decision last week to add ‘flagged updates’ to articles about living celebrities (in an attempt to curb the pronouncements of death that plague the online encyclopaedia) was received with some trepidation, as it required ‘experienced editors’ to approve the changes made by infrequent contributors. Given that move to the flagged revisions system in some articles already, this move could be made quickly and relatively easily.

The only real problem here is that it assumes a certain level of reliability on the part of repeat contributors. There are Wikipedia editors out there whose tenacity makes reversing incorrect statements a practical impossibility. Indeed, there are some who’ve said that the only reason they don’t manage their own Wikipedia entries is that correcting the information would only lead to the incorrect information being posted again by the next morning.

Whether or not the ability to highlight new editors would actually make any real difference to the average, non-contributing Wikipedia user is something we imagine we can’t know until it’s actually rolled out, but for our money it seems likely that this is one feature that Wikipedia likely won’t benefit too much from.

For us, part of the fun of Wikipedia is in its status as a ‘quantum encyclopedia’ – the right information has been present, at one stage or another, but whether or not it’ll be what you see on the main page is really anyone’s guess.

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