German Wikipedia trials approval system in attempt to thwart vandals

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wikipedia_vandal.gifThink of Wikipedia and what comes to mind? Articles containing less than accurate information, personal opinion, propaganda, and vandalism, perhaps?

Vandals have long plagued the open editing system that underlies the Wikipedia system. The strength of allowing contribution from the masses is also a downfall as people hijack articles for their own causes or amusement.

Now, the German version of Wikipedia wants to fight back, and is to begin trials of a moderation system that will keep page edits private until a “checker” reviews and approves it.

Around 450,000 of the three-quarters of a million articles on the site have already been checked, and are now flagged so that future changes will need to be approved by the current team of 3,000.

Checkers are primarily checking for outright vandalism and obscenities, rather than fact-checking, so the scheme won’t likely cut down on false information. The prerequisite for a checker is that they have made 300 non-vandalistic edits to Wikipedia.

It will be interesting to see what difference this makes to the overall quality of Wikipedia. If it’s a success, ti will likely be rolled out across all local versions of the online encyclopaedia.

Wikipedia Germany (via NY Times)

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Andy Merrett