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Wikipedia will require trusted editors to approve changes

According to the New York Times, Wikipedia is making a move away from a democratic free-for-all system where anyone and everyone can edit any article. Instead, the site will require that changes to articles about living people be approved by trusted users.

As fans of Spider-Man are aware, with great power comes great responsibility. Wikipedia's massive growth over the past few years, and its emergence as a trusted source of information, has led the board of the Wikimedia Foundation (which oversees Wikipedia) to make changes that would put more power in the hands of the site's trusted contributors.

Apparently, the German-language Wikipedia has been doing this for about a year, and not just on pages dealing with living people. The English version seems to be moving in the same direction. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales sees this as a test, to make sure the new approval process will go smoothly before rolling it out to all articles. This could be a practical step toward improving the quality of Wikipedia, but it seems to signal a retreat from the philosophy on which the site was founded. It might be worth retreating, however, to deal with the frequent, sometimes high-profile, incidents of vandalism on Wikipedia.

Tags: news, policy, wikimedia, wikipedia