Bizwiki Blog

Wikipedia to Control Changes to Articles About People

According to the New York Times, in a move to tighten up control of sensitive information Wikipedia will soon require approval from an experienced editor before changes to articles about living people are displayed on the site.

In February we reported that Wikipedia was considering just such a move in our post Wikipedia breaks with the tradition of ‘Anything Goes’. They are now going ahead with what is being termed “flagged revisions” which means that any revisions done to articles about living people will not be published instantly but rather be flagged and reviewed by an experienced editor. If it’s approved, the revision will then be published and visible to the general public.

This is very similar to the way Bizwiki works, with editors involved in the approval and moderation of new company data and business information. The difference is that we do this for all records, rather than just some, because we believe it’s vitally important that users can trust and rely on the site’s information.

With people from school children to journalists to CEO’s citing Wikipedia as a reference, ensuring the accuracy of the articles has to be paramount. Mr. Wales, Wikipedia’s founder, obviously agrees and is taking steps towards protecting both Wikipedia’s information and its reputation.

This additional step in the process is sure to be controversial as it means editing these articles will no longer be instant, and the division of experienced volunteer editors from new users is a move away from treating everyone as equal contributors of knowledge. However, I see it more as a necessary maturation of their approach as more and more people are relying on their site for information.

If anything, my prediction is that this trend will continue, with Wikipedia gradually tightening up the control of other sections of the site. With the breadth of articles on Wikipedia now being so huge they can afford to slow down the acceptance of new information for the sake of accuracy and honesty.

They can afford to lose speed, but not trust.

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