Wikipedia plans to launch editorial controls
After eight years of allowing anyone to edit entries on Wikipedia, the non-profit foundation that runs the online encyclopedia is planning to add a feature that requires editors to sign off on some entries.
The Wikimedia Foundation is planning on testing a feature called "flagged revisions," whereby entries on living people will need to be vetted by an experienced editor.
The feature is already in use on the German version of Wikipedia, and some biographies of prominent or controversial figures have been "protected" to prevent vandalism of their entries.
The planned policy change comes in response to a criticism that has been levelled at the online encyclopedia since it first gained popularity: that allowing anyone to make changes invites errors and abuse of the system.
Earlier this year a false entry was posted claiming U.S. senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd had died after an inaugural luncheon in January.
"I think they realize they have to move away from the 'embrace the chaos' idea and start to have some credibility and maturity," said DigitalJournal.com managing editor David Silverberg.
"There have been a few hoaxes and really glaring errors that have caused a lot of embarrassment and I think they want to move past that," he told CBC News.
The policy change is likely to be discussed when Wikipedia editors meet in Buenos Aires on Wednesday at the group's annual conference, though no timetable has been set for its introduction.