Wikipedia Draws the Line

The online encyclopedia will require editors sign off on changes contributors make to biography pages

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It is no surprise that Wikipedia, exemplar of collaboration on the Web, is making waves by deciding to become less inclusive. But did the online encyclopedia's new system for changing the biographies of the living represent a crossing of "a psychological Rubicon," as The New York Times wrote? How's it playing on the Web?

  • Who Watches The Watchers? Tech.Blorge's Dave Jeyes said experienced editors are "clearly not immune to personal or political squabbles any more than the rest of us as Wikipedia’s Founder, Jimmy Wales has proven." Jeyes cites blog articles that accused Wales of cleaning up the Wikipedia page about his girlfriend. The Times said it worked with Wikipedia to "suppress information" about the kidnapping and imprisonment by the Taliban of one of its reporters, David Rohde, in order to protect his life. National Review's John J. Miller accused Wikipedia of liberal bias and called on conservatives to contribute more often to balance entries.
  • Credit for Adapting Mashable's Ben Parr said errors that stay up for days or weeks on Wikipedia has been one of the site's biggest drawbacks. "The new flagged revisions feature is really the only effective way to address the issue of inaccuracy," he wrote. The Moderate Voice's Joe Windish said Wikipedia's editors take their responsibilities seriously and that the new system may or may not work. "What’s best about it is that the Wikipedia editorial community will watch and wonder about and debate it. And if it should not succeed, they will try and try again."
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