Wikipedia considers limiting user access

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Wikipedia considers limiting user access

Wikipedia is considering changing the rules under which people can contribute to the online encyclopaedia.

The Wikimedia Foundation said that it is responding to increasing incidences of incorrect information being put up on the site, and may change the system so that input from non-established users is checked before going live.

The so-called Flagged Revisions system has already been trialled on the German version of the site.

Registered contributors who are considered reliable are allowed to make instant changes and check other entries before allowing them to go live.

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said that the issue had come to a head after several people reported incorrectly that Senators Edward Kennedy and Robert Byrd had died at an inaugural lunch.

"This nonsense would have been 100 per cent prevented by Flagged Revisions. It could also have been prevented by protection or semi-protection, but this is a prime example of why we don't want to protect or semi-protect articles," he said.

"This was a breaking news story and we want people to be able to participate (so protection is out) and even to participate in good faith for the first time (so semi-protection is out)."

Wales acknowledged that there are problems with this system.

The time taken to approve or delete some additions during the German trial was as long as three weeks, but this could come down to seven days if adopted wholesale.

The proposal has provoked an angry response from some Wikipedia users, and Wales has issued a call for alternative proposals that he will put to the membership.

"The minority who are opposed to this are invited to make an alternative proposal within the next seven days, to be voted on for the next 14 days after that, a proposal which is clearly aware that you are in the minority and that does not attempt to simply re-hold the same vote," he said.

"I ask you to seek some detailed policy around the use of the feature that you think both you and the supporters can agree on.

"Simply engaging in FUD and screaming is not going to be helpful, but I trust that, outside of a few, most of the people opposed can actually work with others to find a reasonable and responsible compromise."

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