2006 proposed approval for anonymous edits
The 2006 proposed approval for anonymous edits was mentioned in passing at Wikimania 2006, and the press grabbed it and ran with it. This page is to set the record straight on what is intended. There's barely anything to base "news" on, but tell the press that.
This is an experiment. It is currently planned to test the feature on de: Wikipedia. If it works well there it may be tried on other wikis. If it doesn't work well on de:, it will be switched off there and we'll have to think of other things to try.
Jimbo's (semi-official, referable) take on the subject was on Slashdot on 31 August 2006.
P. Birken wrote a status update regarding the feature on de: to foundation-l on 17 September 2006.
"Approved" versions on Wikipedia FAQ
- On 30 August, after much ComCom discussion, David Gerard wrote a FAQ for the press and for Wikipedia editors. Original version. Amgine then rewrote this page in much more detail for outside journalists and internal use.
- If editing this text, please leave the URLs as-is, so this text can be cut-and-pasted to plain text email as needed.
The Wikipedia community has discussed potential methods of displaying "approved" versions of articles since shortly after the project began in 2001. (Wikipedia was originally put forward as a possible source of raw material for approval by the Nupedia project.)
From these discussions, the German language Wikipedia is currently developing an implementation to be tested in the near future.
What is changing?
The default view for casual (not logged in) readers visiting the German Wikipedia (http://de.wikipedia.org/) will be slightly modified. Some articles will display the latest version that has been flagged as "non-vandalised" or "confirmed", with a link to the current working version. For logged-in readers and editors, nothing will change.
This change will only be on the German Wikipedia and only for the testing period. If the feature works well there, it may be made available for other Wikimedia wikis if their community approves it.
We want to open up editing without damaging the reader's experience.
We want to be more wiki and let editors edit freely, which is where all the good things come from. At present a small percentage of articles are locked or partially locked from editing. We want to open these up. But Wikipedia is a top 20 website (Alexa ratings, no. 17 on 3 month average; no. 15 on 30 August 2006 — http://www.alexa.com/), so we must maintain or improve the readers' experience.
How does it work?
The details are very vague at present as the feature is still being written and policy is being decided; all below is speculative.
All edits to Wikipedia articles are available in the article's history. The new system will allow an experienced editor to mark a version as "not-vandalised." The marker is called a "version flag." When a casual reader loads an article, the Wikipedia software will display the most recent flagged version.
Under the current proposal, almost all editors will automatically have the ability to mark an article version as non-vandalised. Furthermore, when an experienced user edits an article, that version will automatically be marked not-vandalised, so very recent versions will always be available.
A second version flag, a "confirmed" flag, is also being considered. The community is still discussing how this flag will work. It has not yet been decided who will be able to mark a confirmed version, but the most recent article version marked with either flag is the one which will be displayed by default.
When there are more recent versions than the flagged one, the 'edit' tab will be replaced by a link to the most current version, allowing anyone to view or edit the current working version.
When was this proposed?
The first specific proposal to develop a "fixed" version of Wikipedia articles came in August of 2001. Many variations have been discussed since then.
The current proposal grew out of such discussions within the German Wikipedia community. In June 2006, they asked the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation to run the experiment. The software and policy implementations are still being discussed.
- Not as wiki as it used to be (Bill Thompson, BBC) — note link to correction.
- Wikipedia to close doors on approvals (Platinax.co.uk) — largely based on Bill Thompson article, updated to reflect later developments.
- Not As Wiki As It Used To Be (Slashdot) — based on Bill Thompson story
- More Wiki Than Ever (Slashdot) — long reply by Jimbo to previous story
- w:Wikipedia:Timed article change stabilisation mechanism - a very similar proposal for implementation for the English version