Germans try revamping Wikipedia
Wikipedia, the free-for-all encyclopedia to which anyone can contribute, will begin experimenting with a more hierarchical approach. Jimmy Wales, the site's founder, has told that the German version of the online encyclopedia will soon test a system wherein veteran users approve the content submissions of relative newcomers. Per "As always, anyone will be able to make article edits. But it would take someone who has been around Wikipedia for some yet-to-be-determined period of time -- and who, therefore, has passed a threshold of trustworthiness -- to make the edits live on the public site."

Though limited to Germany for now, if successful, the move could migrate to the main, English-language site which has struggled with problems of accuracy and vandalism. Ars Technica notes that "the move comes in response to a German court decision early this year that ruled against Wikipedia for publishing the name of a deceased hacker whose family was involved in a court case over his death." Apparently, in Germany, "simply claiming that 'but anyone can edit, your honor!' isn't going to cut it anymore."

What Wikipedia is trying may be new to the site, but it's not new to the Web. eBay members rate each other, of course, and Slashdot readers rate posts, among many other examples. But such rating systems can bring their own problems. Lee Gomes of the Wall Street Journal summarizes the problems neatly (paid subscription required) in an article on the troubles that Yahoo Answers has had with just such a "points economy."
Posted by Oliver Ryan 10:08 AM 0 Comments comment | Add a Comment

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