By Charles Jade | Published: August 06, 2005 – 01:51PM CT
Hundreds of developers and thousands of users and contributors will be meeting at Wikimania in Frankfurt this week to discuss the future of wikimedia, as well as the online encyclopedia. Ironically, Wikipedia’s greatest strength, the users creating content, may also be its biggest weakness. Jimmy Wales, a founder of Wikipedia, gave an interview in a German newspaper concerning that issue. The interview cited an example of apparent malfeasance in which a contributor to an article on Pope Benedict substituted the Pontiff’s photo with that of Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars films. The article then reported that Wales suggested “There may soon be so-called stable contents. In this case, we’d freeze the pages whose quality is undisputed.”
As a big fan and user of Wikipedia, the idea of “freezing” out contributors from editing articles seems like a horrible idea–say it ain’t so, Jimbo!
I spoke to one journalist about our longstanding discussions of how to create a “stable version” or “Wikipedia 1.0”. This would not involve substantial changes to how we do our usual work, but rather a new process for identifying our best work.
There was no “announcement”. We are constantly reviewing our policies and looking for ways to improve, but we have not “announced” anything. We don’t even really work that way… if you know how Wikipedia works, it’s through a long process of community discussion and consensus building, not through a process of top-down announcements.
What happened was that the report got changed being translated between languages and wasn’t checked with the source before being published by the professionals. How shocking that the news wires, the top-down press, got it completely wrong. If only they were as quick as Wikipedia in correcting their mistakes. Don’t hold your breath. Perhaps it’s time for Wikinews.