Fake Deaths May Force Changes in Wikipedia

Site considers blocking users from direct edits
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2009 1:57 AM CST
Fake Deaths May Force Changes in Wikipedia
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, answers a question during a 2007 interview.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, file)

(Newser) – The greatly exaggerated deaths of Sens. Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy last week on Wikipedia has sparked a push for a radical change in how the site's information is edited, Wired reports. The edits, traditionally open to all users, gave the false impression that both lawmakers had died. Founder Jimmy Wales is calling for "flagged revisions" which would ensure that changes made by unregistered users are first reviewed by editors before they appear on the site.

A final decision has  apparently not yet been reached. A majority of users approve of the change, but the issue remains controversial. Many say the speedy correction of the Byrd and Kennedy entries proves that the existing system works. "It took less than 5 minutes for the vandalism to be removed, and that's  impressive," wrote  one user. "Instead of being proud of your users, you take it as an opportunity to push for flagged revisions." (Read more Wikipedia stories.)

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