What Wikipedia's new flagged revisions system actually means

You may have heard that Wikipedia has failed as a collaborative project, given up on letting anyone edit and instead put in a system where only a few trusted editors can work on bios of living people. You did?

It's a lie.

Turns out, what Wikipedia has done is instituted a system whereby a trusted editor can flag a bio of a living person as being vandalism free. This means that vandalism-fighters can simply look at all the edits since the last vandalism-free certification as a means of quickly finding and reverting bad edits.

Of course, that's complicated, useful, clever, and doesn't confirm the biases of all those people who are convinced that Wikipedia must fail.

The first is called "flagged protection". When this feature is enabled for an article, edits are possible but they will not be visible to the general public until an established editor flags the article as free of vandalism. This approach--the one discussed in the media--has been around for quite a while. It was adopted by the German-language Wikipedia in 2008 and following some high profile vandalism in January 2009, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales strongly advocated its adoption on the English version.

The second approach is called "patrolled revisions". It uses the same flagging system as the first but the flags are informational only; edits go live immediately but visitors can see whether the article has been vetted or not.

The truth about Wikipedia's flagged revisions (via Everything is Miscellaneous)