The BBC ran an item last week about changes planned for Wikipedia's German-language Wikipedia site, and much discussion followed, including follow-up comments by the BBC article's author, tech critic Bill Thompson. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales argues that Thompson's analysis for the BBC was less than clear, and Wales shared a rebuttal with Slashdot. Snip:
* PROTECTION - NO ONE can edit, NO ONE can affect the public version
* SEMI-PROTECTION - all except new users and anons can edit, all except new users and anons can affect the public versions
* VERSION FLAGGING - ANYONE can edit, all except new users and anons can affect the public versions
As you can see, each step of this chain allows MORE people to do MORE things, rather than less. Each step of this chain is becoming MORE wiki, not LESS wiki.
The news media has an unfortunate temptation to follow a story arc that goes something like this. "Open editing is impossible. It worked for a little while at Wikipedia, but now even Wikipedia is admitting that it does not work, so they are closing off public editing step by step. This proves that our traditional model is best in the end."
The fact that this story arc has no relationship to the reality of changes in Wikipedia has not stopped them. I am hopeful that this post will catch enough attention that journalists will start to grasp the real revolution that is taking place here.
Link to full text. Also worth reading: CNET ran a related story by Daniel Terdiman last week, Link.
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