A few stories have emerged over the last week around open online encyclopedia Wikipedia. The funny thing is the stories are quite polarized in terms of “openness”.
The popular book “Wikipedia: The Missing Manual” by O’Reilly Media, which is normally purchased in paperback for $29.99, will now be available for FREE on Wikipedia itself. The book is just as editable as Wikipedia is, so as content is changed and added, it may one day wind up in the print version of the book.
On the other end of the “open” spectrum, as disclosed on ReadWriteWeb last week, Wikipedia may be heading towards a stricter, less “open” form of editing.
“The New York Times reported that Wikipedia is considering moving away from its free and open editing system to a method that delays changes from appearing on the site until an authorized user has verified them.”
It seems that users that have been deemed trustworthy will be allowed to edit posts, but how will Wikipedia determine this distinction? This will definitely make it harder for vandals to simply sign up and do their damage in a matter of seconds, but will it stunt the continued open growth of Wikipedia? Almost three fourths of all edits on the site are done by 2% of the user population (1400 users), so placing restrictions may not be too detrimental.