August 5, 2005
Web’s Wikipedia to tighten editorial rules-founder
BERLIN (Reuters) - Wikipedia, the Web encyclopaedia written
and edited by Internet users from all over the world, plans to
impose stricter editorial rules to prevent vandalism of its
content, founder Jimmy Wales was quoted as saying Friday.
In an interview with German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung,
Wales, who launched Wikipedia with partner Larry Sanger in
2001, said it needed to find a balance between protecting
information from abuse and providing open access to improve
"There may soon be so-called stable contents. In this case,
we'd freeze the pages whose quality is undisputed," he said.
Citing a recent example of vandalism, Wales recalled how
following the election of the new Pope Benedict in April, a
user substituted the pontiff's photo on the Wikipedia site with
that of the evil emperor from the Star Wars film series.
"The picture was only on the page for a minute. But whoever
opens the article at this moment will get annoyed -- and
therefore doubt our credibility," he told the paper.
Restricting access to entries particularly susceptible to
unwanted attention could be one way of preventing this, he
Wales has been at a meeting of those behind the successful
free encyclopaedia in Frankfurt, which lasts until Monday.
He said that setting up a form of "commission" might be one
way of deciding which entries could be "frozen" in perpetuity.
Since its inception, Wikipedia has attracted millions of
users from around the world and published more than one million
articles in over 105 languages, according to its Web Site.
Breaking news on big stories frequently makes its way into
Wikipedia entries hours or even minutes after being reported.
As of Aug. 5, at 1530 GMT, the number of its articles in
English and German alone had reached almost 940,000.