Washington: Wikipedia is considering tightening its rules on who can edit the online encyclopedia after vandals last week changed the entries of two US senators to erroneously report that they had died.
Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, proposed the change, which is being called “Flagged Revisions,” after the vandalism of the entries on Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Robert Byrd.
The proposal, which was approved 60-40 by participants in an online poll, would not allow first-time or anonymous users to make instant edits but would require that they be approved first by trusted users.
“This nonsense would have been 100% prevented by Flagged Revisions,” Wales wrote on the Wikipedia user forum page.
The proposal has sparked a heated debate on the forum. Wikipedia prides itself on allowing anyone with an Internet connection to contribute or edit content.
Wales expressed concern that the new procedure could delay the publication of some items but said he believed it was necessary.
He gave opponents two weeks to come up with another proposal.
“Those who are in the minority who are opposed to this are invited to make an alternative proposal within the next seven days, to be voted upon for the next 14 days after that,” Wales said.
Wikipedia is one of the most-visited sites on the Internet and attracts roughly six million visitors a day.
Kennedy, who is suffering from brain cancer, collapsed at a luncheon last week after the inauguration of Barack Obama as US president and was briefly hospitalized.
His Wikipedia entry was changed shortly afterwards to say that he had died but was corrected within minutes.