Wikipedia, a free, web-based encyclopedia and one of the world's most popular websites, will soon implement a feature that will require an experienced editor to sign off on any changes to articles on living people.
The new feature, dubbed "flagged revisions", is detailed on the Wikipedia website and is intended to make the encyclopedia more accurate. Flagged revisions are expected to be implemented in a matter of weeks, and it will initially restrict changes to articles on living people.
In recent years, a number of high-profile false entries have resulted in criticism of Wikipedia's anyone-can-contribute system. Through flagged revisions, changes to certain articles will need to be approved by an experienced editor before becoming publicly viewable.
Speaking to The New York Times, Michael Snow, chairman of the Wikimedia board, said: "We are no longer at the point that it is acceptable to throw things at the wall and see what sticks. There was a time probably when the community was more forgiving of things that were inaccurate or fudged in some fashion - whether simply misunderstood or an author had some axe to grind. There is less tolerance for that sort of problem now."
Although flagged revisions may help improve the accuracy of the hugely-popular website, it may also deter contributers. Hoping to ease the fears of regular users, founder Jimmy Wales states that flagged revisions "is a test", adding that Wikipedia "will be interested to see all the questions raised. How long will it take for something to be approved? Will it take a couple of minutes, days, weeks?".