In an article published by the Huffington Post's United Kingdom edition, writer Thomas Church asserts that the new VisualEditor will change history, literally. It says that Wikipedia's mark-up language has been to its advantage, as most people didn't bother trying to learn it:
Unknowingly, this learning-barrier has been to Wikipedia's advantage for many years. People with ulterior motives have been put off from re-writing history, because the pen doesn't work. So far, those who do have the patience to make the pen work are faced with a team of Wikipedia volunteers (hawks) criticising and verifying their words. And to date, that's been enough.
When VisualEditor is released, however, anyone will be able to edit, without having to climb over the barrier that is wikimarkup. Church argues that Wikipedians will be swamped, and false information will last longer in Wikipedia. Mirroring concerns ("Citogenesis") made by cartoonist Randall Munroe in November 2011, he outlines a four-step process that he believes those with ulterior motives will employ, though it goes against Wikipedia policy:
Write a "fact" in Wikipedia.
Write the same fact in an article citing Wikipedia as the source.
Go back to Wikipedia and cite the article as the source.
The fact now has a citation and becomes true for all eternity.
Though Wikipedia will undoubtedly attract more editors, the web can be a double-edged sword. If Church's nightmare scenario comes about, and "marketers" are successful in enforcing some of their views and ideas into Wikipedia articles, he believes that the marketers will only hasten their own demise, because people in general are aware of their tactics and will simply "trust them less."
As for when this might occur, Tech2.in.com, citing a Wikimedia Foundation blog post, is reporting that the VisualEditor will be rolled out soon to randomly selected new accounts, tracking new information and additional bugs, as a beta test (a wider rollout is planned for the first week of July). The alpha test, which lacks some core functionality, has been available to registered users for some time and has garnered mixed reviews.
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