Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2006-07-10/More stable versions

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The Wikipedia Signpost

Creating stable versions using existing software proposed

By Michael Snow, 10 July 2006

A new proposal to implement stable versions of articles was put up for community discussion last week. While most plans for identifying stable, quality-reviewed versions have been awaiting anticipated support for such a feature in the MediaWiki software, this proposal, dubbed "Stable versions now", would be capable of use without any additional features.

The plan, suggested by Gmaxwell, involves moving articles to a development subpage once an acceptable revision has been found to serve as the stable version. The wikitext of that revision would then be copied into article's original location and protected. The two versions should be labeled with {{stableversion}} and {{development}} templates, respectively. The article can be "destabilised" at any point by deleting the protected article and moving the development version back to that location.

Any article "of a reasonable quality level" is theoretically qualified for this proposal, without needing other designated such as featured article or good article status. The article "must contain no obvious factual, grammatical, or typographical errors and must contain at least some level of referencing." To avoid actual content forking, the protected stable article generally should not be edited for any reason, only replaced with a new revision from the development version once that is chosen.

Gmaxwell also recommended that only actively edited articles be stabilised. He explained that he hoped people would regularly "resync" the article to a new stable version. However, he said the proposal was not intended for use on controversial articles, since consensus on a particular version would be impossible to get. The effort to solve the problem of controversial articles, which Gmaxwell called a minority of articles, is what he said has made previous technical designs too complex to implement.

The proposal received an enthusiastic response from some editors, and Wikimedia Foundation interim Executive Director Brad Patrick commented, "I love it." Others raised questions about the need for administrator involvement, since the stable article would be protected and destabilisation requires the ability to delete. SPUI called it, "Yet another piece of the growing divide between admins and non-admins." Gmaxwell responded that protection was necessary to prevent a fork of the article. Lar said he thought it was a good idea and recommended trying it as an experiment on a few articles before going further.

Also this week: Reuters

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