Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-04-23/Virginia Tech

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Virginia Tech massacre articles rise to prominence

By Phoenix2, 23 April 2007

The article on the massacre that occurred last Monday in Blacksburg, Virginia had humble beginnings. It was created with the above 18 words by Taoster some two hours after the second shooting incident, and has since been edited nearly 7,500 times by more than 2,000 unique editors and is now more than 5,000 words long. Each revision has lasted for an average time of only 70 seconds.

In less than one week, it rose to the #2 article position on the top 100 list according to WikiCharts (effectively #1, since the top position belongs to the main page). When the flurry of edits began, it was requested that the article remain unprotected because it is linked to as a news item on the main page. Administrators found a compromise to the consistent vandalism by semi-protecting the article in short segments of roughly 3 hours, hoping to thwart off casual vandals. It has since been semi-protected 12 times, a status under which it remains as of press time. Natalie Erin and Kizor have led the way; the former editing the page more than 170 times since its conception. The two, as well as Swatjester, also figured in a New York Times story covering the development of the article.

On the day of the incident, a timelapse video was created, quickly running through screenshots of the article's first twelve hours. It was uploaded to YouTube, where it has been viewed nearly 40,000 times. On Thursday, Dalejenkins nominated the Virginia Tech massacre article for featured status. However, the nomination was delisted by Michaelas10 7 hours later, after nearly 20 opposing comments that all cited a lack of stability.

The article on Virginia Tech itself has been semi-protected since Monday afternoon. Articles currently exist for three faculty victims of the massacre, though one is being reviewed after a decision was made to cut off discussion on its possible deletion. A fourth was deleted Sunday after exhaustive discussion. Also proposed for deletion are inaccurate media reports, a list of victims, and a navigational template. The article for Seung-Hui Cho, the man confirmed to be the shooter, has been edited nearly 2,500 times since TedFrank created it. It has been the target of a number of malicious edits, and remains semi-protected. There was also confusion over the article's title; as Korean names list the family name first, he may be known as Cho Seung-Hui and Seung Cho.

April 20, 2007 marked the eighth anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado. The milestone, combined with the discovered connections between the two incidents, propelled the article to the fourth most-viewed for the month of April, behind Seung-Hui Cho. It is currently semi-protected; the new interest may have been detrimental, as the article is now under review to challenge its featured status, which it received in August of 2005.

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