Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-05-12/Sighted revisions

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The Wikipedia Signpost

Sighted revisions introduced on the German Wikipedia

By Ral315, 12 May, 2008

The German Wikipedia introduced sighted revisions this week. With the feature, any page with a "sighted revision" shows the sighted revision by default to non-logged-in users; logged-in users, by default, view the most recent revision, whether it has been sighted or not.

Sighted revisions has been in the works for a while, and is available via the MediaWiki extension known as FlaggedRevs. This feature is intended by many as an alternative to traditional semi-protection, particularly on high-profile pages like George W. Bush, to allow good-faith edits while avoiding the very visible vandalism that comes with open editing.

The German Wikipedia is acting as the testing ground for this feature, as that community has been very vocal in their support of such a feature. It is expected that their experiences will affect how the English Wikipedia uses the feature. Testing there is expected to last for several weeks at the least before it is enabled here.

How it works

As proposed, the process would be handled via a user right known as "Surveyor". This right would be granted liberally; on the German Wikipedia; current requirements are two months of editing and 200 article edits (the same requirements that they have for voting in their requests for adminship process). The current English proposal would require an account 30 days old, at least 15 days since the user's first edit, 150 edits, 30 article edits, 10 different articles edited, and a confirmed e-mail account. The right can be revoked as necessary by administrators.

Members of the surveyor user group have the ability to mark pages as sighted, have access to a list of unreviewed pages, and can use the rollback feature.

Some parts of the process are largely automatic. New articles created by members of the surveyor group, and edits made to a sighted version by a surveyor, are automatically marked as sighted. The process can also be handled manually; articles can be marked as "sighted" either while editing (through a checkbox similar to the minor edit checkbox) or without making an edit to the article.

At press time, 16.62 percent of German articles have been flagged, with the extension active for about eight days.

Quality revisions

The FlaggedRevs extension is highly configurable, and can be used to identify articles in more sophisticated ways than simply "sighted" or not. A second proposal on English Wikipedia would create a level known as a quality revision for some pages. On the most developed or most visited pages, a quality revision would show that the version "conforms to all our content policies". These quality revisions would hold precedence over sighted revisions, and would display to logged-out readers (logged-in readers would have the option of viewing the quality version, or the current version).

Only users in the reviewer user group would be able to grant this status. It is unclear who would be part of this group; bureaucrats would be granted the ability to give this status, and it appears, by the current proposal, that it would be given to a small subset of the community, particularly those heavily involved in quality assurance processes such as featured article candidates and good article nominations. Pages could also, through this process, be flagged as good or featured by users in the reviewer group.

At least on the English Wikipedia, the entire process is proposed, with details still to be hammered out on many important issues. However, with the German community embracing flagged revisions, it is likely that the feature will be enabled on the English Wikipedia within the next few months.

Also this week:

Pornography — Sighted revisions — Copyright claim — Policy updates — Citizendium 2 — Board elections — Maker Faire — IP block exemption — WikiWorld — News and notes — In the news — Dispatches — Features and admins — Technology report — Arbitration report

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