Karthik Subramanian

This will make it easy for people to edit our articles, says Jimmy Wales

  • "Vandalism is usually done by people who log in and immediately edit"
  • The web site also looks at a tool that will help the community flag the best articles

    CHENNAI: In a freewheeling chat with The Hindu at the Wikicamp on Sunday, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said the web site's recent decision to announce a `semi-protection' policy for some of its articles had been misinterpreted as a measure of control.

    "We have always had protection for some of our articles. Rather than a `full-protection', the semi-protection policy actually makes it easy for people to edit our articles. Users who have been registered with us for more than four days now have editing rights. We made this rule because we found out that vandalism is usually done by people who log in and immediately edit."

    He pointed out Wikipedia was looking at tools that would improve its credibility. "We are working on a tool that would help the community flag the best articles. Ultimately we want to segregate the best articles, based on the community's votes, and bundle them offline as a CD or even a book and reach that to people who do not have Internet access or computers."

    Wikicamp India's first-ever `unconference' on the online phenomenon that Wikipedia is struck the right chord with participants, leaving them gasping for more at the end of the daylong event.

    In his interactions with groups of participants and volunteers, Mr. Wales stressed his policy "free knowledge for free minds" and the need to work for the benefit of the community.

    The Wikicamp was also an opportunity for the local Wikipedians who have spent several hours creating or editing articles for the free resource to share their experience.

    Gangadhar Bhadani, a Bank of India employee from Pondicherry, made a presentation on "Wiki for Dummies." Since March 24, 2005, when he registered himself with Wikipedia, Mr. Bhadani (user name: Bhadani) has created over 500 new articles and has an edit count of 42,000 plus. (An edit count is created for every editing session.) He ranks 54th in the overall list of Wikipedia Editors.

    L. Sundar (user: Sundar), a graduate of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, is one of the pioneers of Tamil wikis. He has over 7,000 edits to his credit, a majority of them for Tamil articles.

    Ganesh Krishnamurthy (user: Ganeshk), a software engineer in California, has created a bot (an automatic process that interacts with Wikipedia as though it were a human editor) that automatically creates articles based on the data provided in the Census of India, 2001. Other Wikipedia users have used Ganeshbot too.

    Bhadani, Sundar and Ganeshk have won the appreciation of Wikipedia users the Wikipedia way. They all received barn stars as photo files from other editors that they display in their user pages.

    The barn stars are in recognition of their efforts.