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Wikipedia to crack down on celebrity Wikideaths

Laissez-faire editors reined in

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Wikipedia is preparing a program to combat the leading cause of premature celebrity Wikideath by requiring "experienced volunteer editors" to sign off on changes to certain articles.

The Wikimedia Foundation has said that in coming weeks it will introduce a two-month trial of "flagged revisions," intended to lessen the impact of vandals. Under the system, new or unknown users would be required to have their article alterations vetted before they become viewable to the public. The policy will focus on pages of living, high-profile people and some corporations. Until the changes are approved, readers would only see earlier versions of the article.

The system has already been implemented in the German-language version of Wikipedia for more than a year, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said, and has now been approved for the English-language version in an online poll with 80 per cent of 259 cult members users in favor.

Wikipedia admins currently "protect" articles by locking them down entirely or preventing those without established accounts from making changes. The "flagged revisions" policy addition has been advanced at the behest of Wales for several months now after several publicized outbreaks of Wiki tampering.

In January, US Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd both were reported to have died during Obama's post-inauguration luncheon. Vandals have also performed Wikicide on comedians Sinbad and Paul Reiser, British TV presented Vernon Kay, and moppet Miley Cyrus.

A warning to celebrities: under the new policy of moderating articles of living people, fledgling Wikifiddlers can still tamper with your article - only now they have kill you first. ®

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