Wikipedia fights ‘living dead’ celebrities

26 Aug 2009

The continual submission of false articles reporting the supposed death of various celebrities, known as ‘wikicide’, has led Wikipedia to tight its controls on the editing of articles on living people.

A new system called ‘flagged revisions’ has introduced the requirement of a senior editor to sign off on any changes made to such articles.

“The move is part of an effort to prevent vandalism and unconstructive edits being made to high-profile pages and increase content quality,” said Wikipedia.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has stated that the role of senior volunteer editor has a “very, very low threshold to entry” and will thus preserves the ethos of Wikipedia as a collaborative online encyclopedia rather than have introduce a hierarchical system.

“We’re looking at anybody who has been around a very short period of time and hasn’t been blocked [banned],” he said.

Previous article edits claimed that both US Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd had passed away in January 2009 while UK TV presenter Vernon Kay and popstar Miley Cyrus were also reported as dead.