Page creation restrictions

Article creation restricted to logged-in editors

In response to the Seigenthaler incident last week (see related story), the creation of new Wikipedia articles has been restricted on an experimental basis.

On Monday, Jimmy Wales announced that "as an experiment, we will be turning off new pages creation for anonymous users in the English Wikipedia." He then quickly logged onto the IRC channel #wikipedia and discussed the issue with various Wikipedians for several hours. A considerable amount of vandalism on Wikipedia comes in the form of new pages with offensive or pointless content, and the bulk of these are created by users without registered accounts, commonly referred to as "anons" or anonymous users. The purpose of the change is "to reduce the workload on the people doing new pages patrol" and hopefully reduce the chances of a problematic article such as the Seigenthaler case slipping through.

Wales acknowledged that this might have some undesirable side effects. People bent on creating nonsense articles could easily use an account to do so, and the change would cause the loss of some valuable efforts in creating new articles. However, based on his personal survey of the situation and discussions with people who regularly monitor new pages, Wales said that on balance he felt "a substantial improvement" was possible.

Wikimedia Chief Technical Officer Brion Vibber implemented this change shortly after 19:00 UTC on 5 December. He clarified that the restriction only applies to encyclopedia articles; editors can still create talk pages without logging in, for example. With the number of articles on the English Wikipedia approaching one million, Vibber commented that creation of new articles "is less of a priority than it was two or three years ago, while tuning up existing articles is quite important."

Initial reactions included a mixture of praise, skepticism, and questions about how the change would work. Users who attempt to create an article without logging in now receive a message that explains the restriction and directs them to Wikipedia:Requested articles if they still prefer not to use an account. There was some dissatisfaction from people who learned about the change from the media, as CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman wrote a story about it prior to the announcement. A subsequent AP story about the change was also widely distributed.

Wales reiterated that this experiment was not a prelude to requiring all editors to have an account: "I am a firm believer in the validity of allowing anons to edit." He later mentioned the possibility of changing to a less restrictive system, suggested by developer Tim Starling, which would only prevent the creation of "orphan" articles by users who are not logged in. Orphaned articles have no inbound links from other articles, and normally would only be reached through the random article feature, or by directly searching for the article. Starling explained that this would be a fairly straightforward thing to determine from a technical perspective, noting that many poor-quality articles are also orphans. Similarly, the John Seigenthaler Sr. article, although not an orphan, had very few inbound links before the recent publicity.

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Good idea? Bad idea?

This is a terrible idea but the damage it will do will be hidden. I should think that it is quite unusual for people not to start off by editing with an ISP address. I did so, and created my first article in that way. I have now started at least a couple of hundred. The idea that we have vast numbers of enthusiastic contributors is just plain wrong. The conversion rate of readers into regular editors is pathetic, and even most registered users don't start articles. This puts a major obstacle in peoples' way when most people need no obstacle at all not to contribute. I am sure it will slow down the development of wikipedia significantly, and it is for the benefit of just a few people compared to the tens of millions who read wikipedia. Osomec 16:50, 6 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Perhaps the restriction on article creation to registered users should be applied to all edits. That way everyone is accountable by name and not by IP address, and any problems with incorrect information being edited into an article by an unregistered user wouldn't apply. At least, if a known user posts details that are false, we would know who they are, and discussion could be initiated with that person. I realise other users can edit articles to correct such misinformation, such is the nature of Wikipedia, but the point here is accountability. Most forums and messageboards require users to register with a username before they begin posting; why should here be any different? -TonyW 00:28, 7 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's never going to happen. It's been brought up a lot before, and has always been rejected, even by Jimbo. The reason is that most editors start editing as anons. My first edits were as an anon, as a matter of fact. And if I'd have had to register, I probably would have said, "screw it", and done something else. It's not that registering is a big deal; it's that it's another barrier to editing that most people won't bother to jump over. The day we eliminate anonymous editing is the day I quit. Ral315 (talk) 02:17, 7 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think your comment would get a lot of "me too"s. Requiring registration, of course, is technically straightforward (just flip a switch, really), but just isn't considered "wiki-like", and there's probably a large number of active users who would take offense to such a change in policy – especially given the kind of "see I told you so" media coverage it would get. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs, blog) 08:02, 7 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I guess this is the worst Idea ever, what next, charge for editing. People don’t you check your history, such an Idea was suggested before and refused by the community, and now it is FORCED. I have worked on hundreds of pages on the Arabic wiki, I started as an anonymous editor and later on switched, and now I am a sysop there, so people starting with IP only edits are not that bad. What happened with the fact that any one can work and contribute, well it seems now that not any one can, only the registered users. And remember changing usernames is much easier than changing the IP, It take less time for most people. And it will only lead to a wrong conclusion that more people are interested. When the fact they are forced. (Maybe we should stop talking about a FREEEE encyclopedia, and the be BOLD stuff, and start talking about how hard it is, ...). --Tarawneh 03:34, 8 December 2005 (UTC). Ok, I was convinced. Back to my sense ;). See also Semi-protection policy --Tarawneh 05:03, 16 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Requiring registration to create new articles is a terrific idea that will not only greatly reduce vandalism on Wikipedia, but also make it easier to deal with vandalism. It will also lessen the loads on Speedy Deletion and AFD. Indeed, this should have been implemented long ago. I fully support this. —Lowellian (reply) 07:00, 9 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More coverage

Besides the AP story, that is.

better ideas for improving latency in new-article checking

I've posted a couple of ideas for improving latency in new-article checking on the feature-request page. Those might allow anons to resume creating articles without intervention, while reducing the chance new articles will be missed by all checkers. -- 01:32, 9 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikipedia stalled, Freep says

For this the Detroit Free Press put Wikipedia in the "Stalled" category in its "Revved/Stalled" feature (a "What's Hot/What's Not") in yesterday's issue. They wrote "Online encyclopedia written by users tightens rules after entry describing prominent journalist as a Nazi involved in Kennedy assassination. Even the Internet needs quality control." This coming from a newspaper that still employs Mitch Albom. Puh-lease. Robert Happelberg 14:44, 12 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Creation of talk pages

I think we should allow anons to create talk pages, so that they can explain edits, ask questions, etc. in reference to pages that don't yet already have a talk page. Captain Zyrain 03:28, 13 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Um, they can. As the article reports, "editors can still create talk pages without logging in". —Lowellian (reply) 05:05, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Hello! Portuguese Wikipedia is considering the implementation of similar restriction. But I would like to have statistics to present to the editors who are afraid of losing contributors and reduction of article creations... Do you people know any statistics before-and-after this restrictions coming into place?--MisterSanderson (talk) 20:42, 1 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


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