More stable versions

Creating stable versions using existing software proposed

A new proposal to implement stable versions of articles was put up for community discussion last week. While most plans for identifying stable, quality-reviewed versions have been awaiting anticipated support for such a feature in the MediaWiki software, this proposal, dubbed "Stable versions now", would be capable of use without any additional features.

The plan, suggested by Gmaxwell, involves moving articles to a development subpage once an acceptable revision has been found to serve as the stable version. The wikitext of that revision would then be copied into article's original location and protected. The two versions should be labeled with {{stableversion}} and {{development}} templates, respectively. The article can be "destabilised" at any point by deleting the protected article and moving the development version back to that location.

Any article "of a reasonable quality level" is theoretically qualified for this proposal, without needing other designated such as featured article or good article status. The article "must contain no obvious factual, grammatical, or typographical errors and must contain at least some level of referencing." To avoid actual content forking, the protected stable article generally should not be edited for any reason, only replaced with a new revision from the development version once that is chosen.

Gmaxwell also recommended that only actively edited articles be stabilised. He explained that he hoped people would regularly "resync" the article to a new stable version. However, he said the proposal was not intended for use on controversial articles, since consensus on a particular version would be impossible to get. The effort to solve the problem of controversial articles, which Gmaxwell called a minority of articles, is what he said has made previous technical designs too complex to implement.

The proposal received an enthusiastic response from some editors, and Wikimedia Foundation interim Executive Director Brad Patrick commented, "I love it." Others raised questions about the need for administrator involvement, since the stable article would be protected and destabilisation requires the ability to delete. SPUI called it, "Yet another piece of the growing divide between admins and non-admins." Gmaxwell responded that protection was necessary to prevent a fork of the article. Lar said he thought it was a good idea and recommended trying it as an experiment on a few articles before going further.

+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

Ummm... we should be checking our facts on this one. Stable versions was not started by Gmaxwell. In fact, I started a proposal called Wikipedia:Baseline revision that never hit the ground, and later User:Zondor started off stable versions. It has since evolved from there, and Gregory has been extremely important to the concept. I just think we should give credit where it is due: to Zondor. - Ta bu shi da yu 23:45, 10 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article doesn't say that stable versions as a concept were started by Gmaxwell, so I'm not sure what the problem is. The story indicates in the lead paragraph that there have been a number of different variations and that we're focusing on one particular proposal, Wikipedia:Stable versions now, which quite definitely was started by Gmaxwell. Zondor made the first edits to Wikipedia:Stable versions, yes, but in the sense of the concept's overall history (which I'm not purporting to cover) that's so late in the game that it's not like Zondor invented the idea, either. Honestly, I don't know if it's feasible to identify who first suggested some kind of stable version in the sense of who gets "credit" for the idea, since it's sort of inherent in the original Wikipedia-Nupedia dynamic. --Michael Snow 16:34, 11 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK, fair enough. However, I was watching that page evolve, and Zondor really did kick it off. - Ta bu shi da yu 00:14, 12 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Judging how hard it is for Meta administrators to synchronize the main Wikipedia portal with its development version in a timely fashion, some infrastructure would have to be built for this system, some kind of automatic queue interface, before admins would be able to handle the large workload of synchronizing so many articles on a regular basis. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 01:19, 14 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0