For the next two months, starting at midnight last night, the English Wikipedia will be testing a new tool, called Pending Changes, that re-enables the editing of articles that have previously been protected from editing. The Wikimedia Foundation, who have developed this tool, have posted the following announcement via their blog:
Over the next few days, English language Wikipedia users may notice a small change on some articles: a little magnifying glass where a lock once was. The icon, on the upper right corner of the article, represents an important step that Wikipedia volunteers have taken to open up articles that were previously protected from editing. Starting Tuesday at 11pm UTC, the English Wikipedia community will begin a two-month trial of a new tool called “Pending Changes” (formerly known as Flagged Protection).
Articles that are frequently subjected to malicious edits have long been locked, sometimes for years, and protected from editing by new and anonymous users. Over the last year, the Wikimedia Foundation and volunteers from the community have been working to develop Pending Changes, a softer alternative to these editing restrictions. At present, only about 0.1 percent of the 3.3 million articles on the English Wikipedia are under edit protection. This tool should help reduce disruptive edits or errors to articles while maintaining open, collaborative editing from anyone who wants to contribute.
When Pending Changes is applied to an article, the article will be open for editing by anyone, including anonymous and new users. When edits are made by new or anonymous users, changes will be reviewed before they appear on the main version of the article. Anyone can view these proposed edits by clicking on the “Pending Changes” tab alongside the “Edit” and the “History” tabs. In addition, by scrolling over the magnifying glass icon, you can quickly see exactly how many changes are pending review.
During this trial, the community will select which articles will use Pending Changes, with an initial 2,000 page maximum. If you’re interested in learning more about how Pending Changes works, or to test it out yourself, you can read our Q&A and the community-written help pages or check it out in Wikimedia Labs.
Mike Peel, Company Secretary of Wikimedia UK, commented that “This is an important step forward for Wikipedia. Pending Changes heralds a time when all Wikipedia articles, even those on topics that attract high levels of vandalism, can be edited and improved by anyone. I encourage everyone to help improve the articles that will be opened up by Pending Changes in order to help share the sum of human knowledge with the world.”
You can find out more at these pages: