Wikisource:Text integrity

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This page explains tools and policies, both present and future, for maintaining the integrity and veracity of texts at Wikisource. Discussion belongs at the talk page. The "protection" of finished texts from editing is just one of these tools, and it has other purposes as well; see Wikisource:Protection policy.

Wikisource is a wiki library that anyone can contribute to at any time. But it is also a library of primary source texts with definitive contents that are largely unchanging. The following are a number of tools and policies at Wikisource which may be implemented in order to guarantee the integrity of our texts.

Protect the page


To "lock" the page from editing by all non-administrators is the most direct way of ensuring that texts will not be denigrated through vandalism or even well-meaning but mistaken edits. The page protection tool was originally developed to stop edit wars and vandalism on Wikipedia (especially of special pages like the Main Page). It has obvious advantages, but its main disadvantage is that the vast majority of users can no longer make improvements directly when they spot the need. Plus an administrator is needed to implement it. Both of these disadvantages may be thought of as defeating the purpose of a Wikisource as a wiki library. Nevertheless, the tool may still be the appropriate solution for many "finished" texts at Wikisource.

For more information, please see Wikisource:Protection policy.

Partial page protection


This newly implemented Wikipedia tool allows an administrator to "partially protect" a page so that anons cannot edit it, plus the newest 1% of new users cannot edit it (for a few days). This is good defense against basic vandalism, and may be useful even for some unfinished texts. But it also requires an administrator.

For more information, see Wikipedia:Semi-protection policy.

Text templates


The main advantages of putting "actual" text relate to the ability to present the same text in more than one context indentically. But a positive side effect of this is that it may also discourage vandalism since compromising the integrity of texts becomes a less direct option. Plus, if need be an administrator can lock the text in the template without locking the actual page: E.g. neither major vandalism nor small, innocuous changes can be made to the text itself, but at the same time categories, links, and editorial information can still be added freely to the page itself.

Disadvantage: Keeping texts in templates requires extra work.

Verified or rated pages


This software feature is also expected to go online in the first part of 2006, and once again it may prove even more valuable to Wikisource than to Wikipedia. The sidebar will contain an option whereby users can "rate" a page for completeness and errors. When a page is thought to be reasonably "finished" it can then be declared "stable" (see above), and the stable version will be the default page that is viewed, rather than the parallel live version which may be improved, but could also degenerate or be vandalized. If and when the "live" version is verified by users to be an improvement on the current stable version, they can turn it into new stable version.

This feature has many advantages, most importantly that it works as part of the open wiki process and does not require any intervention by an administrator.

For more information on the software feature and its proposed use, see Article validation feature and ongoing discussion at the Wikitech mailing list.