If you don’t use Wikipedia much, you might think that it’s kept “open” all the time, and that any page may be edited at any time by any person. That’s not correct. Sometimes pages have to be locked against editing, usually because they have become a target due to something happening in the news. Wikipedia says only about 0.1 percent of the 3.3 million articles on the English Wikipedia are actually being protected against editing.
Wikipedia announced last week that it is taking a different tack in protecting pages. For the next couple of months the site site will try something called “Pending Changes”. (The Wikipedia page for pending changes is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Pending_changes.
Normally when pages are protected there’s a little lock in the upper-right corner. (For examples of semi-protected pages see here and here.) These pages can’t be edited anonymously or by newer Wikipedia accounts; see more details on semiprotected pages here.
But with these new pages you’ll see a magnifying glass. The page will still be open to edits, but the edits will have to be reviewed before they’re allowed into the article. Anyone will be able to see proposed edits by clicking on a “Pending Changes” link, but of course not everyone will be able to approve the edit.
Apparently there’s a 2,000 page maximum for this trial, which might be why it was so tough for me to find an example of a Pending Pages page. I finally had to use the example in Wikipedia’s blog, the Solar System Wikipedia page. You can still see the history, but the magnifying glass makes it clear when the last edits took place.
This trial is interesting enough, but I also found some other icons in the upper-right corner near the magnifying glass or lock interesting. Icons denote Featured Articles and Good Articles in addition to any protection the article has on it. (Fun tool: click this link for a random Featured Article.) Some articles also have a icon showing they’re available in a spoken word version.