August 25, 2009 at 04:34 PM EDT

Your ability to influence Wikiality is about to change: Wikipedia is instituting what the New York Times is calling “a layer of editorial review,” but only on articles about living people. “The new feature, called ‘flagged revisions,’ will require that an experienced volunteer editor for Wikipedia sign off on any change made by the public before it can go live. Until the change is approved — or in Wikispeak, flagged — it will sit invisibly on Wikipedia’s servers, and visitors will be directed to the earlier version.”

A similar editorial process has been in place for the German-language version for some time now, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says Wikipedia has a “serious responsibility” now to be accurate.

On a practical level, this is a good decision: Accuracy and accountability are good things, and Wikipedia — like any other source — can always use more. On an abstract level, though, there’s part of me that wonders if this runs counter to the entire premise Wikipedia: The whole point was that it was a bottom-up process, not a top-down one; that everyone’s contributions were equally welcome; and that the community edited itself.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Now that Wikipedia is as front-and-center as its ever been, should it change its editorial policies? And do you love BJ Novak’s “Wikipedia Brown” bit as much as I do?

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