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Wikipedia protects some entries from edits

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., June 17 (UPI) -- The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is no longer as freewheeling as it once was, protecting some subjects from sometimes contentious editing.

The New York Times reports that at the moment 82 articles are barred from any editing while another 179 are "semi-protected," with only people who have been registered members of the community for at least four days allowed to touch them.

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Albert Einstein, Christine Aguilera and China fall into the first, totally protected category, while U.S. President George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler only rate semi-protection.

Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder, said he does not think the protection significantly detracts from its openness, pointing out that the vast majority of all sites are open for editing.

"Protection is a tool for quality control, but it hardly defines Wikipedia," Wales said. "What does define Wikipedia is the volunteer community and the open participation."

While anyone on earth with Internet access could, in theory, edit or write a Wikipedia entry, Wales said most of the work is done by a core group of about 1,000 volunteers.

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