Wikipedia is the encyclopedia â€œanyone can edit,â€ and as of this writing itâ€™s had nearly 700 million edits â€” not all of them well-meaning. Sometimes the mischief is directed […] Mostly, though, itâ€™s predictably uninteresting â€” shout-outs, profane opinions, keyboard-mashed gibberish â€” happening thousands of times a day over more than 4 million articles.
But youâ€™ll likely never see any of it. Within minutes if not seconds, bad edits are â€œreverted,â€ banished to a seldom-seen revision history. As Wikipedia has grown in size and complexity, so has the task of quality control; today that responsibility falls to a cadre of cleverly programmed robots and â€œcyborgsâ€ â€” software-assisted volunteers who spend hours patrolling recent edits. Beneath its calm exterior, Wikipedia is a battlezone, and these are its front lines.