Student Life implements open-source policy on website
Starting today, Student Life has implemented a new policy that allows any online reader to edit content posted on studlife.com, Student Life’s website.
Editor-in-Chief Michael Schmabb said that the change represents an innovation in journalism that he hopes will lead to a more interactive and personal online experience for Student Life readers.
“The world is changing, and it’s time that Student Life changes with it,” said Schmabb, a sophomore.
Schmabb was inspired by the open editing system that encyclopedic pioneer Wikipedia and other platforms operate on.
“The democratic nature of wikis online really spoke to me,” said Schmabb. “Student Life’s primary goal is to serve the needs of the Washington University student body, and we hope that our new website will allow us to better accomplish that goal.”
Schmabb predicts that the quality of all stories will be increased now that eyewitnesses will be able to add their accounts of important news stories directly to the online story.
Senior Online Editor David Seigle says that other elements of Wikipedia might be incorporated into the website in the coming months. Such features include talk pages and administrative powers to undo inaccurate edits.
“[Schmabb] and I trust that members of the Wash. U. community will not abuse these new online capabilities until everything is fully implemented,” said Seigle, a senior.
Seigle added that Student Life staff members are currently debating as to whether readers will have the capability to add their own news stories, or if they will only be able to edit ones posted by Student Life.
Student reaction to the changes has been overwhelmingly positive thus far.
“I think it’s a really clever use of technology,” said Patty McTerrington, a junior. “If I don’t like one of the album reviews or something like that, I can just change it myself instead of sending in a complaint.”
“I can’t wait to see what changes will be made to the print edition,” said Alberto Saganaki, a freshman. “If they could somehow make the actual paper change in real time with the online edits, that would be really incredible.”
Schmabb acknowledges that for now, all possibilities are on the table.
“I just cant wait to see how this going to make our content better,” Schmabb said. “We might have to make adjustments as we go, but empowering our readers is our top priority.”
Update April Fools Day:
As a result of unforeseen technical difficulties Student Life has disabled open-source journalism.