wiki

Wikipedia editor ‘warriors’ fight lies, bigotry and even Nazis – Yahoo News

Summary

False Covid death reports, a vast gender gap, Nazi “fan fiction”: These are some of the perils an international crowd of volunteers battle across Wikipedia’s tens of millions of online entries.

The world’s largest internet encyclopedia is often the first result to pop up when users ask the internet a question — and thus a massively influential source of free information but which also reflects humanity’s faults.

With entries that can in theory be written by anyone with an inter…….

False Covid death reports, a vast gender gap, Nazi “fan fiction”: These are some of the perils an international crowd of volunteers battle across Wikipedia’s tens of millions of online entries.

The world’s largest internet encyclopedia is often the first result to pop up when users ask the internet a question — and thus a massively influential source of free information but which also reflects humanity’s faults.

With entries that can in theory be written by anyone with an internet connection — in some 300 languages — it comes down to editing by mostly anonymous volunteers to police the site.

“I always carry my laptop along wherever I go, to edit Wikipedia,” said Alaa Najjar, who is based in the Middle East, but asked that specific details about his identity be omitted to protect his privacy.

“It is an addiction, as my friends say. I prefer to say it’s my passion,” he told AFP by email

Najjar said he contributes to almost 500 entries a week, and as a medical doctor he has been busy fighting a flood of false information unleashed during the pandemic.

Among the strains of misinformation that surfaced on Wikipedia, he has spotted false reports Covid-19 had killed notable people and inaccurate boosting of some nations’ death and case numbers.

“I reviewed hundreds of articles during the Covid-19 pandemic, and rejected many misleading or erroneous amendments,” said Najjar, who got the platform’s top honor in 2021 for his work.

The 20-year-old encyclopedia — which even has an article devoted to its own controversies — has received positive accolades in recent years for its fact-checking capacities.

Though it’s a sprawling platform, the site does not seek to make money and so avoids the profit-over-safety criticism that has battered Facebook, for example.

Instead, Wikipedia has volunteers who are deeply invested in the site’s stated mission of providing access to a written compendium of all branches of human knowledge.

Of course, it can be a thankless job to kick dubious reports off the platform.

“One particular editor called me a ‘vandal’ for removing unsourced information,” said Ksenia Coffman, who has battled what she termed “fan fiction” about World War II on Wikipedia, including how Nazis and German generals were depicted.

A strand of writing that ignores historical context regarding war-time atrocities such the Holocaust, and instead romanticizes German forces, has influenced a subculture that has found its way to the platform.

“Why am I getting pushback when I am trying to correct this to remove these unsourced globs of text that just glorify these supposed Nazi war heroes?” asked Coffman, who lives in California but grew up in the Soviet Union and contributes around 200 edits per month.

She said the pushback from the subculture’s believers as well …….

Source: https://news.yahoo.com/wikipedia-editor-warriors-fight-lies-012539172.html