Monday, September 10, 2012

Wikipedia wars and the 2012 election

Short  but interesting: Paul Ryan's Wikipedia page has faced such severe "edit warring" that as of September 8th, it appears it has been necessary to bar edits from everyone but administrators. This level of protection (indicated by a gold lock on the Wikipedia website) is a fairly unusual state of affairs a spokesperson at Wikipedia says, but is unlikely to be permanent.

Surprisingly, pages on Obama, Biden and Romney have a lower level of protection (silver lock on website)--although Mr Ryan is a relatively new arrival on the ticket so one might expect a flurry of attention to his page. The Atlantic has a nice piece about the edit wars on the page.

At any given time on Wikipedia about 1,000 to 1,500 pages have some level of protection. 

A quick look at the history suggests arguments over various things including this paragraph:

"On August 13, 2012, Ryan denied profiting from information gleaned from the meeting on 18 September 2008 when Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, then treasury secretary Hank Paulson and others outlined their fears for the banking sector. His office said he had no control over the trades.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/13/paul-ryan-sold-shares-banking-crisis"

And, briefly, for I am writing this at great speed. It appears there is a disagreement over this paragraph which describes how well Ryan's speech was received. If my reading of the Wikipedia page history is correct, this paragraph has been inserted and removed a number of times.

"The speech was well received by the convention audience and praised for being well-delivered,[181][182] and it was also criticized as being misleading on multiple points by the Washington Post, the New York Times,[183] the Associated Press,[184] and Factcheck.org,[185] and by individual opinion writers at many other media outlets.[186][187][188]"