Revisionism on Wikipedia
By Hindi Ako Historian
I am a regular at JoeAm’s blog but the current political climate makes it necessary to adopt a monicker.
I am writing to inform people of the organized and well thought out historical revisionism that is being done on Wikipedia.
I will make the case via several graphs and screen shots:
The above Figure 1 shows the edit counts per year on the Wikipedia page for Ferdinand Marcos. The numbers are not easy to read, but to give you an idea of the volume, there were 1,246 edits in 2016 compared to 375 in 2015.
247 vs 13
Figure 2 shows the edit count per year for the Wikipedia article Martial Law in the Philippines. There were 247 edits this year compared to 13 in 2015.
That is an enormous uptick in activity this year.
The organized editing started during the Philippine election campaign period and continued at high levels after the election of President Duterte.
I’ll give a couple of examples of the edits taking place.
In Figures 3a, the excerpt is dated Nov 21, 2016. In Figure 2b, it is dated Dec 1, 2016.
I leave it to the readers to form their own conclusions, but would like to note that Wikipedia editors are trying their best to combat undisciplined edits. Nevertheless, it seems that a staff of volunteers vs organized and likely paid vandals/revisionist will likely not be able to keep pace.
Excerpts from the page Benigno Aquino, Jr., showing revisions
Figures 4a and 4b provide an example of an obviously malicious edit on the page of Benigno Aquino, Jr. The malicious edit was done during the high edit period. I believe the strategy is to make many small changes, some which invert meanings and some that try to create justification when the Wikipedia tone should be neutral. A small number of editors can’t keep up with the volume of changes.
I think that we need to form a Dumbledore’s Army in the style of Harry Potter. The Army was a movement by students who defended Hogwarts from the Death Eaters. Our youth needs to rise up and say “enough misinformation! We are fighting back!”
Wikipedia is part of Facebook’s Internet.org. The fact that it is accessible to the free Facebook crowd means it can be a source of misinformation. If we do not protect Wikipedia’s veracity and neutrality, we all lose.