Is Paul Ryan a traitor 1
The Wikipedia entry about Donald Trump is a digital "war zone"
Superficially, the English-language Wikipedia page about US President Donald Trump reads like an accurate biography and description of the life and work of the controversial businessman in the White House so far. It's the most popular entry about a personality since the company began collecting more accurate access statistics in 2007. At the beginning of 2019 it was 156 million hits.
But behind the gathering of information, a bitter battle is raging, Slate documents. Almost every formulation, especially when it comes to current events, leads to text-rich arguments by many authors. These are sometimes conducted so intensively that the medium calls the site a digital "war zone".
One of the biggest reasons for heated debates so far - in addition to the ongoing impeachment process - was the much-noticed appearance of Trump at the US-Russia summit in Helsinki in July 2018. At that time, the US heads of state gave to the assembled world press and Russian President Vladimir Putin on record that he sees no reason why Russia should have influenced the 2016 presidential election.
With this position he also contradicted the findings of the US intelligence services, all of which consider Russian influence to be proven. Ex-CIA boss John Brennan saw Trump walking close to treason in view of his testimony, and even seasoned Republican Trump supporters such as Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich expressed clear criticism.
"Encyclopedia worthy" - or not?
The authors were far from agreed on whether and how the statements should be shown in the Wikipedia entry. For example, one user pleaded for quotations such as "treacherous" or "shameful" to be included. Three minutes later, another replied that you shouldn't play the media's "let's make the most ridiculous comments" game, especially since nothing really new had happened. The objective of Wikipedia itself is to present reliable information in a tone that is as neutral as possible.
And so some of the authors took the side of those who saw "long-term encyclopedic value" in the incorporation of the Helsinki Summit and others who did not consider it worth mentioning. This was followed by personal insults and mutual accusations of being fans or despisers of the US president. Finally, administrators - selected users with mostly many years of experience and extended rights - stepped in and put the question of whether the events in Finland should be mapped to a vote.
Yes and no votes were roughly balanced, but decisions are not made solely according to the weight of the votes, but rather according to the quality of the arguments for and against. In the end it was decided to mention Helsinki. The article now said that Trump gave the impression at the summit that he would deny the influence of the Russian election, which led to "strong criticism", including from his own ranks and usually friendly commentators in the media.
When a penis photo appeared instead of Trump
It is not the only occasion on which there is sometimes intense argument. The North Korea summit, Trump's statements on the origins of his predecessor Barack Obama or his popularity with white nationalists are topics on which opinions clash at every word.
Sometimes the conflict spills over from the discussion side to other areas, sometimes not necessarily in compliance with the law. Last November, strangers gained access to the account of a senior author on the site and swapped the main picture of Trump for a penis photo. This also led to the fact that the same was distributed among others by voice assistants such as Siri or the Google Assistant, who also use the Wikipedia entry to answer questions.
It was feared that reporting on this incident could lead to imitations. The site was temporarily placed under "full protection", the highest "security level" available on Wikipedia. It means that every change to the page has to be confirmed by higher-ranking users before it is visible to visitors. The confirmation process is also intended to prevent the texts from being influenced by organized supporters or opponents of Trump.
Dispute over every word
In particular, the introductory paragraphs of the entry are often the target of suggested changes. In particular, the one who describes his entry and success in the US presidential election in 2016. Almost every adjective is controversial here, especially those that subsume, for example, his political positions or the statements of critics.
Trump's regular rides against critical media make finding a solution even more difficult. The Wikipedia guidelines officially recommend referring to "reliable sources" if possible, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. Both, however, have already been accused of spreading "fake news" by Trump and as a result Wikipedia authors also include this in their points of view. Relying on these media, which are already against Trump, is a threat to the neutrality of Wikipedia.
At the end there is contrite approval
What sets the Trump phenomenon apart from other hotly debated articles - such as abortion or climate change - is the sheer amount of news he and his administration "produce". As a result, a debate about the inclusion of an event is not even concluded, while the next development and its encyclopedic value are already being argued.
This dynamic means that Trump's Wikipedia entry is constantly changing a little and of course growing. More than 28,000 subsequent changes have already been made on Trump's side, ranging from the correction of typing errors to completely rewritten paragraphs. And that also shows the positive side of the war of authors smoldering behind it. Almost every excited debate leads to a consensus that all sides can contrite to agree. (red, 02/02/2020)
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