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Wikipedia launches new restrictions for users who edit the “recession” page

Wikipedia sets restrictions on Wednesday for new and unregistered users trying to edit the recession page.

A spokesperson for the Wikimedia Foundation, the company behind the online encyclopedia, told The Hill that starting Wednesday, new account users and anonymous users will be able to make changes to the page. English on the recession, but their modifications will be subject to the review of the volunteer editors. .

After the Commerce Department announced last week that the national economy had contracted for the second straight quarter, the recession page attracted a frenzy of users who debated the definition of a recession and how how it should be reflected in the article.

The influx of users and editors to the article has created a semi-lockdown on the page, meaning it can only be edited by logged-in users whose accounts are at least four days old and made at least 10 edits. The semi-lockdown will lift on Wednesday as volunteer editors step in to review the changes.

Wikimedia’s spokesperson said in an email that semi-locks and reviews are tools the site uses to ensure articles are updated in a neutral and factual manner, adding that it does not It’s “not uncommon for hot topics to spark sudden interest on Wikipedia.”

“Volunteer editors know this and have created tools and mechanisms to respond to an influx of edits to articles that are in the public eye to maintain the standards of neutrality and auditability that govern the site,” the doorman said. -speak in a press release sent by e-mail. . “Protecting an article is a common tool they use.”

The Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit organization, does not edit, write, or review articles, but supports its volunteer editors, who generally strive to use established guidelines of neutrality and reliable sourcing.

Pages can sometimes be updated hundreds of times a day by volunteers, who can make edits to any post without an account as long as the page is not locked. Talk pages for articles are also common to facilitate collaboration.

A talk page on the recession article shows how divisive the topic has become, with some users accusing Wikipedia editors of censorship, adhering to ‘liberal sources’ or attempting to ‘clean the page’ of the definition of a recession.

While two consecutive declines in gross domestic product (GDP) are a common indicator of a recession, the United States relies on the National Bureau of Economic Research’s (NBER) Business Cycle Dating Committee, made up of prominent country’s economists, to officially determine whether the country has entered a recession.

The traditional NBER definition is a “significant decline in economic activity that spreads throughout the economy and lasts for more than a few months.”

The Biden administration has repeatedly denied that the United States has entered a recession, pointing to record job growth and healthy consumer spending. Republicans argue that the United States is in a recession and point the finger at Biden and the Democrats.

The Recession webpage on Wikipedia reflects the arguments.

“Although the definition of a recession varies by country and scholar, two consecutive quarters of decline in a country’s real gross domestic product (real GDP) is commonly used as a working definition of a recession,” it reads. in the article, while saying that the “The NBER is considered the official arbiter of the start and end dates of the recession in the United States.”

While information about two consecutive contractions in the economy was still included in the article, much of the debate had revolved around where it should be on the page.

The debate continues on the talk page, however, awash with comments, opinions, and messages.

Users complained about the ongoing “pure nonsense and vitriol”, with one person calling the controversy an “embarrassing spectacle for everyone involved”.

In the emailed statement, the Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson said the edits to the article were ultimately “limited” compared to previous versions.

The foundation stressed that “Wikipedia is not a tool for inserting opinions, it requires reliable sources to verify facts in articles”.

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