Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Wikipedia’s open-editing policy occasionally spawns all-out showdowns in which
users try to “revert” one another’s disagreeable entries into oblivion. A few
examples, as collected on the online encyclopedia’s “Lamest Edit Wars” page
(itself the subject of not a little nitpicking):

  • Cat: “34 reverts in just over an hour. The pressing issues: Should
    one unremarkable photo be included? Is the cat depicted really smiling?…
    As it turned out, the photo was deleted for not having any copyright status.”
  • Mama’s Family: “Was Mama (Vicki Lawrence) ‘pro-active,’ ‘foxy,’ ‘clever,’
    ‘cunning,’ or none of the above? Apparently this question is important enough
    to occupy over 30 edits in one day.”
  • List of virgins: “Dispute about whether or not Britney Spears belonged
    on the list, eventually resolved in a definitive manner: maintenance of the
    list proved impossible and it was later deleted.”
  • Wii: “Does it rhyme with ‘We’ or ‘Wee’? Should ‘Wee’ link to urine?…
    Should urine be mentioned in the article at all? Just some of the hard hitting
    issues that provoked in excess of 1,500 edits in the space of two weeks…
    All this for a videogame console that hasn’t even been released yet.”
  • Feces: “Should the article on feces include [a] picture of a large
    human turd? As of early July 2005, the discussion on this issue alone had
    reached 12,900 words.”
  • Nancy Reagan: “Was she born in 1921? Or 1923? After days of editing,
    does anyone really care THAT much? Woman is old.”

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate