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.”

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

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