Take a second and try to remember your life before the emergence of Wikipedia. How did you settle all those small daily arguments? Where did you seek information when something caught your attention? The trouble surely surfaces as biased information is willfully incorporated into Wikipedia articles in a bid to educate millions for hatred. SFI picks up the gauntlet.
Wikipedia was founded in January 2001, and quickly established itself as the main source of information for hundreds of millions worldwide in more than 285 different languages. 12 years after its outset, Wikipedia ranks as the 6th most popular website on the internet, with an average increase of 5% in daily hits since 2013. Wikipedia who encompassed 20,000 articles at the end of 2001, now has 35 million (!) different articles on various subjects, 20% of those in English, which are edited by 33.5 million subscribed users. Thus far, those editors made 1.3 billion edits, when the keyboard remains ready for action… With internet accessibility on the rise globally, notions, ideas and ideals are widespread and shake the earth under authoritarian dictatorships as witnessed most recently in the “Arab Spring”. Hence, the power of knowledge highlighted, or as Sir Winston Churchill once put it: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”.
Dubbed by scholars as “Lethal Obsession” and “the longest hatred”, Antisemitism’s roots date back to the ancient era, though some of the modern manifestations have gone through significant fine-tuning. Nowadays, the Arab-Israeli conflict has become a magnet for Antisemitism. Though the dispute over what should be distinguished only as anti-Israel propaganda stimulates this current discussion, all interlocutors could agree that the Arab-Israeli conflict draws global attention, while the counterparts would not agree even on the basic historic facts. While different agendas on writing historiography are not the topic of this piece, one surely understands the ample fruitful land for individuals to implement biased information over the subject in Wikipedia articles. Once read by millions, as the conflict hits the headlines everywhere at all times, this deliberately implemented misinformation could result in an anti-Israel reaction that normally leads to anti-Semitic response and utterly motivates radical individuals to perpetrate hate crime in some cases. As we are all aware of the possible slippery slope into violence, SFI operatives flashed the pan and joined the hard fought frontier of the Wikipedia “editing war”. Now, it’s your time to be drafted…
Evidently, one does not need a PhD in order to become a Wikipedia subscriber who is eligible to edit articles. You too could simply subscribe to Wikipedia, find a field you’re proficient in, it could be anything that pops up in your mind, and once you are subscribed, all you have to do is click on the “Edit” button and instantly become influential. Yep, it is that simple. Editing in Wikipedia is quite straightforward, but it is most important to rely on trusted sources. Therefore, your neighbors’ blog as a source of information won’t qualify, unless he is a bigwig in his field of action. Our advice is to supply the reader with as much trusted knowledge as possible, since we understand that he or she would independently decide what to take out of the info provided to them. Additionally, we respect Wikipedia as an important tool for millions worldwide; therefore we do not wish to damage it ourselves.
One of the weak points of social networks is the tendency to inherently start discourses with people who share similar notions with you, as most of them are your friends, and people naturally tend to bond with others who are in agreement with them. The chance to become a Wikipedia editor enables you to become influential not only to the people on your personal social networks, but also to million others; use it wisely.
Written by Nimrod Assouline.