Wikipedia is changing the editing permissions for users who try to change the page for "recession" following a disagreement over its exact definition.
Wikimedia, the company that runs the online encyclopedia, will force new and anonymous users to have their updates reviewed and accepted by an editor before making their changes public on the page. Last week the Commerce Department announced the United States's economy shrank for a second straight quarter.
"Semi-protected articles can only be edited by logged-in users whose accounts are at least 4 days old and have made at least 10 edits," Wikimedia said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. "Volunteer editors use these and other tools on a regular basis to help ensure that Wikipedia content is neutral and well-sourced."
Originally, the definition of recession had been two straight quarters of falling gross-domestic-product. The U.S. GDP fell at a 0.9% annualized rate in the second quarter, following a 1.6% decline in the first quarter of 2022.
However, the news caused a debate with Wikipedia users who rushed to the page and change the exact definition of the term. Originally, the company semi-locked the page, meaning only users with accounts of at least four days old and 10 verified edits could make changes to the "recession" page.
The encyclopedia plans to lift the semi-lock and allow volunteer editors to handle all requested changes.
"Volunteer editors know this, and have created tools and mechanisms for responding to an influx of edits on articles that are in the public eye in order to maintain the standards of neutrality and verifiability that govern the site," a Wikimedia spokesperson told The Hill. "Protecting an article is one common tool they use."
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Currently, Wikipedia's definition of a recession states, "Although the definition of a recession varies between different countries and scholars, two consecutive quarters of decline in a country's real gross domestic product (real GDP) is commonly used as a practical definition of a recession."