A Woman’s Mission to Also Write Nazi History on Wikipedia
So Coffman does what he always does: He reads. And because he’s in the middle of jobs, he’s free to immerse himself in the past for a long time. He knew about the Civil War, the conflict behind much of the unrest in the United States. He read about the “lost cause” ideology, claiming that the Union was actually fighting to preserve the well-meaning people of the South, not a specific institution of slavery. He tested his knowledge of World War II, a struggle that was much more familiar to him.
Perhaps the lack of a job, of people to work with, is also what makes Wikipedia such an attractive pastime. That’s what it would have been: another fun. At first, Coffman remained unmoved, with little suggestions. But then he makes edits almost daily; too much to fix. He likes the meticulous bureaucracy on the site-ethical and reliable retrieval guidelines, rules about dispute resolution and article removal, knowledgeable articles and discussion pages cited by editors such as law in the case. “Wikipedia is very regimental,” he said. “I’m good at instructions.”
“G’day,” Peacemaker67 begins his letter for Ke coffman. The end of 2015 was approaching, and he was concerned about recent changes in a Wikipedia article (short for “WP”) about an SS tank division composed of volunteers who Nordic Nazi. “Sorry but there is a kind of misunderstanding about what should be removed in WP, and I just want to clarify this before it gets off track.”
Coffman acknowledged the editor’s management. He is Australian, and his User page says he served as a peacekeeper in the former Yugoslavia. He’s the same person who invited him to join WikiProject Military History, a group where you can chat, take classes, win accolades, and work together to create articles.
Not for the first time, Coffman took the material from the article about tank division. He thinks it’s full of unsourced fancruft, Wikipedia’s word for deception, overly detailed descriptions that appeal to a small area of readers – in this case, those who delight in the accounts of the conflict. The article recounts how “division justifies itself” even against “hardened resistance,” how it “holds the line” and earns the “hateful respect” of skeptical commanders. One contributor used the raised eyebrow word “baptism of fire.” It’s as if the editors can’t see the part that lowers the page where a soldier uses the word “and then we cleaned up a Jewish hole.”
The glorious language, Coffman thought, is a clear sign that it is a fiction of historical fiction. It dispelled the horrors of war. If editors want those details to stay on the page, at least they should use a better source than Axis History, a blog whose motto “No access to information is lost.”
The fellowship starts respectfully enough. “IMHO it’s good that you removed the quotes from unreliable blog sources,” Peacemaker67 said. “But just because the material they took doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”
Kecoffman did not have an hour’s response. “Thank you for your note,” he wrote. “Yeah, I was surprised about how little I saved while I was editing the article.” He lists 17 examples that point to biased language, glorifying the Nazis, and unreliable claims. “Is not Wikipedia better without such a problem? ”He asked.
“Well, people are in WP for a variety of reasons,” Peacemaker67 replied. “I don’t go around deleting things because I think it can be confusing.” He cites a page advising gradual editing, because Wikipedia is an evolution. “Articles have a long history, and don’t WP: DEADLINE, ”He said.