Wikipedia has come under fire after a significant number of edits have been made on its “recession” page. Unregistered readers of Wikipedia edited the “recession” page on 41 occasions in one week to change the largely understood definition of a recession.
Wikipedia deems these edits to be “malicious” and “vandalism.” One common edit stated that there was “no global consensus” on the definition of a recession.
Investopedia noted the conventional definition on their page: “Because recessions often last six months or more, one popular rule of thumb is that two consecutive quarters of decline in a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) constitute a recession.”
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimated that the US economy displayed negative growth for the second straight quarter. According to BEA statistics, the US economy shrank 1.6% in the first quarter of 2022 and it then shrunk 0.9% in the second quarter.
Writer Ann Bauer Tweeted a screenshot of the edits made to Wikipedia’s recession page in the previous 24 hours. The edit history showed that an editor called “Soibangla” consistently deleted edits by other users when they added the textbook definition of a recession to the page.
As a result of the volume of edits to the page, a Wikipedia administrator called “Anarchyte” took the decision to pause all edits. The reasoning behind this was “Persistent addition of unsourced or poorly sourced content.” After this action was taken, only trusted users could make any changes, a process which can remain in place indefinitely.
The administrator Anarchyte took further action by tagging the page with “Twinkle,” a code word used to “stop vandalism, or the malicious addition and/or deletion of content on a page.”
White House economic advisder Brian Deese said that the textbook definition of recession is “not the definition that economists have traditionally relied on.”
RNC Research dug out a historical comment made by Deese in 2008 where he said “Economists have a technical definition of recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth.”
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