How Attempts to Rewrite History on Wikipedia Get Quashed

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History, they say, is written by the winners. Luckily for fans of former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, the same can’t be said about Wikipedia.

After famously mangling the story of Paul Revere when she visited Boston last week – instead of riding to warn the colonists that the British were coming, Palin said that he warned the British that “they weren’t gonna be taking away our arms” – fans of the politician-slash-Fox-News-pundit have tried to defend her by editing Wikipedia to back up her mistake.

The Little Green Footballs blog noticed that the Paul Revere page on Wikipedia has seen an increased amount of activity in the past couple of days, with Wikimedia spokesman Jay Walsh explaining that many have attempted changes reflecting Palin’s version of events.

For example, one edit read:

Revere did not shout the phrase later attributed to him (‘The British are coming!’), largely because the mission depended on secrecy and the countryside was filled with British army patrols; also, most colonial residents at the time considered themselves British as they were all legally British subjects.

The edit was removed for lack of historical sources.

The notes in the revision page hint at the tension going on around the rewriting of history. “Stop changing this. Take any changes to [the] Talk page. It is well sourced by both historical records, accounts by Revere and the cited Author,” says one.

And the page’s Talk section is equally lively:

“These people who support Palin are a right-wing group of extremist who will stop nothing short of altering history in order to vindicate her inane statements. Also if we are going on ‘what if’s about who altered the webpage than maybe your right about these ‘anti-Palin pranksters’ because the individual who realistically supports Palin is too inept to operate a computer let alone alter wiki.”

That was a reply (unedited) from “Reddevil1421” to the suggestion that perhaps it’s “anti-Palin pranksters” who are constantly rewriting the entry. The reply has since been removed.

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