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Home Specials OpIndia Explains Wikipedia vs OpIndia: The crusade launched against OpIndia by Wiki, the left-bias and the...

Wikipedia vs OpIndia: The crusade launched against OpIndia by Wiki, the left-bias and the players involved

Wikipedia is a platform that is still used widely by laypersons to quick-read about various subjects. Though it is not considered a reliable source, it is still the top result when one searches almost any topic on Google. The inherent Left bias of Wikipedia is not a novel claim. Even the co-founder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger has written extensively about the bias in Wikipedia.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

As is argued several times, that in India as in the rest of the world, the government in power and the establishment, so to speak, are extremely different entities. While BJP has certainly formed the government at the centre two consecutive times, the establishment is still a behemoth of left-leaning institutions and individuals with the chips firmly stacked against ‘non-left’ voices. OpIndia has been one platform that has attempted to fight the Left hegemony and in the process, the establishment has attempted to define what OpIndia is, what we aim to do, distort the history of OpIndia etc and much of it has been done not just through hate campaigns but also through altering OpIndia Wikipedia page to present a biased, hateful picture to Wiki readers.

Why is the OpIndia page on Wikipedia so negative

This is a question that OpIndia has often been asked – why is the Wiki page of OpIndia so negative, and the answer is rather simple. From the very inception of OpIndia, the portal has tried to break the left hegemony and present the truth as is. Most recently, for example, OpIndia took on the deeply discriminatory Halal industry that ensures the employment of Muslims and not of Hindus. Before that, OpIndia took on the reportage of the Delhi Riots. While the entire Left establishment tried to paint the riots as an Anti-Muslim genocide, through our persistent reportage, we showed how it was an organised riot against Hindus, the seeds of which were sown in November itself. Further, we have taken on the mighty BBC, exposed scams by the Congress scions Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, exposed hitherto unknown facts about the Bofors scandal, thwarted attempts to paint the death of a judge as a murder, exposed the nefarious designs behind the Rafale tirade and published several such reports and fact-checks that decimated the fake narrative by the Left.

After the reportage we do, the attacks on our credibility and existence were a given. We expected it.

To answer the question, the OpIndia page on Wikipedia is negative because OpIndia dared to challenge the ecosystem and the foot-soldiers of the ecosystem decided to hit back at us.

What one needs to understand is that nobody really ‘owns’ a Wikipedia page. For example, if there is a page about OpIndia on Wikipedia, it is not ‘owned’ by OpIndia and is not necessarily created by OpIndia either. There are several ‘editors’ who can make edits and create pages. Wikipedia is supposed to be a community-driven project where people, over time and several ‘edits’, climb up the ladder and acquire the authority to create pages and make edits. They even get the authority to ‘lock pages’ so others, who are not as ‘senior’ as them cannot change the details on the page.

Wikipedia has a domination of Left leaning editors and thus, several pages on Wikipedia are biased, with the information added catering to the whims and fancies of the Left leaning editors.

The co-founder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, who is no longer involved with Wikipedia had gone on the record to talk about the bias of the online encyclopedia. Sanger had written that it has long forgotten its original policy of aiming to present information from a neutral point of view, and nowadays the crowd-sourced online encyclopedia “can be counted on” to cover politics with a “liberal point of view”.

With a pronounced Left bias in the platform itself and even in the community driven editors, the OpIndia page on Wikipedia really did not stand a chance at neutrality.

The OpIndia page on Wikipedia has been created and edited by an ecosystem that the OpIndia went after and exposed, time and again. While Wikipedia is no longer considered an authentic source of information by any serious researcher, it is still a source that is widely read by laypersons and thus, it becomes important to lay threadbare the nefarious ecosystem behind the concerted defamation of OpIndia. 

To summarise:

  1. Wikipedia pages are not owned by successive brands
  2. The cartel of left-leaning editors and administrators have made sure that the OpIndia Wiki article is biased
  3. Any changes that show a neutral point of view is reversed and the contributor is warned and then blocked
  4. The editors have shown visceral hatred for Hinduism and Hindutva ideology multiple times
  5. We decided to focus on our work than battling them on a platform they have come to control and manipulate

In fact, though we are not soliciting any positive edits, those who want to test this theory must try making edits to any page that the left might not like. Even when tries to make the most neutral edits, the Editor is often warned and blocked.

How the Wikipedia vs OpIndia battle started

About 2 or 3 years ago, there existed an OpIndia page on Wikipedia which was fairly neutral and gave an accurate picture of the portal. It identified our states ideology and the work we aimed to do. However, that page was deleted by the very same ecosystem as they did not think OpIndia deserved the “prominence” of having a Wikipedia article dedicated to the portal. After the deletion, OpIndia did not bother to contest or rectify this deletion and continued to grow regardless. It was perhaps the frustration of the ecosystem that made them bring back the OpIndia page with extremely defamatory and biased content. 

The current Wikipedia page of OpIndia was not created by OpIndia and then subsequently vandalized, as many seem to believe. The page itself was created by a Wiki editor who calls himself ‘Winged Blades of Godric’. 

Details from Wikipedia about the creation of OpIndia page

Interestingly, as mentioned above, the neutral page of OpIndia was deleted in 2018. One of the people who had vehemently voted for the page to be deleted from Wikipedia was Wings Blade of Godric himself. 

In 2018, his rationale for demanding the deletion of the OpIndia page from Wikipedia was that the portal was too trivial and did not deserve a Wikipedia page in itself. 

2018 page where the deletion of OpIndia Wikipedia article was discussed

The current page was created on the 10th of November 2019 as can be seen from the edit history, only about a year after the same individual got the OpIndia page deleted because he thought the portal was too trivial. From the very beginning, and from the very first sentence written, an extremely skewed picture of OpIndia was presented to the readers by the Wiki editor who took it upon himself to create a page for OpIndia for the sole purpose of defamation. 

The very first edits that were made by Winged Blades of Godric after creating the page was branding OpIndia as a “fake news website” without adequate research. 

First edits made to the current Wikipedia page of OpIndia

In the references, only broad search results from AltNews and BOOM were taken without taking into consideration that almost every story that has been written against OpIndia by these portals have been torn down by OpIndia itself.

Who is Winged Blades of Godric: The editor who created OpIndia Wiki page

Winged Blades of Godric’s real name is Anureek Biswas who hails from Kolkata. While his personal identity is not the point of this article, one can easily judge his ideology and political inclination from several other edits that were made by him. 

He has regularly vandalized pages of Republic TV, Jaggi Vasudev, Arnab Goswami and even Swarajya – all seen as those who oppose the Left hegemony. 

How WBG habitually vandalised pages

In his own words, WBG has admitted that the ‘truth has a Left-leaning bias’ and thus, for him to consider any truth to the contrary as ‘fake news’ is obvious. 

WBG saying that the truth has a Left bias

Further, he has done several problematic edits that deride Hindus and also conforms to the radical-left bias. For example, here, he had called the pious chant of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ a “war cry”. 

Archive page of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ that was edited by WBG

While an entire article in itself can be dedicated to the problematic edits made by WBG, so far, we have already established that the Editor who made the Wikipedia article himself as a strong Left bias and thus, his opinion on OpIndia cannot be considered sacrosanct. 

There are certain other strings that need to be explored about why the OpIndia page is heavily biased, and the other elements who are involved in the constant propaganda. 

One of the close friends and allies of WBG is one ‘DBXray and Newslinger’.

DBxray was one of the people who was ensuring that any neutral edit was not accepted to the OpIndia page. The proof of that can be understood by this screenshot where DBXray is seen reverting a neutral edit and reinstation OpIndia being called ‘fake news website’.

DBXray reverting the OpIndia page to the edits made by WBG

 

Who is DBXray? – Another crusader against OpIndia and Hindus on Wiki 

DBXray is a motivated Wiki Editor who OpIndia had exposed threadbare for making extremely biased edits to the Wikipedia page for the Delhi riots. This editor, in the Wikipedia page for the Delhi riots, refused to acknowledge the role of Islamists and the brutal murder of Hindus. While Tahir Hussain, AAP leader, was being named as one of the masterminds in the killing of Hindu IB staffer Ankit Sharma, the editor refused to even let the name of Tahir Hussain be mentioned in the article. The user, Deepesh Raj (DBXRay), also claimed that Tahir Hussain, the AAP leader who led an Islamist mob that tortured and murdered IB sleuth Ankit Sharma was being framed.

Further, he says that Tahir Hussain cannot be mentioned until he is convicted by a court of law. It is pertinent to mention here that Kapil Mishra has been made the face of the riots based on nothing but propaganda.

In fact, he even says that Ankit Sharma, who was stabbed multiple times and was tortured to death “was not notable enough” to be mentioned in the Wikipedia article.

Another example of his glaring bias was revealed when he was asked to include the hateful speeches of Waris Pathan since he had mentioned Kapil Mishra. 

When the conversation revolved around the addition of Kapil Mishra as the sole ‘Lead Figure’ of the Delhi riots, he refused to add Waris Pathan’s speech as one of the instigators of the riots. He said that he could not find anything provocative in Waris Pathan’s speech. It is worthy to note here that Waris had openly incited mobs and said that 15 crores Muslims can overpower Hindus.

We had explored several other anti-Hindu and deceitful edits made by this user. Our investigation can be read here.

How did the OpIndia expose of DBXray impact the Wikipedia page of OpIndia

After OpIndia exposed DBXray, one of the Wikipedia editors who was close to WBG, who had created the biased page of OpIndia, the attacks against the portal became stronger and far more motivated.

After the report was published, a campaign to ‘blacklist’ OpIndia on Wikipedia was launched. Blacklisting the OpIndia page would essentially mean that no OpIndia article would ever pass scrutiny on Wikipedia if cited as a source. The campaign of blacklisting was started because of the OpIndia article exposing the biased Delhi Riots article and this was admitted in the ‘talk’ page by the editors themselves. 

Discussion on blacklisting OpIndia

The Left editors of Wikipeda had even started a campaign to write favourable articles about editor DBXray, who had written the Hinduphobic Delhi riots article, after the expose by OpIndia.

Discussion to write favourable articles about DBXray

Another name that comes up – Newslinger

Another name that surfaced in the tirade against OpIndia is a Wiki Editor called Newslinger. During the discussion about OpIndia being blacklisted, Newslinger too had said that OpIndia should be blacklisted. 

When one looks at the current edits in the OpIndia Wikipedia page, it becomes clear that while the page was created by WBG, it is now being actively managed by Newslinger. 

Newslinger editing OpIndia Wikipedia page

Soumyadipta, a journalist who has reported from West Bengal in the past, today took to Twitter to say that Wikipedia admin “Newslinger” has permanently banned him from the platform for ‘offline harassment’. “Newslinger” is the same person who has been trying to ‘blacklist’ OpIndia on Wikipedia.

He said that ‘Newslinger’ is well-known for promoting vandals and found Soumyadipta as he was on Wikipedia with his real name. Just a few days earlier, Soumyadipta had taken to Twitter to expose how there is a cartel of admins and editors on Wikipedia who earn money by creating and editing Wikipedia pages.

Soumyadipta explained how he got in touch with an ‘agency’ by posing as a PR (public relation) agency of a relatively unknown actress. They emailed the ‘agency’ instructions regarding the edits required for the page along with payment details. Rs 10,000 was paid to the ‘agency’ to create a page of an actor. Total charges for creating and ‘maintaining’ the page for six months were Rs 50,000. 

Soumyadipta further states that on Wikipedia, one cannot make edits as one likes as they would be ‘reversed’ if ‘they’ (the cartel) does not like them. “A gang of about 50 Indian editors are on top of a chain of editors and they have complete control over Wikipedia,” Soumyadipta said. “They are on top of a chain of command. A team consists of about 10 editors. A newbie proposes an edit and a chain of command approves it and further edits it,” he adds. 

Google algorithm is such that the first search result is almost always the Wikipedia page. “Google changes its algorithm frequently but they used to heavily favour Wiki because it is an open-source, publicly edited charity platform,” Soumaydipta says. 

Adding on their investigation into the ‘business’ of Wikipedia editors, Soumyadipta says that for two months, they kept adding the favourable edits like turning flop film into semi-hit at the box office and obscure awards. “Every time the top editors approved the edits and they were never reversed. Even if somebody reversed it, they were brought back,” he adds. Soumyadipta says that the top Wikipedia editor would make up to Rs 5 lakh per month as ‘consultants’. Except, they do not mention Wikipedia on any documents. The ‘consultancy’ fees are usually for IT-related or PR agency work. Even income tax is paid on the ‘consultancy charges’. 

Revealing how the hierarchy on the platform works, Soumyadipta says, “Here most editors mask their identity. So, it’s difficult to figure who’s attacking you. You might be a professor with a PhD on the subject but a first-year student will reverse your edits if he’s higher in the hierarchy.” It takes years to ‘climb’ the ladder on Wikipedia. Wikipedia gives you badges, stars etc in recognition of your work and you won’t them unless you have the tacit support of the “gang”.

Soumyadipta explains that to climb the ‘hierarchy’ your edits on Wikipedia should not be reversed. That is possible only with the support of the editors who are higher-ups. “Backed with data, you edit the article on Wikipedia only to find that it has been reversed the next day. Imagine this happening to you frequently. Day after day,” Soumyadipta says. 

On the bullying on Wikipedia platform, Soumyadipta says, “There are these “Talk” pages where you can ask why your edits have been deleted. These pages are public and the language is monitored. It is here that the senior editors will bully you by clever usage of words. They’ll tell you that your edits were “pretty pointless” or “vague”. You have the liberty of re-editing or seeking help from someone else but the bullies who are trying to block your edits will patrol your Talk pages to figure out who you are talking to and what are you saying. If they find you intimidating, they will try to block you permanently.”

Wikipedia relies heavily on external citations for your edits. “These editors ensure by one method or the other that their narrative on a particular page does not change. This is mainly the case with political pages. It’s interesting to note that there are many Bengali and Malayali senior editors on Wikipedia who have been editing Wikipedia pages for years. They’re staunch Leftists and their job is to ensure that Wikipedia doesn’t say nice things about non-left personalities and media,” he says.

Explaining how the leftist ‘editors’ vilify pages, Soumyadipta explains that for individuals, they highlight their flaws. “For example, create a separate section for an unverified allegation levelled against him just by citing a newspaper report. But for others, they would ignore it. For people who are known to have anti-left views, the attacks get more vicious. They scour the internet for publicly available articles that show you in bad light. Once they get such an article, a new editor will edit and the senior editors will ensure that it sticks to the page,” he explains. 

Apparently, such malicious edits take place through secret chat rooms outside of Wikipedia. “They will ensure that the edits come from different locations. So it’s impossible to figure out that it’s a coordinated attack. If seniors from Virginia, Kolkata, Vietnam, Karachi & Mumbai are saying the same thing about an article, then the edit sticks. No matter how much you try, you will not be able to modify it. Every time new senior editors will come and block you from editing or will reverse the edit,” he explains.

What all of this means: The Wikipedia crusade against OpIndia

Wikipedia is a platform that is still used widely by laypersons to quick-read about various subjects. Though it is not considered a reliable source, it is still the top result when one searches almost any topic on Google. The inherent Left bias of Wikipedia is not a novel claim. Even the co-founder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger has written extensively about the bias in Wikipedia. 

The sequence of events in the case of OpIndia is rather clear. 

A neutral page of OpIndia was created on Wikipedia. That neutral page was deleted in 2018 saying that the platform was too trivial to be given space on Wikipedia. Then, in a year, the very people that called OpIndia trivial and deleted its page created a biased Wikipedia article about OpIndia that vilified the portal and provided a completely skewed narrative in an attempt to influence its readers. Any attempt to present a neutral picture was thwarted. In the meantime, OpIndia exposed one of the editors of the same cartel who was attempting to rewrite history by shielding Islamists in the Delhi Riots 2020 Wikipedia page. That angered the cartel further that moved to blacklist OpIndia from Wikipedia. 

To top it all, the page of OpIndia on Wikipedia is also ‘locled’, which means that any edit to the page will have to be approved by this very cartel. 

This chronology does not affect OpIndia or its readership, however, the truth must be told and the crusade must be exposed. OpIndia has stood strong for what it has always believed in and will continue to do despite the repeated onslaught. But while we stand strong, we will not allow such cartels to defame us from behind the cloak of anonymity. The truth must be told. 

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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