Requests for comment/Consistency and bias across different language Wikipedias (Holocaust example)

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This page in a nutshell: Proposal for a discussion on how to address consistency and bias problems across different WP language versions.
The following request for comments is closed. No significant comments have been added.


Background[edit]

I contributed to the English, Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian and Croatian WP, and would like to point to a problem with cross-language WP consistency and bias. Namely I edited the Croatian WP article on concentration camp Jasenovac, to bring it closer in line with the English version of Jasenovac, adding quotes and other info contained in the English version. However, my entire contribution was deleted by Croatian WP editors, with the following explanations (sent only a few minutes before they deleted it):

  1. The source for one of the quotes, i.e. the American-Jewish author Avro Manhattan, is not reliable (I’ve since confirmed the quote, via information from the Croatian State Archives, however all my other quotes were also deleted, and only one was reinstated)
  2. In response to my statement that I’m trying to bring the Croatian version of Jasenovac in line with the English version, I was told, and I quote “I advise you that you DO NOT go by English Wikipedia. They DO NOT do good quality work, and they often cite compromised sources, with biased writing against Croats. Consider that these are often German authors, who in order to divert attention from themselves, started inventing "greater Nazis than Nazis" among Croats” (Kubura, 05:55, 18 October 2015).
  3. I was told I can't quote General von Horstenau, Hitler’s plenipotentiary in Croatia, because the quote is from his memoirs, not a scientific work, and some Croats claim he was biased against Croats. This despite the fact that well-known western historians, like Jozo Tomasevich, quote von Horstenau extensively (many of my other quotes, deleted from the article, cite Tomasevich’s well-known work). Tomasevic specifically writes that von Horstenau “was well-informed and probably one of the most objective sources on Croatia[1]". While this widely quoted source is deleted from Croatian Wikipedia, their Jasenovac article quotes the publicist and Holocaust-denier, Igor Vukic, who as far I can tell, hasn’t published a single article in a scientific journal
  4. I was also told: “So don’t use such [German] sources and instead use serious sources like Catholic Church publications, and other serious authors” (Kubura, 06:30, 18 October 2015). Yet, the leading Croatian Catholic Church publication, Glas Koncila, published a series on Jasenovac by the same Igor Vukic, who claims Jasenovac was not an Ustasha death camp, in total contradiction to the United States Holocaust Museum, and other western historians, who state 80.000 to 100.000 people were exterminated by the Ustasha in Jasenovac
  5. Another Croatian WP editor, upon deleting my contribution, wrote to me “you’re at all times defending English Wikipedia on our Croatian Wikipedia site, the same [English] Wikipedia that denies the Croatian language“. To my response that not only en.wikipedia, but also the vast majority of Western linguists state that Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian is one language (as opposed to Croatian nationalist claims of Croatian being a separate language), I got the following response “THIS denial of the integrity of the Croatian language is a provocation of the collaborative community on the Croatian language Wikipedia” ( Kubura, 08:01, 26. october 2015)

Problem Summary[edit]

I believe the actions described in items 2-5, above, violate WP’s core NPOV principle – “to represent fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic”.

Using claims like those of Croatian WP editors, Serbian WP editors would be able to delete sources quoted by western historians, by similarly claiming them to be “compromised sources, with biased writing against Serbs”. Or Arab WP versions would be allowed to delete quotes from western historians, and instead proclaim that editors should use Arab religious publications, as “serious sources” on the Holocaust. Plus, this would allow deletion of majority views of international experts, if someone merely deems these majority views to be “a provocation of the collaborative community of [that particular language] Wikipedia”

Admittedly, I was curt in my responses to these wholesale deletions of my contributions on Croatian WP, which quoted the same sources as English WP, but I strongly believe in getting this vital information right

Proposal[edit]

In view of WP’s stated objectives, I believe the various language versions should not be allowed to promote their own alternative versions of reality in this way, and should instead strive for consistency among the different language versions, based on reliable sources and core WP principles.

Thus I’d look forward to hearing suggestions and starting a discussion on how these problems can be addressed more systematically, since I see from previous RFCs that others have raised similar concerns with other WP languages versions

Comments[edit]

  • We typically don't have global policies on editorial issues. That's for local projects to decide. – Ajraddatz (talk) 02:03, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

References[edit]

  1. Tomasevich, Jozo (2001). War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941–1945: Occupation and Collaboration 2. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-0857-6, p. 722