Friday 21 July 2017

Halimah Yacob did not delete info about Indian descent on Wikipedia page because it's still there unless it has been deleted again

On Wednesday, The Independent Singapore speculated: Did Halimah Yacob delete info about Indian descent from Wikipedia page?

The short answer is: I don't think so.

The long answer is the rest of this blog post.

This is what the website published:
Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob’s Wikipedia page appears to have been edited recently. Her page now does not show that she is a “Singaporean politician of Indian descent” as it previously did.

Her page may have been spruced up in anticipation of the upcoming Presidential election which Mdm Halimah is considering contesting...

... Perhaps Mdm Halimah’s Wikipedia page was edited to avoid claims and speculation that she is unfit to run in the presidential race, even though she is a certified Malay. The deletion of her ancestry, however, may have backfired as netizens circulating the photo have taken the edits as evidence that Mdm Halimah is trying to bury her origins.

This article presumes that until recently, the Wikipedia all along had the words "of Indian descent" when actually, the opposite is true.

This can be easily verified by viewing the history of the Halimah Yacob page, which I did.

The words "of Indian descent" were added only less than two weeks ago on July 12.

Four days later, the words were removed by another Wikipedia user, claiming it was vandalism.

Three hours later, a third user Jane Dawson reinstated the words, explaining: "Undid sneaky edits pretending to fix vandalism when no vandalism is found."

Four hours later, the second user deleted the words again.

Minutes later, the user who originally added the words reinstated them again.

Half an hour later, the second user deleted the words, stating: "No reliable sources. Please cite a reliable source. Your IP address '' has been reported for repeated vandalism."

Five minutes later, a fourth user Arjayjay reinstated the words again.

Seven minutes later, a fifth user Reid62 deleted the words, stating: "Restore back to originals. Please insert a reliable sources."

Six minutes later, Arjayjay reinstated the words again, commenting: "Rv-V stop deleting sources, CN tags, categories and adding flag in infobox."

Fifteen minutes later, the second user (the original deleter) deleted the words again.

Eighteen minutes later, the user who introduced the words reinstated them again.

Nineteen minutes later, a sixth user deleted the words to revert to the pre-edit war version from July 11, the good old days.

But the originator of the words would have none of it and reinstated "of Indian descent" about an hour later.

Half an hour later, the original deleter deleted the words again, complaining of vandalism and "disruptive editing".

More than two hours later, a seventh user Materialscientist reinstated the words again.

All that happened on Sunday.

So depending on what time of the day you went to the Halimah Yacob Wikipedia page, you would get different information.

If you asked me, describing her as being "of Indian descent" is inaccurate. She is of Indian and Malay descent. (UPDATE: On Aug 5, the Wikipedia page was edited - not by me - to say exactly that.)

Early Monday morning, Reid62 returned to delete the words again, kicking off the new day with another cycle of delete-reinstate-delete-reinstate-delete-reinstate-delete...

On Tuesday, reinstater Arjayjay had it with deleter Reid62, stating: "Rv deleting sourced information - you were blocked for this yesterday but have just continued where you left of."

Deleter Reid 62 retorted: "Provide me any reliable sources to your edits. The citations were fabricated, false and unfounded."

In other words, fake news!

Reinstater Arjayjay replied: "Stop deleting sources, unless you can show they are unreliable - you were blocked for this yesterday."

Deleter Reid 62 replied: "Of course, they're unreliable because there's no valid source to it. All but smear campaign against this politician. I was blocked because of reverts."

After that, the page was finally locked for "persistent disruptive editing".

The locked version didn't have the words "of Indian descent".

The next day, The Independent Singapore published its article.

The locked "of Indian descent"-less version lasted about three days until this morning when the words were reinstated by another user Sue, who also added "born to a Malay Mother and an Indian-Muslim father".

Sue declared: "Added content that was deleted during the last edit war, as per consensus established in the talk page. If anyone believes this content should be removed, please proceed to the talk page to discuss."

At least war is over.

For now.

UPDATE: The war continues with the return of Reid62 and Arjayjay.

At 12.22pm on July 21, Reid62 deleted "of Indian decent, born to a Malay mother and an Indian-Muslim father" and questioned Sue's motives: "Is 'Sue' linked to Independent.Sg for that site is rogue, unregistered, unlicensed news site that provides many unverified, inaccurate sources; fake news."

Three minutes later, Arjayjay reinstated the words.

Here we go again.