Wikipedia Wars Over Clinton As Presumptive Nominee

A battle of words, rules, and honor

What the battle on Wikipedia would look like IRL — (REUTERS)
Jun 07, 2016 at 1:29 PM ET

Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee, as declared by the AP, NBC and other major outlets, based on independent counts. This is exciting because she’s the first woman in America’s history to be the nominee of a major party. It’s also exciting because people are arguing about it on Wikipedia, the crowdsourced quasi-authority of all reality.

In every war there are battles. The AP’s declaration kicked off a battle last night over words, facts, and honor.

She’ll be the Democratic presumptive presidential nominee, until she’s actually nominated at the Democratic National Convention in July,” wrote Wikipedia user GoodDay, to which user B787 300, in a fit of e-pique, replied “She IS NOT THE PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE!!!”

With battle lines drawn, the gauntlet thrown, and the caps sometimes locked, B787 0300 delivered his (or her) case: “The SuperDelegates do NOT vote until July and the DNC has said they should NOT be counted in the totals. Also It doesnt [sic] matter that AP has called it for Clinton. The DNC has said that it is not final when included the SuperDelegates until the July Convention. I am requesting that it be reverted to Unknown until either candidate has the majority based on pledged delegates or until the Convention in July.”

The plea was ill-received. User Knowledgedkid87, a Pisces anime fan who has made 42,000 contributions to Wikipedia, decided contribution 42,001 would be a zinger, and wrote “Please look up the definition of ‘presumptive.’”

Although zinged, B787 300 continued. “I know the definition of presumptive thank you very much,” he wrote, though it is hard to escape the sense that he was not actually thankful, let alone very much thankful for Knowledgekid87’s condescension. Undaunted, and with an ever greater resort to the full proof rhetorical tactic of caps-lock, B787 300 sallied forth into the breach anon: “The AP should not have called it bases on the DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE’s wishes. But they did. It is a disservice to those that vote tomorrow and beyond that this page shows Hilary without Bernie as NEITHER OF THEM HAVE THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF PLEDGED DELEGATES! Wikipedia is supposed to be impartial adding Hillary in now is not impartial”

By this point, Knowledgekid87 had had enough. “You should take your complaints to AP then not us, we only follow what reliable sources are telling us. If the math is there it would be wrong to not go by it.”

A user known as Abjiklam, no doubt spent from the emotional force of watching these great warriors in combat, explained the editorial decision with all the empathy he could muster. “We go by what the sources say, and right now they say she’s the presumptive nominee,” to which Knowledgekid87 chimed in “Again she isn’t the nominee, the math as it stands adds to a Clinton win though. The media has called it as such, so that is what we are going by.”

Deep in thought, horrified at the prospect of loss, B787 300 conjured a riddle: But how might a statement on what will happen affect what does happen?

“But by saying she is and not giving equal space, you are influencing the election (as many people would check wikipedia first for information),” he wrote, “I happen to agree that the math isn’t there for Sanders to win without Super Delegates switching…I just think that the presumptive should be left blank until the DNC makes an official call on the matter.”

And with time and causation obscured, and his preference stated, the account of B787 300 blinked out of existence, and Hillary Clinton remained the presumptive nominee in the fair realm of Wikipedia.