Wikipedia had to partially block its “Recession” page after readers made a series of edits while arguing over the exact definition of a recession, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.
Whether or not the United States is actually in a recession is up for debate. Inflation is at a record high, but as CNBC noted, the job market is doing relatively well, and unemployment is low at 3.6%. All the conflicting data is leaving economists quite confused.
The debate has now leaked onto the Wikipedia pages. The crux of the argument was whether or not to focus on defining a recession as when GDP falls for two quarters in a row, Bloomberg reported.
This has already happened in the US, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP fell at an annual rate of 0.9% in the first quarter and 1.6% in the second.
Hundreds of users edited the page because of the problem, prompting the nonprofit to designate the page as “semi-protected,” Wikimedia told Bloomberg. (The foundation that runs Wikipedia did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur’s request for comment.)
“Semi-protected articles can only be edited by logged in users whose accounts are at least 4 days old and have made at least 10 edits,” Wikimedia said on the channel.
It’s not unusual to have to block pages after they’ve received many edits, and this kind of thing helps “ensure that Wikipedia’s content is neutral and well-sourced,” Wikimedia added.
The sentence on the subject of GDP continues to be edited.
“According to most scholars, countries, economists and central banks, a recession refers to a period of two or more consecutive quarters of decline in a country’s real gross domestic product (real GDP),” he said on Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning, it said: “Although the definition of a recession varies between different countries and academics, two consecutive quarters of decline in a country’s real gross domestic product (real GDP) is commonly used as the practical definition of a recession “.
However, as the report points out and the Wikipedia page goes on to say, a private non-profit organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research is the official word on whether or not the United States is in a recession.
But it’s a more cautious approach, and the organization doesn’t like having to change its tune. “The NBER’s definition emphasizes that a recession involves a significant decline in economic activity that extends throughout the economy and lasts more than a few months,” its website says.
“Wait until there is sufficient data to avoid the need for major revisions to the business cycle timeline,” the site adds.
And, so far, the NBER has been pretty adamant that we are not, in fact, in a recession, Bloomberg reported.