Wikipedia article on Israeli army's Nuseirat massacre in Gaza sparks edit war, restrictions

Wikipedia article on Israeli army's Nuseirat massacre in Gaza sparks edit war, restrictions
Within a week of the original article being posted onto Wikipedia a total of 627 changes had been made by 103 users.
3 min read
15 June, 2024
Both articles on the incident in Nuseirat have been restricted due to the edit war [Getty]

The Wikipedia pages for the Nuseirat massacre and captive rescue operation have been locked in a war of edits as part of an editorial dispute over the framing of the page.

According to Al Jazeera, the articles affected include the '2024 Nuseirat rescue operation' and 'Nuseirat refugee camp massacre', which are now restricted by extended-protected status in a bid to calm the war.

Within the first week of the article '2024 Nuseirat rescue operation' being online, the article had a total of 627 changes from 103 users. By contrast, the Hamas 7 October Wiki page has had 1,705 edits by 368 users.

The initial article for the incident was created on 8 June by an editor with the username "Galamore" in the immediate aftermath of Israel's raid on the camp.

The raid saw hundreds of Palestinian civilians killed, while Israeli captives Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv were rescued.

However, on the same day a second page was created under the name 'Nuseirat refugee camp massacre' following the rising death toll of the incident and the restrictions being placed on the original article titled '2024 Nuseirat rescue operation'.

During the raid, at least 274 Palestinians were killed and 698 wounded, according to health officials.

These restrictions were placed in part because of the number of changes and deletions of other people's edits as part of an edit war.

According to Wikipedia's own page on the issue, "an edit war occurs when editors who disagree about the content of a page repeatedly override each other's contributions.".

At the time of publishing, both pages have extended-protected status limiting who can edit to users who's accounts have existed for 30 days or more and have made over 500 edits to Wikipedia articles.

Additionally, discussion are currently being held to decide whether to combine both articles into one under the title "Nuseirat raid and rescue", with the page detailing the massacre being placed under the former page. Likewise, discussions to change its name to "killing of civilians during Nuseirat raid and rescue" are also underway.

Both articles have warnings that over their neutrality, and state that the article could be unbalanced toward certain viewpoints.

Edit wars have been occurring on Wikipedia for a number of years and for a variety of articles. A 2011 PCWorld article detailed that edit wars had been waged on articles on Nikola Tesla, Star Wars and Chinese Basketball player Yao Ming.

Other more politically charged articles that have grabbed media attention include the 2019 edit wars over the international status of Taiwan. The BBC also reported on confrontations in 2021 between pro-democracy and pro-regime Chinese Wikipedia editors on articles, especially its Chinese language version.

Israel's war on Gaza has killed 37,296 Palestinians, with a further 85,197 wounded since 7 October. Israeli bombardment has levelled entire neighbourhoods and plunged the enclave into a deep humanitarian crisis.