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China and Taiwan Clash over Wikipedia Edits (bbc.com)
252 points by ktln2 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 93 comments

This is complicated by the fact that many different languages are spoken in both mainland China and Taiwan. So you get an article in Hokkien that prominently displays the flag of the Republic of China [1] and another in Southern Min that looks very different [2].

Also, three different articles on "Taiwan Province, People's Republic of China" [3], "Taiwan Province" (in the Republic of China) [4] and "Taiwan" (common name of the Republic of China) [5].

[1] https://hak.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%B2i-v%C3%A2n

[2] https://zh-min-nan.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C3%A2i-o%C3%A2n

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan_Province,_People%27s_Re...

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan_Province

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan

They do not belong to the "Chinese" Wikipedia, they are "Yue", "Min Nan" Wikipedia. "Classical" Chinese also has its own version. They are communities of their own, with separate governance and participants. The "Chinese" Wikipedia do not intervene the internal politics of other languages as well. They exist because Wikipedia allows the existence of different version for each language, and the proponents believe it's good to promote the local culture by writing in their own languages. I don't see any problems, and I fully support it.

But beware that the number of viewers, articles, and editors is significantly smaller than the "Chinese" Wikipedia. As a natural result, many of these have reached far from the level of sophistication of Chinese Wikipedia, in terms of content, policies, or governance. The central of mass is always the "Chinese" edition.

In particular, because the Chinese Wikipedia was launched in 2004, it has the most robust policies regarding to these conflicts. There exists a consensus of how the official policies of Wikipedia, such as Neutral Point of View, No Original Research, Citing Sources, should be enforced regarding to the articles about China, the guidelines are clear. Other languages of Wikipedia related to China may not have them.

For example, this is a full translation of the official policies of the Chinese Wikipedia that all editors should follow regarding to the issues of Taiwan,

> Avoid "mainland China" centric view, for example: "Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China" is not acceptable, but it can be written as: "The People's Republic of China claims Taiwan is part of it."

> Every record on Wikipedia should try to avoid biasing the status quo about Taiwan. Even though the United Nations and most of the world's independent countries have recognized the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legitimate government representing China, Wikipedia should reflect the reality of neutrality, so that the term "China" should not be considered as a single independent political entity or government. In particular, "China" should not be used to describe areas under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China, or as a synonym with "Mainland China" which does not include Hong Kong and Macau.

> Use the more neutral "Beijing Government" or "Beijing" to represent the "Government of the People's Republic of China". Avoid using the "Chinese Government", "Chinese Communist Party Government", "Mainland Government" and "Mainland Administration" which are usually derogatory. For neutral abbreviations, please consider using the [[People's Government of the People's Republic of China | Beijing Government]] format for internal links.

> Similarly, if the term “Republic of China” is used to describe the content to be written, the term “Taiwan” should not be used when accuracy is desired, especially when naming items related to the government, law or politics of the Republic of China. In order to maintain the neutrality of Wikipedia, we only refer to the government that ruled Taiwan, Wuhu, Kinmen and Matsu in the name of the government name that exists in Taiwan. The "Republic of China Government" moved to Taiwan can use the "Taipei Government" or "Taipei" as the abbreviation. It is also more neutral than "Taiwan Government" and "Taiwan Authority". However, please consider using the [[[[ Republic of China Government | Taipei Government]] format for internal links.

> Another sensitive point: Wikipedia sees the Republic of China as having the same status as the People’s Republic of China, meaning that the two sides are equal and not affiliated political entities; but to remain neutral, whether the two are a country or two countries, Wikipedia's position is to remain silent and not to support or oppose any party. Editors should pay attention when writing the articles.

> When describing the government, or projects related to the State, the full name of the official country, such as the "People's Republic of China", "Republic of China", etc., should be used. For example, "Xi Jinping is the president of the People's Republic of China" is more appropriate than "Xi Jinping is the Chinese president." Similarly, "only the citizens of the Republic of China can participate in the presidential election of the Republic of China" is more appropriate than "only Taiwanese nationals can participate in the presidential election in Taiwan."

> Taiwan (as a province) should not be described as an independent country or part of the People’s Republic of China, but rather as part of the Republic of China. When it is necessary to mention the political situation in Taiwan, it is reasonable to add notes to explain the complex situation concerning Taiwan. Therefore, the term "Taiwan" is used only to refer to the island or the Taiwan Province of the Republic of China. Furthermore, since "Taiwan Province" is very controversial in some aspects and applications, it should only be used when the province itself is specifically mentioned. For example, "Song Chuyu is the only elected governor of Taiwan". But In the content of items not related to government, law, politics, etc., we can use Taiwan as the abbreviation of the Republic of China after moving to Taiwan.

> By convention, Wikipedia will not approve or oppose the following two issues:

* The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China declares that Taiwan is the territory of the People’s Republic

* The Constitution of the Republic of China declares that the inherent territory includes mainland China.

> As we said before, Wikipedia's position on whether the two sides of the strait is a country or two countries is to remain silent.

> For non-official institutions and international events, such as the Olympic Games, the official name of the conference should be used. At the Olympic Games, the "Chinese Taipei Team" should be used instead of the "Taiwan Team", the "Chinese Team" or the "Republic of China". When it is necessary to compare with Taiwan for non-political purposes, the word "China Mainland" should be used instead of "Taiwan" and "China" (meaning "Taiwan" does not belong to "China"), and "Taiwan" / "Continental China" (meaning "Taiwan" belongs to "China"). In addition, although Hong Kong and Macau are under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China, they are generally not considered part of mainland China.

> It is worth noting that the above matters are not fully applicable to historical items, especially the historical part of the government of the Republic of China that has not yet included Taiwan.


> When writing geographic items, you should also avoid geographical centers. For example, the names of mainland China and Taiwan should at least indicate the name of the unit in which the first-level administrative region (the Chinese mainland is a province, a municipality, an autonomous region, or Taiwan is a province or a municipality).

Examples of mainland China and Taiwan:

> Incorrect description with geographical center: “The administrative division of Fengshan is divided into Fengshan Town, Fengqing County, Linyi City.” (Chinese users mostly do not know where Linyi City is, and the administrative divisions of counties and cities in China and Taiwan. The names are generally considered to be unfamiliar to most Chinese users, except in the central municipalities and the more prominent provincial capitals and other cities.)

> Correct description without geographical center: “Fengshan Town is located in Fengqing County, Linyi City, Yunnan Province, and the government administrative center is Fengqing City.”

> In Chinese Wikipedia, the highest level administrative unit of the location description is preferably based on the first level administrative unit, or can be indicated to cities with high visibility in the Chinese language circle, such as Xi'an, Luoyang, Nanjing, Wuhan, Guangzhou. , Shenzhen, Xiamen, Taipei, etc.

> Hong Kong example:

* Incorrect: "The highest temperature recorded by the our local Hong Kong Observatory in June of the past 50 years is..."

* Correct: "The highest temperature in June recorded by the Hong Kong Observatory between 1955 and 2005 is..."

> Do not use "foreign" or "foreign" as a place outside the Greater China region, or use "foreigners" to refer to non-Chinese people.

> The word "Mainland" and "Continent" can only be used when it involves Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and the word "China Mainland" and "Continental China" has been mentioned repetitively, to ensure no misunderstanding will occur.

Thank you for this very informative comment. I did not mean to imply that these articles were part of the "Chinese" (i.e. zh) Wikipedia, however due to the regional overlap I'd expect contributors in these languages to also contribute to zh and follow similar community norms. Note that those Wikipedias are small relative to zh, but large in absolute terms. zh-min-nan (Southern Min) has 100 000+ articles, cdo (Eastern Min), wuu (Wu) and zh-yue (Cantonese) each have 10 000+. Admittedly, hak (Hakka) only has 1000+, so I probably shouldn't have linked to that one. (Also, I accidentally referred to it as Hokkien instead.)

I don't think this proliferation of linguistic communities is a bad thing. I just think it's interesting how different the articles they produce are.

Thanks for the responsive.

> I don't think this proliferation of linguistic communities is a bad thing. I just think it's interesting how different the articles they produce are.

Fully agree.

This is further complicated by the fact that Western media usually perpetuate the confusion (whether on purpose or not).

For example, the BBC uses the terms 'China' and 'Taiwan' and very rarely, if at all, discusses what is meant by 'China' and what is (or was...) the Republic of China, which are key to understand the dispute.

Obviously, writing "China claims that Taiwan is part of its territory" is bound to be interpreted as an expansionist stance of a country trying to invade another by people who know nothing more about the issue when the reality is much fuzzier.

I am not saying that this is simple, but it should not be depicted in simplistic and potentially misleading terms.

I agree there should be more pieces explaining the background and history of the PRC and ROC, and how Chiang Kai-shek ended up in Taiwan, that it was the ROC had the UN seat until the 1970s, or that both claimed to be the rightful government etc. But that should be linked to rather than fleshed out in every story, as it gets pretty involved.

"China claims that Taiwan is part of its territory" is correct - as far as it goes, it just doesn't go nearly far enough.

Yet I'd be inclined to want this for most media stories in all parts of the world. To talk of companies without mention of their darker history or former name, e.g. "BP" (British Petroleum, formerly British-Persian Oil), "Academi" (Xe, before that Blackwater). At some point no one will remember Emerdata succeeded Cambridge Analytica, etc, etc.

There is a lot of nuance (and inconvenient history) lost all over. So where does, or should, it stop?

> There is a lot of nuance (and inconvenient history) lost all over. So where does, or should, it stop?

When it's relevant? Notice how it feels more applicable to contextualize this issue with it's history. Sometimes it's relevant sometimes it's not, it depends on how directly connected the present is to the past in the particular aspect being discussed.

Sure, but there's loads of times relevant, and little known, background is not mentioned at all. The rebrand, rename or nuance of former dispute or civil war is quite often the reason the modern event is an issue in the first place.

Having become something of a history buff over the years, I quite often know at least some of the background behind a story, or what came before. I find it disappointing to just get events reported, without effort to give that necessary context. It can reveal the "why".

> China claims that Taiwan is part of its territory" is correct - as far as it goes, it just doesn't go nearly far enough

It's correct for a certain definition of the terms. Taiwan officially also agrees that it is part of China, after all.

It gives the impression that China wants to invade a foreign land whereas it is essentially a domestic dispute, the Chinese civil war.

> Taiwan officially also agrees that it is part of China, after all.

Which is worth as much as a forced confession, because there is a credible threat of invasion if the Taiwan/ROC government would officially change its name or claimed territory. And I'm sure many countries have come into de-facto existence through civil wars, so that can't be the only criteria.

You illustrate my point perfectly.

They do not agree that they are part of the People's Republic of China, but as the Republic of China they are indeed part of 'China'. Nothing forced there.

PRC has threatened to invade ROC if they declare independence as the “Republic of Taiwan”

If the threat of an invasion is not "forced", then what is?

They don't call themselves part of China under threat.

Their official position is that they're the rightful government of all of China. Abandoning 'Taiwan is part of China' would mean abandoning that claim.

It looks quaint now, yes, but that's the official position. And it wasn't quaint when they were holding China's security council seat.

The fact that both countries have reasons to say 'Taiwan is part of China' while each claiming to be the rightful government of China is the most basic fact of the relationship. It's embedded in the names of the countries, even. ROC and PRC. I'd submit that anyone with strong feelings on the matter should really already know this.

Yes, that was the situation under authoritarian one-party rule, and there are no doubt still a few people in the ROC who dream of retaking the mainland under the KMT banner. Since then, China has added an explicit military threat under the Anti-Secession Law[1], and the ROC government has evolved into a two-party democracy. The official position has not changed, but the context has.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Secession_Law

But we agree that that's the background and Taiwan hasn't reached consensus to change the official policy, right?

OP is getting dogpiled for pointing out the grade school history overview of the topic.

As for whether the threat of invasion is the deciding factor on the official ROC policy.. I think it's better explained by the fact that everything is going fine with two Chinas. They trade a ton, everyone's happy.

Why mess with that just because the diplomatic positions don't make logical sense?

>But we agree that that's the background and Taiwan hasn't reached consensus to change the official policy, right?

What part of China has threatened to invade them over changing their policy makes that policy a coerced statement and not an accurate representation of their intent do you not understand?

The part where anyone thinks it's a credible threat? I honestly thought that went without saying.

You really think China's 5 seconds away from a bloody invasion? China is Taiwan's largest trading partner. Everyone's getting rich, in both countries.

Taiwan is and will remain independent, everyone knows this, China doesn't care.

>The part where anyone thinks it's a credible threat?

50% of people in Taiwan believe that China will invade if they declare independence.

So yes half of the country thinks it's a credible threat. [1, 2]

And only 6% think their situation has improved over this time last year. So "everyone's getting richer" certain isn't the perception in Taiwan.

1. Survey http://www.taiwansecurity.org/app/news.php?Sn=15761

2. Summary https://nationalinterest.org/feature/what-latest-opinion-pol...

But do you think it's likely that the PRC actually invades Taiwan?

I'm not taking a side on PRC vs ROC, maybe you're misunderstanding me. I just honestly thought it was taken for granted that that's pretty unlikely. All the talk about who's sovereign has been polite fiction for some time now.

(and, I'll admit I haven't done a ton of research on Taiwanese public opinion, but unless/until I do so, I'm going to take 'taiwansecurity.org' in English's takes with a grain of salt - Ahmed Chalabi sounded good too)

Doesn't really matter what I think. It matters what the people making the decision and the people voting for them think. If they think the threat is real, they are being coerced. That's all there is to it.

The survey was done by a Taiwanese University in cooperation with Duke University. If you want to dismiss it without doing any research then have at it.


"China is Taiwan's largest trading partner."

This seems like even more coercion opportunity on the part of China onto Taiwan, tbh. I doubt Taiwan has similar leverage over China to asswert its independence.

The one-China policy was set at the time the KMT had one-party rule over the ROC. The DPP have no interest in pursuing the claim to the mainland.

> it is essentially a domestic dispute, the Chinese civil war

Well surely it was as the civil war is 70 years over, since the fall of Hainan. There would be many decades of martial law before the democratic reforms. So it wasn't about what Taiwanese citizens then wanted.

Who is definitively right? I have no doubt it will remain a sticking point in relations between Taiwan and PRC for decades to come. It seems unlikely that Taiwan and CCP will reach amicable agreement.

There has not been military action in a long time but it is obviously not over.

If it was over we wouldn't be having this discussion.

It's like Germany and Vietnam before, Korea today.

I would also note that Taiwan had a KMT President no later than 2015 and he was very much "anti-independence". In fact when asked about it he very aptly answered that the Republic of China was indepedent since its founding in 1912.

I'm surprised this doesn't happen way more often with many other pages. But we were all warned not to take Wikipedia as a single source of credible information. If bold statements or dubious information is not properly linked to credible sources (and even then...), don't take it as 100% true.

Best way I've used Wikipedia is to find the source of whatever sentence I'm on and see how ridiculous that source is...a lot of Huffington post and trash mags stuff for example

This happens way more often with many other pages as well. It just doesn't get the spotlight of media attention all the time.

Also worth noting is the GFW bans Wikipedia, limiting its popularity in China (most prefer Baidu’s equivalent, and those stay are comparably more liberal). So things don’t get that bad unless there’s an outside trigger to make average Chinese users take extra efforts accessing Wikipedia.

I usually try to go through the effort of looking up the citations for particularly controversial statements.

But often that ends up being some book reference I can't find a free online version for.

Often bias on Wikipedia is more easily revealed by what was removed rather than what was added. If you really want to see what's been covered up, check the edit history and the talk page. "Wikilawyers" are good at invoking whatever community guideline they can to get things added or removed.

Has this intensified recently? I thought this was already going on to a degree. I remember reading a story on HN awhile ago about a lawyer for hire who could get any change he wanted through Wikipedia's system. It'd be a disaster for Wikipedia if China et al had similar power... though I suppose I already pass Wikipedia over when looking up controversial things like US politicians.

Issues related to China and Blizzard, Apple and China-Hong Kong, etc. intensifying - which is bringing all of this bad, authoritarian behaviour to light - compounding. People seem to have had enough and are speaking up.

This story was first submitted 4 days ago, but not many were paying attention at that time: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21164775

How can this even be news?

The editing war has been around since the very beginning, back in 2004 or so, and since then, in the endless wars, a very sophisticated tradition of "Code of Conflict" has already been established as a robust basis of solving conflicts. It's not actually a Code, but a consensus of how the official policies of Wikipedia, such as Neutral Point of View, No Original Research, Citing Sources, should be enforced regarding to the articles about China, the guidelines are clear, and there is no question.

For example, on whether Taiwan should be seen as an independent country - The resolution is simple: Neutral Point of View. If a government claims it's a legitimate government, its official title should be used by default, whether the claim is justified or not is another matter of fact to be described within the articles. Thus, all references to the government of Taiwan is by default, Republic of China, and all references to the government of PRC is by default, People's Republic of China. If there are political questions involved, all the major opinions and important minority opinions should be presented, backed by citations. The same rule applies to all other governments, Wikipedia has no problem of calling the terrorist group the "Islamic State", and then described it as a illegitimate terrorist group within the article.

This system has been kicking around for more than a decade, and any cooperative Wikipedia editors have no problems accepting it, nobody will be offended by "Republic of China", even if the editor is a member of the CPC.

It's not to say that conflicts don't exist. Of course, strong conflicts occur daily, but the conflicts are about the matter of facts and their interpretation (whether the inclusion of this opinion fits the policies of Wikipedia, whether or not the overtone of the article is biased towards the United States, etc). For example, you should expect to see heavy conflicts on articles related to the protests in Hong Kong, on what opinions should be included in the article and how to interpret the sources. But what the policies should be is clear to all editors, the argument is mainly about their treatment and interpretation.

On the other hand, there are people that doesn't know what the community is about, refuse to read the policies, or don't want to follow the rules, these people will start editing wars, indeed, but their edits will be reverted, with their accounts banned when enough people have been annoyed. The constant influx of these people are a daily phenomenon, and warning and banned them is the most underappreciated job. We have seen these people coming from all geographical area and political camps, including PRC, Hong Kong, ROC, Singapore, or the U.S. However, these are mostly trolls, not Wikipedia editors, and these conflicts should not be confused with the actual conflicts within Wikipedia.

Some of the most infamous trolls are from Taiwan, it's not related to the geopolitics, they always exist regardless of political camps. On the other hand, I've even seen literal followers of fascism from PRC that has no problem of following the Wikipedia policies and writing unobjectionable articles... The trolls from PRC contribute the greatest number of unhelpful edits, though.

It's not to say that articles actually follows the official policies as well. Of course many articles are biased. They exist, because there aren't enough people willing to improve them. It's similar to contributing a controversial feature to a FOSS project, the argument can go for months, with a lot of revisions, so it's not a job that many people want to hold. Nevertheless, it's doable, at least for the most notable topic that there are a lot of potential contributors.

Power struggles are common, because everyone has (1) a personal opinion over the subjects, (2) an opinion over how the subject should be described in Wikipedia, (3) an opinion over the existing articles, (4) an opinion over the personal opinion of another Wikipedia editor's opinion, etc, so it's unavoidable. Yet, life still goes on.

Personally, I see the greatest success story is 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests [0]. It's always the most controversial article of all on the entire Chinese Wikipedia, the conflicts have been ongoing forever. The "this article is biased" template was here for 13 years or so. Yet, a few years ago, all conflicts have been settled, all perceived issues have been fixed in the article, and now the content of the article has been accepted by most to be an objective and comprehensive description of the events.

Finally, I must point out that the Chinese Wikipedia don't have the culture of deletion, unlike the English version. Some experienced Chinese editors went to edit the English version, only to find many edits have been reverted and canceled.

[0] https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%85%AD%E5%9B%9B%E4%BA%8B%E4...

> Finally, I must point out that the Chinese Wikipedia don't have the culture of deletion, unlike the English version. Some experienced Chinese editors went to edit the English version, only to find many edits have been reverted and canceled.

This is a really interesting bit. I've largely stopped contributing content to Wikipedia because almost every contribution I've made in recent years has been reverted with little/no explanation. And I'm not talking about controversial topics, either: it's just mostly adding clearly objective information to computer science articles. My impression is that it's territorialism, where a few academic subject matter experts have gained enough reputation to control a page, and now won't let anyone edit it.

Do you have any thoughts on:

1. Why the difference in cultures of deletion?

2. What are the implications?

I expect it's the same reason that the quality of discourse on the internet as a whole, including the English Wiki, has really quite deteriorated. On the Chinese Wiki there's a tremendous intellectual barrier to entry - being able to read/write Chinese. This is not to say that China (as the largest source of people able to read/write Chinese) is not full of 'less academically inclined' individuals, exactly as any other nation, but the percent of those individuals that are in any way involved with Wiki is going to be extremely close to 0.

The entire internet itself used to have a similar barrier to entry in that it wasn't something that 'normal' people 'did.' And so you had a relatively small group of generally 'more academically inclined' individuals mostly just engaging with one another. But as you opened the flood gates the 'newcomers' gradually became the majority and the internet was completely reshaped in their image. So compare, for instance, old newsgroup archives to e.g. Twitter or Facebook. Makes it quite easy to lose faith in society. In my case it simply led to me tossing aside any notion of tabula rasa.

But the point of this is that I don't think individuals who are 'more academically inclined' are the sort to sit around wasting hours, days, years edit warring and effectively trolling one another. They can accept different views, values, and also correct themselves when they discover they had a poorly formulated view. Wikipedia entered the game early enough that the internet hadn't gone completely to the 'less academically inclined', and so it had some time to grow. In today's environment Wiki, from scratch, would be simply impossible. By contrast, the Chinese Wiki gets to party like its 1992.


Your opinions are interesting. it deserves a thread of its own posted on a real forum, and I love to continue to discussion.

> By contrast, the Chinese Wiki gets to party like its 1992.

> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September

On one hand, I'd say it's a gross mischaracterization of the Chinese Wikipedia and the Web in general. Many millions of people now has unprecedented accessed to the Web, and due to the current political atmosphere, various forms of populism has reached its full heights online, not unlike the English-speaking world. Wikipedia is not free from it.

Meanwhile, I'd your description is somewhat true. Due to the cultural barrier created by the Great Firewall, if you are a daily viewer of Wikipedia, it's likely that you are already a more academically-inclined individual. It's even more so if you have an account and make edits.

If the Great Firewall doesn't exist, and the Chinese Wikipedia has high popularity, I guess the community's attitudes towards newcomers will be very difference.

I'm not really sure about the culture of English Wikipedia, but I'd try extrapolating the picture from my experience.

> My impression is that it's territorialism, where a few academic subject matter experts have gained enough reputation to control a page, and now won't let anyone edit it.

I guess it's mostly true. It's more likely to happen if the author has put extensive efforts on writing the article and has successfully defended one's article. But I'd give a minor correction: now they won't let anyone from whose writing style, don't appear to be a person who is familiar to Wikipedia and its cultural norm to edit it.

If you've edited enough Wikipedia articles and participated in the community long enough, you'll be trained to be extremely cautious. And it's very easy to tell from your writing style, mainly it's about (1) citing sources, and (2) neutral tone.

For example, if there is an article about cryptography, and there is an outdated mention of RC4. You may want to add more information, and write

> Nowadays, RC4 is insecure and considered unsuitable for secure applications, thus it is banned and rarely used.

To a Wikipedia editor like me, I'll read this sentence as,

> Nowadays [when?], RC4 is insecure [who says?] and considered unsuitable for secure applications [what applications?], thus it is banned [by whom?] and rarely used [for what?].

If I'm the editor, I'll first spending 30 minutes to find some sources to back the claims. Sometimes, the claims are so obvious that you'll need to be creative when finding sources, peer-reviewed papers and the introductory textbooks are often good sources. Then, I'll write,

> Since 2013, due to the discovery of additional weakness in RC4, such as [[BEAST attack]], or biases in the ciphertext stream[1], well-known cryptographers such as Matthew Green criticized its continued use despite questionable security status[2]. In 2015, the use of RC4 in SSL/TLS is prohibited by publication of RFC7465 standard[3].

[1] Pouyan Sepehrdad; Serge Vaudenay; Martin Vuagnoux (2011). Discovery and Exploitation of New Biases in RC4. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 6544. pp. 74–91. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-19574-7_5

[2] Matthew Green. "Attack of the week: RC4 is kind of broken in TLS". Cryptography Engineering. (NOTE: this is a blogpost, and normally not a reliable source, it's best to find a news article from a news portal that quote M. Green indirectly).

[3] IETF. "RFC 7465 - Prohibiting RC4 Cipher Suites".


See the differences?

> 1. Why the difference in cultures of deletion?

> 2. What are the implications?

Each version of Wikipedia operates independently (direct interventions from the Wikimedia Foundation exist, but rare), the rules of the English Wikipedia sometimes don't even applies. Thus, developing different culture in each community is not surprising.

In this case, I think it's simply a difference in philosophy, namely, whether we should take a more liberal approach or a more conservative approach on the enforcement of policies.

There are always enough articles on Wikipedia, and a lot of them do not even reach the common standard of Wikipedia, major reworks are always needed. For example, some articles are written like a personal essay, you can still find these articles on English Wikipedia, if the topics are not common to be reviewed by enough people. Original research is another major problem, some articles not only express opinions of other sources, but some of their own without citations. Meanwhile, the issue of Eternal September and the constant influx of below-average edits can only make the situation worse. In the extreme case, some believe the addition of a poorly-written article is worse than nothing.

Other people believe that we should tolerate the existence of below-average edits, and articles that don't strictly fit Wikipedia's standard of notability, have original researches, etc, to encourage contributions. If you see poorly-written content, it's best for someone who know better to fix it in the future.

Histrionically, members of the Chinese Wikipedia always believe the number of editors are not enough and the community should take an inclusionist idea and be relatively open to contributions. Even today, due to the Great Firewall, it's still a major opinion. But there's also a deletionist faction, concerning the quality of the articles. But it seems on Chinese Wikipedia, neither faction dominates, and for most of the time there is a somewhat peaceful coexistence.

For example, in comparison to lacking professional participants, Chinese Wikipedia seems to be more welcoming for edits on rock stars, video games, or animations. A lot of these articles contain fandom culture that is not really adheres to Wikipedia's policies. A few years ago, there was even a "Spoiler Warning!" templates, which is quite funny. Though standards have been higher in recently years, templates like these have already been canceled because it's unsuitable for an encyclopedia, but still, it's mainly inclusionism here...

Also, the enforcement of rules is more passive. If you add some paragraphs to an article that looks reasonable, most editors won't touch it, unless it's controversial.

On the other hand, if you ask for a peer-review, you'll encounter the faction of deletionism. The most common example is participating the community vote to decide whether a new article should be showed on the homepage (Do You Know..., a common way to increase exposure and feedback of new articles). It's likely that you'll face a conservative review.

I think this system, more or less, works. But the Chinese Wikipedia does have a lot of pooly-written articles, I have to say.

> See the differences?

Yes. But I think the exclusion you're talking about is a good thing, IMO, and not really what I'm talking about. I've literally added citations to scholarly research, or made a word a hyperlink to a related Wikipedia article and had them deleted without explanation.

Ironically, I've added a few whole pages and had them go largely unchallenged--I suspect this is because adding pages is a less visible event to those watching a topic.

I don't think Wikipedia should lower their standards. It may be that there was some very good reason my changes were reverted. My underlying complaint is really just that there's a lack of visibility into why changes were reverted.

> Ironically, I've added a few whole pages and had them go largely unchallenged--I suspect this is because adding pages is a less visible event to those watching a topic.

Aha, I watch all the articles I've written and check them routinely. Any changes is obvious and cannot escape detection (but I do not revert changes!). Meanwhile, adding new articles or changing less-known articles can only be found from the global Wikipedia changelog that have huge amount of activities, I guess people only checks for blatant guideline violations.

> Yes. But I think the exclusion you're talking about is a good thing, IMO, and not really what I'm talking about. I've literally added citations to scholarly research [...] and had them deleted without explanation.

Hmmm, another reason for deletionism is whether the content is encyclopedic or notable. The official policies state,

> Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia, but a digital encyclopedia project. Other than verifiability and the other points presented on this page, there is no practical limit to the number of topics Wikipedia can cover or the total amount of content. However, there is an important distinction between what can be done, and what should be done, which is covered under § Encyclopedic content below. Consequently, this policy is not a free pass for inclusion: articles must abide by the appropriate content policies, particularly those covered in the five pillars.

Often in practice, content that is "unimportant" or "insignificant" is often removed.

According to what I've read, I think these two opinions:

breaucratic enforcement of standard and,

strict removal of unimportant articles

is the main criticism of Wikipedia's deletion culture. However, strangely it seems neither applies to your contributions. I think I don't fully understand the deletionism on en.wikipedia.org as well. Is there someone who know better about it?

> My underlying complaint is really just that there's a lack of visibility into why changes were reverted.

Although I don't understand your problem, but I recommend to try check the changelog of the next revision after your edit. Unfortunately, sometimes you cannot find a meaningful commit message, just a boilerplate "REVERT". It's an important responsibility to write edit descriptions properly, so other people can see the reason in the changelog. But just like software development, when people do it from time to time, they'll simply hit the revert button and stop writing anything meaningful in the log.

I guess you can start a topic at the talk page.

Is your clearly objective information sourced, though? Not that I disagree about territorialism.

Yes, I'm generally very careful about this.

"Finally, I must point out that the Chinese Wikipedia don't have the culture of deletion, unlike the English version. Some experienced Chinese editors went to edit the English version, only to find many edits have been reverted and canceled."

You must realize on the Chinese Wikipedia you don't need to delete anything if only content the Chinese government wants on there is only what gets posted? E.g. How quickly before posting about Tiananmen Square Massacre before it gets deleted, and perhaps how quickly before you get an in-person visit from the authorities?

> You must realize on the Chinese Wikipedia you don't need to delete anything if only content the Chinese government wants on there is only what gets posted?

It appears that you don't understand what I'm talking about.

First, Wikipedia is an independent website run by the Wikimedia Foundation in the jurisdiction of United States (in the State of California I believe), no matter what the language is.

Second, the Chinese Wikipedia includes participants from all over the world, including U.S. and Singapore. And so far it's unlikely that the single ideological group can obtain great control of Wikipedia without being opposed. In fact, due to the Great Firewall, there are concerns that the Mainland China is underrepresented in some articles.

Third, also, so far the governments haven't arrested users for writing Wikipedia articles.

Your comment is uninformed and unfounded.

> E.g. How quickly before posting about Tiananmen Square Massacre before it gets deleted

Please reread the last paragraphs of my comment.

I specifically used the "Tiananmen Square Massacre" (I called it "1989 Tiananmen Square Protest", in compliance of the Wikipedia's policy of neural point of view), as the success story of how the most controversial history can finally be written in a way that editors across of geographical and political spectrum can agree that it is a good article written according to the standard of Wikipedia.

You're correct, I misunderstood what you wrote. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Why is Wikipedia even allowing edits from China at this point?

The edits might not even be from China. Somehow CCP has managed to even get many Chinese abroad to attach part of their identity to the Chinese government so negative things about the government are personally insulting.

This makes sense. Especially in light of Chinese student unions on college campuses.

I'd hazard a guess that it wouldn't be too hard for China to get round any blocks, so why bother.

Just throwing this link out there for anyone that's interested as I'm a mod over at the /r/taiwanindependence subreddit.[1]

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/taiwanindependence

Fuck Chinese government.

Support freedom for Hong Kong, and Taiwain.

This is the purest of unsubstantive political comments. Obviously if HN comments turn into this, the forum is gone. Would you please read the site guidelines (https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html), take the intended use of HN to heart, and stop posting like this?

You might also find these links helpful for getting the spirit of this site:





All: please don't upvote comments like this. It has no place sitting at the top of a thread. I'm going to mark it off topic now.


I agree, China is now a nightmare dictatorship. We should do everything we possibly can to support the free peoples remaining in Hong Kong and Taiwan and perhaps start pushing freedom into China.

> China is now a nightmare dictatorship

Tibet, the great leap forward, among others.

And I'd clarify 'China' to 'the Chinese government'.

> And I'd clarify 'China' to 'the Chinese government'.

A friend of Chinese origin explained to me: when there are two people of Chinese origin in a room who don't intimately know each other, both of them will openly support the People's Republic because neither one can be completely sure that the other is not a mole. So given a group of people of Chinese origin, they all support the People's Republic (CCP). Now imagine if you grew up where all adults behaved like this. Would you need any specific brainwashing to support the People's Republic?

I'm a Chinese national working in the U.S. and I have never heard or seen any behavior like this.

Which part? The way I interpreted it is that if two random people were put into a room and were asked about their position on the CCP, they'd both support it. That seems plausible for any totalitarian country.

I think it only applies when inside the boundaries of China, not to people of Chinese origin.

I'm half ethnically Chinese, look mostly Chinese, and don't give a shit what the CCP thinks, because I was born in the U.S, have U.S. citizenship, visited China once with a tour group full of white people from places like Peoria, and have no plans to go back. However, if I were physically in China, I'd be a little more circumspect with my political opinions. This is prudent for white Americans within the boundaries of China as well - while you have some protection because of the CCP not wanting to cause an international incident, you are still in a foreign country thousands of miles from home and subject to its laws or lack thereof.

neither part. This sounds rather bizarre to me.

>China is now a nightmare dictatorship

They call it "China Dream".

"China is now a nightmare dictatorship"

I don't know if has not been in the recent past? It's certainly been nightbarish and a dictatorship for quite while.


You have a source for this?

I believe they are referring to the Turkistan Islamic Party, who aim to establish an Islamic state in East Turkestan i.e. Xinjiang. Some of their fighters went to participate in the Syrian civil war, where ISIS losing territory might prompt them to move back east. While this is the result of the US fighting ISIS, making it sound as if the US was actively helping ISIS fighters relocate is disingenuous.


Yes, the US was funding the movements to overthrow Assad.

"helping Isis fighters relocate" and "throwing bags of cash" sounds pretty similar to me, if the cash leads them to China's border.

> Yes, the US was funding the movements to overthrow Assad.

Meaning the US paid the fighters to move away from China.

The US doesn't control what those fighters do after that war is over (obviously, considering how often such fighters end up fighting the US itself); if they go back to China, that's not something the US is responsible for.

Now if you're actually alleging the US is paying Islamic fighters to go to China, that's a new claim and you should provide some evidence.

The trick is that you can critical of more than one thing at a time, and that criticism of the Chinese government doesn’t mean support for the US government.

Though at least in the US you can criticize the government.

I agree and think China has a right to include its own account of history in the record.



The poster you initially replied to wasn't discussing anything, neither present nor future. They were simply stating their political alignment. If that's not the kind of content you like to see on Hacker News, you should have flagged the comment instead of adding fuel to the flamewar.

Taiwan should just start including pictures of Winnie the Pooh pics on Wikipedia articles to get the whole domain blocked in China.

This is where not actually having to deal with people's opinions on an equitable basis fails authoritarian regimes. They have no sense of humour. If people started saying I looked like Winnie the Pooh, I'd wear a Winnie the pooh T-Shirt or badge every single day. People love Pooh bear.

This is where the downfall of all dictators takes root: within their egos. Dictators seize power by presenting a façade of strength. Having a sense of humour is anathema to the strongman, whose ego can’t withstand even a minor slight.

They are walking contradictions.

And yet... if he started adopting Winnie the pooh as one of his personal emblems. If he had his supporter fly winnie the pooh flags and wear winnie the pooh clothes. If he had people in internment camps wear winnie the pooh uniforms...

He wouldn't look any weaker and his opponents who started using that imagery to make fun of him would find the joke very sour.

He'd look weaker in his own mind, which is where the issue lies. Oh, sure, you and I would lean into it because we're so confident in ourselves. Dude, you think you've got imposter syndrome because JavaScript is hard? Trying running a whole fucking country of 1 billion people, with opportunities at every turn to screw the whole thing up. (Seems there's an obvious solution to that whole "sparrows eating our crops" thing, amirite?) He knows he has critics, and deep down inside knows that they might have a point at times.

I'm beginning to ramble. Point is, leaders despite their bluster are not nearly as confident in themselves as they portray. I mean, I know none of them personally, but I can't imagine that they don't suffer the same foibles as the rest of us. Or worse, such as ego. Your ego would allow you to wear a Pooh shirt. His does not. That's kinda sad. (More sad that we let such people run countries, but I digress.)

Putin owns this strategy. He did a photo shoot of him riding topless on a horse after Internet memes accused him of being a closeted homosexual. He even joked about meddling in U.S. elections, which is what the West accused him of:

>When asked about concerns the Russia might interfere in the 2020 US elections, he replied: "I'll tell you a secret: Yes, we'll definitely do it," Putin said. "Just don't tell anyone," he added, in a stage whisper. [1]

Nowadays you can claim Putin is evil, but nobody really believes he is weak or has problems with self esteem. He uses humor to build himself up.

[1] https://cnnphilippines.com/world/2019/10/2/Vladimir-Putin-Ru...

If you ever a get a chance to hear Putin speak then you'll find he's extremely intelligent. It's much harder to disagree with him when you hear what he has to say in his own words instead of through the filter of US media.

Would never happen, which is so brilliant about these kind of people.

Someone just needs to give these heads of state DMT, it'll change their worldview in a flash (or should I say a blastoff, lol)

Isn't the whole Wikipedia domain already blocked in China? I thought Baidu already had a Wikipedia equivalent.

It is. Twitter is as well.

Yet it’s still flooded with people posting in simplified Chinese about how freedom of speech is stupid and foreigners need to shut up and leave matters alone, completely unaware of any irony.

Twitter is as well.

We can imagine the following dialogue:

Chinese patriot: I’m really angry about what the NBA said on Twitter about China!

Chinese secret police: We admire your patriotism Comrade... but how are you using Twitter?

Tien An Men Square: In this site, in 1989, nothing happened.

Taken from the Simpsons: https://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Q_Kixfvq1lY/SiU_RKPsCdI/AAAAAAAAA...

Maybe this is because the Great Firewall doesn't apply in China's special administrative regions (Hong Kong; Macau), yet there are many Chinese speakers there. I'd expect this is the main audience for Chinese-language Wikipedia articles, and the PRC would want to control the narrative seen by them.

>Maybe this is because the Great Firewall doesn't apply in China's special administrative regions (Hong Kong; Macau),

GP mentioned they were in simplified Chinese. Don't those regions use traditional Chinese?

Yes. And they also speak Cantonese.

I'd assume that the Great Firewall has different settings for ordinary citizens, foreign visitors, purpose-built troll farms, low-ranking party members, and high-ranking apparatchiks. China has basically used Orwell as an instruction manual.

There are tons of Chinese students studying in other countries. They are organized by Chinese consulate to "flex their muscle" against anything "anti-china".

[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3025721/ch...

[2] https://www.apnews.com/7b0f328f266f46c1a498a16a5ad03fbc

well , they still could use vpn or access it from overseas


SCMP is a Chinese government propaganda arm abroad, owned by Jack Ma, a top figure in the Communist Party.


Opium wars happened over a century ago. It was a crime against humanity, but it gives no moral right to anybody to repeat the same thing in the modern time. It's like saying Israeli should have a right to demand that Germans be gassed today because of Hitler.

Chinese public puts up with their government because the standard of living rose in the past years thanks to WTO and liberalization during Deng Xiaoping and Hu Jintao presidency. Now that Xi Jinping decided to undo the progress and double down on building authoritarian ethnostate it's a matter of time before public opinion shifts again due to economic hit.

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