Difference between revisions of "Submissions:2019/Did I just publish Fake News?"

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{{WCNA 2019 Session Submission
{{WCNA 2019 Session Submission
|theme=Reliability of Information<br />
|theme=Reliability of Information<br />

Revision as of 07:23, 11 October 2019

This submission has been designated as a lightning talk at WikiConference North America 2019.


Did I just publish Fake News?


Reliability of Information

Type of session:



Nearly 10 years ago I started a Wikipedia page for Ilse Stanley, a remarkable woman whose autobiography I had stumbled upon in high school. (Remarkable: a German Jew who, in the 1930s, managed to enter concentration camps under the guise of a social worker, and secure the release of over 400 prisoners.) Using her book as a jumping-off point, I set about writing the article and documenting as much as possible, from sources other than her own book. But it was hard to find very much material. Her story was sketched publicly in 1955 on Ralph Edwards's television program, "This Is Your Life", and I found a few references here and there. I located and was in contact with her grandson.

Then I ran into a road-block: a German friend tried to verify her education as an actress, and was unable to do so. Around that time my correspondence withi Ilse's grandson went "on hold". I actually, very reluctantly, began to have some doubts as to the accuracy of what I had already written.

What should I, as a Wikipedian who is not a trained historian, do when I am not sure of the accuracy of my past contribution? I will give a 7-8 minute presentation of what I did and what I learned, and then lead a discussion to solicit ideas about how to deal with a situation like this.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Martha Forsyth

E-mail address:


Wikimedia username:

Affiliated organization(s):


Estimated time:

15 minutes

Preferred room size:


Special requests:


Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:


If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)

yes (lightning talk)