US Kid Accused of Totally Mucking Up Scottish Wikipedia

Reddit user found much of site's content was developed by admin who doesn't speak Scots
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2020 8:31 AM CDT
US Teen Wrote Chunk of Scots Wikipedia in Bad Accent
This Jan. 18, 2012, file photo shows a Wikimedia Foundation office in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

The main administrator for Scots Wikipedia—that's the Scots language version of Wikipedia—has held that role for more than seven years and may be responsible for close to half the site's content. Problem is, the administrator doesn't even speak the language. Vice reports that a Reddit user who apparently speaks Scots stumbled upon the site one day and was surprised to see much of it was written in standard English, but as if the writer had a Scottish accent—ie, like "comically bad entries that read like they came from Groundskeeper Willie on The Simpsons," per the New York Post. For example, an entry for the film Million Dollar Baby noted the film "is aboot an unnerappreciatit boxin trainer." The Reddit user counted more than 20,000 articles and 200,000-plus edits by AmaryllisGardener, self-described as a teen from North Carolina.

Vice notes that while editions of Wikipedia written in major languages have lots of editors contributing, those in lesser-used languages often have just a few editors, who can end up with too much control. The Reddit poster calls what the administrator has done "cultural vandalism," adding, "I think this person has possibly done more damage to the Scots language than anyone else in history," per the Guardian. Amaryllis is now pleading with people to stop the harassment on social media, noting, "I was only a 12-year-old kid when I started." The future of the site is unclear. Some want all of Amaryllis' content taken down, while others say to scrap the site altogether. Michael Dempster, head of the Scots Language Centre, is hoping the offending content can simply be edited. "We know that this kid has put in an incredible amount of work," he tells the Guardian. "It's a great resource." (More Wikipedia stories.)

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