A Scholar’s Hard Labour

One Woman’s Mission to Rewrite Nazi History on Wikipedia

Ksenia Coffman’s fellow editors have called her a vandal and a McCarthyist. She just wants them to stop glorifying fascists—and start citing better sources.

When Ksenia Coffman started editing Wikipedia, she was like a tourist in Buenos Aires in the 1950s. She came to learn the tango, admire the architecture, sip maté. She didn’t know there was a Nazi problem. But Coffman, who was born in Soviet-era Russia and lives in Silicon Valley, is an intensely observant traveler. As she link-hopped through articles about the Second World War, one of her favorite subjects, she saw what seemed like a concerted effort to look the other way about Germany’s wartime atrocities.

Coffman can’t recall exactly when her concern set in. Maybe it was when she read the article about the SS, the Nazi Party’s paramilitary, which included images that felt to her like glamour shots—action-man officers admiring maps, going on parade, all sorts of “very visually disturbing” stuff. Or maybe it was when she clicked through some of the pages about German tank gunners, flying aces, and medal winners. There were hundreds of them, and the men’s impressive kill counts and youthful derring-do always seemed to exist outside the genocidal Nazi cause. What was going on here? Wikipedia was supposed to be all about consensus. Wasn’t there consensus on, you know, Hitler?

A typical person might have thought, Something is wrong on the internet again. What a bummer. Next tab. But Coffman is the person who finishes the thousand-page Holocaust novel. Whatever she chooses to spend her time on—powerlifting, fragrance collecting, denazification—she approaches the assignment like a straight-A student. You can time-travel back and watch her begin. Wikipedia never forgets; it keeps a permanent public record of every change an editor makes.

One Woman’s Mission to Rewrite Nazi History on Wikipedia
Wired, by Noam Cohen

Even if you are a 100% mainstream, consensus scholar, it ain’t easy fighting an evil tide on Wikipedia. Even a receding tide, of a failed delusion.

Even so, it has to be done.

There’s nothing wrong to occasionally leave your field, and give a hand to another scholar in her own field. There’s more than one Coffman out there: and fighting the hardcore Nazis and the softcore Wehrmaboo’s shouldn’t be left to the Jews and the Russians who suffered the most at their hands.

Yes, there always is Something Wrong on the Internet.
You need to choose your fights.

Fighting National Socialists remains a rather good choice.

Yes, they are yesterday’s menace, just like actual International Socialists are. Still, fighting these people is good, honourable work, and perhaps solid training for more difficult tasks.

Ghost fighting isn’t really about fighting ghosts.
It’s about fighting demons.
Demons that have lost, in time and on earth… but still looking to main, kill, lie, steal.

—<Quote from Lion cub is taught to hunt begins>—

Taught to kill… by mummy: Lion cub is shown how to hunt by lioness after it wounds prey and lets the youngster finish it off

  • The pack of lions, photographed in South Africa, were seen teaching a young cub how to catch and kill its prey
  • Adult lions would repeatedly catch the hartebeest calf before setting it free for the cub to chase down and bite
  • Spectators on the safari described the rare moment of lion training as a ‘traumatic but fascinating’ experience

—<Quote ends>—

Evil things should be put in their place. Forcefully.

But it takes time to learn how to do so.

Spend the time needed to learn, in your own field and your own work.

Fortunately, God is more than happy to teach His people how to get the job done, if they ask and keep their eyes open.

And it’s fine to pick on previously broken foes before, of either the Red or Black variety, before moving on to more serious threats.

Jesus really did the heavy lifting here, long long ago. Only busted enemies, already cored out and withered, are left for us to deal with.

Even so.

These enemies still can cause real harm, and they cannot be ignored: they must be dealt with.

Hour by hour, day by day, year after year.

Post by post, speech after speech, book by book.

In the Name of the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.