Free online encyclopedia Wikipedia has stopped some users from making edits on the site’s “Recession” page as many people are feuding over the term’s proper meaning.
Beginning Aug. 3, only Wikipedia users who are registered with the site or did not recently create a new account can make edits on the recession page, as it’s now what Wikipedia calls “semi-protected.” All edits by other users will be held for human review, the page’s editors said.
“Semi-protected articles can only be edited by logged-in users whose accounts are at least 4 days old and have made at least 10 edits,” Wikimedia, the foundation behind Wikipedia, said in a statement to Bloomberg. “Volunteer editors use these and other tools on a regular basis to help ensure that Wikipedia content is neutral and well-sourced.”
Wikipedia pages are run by a group of volunteer editors. Those editors created a separate page where people can debate the exact definition of a recession in an effort to “avoid making clowns of ourselves” amid “sheer nonsense and vitriol that has transpired” on the recession page.
The debate is around what exactly constitutes a recession, but each one is different. While recessions oftentimes involve several consecutive quarters of declining GDP, that’s not always the case.
Eight economists who are members of a private group called the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) are the ones who make the official call if the U.S. is in a recession, and so far, they have declined to do so despite the GDP data.
The NBER takes into account several factors when labeling a recession, and not just GDP data. Among those factors are unemployment, income growth and consumer spending.
Despite these assertions, some Americans are not convinced. According to a July poll from Morning Consult, two-thirds of voters (65%) believe the U.S. is in a recession right now. Republicans are more likely to think a recession is here, at 78%, compared with 30% of Democrats.
Interestingly, the poll shows that 65% of voters think the U.S. is in a recession right now compared with just 51% who thought the U.S. was in a recession in March 2020, when the country was actually in a recession, according to NBER.