Who wrote the Greek tragedies? If you answered Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides then you’d be correct.
But for a short time, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras was named among the “most important authors” according to the Wikipedia entry on Greek tragedy.
An unknown mischiefmaker edited the page adding the name at about 2.30pm (UK time) on Monday, the day after the Greek people voted no in a referendum asking if the country should accept more austerity as a condition of a bailout.
The act of vandalism is probably behind the rise in page views for the Greek tragedy explainer on the Wikipedia site. While it would normally achieve between 300 and 350 page views per day, on Monday the numbers rose to 655.
The rogue edit was highlighted to one of the voluntary Wikipedia editors, identified as Myrvin Francis Chester and taken down a little over three hours later.
Stevie Benton, spokesman for Wikimedia UK – the charity which promotes and supports Wikipedia in this country, said: “Tsipras was added to the most important authors section at 2.30pm (Monday). It was removed after three hours. It’s pretty typical for vandalism to be undone that quickly.”
Bots trawl Wikipedia to look for rogue or vandal edits and can clean up simple matters such as swearing. But the site also relies on its volunteer editors – there’s as many as 100,000 – who are specialists in their fields. They can set up notifications to alert them if changes are made to particular pages and act if they think it’s necessary.
With terms like Greek debt crisis, Grexit and economic crisis doing the rounds, it’s hardly surprising that the Greek tragedy page has come to the fore.
However, when someone tried to helpfully add links to explainers about the current economic woes of the country to the Greek tragedy page, they too were removed – though not as quickly as Tsipras was displaced as an author.