For years, an American has been writing articles in a stereotypical Scottish accent on the official Scots Wikipedia, and some people online are not happy

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  • An American has been writing and editing thousands of articles on the official Wikipedia page for the Scots language, according to Motherboard.
  • AmaryllisGardener, an administrator of Scots Wikipedia, has been misspelling English words on the site to imitate a stereotypical Scottish accent since 2013.
  • The incident has angered some people online, who say the mangled English "harms the already derogratory [sic] view of Scots languages."
  • Wikipedia allows free rein over who edits on its website, and editors for versions in smaller languages — such as the nationally recognized Scots — have more control over the overall product.
  • A spokesperson for the Wikimedia Foundation told Business Insider that it "does not set editorial policy on Wikipedia or our other projects."

An American has written and edited thousands of articles on the official Wikipedia site for the centuries-old Scots language.

The Wikipedia user AmaryllisGardener, an administrator for the site, has written over 23,000 articles and edited more than 200,000 articles on the official Scots Wikipedia over the last six years, according to a report from Motherboard's Edward Ongweso Jr. The matter was uncovered by a Reddit user on r/Scotland.

The administrator — who describes themself as "a Christian, a North Carolinian, a furry, and an INTP," referring to the personality type — has written articles on the Wikipedia edition by misspelling English words in an effort to imitate a stereotypical Scottish accent. Advertisement

For example, on the page for TikTok, the text describes it as "a video-sharin social networking service awned bi Bytedance, a Beijing-based internet technology company foondit in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. It is used tea creaut short dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos."

Users can also "Sairch Wikipedia" for keywords on the online encyclopedia.

Scots is an actual language recognized by the Scottish government, and a 2011 census found that 30% of Scottish citizens use it.
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One user on the administrator's talk page — where editors can discuss article changes and improvements — pointed out that AmaryllisGardener's interpretation of Scots is somewhat accurate, when you consider translations provided by Scots dictionaries, like scots-online.org. But many Scots and online users have expressed anger toward AmaryllisGardener, according to the report.

Some Redditors pointed out how AmaryllisGardener may have contributed to or exacerbated an inferior perception of the Scots language. The administrator showcasing the language in mangled English, users say, "has possibly done more damage to the Scots language than anyone else in history," per Motherboard. Some people online have been calling the issue out for years. A user on AmaryllisGardener's page wrote in 2016:Advertisement

"Sorry but as a Scot and native speaker of a Scots language what is written on this site barely resembles the actual Scots language. I find it insuting [sic] that you would pass this off as our native language which you clearly don't speak. Again, as a native Scot and native speaker, no one where uses this site as it isn't close to resembling any Scots language. The language you use here is English with some changes in spelling and passing it off as the real deal harms the already derogratory [sic] view of Scots languages."

AmaryllisGardener wrote that if they could do it over again, they would focus on "keeping the wiki up and running instead of writing articles, but I meant the best." On August 25, they wrote: "I was only a 12-year-old kid when I started, and sometimes when you start something young, you can't see that the habit you've developed is unhealthy and unhelpful as you get older."

A blurb at the top of the Scots Wikipedia page states that the site is currently reviewing articles for language inaccuracies.Advertisement

AmaryllisGardener on their talk page said, "I don't mind if you revert all of my edits, delete my articles, and ban me from the wiki for good. I've already found out that my "contributions" have angered countless people, and to me that's all the devastation I can be given."

The matter highlights Wikipedia's policy that allows anyone and everyone to write and edit articles on the website. Many more editors contribute to widely-read Wikipedia versions of major languages — like English and Spanish — than they do to smaller, less-visited language sites, like Scots, as Motherboard notes. Editors of those smaller ecosystems have much more control in how they shape the overall product to their will.

In an email to Business Insider, a Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson said the organization "does not set editorial policy on Wikipedia or our other projects, meaning we do not write, edit, or determine what content is included on a specific language Wikipedia or how that content is maintained. Rather, editorial policy is determined by the volunteers who edit and participate in the development of each project."Advertisement

Read the full report on Motherboard here.

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