If you stumble upon the Wikipedia page for Denuvo, whether it’s doing research or just scouting out which games have been affected by the debilitating DRM/anti-tamper software, you’ll note that the current version of the Denuvo page is missing a key column in the lists detailing which games use Denuvo and which games have had Denuvo removed. Certain Wikipedia editors have removed the columns revealing whether or not certain games using Denuvo have been cracked.
The Reddit thread is pretty straightforward, with a title that works as a too long; didn’t read. It states…
“Wikipedia user has edited out most citations about games with Denuvo being cracked and locked the article. Now page makes it look like Denuvo actually work.”
The thread was posted on May 2nd, 2019 after the columns were removed from the Wikipedia page on April 28th, 2019 from Wikipedia editor TheRandomIP.
For context, the Denuvo Wikipedia entry contains two tables listing the games using Denuvo and the games that no longer use Denuvo. On the far right side of each table there used to be a column showing which games were cracked and which ones weren’t. You can see it in the comparison image below showing the before and after.
As you can see, the entire column on the right side of the table listing whether the games have been cracked was removed. There’s also an archive of the old Wikipedia page so you can see the original listing for yourself and compare it with the current version of the page.
So what prompted the removal of the entire column?
As pointed out by TorrentFreak, there’s an abstruse discussion taking place in the talk page of the Denuvo entry, where editors are debating about the rules of Wikipedia and the removal of the column. As mentioned, it started on April 28th, 2019 when user TheRandomIP deleted the column, but on May 1st, 2019 that’s when things started to get heated after he informed the community on the talk page that he felt that the citations didn’t meet Wikipedia’s requirements for a reliable source.
What does that mean? Well, Wikipedia has a standard on what’s considered a reliable source. This can vary per subject matter and vary even more per topic within the subject matter.
In this particular case the column listing games that had been cracked based the citations on NFO files retrieved from a site called Xrel.to. It’s a site that contains torrent information, including the NFO releases. These files carry important details about when a crack for a game was released, who the cracker was, what version of the game the crack is for, who the developer and publisher is, as well as information about the torrent or game.
According to Wikipedia editors, Xrel.to wasn’t a reliable source because they claimed that anyone can upload NFO files and therefore, they couldn’t keep the column with references to Xrel.to. TheRandomIP explained…
“It was no reliable sources given for whether the game was “cracked” or not. xrel is a community based website where everyone can upload nfo files (if you have a user account), one could fake such an nfo file. It is therefore not a reliable source as of [Wikipedia’s rule on user generated content]. I do not see how this can be an accurate proof whether a game is cracked or not since this site does not offer any cracks, they just have (easy to fake) nfo files. Notice about not reliable source exist since August 2016 but has been ignored by authors. That information are reliable and accurate is the base for everything else. Of course if would be useful if there were reliable information whether a game is cracked or not. But these do not exist right now. And just making something up is no solution either. So I had no other choice than to take action and remove this questionable information, resp. to keep the column but remove the unreliable sources there (which were most of them). But please if you have any other provable information about this xrel site than I have let me know.”
Debates broke out over Xrel.to being reliable, and then others began debating about the importance of the column while other editors, like ferret and ThePaSch, truculently held to the opinion that there was no need for the column in the first place.
Ferret summed up their argument by saying…
“NFO files are not reliable sources on Wikipedia. I’m sorry, but some information and scene data simply is not viable as sources on Wikipedia. You can read WP:RS for more information. Wikipedia cannot conduct it’s own interviews to prove things (Wikipedia does have a news project, but it is unreliable for use directly on Wikipedia). As ThePaSch notes, the article goes into quite indepth explaination of how quickly cracks have been released and how they have been faster and faster. The column is not necessary to illustrate that.”
What many of the editors failed to argue was seeking out more reliable sources related to the games that did have cracks. For instance, DSOGaming regularly reports on games that have been cracked. In fact, DSOGaming has an entire Denuvo archive for games that have been cracked. They easily could have filled in the column citations with links to DSOGaming.
Suggestions like that were lost in the minutiae of recondite Wikipedia rules being quoted and discussed rather than simply replacing Xrel.to links with more reliable sources.
So in the in end, instead of fixing the links and retaining the information for those who would like to be informed about which games were and were not cracked, the entire columns were removed altogether.
On the upside, there was an administrator who eventually stepped in after the edit warring made its way to the higher ups. Administrator Swarm laid into those edit warring and deleting wide swaths of content from the Denuvo article, noting that there are “thousands of critical eyes” on the topic, writing…
“Gentle reminder that you’re a brand new inexperienced editor with barely any substantive edits, and you’re already happily damaging the public image of Wikipedia. Deleting unreliably-sourced content is straightforwardly justifiable per WP:V, with the caveat that it can be re-added once the sourcing issue has been rectified. Unilaterally deleting the whole damn section in the middle of a controversial backlash, so that the sourcing issues can never be resolved, and then edit warring over it, and then authoritatively and condescendingly lecturing people who disagree, is not only irregular from an on-wiki perspective, but it is just is terrible optics. At a certain point, when you literally have thousands of critical eyes on you, you need to use common sense and balance your in-the-moment preferred changes to the article, however reasonable, with the potential damage you’ll be causing to Wikipedia’s reputation. Please don’t pull shit like this again, whatever petty “improvement” you think you’re “contributing” to the encyclopedia is not worth the drama and the bad optics for the project, and we have a straightforward method of dealing with users who fail to operate with a base level of common sense”
That gentle reminder was more like a mental spanking.
More arguments broke out over ThePaSch and ferret’s position to keep the columns out of the entry, while more bickering took place over the sourcing for the column and whether or not it should be added to the article even with proper sourcing. They then digress and begin discussing what to do with the tables and the columns.
They decide to vote on whether or not to completely bench the entire tables listing games that use Denuvo. Yes, there is talk of sabotaging easy to parse information in order to limit a reader’s ability to quickly see if a game uses Denuvo from the Wikipedia page.
The same people who vehemently argued to remove the columns also argued in favor of completely deleting the tables of games using Denuvo, this included ferret, TheRandomIP, ThePaSch, Hacker?pcs, Lordtobi, Dfsghjkgfhdg, Dissent93, CZAR and Axem Titanium, among others.
Zabieru was one of the only few editors operating with a measure of integrity, pointing out the obvious flaws being argued by the other editors who — prima facie — appeared to be championing the removal of information that made Denuvo look bad. Zabieru wrote…
“In my opinion, removing the table entirely is nearly an act of sabotage. The table as it stands has been updated and maintained for years, largely by editors who have not weighed in on this discussion. Its function at the present moment could be replaced by a prose section, and that might even be preferable on toomuch/notcatalog grounds… however. That section would require more involved stewardship, on a continuing basis, because updating a prose section is a larger step than adding a new entry to a table. While I see a number of editors advocating for someone to do that, I do not see anyone volunteering to maintain that section and I notice that the “someone should” camp are not editors who have been involved in maintaining this page in the past. “We should delete what’s been working for years and hope somebody will want to update the new thing” is the very model of a bad faith proposal, IMO.”
This is true.
The people who want to essentially censor the information about Denuvo aren’t the regular editors of the Denuvo Wikipedia page, and they essentially hopped in to start edit warring to remove a lot of information that many on Reddit and in the comment section of TorrentFreak believe makes Denuvo appear to be as incompetent at protecting software as it is anti-consumer.
Before TheRandomIP’s intrusion, you’ll note on the page showing the history of revisions that TheRandomIP only made five edits, which included the removal of the column on April 28th, 2019. Before that TheRandomIP contributed nothing to the Denuvo Wikipedia page.
The PaSch, despite belligerently aiming to have the column and tables removed, only ever edited the page on May 1st, 2019 four times, which consisted of reverting the changes made by other editors to restore the column. The PaSch never contributed to the Denuvo Wikipedia page before edit warring with other users.
Axem Titanium only has one edit that was made on May 3rd, 2019, while ferret only ever made six contributions to the entry on May 1st, 2019, after the edit wars started. Hacker?pcs never made any edits to the page, even though he voted to remove the tables completely.
Seeing a pattern here?
Zabieru was correct in assessing that the people who argued the most to delete large amounts of data and information about Denuvo only made edits to backup TheRandomIP’s deletion of content. Before that they had never touched the page.
Majority of the edits were made by users such as Ska4okserver1, Eddmanx, Mustavi Sadi, UnknowHelper, Evelyntanadi88, Pcgamer17, Metalreflectslime, and a variety of other random users dating all the way back to November 25th, 2014 when the page was created by Konveyor Belt.
What’s interesting is that the people who did majority of the editing and maintaining of the page over the last five years didn’t get a say-so in what was being removed.
One editor in particular, Izno, wisely summoned some of the past editors who actually did maintain the page to join in on the vote.
However, majority voted to completely remove the tables that catalog games that use Denuvo.
Every single PC gamer out there worth their salt would obviously be against this since it’s a removal of useful and vital information, and it’s being done for no other reason than people who don’t maintain the page or care about PC gaming are saying that it’s not useful.
This has always been the state of Wikipedia, however. A lot of times it’s not about what’s the truth or what’s factual, but what fits the whims of the people who can pull strings behind the scenes, as evident with the #GamerGate page, which – as pointed out in multiple articles in the past – is riddled with misinformation.
(Thanks for the news tip Animatic and Raging Golden Eagle)