The Grant Shapps affair is a testament to Wikipedia’s integrity and transparency | Justin Anthony Knapp

As a Wikipedia editor, I’m grateful when problems are found: it shows the system works. But we need your help

In 1787 James Madison authored Federalist No 10 as part of a series of articles aimed at encouraging the American people to adopt the US constitution. His concern in that essay was “factions”, which might be roughly analogous to political parties or interest groups in today’s language. The danger was that “the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties”.

Madison proposed several solutions to this problem which involved removing liberty and diversity – these were unacceptable options. The only genuine remedy was to have a large, vibrant and participatory republic that included the contributions of the many with an appropriate number of representatives to act as gatekeepers of democracy in the government. Two hundred and fourteen years later, a somewhat different and slightly less grand American experiment was founded: a free encyclopedia that anyone could edit named Wikipedia.

Related: Grant Shapps accused of editing Wikipedia pages of Tory rivals

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