THE 19-year-old American who wrote tens of thousands of articles on the Scots version of Wikipedia despite not speaking the language is “devastated” after people reacted angrily at the revelation.

It emerged this week that nearly half of all the articles on the Scots version of the website were written by one American over six years

Ryan Dempsey posted to Reddit after discovering the articles were created by the US user who doesn’t “seem to have any knowledge of the language at all”.

He found that the user appeared to have written out articles in English and looked up individual words using online Scots translators – then left words for which no replacement could be found in their English form.

READ MORE: Online team launch campaign to fix 'mangled' Scots Wikipedia

Dempsey, who has now joined a group dedicated to going through the articles to fix all the errors, told The National that among Scots speakers the Wikipedia “has kind of became a running joke, the quality of it and how divorced it was from how actual Scots is spoken”.

He cited one “ridiculous” example where entries went wrong. In the submission for Telekinesis, the description was written in neither Scots nor English and read: “Telekinesis es a form of movnig ebjocts with yor maind.”

In a statement the group of enthusiasts who will fix the tens of thousands of entries complained that having Scots “replaced with the dressed-up skeleton of another language is cultural vandalism at an unprecedented scale”.

The 19-year-old teen from North Carolina responded to criticism after the story gained widespread attention.

He said he was “devastated” by the angry reaction after spending years thinking he was “doing good”.

He posted: “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.”

The user asked people to stop harassing him and his friends online over the articles.

Scots presenter and writer Alistair Heather yesterday played down the story, insisting the tens of thousands of articles were ultimately “harmless”.

He said the “Anglo-centric” view of Wikipedia means that for smaller languages there’s “less and less reliable stuff”, created by fewer editors.

“With Scots there’s loads of good content on there – but because there’s not that many folk working at it and not that many folk going on there, it left this big empty space,” Heather said.

He went on: “I think the good folk of Brechin, Peterhead and Kelso don’t give a s*** about this ... The reason it doesn’t matter is because if Scots speakers were engaging with Scots Wikipedia, the pages wouldn’t exist.”

The presenter believes this will change as the Scots version of Wikipedia becomes more of an important resource in the future and is updated along the way.