Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From the Capitol

They're onto you, 143.231.249.138—cut it out

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 25, 2014 11:06 AM CDT

(Newser) – Last week, Gizmodo and other tech-obsessed sites reported on significant Wikipedia edits regarding Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that were apparently made from a Russian government IP address ... and now, it appears someone in the US government is taking that idea and running with it. The online encyclopedia has blocked an anonymous revisionist who’s been making “disruptive” edits from a congressional IP address, reports the Washington Post. Wikipedia confirmed yesterday that it instituted the 10-day ban after the @congressedits account started tweeting changes that had been made to various Wikipedia pages from Capitol Hill. Wikipedia typically implements such blocks as a warning after a “pattern of editing” that prevents the online community from accurately “improving an article or building the encyclopedia,” according to a Wikimedia Foundation statement sent to the Post.

The furtive fixes exposed last week slightly modified pages to “praise or denigrate the subject,” notes Mashable. The perpetrator(s), from the House of Representatives, revised a variety of topics, making alterations to the Lyndon LaRouche and Crimea pages as well as making some more trivial changes, such as adding Bon Jovi to the list of musicians who've been on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. House employees who log on to Wikipedia with their own accounts can still Wiki the day away, says The Hill, but some don’t think it’s fair to punish all anonymous posters for what’s likely just a few workers or even just one: "Some of use here are just making grammatical edits, adding information about birds in Omsk," says one. Because that’s exactly what our elected officials and/or their staffers should be doing.

The US Capitol is seen through the columns on the steps of the Supreme Court on May 5, 2014, in Washington.
The US Capitol is seen through the columns on the steps of the Supreme Court on May 5, 2014, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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