Wiki Blocks House Staffers After 'Disruptive' Edits

Friday, 25 Jul 2014 09:33 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The user-generated Web encyclopedia Wikipedia has blocked anonymous edits from some House staffers and lawmakers for 10 days because of "disruptive" edits.

Katherine Maher, spokeswoman for the Wikimedia Foundation, said Thursday the "temporary, 10-day block on the IP address associated with the U.S. Congress [was] due to disruptive editing originating from that address," The Washington Post reports. 

The edits were brought to light by the popular Twitter account Congressedits that was set up to automatically tweet changes to Wikipedia pages made from within the Capitol, The Hill reports.

The Hill reported in apparent reaction to Congressedits, House staffers made a series of tongue-in-cheek edits, knowing they'd show up on Twitter.

The Wikipedia page for "Moon landing conspiracy theories," for example, was changed so theories were noted to be "promoted by the Cuban government," The Hill noted.

Edits were also made to pages for the fictional reptilian race of aliens, ice cream brand Choco Taco and the secret society Skull and Bones, The Hill reported.

But a snarky alteration to the Wikipedia entry on Mediate after it reported about the Congressedits Twitter feed – describing the media outlet as a "sexist transphobic" news source – seems to have been the final straw for Wikipedia administrators, The Hill reported.

According to Wikipedia, only people editing anonymously have been barred from making changes. House staffers who have created their own accounts to log into Wikipedia can still make edits.

"I have [an account], but I don't sign into [it] with my password at work," responded a House user to that suggestion from Wikipedia, according to Ars Technica. 

"Theoretically people could find out who I am, but good luck, I'm behind seven proxies." 

"Haters gonna hate," the House user wrote.

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