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Wikipedia blocks Congress from editing

Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

An IP address from a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives has been temporarily blocked from making edits to Wikipedia articles after some of its changes were deemed disruptive.

The Twitter bot @congressedits was created earlier this month to track what changes were coming out of congress and, well, it found some pretty interesting edits coming from an IP address for House staff.

An anonymous user from the House edited the page for "moon landing conspiracy theories" to say the Cuban government was behind spreading rumors that 1969's moon landing was a hoax.

For Wikipedia's article on the Nevada Test and Training Range, a House staff computer included that: "In spite of allegations to the contrary, the claims that extraterrestrials are housed in this facility are completely unsubstantiated."

And they added this note to the bio on controversial radio host Alex Jones: "Following his appearances on Russia Today, there were allegations that he was a disinformation agent with ties to the Kremlin."

But the unknown user from within Congressional offices isn't just trying to stir up controversy or disprove the existence of aliens. He or she also made grammatical and organizational corrections on dozens of articles and added other more trivial information as well.

The editor wants you to know that Heritage Foundation fellow Brian Darling was involved in "breeding rare long haired cats" while growing up.

It should be pointed out that the user could be anyone working within the House of Representatives - staff member or elected official.

When Mediaite published an article on the questionable edits, it speculated the culprit was a "an intern with questionable judgment" and asserted the editor was a man, which apparently he or she did not like.

Because the person editing from the banned IP address then edited the Mediaite Wikipedia page to read "Mediaite is a sexist transphobic news and opinion blog ... that automatically assumes that someone is male without any evidence."

Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales was not exactly grateful to @congressedits for pointing out the changes. He told the BBC it's counter productive and it actually provokes people into further disruptive edits.

The idea of tracking Congress's edits is far from original. There are dozens of twitter bots that tweet edits to Wikipedia pages from government agencies such as the CIA, European Parliament, NATO and NSA.

The ban only affects one IP address within the House and it's unclear how many staffers that could affect but Wikipedia has received one complaint arguing it's not fair to punish the whole building for the actions of a few - or one.

Join the discussion

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Roger July 27 2014 at 6:59 AM

Working with beings who believe they are on a level equal to or above God level does have its benefits at least that is what the 'elite' in D C feel. Elected or working for an elected politician does not elevate one to any status above "We the People". It is time for We the People to take control.

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1 reply
Rev Josey Wales Roger July 27 2014 at 7:42 AM

Everytime I hear the phrase "We the people", I KNOW someone is spouting bulls**t

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5 replies
stengernc July 27 2014 at 6:40 AM

The GOP wants to control you in every way because they are paranoid wakos who live in la la land and are wasting our tax payers money and ruining lives. They have an 18% approval rating and now they want to impeach a president who has a rating2 1/2 times higher.....how stupid. Time to clean house and get these benign terrorists out of our government.

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26 replies
vivasimper July 27 2014 at 7:22 AM

Good for you Wikipedia don't be bullied by the government. Keep them off your page.

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1 reply
kingofswords72 vivasimper July 27 2014 at 1:15 PM

I thought it was really hard to edit a page on Wikipedia? I read an article by a professor who literally "wrote the book" on a certain subject. He stated that he saw some errors in the Wikipedia article about it and tried to change it. It was almost immediately removed and changed back to the original script. After several attempts to change it he contacted Wikipedia and demanded that they allow him to change it or change it themselves. They told him he didn't have any accreditation to change it, that he had to write a book that was peer reviewed and sanctioned by others before he could attempt to change an article. So he did just that but it took an enormous amount of energy to achieve it. So is this article saying now anyone can just go in and change Wikipedia articles?

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1 reply
nebrostx kingofswords72 July 27 2014 at 4:43 PM

Heck, even I've edited Wikipedia, and I've only written books in my mind. Some pages are protected for various reasons. There are some control freak contributors, though. For major edits, it's best to discuss and come to a consensus first, which is encouraged by Wikipedia in its help pages. The professor might have run into a control freak, or someone with better credentials who didn't agree with his knowledge on the subject.

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RUDY July 27 2014 at 7:54 AM

nothing lke trying to re-write hidtory to fit your ideology

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6 replies
adavis1527 July 27 2014 at 6:42 AM

Is't it about time that the President starts to use the proper words and terms for thing, seeing as how he is supposed to be so briliant and such a brilliant orator? This man apparently does not know what an "ILLEGAL ALIEN" is, What "Islamic Terrorists" are or what "abuse of IRS power" is. Is it realistically beleivable that we Americans know what the term ILLEGAL means and we now when a act of terrorism has occurred as opposed to a "work place mishap" and yet the President, Pelosi, and Reid are unable to understant and express, in English, concepts related to these topics. Either these 3 Budds are very ignorant of they are used to intentionally trying to 'Word Switch" to con the American people. Which is it are they Ignorate or intentiional liars?

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9 replies
Denny July 27 2014 at 8:23 AM

Sounds like the neo con Republicant BS to me.

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7 replies
Mik's $ Toy July 27 2014 at 9:16 AM

typical behavior and ideology from the far right - too bad there is no way to find out who is spewing this crap - just another bunch of uneducated people trying to push their right wing agenda onto unsuspecting, uneducated kids and brainwashing them into thinking humans lived with dinosaurs and the earth is only 6,000 yrs old. Sounds like the Texas Board of Education rewriting their history books.

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4 replies
whstokey July 27 2014 at 5:20 AM

When one engages in self-serving hype they should expect some feed back. If you can't take it don't hand it out!!!!

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1 reply
Shey whstokey July 27 2014 at 6:27 AM

I agree whstokey!!

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Meh... July 27 2014 at 9:48 AM

HAHAHAHAHAAAA because Repubs want to rewrite history, and now they've been caught red handed.

Wow. They can't even be trusted with editing rights on Wikipedia.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
3 replies
posthuf July 27 2014 at 10:24 AM

WOW!

Lies and 'misinformation' coming out of our Congress.

And not even from an elected official.

They're training them very early these days!

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2 replies
Randy posthuf July 27 2014 at 10:28 AM

There is a much better chance that ANYTHING on Wikipedia is inaccurate due to liberal "editing" and "re-writing of history" than something that was corrected by a staff member employed by a representative of the citizens of the nation. Any one who trusts one word or syllable found on wikipedia needs to have a serious mental examination.

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rpthe1 posthuf July 27 2014 at 5:07 PM

Say it isn't so!

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