Wikipedia Gives Congress Week-Long Ban After Making ‘Disruptive’ Edits

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Computers at the U.S. House of Representatives have been banned from making Wikipedia edits for 10 days over what administrators call “persistent disruptive editing.”

For instance, the biography of former U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld was edited to call him an “alien lizard," according to BBC News.

The block was put in place after edits from a congressional IP address were identified by the Twitter bot @congressedits. Created just over two weeks ago, the Twitter bot already has 23,000 followers.

The website Mediaite reported on the edits in an article titled “Mystery Congressional Staffer Edits Wikipedia to Push Conspiracy Theories?”

An anonymous House staffer later edited Mediaite’s Wikipedia page calling it a "sexist transphobic news and opinion blog" that "automatically assumes that someone is male without any evidence."

Wikipedia administrators said that was the last straw before they imposed a ban from all anonymous House users.

Staffers are accusing Wikipedia of punishing thousands for the actions of only “two or three” people.

"Out of over 9000 staffers in the House, should we really be banning this whole IP range based on the actions of two or three?" one House user said. "Some of us here are just making grammatical edits, adding information about birds in Omsk, or showing how one can patch KDE2 under FreeBSD."

Wikipedia suggested that users make non-anonymous edits.

"I have [an account], but I don't sign into [it] with my password at work," responded a House user to that suggestion. "Theoretically people could find out who I am, but good luck, I'm behind seven proxies. Haters gonna hate."

Sources: Ars Technica, BBC News

Image credit: Elliot P.