Wikipedia blocks 'disruptive' edits from US Congress

A 10-day ban imposed Thursday blocked any editing from an IP address at the US Capitol, which is shared among a number of comput
Wikipedia has blocked editing rights from some computers at the US House of Representatives in response to "disruptive" revisions of the online encyclopedia

Wikipedia has blocked editing rights from some computers at the US House of Representatives in response to "disruptive" revisions of the online encyclopedia.

A 10-day ban imposed Thursday blocked any editing from an IP address at the US Capitol, which is shared among a number of computers.

"You have been blocked from editing for a period of 10 days for persistent disruptive editing," a Wikipedia posting said.

The move came after unusual revisions were pointed out by Twitter account @congressedits, which describes itself as "a bot that tweets anonymous Wikipedia edits that are made from IP addresses in the US Congress."

The account was created by a software developer named Ed Summers.

Some of the changes, which were later undone, said that John F. Kennedy's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted "on behalf of Fidel Castro" and that the news blog Mediaite was "sexist" and "transphobic."

While Wikipedia allows users to contribute and edit entries, it also monitors for unverified or unsubstantiated comments.

A notice posted on one of the anonymous entries from Congress said: "Please refrain from making unconstructive edits to Wikipedia... Your edits appear to constitute vandalism and have been reverted or removed.

"Administrators have the ability to block users from editing if they repeatedly engage in vandalism."

A spokeswoman at the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, pointed out that the block only applies to a single IP address, not all computers located in Congress.

"The Wikipedia community is the arbiter of administrative decisions related to community editorial policies," spokeswoman Katherin Maher said in an email.

"In this case, the decision was made by a member of the English Wikipedia community, based on their assessment that the IP address in question was being used for disruptive editing. Wikipedia English has a behavioral guideline against disruptive editing."


Explore further

Wikipedia says it is losing contributors

© 2014 AFP

Citation: Wikipedia blocks 'disruptive' edits from US Congress (2014, July 25) retrieved 24 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-07-wikipedia-blocks-disruptive-congress.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jul 25, 2014
Not going to name names?

Jul 25, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Jul 25, 2014
Not enough room here to do that. How many ill-informed and downright stupid politicians are there?


In the words of the internet, "over 9000"

Jul 25, 2014
Their conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense

Doug, don't talk about yourself like that.

Jul 26, 2014
This single IP address, shared by a number of computers - in other words a bunch of machines NATted behind some sort of firewall. Could someone make a FOIA request to winnow out which machine (or machines) are the source?

Alll this activity should be in the open. Hard to imagine any good reason it should be kept secret from the electorate.

Jul 26, 2014
this shows certain areas of government are desperate to control the past.
he who controls the past, controls the present.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more