CIO Briefing

Congressional IP Address Blocked from Making Edits to Wikipedia

Gil C/Shutterstock.com

In light of a very curious Twitter account, @Congressedits — which tracks and posts all changes made to Wikipedia pages from within the U.S. Capitol — Wikipedia has banned anonymous edits to their pages from a certain congressional IP address. The IP address, which could be used by a number of different people, will be blocked for the next ten days.

There has naturally been speculation that the edits flagged by @Congressedits are being made by Congressional staffers. The Washington Post has described the edits as "trolling," and The Wire is inclined to agree. Some of the changes have been to things like the page about horse heads, after a citizen wearing a horse head mask shook President Obama's hand, and another accusing Cuba for spreading Apollo 11 conspiracy theories.

When the edits were covered by Mediaite, someone at this same IP address changed Mediaite's Wikipedia page to say the publication is "sexist transphobic." 

Apparently, this change to Mediate's page was the final straw for Wikipedia's administrators, leading to the IP address ban. Katherine Maher, chief communications officer for the Wikimedia Foundation, issued this statement:

The Wikimedia Foundation does not set editorial policy for Wikimedia projects, including English Wikipedia. Each project (such as English Wikipedia, German Wikipedia, etc.) has its own volunteer community, which collectively sets the editorial policies and guidelines for that project. The members of the community then work to uphold those policies and guidelines.
In this case, this decision was made by a member of the English Wikipedia community. According to the entry for Disruptive Editing, it is a "pattern of editing" that disrupts the process of "improving an article or building the encyclopedia."

This ten-day block is meant to serve as a warning, however, Wikipedia has already stated on their website, "Further abuse from this IP address may result in an extended block."

(Image via Gil C/Shutterstock.com)

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