The Mix

Politics at its purest

Congressional staffers are using Wikipedia to attack and revile their bosses' opponents.
Declan McCullagh posted a fascinating little article yesterday on News.com about a thousand edits to Wikipedia, the open-source encyclopedia. The site gets billions of page views a day, but these edits are notable because they came from Congressional computers.

It turns out that Congressional staffers had been logging in to Wikipedia and making some questionable changes to entries about their bosses' political rivals. McCullagh writes:
One edit listed White House press secretary Scott McClellan under the entry for "douche." Another said of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma) that: "Coburn was voted the most annoying Senator by his peers in Congress. This was due to Senator Coburn being a huge douche-bag."

(Keep in mind these are the same holier-than-thou political climbers tasked with writing laws telling the rest of the country how to behave. Or else.)
Wikipedia officials have blocked the IP addresses and are trying to resolve the situation. From a Wikipedia report on the fracas:
The editors from these IP ranges have been rude, abrasive, immature, and show disregard for Wikipedia policy. The editors have frequently tried to censor the history of elected officials, often replacing community articles with censored biographies despite other users' attempts to dispute these violations. They also violate Wikipedia:Verifiability, by deleting verified reports, while adding flattering things about members of Congress that are unverified.
You gotta love politics at its most venal and pointless. It's reminiscent of the Clinton White House staffers who stole the Ws from White House computer keyboards before Dubya took office.
Matthew Wheeland is AlterNet's managing editor.
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