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US Government Is Banned From Wikipedia For Altering Facts

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posted on Feb, 1 2006 @ 06:10 PM
Not that wiki is reliable by any means.... nor that a politician of any kind is to ever be trusted to tell the truth....

I do find it interesting that they would take this action, and make it public.

Wikipedia Now Blocking US Congress From Making Edits

Censoring information online has been a touchy subject and now the US government is banned from Wikipedia for altering facts

Recently, the Wikipedia community has been shaken up. Because of its nature, anyone can contribute to its content or edit existing material. The Goal of Wikipedia has been to provide free flowing information on just about everything in the world. In fact, one can look up information ranging from different US Presidents down to individual Congressmen that have run in and are running still, in office.

Over the past several weeks however, Wikipedia administrators began noticing changes been made on one Congressman's biography page in similar fashion to suspicious activities on other Wikipedia pages. Congressman Marty Meehan, currently running in the US government as a Democratic member since the early 90's has had his staff alter certain text to boost his support and public image. Certain factual truths about Mr. Meehan and his party members that were deemed "negative" and told "too much", were thoroughly edited to remove certain parts of history, events, and things said.


posted on Feb, 1 2006 @ 06:20 PM
He, he, that is funny, but hey what kind I say I always said that you need to get more than one source a particular subject so you can make comparisons.

posted on Feb, 1 2006 @ 06:25 PM
I saw that the entry for President Bush was "locked" because of "vandalism."

What does that tell you?

posted on Feb, 2 2006 @ 01:49 PM
As a huge fan and supporter of Wikipedia, I'll say this much. Vandalism is an issue on Wikipedia, but not enough to make it untrustworthy, in my opinion. Most vandalism is caught quickly, but some does take longer. Since there is a history that logs every edit and what was changed, it's easy to fix and revert to the unvandalized version.

And there are thousands of people working to verify information and remove unverified information. Of course, there are people who want to ruin the whole thing with their bias and agendas, but they usually get dealt with quickly.

I liked someone's suggestion I read somewhere: Create an alternate version of wikipedia that the vandals get redirected to so they can continue doing their editing and think they're changing the real wikipedia, while the real one never gets touched by them.

posted on Feb, 2 2006 @ 04:18 PM
Just a minor point, the government wasn't banned from Wiki, just one IP was. It was banned because it was being used repeatedly and unethically to mislead Wiki users.

Presumably the government could have told us who the IP belongs to, but because of security concerns they chose not to.

Anyway, just thought I'd pop in and make that minor point. It would be funny if the entire US government was banned from altering Wiki, but that's not the case as far as I can tell.

posted on Feb, 2 2006 @ 04:31 PM
Actually it was the entire House of Representatives. They use a proxy which gives them all the same IP when editing wikipedia. That proxy was blocked. The Senate has individual IPs and as far as I know, some of those may have been blocked as well.

posted on Feb, 2 2006 @ 04:50 PM
Good. I'm glad. They should have not been editing on Wiki in the first place. I'm always aprehensive about using wiki anyway.

posted on Feb, 3 2006 @ 04:09 AM
I recall reading a article about a study that concluded that Wikipedia is almost as reliable as Britannica.

posted on Feb, 3 2006 @ 04:51 AM
This goes on all of the time in all forms of media it is called "spin". It is just easier to catch someone in Wiki. Most politicians at all levels of government have people on their staff who's job it is to try to manage the public image of the politician. They try to controll the media's access to the politician and when that fails they resort to either threats or bribary. By bribary I don't mean that money changes hands, they trade in something far more valuable, information. A reporter that doesn't have inside sources is soon unemployed. Wiki just eliminates the middleman. What I find funny is that they used a government IP address for this. Just shows their level of competance, how hard would it have been to create an AOL account to do this with?

posted on Feb, 3 2006 @ 10:56 AM
Also, for what it's worth, the House ban was lifted as there have been a number of legitimate edits through that proxy as well.

The staff of Joe Wilson (Representative, not former Ambassador) did the right thing, however, and I commend them for that. They contacted Wikipedia and asked that some of the facts be updated and gave his official bio for them to use to incorporate into the article on him.

Also, wikinews has an article regarding additional vandalism discovered that was done by many government agencies. Link to article

IP addresses from the CIA, the Department of Justice, the Marines, and the Navy are listed on the site as having made several cases of vandalism. Some examples of vandalism from the Department of Justice IP ranges involve articles on TV and radio shows, a baseball player, or just complaining about their work.

Some of these edits appear to be minor personal things by employees of these agencies, but others look to be more political. Check out the full article, it's got links to many of the things they edited.

posted on Feb, 3 2006 @ 11:01 AM
I'm going to go against the grain here and stick up for the Government.

It's his biography on a public site. Should he not be allowed to edit his own biography when I could easily go in and put something in? Should the original poster of the article be trusted to present the whole and factual truth? What if the original poster deliberately misleads and overstates the importance of certain issues?

I'm keeping this vague because you can bet it's going to apply to many more wiki's after this one.


posted on Feb, 3 2006 @ 11:12 AM
Nerdling: In some cases I can understand that, although I would still think it best if they let a regular editor do that and just call their attention to it on a talk page. And here's why. For all the people who are just trying to make it accurate, there are also those who want to remove all the completely true, but negative things about them. For example, Representative Marty Meehan's chief of staff authorized removal of a quote where Meehan pledged not to run more than four terms even though he has passed that now. That should not be allowed.

Wikipedia needs to be nonbiased and accurate. They aren't PR people just showing the good things about a politician.

posted on Feb, 3 2006 @ 12:34 PM
This site is WAY better than boring wikipedia

posted on Feb, 8 2006 @ 12:42 PM
I found uncyclopedia to be rather lame after a few minutes, but to each his own.

Anyway, Wikinews has a new article up where they further investigated some of the edits in the Senate this time.

Article link

The politicians whose offices edited in a negative way include Joe Biden and Dianne Feinstein, as well as quite a few others. The article above describes the various changes made. Quite an interesting and enlightening read. Feinstein was my senator for quite a while and even though I lost quite a bit of respect for her some time, this is kind of the final straw.

posted on Feb, 8 2006 @ 12:59 PM
Tough issue.

In the spirit of Wikipedia I would say that they were wrong in banning anyone in changing the content and wrong about locking the pages which reference George W.

OTOH, what can you do?

Should they buffer changes to have them verified by an independent source?

Image the workload.

I have no answer, but I sympathize with them, for it is a serious dilemma.

posted on Feb, 8 2006 @ 01:01 PM
I think the current method is as good as it's going to get. No system is perfect.

These changes have all been fixed. There is a "staff" of thousands constantly on the site that monitor for changes. Somethings slip by for longer periods, that's true. But that's what happens when you have an open site and in the name of keeping non-bias over a long period of time, I think it needs to stay open like it is.

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