After a controversy over the large number of sometimes capricious edits of Wikipedia pages made from computers inside the network of the House of Representatives, the crowd-sourced, online encyclopedia placed a temporary, 10-day ban on an IP address emanating from Capitol Hill.
The ban came after what was described as “vandalism” that was revealed by a new monitoring program on Twitter called @congressedits, a program that chronicles and tweets Wikipedia page edits made by computers in the House network.
The action was announced on a Wikipedia User Talk page posted late last week.
The warning posted said, “In response to vandalism from this IP address, anonymous editing may be disabled. If you are an unregistered user operating from this address, note that it may be possible for your agency or facility’s administration to determine who was making contributions from this address at any given time and abuse reports may be sent to its network administrator for further investigation.”
Contrary to previous reports, not all IP addresses from the House of Reps was blocked. Administrators who originated pages were also not locked out of their pages.
Initial media reports of the scope of the banning were greatly exaggerated. For instance, one report claimed that “9,000 House staffers can’t touch the site, at least not for anonymous edits.” This was apparently never true.
Still, in the past there have been bans for capricious edits made from IP addresses from inside Congress before.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org