Wikipedia Bans Anonymous Edits by House Members and Their Staff

Wikipedia Bans Anonymous Edits by House Members and Their Staff

Wikipedia has instituted a ten-day ban on members of the US House of Representatives anonymously editing Wikipedia entries.

After a bot called @congressedits came into existence, which examines anonymous edits from comgressional IP addresses and reveals them on Twitter, a series of “disruptive” edits were made on Wikipedia. 

@congressedits already has over 23,000 followers on Twitter.

Wikipedia had already instituted a one-day ban on the congressional IP address earlier in July, but now the website wants to take more drastic action.

One incident that triggered the ban occurred when Mediaite wrote about @congressedits. A congressperson or staffer wrote on Mediaite’s Wikipedia entry that Mediaite was a “sexist transphobic news and opinion blog” that “automatically assumes that someone is male without any evidence.”

Wikipedia responded to the anonymous edit of Mediaite’s article by imposing the 10-day ban, according to The Hill.

One Wikipedia user from the House asked, “Out of over 9000 staffers in the House, should we really be banning this whole IP range based on the actions of two or three? Some of us here are just making grammatical edits, adding information about birds in Omsk, or showing how one can patch KDE2 under FreeBSD.”

If House staffers create a non-anonymous Wikipedia account, they are still allowed to edit. However, one House staffer commented, “I have [an account], but I don’t sign into [it] with my password at work. Theoretically people could find out who I am, but good luck, I’m behind seven proxies. Haters gonna hate.”