02/01/2006: And those in government wonder why we don't trust them....
Via David Sheets, technology reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Congress alters facts on Wikipedia. Well, not exactly Congress, but a member of one Congressman's staff was caught gilding the lily on behalf of the boss at Wikipedia, and apparently s/he wasn't the only one:
We all have thought Congress toys the truth at times. Now, there appears to be proof of it at Wikipedia.Duh! Hey guys, if you're going to diddle with Wikipedia, you shouldn't be doing it from the office!
The publicly edited online encyclopedia says it has instituted a one-week ban on Congress from making additions or changes to the site. The ban follows discovery that a senior staff for a Massachusetts congressman authorized changes to his Wikipedia biography that distorted facts.
According to a newspaper investigation, staff for Democratic Rep. Marty Meehan made changes to Meehan’s biography that replaced negative yet accurate information with content having a more positive slant. Among the changes: removing references to Meehan’s promise to serve only eight years.
Further review uncovered thousands of changes made to other Wikipedia entries by House and Senate staffers since last summer. Unlike the Meehan edits, however, some changes weren’t complementary. In one instance, someone from the House wrote that Republican Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia “smells like cow dung.” In another, someone removed criticism of Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware from his Wikipedia page.
Because computers have unique Internet addresses, it was easy for Wikipedia to trace most of the changes in congressional entries to House and Senate offices, although it’s not known exactly who made the changes.
Len on 02.01.06 @ 07:37 AM CST