Wiki shenanigans on the Hill

Geoffrey Manne —  30 January 2006

wikipediaVia Wonkette (“I know those words, but that [] makes no sense”), I see that congressional staffers have been, ahem, updating their bosses’ Wikipedia entries. Here’s the dispute wiki at Wikipedia, and an informative article from, of all places, Lowell, Mass. Clearly the best part is that someone thought to try to add Scott McLellan’s name to the entry for “Douche.” (Hey, I’m just reporting here).

It appears that there is some effort being made to ban all congressional IP addresses from updating any entries on Wikipedia. Now there’s a business model that could profitably be extended.

It is, of course, a potential problem with wikis: free and open access means free and open access, even to the bad kids. I’m not really surprised the bad kids are working on the Hill.

For all you’ve ever wanted to know and more about wiki-related issues, see the wiki category archive over at Concurring Opinions.

Geoffrey Manne


President & Founder, International Center for Law & Economics

3 responses to Wiki shenanigans on the Hill


    Wales talked, just before the New Year, about moving to a system where some registration is required at Wikipedia to author a new post. Mention was also made that perhaps the same barrier should be put in place for modifying an existing page. Would putting staffers to the trouble of registering at Wikipedia stop the nonsense? Probably not, at least as to Rep. Marty Meehan’s staffers (who seem to be especially ardent about cleansing the wiki of true and damaging facts about Rep. Meehan). Such a hassle barrier might, however, prevent the cow dung odor comparisons and McLellan douche-ification. Another idea: Don’t confer the power to edit old entries until someone has contributed at least 2 new entries that observe the basics of Neutral Point of View, etc.
    The sad bit: I fear that some may be deterred from using Wikipedia, notwithstanding the highly useful content about many interesting topics (like the Supply & Demand relationship, which I was looking at over the weekend), by nonsense of the congressional staff type.

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