Someone At Congress Got Banned From Wikipedia for Trolling

Trolling is fun, until you get caught. And that's exactly what just happened to someone in Washington, who got a Congressional IP address banned for trolling Wikipedia.

It all started when the Twitter account @CongressEdits started tracking (and tweeting) the anonymous edits Congressional IPs were making to Wikipedia. It seems that someone (a staffer no doubt) got just a little too trigger happy, and after a slew of increasingly zany edits—including one that called the outlet Mediaite "sexist" and "transphobic"—the offending IP was banned.


The IP-based ban is only 10 days, but can affect multiple computers—just like the one I earned for my entire library in high school. Users can get around it by creating an account, but that makes it a little more annoying to troll. So for now the fun is mostly over, and if Congress-folk continue to act up, Wikipedia has stronger ban options up its sleeves.

Here's to hoping whoever is behind this has learned their lesson: Don't be so obvious! [The Washington Post via The Wire]

Tracking the Bizarre Edits Congress Makes to Wikipedia

The elected representatives you chose to represent you in the legislative branch of the United States of America aren't just making modifications to national law. They're also editing the Wikipedia pages for "Horse head mask" and "Step Up 3D." Or at least their staffers are. And thanks to @congressedits, you can keep tabs on it.

The relatively new Twitterbot, inspired by the decidedly more British ParlimentEdits, is a pretty brilliantly simple little sucker that scrubs Wikipedia's list of most recent edits, and cruises through the IP list looking for numbers that belong to the US Congress. When it finds a match, it spits them out. Not just the title of the entry, mind you, but also a link to the page that shows what was changed. It's only been at it for a few days, but already the results are pretty great.


Some are pretty understandable, like adding yourself to the page for the town you were elected from:

Some are a little weirder, like adding a reference to President Obama in the article for Horse Head Mask:

But some are just sublime, like tweaking the grammar on the page for Step Up 3D:

All of Wikipedia's edit data is public, so unless folks at Congress start using proxies when they're going to edit Wikipedia, there's a lot more fun in store. And while there's no assurance these edits are being made by Congressmen and not just bored secretaries, it's still a fun little follow. Maybe one of these days you'll find Congress geeking out over your favorite movie. [@congressedits via Hacker News]