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February 01, 2006

Rep. Marty Meehan Edits His Own Wikipedia Entry

Heh:

We all have thought Congress toys the truth at times. Now, there appears to be proof of it at Wikipedia.

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.

And Wikipedia has found thousands of other changes originating from Congressional computers, including the addition to one entry about a Congressman, noting that he "smells like cow dung."

Wikipedia may ban Congressional computers from editing the site. Won't help, of course. All of these people have home computers that can't easily be screened out.

I've always thought this was a naive and quixotic venture. You really can't take the author out of authorship. We're witnessing a cybernetic tragedy of the commons. With no one owning information, everyone's allowed to abuse it as they wish.

Thanks to Andrew's Dad.


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posted by Ace at 12:46 AM

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