I’ve written in the past about how members of Congress altered (or, more likely, had staff alter) their Wikipedia pages; not only does this violate Wikipedia’s policy against interested parties editing their own Wikipedia page, but it’s pretty obvious, since the Congressional I.P. address was found to have edited the pages in question. It would now seem that the same practice has crossed the pond and arrived in British Parliament:
Expense claims and a Westminster sex scandal were deleted from MPs’ Wikipedia pages by computers inside Parliament before the election, The Telegraph has found.
Details of a police arrest, electoral fraud allegation and the use of “chauffeur-driven cars” were also been wiped by people inside the Commons.
According to the article, more than a dozen biographies were altered leading up to the election that occurred a few weeks ago. Among the items removed or altered:
- MP Stephen Hammond’s page was altered to remove a reference to the fact that Hammond was one of the more frequent users of government chauffeured cars.
- MP Robert Blackman’s page was altered to remove references to an 11-year affair.
- MP Geraint Davies’ page removed his use of taxpayer funds to make renovations to his personal home.
- MP Craig Whittaker’s page saw the removal of his arrest for assaulting his son (a crime for which no charges were filed).
- MP Joan Ryan had an entire section related to her expenses deleted.
There’s more, and many members also saw complimentary edits as well.
Again, all of this was found because Wikipedia tracks the I.P. address of it’s edits, and the edits noted above could be tracked back to Parliament.
This is so stupid on so many levels. First, your Wikipedia page will not alter an election. That makes it not worth the risk. Second, you are violating Wikipedia policy by editing pages that relate to yourself or your employer. Third, for crying out loud, don’t be a moron and get caught so easily: Editing a Wikipedia page when your I.P. address can be tracked is like robbing a house and leaving behind a business card!
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