Wikipedia fights back… badly

It seems like far too many US congressmen (or, at least, their staff) are re-writing their Wikipedia entries for comfort.  And now, some Wikipedia regulars are fighting back… they’re attempting to ban anyone with a internet address from editing articles.

Nice idea but… take just one look at the “Request for Comment” that they’ve posted.

I’d include an excerpt here, but it’s so overly technical and filled with pseudo legalese that it’d never make sense unless you saw the whole page in all its glory.

I predict bad times ahead for these Wiki activists.  They’ve made the schoolboy error of choosing to fight on someone else’s home-field.  They’ve chosen to take on Congress staffers in legalese, and bad legalise at that.  The staffers do this all day, every day.  They’ll eat the Wiki activists for breakfast.

Far better to have stuck to a medium they know – the dissemination of information, preferably to the press.

By the way – some are already beginning to say Wikipedia is beginning to look stupid:

Defenders of Wikipedia has said if you don’t like an entry edit it. Well, someone did. It didn’t expand readers’ knowledge. For political and other controversial subjects Wikipedia is turning into a propaganda stage. Its reputation is slowly dropping to the level of a James Frey memoir.

US Congressman rewrites his Wikipedia entry

An alarming, but not very surprising development from the United States:

Members of U.S. Rep. Martin Meehan’s staff have acknowledged they deleted unflattering information about a broken campaign promise from an online encyclopedia, according to a published report.

Content on Wikipedia, an encyclopedia that relies on volunteers to post information, was replaced to remove references to Meehan’s broken term limit pledge, the Sun of Lowell reported.

Meehan’s chief of staff Matt Vogel told the newspaper that he oversaw the removal last July of information, which was replaced with a staff-written biography.

Meehan, a Lowell Democrat, pledged to serve just four terms — eight years — but he later broke that campaign promise. He’s currently serving his seventh term.

I wonder how long it will be before we see the first UK politician trying the same stunt.

Although, actually, this brings to mind the question – how many British politicians actually have biographies on Wikipedia?

Hat tip: The New Editor

The oddities of US politics

Ken Blackwell is the Secretary of State for Ohio.  And he’s got some pretty scary views on abortion (yeah, I know, I’m a wussy liberal, but still).  Check out this excerpt from a recent campaign interview, posted by Majikthise:

Q: If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, would you sign a law that would outlaw abortions in the case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother?
A: Yes.
Q: Including the life of the mother?
A: Yes.

An interesting judgement on the relative values of the life of a fully grown woman, and the life of an unborn child.

I’m in full on nitpicking mode today though, so what I really found oddest about Majikthise’s post was her concern about the location of the interview:

Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is getting awfully cocky. Last week, he gave a campaign-related interview in the Secretary of State’s Office. That’s an illegal use of office resources for campaign purposes.

It can get pretty cold in Ohio this time of the year.  Where else do you expect the man to conduct interviews?  Standing out in the parking lot?