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This is Not Okay… Probably

January 30th, 2006

Any congressional staffers out there reading this post, you need to read this article and then ask yourself a simple question. Is this something I would do?

I think it’s a tough question. Wikipedia is an open encyclopedia and anyone is free to edit the entries. If I worked for a person who had sufficient fame to actually be listed in Wikipedia, then I would argueably be an expert on that individual. I work for them, know them, seen how they behave… I would be an expert. Seems I would be eminently qualified to revise those posts. But it’s not just that simple… these are public officials and the first amendment protects the general citizenry to comment on those officials. If staffers can just go in there and delete comments about their boss… well… that’s problematic.

Oh, but it’s even more complicated than that! Because it’s not like Wikipedia is a closed site and Congress is using coercive powers to edit the comments… they’re just using the open system on which Wikipedia prides itself.

So the situation is tough. I don’t think there is an obvious answer. That being said, Wikipedia does have a rule that says you are not allowed to edit posts about yourself. Maybe extending that rule to people who have working relationships would resolve the issue. But then, what about that stuff I said at the top.

The internet… infinite possibilities… infinite problems in implementation.

probonogeek Uncategorized

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