Wikipedia Bans Congressional Staff Over Absurd Edits About Fake Moon Landing, Alien Lizard

Wikipedia bans congressional staffers

Wikipedia, the massive online encyclopedia that covers millions of topics in articles that may be written and edited by anyone, will not be edited by anyone using a United States Congress computer — at least for the next 10 days.

Congress had its IP address blocked by Wikipedia after too many edits were made from computers at the address altering Wikipedia pages in absurd ways, apparently the result of congressional staffers with an overactive sense of humor — and way too much time on their hands.

An IP address is a series of numbers that identifies a unique conection on the internet, and can be used to determine that computer’s location, as well.

Given that the current edition of the U.S. congress has proven to be the the laziest in history, passing a record low number of bills, it’s not too surprising that congressional staffers are sitting around with nothing better to do than log on to the Wikipedia editing platform and mess around with entries that other, more conscientious Wikipedia volunteers have worked hard to produce.

And that is exactly what’s been happening.

The changes were first noted on the Twitter account @congressedits, a “bot,” or automatic program that immediately detects when a change to Wikipedia is made from a congressional computer and posts a tweet logging that change.

Most of the changes appear pretty routine. For example:

and…

But a closer examination, as The Washington Post first reported, revealed the attempts at zany pranks pulled off by the congressional staffers.

First, it should be noted that there is no way to confirm that actual congressional staffers made the edits. All that can be known is that they were made from a congressional computer. Anyone with access to such a computer inside the U.S. Capitol and its affiliated office buildings could have made the ridiculous edits — even a member of Congress.

The changes included alterations to a page about “Moon landing conspiracy theories,” as well as conspiracy theories about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Both altered entries blamed the alleged conspiracies on the Cuban government, for some reason.

An entry about former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was edited to describe him as an “alien lizard who eats Mexican babies.” Another purported to reveal popular conspiracy-theory radio personality Alex Jones as a Russian secret agent.

A statement from Wikipedia said the 10-day ban on edits from the congressional IP address was put into place due to “disruptive editing” coming from inside Congress.

But Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales took a fatalistic approach to the inane congressional editing, saying that “vandalism” to Wikipedia’s 4.5 million articles, and counting, “always goes on and it always will.”