What do some members and staffers of the U.S. House of Representatives do when they're not sweating over legislative matters?
Believe it or not, it would appear lately they've been heading to Wikipedia and participating in "disruptive" anonymous edits of various entries in the user-generated Web encyclopedia.
And for these infractions Wikipedia on Thursday leveled a 10-day ban on the Internet Protocol address connected to the House, according to The Hill, preventing all anonymous edits from the House IP address.
It seems as though the perps in this case went a bit wild following the recent launch of @congressedits, a Twitter account that automatically posts tweets when Wikipedia page edits are made from congressional IP addresses.
The account spiked in popularity recently, having attracted more than 24,000 followers as of Friday afternoon.
More from the Hill:
For instance, the Wikipedia page for “Moon landing conspiracy theories” was changed so that the theories were noted to be “promoted by the Cuban government.” Edits were also made to pages for the fictional reptilian race of aliens, ice cream brand Choco Taco and the secret society Skull and Bones.
After Mediaite reported on the Twitter feed, the media outlet's Wikipedia page was edited by someone with a House IP address to call it a “sexist transphobic” news source. That seemed to be the final straw for Wikipedia administrators, who cited the change in their decision to block edits from the IP address for 10 days.
"Out of over 9000 staffers in the House, should we really be banning this whole IP range based on the actions of two or three?" asked one House IP user.
“Some of use here are just making grammatical edits, adding information about birds in Omsk, or showing how one can patch KDE2 under FreeBSD,” a comment read, making reference to a meme popular in Russia, the Hill added.
This one seems to sum it all up, though: "The assertion that these actions are illegal or a misuse of government computers is absurd. My constructive edits exposing the role of the governments of Russia and Cuba in promoting conspiracy theories and the other user's performance art edits exposing the absurdity of arguments promoting transgenderism and 'social justice' (or maybe they're actually promoting those concepts, it's hard to tell these days, see Poe's law) are perfectly legitimate actions for congressional offices to be engaged in, especially for press secretaries and/or press assistants as a means of furthering policy goals."