A Twitter bot called @CongressEdits did the Internet a fun and illuminating service by highlighting anonymous Wikipedia edits made from inside the halls of Capitol Hill. This was accomplished by identifying the IP addresses behind any changes.
Oftentimes, the edits were made to the pages of actual representatives.
Sometimes the changes were harmless, as if someone were bored and had free time on their hands.
Curiously, once in a while the changes seemed to show that someone working in U.S. Congress had a real affinity for weird conspiracy theories.
This is just one of our favorites.
Now, Wikipedia wants to put the clamps down. The BBC reports that the online encyclopedia’s administrators are, for 10 days, imposing a ban on page edits from computers coming from within the U.S. House of Representatives.
The reason? “Persistent disruptive editing.” Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales told the BBC that he believes some workers inside of Congress have commandeered the @CongressEdits Twitter account to seek attention, after it had gone viral.
“There is a belief from some of the [Wikipedia] community that it only provoked someone–some prankster there in the office–to have an audience now for the pranks, and actually encouraged them rather than discouraged them,” said Wales. “Maybe someone at the House of Representatives better think about their IT staff–they might be hunting them down this very moment.”
While it’s fun to think that our policy makers are wasting time thinking about serpent races and ice cream tacos, the likelihood that they are making these edits themselves isn’t very high. And so we salute you, bored congressional intern, for your fine and artful trolling. Let’s hope it continues after the 10-day ban comes to an end.