Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Department of Health banned by Wikipedia for editing

Isn't it interesting what you can find in Hansard when you do a little searching. All manner of amusing things, such as the fact that the Department of Health has had its outbound IP address banned by Wikipedia because of constant editing. Back in January, Ben Bradshaw admitted that between August 2005 and August 2007, people at the DoH had made almost 1500 edits, page creations and/or entries on Wikipedia. This then resulted in Wikipedia banning the DoH's address from the site according to Bradshaw a few weeks later.*

No doubt there were many disgruntled civil servants editing Patricia Hewitt's page constantly and leaving scurrilous slurs against her. The DoH is not alone in being a department to have fun with Wikipedia though. According to Gerry Sutcliffe at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, people in the department have created or amended 103 entires on Wikipedia. No doubt all the edits were necessary because of the constantly changing budget for the 2012 Olympics!**

Most of the other departments are now facing similar questions too, so time will tell if they are found to be hiding something, or perhaps just fibbing. For example, the Chancellor of the Exechequer says that because anyone with an internet connection could do it, it would cost too much to answer.... doesn't look good when the DoH manages it though.
* 5 Feb 2008 : Column 1068W Hansard
19 Feb 2008 : Column 620W Hansard


mint said...
27 Feb 2008 16:41:00  

details of all wikipedia edits are available on:

Anonymous said...
27 Feb 2008 19:58:00  

nuLieBore editing Wikipedia so frequently reminds me of "He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future."

Ian said...
28 Feb 2008 10:31:00  

I knew this was happening on a large scale in the US, it's sad to see it's been picked up by our government over here.

Anonymous said...
28 Feb 2008 10:39:00  

Government bodies believe they are an authority, and may be culturally prone to making declarations without proper attribution.

Anonymous said...
28 Feb 2008 11:28:00  

so what if 750 different people at DoH terminals made one edit each per year ?
I am sure I have made at least 10 edits a year for the last couple of years, all from work because it something you can do quickly and easily while waiting on someone else.

Andris said...
28 Feb 2008 11:28:00  

Would be nice if you'd describe what edits/additions they made that led to banning them. Simple editing or adding pages is not a crime on Wikipedia. It works like that. We (librarians) are also planning on editing library related pages in our contries Wikipedia.

Anonymous said...
28 Feb 2008 11:38:00  

Could it not be that staff are editing loads of personal interest sections within their lunch hour? Why is this instantly sinister?

Sexy Claudia said...
28 Feb 2008 11:54:00  

nice, great wikipedia for that attitude, the goverments don't subtend a public site

Anonymous said...
28 Feb 2008 12:03:00  

yes, but if you rely on wikipedia for information you are a tardo and no mistake.

Anonymous said...
28 Feb 2008 12:52:00  

The DHS is a huge department, many of these might have been typos and unrelated non-govt edits, let's not get all conspiracy theorist. I'd like to know what the edits were... and of course how long the typists were browsing wiki and not working... Much of wikipedia is really helpful but there are some glaring inconsistencies.
Wait till the DOH encounter wikileaks. OUCH.

boog said...
28 Feb 2008 15:36:00  

You can look at the edits on wikiscanner

the british govmt spend alot of time editint the wiki pages....

dizzy said...
28 Feb 2008 15:45:00  

you;re assuming DoH doesn't use gsi address.

Steve said...
28 Feb 2008 17:16:00  

It's a world-wide problem with civil servants with no real jobs to do:

"The [Japanese] Agriculture Ministry is not in charge of Gundam"

Wheels said...
29 Feb 2008 07:39:00  

I temped at the London Probation Service last April and their IP address was alo barred from wikipedia updates as I found out whilst trying to edit an unrelated article during my lunchbreak.

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