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Wikipedia vs Congressional Staffers [Update] 433

There has been quite a bit of recent reporting on the recent troubles between Wikipedia and certain Congressional staffers. In response, abdulzis mentions that "an RFC, Wikipedia's mediation method to deal with 'disharmonious users', has been opened to take action against US Congressional staffers who repeatedly blank content and engage in revert wars and slanderous or libelous behavior which violates Wikiepdia code. The IP ranges of US Congress have been currently blocked, but only for a week until the issue can be addressed more directly."
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Wikipedia vs Congressional Staffers [Update]

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  • by P0ldy ( 848358 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @06:01PM (#14602107)
    The IP ranges of US Congress have been currently blocked, but only for a week until the issue can be addressed more directly.

    The main offending IP in question [] is no longer blocked as of 30 January, this morning:

    06:36, 30 January 2006 Michael Snow unblocked User: (Not consistently used by the same person; we shouldn't block people just because they work for Congress, and some people using this IP address are making commendable efforts at complying with our culture and policies)

  • by pohl ( 872 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @06:07PM (#14602180) Homepage
    It was Charles Sumner []. He did not die from the beating.
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @06:13PM (#14602244) Journal
    Heh, even worse, this article [] is current! :o
  • by rco3 ( 198978 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @06:24PM (#14602347) Homepage
    No one died. Senator Charles Sumner was caned [] into unconsciousness on the floor of the Senate Chamber, but recovered and continued to serve thereafter. Additionally, it's worth noting that the senator in question was attacked, not for speaking against slavery, but for his personal (very personal, and fairly ugly) verbal attacks against the other two Senators.

    I'm sure that you would love to be able to point to this as being an example of how rabid Southern senators were about keeping slavery, but really it's an example of the fact that some people can only be insulted so much before they react irrationally. Seriously - I don't think it matters whether you're a senator or not, I think that if you call enough people "noise-some, squat, and nameless animal . . . not a proper model for an American senator" that sooner or later one of them (or one of their friends) is going to beat the shit out of you. Does that excuse the attack? Of course not. But it wasn't about slavery, it was about pride - and no one died.
  • Re:quarantine? (Score:5, Informative)

    by oberondarksoul ( 723118 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @06:26PM (#14602375) Homepage
    To "send someone to Coventry" means to shun or ignore them - hence, the users who have this applied to them are ignored by the rest of the forum. (Reference: here [])
  • by DavidD_CA ( 750156 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @06:31PM (#14602420) Homepage
    Yeah I dunno about that "disorganization" part. I know my local reps for senate and congress, and they each have weekly video conference meetings with all of the other staffers and the senator/congressman. Each rep gets personally asked what they are up to, and what their constituents are talking about.

    Further, one of the reps is wired to her Blackberry and is always getting pages about issues that relate to the congressman, so that she is "in the know" when talking to people. They use the Blackberrys to communicate moreso than email itself, and if they shut off their BB for more than an hour or so, people start wondering where they went.

    Gone is the day where our politians know nothing about technology. They may not understand DRM or security or IP or TLDs like we do, but they certainly are "in the loop" when it comes to communicating and collaborating using tech.
  • Re:double standard (Score:3, Informative)

    by E++99 ( 880734 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @07:08PM (#14602707) Homepage
    Wikipedia is an open document. The revisions are clear and publicly visible. Why is it all right to censor and prohibit posters whose motivations are obviously suspect, while completely (naively?) ignoring the gazillions of posters whose motivations are probably no less base, but not obviously so? This is wrong.
    They're not ignored. It's called "POV Pushing" and it's removed no matter who does it. The standard for objectivity comprises neutral language and verifable facts. Anything that deviates from that will eventually get removed.
  • by JourneyExpertApe ( 906162 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @07:15PM (#14602770)
    It was a little worse than you made it sound. Brooks beat Sumner even after he lost conciousness until his cane broke. It took three years of recovery before he was able to return to the Senate. As a perfect example of the priviledged status and lack of accountability of politicians, Brooks' punishment was a $300 fine.
  • Re:Block IP address? (Score:3, Informative)

    by RPoet ( 20693 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @07:42PM (#14602928) Journal
    I guess none of them know how to use TOR.

    Wikipedia blocks all Tor exits. You can't even edit through Tor if you log in.
  • by fafalone ( 633739 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @08:17PM (#14603140) - -> senate - -> house

    ... - ->DOD - ->CIA - ->DOJ dozens of other netblocks owned by various departments. It's useful when you want to IP deny as much of the government as you can from your site.
  • by FhnuZoag ( 875558 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @08:30PM (#14603201)
    Popular opinion always rules. Maybe the Wikipedia code can be modified so that a "hot" article can only have X lines of changes per user per period of time. If congressman X edits a file and others are watching, the others will dominate and keep the popular opinion alive.

    That's the rationale behind the infamous 3-Revert-Rule policy, if I recall correctly. []
  • by CaptainCarrot ( 84625 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @08:43PM (#14603270)
    How long did it take for the Supreme Court to figure out that black people and women were people? A long time, but it did eventually take place.

    The Supreme Court had nothing to do with enacting rights for either minorities or women. It was done correctly, through Constitutional amendment and legislation, and not by activist judges. That is not their role.


    Without these laws (among others) in place, there wasn't a thing the Supreme Court could do about slavery, race or sex discrimination, or anything similar. It was perfectly legal.

  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:18PM (#14603793)
    The Tragedy of the Commons has nothing to do with what you're talking about, and vice versa.

    The Tragedy of the Commons has to do with the inefficient allocation of common resources. We're talking about people not having any incentive to limit their consumption of fish from a lake, for instance. Not only do they not have any incentive to limit the number of fish that they catch, but they may actually be better off if they catch more fish before everyone else does.

    Your talk about there always being "trolls" has nothing to do with a purely economic situation.

  • Your interpretation (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:43PM (#14603910)
    From the link [] you gave:

    Sumner accused Andrew Butler of taking "a mistress . . . who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight -- I mean," added Sumner, "the harlot, Slavery."

    How is this a personal attack? Sounds to me like he's attacking Butler's stance on slavery.

    Sumner did personally attack another Senator, Stephen Douglas, but it was "Representative Preston Brooks, Butler's South Carolina kinsman" who caned Sumner.

    It's clear that these men's respective stances on slavery were very much involved.
  • by CaptainCarrot ( 84625 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @10:44PM (#14603915)
    You should read your own link. The decision in that case rested entirely on the 14th Amendment, on the grounds that it had been shown that racially segregated educational facilities could not be equal by their very nature. Without a Constitutional or other legal basis to forbid unequal protection by reason of race, the court would have been unable to do anything.

    Also note that the Supreme Court must have a case before it to issue a ruling. It cannot issue decisions on any subject it chooses.

  • by MrNonchalant ( 767683 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @11:10PM (#14604032)
    That's a very partial list. Some work on gives me this slightly less partial version:

    Central Intelligence Agency CIA (NET-162-45-0-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency CIA2 (NET-162-46-0-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency CIA3 (NET-192-189-141-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency CIA4 (NET-192-189-142-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency CIA5 (NET-192-189-143-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency CIA6 (NET-192-189-144-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency CIA7 (NET-192-189-145-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency CIA8 (NET-192-189-146-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NETBLK-CIA9 (NET-198-21-32-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency OIT-BLK1 (NET-198-81-128-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN1 (NET-198-136-64-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NETBLK-NISEN (NET-198-136-64-0-2) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN2 (NET-198-136-65-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN3 (NET-198-136-66-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN4 (NET-198-136-67-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN5 (NET-198-136-68-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN6 (NET-198-136-69-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN7 (NET-198-136-70-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN8 (NET-198-136-71-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN9 (NET-198-136-72-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN10 (NET-198-136-73-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN11 (NET-198-136-74-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN12 (NET-198-136-75-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN13 (NET-198-136-76-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN14 (NET-198-136-77-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN15 (NET-198-136-78-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN16 (NET-198-136-79-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN17 (NET-198-136-80-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN18 (NET-198-136-81-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN19 (NET-198-136-82-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN20 (NET-198-136-83-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN21 (NET-198-136-84-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN22 (NET-198-136-85-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN23 (NET-198-136-86-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN24 (NET-198-136-87-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN25 (NET-198-136-88-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN26 (NET-198-136-89-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN27 (NET-198-136-90-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN28 (NET-198-136-91-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN29 (NET-198-136-92-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN30 (NET-198-136-93-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN31 (NET-198-136-94-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN32 (NET-198-136-95-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN33 (NET-198-136-96-0-1) -
    Central Intelligence Agency NISEN34 (NET-198-136-
  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @11:21PM (#14604083) Journal
    You're right in saying that he's misapplied the Tragedy of the Commons. However:

    "Not only do they not have any incentive to limit the number of fish that they catch, but they may actually be better off if they catch more fish before everyone else does."

    That's not quite right either. They do have an incentive to limit their own catch -- the problem is that the risk of others not limiting their catch makes that incentive negligible. For sustainable sharing to not succumb to the tragedy of the commons, there needs to be a societal structure to create a disincentive for short-term selfishness.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger