Aug 27, 2007

that government is best which governs Wikipedia

Using WikiScanner, Olympian reporters found at least 531 Olympia-area state government edits to Wikipedia.
Many of the changes made by state workers appear to be within their field of expertise. State Historical Society computers were used to edit the entry on the Washington State History Museum, for example.

But even technical changes could be controversial. A Department of Health worker apparently deleted an entry that stated high doses of fluoride can be fatal and replaced it with information on children who develop fluoride spots on their teeth.

And there were blatantly political changes: Several edits of Abramoff's entry were made from Department of Information System's computers, and two changes to the page of possible candidate for governor Dino Rossi were made from the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development.

Other subjects were more obscure: Capital High School, heavy metal rocker Glenn Danzig, the knuckleball pitch in baseball, trivia on the "WCW Monday Nitro" wrestling show and Star Wars movie character R2-D2, for starters.

Those changes account for only a part of the Wikipedia editing done at public computers. A search for changes made from Washington government agencies resulted in a list of more than 150 schools, counties and fire districts statewide.
It's unsurprising to me; after all, Wikipedia is a prime source of information, so employees with expert knowledge and an already existing sense of public obligation would be doubly inclined to set records straight.

Nationally, NASA leads the pack, with 6846 edits and counting. And you thought they were busy in basements faking moon landings.

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