CongressEdits

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
@congressedits
Type of site
Twitter account
Available in English
Website twitter.com/congressedits
Launched July 8, 2014; 2 years ago (2014-07-08)
Current status Online

CongressEdits (or @congressedits) is an automated Twitter account created in May 2014 that tweets changes to Wikipedia articles that originate from IP addresses within the ranges assigned to the United States Congress. The changes are presumed to be made by the staffs of US elected representatives and senators. Previous to this, the best information about what congressional staffers were editing was found in the articles U.S. Congressional staff edits to Wikipedia and Wikipedia:Congressional staffer edits, which are manually updated. CongressEdits has been called a watchdog by NBC News.[1]

Origin[edit]

CongressEdits was written by and is run by Ed Summers, who was inspired by a friend's tweet about Parliament WikiEdits,[2] which performs the same function for the staffers of Parliament of the United Kingdom.[3] It has since been credited for inspiring additional bots for Australia,[4] Canada,[5] South Africa,[6] Switzerland,[7] The Netherlands,[8] Israel,[9] Chile,[10][11] Italy[12] and Greece.[13] Summers wrote that his "hope for @congressedits wasn't to expose inanity, or belittle our elected officials."[14] He emphasized that he does not see edits to such articles as Step Up 3D, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, or Horse head mask as "something to make fun of," and points to "substantial edits like changing a Congressperson's party affiliation from Democrat to Independent."[15] Ultimately, he would like to see Congressional staffers log into Wikipedia, identifying themselves to use their knowledge of the issues and history to help make Wikipedia better.[11]

Source code[edit]

The code for the bot itself is open-source software,[16] and can be configured to watch for anonymous edits from any IP ranges. It requires Node.js and CoffeeScript.

Controversy[edit]

On July 25, 2014, Wikipedia's co-founder Jimmy Wales told the BBC that the @congressedits Twitter feed may have been counterproductive. Referring to a Wikipedia administrator's 10-day editing block, imposed on July 24 against a shared address within the range assigned to the U.S House of Representatives, for disruptive editing, Wales said, "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."[17]

CongressEdits was credited[18] with bringing to light an edit to Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture by a United States Senate shared address on December 10, 2014, which removed the phrase "(a euphemism for torture)", with a revision note of "removing bias"; however, this edit was soon deleted.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Twitter Watchdog Keeps Tabs on Wikipedia Edits from Congress". NBC News. July 15, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  2. ^ "Parliament WikiEdits". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  3. ^ Gallagher, Sean (2014-07-11). "@Congressedits tweets anonymous Wikipedia edits from Capitol Hill". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  4. ^ "AussieParl WikiEdits". Twitter.com. 2014-07-12. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  5. ^ "Gov. of Canada Edits". Twitter.com. 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  6. ^ "ParliZA WikiEdits". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  7. ^ "swissgovedit". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  8. ^ "Tweede Kamer Edits". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  9. ^ "Israeli Government Edits". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  10. ^ "Congreso Edita". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  11. ^ a b Willis, Derek (July 14, 2014). "With Twitter's Help, Watch Congress Edit Wikipedia". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ "Parlamento Wiki". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  13. ^ "VouliEdits". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  14. ^ "why @congressedits?". Inkdroid.org. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  15. ^ "@Congressedits Hopes to See More Wikipedians in Congress". TechPresident. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  16. ^ "anon project, formerly congressedits, at github.com". Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  17. ^ Miller, Joe (2014-07-25). "Wikipedia blocks 'disruptive' page edits from US Congress". BBC. Retrieved 2014-07-26. 
  18. ^ "Senate staffer tries to scrub 'torture' reference from Wikipedia's CIA torture article". Mashable. Retrieved 2014-12-10. 

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]