What Congress Edited on Wikipedia Today: Snowden, Manning, Cato, More


Stian Eikeland CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Members of Congress may want to check if their staffers are actually hard at work on their computers, because a few people (but mostly one prolific individual) seem to spend their days trolling Wikipedia. Today, the site has been edited at about 20 times by people with congressional IP addresses.

And one person, who has made about 30 edits in the last 48 hours, has been focusing on some politicized topics, like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, the Cato Institute, and many others.

Under the IP address (which has apparently been blocked in the past for "disruptive edits"), he (or she) today changed an entry about Snowden, calling him an "American traitor who defected to Russia." Regarding Manning, the user took to the talk page, asking, "Why is this man referred to throughout the article by his alias? He is much more well-known under his real name." As far the Cato Institute goes, the individual added the fact that the policy institute is hosting a talk about congressional staff editing Wikipedia.

Interestingly, the individual has gotten his fingers in the pages of libertarian-leaning congressmen Justin Amash and Thomas Massie. Arguably, he's made their pages more neutral, albeit less informative, changing a description of Amash from "corporate lawyer" to simply "an attorney," and removing the fact that Massie supports the ending federal gun-free zones in schools.

For what it's worth, it seems this prolific John Doe may be a Russian-speaker and has a fixation on Russia Today anchor Abby Martin, writing that she's not a journalist but a "propagandist," but also adding her name to a list of psychedelic artists (she really does dabble, apparently). He makes other legitimate, if obscure, additions to Wikipedia, like information on the congressional chicken caucus and peanut caucus.

John Doe also recently rewrote Mediaite's page, calling it a "sexist transphobic" media outlet for "automatically assum[ing] that someone is male without any evidence." Shortly thereafter, on July 24, Wikipedia began a 10-day ban on edits from Congressional computers.

The site has been dealing with "vandalism" from congressional computers basically since the beginning.

Ed Summers, a software developer who started a Twitter account called "@CongressEdits" that automatically tweets all of the changes, has said, "Imagine if our elected representatives and their staffers logged in to Wikipedia…  and used their knowledge of the issues and local history to help make Wikipedia better?"

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has criticized CongressEdits, saying that "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." To be fair, so did banning them and creating media hype in the first place. 


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  1. “John Doe” could also be a WiFi access point.

    1. “John Doe” could also be “Jane”


    2. It’s probably multiple users behind a firewall. It’s far more common in big organizations to have many users share a small number of IP addresses than to have individual users exposed to the internet. It’s wasteful and a huge security vulnerability to give users public IPs. That’s not to say it never happens: where I have seen it happen it was always an organization related to the government in some way.

      1. My former employer (a certain large multinational computer company) has a low number /8 and employees got real IPs (not private ones, that is). The real IP wasn’t used on the internet? always the firewalls.

        I’ve found a lot of law firms that use /16’s to /24’s and assign users all over the range.

        This IP ( belongs to a /16 assigned to the US House of Representatives. That gives them 65,534 IP addresses to use? I think that’s enough for each member, staff, and servers.

        You could always email Andrew Graeub, Stephen Pearson, and the House Network Control Center (see the link for their addresses) and ask who owns that IP.

  2. “Anonemouse”?

    1. Aka douchMiesterMcghee?

      1. That’s the guy!

  3. Gotta love those bought and paid for politicians.

    1. See, anon-bot gets it.

      1. Now, if only anonbot could educate Tony, Buttplug, or Alice.

  4. FOIA request on that IP and find out what office it comes from.

    1. I’m sure the hard drive/computer is already scheduled for “maintenance”.

  5. The nerve of some people, messing around on the internet when they are supposed to be working.

    1. You know I’d be ok with the crippling debt and impending doom if all the enforcers are busy trolling the net.

      1. Maybe we should ask Google to install Fiber in DC next.

    2. *Stands in front of glass house, hefts stone from pile*

      1. #StandWithBrettL

  6. “Imagine if our elected representatives and their staffers logged in to Wikipedia? and used their knowledge of the issues …”


    1. It would look like a youtube comment thread before google started making people put their actual gmail accounts up for it.

  7. Chelsea Bradley Manning.

    It’s quite bizarro reading that WP entry on Bradley Manning where the wrong pronoun, she has been written to refer to a guy.

    Regardless of genital mutilation and drugging, the guy’s DNA shall always be XY and thus make him a male, unless Bradley suffers from asexual mutation.


    1. Yeah, certainly your squeamishness takes precedence, right?
      You maintain the right to examine everyones’ DNA and make judgement on the matter?
      My goodness! We need someone to direct us!

      1. Chromosomes are only a social construct.

        1. X and Y do not behave as simply as you would like.

          1. X and Y do not behave as simply as you would like.

            Neither does my car but when it malfunctions and slams into a tree people just laugh at me when I insist that I parked it there.

        2. +1

      2. So, you are high on drugs right now and you hallucinated “squeamishness”? Perhaps you suffer from aphasia and hallucinated “squeamishness”?

        Which is it?

      3. So all should expect Bradley Manning not to suffer from squeamishness when anyone rightly calls him Mr. Manning or Hey dude!

        Hacking off a penis, having a tube inserting into the cavity above the anus and plying oneself with drugs never is going to overcome biological reality.

        If Bradley wants to be a self-mutilating a-hole and suffer from mind disorder, who should stop him? Yet, the rest of the world isn’t required to join in Bradley’s delusion.

        Why forcing others to do so would be against the NAP.

        Oh, and it is so much fun to expose pseudo-libertarians who seek to bully others through ad hominem when others refuse to accept their bullshit.

        Enjoy your pretend-woman perversions!

        1. I really could care less what someone wants me to call them, so long as they are nice about asking me and not accusatory if I don’t get it “right”.

          I recently heard an NPR piece on etiguette for straights dealing with gay couples. The basic thesis is that everyone is rude to assume anything and the couples must be asked everything. For instance they can present themselves as a couple in public to you, but you may not tell others they are a couple, since you might out them to circles they are not out in. I’m all about equal rights under the law for gays, trans, whatever, but why can’t they accept that even allies can’t read their f’ing minds? And is that really etiquette? Sounds like controlling b’shit to me.

          1. Only those suffering from hyper-indoctrination into Socialist-driven racism (racing for taxation redistribution spoils and power based on group membership) would believe they owe “etiquette” to others based on bogus group membership.

            As Frank Burns said tho, “It’s nice to be nice to the nice.”

            There is something right about being kind to other like-minded individuals.

            However, no one deserves squat because they believe they’re part of the permanent gay pride parade of life.

        2. Who said anything about forcing?

          Calling Manning Bradley doesn’t really violate the NAP but it does qualify as being a dick. But you are free to be one…

    2. For just one example of how you have no idea of what you are talking about, look up androgen insensitivity.

      1. For just one example of how you have no idea of what you are talking about, look up androgen insensitivity.

        If you’re born without eyes or you develop very poor vision, other people calling you blind is not insensitive.

        If you cut your eyes out because you think being able to see is a defect of your persona, other people calling you insane or stupid is not insensitive.

        Androgen insensitivity is a relatively rare developmental disorder that is obvious and often diagnosed and addressed well before puberty. Further, the notion that we should overturn or correct millenia of endemic and inherited gender norms because of rare defects is rationality on par with blinding people because some are born unable to see.

        I have friends crippled by war, industrial accidents, and even regular accident who strive to live without their handicap, defy labels, and lead a normal life. IMO, Bradley Manning should just have both sets of genitals installed so he can go fuck himself.

        1. Brilliant!

    3. Jamie lee Curtis is rumored to be genetically male.

      Rumor has it she has a rare genetic disorder that prevents testosterone from sending its signal to cells for them to express maleness.

      The disorder does really exist so some women are actually like this even if Curtis isn’t.

      Also Sevo is right. Who the fuck cares what gender people choose to call themselves. I mean aside from your 1910 school girl squeamishness about it

      1. Choose gender? ?La Se?or? Le Madamme?

        Languages have gender. Humans have sex, male or female, or are asexual owing to genetic disorder.

        Reality. It’s so hard for many.

    4. When someone transitions in a MILITARY PRISON I respect that.

  8. Wikipedia is a joke anyways lol.

    1. I can’t help but feel a bit of paternalistic pride in watching how our little anon-bot has grown up before our very eyes. His comprehension of the English language seems to have surpassed some of the other regular posters here.

      He’s learning faster than some of the children my wife teaches ballet and that isn’t a slam on her teaching.

  9. It’s wrong to assume that this IP address is being used by a single individual. As anyone who owns a router knows, IP addresses can be easily shared. Who knows, this could be the public wireless access point for the Capitol Cafeteria!

  10. I gotta say, i agree with Jimbo Wales on this one. Ive dealt with my fair share of vandals and trolls on Wikipedia, and, frankly, nothing works as well as the wall of silence. Revert, block, ignore, if you give them an audience, they will never go away. Deny them the attention they crave and they wander off.

    1. Apropos Tony?

  11. Its not some lowly staffer, it looks like John McCain is trolling Wikipedia.

    1. Has to be a staffer.

      McCain can’t use a keyboard due to torture as a POW during the Vietnam “police action”.

      Years ago I was proud of McCain. He actually refused to be released earlier than his compatriots because the VC knew his father was a General in the US Army.

      Something makes me think that today’s John McCain wouldn’t make that same decision. It’s telling how a couple of decades of having people telling you how sweet your farts smell will change a person.

      1. Actually McCain’s father was an Admiral not a General, McCain was held by the NVA not the VC, and he “refused” to be released because Admiral Stockdale ordered him to.

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