Censorship

D.C. Democrat Accused of Censoring Scandals on His Own Wikipedia Page

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dbking, wikimedia

Summer recess may be underway for the Washington, D.C. City Council, but Councilman Jack Evans, a Democrat, is hard at work improving his own image. Or, that's what some Wikipedia editors allege. They say that Evans, or someone posing as him, has been scrubbing negative information about himself from his Wikipedia page.

A user with the name "EvansJack1" made about 35 changes in a roughly 24-hour period between Wednesday and Thursday last week. EvansJack1 removed unflattering bits of history, including "records that show that Evans used nearly $136,000 of constituent money to purchase sporting event tickets over the last decade," and the claim that he once called a journalist "a fucking idiot." The user also censored the fact that Evans at some point had a live in nanny. All of the information has been restored.

Is it really Jack Evans, though? When questioned by Wikipedia moderators about a potential conflict of interest, the individual added the biographical note "I am the longest serving Councilmember in dc history. I have been a leader in revitalizing our city and have great accomplishment, none of which are mentioned. Just a lot of inaccurate accusations." He also gave Evans' personal phone number to a Wikipedia moderator.

These don't necessarily confirm that Evans is behind the stunt, but his office wouldn't confirm or deny it either when questioned by the Washington City Paper. For what it's worth, EvansJack1 doesn't care for the City Paper. He describes it as a "satire" news organization that cannot be trusted for honest information about Evans, and that Wikipedia is "insane" for allowing it to be cited.

Wikipedia placed a 48-hour block on EvansJack1 after the string of changes.

If Evans isn't behind this stunt, it seems like a cunning plot to discredit him as an egotist with a bad past. If Evans is behind it, he has fallen for what so many other egotists with bad pasts have: the Streisand Effect, which says that the more someone tries to hide something from the Internet, the more the Internet will be titillated, and the people will find out and talk about it.

The real Evans is also currently in hot water for his unpaid parking tickets in the city.

This isn't even the first Washington-Wikipedia scandal this month. As Reason recently noted, someone with access to Congressional IP addresses has been spending so much time vandalizing Wikipedia – on pages ranging from Bradley Manning, to the Cato Institute, to Justin Amash, and much more – that the site felt compelled to ban all Congressional IP addresses from making changes for a short while. Of course, there's a Wikipedia page all about the history of Congressional edits of Wikipedia pages.

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle on Cellphone Tracking

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  1. Wouldn’t you?

    1. Although I would definately be stealthier than that. Good God.

      1. Seconded. I’d at least use an alias that doesn’t point back at me.

  2. Totally off topic; and totally awesome.

    What if Michael Bay Directed “UP”?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5KQQWlIgGc

    1. Very funny.

  3. “”the claim that he once called a journalist “a fucking idiot.”””

    Unpossible! No one says such things to the wisest of the wise!?!

    1. Wait, why would he delete that?

      1. Because he’s a control freak and a moron?

        1. What he should’ve done was embellish it.

        2. You should go to Wikipedia and add this statement (I customized it for you): “Evans once called a journalist a fucking idiot [citation not needed] while fucking the journalist’s mother.”

          1. Substitute “journalist” with “lawyer” and you might have something.

            1. Which journalist–the first or the second?

  4. “Wikipedia placed a 48-hour block on EvansJack1 after the string of changes.”

    Wiki needs a “back” button to return the page to what it was.

    1. It has that.

  5. “I am the longest serving Councilmember in dc history. I have been a leader in revitalizing our city and have great accomplishment, none of which are mentioned. Just a lot of inaccurate accusations.”

    So it’s okay to abuse power! Is dids alls dese goods things!

    Stated another way: I made the trains run on time so it’s okay to curb civil liberties.

    1. Even if his good deeds were relevant, there would still be the question of how much credit Evans (or any other councilbeast) deserves for the revitalization of the city. He’s like a rooster saying, “I make the sun rise every morning, so I get to do stuff like this.”

  6. Evans served at the 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 Democratic National Conventions

    Served what, hors d’oeuvres? *harharharhar*

    1. Guest: “What’s this?”
      Evans: “Mini egg-rolls. Custom served by your longest serving councilMAN, madame.”

      /Bows.

  7. A Democrat on the DC City Council? What are the odds?

  8. Just glancing at some of the edits, its not at all clear to me that Evans really did anything wrong. Lot of those edits are fairly minor, like for example the wiki entry says:

    “His 3,600 square foot rowhouse was built in 1876 and remodeled in 2011 by architect Dale Overmyer with an aim of providing each child with their own room.”

    Which he editied to say:

    “His 3,600 square foot rowhouse was built in 1876 and remodeled in 2011 by architect Dale Overmyer”

    I think you can make a good argument that the latter edit is more concise and relevant then the former.

    Or this edit:

    In which he changed the line:

    “Evans appointed Josh Brown as his campaign manager. Brown has said that his strategy is to plaster the city with Evans signs to make “this city to look like it barfed up Jack Evans.”

    To:

    Evans appointed Josh Brown as his campaign manager. Brown has said that his strategy is to plaster the city with Evans signs

    Again, its hardly obvious that the former edit is better than the latter.

  9. This whole page is hilarious. A few favorites.

    Pwned

    Slang term which originated from a typo (for “owned”) displayed on a computer screen during an online multiplayer video game and is now the subject of heated debate as to its actual meaning. Does it mean to reduce your opponent to such a state that no actual words exist to express your dominance over them? Does it mean you possess “ownage” over them? Or does it mean to soundly defeat an opponent? Also, who invented it? What is the correct oral pronunciation of it? What is its phonetic spelling? is it “powned”, “pooned”, “poughned”, or something else? All these are the subject to serious and heated debates in academic style language mixed in with vandals who type in ALLCAPS, curse like sailors, and call everybody n00bs. Is it a Dutch television broadcaster or is that just a hoax?

    Monty Hall problem

    Is it a puzzle of probability or of game theory? Is it even correct? This dispute has led to multiple mediation attempts and an ArbCom case. After ten years of disputing, as of August 2012 there have been 1,269,228 words posted on the article talk page without reaching any agreement.[131] By comparison, all of the Harry Potter books combined have 1,084,170 words in them.

  10. Potrero Hills

    The Potrero Hills are “a range of low hills on the western edge of Richmond, California”. They’re pretty unremarkable; there happens to be a Chevron oil refinery there. But is it the “Chevron Richmond refinery” or the “Chevron Richmond Refinery”? An on-and-off edit war over this detail roils for months. After an exasperated (if excitable) administrator goes to the length of fully protecting the page, the war spills over onto Potrero Hill, San Francisco, where it is now being “debated” whether the disambiguation tag at the top should say “For the Potrero Hills in Richmond, California, see Potrero Hills” or “For the bluffs in Richmond, California, see…” or “For the minor mountain range…”.

    Reach for the Sky

    An edit war springs up over the addition of a single line of whitespace between the external links section and the navboxes in Reach for the Sky. Results in two ANI threads, a contested entry at WP:3O, and various accusations of vandalism and sockpuppetry. The true source of lameness here? Two newlines in the source had been stripped out at some point without either participant noticing, rendering the appearance of the two versions, which were reverted back and forth seven times, completely identical.

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