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294 comments

Overrules? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23250214)

Overrules? That word makes as much sense in this context as 'penguinates'.

The captcha is donkeyballs (kidding).

Served (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250244)

DOJ, You got served!

Wow, nobody read the article! (1)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251488)

The actual article's about a little witch-hunt they've been having, because the resident anti-semite core on Wikipedia is deathly afraid of people coming in to fix and undo their little hatefest.

I mailed proof positive (full emails + screenshots) of malfeasance by editor AGK acting in league with anti-semitic editors after he emailed me gloating; Wikipedia's arbcom response was two "fuck you" emails and one "we don't care" email from their arbitration committee members, showing me what a bunch of anti-semitic people they really are.

Mod Parent Up (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251640)

This looks like a classic case of "nobody new comes to wikipedia" [livejournal.com] corrupt behavior on the part of wikipedia's admins.

I've dealt with AGK and other admins, they're classically anti-semitic as well as usually friends with a bunch of anti-semitic people. It's no surprise any article involving Israel or the middle east has such a problem, they have people for whom the whole purpose of editing is to make "the Jews" look as evil/bad as possible.

I have no surprise this was the response parent poster got from their arbitration committee, either. Corruption on wikipedia flows from the top down, not the other way around. And the last thing they want to do is investigate malfeasance on the part of an admin, because that would set precedent to investigate their own behavior as well.

Well damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23250260)

Seems as if the tables have turned.

It's about time... (5, Funny)

Erie Ed (1254426) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250268)

Someone stands up to them. Now I think if the RIAA ever comes after me I will overrule them...I guess what I'm trying to say is I for one welcome our Self overruling overlords.

Our long national nighmare is almost over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23250440)

This is exactly the sort of reason ALL conservatives need to be thrown out of government.

Re:Our long national nighmare is almost over (1)

KiltedKnight (171132) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250572)

You've got that wrong. What we need to throw out is the self-serving, power-hungry idiots who currently occupy ANY elected office. It doesn't matter if they're liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. These people are more interested in remaining in power, telling us what to think and do, and increasing their power base however they can. They create "safe" seats in their respective legislative bodies so that they never have to truly compete for reelection. What do we end up with? Exactly what we have now... a huge mess.

A true conservative, in the same style as Barry Goldwater, would find all of this governmental involvement abhorrent and would love to see the size of government shrink and people start taking responsibility for themselves and their actions again.

Re:Our long national nighmare is almost over (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251046)

A true conservative, in the same style as Barry Goldwater, would find all of this governmental involvement abhorrent and would love to see the size of government shrink and people start taking responsibility for themselves and their actions again.
Ah, but that's the old conservatism. New conservatives believe in big government, big wars, and science as an anti-religious conspiracy.

Re:Our long national nighmare is almost over (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251098)

What we need to throw out is the self-serving, power-hungry idiots who currently occupy ANY elected office.

I don't know how we could go about throwing out the entire legislative branch.

Re:Our long national nighmare is almost over (4, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251410)

I've always thought that a direct democracy, in which everyone has the right to vote on every issue, would be a good base.

It's historically been determined to be impractical because most of the population works at labour and doesn't have access to information, and because the capacity to communicate your vote in a timely fashion was too impractical.

However, with the current state of technology being what it is, these issues are no longer the barriers that they once were.

As a way to deal with the information overload, after the baseline system has been established, citizens should be able to nominate a representative to cast their vote on their behalf. Not someone who has chosen to run, but anyone who they feel they trust most.

This should be revocable at any time.

If we did this, during times of crisis, the natural pack tendencies of humans will cause them to self-organize into something resembling the modern political structure because it is efficient and a powerful tool to deal with problems.

However, there would be a built in mechanism in the system to allow that consolidation of power to cease when the threat is gone, allowing greater autonomy.

Basically, a new constitution is needed that lays all this out, and supporting infrastructure needs to be built.

This is a practical solution to the problems of corruption. It won't, of course, protect people from their own stupidity, but then, nothing ever does...

Re:Our long national nighmare is almost over (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251182)

A true conservative, in the same style as Barry Goldwater, would find all of this governmental involvement abhorrent and would love to see the size of government shrink and people start taking responsibility for themselves and their actions again.
I don't think any such conservative has existed for a few decades in any public position.

brave move that. (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250282)

I believe thats what is generally called "rattling the bushes"...

..but what will come out? a paper tiger or a man eater? I cannot see the DOJ taking this lying down.

Re:brave move that. (2, Funny)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250376)

I believe thats what is generally called "rattling the bushes"... ..but what will come out? a paper tiger or a man eater? I cannot see the DOJ taking this lying down.
President: Awwww, come back to bed, honey.
DOJ: But...they blocked me on wikipedia....I have to hack around it!
President: Rattle your sabre tomorrow! You're mine now! Grrrrrroowl!

Re:brave move that. (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250408)

Did anyone RTFA?

But odds are, the edits were made by a single individual acting independently. Wikipedia's ban on the department's IP is due to be lifted today.

Re:brave move that. (2, Funny)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250446)

Did anyone RTFA?

But odds are, the edits were made by a single individual acting independently. Wikipedia's ban on the department's IP is due to be lifted today.

So.. you must be new here?

Re:brave move that. (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250410)

..but what will come out? a paper tiger or a man eater? I cannot see the DOJ taking this lying down.

Why? I can't see the DOJ filing suit because a site is refusing input from them based on previous (perceived) abuses.

It's not like the DOJ has some inherent right to access Wiki any more than anyone else. They're free to have their own policies, and if they include blocking certain contributors, tough.

As has been pointed out, it is unlikely this is an official DOJ campaign to modify this page, just an individual within the organization. And, in all likelihood, DOJ isn't going to defend the ability for its staffers to contribute to internet sites.

Cheers

Re:brave move that. (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250806)

It's not like the DOJ has some inherent right to access Wiki any more than anyone else. They're free to have their own policies, and if they include blocking certain contributors, tough.
*grumbly-pedantic-mode on*

Don't call Wikipedia 'Wiki'. Call it WP if you're looking for something short, or maybe "the wiki" (since we have some context). There is more than one wiki out there, and Wikipedia isn't even the most wiki-ish site out there.

It's roughly equivalent to calling Slashdot "Blog". Wow, Blog sure has a bunch of dupes! The editors of Blog keep letting Blog-vertisements through, it's stupid! Look at all those anonymous cowards trolling Blog with Frirst Psoststs. (See? It sounds stupid.)

Re:brave move that. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251026)

Don't call Wikipedia 'Wiki'.

Wiki. Wiki. Wiki. Wiki. Wiki.

Pedantry is about as welcome as grammar nazis.

They're the original Wiki as far as most of us are concerned. The fact that there's a million things calling themselves Wiki-whatever. We're in a thread about that Wikipedia.

I'm afraid you'll simply have to cope with the fact that I didn't clear my choice of words with you. :-P

Cheers

Re:brave move that. (2, Insightful)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251432)

It's not pedantry, it's clarity. Examine the difference before you respond childishly to polite posts explaining the problem.

Re:brave move that. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250690)

What are they gonna do about it?

If I have a chalk board in my garage that I let other people write on whenever they want, that doesn't mean that I have to let you write on it.

Re:brave move that. (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250940)

thats fine as long as you don't say "it's the free chalkboard that anyone can write on".

actual tagline from wikipedia:the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

Re:brave move that. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251058)

That just makes me liar. There isn't any law against being a liar. There are hoards of laws regarding specific types of lies, but none against lying in general, and I don't think any of the existing laws would apply to my chalkboard.

Re:brave move that. (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251216)

You are absolutely right their is no law about being a liar but I do think it would make your chalkboard lose credibility when you say anyone can write on it. The draw to wikipedia is supposed to be it's openness and the fact that anyone can edit it. It's almost a form of censorship to block a specific IP from editing the pages.
Do I think what they did was right? No way. It torques me to know that some people use it's key feature to abuse it but the community is supposed to be the filter/moderator not wikipedia. Of course people will abuse the system and maybe we need to work out how to prevent it. Maybe thats why rights come with responsibilities. You have freedom of speech but it comes with responsibilities/stipulations. Maybe this will teach us why we have rights with responsibilities. Maybe it's like doing a proof in math, you have a formula but your not sure why it is, to truly understand it you have top do the proof.

Who know, all I know is I wish more things were more like math.

Re:brave move that. (1)

njcoder (657816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251156)

They're just trying to do for the middle east crisis what Colbert was able to do for the elephant population.

DOJ doesn't care. (1)

ClientNine (1261974) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251278)

You can't really be so paranoid as to think that screwing around in Wikipedia was a serious policy initiative by DOJ.

All this means is the bored interns who were pushing their politics have to stop now, and get back to collating and stapling memos like they should have been doing in the first place. I assure you, major branches of the US Government are not sitting around making policy decisions regarding unflattering press in Wikipedia. They get a lot more flak from much bigger players, and they *do* take it lying down because that's their job.

Good for individuals, useless for organizations (1)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250284)

they've temporarily blocked the US Department of Justice from editing pages for suspicious edits.

Because, y'know, the DOJ only has a single point of entry to the internet, and couldn't possibly get around this block by, say, having people doing it from their home PCs...

Re:Good for individuals, useless for organizations (3, Interesting)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250364)

having people doing it from their home PCs...

Which will then prove malicious intent; they are government employees but still are lawyers and could risk their careers with such a move.


This kind of activity is carried in the shadows, as soon as you shine a bright light, they disappear into the bushes..

Re:Good for individuals, useless for organizations (2, Funny)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250616)

Or disappear into coffee shops with free wifi, and, you know, coffee.

"This kind of activity is carried in the shadows, as soon as you shine a bright light, they disappear into the bushes..."

Does anyone else find that sentence to be hilarious? Truly, there is no light of righteous freedom like that of blocking an IP address to drive the shadowy evils of government into the scratchy bushes of ignominy. Truth is on the march!

Re:Good for individuals, useless for organizations (1)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250910)

Speaking of coffee... You owe me a new keyboard.

That was funny.

Re:Good for individuals, useless for organizations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23251064)

No, not proof of malicious intent. Maybe proof that "they" disagree with the information being presented, but that's it.

Right now you've got
(1) a story where some edits were made from an IP range
(2) a variety of theories that this was a concentrated DOJ whitewashing campaign attempting to hide "facts" from the public, allegations of shadowy operatives, the possibility of the secret movement going rogue and operating out of guerrilla hotspots.

What "facts" are being covered up? A post explaining how a Palestinian propaganda website says they found some e-mails exposing gaps in Wikipedia's "security protocol" was deleted by someone from the DOJ IP range, undid by a paranoid user who basically says "oh whoops... I'm not suggesting Government cover-up, but why would anyone from an IP in the DOJ ever want to delete this article, but isn't it curious?"

The next day, the same IP deletes it and suddenly there's a ban.

Has nothing at all to do with how the source of the questionable info put into Wikipedia was a paranoid propaganda website claiming that some people were going to use Wikipedia to post a "neutral worldview" that was different than theirs. Or how the second edit didn't remove the unsourced and unfounded allegations, it just removed the excerpt from the article detailing how one should go about in a plot to manipulate wikipedia.

Has everything to do with FUD and allegations and anti-government feelings.

Had the info-deleter used a user-name, this would not be an issue, and likely the information would have remained deleted.

Next time I see an edit I don't like, I'm going to waste my time looking up their IP range.

"I don't know why a Verizon user would be deleting information about Hoverrounds, but HMMMMMMM...."

"I don't know why someone in Indiana would be editing an article about Spider-Man.... HMMMMMMMMM"

"I don't know why someone at Yale would delete a paragraph in the Garth Brooks article... HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM"

Are you sure? (1)

hansraj (458504) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250436)

Once a certain kind of edit results in an IP ban, I would guess that the editors of wikipedia would keep an eye on similar edits and anyone trying to make similar edits, irrespective of their location, would get a warning or possible ban. Of course the edit would be reverted.

I really don't see any point in an organization getting someone to push views similar to the ones that caused an IP ban in the first place.

Re:Good for individuals, useless for organizations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23250574)

They haven't blocked the DoJ, they've blocked a range of IP address making suspicious edits. Subtle though important difference.

Re:Good for individuals, useless for organizations (4, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251552)

Entirely correct. The DoJ IPs are blocked for a certain length of time; the DoJ has not been banned, i.e. told to bugger off and not come back for x amount of time.

This sort of thing happens all the time, when a company or government department has an employee being dickish on Wikipedia from their work address; it's generally sorted out quietly and without a fuss, because the company/dept is understandably embarrassed by it. And the company BOFH can be trusted to deal with the offender in future.

(Then, of course, there's Overstock.com.)

Good for them (3, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250286)

Although I'm really not sure what the big deal is, except perhaps the fact that "suspicious" edits were occuring from the DOJ's networks.

Until Wikipedia is served a court order requiring them to remove or alter certain information, they can do whatever the hell they want with their own web site(s) so long as they are law abiding.

collective punishment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23250314)

Israel does it on Palestinians, and Wikipedia does it on the DoJ.

I know Wikipedia is the Internet's best example of groupthink (truth by consensus [wordpress.com] !) so I shouldn't be surprised.

The problem is one of opinon. (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250316)

The big problem with the Wikipedia comes down to one of opinion.
As long as it is just facts then it seems too work pretty well. When it comes to opinion then things get into trouble.
One persons white washing is somebody elses setting the record straight.
What is funny is bias and opinion can creep into the strangest articles.

Re:The problem is one of opinon. (1)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251664)

The big problem with the Wikipedia comes down to one of opinion. As long as it is just facts then it seems too work pretty well.
The problem with this is that you can't add every pertinent fact. You have to choose which ones are most pertinent or useful. That part is opinion. Even making an encyclopedia article about something everyone pretty much agrees on -- say, gravity -- involves some editorial decisions that can't be completely objective.

DOJ!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23250334)

Wait, your Department of Justice?!? was suspected of unethical or immoral actions? As a non-US citizen this speaks volumes to me. Not that I'm saying the rest of the world is any better.

Re:DOJ!?! (3, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250438)

It's consistent. The Department of Defense is responsible for attacking other countries. The Fire Department is responsible for extinguishing fires. Clearly, the Department of justice is responsible for preventing any justice from happening.

Re:DOJ!?! (1)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251196)

Wait, your Department of Justice?!? was suspected of unethical or immoral actions?
Yes, Oldspeak is out, Newspeak is in. Welcome to 1984, 24 years late.

Anyone else have problems getting here? (0, Troll)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250338)

Place goes up 'n' down faster than an intern in the Clinton White House... Ddos attack? Server misconfigured?

Re:Anyone else have problems getting here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23250904)

Place goes up 'n' down faster than an intern in the Clinton White House... Ddos attack? Server misconfigured?
Slashdotted?

Re:Anyone else have problems getting here? (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250954)

Having same problems in the UK.

Re:Anyone else have problems getting here? (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251436)

There might be a UK<->USA link problem, Some Americans have been complaining about trouble accessing EVE Online for a few hours, and the servers for that are in the UK.
I'm in the UK, and haven't been able to read Slashdot all day until about an hour ago.
Coincidence?

Re:Anyone else have problems getting here? (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251460)

No, unlikely.

I'm in the US and I've been having similar issues.

International differences (2, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250342)

Governmental Wikipedia editing around the world:

Japan: "The agriculture ministry is not in charge of Gundam"
USA: "The defense department is in charge of Gitmo"

Why? (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250354)

Wikiscanner appears to have nothing to do with the department of justice. Besides, If an IP from the DOJ tries to erase a particular scandel from wikipedia or wiki-whatever, doesn't that, in a way, verify the accuracy of the report?

Re:Why? (1)

Erie Ed (1254426) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250378)

Wikiscanner appears to have nothing to do with the department of justice. Besides, If an IP from the DOJ tries to erase a particular scandel from wikipedia or wiki-whatever, doesn't that, in a way, verify the accuracy of the report?
Oh come on you know theres nothing to see here, now move along folks.

Re:Why? (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251492)

Did you even read the summary? WP is concerned that edits from DOJ IP addresses are being used for malicious edits. On your second point: inductive logic is not a useful way of determining accuracy.

Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (5, Insightful)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250388)

Should the government have the right to even be on Wikipedia making edits? Isn't that similar to them controling any other media outlet?

Or does the 'openness' of wiki mean that the government is justified in making changes to whatever articles they want?

I personally don't want them even touching it, or influencing any media outlet.

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (4, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250552)

The argument is only valid if you view 'the government' as a single faceless monolithic entity. I'll guarantee that 90% of edits coming from various government IP addresses are interns on their coffee breaks.

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (2, Insightful)

CloudyPrison (821861) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251094)

Interns who represent the 'government' when their at work making edits.

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251600)

YOUR DESK, Your office (Work) -- The chances of you finishing writing this article without getting interrupted or distracted are slim.

U.S. office workers get interrupted on the job as often as eleven times per hour, costing as much as $588 billion in paid time lost to open content production each year. The digital communications that were supposed to make working lives run smoothly - cc'ed email jokes, Internet porn and chatting up that hottie in the next office by IM - are actually preventing people from getting critical tasks like writing Uncyclopedia or Wikipedia accomplished.

The typical office worker is interrupted every three minutes by a phone call, e-mail, instant message or other distraction. These take up 2.1 hours of the average day - 28 percent - with workers taking an average of five minutes to recover from each interruption and return to their original gag-writing or witty picture editing, or querulous talk page arguments and arbitration cases about the correct format for subheadings on articles about disused former US highways. The problem is that it takes about eight uninterrupted minutes for our brains to get into a really creative state.

From online shopping at work to planning the office holiday party, workers are bombarded with distractions. "It's certainly a recipe for even less writing getting done," said a typically bone-idle and parasitical Uncyclopedia timewaster. "It's 'There's my BlackBerry. What time is it in Kittenhoeffer right now? How many phone calls did I get? Can I win the sales office spider solitaire competition?' It's a lot of productive timewasting turned to useless 'productivity.' People like the convenience and possibilities that this technology affords them when they want to use it, but that doesn't increase the average quality of Wikipedia or pump up teh funneh on Uncyc!"

Still another study found a group of workers interrupted by e-mail and telephones scored lower on an IQ test than a test group that had smoked marijuana. Unfortunately, EPA regulations still forbid bong hits at one's desk, even when trying to fix one's makefile.

There is a mini rebellion under way, however. Desperate for some quiet time to think, people are coming up with low-tech strategies to get away from all their technology. "If you don't have that sort of free time to dream and muse and mull, then you are not being creative, by definition. I find hiding in the server room with my laptop is a good place to work on witty tales of Britney Spears flashing her lunch at paparazzi."

The problem appears to be getting worse. A study by Wikia earlier this year found that 62 percent of British Uncyclopedians are addicted to their e-mail â" checking messages during meetings, after working hours and on vacation, hoping to get their funny take onto UnNews first.

"If I wanted to work," said the user, "hell. I'd get a job."

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (2, Interesting)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250560)

That's all well and good, but honestly, how would you propose we stop government from editing wikipedia. Wikipedia is what it is. An open community inviting everyone to the table. Do you think Google has any less at stake than the Department of Justice? Maybe, I'm sure they are happily moderating their wikipedia pages. Would THEY be justified in changing articles? I doubt it, but everyone has a stake in information. Wikipedia is information, everyone has a stake in wikipedia. As much as I hate to say it, shutting off any one side of the argument throws off the balance that a site like wikipedia should create naturally.

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250644)

I am not speaking of banning IPs and blocking the gov't from a technical perspective. I mean more theoretically, should the government (or any single individual acting on their behalf) be changing the information that the people of the state have created?

I don't think blocking the gov't is an option... I just want to know if we think they should be on wikipedia changing what millions of people read? We must remember the government is supposed to work for us, not against us. The gov't, its entities, agencies, and those that work for it (when acting for it) do not have the same rights as the people of the state. And what rights they do have, should not conflict with the rights of the people.

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23251040)

Theoretically, your ideas intrigue me. I would like to know if we think I should subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (1)

Shauni (1164077) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251298)

Due to the nature of Wikipedia, the government theoretically doesn't have any more power than a bunch of wankers living in their parents' basements. And now thanks to this, they have less influence since Wikipedia will pay more attention to them repeatedly editing controversial stuff than aforementioned wanker. Not to mention, the government isn't changing information since anything unduly biased can just be rolled back.

Combine these factors, and the government has much, much less influence on Wikipedia than on any traditional media outlet...

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23251332)

We must remember the government is supposed to work for us, not against us.
That's quite idealistic of you... A simple fact: the more power you give government, the more it will want to abuse that power to obtain more power. It doesn't matter if it's your guy in office or someone else's guy, they all seek to expand their own power

The gov't, its entities, agencies, and those that work for it (when acting for it) do not have the same rights as the people of the state. And what rights they do have, should not conflict with the rights of the people.
The problem with that is... the people working for the government, get this, are people... and have the same rights you do.

You seem to have this notion that government is benevolent and everyone working for the government should sacrifice their rights to serve you. Last copy of GTA4 and it comes down to you or a guy who interns for some governmental agency that was in line ahead of you... "but sir, that is mine, you are merely a servant of the people, you have no right to anything."

I just want to know if we think they should be on wikipedia changing what millions of people read?
Maybe you believe in freedom for yourself but nobody else? You seem to have some kind of narcissistic personality thing going on where you think you're superior to someone who works for the government by virtue of the mere fact that they work for the government. I don't think YOU should be on wikipedia changing what millions of people read. You're no more trustworthy than the government.Ditto for everyone else out there.

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (2, Insightful)

esocid (946821) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250822)

I have no problem with them editing articles, until they start whitewashing and inserting propaganda into them to shed a better light on whatever the material is in question. Then they get put in timeout until they can learn to behave themselves.

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (2, Insightful)

Evil Kerek (1196573) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251342)

Ah but there's the catch. One persons 'whitewash' is anothers persons 'improved accuracy'. Which is the right answer? I mean, let's just take Iraq as a great example where if you sample 50 people, you'll get 50 different view points that all say something different. How in the world do you make an 'accurate' entry for it? Justifiable war? Invasion? Geneocide? Rescue mission? All depends on your point of view.

EK

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251096)

Why shouldn't it have the right to edit entries just as everyone else does? Wikipedia is not a media outlet. It isn't even a reliable source of information.

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (1)

Evil Kerek (1196573) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251308)

So it's ok for corporations and anti-[whatever] groups to post/edit for their benefit, but by God the government should just sit back and take it. I mean the whole thing is mostly a bunch of peoples opinions. One person here says 'whitewashing' the other person says 'making it more acurate'. We all know what opinions are like.

You're basically assuming that government edits = bad and everybody else's edits = good, which is far from the truth. I don't know what the answer is, but either you have an open edit system with rules or you don't. As soon as your start say 'x group of people can't edit'...well..what's the point?

I should add I think 'what's the point' in wikipedia period - I don't care for it and I don't use it.

EK

Re:Should the DOJ and Gov't Edit Wikipedia? (2, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251350)

Should the government have the right to even be on Wikipedia making edits? Isn't that similar to them controling any other media outlet?
Or does the 'openness' of wiki mean that the government is justified in making changes to whatever articles they want?
I personally don't want them even touching it, or influencing any media outlet.
With this deal [salon.com] in place, government officials and their contractors began approving, and in some cases altering, the scripts of shows before they were aired to conform with the government's anti-drug messages. "Script changes would be discussed between ONDCP and the show -- negotiated," says one participant.

Rick Mater, the WB network's senior vice president for broadcast standards, acknowledges: "The White House did view scripts. They did sign off on them -- they read scripts, yes."

Summary has the wrong emphasis (2, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250466)

I think the real story here isn't that Wikipedia has temporarily suspended the DOJ from article edits. The real story, at least to me, is that the DOJ has demonstrably been involved in a systematic effort to rewrite history. Many of us have been suspecting that the administration was doing that, but this is the kind of damning evidence that we've been looking for.

This needs to be the straw that breaks the PNAC's and neo-conservatism's back, and we can only hope that the Republican party rises from the ashes better and more rational for having done so. They're already making solid progress by picking the McCain horse, if only he would stop selling himself out to the fundies and stick to his old center-right positions. The time of the Religious Right's domination of American politics needs to come to an end, and if we can show their more moderate colleagues just how bad they really are I think there's a solid chance that they'll kick the monkey off of their back for good.

Re:Summary has the wrong emphasis (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250730)

These edits were most likely done by one person acting independently. The federal government has more than 1.8 million civilian employees, so you can imagine a few may do questionable things on their own. This one act doesn't prove "the DOJ has demonstrably been involved in a systematic effort to rewrite history." Have a drink and relax.

Re:Summary has the wrong emphasis (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250920)

I think the real story here isn't that Wikipedia has temporarily suspended the DOJ from article edits. The real story, at least to me, is that the DOJ has demonstrably been involved in a systematic effort to rewrite history. Many of us have been suspecting that the administration was doing that, but this is the kind of damning evidence that we've been looking for.
I don't see these attacks being "systematic" in nature. If they really wanted to "rewrite history" they'd do a much better job of things; they have vast resources and could easily access any one of thousands of IP ranges worldwide. Furthermore, such a campaign presupposes that Wikipedia is some sort of authoritative place for recording History, which it's not. This is just some random partisan hacks in the DoJ goofing off (whether during work hours or over lunch or after-hours has not been established, though entertaining concerns about wasting time and taxpayer money is still perhaps worthwhile) and editing Wikipedia in an attempt to make it conform with their preconceived notions of Reality, a common occurrence worldwide.

(And the rest of your post is assorted political rambling of incidental importance, at best.)

Re:Summary has the wrong emphasis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23251420)

Whoa... huh? Wait... Religious Right? Where? How? When? Neo-con? When did McCain get a horse? Do fundies have fun? WTF, over!?

Re:Summary has the wrong emphasis (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23251568)

The real story, at least to me, is that the DOJ has demonstrably been involved in a systematic effort to rewrite history.


The deeper story is that a systematic effort to rewrite history has already been accomplished by the Arab League and its Western allies. Look how many people accuse Israel of "occupying" "Palestine" since 1967 and then go look for Palestine on a 1967 or 1968 map. The whole area was split between Israel and Jordan. The Palestine Liberation Organization charter at the time specifically rejected any claim to the West Bank or Gaza. [hirhome.com]

People also complain about Israel's "illegal" settlements. The West Bank and Gaza were officially ceded to Israel by Jordan in 1994 [kinghussein.gov.jo] and Egypt in 1978 [mideastweb.org] . None of the settlements are "illegal" so long as their construction follows Israeli law because it is Israeli land. They might be obnoxious and bad for the peace process, but they are not illegal.

It is also widely claimed that UN Resolution 242, passed after the 1967 war, requires Israel to withdraw to the 1948 armistice lines. This claim gets around so much that I believed it to be true until I read the words of Lord Caradon [palestinefacts.org] who presented the resolution on behalf of Britain:

It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial. After all, they were just the places where the soldiers of each side happened to be on the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just armistice lines. That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them.

The common story about UN242 and "the occupation" is a blatant lie.

You cannot have read many Internet threads about Israel without running into one of these pieces of anti-Israel propaganda. In this environment, I am willing to give CAMERA some benefit of the doubt when their leaked emails claim their objective was only to restore NPOV. Let us see what their edits actually were before we accuse them of "rewriting history".

DoJ's authority to edit? (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250468)

I'm somewhat mystified at the DoJ behaviour. They are tasked with enforcing US federal law, and have been granted extraordinary powers to do so. Whatsa matter? Men with heavy guns and judicial immunity isn't enough? :)

The DoJ (and all govt entities) are creations of law,NOT any sort of corporation or moral person and are not entitled to any sort of opinion. Any expression of opinion seriously undermines the democratic process since it generally favors incumbents.

There is a clear line between answering questions and trying pro-actively to shape opinion. And they've crossed it. As they have many other lines. :( worst is they appear not to understand why what they've done on these occasions might be wrong and generally justify it as "safety" which is not theirs to decide.

Carrying this to its logical conclusion (1)

pzs (857406) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250476)

I would have thought that technically, the DOJ can kick Wikipedia's ass on this one, if they were serious enough about it. Are we going to reach the stage where Wikipedia has to roll over or find some kind of safe haven for its servers, a la Pirate Bay?

Maybe there's a market for some small country to become a haven for unpopular websites - I kind of internet equivalent of the Cayman Islands or Monte Carlo.

Of course, if Wikipedia did have to do that, the first amendment is basically busted.

Re:Carrying this to its logical conclusion (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250962)

I would have thought that technically, the DOJ can kick Wikipedia's ass on this one, if they were serious enough about it. Are we going to reach the stage where Wikipedia has to roll over or find some kind of safe haven for its servers, a la Pirate Bay?

No, since the Wikipedia-editing was probably some random doofuses in the employ of the DOJ in some manner or other just coming over to edit it during lunch / while slacking off and avoiding work, and is likely not part of any concerted campaign of (dis)information.

Government's place in public discussions (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250488)

Maybe the DoJ and all other government agencies should be permanently banned. Not as a punishment, but as a matter of appropriateness. Think of the recent upset when it was discovered that the "military analyst" on most news shows was just a Pentagon mouthpiece. [slashdot.org] Why was that bad? Because in order for a democracy to function well, the people need access to clear unbiased information. While most everyone knows that various News programs have a slant, Wikipedia wants to (and should continue to) maintain as balanced a voice as possible. The more that Wikipedia become the first place many people go for information, the more important it becomes in having a well informed public. After all a well informed public is what things like "freedom of the press" is about, right?

Re:Government's place in public discussions (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250798)

Original Replica wrote, "...the people need access to clear unbiased information."

Only in the math world can information be unbiased. In any other area, the information is going to be discolored with bias, even if it is not intended and worse when it is.

Re:Government's place in public discussions (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250828)

The problem isn't biased military officials appearing on television, it is pretending that they are unbiased military officials. Transparency isn't simply about clear unbiased information(because there is very little of it), but also about being forthright.

Re:Government's place in public discussions (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250836)

Think of the recent upset when it was discovered that the "military analyst" on most news shows was just a Pentagon mouthpiece.

Sand in my vagina? It's more likely than you think.

Seriously. The story there is not the analysts were biased, but that the bias was explicitly directed from the inside. Think of the former-military "experts" like the star witness in a mob trial.

Why would the prosecution call as a witness a former mobster? There's the credibility issue--hey, the guy was in the mob. There's the bias issue--maybe the guy has some grudge against his former associates. But in the end, where else can you go? The folks who know best the inner workings of the mob, are the folks in the mob.

Same with military analysts. Generally the folks with best insight into the workings of the armed forced are current or former military. And how can there not be bias there? Either the bias is positive--the guy retired after a wonderful 20 year career. Think he might have a favorable view of the military? Or the bias is negative--maybe there's a reason he's now an analyst and not adding another star to his epaulet.

Because in order for a democracy to function well, the people need access to clear unbiased information.

I don't know about that. People have bias. Some reporters/journalists strive to keep personal bias out of their work. Some use the work as a platform to express bias. But all people have bias, even if it's simply the result of having a particular background and set of experiences.

If there was some mythical source of clear unbiased information, we wouldn't need that 1st amendment would we? We wouldn't need freedom of the press. We could get all our news and analysis from our source of unbiased information.

But such a thing does not exist. Real news sources run by real people have real bias. That's why freedom of the press is so important. That's why the 1st amendment is first. All citizens should have the freedom to express their bias.

The more that Wikipedia become the first place many people go for information, the more important it is to recognize Wikipedia and its contributors have their own biases. Wikipedia is not your mythical source of clear unbiased information.

Re:Government's place in public discussions (1)

hachete (473378) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251224)

I'd rather have the govt in the tent and pissing out than outside the tent and pissing in ... Seriously, domain names should be clearly attached to edits, people named, and NO ANONYMOUS editing. Just like the article says. At least then we'd have a fair chance of detecting bias, changing the really biased information etc etc.

Re:Government's place in public discussions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23250960)

How is what Pentagon has done with regards to analysts any worse than or different from what, say, the United Nations do with regards to media?

The Pentagon seeks a positive public image. The UN seeks a positive public image.

The Pentagon has departments and individuals whose sole job is giving whatever they do a positive public image. The UN has deparments and inviduals whose sole job is to give whatever they do a positive public image.

The UN will - extremely unarguably - "[use their] control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse". Of course, how could they not? They sit on internal information and their job is to portray themselves positively - how can they do their job by NOT controlling access to information?

And if they give extra information to analysts that agree with them, and the analysts 'echo their views' - would that surprise you? Would it surprise you if, say, the Palestinian Authority had a department who did this?

Throwing the bath water out with the baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23250534)

BEGIN Irony

Phew! This is such a relief! Why in the world should we expect any credible information to be provided by anyone who works at the DOJ? Obviously everyone at the DOJ knows absolutely nothing about anything. Everyone knows that the most accurate information comes from out-of-work autoworkers. Next, I'm looking forward to Wikipedia blocking any edits on computing articles that come from IBM. My neighbor's 12-year-old son is a much more accurate source than any of those biased IBM geeks.

END

hurray for wiki, keep doin whatever you want! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23250586)

Like a (non-subscription) site ever even needs a reason to ban anyone. If you get banned and think you didn't deserve it, too bad it's not your site. You can complain to the powers that be, but in the end it's wiki's decision to ban whoever the hell they want.

freedom (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250600)

Wikipedia -- the encyclopedia anyone can edit... as long as Honest Jimbo and his Admin Regime agrees with you. All else is vandalism and must be dealt with harshly.

Also, Wikipedia recently got a grant from the Sloan Foundation. On the board of the Sloan Foundation are several General Motors execs. So... hands up anyone who is naive enough to think that Wikipedia's General Motors pages will be 100% POV.

4 legs good, 2 legs better.

Re:freedom (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250736)

damn... too fast with the submit button - I meant "Sloane Foundation" and "NPOV", but I guess that's obvious.

The Sloane Foundation being only one recent example of a potential conflict and lack of transparency in Jimmy's and Wikipedia's dealings.

And always worth mentioning -- there's STILL no accepted definition of "Vandalism". Wikipedia Admins use it the way "terrorism" is used by Fox News. This is easily abused and most certainly not to be trusted. Banning IPs is a disgraceful and disgusting practice, which should be fought by anyone, and everyone, interested in free speech.

Re:freedom (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251614)

Wikipedia does not, and should not, respect your freedom of speech. It is not a government entity, so I don't know what has mislead you into thinking it should. They don't have any more obligation to allow you access to their services than the local car wash does. "Freedom" means no one interferes with you, it doesn't mean you force other people to accommodate you.

Dear DoJ... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250630)

I've no iterest in whether Wikipedia shows you in a favourable or defamatory light. As such, i'm willing to edit your posts for you, as you require.

I'll obviously be billing you for "consultancy", and do not guarantee any level satisfaction from this service.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Jimmy Wales.

Re:Dear DoJ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23251154)

Dear DOJ;

      I'm a run drugs accross the canadian border using my ex-cia connections. Oh yeah, I also edit wikipedia.

Love.

SlimVirgin

Be Rational People and Think This Through (2, Insightful)

Koreantoast (527520) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250658)

The Department of Justice has almost 130,000 employees, and as much as some conspiracy theorists would like to believe otherwise, I seriously doubt that they're able to keep track of the individual actions of every single one of them. As even the article has pointed out, these questionable edits are most likely the action of an individual employee making edits on their lunch break, a personal effort instead of an organized one. If this were a coordinated and malicious conspiracy by the government, don't you think they'd be a little more creative in covering their tracks, especially after all the exposure from Wikiscanner last year?

I find the ban on the DoJ's IP address more humorous than anything else. If there's some sort of action in DoJ over the incident, it'll probably be a crackdown on Internet usage for productivity purposes.

As for whether or not "the government" is qualified to edit Wikipedia, who is? Nearly everyone will have some sort of conflict of interest, whether due to their employer, religious creed, or civic affiliation. I don't see why any of over fourteen million Federal civil servants and contractors, let alone the tens of millions of state and local government employees, should be less qualified to edit Wikipedia than any other netizen.

Information Warfare at its best (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250732)

Wikipedia can take this as a compliment. The wiki can be useful or dubious, but it appears to be playing an important role in this new information age. I fully welcome the gubment to make use these tools, since the enemy already is.

Suspicious Edits? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250852)

I wonder if their definition of "suspicious edits" is "Edits that don't reflect our view".

That seems to be their speed.

Good Reg article, bad Slashdot article (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#23250866)

The Reg did a good job of summarizing the issue. The Slashdot "article" does not.

The main dispute regarding CAMERA's lobbying campaign is summarized on Wikipedia. [wikipedia.org] That effort did not involve DoJ. (CAMERA, the "Committee for Accuracy in Middle-East Reporting", is an advocacy organization for Israel. CAMERA sometimes claims to be neutral, but even the Israeli press says they're pro-Israel.)

After the CAMERA lobbying effort had been detected, and edits related to CAMERA were being closly scrutinized, someone using a DOJ IP address made an somewhat suspicious edit [wikipedia.org] which deleted information about CAMERA's Wikipedia lobbying effort from the CAMERA article. As I wrote at the time, IP address [149.101.1.130] resolves to "wdcsun30.usdoj.gov". A whole series of "wdcsun*.usdoj.gov" machines appear in various logs, so it's probably an outgoing web proxy. If you try a traceroute, you get a "destination unreachable" at exit from QWest's network. That machine seems to be a source of miscellaneous browsing traffic by DC employees; "wdcsun30.usdoj.gov" comes up in blogs for Mini Cooper owners. --John Nagle (talk) 20:29, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

So either it's a DoJ employee browsing from work, or DoJ's proxy servers are open and can be abused from the outside. Probably the former. It would be interesting to make a Freedom of Information request of DoJ for the user information associated with that use of the proxy server. After all, DoJ is taking the position that ISPs should be required to retain such information, so it would be useful to see whether DoJ does so for their own servers when they're acting as an in-house ISP.

yet another bogus /. headline (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251126)

you people bitch about fox news, but what i'm seeing from /. these days is worse.

wikipedia can't "overrule" the DOJ since it's their own fucking website. who is going to rule against them, santa claus? maybe Elvis?

how about we try dropping the sensationalist headlines for a day ok.

This takes guts. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 5 years ago | (#23251626)

They're taking a big risk here, going up against the DoJ. After all, the number of Departments of Justice has tripled in the past six months.
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