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Japanese Bureaucrats Reprimanded for Wikipedia Editing

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the your-job-is-a-stub dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 177

sufijazz writes "Six bureaucrats in the Japanese agricultural ministry have been reprimanded for working on the job ... for Wikipedia. The six officials were publicly chastised for editing hundreds of Wikipedia entries during work hours. These included over 250 entries about robots in anime. '"The agriculture ministry is not in charge of Gundam," said a ministry official, Tsutomu Shimomura ... The ministry's internal inquiry followed recent media allegations that a growing number of Japanese public servants were contributing to the internet encyclopaedia, which anyone can edit, often to reflect their personal views. The ministry verbally reprimanded each of the six officials, and slapped a ministry-wide order to prohibit access to Wikipedia at work, while disabling access to the site from the ministry, Mr Shimomura said. '"

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177 comments

Censorship (0, Flamebait)

metlin (258108) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885071)

Shouldn't there be a censorship icon, rather than a funny one?

Seriously. Sure, these people may have been doing it during work, but a ban on what's probably one of the world's most popular encyclopedias because people are contributing to a compendium of knowledge (leaving their biases aside)? Isn't that a little ridiculous and over the board?

It's unfortunate, more than funny. Anime or not.

Re:Censorship (4, Interesting)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885085)

Did you miss this part? for Wikipedia. The six officials were publicly chastised for editing hundreds of Wikipedia entries during work hours

If they had gotten in trouble for doing it not during work hours I could see it being censorship, but they were doing it during work hours.

Re:Censorship (3, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885113)

No, I was talking about this part -

The ministry verbally reprimanded each of the six officials, and slapped a ministry-wide order to prohibit access to Wikipedia at work, while disabling access to the site from the ministry...
Sure, some people were wasting their time doing that stuff, but it is an encyclopedia, for crying out loud. Disabling access to the site from the ministry because a handful few were obsessed about spending time on it during work? Definitely over the top.

It's like blocking Slashdot because a bunch of people were commenting obsessively. Especially when you consider the fact that it is a bloody encyclopedia, not a porn site (it may amount to the same amount of time-wasted, but still, it would be of consequence to others in the ministry who may genuinely use Wikipedia as a resource).

Re:Censorship (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885251)

Don't you see what is really going on here? The Japanese government is trying to stop leaks from the ministry about their top secret military research. This includes their top-secret giant robot research, and their genetic laboratory's efforts to create a race of super-soldiers with spiky blonde hair!

Re:Censorship (3, Interesting)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885279)

"It's like blocking Slashdot because a bunch of people were commenting obsessively."

Yeah, a lot of offices do that. Along with other potential time wasting web sites. Its not because of censorship, its because they want their employees doing their job instead of surfing the net. Plus it wastes network resources, which believe it or not are not free. Many employers ban employees from using their network for personal use.

And yes, surfing the Wikipedia is almost always personal use. It is not a legitimate resource that you would use while writing a proposal you intend to turn in to your boss. Yes it certainly has its uses, but that is not one of them.

Re:Censorship (3, Insightful)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885469)

I disagree with that assertion. I often use Wikipedia to look up terms that a client asks me about that I have never heard before, if only so that I can get someone more informed to contact them. For work use I find it invaluable.

Re:Censorship (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20886455)

Ta bu shi da yu, we all know your interest in Wikipedia, so stop astroturfing.

Anyway, I have no beef with any workplace that blocks access to Wikipedia - in fact, Wikipedia and gratuitous abuse are probably the only two things I would want avoided. In the latter case, I'd make exception where there is a need to research abuse. Timewasting at any site is also cause for castigation.

In fact, thinking of this year, this article sums up perfectly the two biggest problems I've had with one particular colleague:
  1. Supplying inaccurate, misleading or biased information on the basis of research that was clearly from Wikipedia and following only Wikipedia's links on a particular subject.
  2. His penchant for what I think is called (though forgive me if I'm not up on the terms) "loli anime", and his desire to constantly make references and occasionally provide me with links.
My initial experience: The first 10 mistakes I found on Wikipedia in my field - half of which were the result of fundamental "undergraduate" conceptual misunderstandings, rather than simple factual slips - I corrected. That was in a couple of days. The next dozen or so, I put a note in the talk page, having judged that a well researched rewrite would take several evenings. After a week or two, I finally asked myself if my experience was typical. I found occasional critical press articles, but what interested me more were the essays and rants by historians: particularly how they had to battle particular people.

Wikipedia is wrong and immoral on so many levels. It is not an encyclopedia because its primary criterion for inclusion is verifiability, not truth. It destroys the spirit of the Internet as comprising many autonomous peers. It is a logical consequence of the editing method that an accurate reference is never available: correctness is not proportional to number of supporters or availability of resources to defend one's contributions; what is more, even if a particular non-contentious page "tends toward accuracy" (and some do), this is a theoretical aim, entirely irrelevant to the visitor who only views the page at one moment in time. It is only technically non-profit: it provides its owner(s) with money and control well beyond what would be permitted in a UK charity.

It used to be that one could say "there is nothing you can find on the Internet that you need to go to Wikipedia to find", though I am greatly saddened that some colleagues who previously contributed to properly managed sites are now spending their time building Wikipedia - though the edit log is useful for revealing to them how their work is being mutilated by those who can't even write a coherent sentence, let alone reference. A 15 year old kid is going to have more time to stand his ground than a 38 year old researcher, so the battle is immediately lost; Wikipedia then becomes argued not in terms of academic quality but in terms of "ideally, it'd work!" or "it gets gradually better!" or, worst of all, "it's popular, so it must be good!" So is Windows.

When you donate to Wikipedia, you are mostly making Wales richer. You are helping centralise control on the Internet. You are destroying the nature of scholarship: what was once produced by educated individuals with a demonstrable record of competence is now game for all.

(Others not aware of Wikipedia's rotten-to-the-core problems might want to start at The Wikipedia Review [wikipediareview.com] - as with any site, beware of bias from both directions: this site does not claim to be an encyclopedia, after all ;-).)

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20886641)

It is not an encyclopedia because its primary criterion for inclusion is verifiability, not truth.
This is nonsense. The Encyclopedia Britannica has articles on many things that are not true -- Greek mythology, for example. It includes these things, even though they are not true, because it is verifiable that people believed in them once. How does this differ from Wikipedia's policy?

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20886969)

I, Zeus, will turn you into a goose if you continue to slander us Greek gods! You have been warned!

Re:Censorship (1)

mangastudent (718064) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886771)

A 15 year old kid is going to have more time to stand his ground than a 38 year old researcher, so the battle is immediately lost....

Very true ... if you make your scope too wide. After I noticed the sorts of problems you mention (which include one fired senior MIT professor who is now a Wikipedia crank/semi-vandal), I decided to pick one topic, and specifically one article, and defend only that article.

However, if I'd picked e.g. General Relativity, that approach wouldn't work, something that big and notable cannot I suspect be defended by one person.

Re:Censorship (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887085)

While I don't have specific knowledge of your job function, I'm going to assume you do some sort of customer service job and your responsibilities involve answering questions your clients may have. If I pay someone in customer service to answer a question for me and then find that they are looking up the answer in an encyclopedia (be it the Wikipedia or World Book), I'm not going to be very happy with them.

The Wikipedia (or World Book, or any other encyclopedia) is great for looking up a subject you heard mentioned on TV or something you are simply curious about. In other words, it is great for dilettantish pursuits of knowledge. For example, I just used it to look up World Book to ensure the encyclopedia I was referencing was still in existence. However, if you are a paid professional, you should have sufficient knowledge of the subject you are dealing with to find a better source.

Here is a rule of thumb. The Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. So before you use it for a particular purpose, ask yourself this. Could I look this up in World Book and not feel bad about myself for doing that? If the answer is no, find a better source.

Re:Censorship (1)

shanen (462549) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885533)

Hmm... It's pretty hard to define work-related surfing. I don't think it was /., but some other non-official source where I first heard about a major business deal that had really large effects on my division of the company. That was several extra days of warning to help brace myself before the 'stuff' started officially hitting the fan.

With regards to this topic I'm kind of embarrassed to be so far behind the curve, since I live in Japan and I should have heard this story a day or two before it got to the /. grapevine via Scotland. I could even read bits of the Japanese newspapers on it... Not worth the effort for the sake of /., however.

Anyway, my basic feeling is that I would basically regard this as a waste of my taxpayer yen, even though I know a lot of office work (and not just in government offices) is just sitting around while nothing happens. Actually, I sort of approve of government officials not doing anything, and sometimes think we'd be better off if there were even fewer of them not doing it. Still, I think it would be better if they were filling their time by reading stuff more relevant to their actual jobs, though I might cut them a bit more slack if they were doing it in English and improving their English writing skills...

Re:Censorship (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885555)

Its not because of censorship, its because they want their employees doing their job instead of surfing the net. Plus it wastes network resources, which believe it or not are not free. Many employers ban employees from using their network for personal use.


Unless doing research on the Internet is part of your job description, then almost everything one does on the Internet (as opposed to an Intranet) is for personal use. It would make more sense for companies to not offer Internet access at all, or just have a whitelist of acceptable sites to use. And if you did need to do even a modicum of research for your job, then it would not make sense to blacklist one of the few most useful sites around (Wikipedia or Slashdot).

And as for the censorship issue. Yep, it is censorship. It doesn't matter whether it may be justified or not, but it still is censorship. You could look up that word on wikipedia.org if it is not being censored from you.

And why not through in one last rebuttal, even though it may seem quite redundant to the / community; Wikipedia and Slashdot are not bandwidth hogs. Sorry mate but your "wastes network resources" has not weight with me.

Re:Censorship (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885799)

It's censorship only if the sole reason for blocking access is to prevent free expression of ideas. In this case, it's a blunt solution to the (apparent) problem of something that's distracting employees from the work they're there to do. Now, if the company tried to prevent them from editing the Wiki outside of work, then it would be censorship. I fear this word is going down the same path as "steal" and "theft", being watered down to "doing something I don't like". What word will we use for the suppression of expression?

Re:Censorship (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886059)

Your quote:

It's censorship only if the sole reason for blocking access is to prevent free expression of ideas.

Redefining the meaning of words to match one's own tastes and standards is quite common and unfortunate.

From (the censored) Wikipedia:

Censorship is defined as the removal and/or withholding of information from the public by a controlling group or body.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship

In the case of employees miss-using company time, well that is a completely different issue. Whether you agree with censorship or not, or whether you want to define censorship with your own narrow terms is a completely different issue. But in the case of employees miss-using company time a more effective measure would be individual punishments and not collective punishment. A more apt approach would be individual employee counseling and verbal or written warnings. If I were a Manager I would be able to tell that productivity is down without having to ask the IT department to check up on the employees. Obviously I am not lame enough to be considered management material and NEVER expect to be offered a management position.

In general it would be better to allow personal but modest use of the Internet during none-critical or busy hours of the work day. Keeping employees happy actually seems to increase productivity and employee-retention and keep them motivated. As I've said, if the company doesn't want people using the Internet, then they shouldn't offer it. But treating employees (or students for that matter) like they live in some type of prison where they are subject to restrictions will only harbor animosity and resentment. If you don't trust your employees then you shouldn't be in management. And if your employees are untrustworthy then they shouldn't be working for you. Either way the company either made the wrong hiring decisions or they just can't manage period. Excuse my Management rant, but I've been managed all my life by incompetents. My resentment to irrational and ubiquitous mediocrecy should be excused. I must be well outside the bell curve of "normal". Perhaps slashdot should hire me ;)

Re:Censorship (1)

loganrapp (975327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886639)

How's about you read that second paragraph from your own link, there?


Typically censorship is done by governments, religious groups, corporations, or the mass media, although other forms of censorship exist. The withholding of official secrets, commercial secrets, intellectual property, and privileged lawyer-client communication is not usually described as censorship when it remains within reasonable bounds. Because of this, the term "censorship" often carries with it a sense of untoward, inappropriate or repressive secrecy.

The spirit of censorship is that it's an inappropriate/repressive withholding of said information.

Stopping tax-paid workers from revising history about motherfucking Gundam during the work hours that the people pay for does not constitute censorship.

Re:Censorship (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886259)

"Unless doing research on the Internet is part of your job description,"

I'd suggest the only jobs that dont implicitly include doing research on the internet today would be those for whom you dont even need to have finished primary school to be qualified for.

Internet access has bypassed having an education in importance for how well educated and informed your workforce is. Educations fade, get outdated, and the human brain is notoriously bad at accurate recollection of rarely used data, things that internet access is particularly good at making up for.

"then almost everything one does on the Internet (as opposed to an Intranet) is for personal use."

Yeah, well, half the stuff I do at home is for work use, so I could send them a bill. Probably more common in the IT industry, but still.

Re:Censorship (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887015)

"Unless doing research on the Internet is part of your job description, then almost everything one does on the Internet (as opposed to an Intranet) is for personal use."

I would disagree with that. There are plenty of legitimate resources on the net. For instance as a Java programmer, I often find myself accessing the official JDK Javadoc and related resources from SUN.

"And as for the censorship issue. Yep, it is censorship. It doesn't matter whether it may be justified or not, but it still is censorship. You could look up that word on wikipedia.org if it is not being censored from you."

Again, the wikipedia is not the appropriate resource for such a question. The appropriate resource here would be the dictionary, where under the word 'censor' you would find

A person authorized to examine books, films, or other material and to remove or suppress what is considered morally, politically, or otherwise objectionable.

That is really not what is happening here.

"And why not through in one last rebuttal, even though it may seem quite redundant to the / community; Wikipedia and Slashdot are not bandwidth hogs. Sorry mate but your "wastes network resources" has not weight with me."

They are if half your office is using them when they should be working.

Re:Censorship (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886685)

Or, ya know, being able to zone out the futility of the office by contributing something productive to Wikipedia actually manages to keep you from going insane and killing your boss for another day.

But yeah, I suppose if you're willing to put up with them blocking your access to things instead of just quitting and going to work for an employer who is less of a nazi then they can get away with anything.

Re:Censorship (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886729)

What companies should realize is that they try to solve a solcial problam with a technical solution. No intenet? Right, I will read a book instead.

Also if you want to block certain sites, then be prepared to close all sites for everybody, expet those that are actualy needed. Yes, some departyments might be needing to look up things, but about 99% of the things that people need to look up at a company will be withing certain websites/domains. My guess is that at my comany (500 people) we could do with about 10 sites.

Bandwith in Japan is not realy an issue as we have seen. [slashdot.org]

Not blocking everything (for everybody, including the CEO) will just be a loosing batte.

Several companies I have seen do just that and then have PCs for general usage standing around. So if you can not live withouth your personal email, you can use it during your breaks.

Re:Censorship (1)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886909)

It is not a legitimate resource that you would use while writing a proposal you intend to turn in to your boss.

I certainly use Wikipedia at work. I've used it to look up the ASCII chart. Look up the subset sums problem. Get a quick refresher on some design patterns. And a few other things. It can be quite handy on occasion.

Re:Censorship (2, Interesting)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886989)

I use Wikipedia very often at work - for work related things. I consider it an excellent starting point for a general overview of a topic. I never expect it to be 100% accurate, and realise fully that it can be biased. But if there's a topic I've never even heard of, and want to get an idea of what it is at a fundamental level, Wikipedia provides me the information.

To use a real world example. I work in the business equipment industry (copiers/printers/scanners/MFPs). The only kinds of scanning I was familiar with were TWAIN and the various "send" methods such as FTP, Email, SMB and so on. Someone asked me a question about ISIS... Right, first step - check Wikipedia and figure out what on earth ISIS is, determine the basics of how it works, and then answer the question. Should further questions have come (they didn't), I would then have a good base of ideas in which direction I should extend my research. Without Wikipedia, yes, I could have just Googled it and found the information I needed, but the level of trust I could put in that information would be no greater or less than my results from Wikipedia.

(and before any scanner geeks come along and tell me that I should have known about ISIS considering what I do for a living - none of our products handle ISIS and I'd only been in the industry 3 years at the time, so could hardly be expected to know EVERY piece of technology associated with the field, especially when it's not something I've direct contact with)

Re:Censorship (2, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887067)

***And yes, surfing the Wikipedia is almost always personal use. It is not a legitimate resource that you would use while writing a proposal you intend to turn in to your boss.***

I don't know how you came to this quite remarkable conclusion, but I think that there is a flaw in your thinking somewhere. Increasingly Wikipedia IS a legitimate resource for getting a first take on a subject that one is not familiar with. I wouldn't base an important decision entirely on what the Wikipedia says, but as a starting point, it is often (I'd say usually) a better starting point than a broadly focused Google search.

Just to make sure that I'm not fantasizing, I picked some subjects that I know enough about to judge the adequacy and where the knowledge was not gained through the Wikipedia. The articles on Black Hole Routing and Forland Basins (a geologic term) were perfectly OK. On the other hand, there wasn't anything on Python's for ... else construct. (Conventional for loop followed by a block to be executed it break is not used to exit the for loop).

Overall, I can't think why one wouldn't go to Wikipedia first. If you're doing serious research, you need to go further of course. But you need to do that with any encyclopedia -- including Britannica which is far from error/bias free and was (the last time I looked) weak on many fields like Information Technology where Wikipedia is pretty good.

The article deals with a different issue -- employees playing with Wikipedia when they are supposed to be doing what they are paid for. In fact, it specifically says that the objection wasn't to the Wikipedia per se and that there wouldn't have been a problem if the employees had been editing Wikipedia entries on subjects related to their work.

Re:Censorship (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20887103)

"don't know how you came to this quite remarkable conclusion, but I think that there is a flaw in your thinking somewhere. Increasingly Wikipedia IS a legitimate resource for getting a first take on a subject that one is not familiar with. "

If your boss is paying you to write a proposal on something, you had better already be at least familiar with the subject. Or at least familiar enough with the general subject area to be able to find legitimate sources without its help.

Re:Censorship (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885419)

Especially when you consider the fact that it is a bloody encyclopedia, not a porn site (it may amount to the same amount of time-wasted, but still, it would be of consequence to others in the ministry who may genuinely use Wikipedia as a resource).
We can't go having well-educated public servants!

Seriously, if they're that concerned about it-- run HTTP to Wikipedia through a proxy. Disable edits. I can see why they would just block it-- this is a knee-jerk reaction and blocking the whole site is fast and easy-- but it's still a stupid thing to do.

Re:Censorship (1)

KamuZ (127113) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885885)

True but then again, it's cheaper and faster to block a site than install a proxy to disable Wikipedia edits.

And don't get me wrong, i know people will say they can do that with X and Y software in 5 minutes but you need to understand you are not in home or in an enviroment to test stuff, there are politics and guidelines to follow. In fact, if they could justify Wikipedia is useful for their work, i'm pretty sure they will work with something like a filter to edits or just monitoring to see what employees use. Remember, just because your employee gives you internet that doesn't mean you can use them as you want.

Re:Censorship (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886381)

But is it really much harder to only block links of the form http://*.wikipedia.org/*?*edit* instead of http://*.wikipedia.org/*?

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885405)

Editing a public Wiki on one's work computer would probably be acceptable within the US Dep't of Agriculture's Limited Personal Use policy as long as it didn't interfere with offical duties or use an appreciable amount of bandwidth.

http://www.ocio.usda.gov/directives/doc/DN3300-011.htm [usda.gov]

I'm writing this post from a USDA computer right now, of course I'm not on the clock.

Re:Censorship (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885981)

If they had gotten in trouble for doing it not during work hours I could see it being censorship, but they were doing it during work hours.

In TFA "the civil servants together made 408 entries ... since 2003".

So six civil servants made 408 entries in 3 years. An average of 22 entries per man-year.

Assume one hour per entry, they were goofing off for less than one hour every two weeks. Lots of workers goof off for at least that every day. Were these guys really worse than their colleagues? Or just unlucky to be caught? (Too many rhetorical questions?)

Re:Censorship (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886817)

Did you miss this part? for Wikipedia. The six officials were publicly chastised for editing hundreds of Wikipedia entries during work hours If they had gotten in trouble for doing it not during work hours I could see it being censorship, but they were doing it during work hours.
The true irony being that they were editing trivial pages from work computers for fun. Whereas in all probability their bosses or agents are altering more serious pages from anonymous computers to avoid being seen as tampering with information. Anyway, Wikipedia quite routinely bans IP addresses -- including whole country's IP address from its site -- so it's only fair perhaps for someone to return the favor every now and again?

Censorship is evil -- censorship is an intrinsic part of Wikipedia. Vanity is a precursor for evil -- Wikipedia is an exercise in vanity. Such is the nature of Wikiality.

Re:Censorship (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885119)

Um... no? You're at work, do your job. Don't screw off editing Gundam articles on Wiki.

Man, with attitudes like this, no wonder the Japanese are overtaking Americans economically...

Hmm, this sounds familiar... (2, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885257)

Um... no? You're at work, do your job. Don't screw off editing Gundam articles on Wiki.

CmdrTaco said it best: Our uptime, your downtime :P

Re:Censorship (1, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885129)

People are far to quick to cry foul and scream censorship.

they aren't prevented from doing the edits, they just have to do it in THEIR OWN TIME. government computers and resources are not there to contribute to wikipedia.

Re:Censorship (1, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885181)

Wait - so you are telling me that is there a ministry wide ban on an encyclopedia because all of six people spent their time obsessively editing various article.

Yeah, sure.

People are far to quick to cry foul and scream censorship.
No, people are too quick to give up their rights without thinking back to the reasons. If there was a ministry-wide obsession, fine. But six people and everyone in the ministry (in a democracy, no less) is banned from accessing the website? And people do not think this is a bit extreme at all?

Wow.

Re:Censorship (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885225)

Rights?

They are at work.

I've never heard of the right to unfiltered internet access at the workplace...

Re:Censorship (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885583)

Wait - so you are telling me that is there a ministry wide ban on an encyclopedia because all of six people spent their time obsessively editing various article.
If you would read the fucking article for once, you might know that this is a widespread problem, and these six people were the only ones who officially got smacked

Re:Censorship (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885863)

1. you've never worked a day in your life have you?

2. the work place is not a democracy 3. they haven't given up any rights at all - they can still edit to their hearts content FROM HOME.

Re:Censorship (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885897)

1. No, I just happen to hire other people who work for me.

2. The work place may not be a democracy, but it is the *ministry* of a democratic country that's banned the site for everyone working at that ministry.

3. It is the fact that the actions of a few have caused them to block access to the encyclopedia to everyone else. If they did not want people editing, there are other ways of doing it, rather than instituting a ministry-wide ban.

Re:Censorship (0)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885999)

1. haha

2. It makes no difference, it's a work place like any other.

3. The actions of a few ruining it for everyone? NOW WAY MAN!!!!! welcome to the world.

Re:Censorship (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885275)

I pretty much agree. I think as a first offense for excessive dawdiling, it would only make sense to ban people that have been shown to waste a lot of company time on non-work related activities. A company wide or department wide ban is definitely overboard.

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885333)

What if your job is to edit Wikipedia?

welcome to reality, 4-digit.

Re:Censorship (2, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885567)

Seriously. Sure, these people may have been doing it during work, but a ban on what's probably one of the world's most popular encyclopedias because people are contributing to a compendium of knowledge (leaving their biases aside)? Isn't that a little ridiculous and over the board?
Yes, a little bit. They could have just blocked wikipedia's url arguments for editing and discussing pages.

Re:Censorship (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885779)

I guess you'd call it censorship if any company enforced limits on what sites employees were allowed to visit and contribute to during working hours? Abuse of the word waters down its meaning, leaving talk of real censorship more difficult.

First Post? (-1, Offtopic)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885083)

It's hard to believe that a non-subscriber gets first post, but there's nothing up yet. Oh Well...

Just to keep getting modded off-topic, I'd like to point out that blocking all access to Wikipedia is a tad heavy-handed. Forbidding them to edit entries on the job should have been enough.

Re:First Post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885907)

You fucking fail the first post. So not only are you off-topic, but you're redundant as well because the person who did get first post mentioned the same thing in a much better argument.
 

People have been goofing off at work for (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885103)

...millions of years[1]. This is not new. If you plug up one outlet, they'll just find another.

[1] Thog, you to kill it, not fuck it. Eat first, fun later [Bonk!]
       

Re:People have been goofing off at work for (5, Funny)

speilberg0 (1144645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885231)

This is not new. If you plug up one outlet, they'll just find another.
[citation needed]

Re:People have been goofing off at work for (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886325)

This is not new. If you plug up one outlet, they'll just find another.

[citation needed]
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=~%22If+you+plug+up+one+outlet%2C+they'll+just+find+another.%22&btnG=Search [google.com]

Stop censorship! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885125)

Maybe we should drop another nuke on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to make these Japs remember who is boss when it comes to international politics. This time, rather than surrendering to US, they will promise to halt anime production inside of Japan and ban the export to the USA to protect our children from cartoons that often depict pedophilia and other weird stuff.

INVADE JAPAN AFTER WE NUKE THEM AND WIN THE WAR IN IRAQ

Re:Stop censorship! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885141)

well if those are the conditions itll never happen.

mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885227)

It has been scientifically established that anime is a gateway fetish to pedophilia, bestiality, and homosexuality. If we don't nuke Japan we might not get another chance; they would tentacle-rape your children if given the opportunity.

I would reply, but boss is watching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885131)

using monitoring software

Tell me.. (2, Funny)

nrgy (835451) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885143)

When each were informed of the reprimanded did they magically morph into giant robots and go Super Saiyan 5? Super mega kung-fu energy blasts must of been flying all over the place.

Now here's some news (3, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885151)

From TFA:

The ministry, however, did not object to their limited contributions on the World Trade Organisation and free trade agreements.

I was about to have a slashtantrum about this not being news. As everyone should be thinking "You can't be wasting your employers time working for anyone else like that, even if it is Wikipedia." That would have been 'nuff said.

However this above statement disturbs me. It's okay if they spend time updating WTO and free trade articles, but not anime pages? They shouldn't be updating either pages. Anime pages are one thing, and they can and should be reprimanded for that. But I shudder at the thought of governments paying employees to update Wikipedia. Why aren't the head bureaucrats getting reprimanded by someone!!! ugh.

Re:Now here's some news (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885471)

Blah. They're not slaves. If the ministry is not happy with their work output, they can fire them.

I worked for an employer once that had an IT department which banned things all the time. Including Slashdot. One day I got in trouble for using ssh tunneling through HTTPS so I could have unfiltered Internet. That was the last straw.. I threatened to quit. My employer agreed to have the restrictions removed for my machine's ip address only. I was in such a foul mood by then that I demanded they remove all the restrictions, for everyone, and they refused. Next day I tended my resignation.

Thankfully, they saw reason, tore up my resignation and removed the web proxy. People in the office who had heard nothing about my annoyance were heard to remark how much faster "the internet" was now.

About a year after that event I started working remotely for the same company because my partner's work commitments had moved us interstate. I had very rare contact with my coworkers during this time, but occasionally my employer would fly me in for conferences and celebrations. I got told that IT had now banned all workstation-to-workstation communications in the office to stem the use of a scribble-board chat program. Apparently people were using the scribble-board to draw pictures of penises (as is inevitable) and one of the likes-to-think-he-is-upwardly-mobile set was worried this could lead to a sexual harassment issue.

Something else happened to spark it.. I don't remember what, but the result was that virtually the entire developer staff threatened to quit, then went on strike, as a result of this stupid scribble-board program. Management refused to budge on the issue, but by this point cheap routers and long lengths of cable had been brought from home and a makeshift "dark net" had been setup entirely for the use of this silly drawing/chat program. Some of the guys sent me pictures.

Eventually, after IT cut off the Internet access, things came to a head and management buckled under the pressure. They got to keep their stupid scribble program and the Internet remained unfiltered. But, to this day, IT support in that office is pitiful. If you want RAM or, god forbid, software installed, you do it yourself. Of course, the geeks don't care.. the people most affected by the poor IT support is the likes-to-think-he-is-upwardly-mobile set.

Re:Now here's some news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885669)

they saw reason, tore up my resignation and removed the web proxy. People in the office who had heard nothing about my annoyance were heard to remark how much faster "the internet" was now.

That is odd. The internet should be slower without blocking, since you have much more traffic to contend with.

Firing Civil Servants? (1)

Corporate T00l (244210) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885813)

Perhaps, but I suspect that similar to civil servants in most countries, you can't fire them just because they don't generate enough output; you can only fire them if they break the rules. Thus, more and more rules.

Plus, this is Japan, famous for structural rigidity in its labor market.

Re:Now here's some news (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20886321)

***Apparently people were using the scribble-board to draw pictures of penises (as is inevitable) and one of the likes-to-think-he-is-upwardly-mobile set was worried this could lead to a sexual harassment issue.***

While it sounds like the company overall sucked at the way it was handling these, in this particular instance, that kind of behavior COULD lead to a sexual harassment suit. All it takes is for one person to express that they feel this is unprofessional (which it is) and then management would HAVE to do something else to stop this behavior from happening else said employee could sue the company for a hostile work place and would most certainly win in court because management did nothing to prevent the inappropriate behavior from taking place.

I know it sounds really lame and pathetic and really, it is, but this is how the courts see it and for a business to protect itself from such things, they almost have to have policies that go beyond state law.

Brendan

Re:Now here's some news (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886647)

Yep, and employees are supposed to be "understanding" of all these crap are they?

It's simply not our problem.

Re:Now here's some news (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885987)

However this above statement disturbs me. It's okay if they spend time updating WTO and free trade articles, but not anime pages? They shouldn't be updating either pages. Anime pages are one thing, and they can and should be reprimanded for that. But I shudder at the thought of governments paying employees to update Wikipedia. Why aren't the head bureaucrats getting reprimanded by someone!!! ugh.
I wouldn't be surprised to find that the agricultural ministry has some expertise in the WTO and international trade issues. Individuals contributing to a public information resource on issues that they are professionally acquainted with seems rather ordinary... even commonplace. I also wouldn't be surprised if these individuals had a lot of other things they were doing as well (and would find themselves hard pressed to justify not seeing to other tasks in order to favor time editing Wikipedia entries).

sounds familiar (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885153)

reminds me of the time the FBI/CIA were doing some curious editing of their own. quite random in their posting

Re:sounds familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885285)

CIA Tries Hand At Wikipedia [pqarchiver.com]

Newsday, August 17, 2007

Limited to subscribers, the gist is, that Wiki's new tracking tool traced the CIA to TV shows.

Well, if you've used Wikipedia, you know that already.

The article suggests that CIA users may have done this on their off-time.

Riight...

BSG 4.0 baby!
    See you there...or not...thanks!

Wrong Ministry (5, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885173)

OK, so the Agriculture Ministry is not in charge of Gundam. Which Ministry is in charge of Gundam?

Re:Wrong Ministry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885203)

The Culture Ministry, I would presume.

Re:Wrong Ministry (4, Funny)

renrutal (872592) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885499)

Which Ministry is in charge of Gundam?
The Great Unified National Defensive Airfoces Ministry is.

New meme's abrewin'? (5, Funny)

mecenday (1080691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886021)

I purpose "[Blank] is not in charge of Gundam," be the 10 year anniversary slashdot meme...

Slashdot, for instance, is certainly *not* in charge of Gundam.

i can literally see this becoming a meme. (2, Funny)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885191)

"The agriculture ministry is not in charge of Gundam."
srsly, what were they smoking, err thinking ?

Eh..... (-1, Troll)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885199)

"The six officials were publicly chastised for editing hundreds of Wikipedia entries during work hours."

I tried to get someone to listen. Take away the vending machines selling high school girl's used underwear in the Ginza and it is going to mean trouble, I said, big trouble - but noooo...

They have brought Shame on themself and Family (-1, Troll)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885233)

This is most regretable circumstance, however it was predicted by equally shameful 8% loss of recent stock value.

Each of the six gentleman must commit ritual Seppuku if there is any hope to restore personal honor.

Re:They have brought Shame on themself and Family (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885407)

Each of the six gentleman must commit ritual Seppuku if there is any hope to restore personal honor.

But wait until they're done correcting the "Seppuku" entry in Wikipedia to remove the death requirement.
     

indeed, any idiot should know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885737)

that the Mega Cannon Cannon, is in fact the more powerful weapon, compared to the Hyper Mega Launcher which is only rated at 10MW.

Why is this on the frontpage of slashdot? (-1, Redundant)

kungfoolery (1022787) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885329)

This is only peripherally related to technology in that it refers to an online encyclopedia. Other than that though, I hardly consider work-site delinquency a hard-hitting subject for the community. "Your rights online:"? Not even close. This sounds like a bunch of employees improperly utilizing government resources - nothing more.

Re:Why is this on the frontpage of slashdot? (4, Informative)

kthejoker (931838) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885391)

"News for nerds." Not "technology-only news."

Yeah, I know: it really is that simple.

I Would Like to Know... (2, Funny)

Kedjoran (812649) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885351)

Which ministry IS responsible for Gundams? This new Zero jet I bought from Japan does *not* transform into a giant robot and I want lodge a formal complaint. There has to be a law saying all jets from Japan transform into robots somewhere.

How many articles did they edit? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20885437)

OVER NINE THOUSAND!!!!!!!!!11111111 :P

I, for one, welcome our Gundam-piloting overlords.

Another bullet point on his resume (1)

denttford (579202) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885603)

Tsutomu Shimomura takes down wikihackers too!

Book and movie to follow WITH Gundam suit!

Tin foil hat time (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885741)

'"The agriculture ministry is not in charge of Gundam," said a ministry official,

Those clever Japanese, telling the truth as a lie, and burying the Gundam budget in the one for the agriculture ministry. Its the SR71 and Area 51 all over again, I tell you!

Different Tsutomu Shimomura (2, Informative)

tamnir (230394) | more than 6 years ago | (#20885767)

Just in case anyone else wondered that too: this Tsutomu Shimomura has nothing to do with Kevin Mitnick (http://www.takedown.com/bio/tsutomu.html).

"a ministry official, Tsutomu Shimomura" (0, Redundant)

Vinz (99797) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886033)

Tsutomu Shimomura ? You mean, the guy who got Kevin Mitnick arrested ?

Such a coincidence. And such a short memory for slashdot editors ;).

Repoat (4, Funny)

Bender_ (179208) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886397)

"The agriculture ministry is not in charge of Gundam," said a ministry official

I lolled.. hard!

They Omitted the Most Interesting One (2, Informative)

Bueller_007 (535588) | more than 6 years ago | (#20886677)

The supplied article only discusses edits by the Agriculture Ministry. Japanese reports, of course have more details [itmedia.co.jp].

Someone at the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare was busted for editing the Japanese Wiki entry for Nanatsuiro Drops [wikipedia.org], a pornographic video game.

I will also note that the Japanese media reported this over a month ago.
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