Editing Wikipedia

The Dom Post reports:

A worker in an MP’s office has been banned from Wikipedia the volunteer web encyclopedia for trying to censor information about his boss.

The website’s entry for Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, National MP for Maungakiekie, was repeatedly tampered with on Thursday morning.

Wikipedia users identified the computer as being from Parliament by its IP address and banned the user for a week for the “conflict of interest” and lack of explanation for the changes.

Mr Lotu-Iiga yesterday denied editing the entry himself, saying a member of his staff had done it. But he defended the changes, which related to his dual role as an MP and Auckland city councillor. …

Mr Lotu-Iiga said he had not read the page until contacted by The yesterday, but downplayed it as “not a biggie for me”.

“I have guys in my office look after PR and where I am in the media, and one of them noticed that someone was tampering with it.”

After reading the piece, he said some of it was inaccurate because he regularly attended council meetings. “I’m happy to take some criticism, but I think the wording is a bit strong. Somebody from my office thought it was appropriate to take it down.”

Okay it looks like some staffers need a tutorial on how to edit Wikipedia. Here are my guidelines for editing a political page:

  1. Use the discuss page for that page you wish to edit. State why you want to make the change.
  2. So for example in this instance, the staffer should have said “I propose to delete the sentence that criticises the Council attendance record as the Herald has reported it is 86%, and higher than many others”
  3. Then if after a couple of days if no one has objected,make the edit, and refer to the discussion page in your one line summary of the edit
  4. If people do object to deleting the reference, then negotiate on the discuss page a compromise that people can live with – such as maintain the criticism, but also include the rebuttal.
  5. You don’t have to, but personally I would always identify yourself making the edit,so no-one can suggest you are being underhand
  6. If you make an edit, and someone reverses it, don’t just make it again. Find out why someone is reversing it, and discuss it with them. Do not get into an edit war.
  7. Always remember Wikipedia is meant to be a neutral point of view.

If you follow the above advice, you will avoid getting banned, and avoid embarrassing your boss.

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