Geek Trivia

To Halt An Editing War, Wikipedia Had To Ban All IP Addresses Belonging To?

The U.S. Congress
George Clooney's Publicist
Protest Over Which Video Game, Counterintuitively, Led To More Violent Games?

Answer: The U.S. Congress

While small editing wars and squabbles aren’t uncommon on the massive and open Wikipedia system, in 2005 a small change to a politician’s Wikipedia entry launched an investigation into a long running history of small but serious edits to political pages. It all started with an edit made by an aide working for Massachusetts congressman Marty Meehan. The aide’s editing of Meehan’s Wikipedia entry sparked an inquiry into the depth of political Wikipedia editing that uncovered thousands of edits originating from the block of IPs assigned to Congress; a significant number of these edits were either fluffing up or tearing down the credibility of the political figures edited (depending on whether a supporter or opponent was doing the editing).

During the investigation and for a period of time thereafter, Wikipedia blocked all congressional IP addresses. The ban was later lifted but with an algorithm in place to monitor traffic from the IP blocks to ensure renegade users weren’t abusing their editing privileges.