WikiPedia Blocks U.S. Congress IP Addresses - RFC

Search-Engines writes "I am opening this RFC in order to centralise discussion concerning actions to be taken against US Congressional staffers who repeatedly revert wars, blank content, engage in slanderous and libelous behaviour, violate WP:NPOV, WP:CIV. The editors from this IP are rude and abrasive, immature, and show no understanding of Wikipedia policy. The editors also frequently try to whitewash the actions of frequent politicians. They treat Wikipedia articles about politicians as though they own it, replacing articles with their sanctioned biographies and engaging in revert wars when other users dispute this sudden change. They also violate Wikipedia:Verifiability, by deleting verified reports, while adding flattering things about members of Congress that are unverified.The editors are currently blocked, but only for a week, so I feel this RFC is needed for the community to comment. I feel that a 1 week block is not enough. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_fo r_comment/United_States_Congress"

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Not censorship

I wouldn't call this one censorship, myself. There is clearly a review policy in place and that process has been invoked. Basically, this series of incidents is on trial. The perps are getting a fair hearing.

The underlying issue, as far as I can see, is whether or not deliberate and wilfull misrepresentation and prevarication is protected speech. It's a far cry from offering an opinion and stating untruths. One of the tests for slander, for instance, is whether or not it was uttered with a reckless disregard for the truth.

Re:Not censorship

I agree that it's not censorship, but not really because there are open checks and balances (if you read the WP RFC page, you'll see that the IP isn't even blocked), but because, in this case, it's Wikipedia's servers, and what they want to do with them has little to do with the first amendment.Say I called Blake a poop head in this post. Blake could remove the post -- that's not censorship, it's Blake editing a site he controls and pays to publish. If you refuse to add a worthless title to a library's research collection, are you censoring? If I ask someone talking loudly to leave the library, am I restricting their free speech rights?Just because someone gets restricted on what they want to say or do, it's not necessarily what I'd call censorship. Like the person who gets turned down for a job their not qualified to perform, it's not "bad discrimination," it could be the good kind of "discrimination with cause." As the phrase "discriminating taste" shows, the word doesn't always mean Bad Stuff.If you yell ANYTHING in a theater and get thrown out, are you being censored? That's essentially what many of the US House edits are doing -- disrupting the project and violating its rules. WP tries it's darndest to allow edits from everyone, but when certain pages or addresses prove more trouble than their worth, they are locked or blocked.Is that little slip towards editorial control a worse hypocrisy than the vaunted value of other publication formats? (Check out Publishers Say Fact-Checking Is Too Costly before you answer.)

Re:Not censorship

Okay, as the editor on this story I will concede error in the choice of censorship as a subject heading, if you can come up with a better term for the willful vandalism of an informational source for political gain.

As I see it, if a person is elected to high office on a promise of term limits then exceeds those self-imposed limits then they or persons connected with that official work to eliminate reference to this hypocrisy is that not a sort of censorship of the facts? Willful alteration of a new source for personal or professional gain is wrong. Maybe I'm wrong, but editing the past, speaks to a powerful sort of censorship.

Re:Not censorship

. . . I will concede error in the choice of censorship as a subject heading, if you can come up with a better term for the willful vandalism of an informational source for political gain.

Oh, sure, that's censorship; expurgation to be specific, but expurgation is just censorship trying to be sneaky. Or maybe it's more akin to revisionism.

The article isn't about the actions taken by the gubmint staffers, however, it's about the actions taken by Wikipedia to protect itself. Perhaps we need a new category of story.

Re:Not censorship

. . . it's Wikipedia's servers, and what they want to do with them has little to do with the first amendment.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment does not recognize a heckler's veto. Moreover, Wikipedia is a limited public forum. While it is on private property, it is open to the public, like a mall, and must perforce allow for public participation.

Against that there is the matter of mission. Wikipedia is not a forum for politics, it is an encyclopedia, and as such it is dedicated to the presentation of factual material. As I say in my commentary about "information", such material must be an accurate reflection of reality.

Say I called Blake a poop head in this post. Blake could remove the post -- that's not censorship, it's Blake editing a site he controls and pays to publish.

Yes, that would be censorship, because Blake would be "editing" on the basis of content or viewpoint.

As to the comparison you make toward the staffers "editing", one is supposed to edit for accuracy, spelling, grammar, and length. In short, editing is ideally a matter of quality control, not necessarily one of altering content or viewpoint.

If you refuse to add a worthless title to a library's research collection, are you censoring?

This raises the question of selection vs: censorship. In censorship, you discard material due to its content or viewpoint; in selection you consider material on its own merits. In bringing up this question, it is usual to ask about worthless titles; try asking about worthwhile titles instead. For instance: if you have to buy material for Black History Month, and the short list is comprised of Black Like Me, Beloved, and Uncle Tom's Cabin, but you only have the budget for two volumes, which one do you drop? Is it censorship to do so? Not in my books.

If I ask someone talking loudly to leave the library, am I restricting their free speech rights?

No, you are acting within a restriction that is reasonable as to time, place, or manner.

Private Property? (or, got cites?)

>SC has ruled that the First Amendment does not recognize a heckler's veto.I'd love a link/cite.>Moreover, Wikipedia is a limited public forum.When/where has this been decided? I've not seen anything (not paying enough attention, perhaps) saying that any website is public, limited or otherwise.>like a mall, and must perforce allow for public participation.I'd heard they were trying to do this, and maybe there was a district ruling on that (don't recall the SC weighing in on that). But I'd not heard that malls had to allow demonstrators, picketing, leafleting, etc within their premises. And I bet you wouldn't be able to do it anyways. They'd restrict you to a 'free speech zone' in the back by the dumpsters, if they had to :)>Yes, that would be censorshipOnly if it's been decided that his website a (limited) public forum.>In short, editing is ideally a matter of quality control, not necessarily one of altering content or viewpoint.Have you played on wikipedia? Editting in wiki-terms is a lot more than grammar/spell-checking. Where do you think those articles come from? And they change viewpoints *all* the time. More than 1/2 the time towards more, and verified information. (But yes, there's a lot of removal of factual information - I've been on the recieving end of that a *lot* on wikipedia)-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

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