The Washington Post takes notice of the Wikipedia / Hill flap, in which House staffers were caught "correcting" their bosses pages on Wikipedia. Reporter Yuki Noguchi was less shocked than some commentators.
This is what passes for an extreme makeover in Washington: A summer intern for seven-term Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.) altered the congressman's profile on the Wikipedia Web site to remove an old promise that he would limit his service to four terms.
Someone doctored Sen. Robert C. Byrd's (D-W.Va.) profile on the site to list his age as 180. (He is 88.) An erroneous entry for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) claimed that he "was voted the most annoying senator by his peers in Congress."
Some think Widipedia editors reacted with unusual speed and severity to the current flap, considering it took four months to discover the scandalous bad-faith editing of John Siegenthaler Sr's entry.
Washington has posed a special problem for Wikipedia, which is monitored by 800 to 1,000 active editor-volunteers.
In the recent flare-up, a community of Wikipedia editors read a story in the Lowell Sun newspaper in which staffers for Meehan acknowledged replacing an entry on him with more flattering verbiage. That prompted last week's Capitol Hill Wikipedia blackout; all computers connected to servers at the House of Representatives, identified by a numerical Web address, were denied access.
Neutrality can be a tricky or nuanced thing with political terms, which is why disputes are sometimes vetted by mediators and arbitration committees, also made up of volunteers, Wales said.
"Especially with politics, it gets more and more borderline on what's in bad faith or good faith," he said. "Reasonable people can find a way to work together. Unreasonable people get blocked, of course."