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In the media

Fuzzy-headed government editing

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By Bri, Ganesha811, Giantflightlessbirds, Jonatan Svensson Glad, and Smallbones

UK PM says editing your Wikipedia article is wrong


Boris Johnson is in danger of losing his job as UK prime minister due to a bit of fuzzy-headed partying which broke COVID lockdown rules. But his possible ignominious exit should not hide what we consider to be one of his major achievements in office. He was quoted this month by The Independent denouncing attempts to "change our history or to bowdlerise it or edit it". He continued "It's like some person trying to edit their Wikipedia entry – it's wrong." He was commenting on a jury's acquittal of the "Colston Four" who tore down the statue of eighteenth-century slave trader Edward Colston during the Black Lives Matter protests in Bristol in 2020.

Perhaps inadvertently, The Independent hinted at a case of somebody who may have tried to change history while editing Wikipedia. Grant Shapps, the Conservative transport minister, was quoted saying "We are introducing via the police crime sentencing bill, new measures which would potentially plug a gap and make it absolutely clear" that people who admit to tearing down historic statues should be convicted.

Shapps was accused in 2015 of whitewashing his own Wikipedia article, and editing those of other British politicians through the account Contribsx. Contribsx was first indefinitely blocked for sockpuppeting, and then acquitted – not by a jury of his peers or by the House of Commons – but by ArbCom. – S

New Zealand MP tries to prove that Johnson is right

Harete Hipango admitted that she asked a staff member to edit the Wikipedia article about her, according to National MP Harete Hipango 'regrets' Wikipedia edit. An IP editor who removed the entire Controversies section of the article four times is traceable to "PS-NZ-AS-AP Parliamentary Service", and they admitted in an edit summary to being a staff member for Hipango. The media coverage led to the incident being added to the Controversies section, and a side-effect of the attention was the entire article being rewritten and expanded by 15 editors. – G, S

And other political high jinks (and worse)

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