August 24, 2007 | Graham

Wiki tampering an embarrassment for all

I was wondering what Wikipedia means by the term “anyone”. It is, after all, a site which advertises that it can be edited by “anyone”, but that term apparently does not extend to staff from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. They apparently aren’t “anyone” because it appears to be impossible for them to “edit”. Instead, when they change a wiki entry they “tamper”.
(In fact, if you go to the wiki entry for “anyone” you’ll find out that only a small number of individuals fit the category, which I am sure is not what Wikipedia generally means by the term.)
I’ve written before about Wikipedia banning staff on Capital Hill from editing the ‘pedia. Sounds like staff from the Australian public service will be heading the same way because of the case of the great wiki tampering. But isn’t this what Wikipedia is all about? If it’s any good and the entries have been distorted, then the hordes of editors are supposed to correct the mistake.
In fact, it rather looks like the staff from DPMC were mostly amusing themselves. So the PM ought to be embarrassed, not because they were altering things on orders, but because there weren’t enough orders being given to keep them busy.
Kevin Rudd also ought to be embarrassed. Why aren’t his staff fixing-up his Wiki image if it is so important? That might be a better use of his time than criticising Howard over what is at best lax staff management.
Anyway, there are many more serious abuses of public service resources involving the Internet than this. For example, there’s the public servant who multiple voted on an Queensland Opposition website, or the manipulation of a Queensland ABC poll on Northbank by the government. I’m also aware of public servants haunting particular websites to push a political line.

Posted by Graham at 3:29 pm | Comments Off on Wiki tampering an embarrassment for all |
Filed under: Australian Politics

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