Feds Investigating Wikipedia Editing

We all know that editing a Wikipedia entry is fairly straightforward – and that the Wikiguardians keep a vigilant eye over entries and edits that stray from the norms of objectivity and verifiability.

So the announcement that the Correctional Service’s internal operations arm is investigating an edit made to the Wikipedia entry on Canada’s Official Languages Act, which appears to have been made from a government computer connected to the Corrections Canada server at the department’s offices on Laurier Street in Ottawa, is arousing the interest of the mainstream media. Denis Coderre appears to have noticed the edit a week ago and brought it to the department’s attention.

That online edit could result in the suspension or dismissal, and it may even be a crime if the comment were considered to amount to hate propaganda.

“Behaviour of this nature is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said in a statement Wednesday. “My office has raised its concerns with the Correctional Service of Canada, who are investigating its origin and will follow up with appropriate action.”

The department says there is a definite way to trace the suspicious activity to a particular employee’s computer, but it may take some time to complete the investigation.

“Obviously we take this issue very seriously,” said Christelle Chartrand, a spokesperson with the Correctional Service of Canada.

Here is the edited page:

Wiki edit

There’s a great book by Andrew Lih, called the Wikipedia Revolution on the culture of Wikipedia which largely explains the process and the dialectic of reconciling controversial edits to the encyclopaedia.

Weki Book


  1. I would hope this would not be a firing offence, though it deserves a reprimand. I would be appalled (not sure about shocked) if it were seroiusly considered to be hate literature. I can’t see much of the altered text, and haven’t gone looking for the rest, but I take it that the writer suggested that the federal civil service’s bilingualism policies were equivalent to Nazism. Clearly that’s a ridiculous exaggeration, though of course that’s also a very much cheapened barb in these times. Godwin’s Law and all that. But some resolutely unilingual anglophones no doubt resent the barriers to advancement that the policy creates for them. (Some potential Supreme Court Justices do too, I guess, though the Canadian Bar Association was more circumspect in its recent resolution on that topic.)

    Is it a job requirement to be aware that the computers used to edit Wikipedia are traceable? There was a fair bit of publicity lately about various Canadian federal politicians editing each other’s Wikipedia profiles etc.