It seems that Wikipedia has a congressional problem. For the third time this summer, the House has been blocked from editing Wikipedia articles.
This particular ban stems from an edit on the article for the Netflix show Orange Is the New Black. An anonymous editor on the hill changed a reference to actress Laverne Cox as being a transgender woman to "a real man pretending to be a woman," and linking to an article to that effect from The National Review. And that's not the only edit from this user regarding transgender issues. From The Hill:
Earlier this week, the account had been used to edit pages for “tranny” — a derogatory term for transgender people — as well as the annual festival Camp Trans and transphobia, the opposition to people who are trans.
“An obvious transphobe is using this IP to edit the article on transphobia,” a Wikipedia user wrote earlier this month, urging administrators to block the account.
The edit resulted in a month-long edit ban on Wikipedia from Congressional IPs
For better or for worse, Wikipedia is where people go to get a broad overview on topics ranging from the banal to the politicized. It's great that there is a resource online that is frequently updated and peer reviewed on a number of topics, and for all its failures, it can be a nice starting point, especially if you know enough to follow the articles used for reference. Unfortunately, it's frequently vandalized, and often used to push political agendas. A few years ago, a conservative wikipedia editor (who has been banned numerous times for sockpuppeting and agenda pushing) tried to get the On the Media article removed from the site after objecting to a story we did about the number of people at Glenn Beck's rally.
I think of Wikipedia as like a conversation with a friend's smart older brother - I'm interested in what it has to say, but I take for granted it compresses details, drops certain information, gets certain things wrong, and is probably, in the end, pushing an agenda.