I spotted this today - "Somewhat less excitingly: Stephen O'Brien, an
MP with far too much time on his hands, had been asking Parliamentary
Questions about whether government department staff have edited
Wikipedia ..."


Huh, I thought. Interesting. It turns out the question was asked a
little over a year ago, but you might like to see the responses -

* The Ministry of Defence (who have blocked write access since
November 2007), and the Department for Transport both name names. [1]

* Health give us a little graph of their activity, month-by-month
(using our data - 1500 edits or so), but don't name articles. [2]

* Children, Schools and Families admit that "a Minister" has edited
one article, and Culture, Media & Sport have edited 103 articles, but
neither will say what they were.

* Wales & the FCO are definite they haven't done any, but most other
departments just gave the traditional ritual incantation of "this
information is not held centrally and could only be provided at
disproportionate cost". (One department helpfully explains that they'd
have to comb through all their records of individual access to the
internet to find out, which is fair enough, but then say this is
impractical because it's not held online. One wonders how they do
store this data!) About a quarter of the departments, it seems,
explain in their response that IP addresses pass through a central
government system and so are effectively anonymised at the Wikipedia
end. I'm not sure if the person writing the response for the others
didn't know this, or just omitted it.

The two best non-responses were from the Leader of the House, who
sternly informed us that "Officials in this Office are not responsible
for the creation of, or amendment to, Wikipedia entries and there are
no plans for them to become so." [3]

&, best of all... the Prime Minister himself, who denies everything:
"I know of no instance where my Office has either created or amended
any records on Wikipedia." [4]

(Isn't seeing that sort of thing said by him a bit scary? Huh. How far
we have come, and all that.)

- Andrew Gray

[1] -

[2] -

[3] -

[4] -

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