Caught in the Act: The Five Strangest Wikipedia Edits Written by the Canadian Government
If you use Google on a regular basis, you’ve no doubt noticed how often pages from Wikipedia appear at or near the top of Google’s search results. Google favors Wikipedia because users love it. Wikipedia has a well-rounded overview of virtually any topic that you can imagine. If a Wikipedia article states something as fact, it almost always includes a source to back the statement up — and Wikipedia’s army of volunteer editors are quick to remove statements that aren’t true.
Have you ever felt the temptation to create a Wikipedia article about your company — or to remove less than flattering statements from an existing article? Before you jump in and begin editing, you should know that no one is truly anonymous online. Wikipedia records the IP address of every user who edits every page. Wikipedia’s users are quick to link IP addresses to known corporate networks — and they’ll remove edits that appear to be conflicts of interest.
There is an account on Twitter — @gcaedits — that automatically publishes every Wikipedia edit made from an IP address belonging to the Government of Canada. Some of the edits that @gcaedits has found over the past year have been truly bizarre. In this article, we’ll discuss the five strangest ones. Before you attempt to edit your own Wikipedia article, you’d be wise to review this list and see what others have been caught doing on Wikipedia.
Read My Novel — Please!
Dimitri Iatrou — a teacher for the Canadian military’s International Language Institute — became a published author in 2017 when his fantasy novel “Damastor” was released. A month after the novel’s release, someone from the Canadian military edited Wikipedia articles ranging from “Medieval Fantasy” to “List of Fantasy Novels” to insert as many references to the book as possible.
Vanity Strikes Parliament Hill
Even politicians aren’t immune to occasional bouts of vanity. In January 2017, someone using a Canadian Parliament computer edited the article for parliament member Kim Rudd to insert the statement that she is a “former beauty queen.” An editor removed the statement shortly thereafter.
How Old do I Look?
In August 2016, someone used a Canadian Parliament computer to edit the article for parliament member Dianne Watts. The edit removed all references to her birth year. Whether the edits were made out of vanity or simply an attempt to deter identity theft is unknown. An editor quickly reverted the edits.
Someone Really Doesn’t Like Donald Trump
Twice during 2016, someone used a Canadian government computer to deface Wikipedia articles by inserting references to Donald Trump regarding his financial standing and sexual orientation. The edits were evidently made in haste, as they were somewhat incoherent and difficult to understand. Both edits have since been removed.
The Government of Canada Loves Fizzy Drinks
Crystal Pepsi is more than a marketing failure from the distant past — it’s a cultural touchstone for ’90s aficionados. If you’d like to see your favorite defunct ’90s beverage make a comeback, someone from the Government of Canada has heard your pleas. That person used a military computer to edit Wikipedia’s Crystal Pepsi article adding a mention of the drink’s late 2016 comeback.
Wikipedia Editing Is Best Left to Experts
It is impossible to make any edit on Wikipedia — no matter how obscure — without the edit being saved in a log and duly reviewed by other editors. Wikipedia edits have enormous potential power for promotion and reputation sculpting — but only if the edits pass through the gauntlet of editors. Professional Wikipedia writers know how to properly format and source their edits to ensure that they become permanent. If you’d like to edit or create a Wikipedia article, don’t try to do it yourself — hire a professional.