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[dupe] Senate IP linked to edits in Snowden's wikipedia page (wikipedia.org)
120 points by eshvk on Aug 6, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 55 comments

TL;DR: Senate IP address ( changed single word on Edward Snowden's Wikipedia page from "dissident" to "traitor".

Pretty much in line with comments from WaPo regulars, why am I not surprised. Some people greatly depend on the status quo for their way of life and will believe whatever they are told.

You have to believe some things you are told. Not believing anything you're told isn't really virtuous like some people make it sound. I'm not saying you're like this, but often times I hear people say things like "people just believe whatever they're told" and "the real truth is..." and similar phrases that just sound so empty. Whenever I hear it I think of a person who wants to feel superior because they somehow have learned "the secrets" and have special knowledge about how this world works. Truth and justice are things that are relative. Its often the case that these same people will buy into full-blown or quasi-conspiracy theories not because any critical thinking was done about them but because its just not what the mainstream says. It becomes this weird "us vs. them" mentality where you end up distrusting one set of facts to your own detriment and believe an entirely opposite set of facts, again, to your detriment while leaving out everything in the middle where the truth these people seek really is.

Like I said, I don't know you - I'm not saying you're one of those people I mentioned here but what you said reminds me of things I've heard them say.

Speaking from DC here, the tone of many working for the administration or on Capitol Hill in general is "daggone traitor!" It amounts to a company line that many seem to toe effortlessly: There is a strong culture of sheltering the administration which has brought a great deal of money and opportunity to this town, particularly for impressionable young people. This is why I find the editor's IP address to be sadly predictable.

The only traitors are the opportunistic vultures in DC that are suckling the tit of tyranny and calling it "money and opportunity"

Screw every last one of them.

Most times when someone say "people just believe whatever they're told" is referring to a specific instance of it. It's not like they won't believe when the CDC tells them to evacuate the area because of the outbreak of some unknown disease.

> You have to believe some things you are told.

That depends on the source. If the source has proven to be wrong, dishonest or malicious more often than not, it would strike me as wise to believe nothing from that source until I can verify it for myself.

I tend to defer belief and keep "mu" in mind if I can't independently verify stuff.

I believe in very little.

>>Truth and justice are things that are relative.

There is such a thing as objective truth. The only thing that's relative and subjective is its interpretation.

FWIW here is the relevant WHOIS lookup for the IP that this edit originated from:

    NetRange: -
    OriginAS:       AS3495
    NetName:        USSAA
    NetHandle:      NET-156-33-0-0-1
    Parent:         NET-156-0-0-0-0
    NetType:        Direct Assignment
    RegDate:        1991-12-03
    Updated:        2007-04-05
    Ref:            http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-156-33-0-0-1
    OrgName:        United States Senate
    OrgId:          USSAA
    Address:        2 MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE, N.E. 6TH FLOOR
    City:           WASHINGTON DC
    StateProv:      DC
    PostalCode:     20510
    Country:        US
    RegDate:        1991-12-03
    Updated:        2011-09-24
    Ref:            http://whois.arin.net/rest/org/USSAA

Can the proper admin update OrgName? Should read:

OrgName: United States Traitors

i think i would be ok with being called a traitor to the US government, as long as it specified that i was a hero to the country.

No. He has not been convicted of treason. We still have due process.

Outside legal spheres, the word "traitor" may also be used to describe a person who betrays (or is accused of betraying) their own political party, nation, family, friends, ethnic group, team, religion, social class, or other group to which they may belong. Often, such accusations are controversial and disputed, as the person may not identify with the group of which they are a member, or may otherwise disagree with the group members making the charge.


I am aware of the connotation that you sited. But my point is that he is being tried in the media, and perception matters. So, no, I don't think it's OK to label him as a traitor.

I am okay with anyone labeling him anything that they want. Some say he is a hero and some say he is a traitor...what does it matter?

It matters that people closer to the locus of power in the US use language so imprecisely.

Imprecisely? It is a matter of perspective.

You should define your "it"'s here, but words don't enter into slang by themselves.

Some will say he is a hero. Some will say he is a traitor. Someone is not imprecise because you disagree with something they consider to be a truth; It is a matter of perspective.

He hasn't been accused of treason, either.

> We still have due process.

Allegedly. Who knows what interpretations of the law the government makes in secret. That's the thing, it's secret, so you don't know. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdulrahman_al-Awlaki#Abdulrahm...

     >We still have due process.
Not all of us...


> We still have due process.

Which has been ignored at times in the (recent) past, so why assume it is going to be applied now?

So, I'm the first to say that it's sketchy at best, but... A quick google of "" comes up with http://www.verifyphone.com/phone-lookup-reviews/xxx-xxx-xxxx. This lists the phone number as having been looked up by that ip address. A search of the owner's name is quickly associated with what seems to be a relative's name who happens to be a congressional page (http://www.legistorm.com/person/bio/xxxxxx/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.h...). Pretty easy to see from there which office she works for. My question is... is it cool here to post details? Google it yourself if not.

Almost certainly a summer intern.

If you look at the history of the IP (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/72.79.14...), there are a few other minor edits, here is one:

"Are usually as dumb as brandon's and that is REAL dumb"

This was added to to the Bichon page, the rest of the edits are similarly juvenile

Yeah, regular staffers and congressmen probably don't have the technical skills needed to edit a Wiki page.

No, I think they just lack the inclination and/or are smart enough to create an account or make edits from a different location.

That ip also accessed the fiu digital collections in June: http://digitalcollections.fiu.edu/web_stats/usage_201306.htm...

Entirely possible that there is zero connection to FIU or the state of Florida in general.

Hardly surprising. People are going to have differing opinions on the matter. Should be a laugh watching the edit wars over this one, though.

Edit wars are quite unlikely on this article. There'll be a bit of back and forth, but there'll be plenty of administrative eyes on this page looking for abuse.

Too bad it's the people in power trying to make their life-threatening opinions into facts.

Too bad it's those anarchists/traitors/dissidents/hippies/[label] trying to make their socialist/anrarchist/communist/[derogatory adjective] opinions into facts.

See what I did there?

A Senator or anyone within the Senate has just as much of a right to their opinions as any of us do and they also have the same permission to edit Wikipedia entries as we do.

So what is the point in pointing out that someone presumably within the US Senate has changed a word in the Wikipedia article about Snowden? To point out that they're wrong? What if we're the ones who are wrong?

This act doesn't infringe on anyone else's rights in any way. Its an attempt to persuade possibly but we can't blame them for that. They have just as much a right to try and persuade people to seeing things their way as we do.

I'm just wondering what kind of discussion is this supposed to spark? I've seen a fair number of posts on HN lately that are little more than attempts to preach to the converted and turn the comments into a back-slapping fest. Is it weird that I consider the opposing viewpoint any time I make an argument or consider an issue? I don't necessarily agree with changing dissident to traitor but I don't see anything wrong with someone believing that either.

Using government equipment to conduct personal "business" is considered unethical.

If someone in the Senate wants to edit Wikipedia articles, they're free to do so on their own time, using their own equipment.

I think you're debating semantics here. What if the person looks at it as doing the world a service by correcting wrong information? Then that would probably fit into the job somehow.

In any case though, I don't think the ethics of editing a word on Wikipedia during work hours is what we're supposed to be getting up in arms about. I'm really not sure still why we're supposed to be upset.

Eh. If I don't mind someone editing Wikipedia from work (and I don't), I don't mind a Senate staffer editing Wikipedia from work.

I would mind if it turned out to be an astroturf campaign but I don't see any evidence of that.

really? I'd call editing a wikipedia article a public good, not a bad use of public resources then, eh?

Is it people in power? How many interns and aides do you think work in Congress?

Interns seems likely. I've seen a fair few politicians-attempting-to-surreptitiously-edit-Wikipedia scandals, and mostly they are just incompetent or joking around.

What kind of power did Snowden have?

Considering the aftermath of what he has released, quite a lot of power.

That is a secret, remember? He claims that he could have wiretapped the President, the NSA claims that is not true but has not been forthcoming about what procedures or technical limitations were in place to stop him. Like everything else surrounding the Snowden leak there is a great deal of secrecy here.

Anyone can edit wikipedia - that is what makes it great. I don't think it is accurate to describe Snowden as either a "traitor" or a "hero" (or similar words as used in other comments) and dissident was pretty accurate but I hardly see how an edit coming from the senate is such a big deal, or indeed any bigger deal than anyone else editing wikipedia.

I agree. I don't think there should be a value description there at all. He hasn't been formally accused of treason, so I think this is abuse. That account should be flagged.

Is this seriously Hacker-news worthy material?

It is about worthy Hacker News in 2013.

Current pages says

Snowden's leaks have been a subject of great controversy. Some have referred to Snowden as a hero, whistleblower or even a dissident,[9] while others have described him as a traitor.

That seems accurate.

Click "talk" on the Senate revision if you want to read more about the incident and see the IP information.

This just motivated me to get a Wiki account and help contribute.

Looks like a difference of opinion and the current version states both takes. People in the senate have opinions too.

WOW OMG CAN'T BELIEVE IT Seriously, once I had a hope that there will be a day without NSA/PRISM/Snowden on front page or a top comment not mentioning them in an unrelated post. I was wrong. Ok, there were things worth discussing for a month or two but now...

The Snowden situation is actually quite important wrt civil liberties and information freedom. That is why this story is still relevant to many on HN.

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