Is the STATE of Idaho Whitewashing Tom Luna's Bio?

UPDATED 9/5/12 5:18 PM MST

In reponse to this entry linked on Topix,

RealityChecker wrote:

I don't see the issue. Is she posting information to Wikipedia that is false, or taking down information that is false. Looks to me like she is simply being proactive, and doing her job. It doesn't look like she's hiding anything, or doing something wrong.

slfisher responded:

#1. Wikipedia frowns on people writing their own bios, or having people connected to them writing their bios.

#2. If information in one's bio is incorrect, the proper response is to write to Wikipedia and call this to their attention.

#3. When one makes changes, one is supposed to put in references and citations noting the source. This was not done.

#4. If you look at the changes, some of them go beyond correcting errors, such as removing the fact that Luna obtained his degree in Weights and Measures from an online institution. Others are...overly posutive, rather than factual.

#5. If you look at Ms. McGrath's page, you can see her arguing with a bot as though she thinks she's talking to an actual person.

#6. While Tom Luna is not running for office, which would be a clear violation, the legality of a State worker on State time contributing to a political campaign (Yes on 1 2 3) is...sketchy. It is certainly true that this is a fuzzy line that is crossed by many Idaho politicians, but at least they're elected. She is not.

UPDATED 9/4/12 4:58 PM MST

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Government service with your tax dollars?

... or campaign material?

Take a look at this revision history for Idaho's secretary of education, on Wikipedia.


Bad for children. Bad for teachers. Bad for Idaho.

In the link above, go back to the next fifty and note the name "Melissa McGrath."

TRANSLATION: The Communications Director for the Idaho State Department of Education, Mellissa McGrath, is spending a lot of time, a whole lot of time, trying to clean up Wikipedia as it relates to Tom Luna.

Why this is important?

"The state should not be supporting Tom's political career," a statehouse official told me today, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "They should not be actively running the Luna Yes campaign."

Read the old versions of Luna's bio that were on Wikipedia before McGrath. She completely rewrote what Tom Luna has been up to. And note how many of her changes were not accepted by Wikipedia.

"She changed Luna's page on August 27th," the statehouse official said. "Check the history prior to it and then check how much she changed his bio. Basically white washed it. Quite disturbing. At least Wikipedia held her accountable."

Further Reading: Why You Should Vote NO on Propositions 1,2, and 3.

From Wikipedia:

Hello, MelissaMcGrath. We welcome your contributions to Wikipedia, but if you are affiliated with some of the people, places or things you have written about on Wikipedia, you may need to consider our guidance on conflicts of interest.

All editors are required to comply with Wikipedia's neutral point of view content policy. People who are very close to a subject often have a distorted view of it, which may cause them to inadvertently edit in ways that make the article either too flattering or too disparaging. People with a close connection to a subject are not absolutely prohibited from editing about that subject, but they need to be especially careful about ensuring their edits are verified by reliable sources and writing with as little bias as possible.

If you are very close to a subject, here are some ways you can reduce the risk of problems:

Avoid or exercise great caution when editing or creating articles related to you, your organization, or its competitors, as well as projects and products they are involved with.

Be cautious about deletion discussions. Everyone is welcome to provide information about independent sources in deletion discussions, but avoid advocating for deletion of articles about your competitors.
Avoid linking to the Wikipedia article or website of your organization in other articles (see Wikipedia:Spam).
Exercise great caution so that you do not accidentally breach Wikipedia's content policies.

Please familiarize yourself with relevant content policies and guidelines, especially those pertaining to neutral point of view, verifiability of information, and autobiographies.

For information on how to contribute to Wikipedia when you have a conflict of interest, please see our frequently asked questions for organizations. Thank you. — Scientizzle 19:38, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Debate on Topix

Here are other thoughts.