Capitol Hill Briefing

Transparency Time: Wikipedia‐​Editing for Congress

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Date and Time
August 18, 2014 12 - 1:30 PM EDT
B-354 Rayburn House Office Building
Featuring Jim Harper, (User:JimHarperDC), Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; Michelle Newby, (User:HistoricMN44), Legislative Researcher/​Writer, Cato Institute; and Jim Hayes, (User:Slowking4), Member, Wikimedia DC Public Policy Committee; moderated by John Maniscalco, Director, Congressional Affairs, Cato Institute.

In a recent 90‐​day period, there were almost 400,000 hits on Wikipedia articles about bills pending in Congress. The collaboratively edited Internet encyclopedia is a major source of information about congressional activity for average Americans. But past editing controversies have caused some of the most knowledgeable potential editors — congressional staff — to steer clear of providing information to the public this way. Wikipedia could deliver government transparency on a grand scale, positioning the public to demand better outcomes. Congressional staffers can aid that process by learning how to edit Wikipedia and how to navigate its rules around notability, neutrality, and conflicts of interest. Join us for a discussion of congressional Wikipedia editing and the sea change to government transparency it might produce.