Thanks to the search-engine prowess of a California graduate student, it's easy to see whose computers are being used to make changes to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
Locally, here are a few of the more interesting ones:
State Sen. Chris Marr's biography:-Someone on the state's Legislative Services Center network has been making -- or trying to make -- extensive edits to the entry about state Sen. Chris Marr. Deleted is the description of Marr as "wealthy," for example. Similarly, the heading "an expensive campaign" was changed to "campaign costs." (It's been changed back.)
-Also gone -- if only briefly -- was a section detailing a worker's claim that Marr and other auto dealership managers had ignored a worker's complaints about sexual harassment by her coworkers. In its place: paragraphs detailing Marr's business and educational credentials.
City of Spokane: Among the edits from Spokane's computer network:
-Making mostly-grammatical changes last fall to the article about late Spokane Mayor Jim West.
-Changing the description of Colfax from "city" to "town." (Relax, Colfaxers: someone changed it back.)
-Describing in great detail the episode plots of the 2005 season of the TV show "Lost."
-Tweaking a section on human sacrifice, noting that writer Alice Walker spend a year in Uganda as an exchange student, and noting that a 1936 novel by George Orwell was "darkly comic."
Washington State University: The faculty, students and staffers of WSU are apparently working overtime as editors, weighing in on topics as diverse as Mount St. Helens, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and paprika.
Some of the thousands of WSU edits are classic academia: a correction to a formula regarding the acidity of carbonic acid, a grammatical correction to the entry about the Indonesian city of Bukittinggi. Also: lots of tweaking of the "notable faculty" section of WSU's listing.
A few other WSU Wikipedia edits:
-"WSU has always been better than UW," someone added to the University of Washington article last fall. It was yanked off the site within minutes.
-Someone from WSU in 2004 detailed the correct steps of the dance to the pop-song "Macarena" to the encyclopedia.
-Someone else with a WSU computer link and too much time on their hands tried to change the plot description of the movie Waterworld from "the polar ice caps have melted" to "the equatorial ice caps have transmogrified." (Rejected.)