Someone in the House of Representatives (or spoofing a congressional IP address) is having a lot of fun making troll-ish edits on Wikipedia again, according to the Twitter bot @congress-edits, which tracks edits to the site made by IP addresses associated with Congress. And this time they're sending hidden messages.
As first reported by Buzzfeed last week, one or more pranksters have recently been on tear, triggering the bot with frivolous edits to pages like "List of Star Wars species" (adding "Porgs are dope") and "Carly Rae Jepsen" (naming her as "the worlds greatest singer"). After the website ran the story, someone with a congressional IP address even vandalised Buzzfeed's entry itself, adding the phrase "They will never find me" to its Wikipedia page.
But while trolling the Twitter bot has a long and storied history, the most recent round of shenanigans has taken an ingenious turn. As first pointed out by Washington Post correspondent Philip Bump, if you look at the contributions of one congressional Wikipedia prankster in reverse chronological order, you'll notice that the pages spell out a phrase. The latest batch, all edited on Tuesday, string together to say: "RYAN Could not care less AbOUT Poor Folk." On Monday, three edits from the same address read: "Help! (album) The Gop They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy)."
Before these semi-secret messages, this particular IP address hasn't made an edit since September, and they are all outwardly innocuous. While using an online encyclopedia to drag a rival political party is pretty harmless, this type of behaviour did drive the Wikipedia administrators to temporarily ban someone in Congress from making any edits in 2014.
Unfortunately, we'll probably never know what rascal is penning these cryptic works of art.