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Wiki at Work

Everyone, at some point or the other, is distracted at work. I’m willing to admit that on a few occasions, I have spend a few minutes here and there reading Google Reader, checking a random Wikipedia page, and even watching a YouTube video sent by a friend.

Some folks, however, take it a bit far (hat tip to A. Phan):

Japan Officials Edited Wikipedia at Work

Japan’s Agriculture Ministry reprimanded six bureaucrats after an internal probe found they spent work hours contributing to Wikipedia on topics unrelated to farm issues — including 260 entries about cartoon robots.

The six civil servants together made 408 entries on the popular Web site encyclopedia from ministry computers since 2003, an official said Friday.

This next bit really gets me (disclosure: I’m a big Gundam fan)

One of the six focused solely on Gundam — the popular, long-running animated series about giant robots — to which he contributed 260 times. The series has spun off intricate toy robots popular among schoolchildren as well as adults known as “otaku” nerds.

And of course, the no-fun Minister of Agriculture had to note:

The Agriculture Ministry is not in charge of Gundam,” said ministry official Tsutomu Shimomura.

You heard it first, America, the Minister of Agriculture is not ACTUALLY in charge of designing big Gundams — as was commonly viewed by . . . apparently people working for said minister. I smell a cover-up…

The other five bureaucrats scolded for shirking their duties focused their contributions on movies, typographical mistakes on billboard signs and local politics, Shimomura said.

The ministry’s internal probe followed recent media allegations that a growing number of Japanese public servants were contributing to the Web encyclopedia, which anyone can edit, often to reflect their views.

The ministry verbally reprimanded each of the six officials, and slapped a ministry-wide order to prohibit access to Wikipedia at work, while disabling access to the site from the ministry, Shimomura said.

NO WIKIPEDIA!?!? But . . . how ever will I have access to the collective wisdom of humanity!? Surely, Wikipedia is useful for something, Mr. Shimomura-san!

The ministry, however, did not object to their limited contributions on the World Trade Organization and free trade agreements.

Someone’s got his sights set on controlling Japanese trade policy. . . you sly devil, Shimomura-san. Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me.

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