Wikipedia locks down pages of VP contenders after excessive edits

Wikipedia pages for candidates most likely to appear on Mitt Romney’s shortlist for vice president have been locked down as of Wednesday. 

"This article is protected due to vandalism," reads the Wikipedia page for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

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Similarly, pages for Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and even CIA Director David Petraeus are in “semi-protected” mode, preventing edits from unregistered users or users who registered within the last four days.

With anticipation high for the expected announcement by Romney’s campaign — which will come sometime this month, ahead of the GOP convention — TechPresident’s Micah L. Sifry on Monday reported that monitoring the increased number of edits on the Wikipedia entries for various contenders might tip off interested observers.

He based that speculation on the high number of edits made to Wikipedia pages for Sarah Palin and Joe Biden ahead of announcements that they would be the running mates for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), respectively. Palin’s page saw roughly 68 changes and Biden’s about 40 the day before their respective announcements, much higher numbers than other likely VP candidates at the time.

Numerous media outlets picked up the hypothesis, as did Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night’s episode of “The Colbert Report.”

“So, nation, let your voice be heard in this historic decision,” Colbert urged his viewers. “Go on Wikipedia, and make as many edits as possible to your favorite VP contender."

Colbert’s advice and the media coverage apparently worked, as Sifry reported Wednesday that since Sunday, Portman's page has seen 112 edits, Rubio’s 52 and Pawlenty’s 18.

Pages for Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez apparently were not vandalized and have not been locked down, although they appeared on what is believed to be the shortlist for Romney’s VP.

The Romney campaign plans to make its VP announcement through a mobile app and has encouraged interested parties to ensure they hear the news first by turning on the app’s push notifications.