Scottish UKIP MEP David Coburn banned from Wikipedia

SCOTLAND’S only elected UKIP politician has been banned from Wikipedia after he tried to rewrite his public biography.

David Coburn of UKIP celebrates winning his seat last year. Picture: TSPL

David Coburn MEP was blocked by page administrators last month after he tried to edit his page 69 times over six days.

He began making changes to the article on April 1 by removing a passage which referenced him allegedly muddling the name of SNP candidate Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh during the 2014 European Parliament campaign.

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Sheikh had accused Coburn of calling her “Pashmina, Jasmine and Tamzin, before eventually settling on a combination of ‘love’, ‘dear’ and ‘honey’”.

But three minutes after Coburn deleted the passage it was reinserted by another user on the website, and one minute later, Coburn tried to remove it again.

In the week that followed he tried to make dozens of further edits over factual disputes, one of which concerned whether Coburn lived in Edinburgh or London.

During his digital encounter he also tried to add a statement that there was “no material difference” between civil partnerships and gay marriage.

But a number of Wikipedia users noticed his activity to be a breach of the site’s rules on conflicts of interest, and retaliated by undoing his alterations.

As a result, Coburn left a number of statements on the website expressing his irritation at being unable to permanently change his entry.

On April 2, he wrote: “I am David Coburn MEP - I am aware of where I live - I live in Edinburgh - I am also aware of where I went to school & which University I attended - there are several people changing the facts and they need to stop.

“Who are you exactly - & why are you deliberately misrepresenting me?

“I can prove I live in Edinburgh to whoever wants to see it - Stop misrepresenting me.

“Apparently I don’t know where I live nor which school I attended or the University I attended - is there anything else you would like to update me on?”

Mr Coburn’s was first blocked for a limit of 31 hours after an administrator gave him “many many warnings”, but then blocked indefinitely.

In an explanation for why access to his account was locked, an administrator wrote: “I have blocked you because despite previous explanations and a short block you have returned to edit-warring over the article.

“I considered another short block, but I think we would just be back here again in another few days.

“However, ‘Indefinite’ does not mean ‘Permanent’; it means that in order to be unblocked your unblock request will need to convince a reviewing administrator that you have confirmed your identity with the volunteer response team.”

Mr Coburn’s chief of staff, Arthur Misty Thackeray, dismissed the incident and said that “David’s not an IT expert”.

He said: “I can’t believe some idiot has tried making a story about something that is open-source and viewable to the public.

“The staff team do not run a Wikipedia page for David.

“A Wikipedia page is up in David’s name and there were edits made which David believed were inaccurate and lies.

“He attempted to change them to accurate statements but obviously the Wikipedia entries kept being changed back and he persisted in trying to change them and ended up blocked.

“There were various entries about David’s schooling and university time which were inaccurate.

“But it goes to the heart of the fact that David’s not an IT expert, so things like Wikipedia aren’t his strong point.

“He’s gone there in good faith to try and change it, but people can put any old rubbish up and lo and behold after trying to put things right he’s ended up blocked.”