UnNews:Court to weigh constitutionality of undeclared edit war

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20 November 2006

ANN ARBOR, MI (UnNews) - The Central Student Judiciary of the University of Michigan is currently weighing arguments regarding the constitutionality of an undeclared edit war taking place on Uncyclopedia.

The war began at 22:06 UTC on Wednesday, November 15, when an unidentified user at IP address 141.213.32.59 edited the University of Michigan article to remove text which referred to the Michigan Action Party, a student government political party, as "Students 4 Michigan 2", in reference to a former student government party. However, at 23:33 UTC on the same day, an unidentified user at IP address 141.213.186.213 restored the previous text. This was short-lived, though, as a user at IP address 69.137.220.228 fired the next salvo in the edit war, removing the text once again.

Currently, it is nearly certain that both operatives are indeed members of the Michigan Student Assembly, the student government which the Michigan Action Party participates in. The user who added the "Students 4 Michigan 2" text has been traced to either West Quad or South Quad Residence Hall. Additionally, current intelligence points to the text being removed by an Engineering student due to one of the IP addresses tracing to the College of Engineering. The other IP, a Comcast address, is believed to point to said student's frat house.

However, though this may be thought of as a funny joke by some, others believe it may be unconstitutional. As many know, there must be a vote before any declaration of war. One observer took notice, and has filed a complaint with the Central Student Judiciary alleging an "unconstitutional edit war". The complaint calls for the withdrawal of all edits made during the war and a cessation of all hostilities until a formal resolution declaring war can be passed by the Michigan Student Assembly. This was last done during the Nike Revolution of 2006, during the crisis that led up to the revolution.

CSJ appears to see merit in the case, and is planning to hear arguments on the case tomorrow. The case is expected to hinge on whether CSJ has jurisdiction over edit wars, and if so whether an edit war actually constitutes war. Constitutional scholars believe that the case against the edit war is rock-solid, though CSJ has been known to be unpredictable in the past. For example, it ruled in the case Zelda v. Giant Enemy Crab that using student fees to fund Wii purchases was constitutional, but using student fees to fund PlayStation 3 purchases was unconstitutional. Regardless, this case is sure to set an important precedent regarding edit wars, and will be watched closely in days ahead.

More from UnNews later in the week...

Sources[edit]

  • The Michigan Every Three Weekly