Update: U.S. Rep. Mike Lawler’s Wikipedia account was restored in full Wednesday night. “The Wikipedia admins noted the initial block was not for his edits but because the account wasn’t verified,” spokesman Nate Soule told Patch.

HUDSON VALLEY, NY — An account associated with freshman Hudson Valley Rep. Mike Lawler has been blocked on Wikipedia.

Because the account, Michaelvlawler, represented a well-known person, and it made 27 edits about Mike Lawler on Wikipedia in two separate days in 2021, the online open-source encyclopedia’s administrators put on a “soft block” at the time, telling the account to verify its identity and warning about the conflict of interest rules.

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On Wednesday morning, the Daily Beast published “GOP Lawmaker Banned From Wikipedia for Self-Editing Spree.”

Asked for comment, spokesman Nate Soule told Patch, “He was blocked, not banned, for not verifying his username, not for self-editing.”

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A citation and link to the article was put on the Wikipedia page about the Congressman Wednesday morning under a section titled “Ban.” It has since been removed by an administrator. Soule shared the administrator’s note:

Also on Wednesday morning, Wikipedia’s Michaelvlawler user talk page shows a request to lift the block was made at 10:21 a.m.

“Why? Please follow the instructions in the block notice,” an administrator responded, denying the request.

According to the Daily Beast, one of the 2021 edits by Michaelvlawler added Lawler to the list of distinguished alumni on the Manhattan College Wikipedia entry. He was not listed on the college’s Wikipedia page list of notable alumni as of noon Wednesday.

Wikipedia’s public records show seven edits were made May 30, 2021 (on election history, career and education) and 20 on Aug. 26, 2021.

That’s when Wikipedia administrators asked the Michaelvlawler account to stop self-editing:

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We welcome your contributions, but if you have an external relationship with the people, places or things you have written about on the page Michael Lawler, you may have a conflict of interest (COI). Editors with a conflict of interest may be unduly influenced by their connection to the topic. See the conflict of interest guideline and FAQ for organizations for more information.

Then they instituted the block:

This account has been blocked indefinitely from editing Wikipedia because the username, Michaelvlawler, matches the name of a well-known, living person.If you are the person represented by this username, please note that the practice of blocking such usernames is to protect you from being impersonated, not to discourage you from editing Wikipedia. You may choose to edit under a new username (see information below), but keep in mind that you are welcome to continue to edit under this username.
If you choose to keep your current username, please send an email to info-enwikimedia.org including your real name and your Wikipedia username to receive instructions from our volunteer response team about account verification. Please do not send documentation without being requested to do so.

See the activity of the Michaelvlawler account on the Wikipedia editing history page, which cites the indefinite block and Wednesday’s exchange.

“The purpose of blocking is prevention, not punishment,” Wikipedia says often about its blocking policies.

About its self-editing policies, Wikipedia asks that users “avoid editing or creating articles about yourself, your family, friends, colleagues, company, organization or competitors.”

Also, editing for the purpose of advertising, publicizing, or promoting anyone or anything is not permitted. As an example, Wikipedia cites its entry on congressional staff editing articles.

“Conflict-of-interest (COI) editing on Wikipedia occurs when editors use Wikipedia to advance the interests of their external roles or relationships,” the website says.

The Congressman, whose District 17 includes all of Putnam and Rockland counties, northern Westchester and part of southern Dutchess, is still on Wikipedia under Mike Lawler. A note placed at the top of the page Wednesday says:

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