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Wikipedia Bans Scientology

06/06/2009 Comment

Wikipedia has barred the Church of Scientology from changing entries about scientology.

That’s, well, good news and bad news. The Church of Scientology has a reputation for cultish weirdness and propaganda. And weird cultish propaganda.

But shouldn’t they get some say in their own entry? Not sole say, certainly, but ... some?

Catholicism should be next, say commentators on many of the stories about the development.

Says the report from the (British) Register:

According to evidence turned up by admins in this long-running Wikiland court case, multiple editors have been “openly editing [Scientology-related articles] from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities.” Leaning on the famed WikiScanner, countless news stories have discussed the editing of Scientology articles from Scientology IPs, and some site admins are concerned this is “damaging Wikipedia’s reputation for neutrality.”

One admin tells The Reg that policing edits from Scientology machines has been particularly difficult because myriad editors sit behind a small number of IPs and, for some reason, the address of each editor is constantly changing. This prevents admins from determining whether a single editor is using multiple Wikipedia accounts to game the system. In Wikiland, such sockpuppeting is not allowed.

One arbitration committee member wrote:

“Our alternatives are to block them entirely, or checkuser every ‘pro-Scientology’ editor on this topic. I find the latter unacceptable. It is quite broad, but it seems that they’re funneling a lot of editing traffic through a few IPs, which make socks impossible to track.”

Said another report: “Scientology-related posts have long been troubling to Wikipedia, since many anti-Scientology editors have also been banned over the years. But Wikipedia has come under criticism for the rulings of its committee, which was once known for allowing full freedom of speech.”


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About Guest Blogger/Tom Hoopes

Tom  Hoopes
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Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.