Wikipedia shuts out Church of Scientology

Chicago (IL) – Wikipedia has taken a rather dramatic step to end four year dispute over the Scientology page and more than 430 related articles. The entire IP range of the Church of Scientology as well as the accounts of several contributors are now banned from editing the content in an effort to reduce a “persistent point-of-view pushing and extensive feuding over sources on multiple articles.”  

We are used to a much more liberal approach at Wikipedia to deal with controversial articles. But it seems that the organization did not see a conclusion other that banning a number of editors as well as the IP range of the Church of Scientology itself in what Wikipedia described as a “lower-key”, but “ongoing and corrosive” dispute that turned “normally neutral editors” into contributors that are “adopting polarized positions in countless minor sub-feuds.”

According to Wikipedia, the dispute has become a destination for “single purpose accounts” of admirers of Scientology and critics of Scientology. And both sides apparently have “gamed” Wikipedia’s policy to obtain an advantage over their rivals. Eventually, the dispute spilled over to the reliable sources noticeboard, the conflict of interests noticeboard and the administrators’ noticeboard. One of the main reasons for Wikipedia’s action was the fact that edits could be traced back to coordinated activities directly on “Church of Scientology equipment”. On the other hand critics often edited the articles under their own names and cited either their own or each other’s self-published material as information sources.

To end the dispute, Wikipedia said that is has “broadly” blocked all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates and is treating them as if they were open proxies. Individual editors who were found to have clearly engaged in promoting an identifiable agenda “may be topic-banned” for up to one year, Wikipedia said.