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Author Topic: Wikipedia bans Church of $cientology  (Read 3812 times)

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May 30, 2009, 02:50:20 PM
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Offline Peter

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Wikipedia bans Church of $cientology
« on: May 30, 2009, 02:50:20 PM »
This made me laugh!
I've looked at a few wiki sites about cults and it's always interesting to watch cult members try to paint a ficticious rosey picture of their cult and attempt to delete anything critical.
I guess Wikipedia just had about enough of $cientology:

Wikipedia Bans $cientology!

Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology
Posted: 03:47 PM ET
The collaborative online encyclopedia Wikipedia has banned the Church of Scientology from editing the site. The Register reports Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee, or ArbCom, voted 10 to 0 in favor of the ban, which takes effect immediately.

Wikipedia’s innovative free-encyclopedia draws upon the knowledge of millions of users to create and edit articles on every conceivable topic. Edits appear immediately and do not undergo any formal peer-review process.

Wikipedia officially prohibits use of the encyclopedia to advance personal agendas – such as advocacy or propaganda and philosophical, ideological or religious dispute – but the open format makes enforcing such policies difficult.

According to Wikipedia administrators speaking to The Register:

Multiple editors have been “openly editing [Scientology-related articles] from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities.”

However, Karin Pouw, with the Church of Scientology’s public affairs office, told me she is unaware of any coordinated effort to alter Wikipedia. Instead, she described the edits as individual attempts to correct inaccurate information by impassioned Scientologists and interpreted the ban as a typical Wikipedia response to arguments over content. She noted that even the U.S. Department of Justice received a temporary ban after someone  erased references to a controversial scandal from inside the government agency.

One Wikipedia contributor I spoke with that was involved in the Scientology arbitration agreed that some of the edits coming from the church were justifiable, but insisted the ban was necessary after the church refused to follow Wikipedia’s policies:

“The edits coming out of Church of Scientology servers were of the sort that made their organization look better.  Up to a point that’s justifiable, when it comes to correcting inaccuracies or removing poorly sourced negative information. There were times when they went beyond that and deleted well sourced information that was unflattering, and there were times when they insulted other editors in a manner that would reflect poorly upon any religion.”

Some see Wikipedia’s decision as a setback to the Utopian goal of Web 2.0 in which every user is allowed to freely contribute.

May 30, 2009, 09:16:09 PM
Reply #1

Offline rb

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Re: Wikipedia bans Church of $cientology
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2009, 09:16:09 PM »
They didn't really ban Scientology.. rather Wikipedia blocked edits from Scientology servers. I assume Scientologists can still edit even if they identify themselves as long as they do it from home or from a proxy. They also "topic-banned" a lot of anti-Scientology editors (i.e. told them not to edit Scientology pages or they will be blocked). That probably isn't going to make much difference since I guess just about anyone who knows a little about Scientology, and isn't a Scientologist, would be anti-Scientology in some sense.

Wikipedia is very slow to act on things. There was a pro-cult and cult member called Sfacets who gamed the system and generally made himself a pain for two years or so, until finally he was community banned (the worst possible thing Wikipedia can do to you). He tried to get around the ban several times (his "suspected sockpuppets" page has 76 entries), so it's pretty obvious NOW he had no concern for Wikipedia policies. He never did, but it's so easy to game Wikipedia he didn't get banned for such a long time. Similarly, Scientologists have been editing Wikipedia for 3+ years from the Scientology servers. It's probably part of their job description to advocate Scientology on Wikipedia. The block is long overdue.

June 11, 2009, 12:09:54 AM
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Offline Peter

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Re: Wikipedia bans Church of $cientology
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2009, 12:09:54 AM »
Yeah the article headline, and there were a few others with similar headlines, is misleading... I still like it though!
A nice little snub to an organization that thinks it will one day rule the world.  ;)

This more recent article says that critics as well as $cientologists were banned, and was an attempt to reduce the enormous amount of arguing that went on.

Quote
LOS ANGELES—Popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia has banned Scientology's more vocal friends and foes from editing articles about the religion, a move that worries some in the Internet community.
Wikipedia has blocked contributions from computers at the Church of Scientology's Los Angeles headquarters, as well as some critics of the religion.
The move is aimed at diminishing a long-running war of words between the two groups, said Dan Rosenthal, a spokesman for English Wikipedia.

Here's the main wiki page for $cientology