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Wikipedia Bans Church of Scientology

In an exclusive this morning, The Register today reports that the anyone-can-edit encyclopedia has banned contributions from all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates. While the banning of one individual is not an uncommon occurrence, admin who spoke to The Reg said the banning of the Church of Scientology’s IP addresses marks the first time Wikipedia has officially barred edits from such a high-profile organization for allegedly pushing its own agenda on the site.

Not everyone is a fan of Wikipedia’s openness and the fact that the site can be edited by every Tom, Dick and Harry means that as a source it’s not the most trusted of websites. That said, Wikipedia tries to make sure only relevant, factual information ends up on the site and apparently, the Church of Scientology weren’t playing fair.

Wikipedia's conflict of interest guidelines strongly discourage editors contributing "in order to promote their own interests," and the site maintains that whatever their feelings on the subject at hand, neutrality is non-negotiable and all articles must accurately reflect all significant viewpoints published by reliable sources and give prominence to viewpoints in proportion to the weight of those sources.

The Reg reports that according to evidence turned up by admins in this long-running dispute, multiple editors have been "openly editing [Scientology-related articles] from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities."

Check out the original report here or the Wikipedia entry on the whole sorry story here.