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The Pope may have just launched a Facebook app, but he’s got nothing on the tech savvy Church of Scientology: Wikipedia members posting from Scientology domain IP addresses have just been banned from editing Wikipedia posts after the free encyclopedia website discovered they were using exceptional means to give the church favorable coverage. A big no-no in aiming-to-be-neutral Wikiland.
One Wikipedia administrator told “The Register,” an online tech publication, 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.”
This sophisticated form of sockpuppetting–creating a fake online persona for the sole purpose of lauding one’s self or one’s organization, a.k.a. propaganda–goes against Wikipedia’s policies as sock puppets erode the site’s culture of consensus editing “by creating the illusion of greater support for a viewpoint and evading sanctions.”


Critics of Scientology were also called out in the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee’s final decision which notes that both sides “have gamed policy to obtain advantage” with notable critics often citing either their own or each other’s self-published material.”
This is the largest ban Wikipedia has ever imposed and closes out its longest-running arbitration, notes “The Register.”
Some message board posters are calling it censorship and wonder why Wikipedia hasn’t done the same for other controversial topics, such as foie gras, while others see it as the only means to keep the site factual and neutral. What do you think?

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