Wikipedia Bans Scientologists From Editing Scientology Entries

Wikipedia has banned people using the Church of Scientology's computers from changing Wikipedia articles about Scientology and its critics.

The site's administrators imposed the ban after concluding that church members have been altering articles related to Scientology to promote their own interests.

It is believed to be the first time that Wikipedia has banned such a large group. Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis said the church is preparing a statement in response.

Wikipedia is billed as "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit." Many Wikipedia entries are in a constant state of flux as they are edited and re-edited, and the site's many volunteers and administrators attempt to keep an eye out for bias.

After a lengthy internal review, Wikipedia's "Arbitration Committee" of experienced volunteer editors voted to block changes from all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates.

"Up to a dozen long-time Wikipedians concluded that not much good has come from this range of computers," said Wikipedia spokesman Jay Walsh.

The committee's discussions are in an online posting on Wikipedia. In that posting, the site's administrators say they have noticed a trend of what they called "edit wars" -- repeated additions and deletions -- to entries regarding Scientology.

Wikipedia has blocked IP addresses for certain congressional offices and even, temporarily, the Department of Justice, when Wikipedia's volunteer editors said they found abuses coming from IP addresses affiliated with those offices.