Wikipedia Blocks Church of Scientology From Editing Pages

In an unprecedented move, Wikipedia has banned edits from an entire religion — the Church of Scientology.

After four months of internal discussion, Wikipedia's top administrators decided Thursday to block Scientology-affiliated computers from changing items on any part of the free online encyclopedia, reports the British tech blog The Register.

Wikipedia famously lets almost anyone make changes to almost any article. Troublesome individuals have been blocked from editing — among them virulently anti-Scientology activists who altered pages relating to the religion — but this is the first time a religious organization has been blocked.

The encyclopedia's administrators found that Scientology computers had been repeatedly changing more than 400 pages related to the Church, deleting negative references and adding positive ones. The volume of changes was overwhelming administrators' ability to reverse them, hence the block.

Representatives of the Church of Scientology did not reply to's requests for comment.

Wikipedia matches specific Internet Protocol (IP) addresses — every device on the Internet has one — with certain users, and tweaks its servers to prevent those machines gaining edit access. Every IP address linked to the Church of Scientology is now banned from editing.

"All IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates, broadly interpreted, are to be blocked," read a statement on Wikipedia, according to WikiNews. "Individual editors may request IP block exemption if they wish to contribute from the blocked IP addresses."

A previous mass block was levied against for repeated troublesome edits, reports the Register. For half a day in January 2008, the entire nation of Qatar was blocked because many troublesome edits were coming from the country's only ISP, CNET reports.

• Click here to read more from The Register.

• Click here to read more in Wired News.

• Click here for the very long Wikipedia internal discussion and final ruling.

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