By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
The longest-running arbitration in Wikpedia history has come to a close, and it’s bad news for the Church of Scientology. Based on a 10-0 vote (with one abstaining) from the Arbitration committee, there is now a ban on Wikipedia contributions from all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology. Though Wikipedia frequently bans individual users, this is the first time that such a high-profile organization has gotten the boot for trying to use the site to push its own agenda. Apparently the committee was especially concerned that the press coverage of the pro-Scientology editing of related articles would damage Wikipedia’s reputation for neutrality.
A former member of the Church of Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs (responsible “for directing and coordinating all legal matters affecting the Church”) told the Register about the organized efforts to remove criticism of Scientology from the Internet: “The guys I worked with posted every day all day. It was like a machine. I worked with someone who used five separate computers, five separate anonymous identities… to refute any facts from the internet about the Church of Scientology.”
Wikipedia has also previously barred those pushing anti-Scientology propoganda from editing Scientology-specific pages.