Memo to Tom Cruise: You're outta here, dude.
John Travolta? Take a hike, Barbarino. Kirstie Alley? Shut up and get your fat **** back on that exercycle.
[ Wikipedia and Scientology have tangled before, and Cringely was there with the play-by-play | Stay up to date on Robert X. Cringely's musings and observations with InfoWorld's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]
The island of misfit geeks otherwise known as the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee has unceremoniously uninvited the Church of Scientology from contributing to "the peoples' almanac." Wikipedia is now the encyclopedia anyone can edit, except those who believe Xenu will one day return in his DC8 rocket ship to vanquish the church's enemies and free the Thetans.
The WAC is quoted in the UK's Telegraph:
"All IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates, broadly interpreted, are to be blocked as if they were open proxies"....Anyone who logs on with these IP addresses will be "prohibited from editing articles related to Scientology or Scientologists, broadly defined."
The reason? Oh, the usual -- a massive organized effort to make the CoS look good and/or counter the relentless public criticism that has shadowed the organization since the earliest days of the Net.
(What? You mean people are editing Wikipedia entries for their own nefarious ends? I am shocked, simply shocked. Wait a second while I spruce up my own entry with an account of that wild weekend last fall with Lindsay Lohan and the Cirque du Soleil acrobats. OK, I'm done now.)
To be fair, the whacky WAC also takes issue with the critics of Scientology, who've been having their own way with various entries. So far, though, they haven't banned 4chan or "Anonymous," though I bet they would if they could just figure out how.
Wikipedia has certainly banned individuals before, and once apparently put the kibosh on an entire mountain in Utah (per The Register). In terms of targeting abusers by their IP address, its accuracy is probably only slightly better than the RIAA's. But this is the first time Wikipedia decided to permanently oust an entire organization, and I suspect it won't be the last.