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Wikipedia bans Scientology edits

May 31, 2009 at 1:00 AM

LONDON, May 31 (UPI) -- Church of Scientology members may not use their computers to edit the church's entry on Wikipedia, officials with the online information source said.

Wikipedia's arbitration committee has concluded the ban is necessary, following complaints that many Scientologists have been using the online encyclopedia to distribute propaganda, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

The committee had previously decided to lock in posts about the church, following conflicts among users who support or oppose Scientology, the British newspaper said.

"Newcomers (to the site) are treated rudely," the arbitration committee concluded. "Bad faith assumptions, personal attacks, edit wars, soapboxing, and other disruptions are common occurrences."

The committee said all Internet addresses "owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates, broadly interpreted, are to be blocked" and users who log on with such IP addresses will be "prohibited from editing articles related to Scientology or Scientologists, broadly defined."

The committee found that church followers had set up Wikipedia accounts intending to slant articles in favor of Scientology, and that such users had a "conflict of interest" that threatened Wikipedia's goal of presenting impartial information.

The newspaper said church officials did not respond to its requests for comment.

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