Thanks to a tiff involving the Church of Scientology, this popular encyclopaedia is in danger of losing its credibility
Sometime back, Wikipedia banned the Church of Scientology from editing any articles on its site. This was primarily because Wikipedia articles concerning Scientology were edited by people who were keen on showing the religion in better light.
The story, which first appeared on theregister.co.uk, says that nobody using an IP address belonging to the Church of Scientology and its associates can edit any article. The decision was taken by the site's Arbitration Committee, which voted overwhelmingly in favour of banning Scientology (10 to 0, with one abstention).
Before we proceed, let's understand Scientology. According to Wikipedia itself, Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by L. Ron Hubbard in 1952. Hubbard characterised Scientology as a religion, and in 1953 incorporated the Church of Scientology in New Jersey.
Scientology teaches that people are immortal spiritual beings who have forgotten their true nature and promotes spiritual rehabilitation through a type of counselling referred to as auditing. Study materials and auditing courses are made available to members in return for specified donations.
While this issue has been resolved, one asks the questionÃ¢ÂÂwhat happens when there is a conflict of opinions? What about a Wikipedia entry on India and Pakistan, or the LTTE and the Tamils? Who can edit? Will the information be true?
While Wikipedia can be trusted overall, the danger of such things means that, once again, Wikipedia's name will be dragged through the mud simply because some users are not seeing the big picture of having a credible free encyclopaedia and pushing their own little agendas. What a shame!
What's a Sockpuppet?
A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception within an online community. In its earliest usage, a sockpuppet was a false identity through which a member of an Internet community speaks with or about himself or herself, pretending to be a different person, like a ventriloquist manipulating a hand puppet. In current usage, the perception of the term has been extended beyond second identities of people who already post in a forum to include other uses of misleading online identities. For example, a NY Times article claims that sock-puppeting is defined as the act of creating a fake online identity to praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one's self, allies or company. Source: Wikipedia
>>Wikipedia has banned edits from the Church of Scientology
>>This is because it found these edits to be self serving
>>This could have deeper implications for Wikipedia itself