Friday, July 12, 2024

Wikipedia Scientology Ban Seems Prescient Now


On May 29th, Wikipedia banned any outside editing on pages having to do with Scientology. The story was under-reported at the time, perhaps because it seemed odd. But a long running dispute between Scientologists and anti-Scientologists had been going on in the Wiki world. Administrators for Wikipedia finally concluded that too many comments and editorial changes were being made, pro and con, from the same IP addresses. The main case seems to have involved a Wikipedia name whose user name is Lyncs. He/she had been banned in 2011, and then requested a lifting of the ban. They (it?) had also been banned from attacking another Wiki commenter.

Reported on The Register, at— “Wikipedia Bans Church of Scientology.” And while this may seem highly punitive, in hindsight it was probably the right thing to do in light of the current Tom Cruise situation. In less than a week, Scientology has become highly exposed to investigation and dissection in ways never before imaginable. With Katie Holmes holed up in a very public location–an apartment building on a major thoroughfare in Manhattan–suddenly the topic of conversation has become whether or not she and her six year old daughter are safe from the clutches of these secretive people.

While Wikipedia has banned changes from its pages, discussion rages on. For a while one wondered why Holmes chose an apartment right in the middle of traffic, atop a gigantic supermarket, no less? What kind of privacy is that? But now it seems, even if it wasn’t planned, that it was the right move. She didn’t want isolation. It’s as if the whole city has become her watchdog against anything that could harm her. It’s sort of completely brilliant. Maybe it’s the reason why Tom Cruise hasn’t gotten on a plane and come back from Iceland in a New York minute. The last thing he and Scientology want is more inspection.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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