The Blogosphere and the MSM have been abuzz recently with news of a decision handed down last week by Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee. Already the subject of law review articles and deep thoughts by Berkmanite Jonathan Zittrain, Wikipedia finds itself again in the spotlight for a decision that, on the surface, seems contrary to the Wikipedian ethos: Wikipedia, the "free encyclopedia that anyone can edit," has declared edits by the Church of Scientology to be unwelcome, permanently blocking contributions originating from IP addresses owned or operated by the Church or its associates.
One writer at the Huffington Post has declared the move to be nothing less than "a threat to our civil liberties," while others have interpreted the move as a power-grab by Wikipedia admins. Yet others have questioned the move in light of the ubiquity of PR-scrubs of Wikipedia content, and have noted that such an IP-based ban is unlikely to be effective in preventing self-serving edits of Wikipedia content by Scientology apologists.
It's not often that a website's internal administrative decisions make national (indeed, international) news. But then, Wikipedia is not your typical website. Instead, it occupies a unique position in the collective consciousness, representing something of a Rorschach test for your views on the freedom represented by the Internet. Overlay that with the conflict one scholar has termed the "Internet versus Scientology," and you have ready-made Blog bait.