Qatari proxy IP address temporarily blocked on Wikipedia

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

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Wikipedia blocked editing by a proxy IP address [1] belonging to Internet users in the Middle Eastern kingdom of Qatar for a period of twelve hours due to persistent vandalism originating from the IP.

Only one provider of high-speed Internet access operates in Qatar, and this provider has configured its network such that all its users share the same single IP address. In most cases, a single IP address corresponds to one user or a small group of users in one building or school. Because of this single-address configuration, Wikipedia was not able to implement its usual countervandalism solution, the blocking of individual IPs or user accounts. Wikipedia said that the action was taken after 200 repeated vandalism edits of the articles on sex, the United States, and the birthday of the prophet Muhammad.

A spokesperson for Wikipedia, said: "Qatar has not been banned from Wikipedia. Apparently Qatar basically has only one ISP, and nearly all of its traffic shows as coming from a single IP address."

Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder, emphasized the temporary nature of the block, saying, "This IP number was temporarily blocked for less than 12 hours, and a block of an entire nation would go absolutely against Wikipedia policy."

At 21:26 UTC (5:26 p.m. ET) a Wikipedia admin unblocked the IP address with the reason given as: "This IP is the address for the entire nation of Qatar; it should not be blocked."

Qatar only has around 219,000 Internet users, and much less of that number would actually be affected by the block.