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Wikipedia Bans Church of Scientology

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the there's-no-pleasing-some-people dept.

The Media 665

El Reg writes "Showing a new-found resolve to crack down on self-serving edits, Wikipedia has banned contributions from all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology. According to Wikipedia administrators, this marks the first time such a high-profile organization has been banished for allegedly pushing its own agenda on the 'free encyclopedia anyone can edit.'"

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665 comments

The Irony (5, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133507)

Does this mean that Scientology now has to do their edits Anonymously?

Re:The Irony (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133613)

Our E-Meter detects more money in your pocket.

So what? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133637)

Now the Scientologists will just edit it from their homes.

Re:So what? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28134045)

Like the Congressmen do now.

Re:The Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133679)

wokka-wokka!

Re:The Irony (-1, Offtopic)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133733)

It's an IP ban not username ban..

Re:The Irony (0)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133893)

WHOOOSH!

Re:The Irony (-1, Redundant)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133927)

I get the joke but it's wrong

Re:The Irony (2, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#28134049)

Putting the joke aside, it's not wrong. Anonymity can apply both to IP addresses and Usernames at the same time, or one at time even.

If you use TOR, you are shielding your public IP address from whatever systems you are connecting to. That is providing you anonymity, in that nobody could identify you or your location based on the IP address. You could still post with your real name.

If you post anonymously, like you can on Slashdot, you are shielding your identity from the other members and the site itself. The site would only have your IP address, but not the name you may have given them otherwise. Slashdot itself could still possibly identify you based on the IP address if they were to attempt to obtain the information from another entity that may know who you are, namely the ISP providing you service.

At it's simplest, anonymity can mean "lacking distinguishing characteristics". As a concept it is not restricted to "names" and in the context of the Internet simply means that you have removed the abilities of other people on the Internet to determine your identity, by either the IP address or a username.

The New Anonymous (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28134011)

We are the Church of Scientology. We are the New Anonymous.

nice (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133529)

but better watch out for those Thetans

Re:nice (5, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133841)

Wikipedia 2 - Rise of the Thetans

That sounds like something Hubbard would cook up!

Re:nice (4, Interesting)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133945)

Wikipedia 2

Well, when the conservatives felt that Wikipedia had too much of a liberal bias, they went and founded Conservapedia [conservapedia.com], so maybe COS could start scientolopedia.com or something?

Can it ban asshole admins as well (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133553)

Pmdrive1061 and J.delanoy for example.

Fine by me (5, Insightful)

zappa86 (1288842) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133555)

It still is the "free encyclopedia anyone can edit," nothing has changed. You miss the point of "free" and "open" it doesnt mean that everything one puts will stay there. People make mistakes, people distort the truth, and people Lie. Others, have to correct these errors. If one person "cries wolf" a lot, you're simply not going to listen to them. This is all that it is. If someone had a history of not telling the truth, why would you trust them?

Re:Fine by me (5, Insightful)

lindseyp (988332) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133635)

No, but all this does is cracks down on "official" astroturfing. We all know that xenu's followers will simply do their edits from home, from now on.

This sort of thing cannot be contained if the information is publically editable. I just hope this doesn't mark the beginning of the end for Wikipedia.

This will be a long-term lockdown (3, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133741)

I predict a few outcomes:

*CO$ will find a way around it by rapidly changing their IP addresses
*If this gets to be a major headache, Wikipedia will either semi-protect all related articles, which they are generally loathe to do, and/or start treating entire ISPs as if they were open proxies
*Here's where it gets interesting: CO$ will discover they can manipulate Wikipedia into blocking entire ISPs, and will use that information to hurt ISPs they don't like. This will only work on relatively small ISPs that don't depend on location, e.g. non-major dialup ISPs.

Re:Fine by me (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133753)

This sort of thing cannot be contained if the information is publically editable. I just hope this doesn't mark the beginning of the end for Wikipedia.

If this was the end, wikipedia has had the fat lady singing since the beginning. There's way too much useful information nobody bothers getting into an edit war about to be killed off by these sorts of things. If I didn't read about them on slashdot, I'd barely know they were there but I guess that's because I already know where to expect them.

Re:Fine by me (3, Insightful)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133973)

Oh please, those of us editing the political entries see the end of Wikipedia every time a new news story hits the web. Wikipedia has seen far darker days (see: 08' elections.)

Re:Fine by me (1, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133931)

It is true that he probably misses the point, in that a project like this has no choice but to sometimes ban those who deliberately and persistently abuse the rules. However, I would love to see the records of those edits that required such drastic action. As much as I despise Scientology, I don't see why their cult should be singled out for direct criticisms in the opening paragraphs of the article, (e.g "cult that financially defrauds and abuses its members").

While this may be true, other cults (oh ok "religions", whats the difference) that do the same thing are being described in completely different way, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints [wikipedia.org] This is supposed to be an encyclopedia article, not a newspaper editorial so I think the tone and content of the opening 4 paragraphs I think do need some changes. I am afraid to make them though cause I might get banned from the site.

Re:Fine by me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28134047)

A very small difference, I will admit, but Scientology was manufactured solely as a means of separating fools from their money. At least the LDS can claim to be a thorough bastardisation of a religion that probably didn't have that as its founding statement...

Operation Chanology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133569)

It's about time a certain group of miscreants had a success in their fight against the Church of Scientology. Good on them I say! AC, for obvious reasons.

About Fucking Time (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133573)

The Church of Scientology has a long history of censorship and general Internet fuckery.

http://www.factnet.org/Scientology/censorware.html [factnet.org]

Two things:

1. Wikipedia should never lift the ban.
2. Jimbo should watch his back; Scientology *DOES NOT* play nice when it doesn't get what it wants.

Re:About Fucking Time (5, Informative)

dgcaste (1230640) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133829)

No it doesn't.

My brother in law is a practicing Scientologist, and he works at the "Church" in San Diego.

He's explained to me time and time again that the church's position is "if you're not with us, you're against us", and that they defend their territory without impunity. Even perceived threats are great game.

When I ask him, "how can you trust an institution that is so legally violent? if it wanted to be judged by its merits, it shouldn't be litigating the hell out of everyone that stands in its way!", he responds "our opponents deserve litigation because they intend to suppress us". It is quite frustrating to have these conversations with him.

Even more interestingly is that inter-church issues are not taken to court, in fact, to take an internal quarrel to court is grounds from a church ban. They have their own "ethics committees" that see such cases, but they generally follow their own laws and not those of the locale they're in.

So I asked him, "if it's a matter of a constitutional issue, why wouldn't you take it up to the Supreme Court?" and his reply is "we don't trust or expect the legal system to understand how we do things."

I'm quite sure he didn't see the double standard in his views - litigation is good, when it's convenient for the church to litigate.

Re:About Fucking Time (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133875)

Is Scientology what happens when Science Fiction fans take it "too far?" Seriously. Most SciFi fans know that "Fi" means FICTION, as in not-true. Is the Church of Scientology a collection of "cable guys"? (Oooh. Weird thought... was "The Cable Guy" an anti-scientology movie???)

Re:About Fucking Time (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133967)

Reading the post by dgcaste it seems more likely that Scientology attracts people with schizophrenia spectrum personality defects.

See this bit: "our opponents deserve litigation because they intend to suppress us"

Re:About Fucking Time (1)

angelwolf71885 (1181671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133911)

sounds alot like the cathlic church if u ask me.. then agian ALL religions are prety much the same.. prfit god hlly bok and last but not least belive what i say or i hurt you.. cept fr the budists thay say belive what i say or ill hurt myself.. all those monks that set fire t themselves in the 60's in protest of opreshion..

Re:About Fucking Time (4, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133975)

The part about how they treat the outside is definitely evil, although primarily evil insofar as they have a lot of money and intend on doing harm.

The rest doesn't seem at all like a double standard or inherently malevolent. We're all free to get along and settle our differences outside of court. The courts inherently exist only for the cases when no agreement can be reached, but action is required. Definitely it's a huge drain on society to have people dragging one another in there for every trivial piece of bullshit infighting that may occur. Get along, as much as possible.

I don't especially want to take my sister to court because she didn't pay me that $100 back that I loaned her in high school. Nor is there a double standard if I should take my phone company to court if they refuse to reimburse me for making a mistake on my bill. I might be able to agree with my sister, or decide that it's not worth the family hostility, but the phone company is (at best) nobody to me.

Re:About Fucking Time (4, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133981)

Legally violent? They're not above assassination attempts and framejobs for outsiders and raping and murdering insiders.

Re:About Fucking Time (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28134021)

2. Jimbo should watch his back; Scientology *DOES NOT* play nice when it doesn't get what it wants.

Simple solution to this. Any religion that says you can ignore the law may do so, but must be subject to it's own proclamations. It seems to me that if their own policies were applied to them, they wouldn't have a right to due process, nor would their "enemies" be bound by the rule of law. Good luck defending yourselves and practicing your religion without the law.

I almost never post anonymously but I need a bunch of religious zealot nutjobs with no moral compass harassing me like I need a terminal disease.

Why!? (5, Funny)

Nrbelex (917694) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133579)

Hmmm... but according to my research [wikipedia.org], it's just a harmless religion based on love and understanding of others. Why would Wikipedia ban such a group?

Re:Why!? (-1, Flamebait)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133705)

That's exactly what the Christians keep trying to convince us of as well...

Re:Why!? (5, Insightful)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133843)

You know, it's all fine and nice to be anti-religion, but I am so sick of people involving Christianity whenever Scientology comes up. There is a difference between religion and cult, despite trying to lump them together for your own jollies, and this is coming from an atheist.

Re:Why!? (4, Interesting)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133965)

Actually no. The *only* difference between a religion and a cult is prominence/influence and/or state recognition as a 'religion'.

the difference between religion and cult (4, Interesting)

J_Omega (709711) | more than 4 years ago | (#28134017)

A cult is a small, unpopular religion.
A religion is a large, popular cult.

YMMV

Re:Why!? (2, Interesting)

jasonmanley (921037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133871)

The term "christian" is interesting in its use here.
For example, I am a christian but I do not go to church or have my name on any memberships of any kind. I spend some time studying the teachings of Christ and try and work out what he meant and how to apply it to modern life.
I read Paul's letters and the old testament as well (yes even all the contraversial parts) and try to understand what I am to learn from this.
How much is literal and applicable to today and how much is not.
I consider things like abortion, gay marriage, other religions etc and try and align that to the teachnigs of Christ - the deeper teachings that it - to try and understand how to assimilate these issues (and others) into my world view and value system.
At no point do I carry banners, march, judge or condescend.
But then I know that I would for things like child abuse - but would I for capital punishment?
And if I would do it for child abuse - then what is driving my value system? In medievil times it is reported that some European kings liked the "company" of young boys - if I was alive at that time would I have protested? What is driving my values now - and how do I know I am right and not just "seasonal"? Which values are ALWAYS right regardless of date and time and who decides this? So when the word "christian" is thrown around with contempt I know that is aimed at the institutionailsed members and radicals but also - I suppose - at anyone who believes in invisible fairies :)

That's no problem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133581)

I heard they are experts at getting members to let them use their home machines as proxies.

-Anonymous Coward

It was only a matter of time (5, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133589)

CoS has abused Wikipedia since almost its inception and have been a thorn in the side of the moderators for dozens of articles, but this is not going to stop them until you get a coourt to prohibit them from using the site. CoS specializes in umbrella fpr tax shelters and all sort of even more nefarious things and I bet right now they have a fresh batch of IP address just waiting for this story to die down so they can continue to suppress knowledge by outright censorship and the promulgation from the top to continue their intelligence operations based on their own special brand of disnfo, w extra crazy sauce, threats of lawsuits and calls to physical violence.

Re:It was only a matter of time (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133805)

How funny would it be if the wiki folk got a restraining order and the CoS encouraged followers to utilize home machines to circumvent the IP ban and abuse the court order.

Under some recent legislative changes that would constitute use of a proxy whilst committing a crime which has increased penalties for 'complexity.'

Re:It was only a matter of time (2, Interesting)

dgcaste (1230640) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133881)

Extra crazy sauce, tell me about it. I went to a CoS event and the crowd stands up to cheer randomly almost every 2 to 3 minutes. After a while I got tired so I stopped getting up and got cold stares. The entire event was all about talking Narconon and Criminon, and all of these made-up stats that it helped 90% of the drug addicts and prisoners. Standing ovation. We've opened 10 centers in the last so many years. Standing ovation. Tom Cruise's kid farts (he was actually there). Standing ovation.

Clearly... (1, Funny)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133603)

Jimmy Wales in an SP and in dire need of auditing while holding on to tuna cans and a voltmeter. Or has too many thetans, or needs a spaceflight in a DC-8. Or something.

        Brett

squeeze here, ballon-out there (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133621)

Fighting determined organizations like CO$ is like squeezing a balloon.

If your goal is to make them react, you win. If your goal is to stop them from doing something they are determined to do, good luck with that.

I predict within 3 months the CO$ will have found ways around this ban. The most obvious and probably the most obvious is for each editor to start using dialup internet for CO$ edits, and change IPs or even dial-up area- or city- codes if you have national free long distance. Oops I think I said too much already.

freedom of expression (2, Insightful)

rosaliepizza (951681) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133643)

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for all people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." -- Noam Chomsky

Re:freedom of expression (5, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133861)

Stop misusing important terms like "freedom of expression" until they lose all meaning.

This is one private entity to another, a simple case of "my house, my rules" - Abuse them and I'll make you leave.

Re:freedom of expression (5, Insightful)

Thansal (999464) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133961)

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for all people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." -- Noam Chomsky

They are free to express themselves. Just not over here on this privately run website, that is supposed to host impartial articles on a wide range of subjects, because they refuse to be impartial in their expressions there. They are still perfectly free to express themselves though (this being the internet and all, they can post their drivel just about anywhere).

Random side note:
Since they are all supposed to be reincarnations of super beings (or something), why is it that they haven't cured cancer for us yet?

Re:freedom of expression (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133979)

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for all people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." -- Noam Chomsky

I don't think Chomsky was suggesting we allow vandals to "freely expressing" themselves with spray cans, simarly we should not allow CO$ to vandalise WP with astroturf.

Yay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133647)

Score another one for "acceptable targets". How long before Christianity gets to be an acceptable target and we can ban Christians from editing Wikipedia?

Re:Yay (5, Insightful)

Omniscient Lurker (1504701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133709)

I;m unaware of any mass Christian movement to edit Wikipedia. Heck Christians can't even agree within themselves, how will they push an agenda.

Mass Christian Wikipedia Edits (0)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133811)

I;m unaware of any mass Christian movement to edit Wikipedia.

Well SOMEONE keeps trying to get the Virgin Killer album cover removed.

Re:Mass Christian Wikipedia Edits (3, Insightful)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133879)

I note your assumption that, in order to find that cover offensive, one must be Christian.

Re:Mass Christian Wikipedia Edits (1)

Omniscient Lurker (1504701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28134007)

I sure there are other groups just as concerned about that. Child Advocacy groups, women's groups, concerned-parents-with-too-much-free-time-on-their-hands groups.

Re:Yay (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28134031)

I;m unaware of any mass Christian movement to edit Wikipedia. Heck Christians can't even agree within themselves, how will they push an agenda.

Same way any group you define too broadly will: Divide into lots of subgroups each of which pushes its own agenda.

how many more people have to die? (5, Interesting)

ZosX (517789) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133659)

no criminal organization should be allowed to hide under the thin veil of religion

if they offer therapy to people for a fee they need to adhere to state guidelines and laws concerning licencing.

"1 Scientology has attempted to operate its Narconon drug
"therapy" program outside of required State licensing or
inspection on a leased "independently sovereign" Indian
reservation outside of Newkirk Oaklahoma. Just this month, after
extensive and costly litigation the state goverment of Oaklahoma
ordered this facility closed."

http://skull.piratehaven.org/~atman/factnet/scnbond2.txt [piratehaven.org]

Its amazing how many people have ended up 6-feet under after becoming a member of scientology:

http://www.badcult.info/watd/ [badcult.info]

Re:how many more people have to die? (-1, Troll)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133837)

no criminal organization should be allowed to hide under the thin veil of religion

You mean like Catholicism? What about pseudo religious fraternal organizations like Freemasonry?

Just because they've been accepted longer than Scientology doesn't mean we shouldn't also scrutinize them as well.

Re:how many more people have to die? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28134053)

that's really an apples and oranges comparison. sure the catholic church is guilty of some horrible shit, but in our life times it's pretty moderate. tarring them with the same brush as SOC isn't fair, either that or your under informed on the SOC policies such as "fair game"

Re:how many more people have to die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133909)

no criminal organization should be allowed to hide under the thin veil of religion

oh! you mean ISLAM?

Irony... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133685)

A Cult of wackjob's bans another Cult of wackjobs... Very Interesting...

Good :) (5, Funny)

Christmas (1294060) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133687)

They were just way too pushy. OMG and I don't even know how they call themselves a church. I'm Catholic and we just go about our own business and don't try to convert anyone or make people believe what we believe.

Re:Good :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133743)

I'm Catholic and we just go about our own business and don't try to convert anyone

Yeah, I swear those Missionaries were just going there to learn more about the local culture!

i'm sorry (2, Informative)

Christmas (1294060) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133813)

OH YEAH! I forgot about them :)

OK, my PARISH doesn't go around preaching to non-Catholics and trying to convert people.

Re:Good :) (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133779)

"and don't try to convert anyone or make people believe what we believe."

hum, maybe less than before ...

Tor? (3, Interesting)

viyh (620825) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133695)

This will only cause them to start using something like Tor or any other method of obscuring their IP. I don't see how an IP ban will be that effective. It only serves to make it much more difficult to prevent them from doing this in the future since the Wikipedia folks could at least know when it was them before due to the originating IP block. Now it will just be random IPs and much more difficult to keep a handle on. It's forcing them to be smarter. Just what we need, knowledgeable religious wingnuts who worship aliens.

Tor already mostly blocked (5, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133773)

TOR exit nodes are already notoriously difficult to edit from:
*You can't edit anonymously.
*If you have a new-ish account that is barely old enough to let you edit semi-protected articles, your account is treated as if it was new when you are connected via TOR.

Re:Tor already mostly blocked (0, Troll)

viyh (620825) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133789)

Tor was simply an "off-the-top-of-the-head" example. There are many ways to obscure your IP.

Re:Tor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133785)

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:PROXY, it covers the problem of open proxies like TOR.

Re:Tor? (1)

viyh (620825) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133873)

As I said, there are many other ways to obscure your IP, such as "ssh -D". Or they could just go home (outside of the Scientology IP block) or get a DSL line from SBC.

Re:Tor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133821)

Wikipedia doesn't allow Tor users to edit.

Can't open stories in FF (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133697)

Anyone else unable to open stories in Firefox? Works fine in IE.

The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.

The network link was interrupted while negotiating a connection. Please try again.

Off-topic: Me too (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133781)

It's been that way for days. The work-around is to click on the number next to "read more" instead of "read more."

That won't work for articles like book reviews where there really is more to read.

Oh, I'm having the problem in multiple browsers.

Scientology and earthlink.net (5, Interesting)

acb (2797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133699)

Didn't the Church of Scientology own (a big stake in) earthlink.net some years ago? Is this still the case? If so, does this mean that this ISP's users will be banned from editing Wikipedia?

Re:Scientology and earthlink.net (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133857)

Yeah.... I believe they originally had ties to management/owners of Mindspring, and that became Earthlink when it was merged with them. So these days, who knows how much influence Scientologists still have over there?

Damn, I hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133731)

that they're ready for the wrath of Tom Cruise.

how long before they sue (4, Funny)

youn (1516637) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133737)

how long before they sue wikipedia because they say what they"re doing is unfair :)

banned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133769)

How ironic, I see a Google ad "Truth About Scientology" instead of the original slashdot article.

disturbing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133817)

that is.

What Science? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28133859)

Scientology is to science what Al Qaeda is to Islam, total fucktards having hijacked a noble precept.

Operation Clambake (5, Informative)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 4 years ago | (#28133901)

For more really really fun and interesting info, go to Operation Clambake. Before you freak about the URL, the URL is real, and so is the guy (Andreas Heldal-Lund, who runs this out of Norway, which is why Scientology has not gotten any legal traction against him yet). I recommend a read, for what little that's worth.

http://www.xenu.net/ [xenu.net]

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