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Wikipedia Blocks Qatar [Updated]

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the the-law-of-unintended-consequenceas dept.

The Internet 204

GrumpySimon writes "Wikipedia has blocked the entire country of Qatar from editing pages. Whilst the ban is due to spam-abuse coming from the IP address in question, the fact that this belongs to the country's sole high-speed internet provider has the unintended consequence of stopping Qataris from editing the wiki. The ban has raised concerns about impartiality — the majority of Al Jazeera journalists operate out of Qatar, for example. This raises a number of issues about internet connectivity in small countries — what other internet bottlenecks like this exist?" Update: 01/02 13:32 GMT by Z : Jim Wales wrote in the comments that the story is 'completely false'. Either way, the ban has been lifted and anonymous editing is once again possible from Qatar.

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IPv6 (3, Informative)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421810)

It's situations like this that should make small countries upgrade to IPv6. What surprises me is that they haven't already.

Re:IPv6 (2, Interesting)

davef139 (790691) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421818)

If a country has a sole isp what makes you think they can afford to upgrade to IPv6, their customers are probably using win95 still.

OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421912)

Lots of people have tagged this story with 'uae'. Well contrary to what you might think Qatar is not part of the United Arab Emirates. It is an emirate and an independent state.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qatar [wikipedia.org]

If you agree that Qatar is not part of the UAE, please tag this story 'notuae' and mod this comment 'Informative' so everyone will see it.

Let's show Qatar that unlike Wikipedia, Slashdot is not a haven of ignorance.

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422016)

Let's show Qatar that unlike Wikipedia, Slashdot is not a haven of ignorance.

Says the guy who uses a Wikipedia link to back up his assertions... : p

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422226)

Just because Wikipedia isn't 100% accurate at all times doesn't mean that it's useless as a source of information, especially very basic information.

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (1, Insightful)

cprael (215426) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422372)

Wikipedias do not have "accuracy" as a misssion. They do have "unbiased". You might note that there is a conflict there.

Personally, I'd rather have accuracy.

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (3, Informative)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422652)

Really? Then you might have to edit the Five Pillars of Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] page to remove this sentence:

"All articles must follow our no original research policy and strive for accuracy"

I mean, if accuracy isn't part of their mission then there's no reason that all their articles must strive to be accurate, right?

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (0, Offtopic)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422870)

and the wikipedia rules are a abused to no end - i stopped editing wikipedia because a group of religiously-motivated individuals managed to use the wikipedia rules to bludgeon every editor who came in an tried to increase the accuracy a certain article. they make sure a bunch of dubious-pro-that-thing research gets cited but almost no anti-that-thing evidence gets cited (there being more of the later, especially since the article doesn't give the body part in question the assumption of innate value every other body part right down to your earlobe gets, and this part is a erogenious zone!).

no, wikipedia is not about accuracy, it's about consensus. Consensus in a community of genital mutilators would be that genital mutilation is good and justified, consensus in a fascism regime is that fascism is good, consensus in a cult is that there was a space ship following hale-bop. Consensus and reality are OFTEN two different things.

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17423214)

Circumcision?

Nipple piercing?

We ache to know.

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (2, Funny)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423968)

If you don't provide a link to the article in question, the situation you describe will continue forever. If you do provide the link then it's possible it will be fixed. It also reduces your credibility significantly to be so vague.

I'm guessing that the article you're referring to is Foreskin [wikipedia.org] which looks reasonably well balanced to me right now.

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (2, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422576)

Just because Wikipedia isn't 100% accurate at all times doesn't mean that it's useless as a source of information, especially very basic information.

Yup; wikipedia is very much like a traditional dead-tree encyclopedia. Not surprising, since that was the basic model from the start. And the acknowledged limitation to "basic" information is why so many wikipedia pages have that list of references and links at the bottom.

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (2, Funny)

KutuluWare (791333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422278)

Let's show Qatar that unlike Wikipedia, Slashdot is not a haven of ignorance.
What the hell Slashdot have you been reading?

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422780)

He must be filtering at +5. And at that, seldom reading any of the comments at all.

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (4, Informative)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422284)

If you agree that Qatar is not part of the UAE, please tag this story 'notuae'
NO! To cancel out the "uae" tag, you should tag it !uae. Please stop adding extra useless tags.

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (4, Funny)

BlueYoshi (670106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422856)

I cant resist to suggest the use of the following tags:

  • !funny
  • !YourBusiness
  • !vatican
  • !mattingHabitOfPurpleTurtles
  • ...

So we can be sure what the story is not talking about. So the article "U.S. Mass Declassified Documents At Midnight" could use the tags !mattingHabitOfPurpleTurtles, !DanceLesson, !FreedomFriesRecipe, !WOWGoldFarming, !KillingOfKittens, !Cthulluh^wd, !takeOverTheWorld^wd, !LOL, ...

What is your favorite nontag?

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (2, Funny)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423142)

What is your favorite nontag?

!nontag

Re:OT: Qatar is not in the UAE (5, Funny)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423636)

Fortunately, I'm not from Qatar, so I CAN edit wikipedia. Give me a few minutes and Qatar WILL be part of the UAE.

Re:IPv6 (3, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422412)

If a country has a sole isp what makes you think they can afford to upgrade to IPv6

Ummm, it's a very wealthy country. They have less than a million people, which is why a sole ISP might make sense, but they're not exactly suffering from poverty.

Re:IPv6 (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422452)

Plus with so few people ipv6 makes no sense for them.

Re:IPv6 (1)

MoHaG (1002926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421902)

It's situations like this that should make small countries upgrade to IPv6. What surprises me is that they haven't already.
Proxy servers is the problem, not a shortage of IP addresses...

I doubt it's a lack of external IPs (2, Insightful)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421972)

Rather, I imagine the proxies are used for censorship.

Re:IPv6 (4, Informative)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421978)

It's situations like this that should make small countries upgrade to IPv6. What surprises me is that they haven't already.

It's a matter of more cables. The recent outages in Asia were exasperated by the lack of redundant routes. You see to save money they only installed the minimum necessary cables as they 'weren't in an earthquake zone'.

--
God is dead - Nietzsche

Nietzsche is dead - God

Nietzsche thinks he's a tulip .. :)

Re:IPv6 (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422606)

> The recent outages in Asia were exasperated by the lack of redundant routes.

I assume you mean exacerbated. I'm not sure what it would mean to exasperate an outage; normally only sentient beings can be exasperated.

Nonetheless, your point is valid. If an entire nation is connected to the internet via one (1) ISP with one (1) link to the outside world and one (1) external IP address, they have larger problems than whether one user's foolish actions can cause them all to be blocked from a particular website (even if it's a fairly major website like WP; and yes, I understand they were only blocked from editing, not viewing, but that's really extraneous to the point).

Re:IPv6 (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422654)

It has absolutely nothing to do with cables. IP numbers label endpoints, notional connections and packets. Not cables. You can push packets from as many different IP addresses as you like down a cable.

Re:IPv6 (1)

MythoBeast (54294) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423722)

While this is definitely a case for IPv6, it's a little more complicated than "Qatar should upgrade". If they upgraded to IPv6, unless Wikipedia serves with an IPv6 server, they would still need to go through an v6->v4 gateway in order to access it. Is Wikipedia ready for IPv6? Here we see the whole chicken/egg issue of IPv6.

In Soviet Russia... (1)

I'm not a script, da (638454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421812)

...the first posts you!

so much for free speech (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421814)

the truth is that wikipedia sucks [encycloped...matica.com] . Did you know the average wikipedia admin is 14 years old? it's true.

Re:so much for free speech (1)

StartCom (1018308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422080)

This explain to me a lot!

"it's true" (1)

weierstrass (669421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422096)

Please cite your sources.

Re:"it's true" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422400)

He read it on Wikipedia, so it must be true!

well.. (4, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421820)

Whilst the ban is due to spam-abuse coming from the IP address in question, the fact that this belongs to the country's sole high-speed internet provider has the unintended consequence of stopping Qatarese from editing the wiki.

Actually, according to wikipedia, the correct word is Qatarded, not Qatarese.

Re:well.. (1)

DanielMarkham (765899) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422286)

I think the proper name for people who live in Qatar is quaternions.

Oddly enough, most are really good at math.

Impressive... (5, Informative)

chazzf (188092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421828)

That an entry from a block log is all it takes to make Slashdot these days. This also means that any concerns have, so far, been raised only in the head of the submitter. Note also that the block was re-tooled to allow account creation, so that only anonymous editing is prevented. Finally, the block is in place for one month, not indefinitely. Nothing to see here, move along.

It's actually a blow AGAINST censorship (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421916)

A state that has but a single ISP has the power of censorship readily available. By blocking this address, even as a side effect it is alerting the Quatarese to their peril. Conversely spam blocking is not censorship but rather the reverse, making public forums protected for the use of real speech. It also forces the the ISP to try to police it's own spam generators to our general benefit. Blocking it at the source is the desired solution. Hopefully people will vote with their feet and a new ISP in quatar will arise and give those folks some choice and protection from censorship.

This is not a bad thing. While the side effect is temporarily drastic, if quatar had multiple ISPS we would not be discussing this at all.

Re:It's actually a blow AGAINST censorship (2, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421974)

A state that has but a single ISP has the power of censorship readily available.

In the case of Saudi Arabia, that's exactly what happens. The whole country is behind a proxy server (or was, last I heard) and it's difficult to block a single abusive user without locking out everyone. That was my first thought reading this story, but Qatar has a vastly different government than Saudi Arabia does and there seem to be the usual accuracy problems with the summary here so I'll decline to speculate.

Re:It's actually a blow AGAINST censorship (2, Informative)

nwetters (93281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422188)

... Qatar has a vastly different government than Saudi Arabia

You are correct in that there is more freedom of expression in Qatar than in Saudi, and the Ministry of Information was abolished in 1996. Unfortunately, QTel has not yet realised [qatar.net.qa] that there is no censorship in Qatar [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:It's actually a blow AGAINST censorship (1)

GrumpySimon (707671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423624)

Please feel free to correct any and all mistakes I made in the summary, rather than just bitching about it.

Re:Impressive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421958)

Yeah.. I learnt more from reading the rest of this slashdot thread than from your dismissive post. Try and remember.. we aren't ALL knowitalls.

Re:Impressive... (1, Informative)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423290)

What's "anonymous" about a publicly visible IP address? Doesn't registering an account on Wikipedia actually make you more anonymous, not less?

And how about the fact that your administrators block people with non-Western usernames on sight, with no warning and no recourse? Once you're blocked, you can't even try to create another username for 24 hours. I guess we must be vandals and trolls simply because we happened to be born with names in a script unreadable to Western eyes.

Ugh. Apologies, but the mentality surrounding the whole project disgusts me.

Hard to block countries (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421830)

It is hard to block a country, they can just use a web proxy to bypass IP blocking and change the PC browser country code to something friendly. Cat and mouse at best.

Re:Hard to block countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421920)

Can you actually edit from behind a proxy? Aren't Wikipedia servers supposed to prohibit this kind of editing by checking if a (open) proxy is being used?

Only one IP for the whole country. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421840)

The article is implying that blocking one ip, wikipedia is blocking the whole country? Does Qatar really only have one IP? Or is it instead the case that any unlucky person in qatar has a chance of coming up with the blocked ip when they dhcp?

Re:Only one IP for the whole country. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422082)

More likely, IPs are dynamically assigned, and Wikipedia banned the entire IP range of Quatar.

I've seen vandals being blocked - this is usually a slow and extremely lenient process, with something like 2-3 offenses tolerated before they start handing out even day-long blocks for a single IP. I'd like to know what this guy did to make it necessary to prevent him from coming back for a month.

I don't know about spammers though, they might be blocked more quickly.

Re:Only one IP for the whole country. (1)

Archeopteryx (4648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423226)

Nope! Only ONE IP address for the whole country.

They who make the bed ... (1)

l2718 (514756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421864)

This seems to be a technical weakness of Qatar's method of filtering the web access of its citizens. For a website which is accessible to everyone can, the IP address is the only way to distinguish visitors from each other. Now if the government of Qatar decided to hide all its citizen's IP addreses behind that of a proxy, then the citizens of Qatar should not be surprised when they cannot be distinguished from each other by web sites. Persumably Qataris who have Wikipedia user accounts (logons) would be able to edit anyway -- and others can petition their government to change its internet policy.

Correction (2, Interesting)

l2718 (514756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421896)

A "Technical Note [wikipedia.org] " on the talk page clarifies that the blocking of an IP address includes a ban on creating new user accounts. There's no discussion of what happens with existing accounts though.

Proxy servers to blame (4, Informative)

MoHaG (1002926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421876)

If Wikipedia's information on the linked page is correct, the reason that the entire Qatar is blocked, is that it is the ip of a proxy server...

It is common practice for ISP's in countries with limited bandwidth to transparently proxy all HTTP traffic in order to save bandwidth

South Africa's SAIX [wikipedia.org] does the same. However they have several proxy servers doing load sharing, which cause even more problems with sites that associate session information with one's IP. Online games preventing the trading of items by users on the same IP is also problematic.

Sites offering access on an alternative port in addition to 80 would offer a solution.

Re:Proxy servers to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422122)

"Transparently" is the key and obviously Qatar is not doing this. Qatar is censoring internet access and maybe they even censor the content of POST requests.

Re:Proxy servers to blame (1)

MoHaG (1002926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422570)

I meant transparent for users, not the destination servers.

An example of instructions to set up squid in this way can be found here [linuxdevcenter.com]

Except for potential error messages to users (such as a cache access denied message) this kind of proxying is transparent to the user.

SAIX does this as well, but the only errors ever seen is a few "Gateway timeout" messages.

Re:Proxy servers to blame (1)

Gldm (600518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423760)

Yup! Though previously when I've mentioned this to ./ before figuring it out, it was ignored by askslashdot and help emails, or I was told I have no idea what I'm talking about by people who "obviously know more about SA's networks" than I do.

IPv6 as mentioned by the poster up top won't solve issues like this. Paying $10/GB of traffic per month is the problem, not address space. Oh and despite what Telkom tells you, it's not that there's too much traffic for their poor transoceanic cables. Currently, just 25 percent of the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE capacity is being used. [ic.gc.ca] This is due to incompetence in negotiating reasonable peering agreements. Oh and I've priced the cost to lay a new line from the west coast of SA to say, Florida with AT&T laying the cable. It's about R4bn. Telkom makes more than that in profit per year, they could afford more capacity (and more is coming to the continent anyway), but since that's not the problem it won't solve anything. They just keep using it as an excuse to charge the 2nd highest rate for broadband in the world and pretend they're not still a government-owned monopoly.

While Eskom has built a second fiberoptic net (which has been lying idle a couple years now, thanks ICASA!) to service the local infrastructure, I think they'll still run into the same issues at the international gateways.

Only anon users (5, Insightful)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421890)

Having read the page, it looks as if the Slashdot article may be incorrect. Users operating from that IP address and who are not logged in have been denied editing privileges due to abuse.

This is a far lesser issue, it's more accountability than censorship.

Re:Only anon users (3, Informative)

nwetters (93281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422118)

Before this story appeared on the front page of slashdot, Qataris were also prevented from creating new user accounts - thus preventing anyone from posting.

You want Slashdot readers to actually RTFA??? (1)

redstar427 (81679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422186)

You may be asking too much. :P
I think many Slashdot readers will have an opinion based on the title of the posting. :)

Re:Only anon users (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422660)

If I were the Bush administration, and I wanted to know who was writing "propaganda" on Wiki, this still works for me.

Re:Only anon users (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423322)

Um. Given that anyone can create as many usernames as they like (without even supplying an email address!), so long as the name is Latin-based, how is a username on Wikipedia any less anonymous than an IP address?

It's telling that Wikipedia's conception of "accountability" and "anonymity" are flawed at such a basic level.

Re:Only anon users (1)

Constantine Evans (969815) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423992)

The term "anonymous account" is used in some policy documents, and thus continues to be used to refer to IP users, even though the majority of users will readily agree that user accounts provide better anonymity. The term is more an oddity of a large bureaucracy than an example of ignorance.

Wikipedia also blocks a Canadian School District (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17421904)

The entire Calgary School District 192.139.27.18 is blocked and they are the biggest School District in Canada
yes it is because of vandals (at other schools) but still I cannot do anything and Im not trying to vandalize but only add good content

Re:Wikipedia also blocks a Canadian School Distric (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422272)

Quite many schools are blocked because of misuse (you have always those "funny" boys). However, you can in most cases use your account.

Re:Wikipedia also blocks a Canadian School Distric (3, Informative)

sinclair44 (728189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422436)

Exactly. The same happened for my school district; I wrote a note that it was a school proxy server on the IP's talk page, and they modified the block to only apply to unregistered users. Make a note and I'm sure they'll do the same for you.

Re:Wikipedia also blocks a Canadian School Distric (1)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422632)

Assuming the block on your school district is the same type as the one being discussed here, you can still "add good content". You just need to create a Wikipedia user account and do it while logged in. The block only stops contributions from non-logged-in users.

Re:Wikipedia also blocks a Canadian School Distric (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423372)

Good luck trying to register a username if you find yourself on the wrong end of a mistaken block. Neither is there any way to contact anyone who might be of any help--remember, you can't edit talk pages either.

And this is the way things are supposed to work, according to Wikipedia's admins.

summary wrong (4, Informative)

Fanro (130986) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421906)

Wikipedia has blocked anonymous contributions from one IP, which happens to be a proxy from that country.
Users can still edit wikipedia throught this proxy by creating an account and logging in.

Creating a wikipedia account only requires a (throw-away) email, and is actually more anonymous, since your IP will not show up in the public logs if you are logged in.

Re:summary wrong (2, Informative)

thue (121682) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421938)

I also checked the fact, and came to the same conclusion. Mod parent up.

I am a Wikipedia administrator, and I think this block on IP edits is completely correct. IP edits (edits from users without accounts without accounts) from proxy servers with many misbehaved users should always be blocked.

Re:summary wrong (2, Informative)

GC (19160) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422410)

Actually, Gibraltar was recently blocked by Wikipedia in the same way and this has nothing to do with transparent proxies (GibTelecom do not use Transparent Proxies for their corporate flexiband links on which I came across this same problem recently). Trust me - I know a fair bit about transparent proxies.

While possibly being logged in will allow editing of pages - that may be so for Qatars.

Re:summary wrong (2, Informative)

davidmcg (796487) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421960)

But as it says in the linked to post it's impossible to create a new account when logged in through the proxy, however, existing account holders should be fine.

Some additional info... (4, Informative)

de la mettrie (27199) | more than 7 years ago | (#17421982)

...on this block:
  • Affected Qataris can still edit Wikipedia if they open a Wikipedia user account, which is a no-confirmation-required one-click action. Only anonymous editing is being blocked.
  • The duration of this "soft" block is currently one month, and will probably be prolonged if there is more repeated vandalism and spam coming from this address once the block expires.
  • Anonymous reading of Wikipedia is of course not blocked at all.

Thanks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422062)

This past year of 2006 Anno Domini has seen much abuse and stress-testing of my Ironimeter XK.

Mercifully, upon reading "impartiality", "wikipedia", "censorship", "editing", and "al-Jazeera journalist" all in one fell swoop, the old beast exuded the last of its magic smoke.

I will now purchase the latest and most robust version of irony meter that I can find. I will not skimp on extra features, nor will I forego the rust-proof undercoating (those Colecos will rust up on you), in order to continue to enjoy one of the greatest satirical news sites ever: Slashdot 2007.

Regarding others blocked, there's Slashdot/Bahrain (4, Interesting)

Shipwack (684009) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422068)

I was stationed in the Kingdom of Bahrain for a few months, and apparently most of the country's internet goes through its University, which is (or was) blocked by Slashdot for some reason. I could access the site, but not login, even after I sent email to the Slashdot admins as instructed. Not very important in the grand scheme of things, just annoying at the time.

Re:Regarding others blocked, there's Slashdot/Bahr (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422822)

Isn't Bahrain the location of the guy who was posting off-topic comments during Pete Townshend's pedophilia trial?

You don't want to mess around when it concerns ol' "Rough Boy" Pete.

IT in Qatar (4, Informative)

nwetters (93281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422078)

So, the problem appears to be fixed. Users can now register for accounts. Thank you slashdot front page (Kjkolb [wikipedia.org] ) ;)

The problem came from QTel censorship [qatar.net.qa] . Every connection passes through a QTel proxy server, which uses some simplistic rules to determine whether you should be protected from your own surfing habits. If you hit blocked pages too often, your phone rings and when you answer in English you get "I'm sorry, I must have a wrong number. CLUNK." Thus your voice has been recorded for posterity.

The shambles of Qatar's connection might be fixed soon. Q-CERT [qcert.org] has just been set up and (hopefully), someone with a bit of influence will be in charge. It is obvious that a single point of failure for an entire population's internet connection is not sensible, but whether this means a better censorship system or the scrapping of censorship remains to be seen.

Re:IT in Qatar (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422462)

I'd think the best way to fix this would be to simply allow citizens to view whatever content they want without restrictions.

Afterall, each person should be the judge as to what they want to look at or not, right?

Or are they afraid of folks learning about new political ideas? Or *gasp* looking at pornography to entertain themselves harmlessly in the privacy of their own home?

Censorship is such a pointless ultimate abuse of power. And I bet the leaders do it so they can get that warm fuzzy feeling in their testicles that they're exerting their testosterone-induced dominance over the hapless populace. Because of course, you can't let people look at what they want to look at; that would make too much sense!

Idiots. Same goes for the Chinese officials and any other country that censors Internet access.

-Z

Re:IT in Qatar (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422602)

Careful, I think you just insulted the Prophet.

Re:IT in Qatar (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422684)

I'd think the best way to fix this would be to simply allow citizens to view whatever content they want without restrictions.

You misread the story. Wikipedia isn't blocking reading; they're blocking anonymous edits. People in Qatar can read wikipedia without any blocking. (At least none from wikipedia.) They just can't edit wikipedia content without first identifying themselves.

Remember the story a while back when wikipedia blocked edits coming from the US Congress's address? ;-)

Re:IT in Qatar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422816)

I'm really glad NOT to live in a 3rd world wookie country like Qatar and I bet a hundred camels that you are not a Qatari but some indian hired to do IT there.

You suck.

So why doesn't Qarta just the stop the spammers? (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422110)

I work for a company that filters spam. We have to block big blocks of spammers now and again. To get off our blocked list, companies just have to stop the spammers. It usually just take a few days.

Please loose the excuses (3, Insightful)

portwojc (201398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422260)

"The ban has raised concerns about impartiality"

Don't mask it with that or any other excuse. It's not Wikipedia's fault that they have only high speed provider who can't fix a simple problem.

ISP:
Problem: User X is abusing other networks.
Solution: Account is turned off.

Yes it's that easy if laziness weren't involved. This is exactly like those who whine when their network gets listed on an RBL. Where do those who are blocked go? They whine to the RBL or since they, the RBLs, aren't going to listen the world. They should complain to their network provider - it's where the problem is.

Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422262)

You can very easy disable whole Russia. There is only one ISP who connect whole country with outer world.

Re:Russia (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422936)

You can very easy disable whole Russia. There is only one ISP who connect whole country with outer world.
what are you talking about? blocking a carrier is not the same as blocking some ip space. for wikipedia to block golden telecom they would have to block huge ip spaces also... is that so different from blocking the isps in the uk, ukraine, china, for example? anyone in russia can get some ip space, just the same as someone in europe (ripe), or arin(america). anyone, can route an ip block via whatever routers they want, so your comment is rather pointless.

http://www.ripn.net/ix/en/ [ripn.net]

Like the goddamn arabs need to edit a wiki (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422270)



They gots islands to build and killings to do

Not in support of censorship (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422342)

Qatar, and all of the other arab/islamic governments censor what their citizenry can see. This leads to "news" organizations such as al-jazeera arising, and "reporting" bile-laden "stories" as "independent reporting". This "reporting" seems to follow the government line in most cases, and terrorists lines for the rest of the cases.

You can get spoon fed from the government, or the terrorists. Great choice.

Wikipedia solved the issue by requiring a non-anonymous login to edit. They may need a slightly more nuanced version. We in the west often view this as a great way to hold people accountable for what they write. Unfortunately, so do governments that are, well, not that interested in little things such as free speech, freedom of expression, and related terrible western-imperial concepts. Thus such governments tend to crack down on their people who have the temerity to post what they see and think. Imagine what would happen to the governments if people actually started to freely comment and criticize the government. Heaven forbid!

This is why the bloggers in Egypt have been arrested. This is why bloggers across the arab/islamic world have been threatened when they dare criticize the existing order, policies, governments. This is why media organizations tow the government line so hard. This is why we need to come up with a mechanism to enable them to post real content without fear of retribution. Censorship has many forms. Physical intimidation is practiced regularly by the governments in their corner of the world. Arrests, detention, spying all in the name of preservation of the repressive governments.

We need to figure out how to help them get the tools of communication without enabling others to take that away from them. Wikipedia is one such tool. We need others.

For comments on some topics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17422794)

a negative score == a positive score.

While the problem with Wiki in this case is technical, it starts with handshake deals (corrupt government) and a desire to control the flow of information. Do you really think Qatar has only one ISP because of supply/demand economics?

Don't write if you don't read (1, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422418)

unintended consequence of stopping Qatarese from editing the wiki
Those from Qatar are Qatari. Plural is Qataris. "Qatarese", while sounding the same, would actually be the language of Qatar, if they did not speak Arabic and such a thing actually existed. This is a classic error made by someone who doesn't read much, or doesn't understand what he reads. At the risk of sounding trite, I will repeat what every professional writer says to every aspiring writer who asks what the best preparation is for writing: read a lot. If nothing else it will give you a grasp of the written language you simply cannot get from conversation. It helps you avoid stupid errors like using "should of" instead of "should've"/"should have", or "Qatarese" instead of "Quataris". A final hint for those who think simple conversational literacy ensures adequate writing skills for submitting written articles:
IT DOESN'T, YOU TARDS!

I'd complain about the lack of editing skills on the part of the Slashdot guys, but we already know that when they say "editor", what they really mean is "monkey trained to click a button when a text blurb makes him grin."

Re:Don't write if you don't read (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422838)

They're Quatards.

Re:Don't write if you don't read (3, Funny)

fuzz6y (240555) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423404)

Those from Qatar are Qatari. Plural is Qataris. "Qatarese", while sounding the same, would actually be the language of Qatar, if they did not speak Arabic and such a thing actually existed. This is a classic error made by someone who doesn't read much, or doesn't understand what he reads.
You're right, of course. This isn't a case of someone just not knowing a single obscure English word, it's a failure to intuit and apply a universal rule of the language. I mean, if there's one thing English has, it's simple, consistent rules. It clearly follows that they'd be called Qataris from the names of other peoples that everyone has heard of, like the Chinis, Japanis, Sudanis, Portugis, and Burmis.

/. does the same thing (2, Informative)

yahyamf (751776) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422482)

Slashdot blocks logins from the UAE as well most of the time. I have to use an http proxy to post comments. Several other sites do the same thing. The whole country's traffic goes through a handful of proxy servers, which are used by UAE's infamous monopoly ISP [etisalat.ae] to censor content and block VoIP calls.

Some Context: Blocking Wikispam (4, Informative)

dfoulger (1044592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422518)

I can't speak for Wikipedia's spam blocking process, but I operate a Wiki that is well known enough to get a lot of spam. I block that fairly effectively. Seven pieces of true spam have gotten through over the two and a half years since I implemented the first version of my spam blocking, but I had almost half my site overwritten at one point before that, so I take it pretty seriously. I fully understand why many Wiki owners have decided to make their Wikis read only rather than deal with it and why others have resorted to required logons, confirmations of the existence of a human, and other measures. Some useful factoids:

  1. The volume of Wikispam attacks on my site more than doubled last month. I'm sure that Wikipedia gets a great deal more volume than I do and that they probably saw a similar percentage rise.
  2. Most Wikispam is focused on raising the Google ranking of one or more web sites. In the past a huge portion of the volume has been focused around pornography sites. This months most commonly advertised site is a search engine called Rollyo. Minor editorial: please boycott that search engine and its associated blog.
  3. Wikispam has a fairly predictable content and submission profile. While many Wikis have resorted to logins and address blocking, I've found the content so predictable that I actually removed my IP-based address blocking last month.
  4. One of the more predictable aspects of Wikispam is that it is often generated from many machines via robot attacks. One presumes that the attacker is not paying to use all of these different machines (e.g. that the machines have been hijacked).
  5. The middle east (and more specifically, Quatar, Kuwait, and the UAE in general) has proven to be a major source of robot attacks. I don't know if this means anything, but it suggests that machines in that part of the world are either poorly secured or have been effectively targeted by robot builders. I also get a lot of robot attacks through (presumably South) Korea.

I don't want to make any great claims, at least in part because I don't want to increase the attack frequency on my site or get slashdotted, but my software has been very effective in blocking almost everything that the spammers throw at me. I don't currently block any countries and am reluctant to publicly reveal the rules I use for the blocking, but do block about a dozen IP addresses that have been used enough to suggest that they are directly associated with individual spammers.

Thailand (1)

GerardM (535367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422662)

Not only Qatar but also Thailand has large ISPs that are being blocked with some regularity. It is certainly not an isolated issue.
Thanks,
      GerardM

rfc1918 (2, Insightful)

unforkable (956731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422732)

Qtel is probably using private ip addresses, and a NAT.

Re:rfc1918 (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423028)

Qtel is probably using private ip addresses, and a NAT.
this is a good thing as it's easier for the ISP to organise their own network infrastructure space.

Duping Wikipedia into censoring your citizens (1, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422850)

Great, now all an authoritarian country has to do is have the state-controlled ISP flood Wikipedia with spam.

Wikipedia blocks that country's editors.

Editors cry "censorship."

Wikipedia blames ISP for allowing spam.

ISP says "they will look into it" but conveniently never fixes the problem.

On a side-note, Wikipedia should allow editors who are registered, provide a valid email-address, and can prove they are human to continue to edit from all blacklisted IP-blocks except perhaps those known to be used only by troublemakers.

Re:Duping Wikipedia into censoring your citizens (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17423320)

Listen retard. Wikipedia only blocked anonymous editing. If those from Qatar who were blocked (i.e., never took the time to login) really want to edit it then they simply need to subscribe to a wikipedia account, login and then they are free to edit whatever they wish.

On a side note, your bitchy brainfart about what wikipedia should or should not allow is wikipedia's default policy since... ever.

At least try to get a clue about what wikipedia is before trying to write anything about that. Retard.

Spam Abuse (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17422894)

If Qatar get's whacked as a nation I don't really care. It's because of their flagrant disregard for the number one problem on the internet today. SPAM.

And it wasn't Qatar that got whacked. It was their only ISP that got whacked. How is this any different from blocking res.rr.com? Answer: It's not. It just happens that they don't have a lot of other ISP choices out there. Too bad.

I have no sympathies for any nation that tops the list of spam abuse and I have no sympathies for ISP's that have no real controls on spam abuse. It's a huge problem and it will continue as long as companies/nations believe that they can run spam through their doors without ramifications.

This is why anonymous editing is bad (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423018)

Wikipedia wouldn't have this sort of problem if they implemented a policy where you had to register an account in order to edit. Then they could block offending accounts and impose a temporary block on new account creation from an IP address or range whenever a problem arose. This would allow all the established editors to continue editing even if they share an IP address with an entire flotilla of spammers/vandals.

Re:This is why anonymous editing is bad (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423096)

You've obviously never run PhpBB, or any other popular system that requires registration to post content.

The most effective server-side solution is keyword blacklisting. User registration is easily bypassed. However, IP blacklisting is also a very good option and has the added benefit of putting pressure on the offending ISP to control the illegal and unethical behavior of its customers.

al jazeera connection (1)

updatelee (244571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423044)

I don't see the connection here, because qatar's isp is having issues with some punk editing wiki pages, and because many of al jazeera's reporters live in qatar, means their impartial ? i don't get it.

so ...

the unibomber being from the usa makes all citizens of the usa terrorists ? or does it imply only that cnn is impartial ? I don't get it.

This is a very good thing (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423072)

The reason why there is spamming is because the ISP is irresponsible and doesn't enforce its own terms of service among its users. In lieu of rogue ISPs (which also include domestic ones like Comcast, AT&T and others) the only realistic alternative is to wholesale ban their IP space until they get their act together and start clamping down on the illegal activities of their customer nodes.

It sucks this has to be done, but there's no other way, short of civil/criminal prosecution, to make them take responsibility for the behavior of their customers who are wreaking havoc on the rest of the Internet.

Re:This is a very good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17423336)

I actually do not know very many ISPs who will get involved in these types of disputes.

Do you think that SBC gives a rat's ass when some jackass gets the entire local region of DSL subscribers a pink page ban from Slashdot?

There is a fine line between some website and a petty dispute over customer behavior and actual spamming. Most ISPs don't want to get involved with a political disagreement that results in abuse emails complaining about SPAM. I think the same goes for Wikipedia vandalism or mere violoation of Wikipedia rules (that may not normally be classified as SPAM). Does the typical ISP want to get involved in that mess? I think not. I'm sorta glad too. To think of all the flamewars I have gotten into with threats of calling my ISP over my opinions and arguments.

Therefore, I think it is up to Wikipedia to become as clever and judicious as possible to deal with the problem the best they can.

Perhaps, in situations like this, Wikipedia could implement a "screened edit" process where you can still edit articles, but a Moderator has to screen the edit before it can be applied to a page. This way, innocent people are protected, and spammers will not ruin the encyclopedia.

re: Wikipedia Blocks Qatar (1)

spiderbatman (1045614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423476)

I have faith that Wikipedia will resolve this problem. We should sympathize Wikipedia for they have made such great projects for the benefit of all the people, and the Qatarese people for they are no longer able to access this website, this great source of information, all because just a few very malicious indivisuals try to sabotage this great effort of making this project.

We should give moral support to Wikipedia and the Qatarese people, and give our best wish to them that one day this problem will be resolved.

By the way, the author of this article should say 'Wikimedia' instead of 'Wikipedia', right? Because Wikipedia is the name of the encyclopedia, and Wikimedia is the company that manages Wikipedia. (Maybe I should write 'Wikimedia' instead, too.)

Wikiedit (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17423832)

If they want to edit Wiki so bad, they can dial up the old modem and do so slowly.

Qataris not Qatarese (1)

kbahey (102895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17424104)

A person who is a citizen of Qatar is called a Qatari, and plural is Qataris.

Qatarese is wrong.
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