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Wikipedia Blocks Qatar [Updated] 204

Posted by Hemos
from the the-law-of-unintended-consequenceas dept.
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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Wikipedia Blocks Qatar [Updated]

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  • IPv6 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Watson Ladd (955755) on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:32AM (#17421810)
    It's situations like this that should make small countries upgrade to IPv6. What surprises me is that they haven't already.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by davef139 (790691)
      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.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:53AM (#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.
        • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday January 01, 2007 @11:14AM (#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
          • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by cprael (215426)
              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.
              • by Macthorpe (960048) on Monday January 01, 2007 @12:52PM (#17422652) Journal
                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: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by jc42 (318812)
              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.
            • by simm1701 (835424)
              On the whole I regard wikipedia about as useful as the google search of usenet.

              You can get lots of information, lots of flame wars on anything even remotely controversial and in the end you have to make up your own mind as to how accurate and unbiased it is.

              Atleast wikipedia does cite sources... usually - ho wmuch you trust those sources is another question...
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by KutuluWare (791333)
          Let's show Qatar that unlike Wikipedia, Slashdot is not a haven of ignorance.
          What the hell Slashdot have you been reading?
        • by Mr2001 (90979) on Monday January 01, 2007 @11:55AM (#17422284) Homepage Journal

          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.
        • by Pedrito (94783) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:04PM (#17423636) Homepage
          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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nomadic (141991)
        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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Holmwood (899130)
        First, being geographically small and having a sole ISP has nothing to do with wealth. Second.

        Qatar not able to afford to upgrade to IPv6? And stuck using Win95?

        Uh... respectfully, how did the parent get marked "interesting"? Anyone who's thought about the middle east is well aware that, while it's a small country, "Oil and natural gas revenues enable Qatar to have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world." (CIA World Factbook, 2007).

        We seem good at marking Qatar as UAE, and characterizing it as a
    • Rather, I imagine the proxies are used for censorship.
    • Re:IPv6 (Score:5, Informative)

      by rs232 (849320) on Monday January 01, 2007 @11:06AM (#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 .. :)
      • 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.
    • by MythoBeast (54294)
      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.
  • well.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by macadamia_harold (947445) on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:35AM (#17421820) Homepage
    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.
    • I think the proper name for people who live in Qatar is quaternions.

      Oddly enough, most are really good at math.
  • Impressive... (Score:5, Informative)

    by chazzf (188092) <cfulton@deepthoug3.14ht.org minus pi> on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:36AM (#17421828) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • by goombah99 (560566) on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:54AM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Otter (3800)
        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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nwetters (93281)

          ... 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].

        • Please feel free to correct any and all mistakes I made in the summary, rather than just bitching about it.
      • by Pakaran2 (138209)
        The problem with voting with your feet when it's the government ISP is that few people have feet that can outrun bullets.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      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 mentali
      • I guess we must be vandals and trolls simply because we happened to be born with names in a script unreadable to Western eyes.

        On the Wikipedia designated for the English language, you are expected to contribute text readable by speakers of the English language. What's so hard about picking some transliteration [wikipedia.org] for your username? Even IM-speak [wikipedia.org] would work.

        • Nothing, of course, except for the fact that you can't try to register again for 24 hours after you've been blocked, and in my case the block happened with no warning, and I only learned the reason why after digging in the block log. Also note that I'd made dozens of contributions by this point, in several cases rewriting whole articles.

          Wikipedia admins need to learn that this kind of shit tends to piss people off. No wonder you guys are so afflicted by trolls and vandalism.
          • When you are blocked, you can still post to your user talk page, except in the most exceptional cases. I think administrators can change a non-Latin username [wikipedia.org] on request.

            • You can post to your talk page... where your plea for help will remain, ignored, for the rest of eternity.

              Look, I'm a big fan of the concept behind Wikipedia, but somewhere along the line, the implementation's gone terribly wrong. Wikipedia's administrators really need to chill out when it comes to throwing out bans like candy. It's as if none of them could even imagine they could ever be mistaken, or that once you've been banned, you have essentially no recourse that doesn't involve crossing your fingers a
              • You can post to your talk page... where your plea for help will remain, ignored, for the rest of eternity.

                What makes you think that? The template used to make an administrative request places your user page in a category that the administrators check routinely.

                • What template? How would I have known about it to make the request?

                  Certainly I was never informed of any such template before giving up and leaving with a bad taste in my mouth. But if things have changed in the intervening months, I'll be relieved to know Wikipedia's at least trying to become friendlier to potential contributors.
            • Also, consider: Supposing you actually find the username change request [wikipedia.org] page—I know it's the first time I've ever seen it—how are you supposed to request a change when you're blocked from editing the page? (Insert Matrix reference here.)

              Note that (1) "Be sure that you are logged in to the relevant account. For security reasons, bureaucrats will not effect a name change if the request comes from an unauthorized user or an IP address." and (2) Logging into a blocked account, last I knew, prevents
  • 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.
  • 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
    • Correction (Score:3, Interesting)

      by l2718 (514756)
      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.
  • by MoHaG (1002926) on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:44AM (#17421876) Homepage

    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.

    • by Gldm (600518)
      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 2 [ic.gc.ca]
  • Only anon users (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:47AM (#17421890) Homepage Journal
    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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nwetters (93281)
      Before this story appeared on the front page of slashdot, Qataris were also prevented from creating new user accounts - thus preventing anyone from posting.
    • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:51AM (#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
    • 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.
      • 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.
        • So create an account from another computer outside of the proxy force field, or tunnel out to another proxy. It's not that hard to dodge these autoblocks.
          • No, not too difficult, that is if you spend your entire life being a computer geek. But for the average person whose contributions Wikipedia claims to want, it might not be worth the effort.
            • I can understand the tunnel being geeky, but the easier solution of just leaving the proxied network is simple even for the most technophobic individuals. Obviously this doesn't work for those unfortunate people in countries like Qatar, but this thread was about a school district in Canada. Canada being a first-world country with multiple competitive ISPs, it won't be hard to leave that particular network.
            • by jsoderba (105512)

              What makes you think a less restrictive system would be worth the effort to Wikipedia? There are many, many thousands of casual contributors, but only a fairly small number of people with enough interest and ability to serve as moderators. Your individual contribution is insignificant to the project as a whole.

              I'm not trying to discourage anyone from editing Wiki. Your contribution is still significant to the people reading it. Just don't expect the project to bend over backwards for you.

  • summary wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fëanáro (130986) on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:52AM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by thue (121682)
      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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by GC (19160)
        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.

      • IP edits (edits from users without accounts without accounts) from proxy servers with many misbehaved users should always be blocked.

        Even if the edit is to the account creation log? How are contributors who live in Qatar supposed to create Wikipedia accounts if the country's only ISP's entire IP address space is blocked?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by davidmcg (796487)
      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.
  • by de la mettrie (27199) on Monday January 01, 2007 @11:06AM (#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.
  • by Shipwack (684009) on Monday January 01, 2007 @11:21AM (#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.
  • IT in Qatar (Score:5, Informative)

    by nwetters (93281) <ngourlay.gmail@com> on Monday January 01, 2007 @11:22AM (#17422078) Homepage

    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.

    • by ZorinLynx (31751) *
      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 t
      • Careful, I think you just insulted the Prophet.
      • by jc42 (318812)
        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? ;-)
  • 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.
  • by portwojc (201398) on Monday January 01, 2007 @11:51AM (#17422260) Homepage
    "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.
  • 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 writ

    • by fuzz6y (240555) on Monday January 01, 2007 @02:27PM (#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.
      • by Sax Maniac (88550)
        Or, it clearly follows from the names of Iraqis and Pakistanis. Pick your rule.

        Still, the -ese suffix applied to a country is usually an adjective, and not a noun unless describing a language itself. You don't say "Fung is a Japanese"... a Japanese what?

      • Not to rain on your joke, but there does seem to be a pattern. It looks to be geographical:
        • Israeli
        • Bahraini
        • Emirati
        • Kuwaiti
        • Yemeni
        • Iraqi

        Ok, once I started thinking about it - and looked them up - I realized there are a few asian ones also - not counting Thai :):

        • Pakistani
        • Bangladeshi
        • Azerbaijani
        • Kyrgyzstani

        Maybe it has to do with age. All of these became countries recently in the 20th century - and most of them in the last 30 years.
        CIA Factbook list of all nationalities [cia.gov]

  • by yahyamf (751776) * on Monday January 01, 2007 @12:27PM (#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.
  • by dfoulger (1044592) on Monday January 01, 2007 @12:32PM (#17422518) Homepage

    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.

  • 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 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unforkable (956731)
    Qtel is probably using private ip addresses, and a NAT.
  • 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

  • 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.

    • by mabu (178417)
      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.
  • 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 resp
  • A person who is a citizen of Qatar is called a Qatari, and plural is Qataris.

    Qatarese is wrong.
  • by jwales (97533) on Monday January 01, 2007 @11:39PM (#17428452) Homepage
    I don't know what else to say about it. Wikipedia is not blocking Qatar. An IP number was blocked for about 12 hours. There was an admin discussion about the issue. The IP number was unblocked.

    Move along, nothing to see.

    --Jimbo Wales
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jamie (78724) *

      You wrote on the linked Wikipedia page:

      This IP number was temporarily blocked for less than 12 hours, and a block of an entire nation would go absolutely against Wikipedia policy. In the English Wikipedia, such an action would require approval of at a minimum the English Arbitration Committee and/or me personally, and would never ever be undertaken lightly, nor without extensive attempts at direct negotiation with the ISP and/or nation in question.

      A user who claims to be from Qatar has added, below you

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by jwales (97533)
        Account creation was unblocked when the ip address was unblocked. The admin who originally did the block apologized immediately when his error was pointed out, and the ip address was unblocked. Everything at Wikipedia is done by volunteers who monitor everything constantly. All sorts of things go on, ip numbers are blocked and unblocked all the time. Sometimes mistakes are made and then corrected.

        My point is that a headline of "Wikipedia blocks Qatar" is inflammatory and gives people entirely the wrong
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ral315 (741081)
        As the administrator who unblocked the IP, I can clarify. The account was originally blocked with account creation disabled. Upon recognition that this was Qatar's IP, another administrator allowed account creation, and I removed the block altogether shortly thereafter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      now censored [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't know what else to say about it. Wikipedia is not blocking Qatar. An IP number was blocked for about 12 hours. There was an admin discussion about the issue. The IP number was unblocked.

      According to Wikipedia's own logs [wikipedia.org], "under 12 hours" is totally inaccurate. A block was put in place on 30 December; then 44+ hours later it was lifted and immediately re-established (the comments suggest that this was removal of the account creation ban); then 8 hours later the block was removed. Anonymous editing
  • The problem is that these countries (Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, etc) all censor the net to some extent or another and therefore, their entire population appears to use one IP address. If I do not have a cookie already set, I can not log in to Slashdot from several different countries.

    Since at least one person in any given population is going to be a real jerk, most of these countries are going to find themselves as second class net participants. The only way to avoid this is for each site to accept only indivi
    • by jamie (78724) *

      Um, we do? Please email us, or have someone email us, if there's an entire country that Slashdot is blocking in some way. I think we provide a contact email address on all our "you've been blocked" messages, but just in case you didn't see one, try pater@slashdot.org. Let us know what the IP is and if there's been abuse, we'll handle it, well, pretty much [slashdot.org] the way Wikipedia did :)

      As for not being able to log in, I think that might be something about your ISP. We block anonymous contributions from an IP num

  • A group of Wikipedians has been trying to raise awareness about RFC 1918 private networks among admins and other sysops at Wikipedia. The Qatar issue is just the latest. T-Mobile Hotspots is another big example of these networks. A small group of administrators is trying to hide this information from other admins and even spread disinformation about the issue. You can read user Dmcdevit spreading some crazy disinformation about private networks in this thread [wikipedia.org]. Another admin associated with Dmcdevit, Naconk

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