Wikipedia and internet police (I)

Wikipedia is obviously not an « alternative » encyclopedia. Jimmy Wales is going to participate to the e-G8 (internet G8) next week in Paris, together with representatives of the main internet corporations. As its site specifies, the e-G8 is being organized « at the initiative of Monsieur Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic and the current President of the G8 ». Precisely, the situation of the internet in France has became very controversial in the recent years with the HADOPI legislation. More globally, growing threats to internet freedom in the world are often denounced. What can citizens think, in this respect, about the role of Wikipedia ? A first obvious question needs to be raised : that of Wikipedia organization, where a set of anonymous administrators, apparently without any editorial board, can block users and net surfers on ill-defined grounds that appear in practice directly related to the opinions expressed in discussions and refer to criteria based on suspicion. The anonymous Wikipedia administrators, whose possible conflicts of interests cannot be investigated, even use the so-called « duck test » supposedly enabling to « identify an unknown subject by observing that subject's habitual characteristics ».


The « duck test » is openly declared as a test based on « suspicion » :

and is defined by Wikipedia as follows:

The test implies that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing that subject's habitual characteristics. It is sometimes used to counter abstruse arguments that something is not what it appears to be.

(end of quote, according to Wikipedia : « Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details ».)

Such a « test » has been recently invoked to block our Wikipedia account :

on the grounds of alleged IP similarities. One can read in particular :


Please see Wikipedia's policies on sockpuppetry. It is not allowed to edit while logged out, pretending to be someone else, as you appear to have done here. This is especially true when your own account has been blocked. Please do not edit Wikipedia until your block runs out or is lifted. Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:33, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

A large set of IPs from (block user · block log · WHOIS) is now editing at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Superbradyon (2nd nomination) since your block. These IPs are presumably you. Your block is extended by another week for evasion. EdJohnston (talk) 17:39, 15 May 2011 (UTC)


Like in the natural sciences, we work by inductive reasoning and we're doing the best we can. What helps our identification is that all of those IPs say exactly the same thing you're saying, with the exact same mannerisms in coding, in exactly the same kind of language. We may not be rocket scientists, but we have a test: Wikipedia:The duck test. Good day. Drmies (talk) 03:26, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

(end of quote, similar mention as before for the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

The anonymous Wikipedia administrators also blocked all IPs beginning by 83.199, so that a net surfer connecting to the Wikipedia (in English) for any purpose could find this explanation :

You are currently unable to edit pages on Wikipedia.
You can still read pages
, but you cannot edit or create them.

Editing from has been disabled by EdJohnston for the following reason(s):

Abusing multiple accounts: Block evasion. Apologies to anyone making good-faith edits from the same range. Consider creating an account.

This block has been set to expire: 17:29, 18 May 2011.


(end of quote, some mention as before Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

Actually, no use of multiple accounts could be claimed, but just IP similarites between our connections and those of some net users. By looking at the archives, one readily discovers that the Wikipedia administrators often use IP similarities to arbitraily« compare » users and net surfers whose contributions do not agree with their own view of the subject discussed. Then, a geographic nearness leads to the « suspicion » and is used to block users and internet addresses.

The user or net surfer blocked in this way will not be in position to get any information on the identity and IPs of the anomymous signatures that appear as corresponding to Wikipedia administrators.

Thus, Wikipedia and other supposedly « citizen » sites seem to be setting the grounds (including special « vocabulary ») of real and very dangerous internet police procedures that should be further analyzed. An internet police laboratory ?

Indépendance des Chercheurs


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