For half a day, Wikipedia blocked the country of Qatar from making changes to the online encyclopedia.
In an effort to stop "chronic vandalism and spam," Wikipedia administrators issued the block to a specific IP address assigned to Qatari ISP Qtel. As it turned out, that's the only ISP in the country, so the entire Persian Gulf nation was effectively blocked.
Administrators later set up a workaround to allow Qatari posters to edit the site, and the block was later removed, according to an update from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. But the incident got many bloggers wondering what would happen if they were suddenly shut off from what many now consider vital everyday services.
Blog community response:
"I don't worry about finding myself living in a tiny country like Qatar, with only one ISP providing access to the Internet. But the Qatar incident does make me wonder about the likelihood of individuals (you, me, or the neighbor next door), or small companies, or big companies, or whole communities suddenly finding themselves shut off from specific services or providers that (a) we take for granted, and (b) we've come to depend upon."
--The Yourdon Report
"Jimmy has argued that this is actually a very common procedural part of Wikipedia and only problematic because Qatar's censorious regime strangles the internet for its 165,000 users. So perhaps this is more interesting because it highlights how a net bottleneck can destroy freedom of information for people."
--Guardian Technology Blog
"This raises a number of issues about internet connectivity in small countries and any company allowed to run ISPs in a monopoly situation."
--Column of the Wolf