Web encyclopedia Wikipedia has inadvertently blocked people in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar from posting on its Web at least four times since November, computer logs from the site show.
The temporary prohibitions sparked angry reactions from Internet surfers who frequent Wikipedia, which describes itself as the Internet's 12th most popular site and relies on its users to update it with information.
"I hate to tell you this but a country is not a person," one anonymous user posted in a Wikipedia discussion of the block. The user said "99 percent" of Internet users in the tiny Gulf Arab state did nothing wrong and were being unfairly punished.
Wikipedia administrators who were trying to stem an unusually high level of spam and fraudulent posts in Qatar discovered on Monday that all Web users in the country had inadvertently been prohibited from contributing to the site and reversed a block that had been put on an Internet protocol address over the weekend, said David Gerard, Wikipedia's London-based spokesman.