Skutt suit

School files suit against anonymous user(s)

A Nebraska private school has reportedly filed a lawsuit to determine the identity of the person or persons responsible for edits to the Wikipedia article about the school, according to a story published on 22 July by the Omaha World-Herald (subscription required to read the full report).

As reported by the World-Herald, officials from Skutt Catholic High School, a private school located in Omaha, Nebraska, have sued "John and Jane Doe" in Douglas County District Court. The suit claims unspecified damages over edits made from two IP addresses to the school's Wikipedia article. A school attorney said, "These particular edits were really harmful and mean-spirited".

It is not known precisely when the suit was filed, but the court has apparently issued a subpoena to Cox Communications to identify the users of the IP addresses. Cox, which like most internet service providers generally does not disclose such information without legal proceedings, has indicated that it would cooperate with the subpoena.

The reporter, Veronica Stickney, quoted a 13 June edit made by, a Cox IP address, that commented about the school's "ridiculously high" tuition, "awful education", and said most students are "complete idiots". This was its only edit to the article, and although it was reverted by the next editor, Shimgray, the IP was not blocked (it did receive a brief block in February for vandalism to Hannibal and Alexander the Great).

While a number of IP addresses have been responsible for vandalism to the article about Skutt, the suit reportedly focused on only two. Based on the nature of the edits, the most likely other candidate is This IP address made a number of edits to the article, and was blocked indefinitely on 29 April by Shimgray for "repeated explicit allegations of illegal activity". (Shimgray also deleted most of the revision history; currently the article is semi-protected and its history begins with edits on 22 July.)

The user in question had regularly inserted claims about the school's principal beginning in February. On the first such occasion, the claim actually remained in the article for nearly two weeks, as the next user to come along simply marked it as {{citation needed}}. This type of approach to potentially defamatory and unsourced material has been strongly criticized by Jimmy Wales as inappropriate.

The story seemed to imply that the passage written by came from one of the IPs identified in the suit, but this is not confirmed. If it was not one of the two IPs in question, a third candidate would be This IP address made edits very similar in nature to, sufficiently so that one might guess the same person was responsible.

This would be the second lawsuit directly related to Wikipedia content, although so far the Wikimedia Foundation itself has not been a party to either case. The first, a German case brought by a couple whose deceased son has a Wikipedia article, was against the German Wikimedia chapter. In that matter, the court ultimately ruled against the couple's efforts to prevent the publication of their son's full name in the article.

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Article history deletion

Might want to mention that the history of the article before July 22, including all the possibly defamatory stuff, has now been deleted from Wikipedia. Oddly, a 02:59, 11 July 2006 version of the article, which does not contain any negative material but is longer than the current stub, is still available in the Google cache. Oh, the article is now semi-protected. Don't know if you want to mention that, because it's immediately obvious. Casey Abell 16:34, 24 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And it was me who performed the recent deletion and I was the one who performed the protection of the page. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 01:33, 26 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IPs involved

I think that it is more likely that the other IP besides that is involved is, rather than It made very similar edits to and the comments were worse. I probably would have just said two IPs rather than identifying them (no offense to Michael :-) ), but if they are mentioned, I think it should be accurate. -- Kjkolb 10:20, 26 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Based on the structure of the article, it seemed that the first quoted passage, from, came from one of the IPs identified in the lawsuit. It's possible that is not the case, and if so I would agree with your analysis of the likely candidates. While some inference is required, I wanted to make clear, without republishing the allegations themselves, that there is more involved in the case than commentary about exorbitant tuition. --Michael Snow 17:48, 26 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


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