Comments from the target

There are two comments from the page supra, from the person alleged by apparent socks of “Skeptic from Britain,” who had claimed, in his “goodbye” on Wikipedia that he had been outed by real name, and, aside from what I wrote later, he had not been named, but someone else was, thus he was confirming, on Wikipedia, claims by anonymous users (and also lying about it in various ways). This was a form of impersonation socking, with a twist. He was giving up an account with over 4600 edits. Usually his impersonation accounts make a handful of edits. But this had not been an impersonation account, it was a straightforward content-pushing sock, and obvious by the duck test. Seeing the writing on the wall (with his brother’s accusation of me as being this account on Encyclopedia Dramatica, he would see the end of that account’s usefulness coming. Even though I cannot (or will not) file checkuser requests on Wikipedia, others can. This account was doomed, so he turned into a purposeful activity, attempting to make “fringe” advocates look like fools and conspiracy theorists.
The two comments:

Here, I’m quoting the second post, because I want to respond to it interspersed, like a conversation, instead of just adding a single comment on a number of issues in one post after it. And I thank “XXX” for emailing, and for his kind thoughts.

I appreciate you removing my name. Please also remove links to my personal instagram account.

Done.

I am amazed by how deep this rabbit hole goes. I believe the same person smearing you on encyclopediadramatica and “rational”wiki, ect. is the same person behind the attacks on the low-carb diet pages.

Close, but not quite correct. There are twin brothers, Oliver and Darryl Smith. Darryl was the original sock master creating impersonation socks on WMF wikis, and he threatened that if I documented it (as is common on the wikis), he would make sure that I would suffer for it, and all my work would be deleted. There was a point where there was a lull in sock activity, and then the reason appeared. Someone — obviously Darryl — had gone to a lot of work to create the RationalWiki article on me, digging up some quite obscure stuff. It’s only a small fraction of my long-time internet activity (I go back to the W.E.L.L in the 1980s, I was a moderator there, and also a moderator on the Usenet newsgroup soc.religion.islam.) Basically, put in the article was almost entirely what they could find that if one squinted and did not look closely, might look Bad. I was a sysop on RationalWiki at the time, but was quickly desysopped and blocked, that’s a long story in itself. At one point, RationalWiki not only claimed to welcome other points of view, they mostly followed that. That had changed, and largely as the result of the “work” of the Smith brothers, who create impersonation socks and use other devices to suppress disagreement, and the RationalWiki community never was particularly stable. Power had shifted, and not in a good way.

Oliver D. Smith did become involved in the RatWiki article. However that RatWiki article has been toned down, once the Smith brothers were no longer active (and they are not much active lately, there). What Oliver did was to create the Encyclopedia Dramatica article. You can see it in edit history, this is entirely the work of “MrStrong,” who is openly Oliver.

There has long been some level of controversy on Wikipedia over low carb issues, but the much more intense attacks from Skeptic from Britain went beyond what I had seen before. (To be sure, I don’t follow Wikipedia activity much, it is such a sewer, even though there are still editors trying to do a fair job. Most of the best editors have disappeared. In spite of the name (“wiki”, quick), it is horribly inefficient, particularly whenever there is conflict. It can take months to get a single simple change that one would think would be obvious, if factions get involved.

This activity, by Skeptic from Britain, is not difficult to identify as Darryl L. Smith. I have conclusive evidence, but I don’t want to reveal it yet, because I don’t want to give them hints about how to conceal who they are and what they are doing. I will be using the technique, however, to study all their suspected edits. There are some who think that Oliver and Darryl are all the same person (Oliver) and I an interested in finding a more conclusive answer to that question, beyond Ockham’s Razor. Statements from them cannot be relied on without confirmation. Oliver, in particular, has claimed that he was lying about his brother, that it was all lies, at a point where it looks like his brother was trying to de-escalate. Until then almost all attention had been on Oliver, who was much more publicly visible. So Oliver was trying to protect his brother, who is the one who, it has been claimed, was being paid to edit on “skeptical” topics.

If payment is involved, it would almost certainly not be related to low-carb issues, but more to a general anti-fringe agenda. Possible organizations, at various times, would be the James Randi Foundation, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, or perhaps the Guerilla Skeptics. (Notice that Susan Gerbic, the leader of GS, voted to keep the movie Fathead. It’s pretty unlikely, then, that if SFB was being paid by or in association with GS, that Gerbic was involved. The information about payment comes from both Darryl and Oliver at various times (they brag!) and it cannot be trusted. But it’s possible that someone, somewhere, somehow, paid Darryl. Probably not Oliver. Darryl is more “professional” in manner.

But also has created the wildest displays of sock-trolling that I’ve ever seen.

It is a shame so many are attacking you, referring to dramatic, biased pages written to smear you name by the very individual attacking low-carb diets.

There are few attacking me. On RationalWiki, there are quite a few naive users who have accepted the Smith stories, but I am mostly, and especially from people who matter, supported. When I need funding for expenses (such as attending the Rossi v. Darden trial in Florida, or the International Conference on Cold Fusion in Colorado this year), it’s been provided. I am not funded to document the Smith brothers . . . but I haven’t asked. I might be raising funds for legal action in a few months. Money is not the first issue, my time is.

Quote from this page, from “rational”wiki “User:Marky” https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Abd_ul-Rahman_Lomax&oldid=1878895:

Marky would be Darryl.

“Lomax is an advocate of the Atkins Diet, a low-carb fad diet that most of the medical community have rejected as quackery.” – This is exactly how Skeptic from Britain describes the diet.

They use this kind of language routinely. Notice the use of the present tense to describe something that can be fluid and changing. Further, “most of the medical community” has rejected many ideas that were later accepted. That is no proof of anything. Atkins was actually based on known science that went out of fashion in the 1970s, and not based on scientific research, other than the very flawed epidemiological Keyes study. This is one of the ironies of this situation.

On Wikipedia, I came across an abusive, out-of-process blacklisting of a web site. It was lenr-canr.org, which I had known nothing about. I simply saw the admin blacklist it in a very strange way. So I asked him, and he blew me off. This ended up before the Arbitration Committee, and contrary to the expectations of some long-time Wikipedians (friends!), my position prevailed. And then one learns what it can cost to win a case on Wikipedia. If it offends a faction, they then can, over time, nibble you to death. Again, long story. That admin was JzG, who is the one who closed the Kendrick AfD. He should be considered involved on all “fringe” topics. He is also one of the people who probably complained to get me office-banned, though I was not violating policy (and the Smith brothers were blatantly violating it, and the law.)

“Quackery” is one of his most used words in discussion with me and others.

On RatWiki, it’s normal. What’s surprising is to see how often it is used on Wikipedia. It’s a highly judgmental, pejorative term, and, if used in an article, should be specifically attributed. Instead, we will see vague claims like “most scientists consider X quackery.” Which means that some source, somewhere, maybe, wrote that. Comments like that will appear in reliable source. If they are controversy, if the controversy is not resolved, and if there is no clear evidence backing up “most,” it’s deceptive use of sources, but the faction does that all the time. I confronted that when I was an active (and popular in some circles) Wikipedia editor. Yes, that’s what Darryl would write. He seems to believe that there is a profession called “quack doctor.” One goes to “quack medical school” and learns to walk funny. Right?

Gary Taubes has written extensively on information cascades, where an idea becomes “consensus” without ever going through a real consensus process, or being conclusively shown by clinical trials of the necessary rigor. Taubes, also wrote Bad Science, The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion. Valuable reference, and I have had good communication with Taubes. There is work under way that, when it is published, I expect to bring up with him. He is actually interested in real science. The Smiths have no clue what real science would be.

It seems obvious he has a very long history of editing Wikipedia and other Wikis for malicious intent, and has a very long standing feud with you.

You can see the identified sock puppets on WMF wikis on this page.

However, “long standing feud with” me is not accurate. I had not heard of “Anglo Pyramidologist” or the “Smith brothers” before September, 2017, when I found impersonation socking and filed checkuser requests with stewards, nailing them. Who were these people? Clues started to appear and I followed up on them. I was late to the game, there were many others who knew who they were, though this was also mixed with errors, on occasion. They create enormous confusion and others get caught up in it. However, I had a reputation for caution and neutrality. (My work on Wikiversity was to support neutrality by inclusion, rather than what Wikipedia does, neutrality by exclusions. What Wikipedia does is more imp0rtant for an encyclopedia (which should *not* include everything, unless the range is well-defined), and the former Wikiversity policy was more like academia, where anything can be studied and a professor can just lecture. (And on Wikiversity, one can express one’s views, and someone else can express other views, and the structure presenting these would be neutral. This worked, conflict was rare on Wikiversity. Until Darryl started attacking a Wikiversity user and a Wikiversity educational resource. At this point, the old Wikiversity is dead, though pieces of it remain. Again, that’s a long story. I rescued all the deleted content, and we have coldfusioncommunity.net/w, which has a Wikiversity subspace for general rescued content, but for my personal work on cold fusion, the blog is where it’s happening. (This is done with “pages,” not “posts.” Posts are standard blog commentary, chatty, situational. I build long-term content with pages, organized into hierarchies.

I believe most comments attacking you are written by him in various pseudonyms. The man is a pathological liar, as I have discovered from his smear campaign against me.

Yes. I’m covering the comments on the page supra. I’d say most of them do appear to be Darryl. Blog owners can check IP addresses, usually. But Darryl, if he suspects someone will be looking at that information, will use an open proxy or a Tor node. There are still detection methods, but many blog owners are clueless about the nuts and bolts. A clue, though, is a distinctive agenda and language, showing up timely when the brothers would be involved. It is possible that Oliver might show up and make a comment. I do not attempt to classify all socks as Oliver or Darryl, but I do this for major socks that accumulate a record of actions. SPAs that show up, anonymous, and dive immediately into high controversy are always suspect, as they should be.

It appears that some unfortunate author, a woman, got herself involved and socked, arguing against SFB. They love it when people do that, because they can nail them. (And ordinary Wikipedians, not factionally aligned, will support action against sock puppetry. I used to engage with people who did this, attempting to educate them, and it worked, at least sometimes, but most Wikipedians do not have the patience for that. They just want to push block buttons and be done with it, not realizing or not caring that this can create long-term abusers. There are better ways. But the Smith brothers are completely beyond the pale.

Oliver was complaining to me that people were blaming him for his brother’s actions. Which may have been true, to some degree. But he never actually blew the whistle. Asked which accounts were his and which were his brother’s, he claimed that was too much work, and besides, who cared?

I told him that unless he took responsibility for not only his own behavior, but his brothers’ as well, his name was going to be mud. He decided, then to amp up his attacks. Of late, he’s been less successful on RationalWiki and the walls are starting to close in. He’s probably living with his parents and has no assets, so he may not be worth suing, but …. there are some who will file anyway, and defamation is illegal in England. It’s difficult to get the police to act, though.

I am led to believe you are correct in your investigations, very good work.

Actually, there are two parts to my work: one is collecting data, including links for verification. This will be almost totally correct. The other part is interpretation, which is where most errors will be made. If someone wants to know, I’m happy to share what I’ve found, for the basis, and then to explain my conclusions. What has been remarkable about this affair is that compilations that are little more than lists of suspected socks, with reference to contributions and specific events found in the records, are called “lies,” but, asked what specifically was either a lie, or incorrect, they don’t say. If it’s all lies, surely there would be some specific statements that could be pointed to!

Its clear this individual has deep seated, unhealthy hatred against you,

I’m not sure what it is. There are clues in what is massive by now, the edit histories. The Smith brothers attack whoever exposes what they have done. They also attack what they see as racism, fascism, neo-nazism (Oliver) and pseudoscience and fringe science and “quackery.” They readily categorize people as “quacks” or “cranks.” There is contempt for humanity in that. That contempt is a common evil.

Racism is on its way out, is what I’ve seen in my lifetime. It was open and unashamed when I was young. Racism, though, is a form of xenophobia and probably has an evolutionary basis, in tribal identity. To move beyond it will require tolerance, not more hatred. We will, collectively, stand against racism without demanding that everyone agree. We much more need to identify and stand against hatred, not by hating hatred or those who hate, but by creating what moves beyond hatred into communication, cooperation, and collaboration. Someone like Oliver and Darryl are to be pitied and prevented from harming others, but as long as they hold on to the identities they have created, they could not possibly be happy.

and I worry you somehow set him off on this very coordinated against low-carb diets.

No. It was not a reaction to me. He continued his activity on RatWiki until May. His patterns of behavior were familiar, just a somewhat different topic. He probably has no clue about the level of acceptance of low-carb concepts among medical researchers, nor among clinicians. He’s just reacting, knee-jerk, to what some think and write, holding on to ideas that are decades out of date.

What should the encyclopedia show? That’s really up to the project. The public should realize that Wikipedia is not reliable, and that articles may have extensive bias, and if a subject is important, independently research it. The other extreme is to believe everything one reads on a web site. I say, consider these as suggestions, become informed, *and make your own choices.*

If you try to figure out who is “right,” in a field where nobody knows bleep, often, you’ll probably make premature decisions. We will make mistakes, all of us. But we can also learn from them and we can even learn from the mistakes of others, if we pay attention and don’t fall into blame and contempt.

I hope he disappears, but his pathological history of impersonation and fake accounts seems to suggest otherwise.

Oliver has been less careful about libel, and might end up severely sanctioned. Darryl is a more difficult case. You can be pretty wrong and it still not be actionable. And there is the issue of expense.

Thanks for your support.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Anti Spam by WP-SpamShield