MIkemikev SPI archive

If you are reading this page on an archive site, be sure to check the original URL for possible updates, corrections, or retractions.

Corrections of errors or misinterpretations are welcome in comments here, but trolling may be moved or, in some cases, copied to a page for such, and trolls have limited rights, and impersonators, none.

This is a review of the Wikipedia SPI archive for Mikemikev, undertaken as a result of references to it from Hatewatch. These are my notes as I reviewed it. “Bill Connors” had written:

The cofounder of Rightpedia is neo-Nazi Michael Coombs who users the name Mikemikev, he writes hit-piece articles about anti-fascists on Rightpedia. On Wikipedia he has 143 suspected socks https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…

That points to a Category:Suspected_Wikipedia_sockpuppets_of_Mikemikev. A more reliable page would be Category:Wikipedia_sockpuppets_of_Mikemikev

Such categories are highly unreliable. It takes one person to add the category, and it sticks if nobody cares to remove it. Most of these are not accounts, what ordinary people will think of as “socks.” The SPI case archive is much more reliable, but even there they often will tag impersonation socks as being the target. Like much Wikipedia administration, it can be very sloppy. Yes, there are 143 user pages in the suspected category, but only 41 are named accounts.

The more definitive category has this introduction for usage:

To add an account to this category use {{Sockpuppet|Mikemikev|confirmed}} if confirmed by a checkuser or {{Sockpuppet|Mikemikev|proven}} if the behavioural evidence makes the link beyond reasonable doubt. IPs may be added to this category using {{IPsock|Mikemikev|confirmed}} if they have been confirmed by a CheckUser and are static.

Wikipedia process does not allow confirmation “beyond reasonable doubt,” and this can be seen in SPI Archive; the fact is that any user may add the category to a suspected sock page, there is generally no review at all, unless a user appeals the block (which is unusual, and sometimes with sock tagging, the user’s ability to edit their talk page is blocked.

The more definitive category has 120 tags. Of these, 49 are IP addresses, leaving 71 accounts, and looking at this, I immediately see socks, that from the SPI case, are certainly not identified “beyond reasonable doubt.” This is common with Wikipedia, I call it an “unfunded mandate” established by policy or guidelines with no structure in place to actually enforce it. Strangely, Wikipedia pretends to protect the privacy of users, but “block evasion” is about the user behind the blocked account, obviously. The contradictions in policy and practice have never been clearly addressed.

The SPI archive shows 110 reports, from the first in 2010 (“unrelated’) to the latest in February 2018 (“unrelated”). I have not studied the entire archive — it’s long — but there were many unrelated accounts reported, and, as well, many accounts that were socks of each other but not clearly shown to be mikemikev (but they will be tagged as such, often, because it’s simple). That high level of unconfirmed reports is indicative of POV enforcement.  People with a strong POV will often report others with contrary POV of being socks of a blocked or banned user. Of highest interest would be recent reports, so, going back a little more than a year:

15_November_2016 likely unrelated.

19_November_2016 confirmed socking, but not specifically to mikemikev, only to other active sleepers. The sock name, Sam Smith 4, could indicate an entirely different user, known to be associated with Oliver D. Smith. To recognise this as plausible, I’d need to study actual mikemikev editing. As pointed out in the SPLC article, that can be a lot of work…. Edit count: Samuel_Smith_4 49 edits over 1 day, clearly disruptive user to attract attention. Checkuser confirmed as sock of accounts previously identified. The POV of those accounts could match mikemike v, but what AP does is to create additional socks that amplify what actual socks do. So I would not rule out a little trip to the Brikbeck library…

10_April_2017 IP blocked based on subject area (which would also match Oliver D. Smith) and geolocation to Birkbeck College could also indicate a Smith brother, it’s close to where they live. This account was an obvious troll looking to be blocked. Nothing here clearly points to mikemikev. Looking back, an impression is shown as to where mikemikev lives. What came from what? These investigations are not intended to definitively identify the real person behind the edits. They are used to decide block/not block, and if an editor appears to be disruptive, they don’t really care who it is, and they can be quite careless about the identification. Tracking edits long-term, on RationalWiki, I found what was apparent mikemikev edits from South Korea, many of them. But the story is that he moved from there. Where to? What evidence is there? I don’t know.

08_May_2017 Ethicosian was blocked. The first checkuser finding was unrelated, but then checkusers reviewed it and coverted it to “Possible.” And so Ethicosian was blocked and tagged. This is often done on very weak evidence, and when biased administrators become involved, it can get crazy. Bottom line, users with a POV hated by the administrator can be in trouble. This user did claim bias. I handled a case of admin bias, successfully. It took an insane amount of work. The structure is highly defective and there is little value placed on careful investigation and the compilation of evidence. Indeed, it is mistrusted, since the common Wikipedia belief is that someone who puts in that kind of work must be biased. In this case, I do not know if the involved administrator is biased. The user did put up an unblock template, most busted sock masters don’t bother. Ethicosian had 25 edits.

13_July_2017  David Mendlesohn 8 edits, all on one day. No sleepers. Some of the behavioral cues used could indicate expertise in a topic (particularly from a point of view. In these archives, an incorrect identifaction can then propagate down the line to subsequent ones. So there is socking, occasionally shown, but the identifications are weak. The level of disruption is not high, compared to many cases I have studied. The identification was weak. This should be realized: if an account has few edits, it is considered that a false identification will do little harm. All this mess is a result of the Wikipedia schizophrenia about anonymous accounts. In my view, real-name accounts should be given far more care. But sometimes “real-name accounts” are actually impersonation socks, because there is no verification process.

14_October_2017  Rupert_the_Frog 69 edits over three days. This edit, mentioned in the SPI, is a common red flag for an impersonation account. They will be defiant, seeking to get themselves blocked; this especially happens when the impersonator is attacking the target elsewhere and wants to use the socking as proof of BAD. Looking at RPF and the IP’s two edits, I don’t think this was Mikemikev, I would suspect an ethnic Russian or the like. The IP geolocates to Riga, Latvia. Diane Diamond  7 edits. My summary: troll. These are not “civil POV pushers.”

17_October_2017 David_Smythe5 This is very suspicious. The account name DaveSmythe was previously tagged as a Mikemikev sock. The difficult kinds of socks do not telegraph who they are, troll socks do. They are blocked quickly on Wikipedia, and are often tagged as the sock master from the SPI.

17_October_2017_2 Emil Kirkegaard is highly suspicious. This is the real name of a common AP target, who has an active Wikipedia account. AP socks would want to get him blocked. I find it unlikely that mikemikev would choose this name, because he may consider Kirkegaard a beneficial racialist or hereditarian researcher. The account only has a single edit, waving the troll flag. The Smith brothers create accounts that edit like this, contrary to their presumed point of view. A purpose of the edit would be to discredit the source referenced as supporting racialism, such that anyone else who points to that source in the future would then be suspected. The discussion demonstrates a dominant bias, using arguments common with the faction. My point is not that they are “wrong,”but that discussion from a minority point of view is suppressed. Blogs are not generally reliable source, but these could be a basis for discussion, and reliable source is not needed to discuss. “Emil Kirkegaard” would be a likely sock of DaveSmythe5, who was blocked at 21:22, 17 October 2017. It is unlikely, then, that either of these were Mikemikev. I suspect them both of being socks of Oliver D. Smith. There are tools that I will be bringing to bear that may provide further evidence on this. If it is true that Mikemikev was known to have edited from the Brikbeck library, Oliver Smith may have edited from there himself, in order to create responses. I have seen no commentary from mikemikev specific to this. No checkuser was reported, which I find unfortunate in these cases, but that failing is common. When I arranged for it to be run by stewards, socks blocked and tagged as a blocked user were found to be actually from an enemy, yet this information never made its way back to Wikipedia. Vekimekim was also added to the report. Mikemikev spelled backwards.The single edit was in-your-face, following an accusation of editing by mikemikev. I have seen this behavior from Oliver Smith or his brother many times, I have documented it extensively on other pages. The interest area, though, would be Oliver Smith.

18_October_2017 tagged Rupert the Great and KirkegaardEmil. These blatant socks are demonstrating an AP pattern, and Anglo Pyramidologist would be a stronger suspicion than mikemikev. It appears that checkuser was not run. Wikipedians have not figured out that it can matter who the master is, all they care about is block/not block, and a block evader should be blocked and an impersonation sock should be blocked. However, if they were to run checkuser, they might come up with sleepers and good hand accounts. In fact, I’ve seen one do that and then shut up, from not wanting to block a good hand, particularly if it is an administrator. I have also seen administrators create disruptive socks and get caught. Massively embarrassing. Many administrators are very young and it’s fun, to create a sock and then block it.

15_December_2017 leading to the block of This is diagnostic. Oliver D. Smith has been impersonation socking. I’m not checking now, but he has been a student at London University. [This was an imperfect memory, and this report was not a demonstration of impersonation socking, but rather was an identification error. Not all “race realists” — as they call themselves — are Mikemikev!]

[about the reports in general] Impersonation socks commonly provide red flags, since their purpose is to get blocked and discredit any arguments or evidence they present. This behavior became very obvious on RationalWiki a few months later, where I was impersonated with many, many socks, that copied text from me and used it to vandalize, and then the sock master listed all these socks as mine in the talk page for the article he had created on me. It worked. The RW community is convinced that I’ve been massively vandalizing that project., when none of my editing was remotely vandalism.

24_December_2017 A10000000000975 was reported by Sro23. The first edit of the suspect was not skillful, but reasonable, pointing to a neutrality problem. The text is not a fully clear representation of what was in the source. “Claimed” can indeed be a scare word, but the replacement text was clumsy. That this was simply reverted without discussion by Sro23 raises some level of suspicion that Sro23 (who clerks SPI cases) is factional. The suspect went on to what might be a common point of view (up to a few percent of the population). The opinions expressed of Wikipedia bias are also common. This was considered not mikemikev. I agree. The user was blocked for 72 hours (which was well within reason), then reblocked indef (which was, my view, offensive, but not necessarily wrong. This was probably a returning user, but I can see the older caution has been abandoned. Long-term, administrators become impatient and over-reactive). Blocking talk page access when it has not been abused is a bridge too far.

12_February_2018 RespectWamen I see no remote indication this was mikemikev, that this was a suspected mikemikev sock is crazy. Once upon a time, in a wiki far awy, the checkusers would not check on unsupported or weak suspicion. I can see that changed. This was tagged as a sock of another user. 

Conclusions. I have not reviewed the early SPI reports. I consider it plausible that mikemikev did sock for a time or on occasion, even substantially is possible. It is very common for users to do that, and especially users who believe they have been targeted for their opinions. However, recent socking was not actually confirmed as being mikemikev. No careful investigations are done on Wikipedia, so an incorrect identification at some point in the long history could have led to many false taggings. The level of alleged sock editing was low and transient.

It is very obvious that some users began reporting suspected Mikemikev socks based on point of view, rather than more specific behavioral cues. So the reality is that there are new users with racialist or racist points of view, some of whom are contemptuous of the politics of Wikipedia. Nobody should be surprised by this!

There are more serious problems, in my view, particularly socking and biased editing from more popular points of view, violating neutrality policy, because these, if allowed and tolerated, increase conflict and inhibit the formation of the only reliable standard for neutrality, maximized consensus. While some minority point of view editors will not be able to participate in civil discussion, seeking consensus (on sources and what is in them, not on conclusions, necessarily!) some will, and when the majority becomes “intolerant of [alleged] intolerance,” for example, the possibility of deep and reliable articles is damaged. There are academics with “rejected” points of view, and generally academics have training and experience in civil discussion.







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