Skeptical

Update: Skeptical added this comment to the Article on me created by an Anglo Pyramidologist sock.

RationalWiki conspiracy theory

Lomax was perm-banned from RationalWiki for doxxing and trolling.[36] He now uses his personal blog to spread a paranoid conspiracy theory and misinformation that a group of RationalWiki editors who live in the same house (yes, you read that correctly) created and edited his RW article.[37]

Note 36 is a reference to my RW block log. It shows:

  • 15:06, 26 October 2017 Skeptical (talk | contribs) changed block settings for Abd (talk | contribs) with an expiration time of π×infinity! (account creation disabled, cannot edit own talk page) (repeated doxxing as well as harassment, now attacking rationalwiki users on his personal blog)

Skeptical knows that nobody is banned from RW “permanently” simply on the action of a single wet-behind-the-ears sysop. There is the Coop for that, and the last thing these trolls want to do is call attention to this on the Coop. I’ve been thinking of doing it, but … not yet. But AP socks care nothing at all about truth, nor about rationality, they care about revenge and attack.

Note 37 is a link to the overall RationalWiki page here. They have an article on me, I return the favor. Pages are not actually blog “sections”, butare places for developed content. That content might be moved about. Of course, with a known incoming link, I’ll keep it where it is or create a redirect.

What I did on meta was begin to document the Wikipedia, Wikiversity, and meta sock downpour, and I was massively attacked there for it. Then the RationalWiki article was written, fulfilling a threat to retaliate. This is no “conspiracy theory,” it’s an actual confirmed sock family, with clearly visible behaviors.

No, I did not claim that a “group of RationalWiki editors “live in the same house.” What the record shows is that there are apparently two brothers who at some points have edited wikis from the same IP address, and there is information that, at one point, they were living with their parents — or one of them was at college and was visiting home. I am not certain that any information I have on these brothers is reliable, but they are considered as if a single user on Wikipedia, and so too were all the attack socks on Wikiversity and Meta. I do not know if there is only one person, or two; but early in the history one brother (the one who had the account Anglo Pyramidologist) claimed that the massive numbers of socks were being created by the other brother, and actually asked that the IP be blocked to prevent it. In a later SPI report on Wikipedia, this brother asked that his brother be checkusered, to discover how many socks he had.

There is also a possible sister who was caught by checkuser on Wikipedia. (One of the socks mentioned the sister. The writing style of the sister is different, as far as I’ve seen. This is  HealthyGirl, who was blocked purely on checkuser evidence, which easily could occur if accessing the internet from the same house (using the same service provider), or even more if using the same computer. This supports the “same family” interpretation. This “sister,” however, shared a similar interest, but did not, as far as I’ve seen, edit disruptively (which is why there was no complaint). See the SPI case.

The case for HealthyGirl (and a pile of other socks of GoblinFace, later merged with the AP sock archive), was filed by Opabinia Regalis, who gained checkuser rights in 2015 when elected to the Arbitration Committee. No evidence was shown, but it is a practical certainty that this checkuser already knew and was filing the case as a formality.

Krelnik defended HealthyGirl . Krelnik is Timothy Farley, a well-known skeptic. I am not investigating Krelnik here, but there are possible connections to the Smith brothers (who claimed approval and association with a well-known skeptical organization, which could match Farley).  (I have as yet seen no disruptive editing from Krelnik, and even the opposite. From one of his own blogs, he is a pseudoskeptic, but that is fairly common and no offense.)

Also defending HealthyGirl was another user who left a comment without signing it:

Healthygirl is not anglopyramidologist, you can clearly see that two or more users have used the same or similar IP addresses. I know for a fact they are not the same person because I know who healthygirl is. Not that it matters because they were abused with offsite harressment and they retired, but admins have done a lousy job of banning her. It is not the same person.

He’s right. He knows HealthyGirl because this is probably his sister. The story of common IP is all through the AP sock investigations and it is more or less equivalent to “living in the same house,” at least occasionally, which is ridiculed on RationalWiki, by the same family of socks, particularly including Skeptical.

The brothers allegedly have different interests, but what I’ve found in my study is a lot of crossover. The same old interests are present, but both sets of interests (the two possible brothers) show high disruption. What is actually happening I don’t know. There are others who have been real-world harassed by one or more of the brothers, who have their real names and other information. I have verified none of that, but these are the “Smith brothers,” Oliver and Daryl. They are well-known. Here is a page on them, by Rome Viharo, who has also been extensively harassed by them.

There was an article created by an AP sock, on RW, RationalWiki Smith brothers conspiracy theory, promptly nominated for deletion by another AP sock. It was blamed on Rome Viharo, but the page actually ridiculed the idea of there being any such “conspiracy.” No, the page was created by an AP sock, from many evidences.

Claiming that a family of socks is active, known to be socks in a place where there is checkuser identification (WMF wikis, and there has also been identification on blogs, I think, where blog admin can see the same information as a checkuser), is not a “conspiracy theory” by any stretch of the imagination. But, again, Smith socks routinely lie and impersonate and deceive (and if one of them — i.e, a different user “incorrectly” identified as a sock — doesn’t, he may still be considered responsible unless he truly blows the whistle.)

The subpage here that studies RW AP socks is RationalWiki/Anglo Pyramidologist.  That is just the most recent findings, from a relatively quick study. One of these socks claimed to be “running RW” with having created a huge number of socks, and how happy he was that RW doesn’t have checkuser. In fact, David Gerard is a tech and would have access to server logs, the checkuser extension merely makes it easier. But Gerard likes these socks doing what they do, that’s my conclusion, and he and his friends liked what they were doing on Wikipedia. Attack dogs, that rile up their enemies and then they can be picked off.

The first attempt on the RW Anglo Pyramidologist study was deleted as “doxxing,” but it did not doxx, it did not reveal the real-life identify of the Smith Brothers. I am now mentioning the name, there is no  longer any reason not to. There are people looking at legal action. At this point, I have not suffered sufficient harm to consider that myself, but there are people who have been harmed, and I fully support prosecution of those who impersonate and lie and harm or attempt harm.


Skeptical, recently given sysop tools on RationalWiki, is one of over 200 identified “Anglo Pyramodol0gist” socks,. This is a history of that account, showing why I consider Skeptical likely to be an AP sock.

AP socks not uncommonly attack each other, it is part of the disruption and deception, a smokescreen. Collectively, they doxx and attack, but then can individually distance themselves from it. Of more interest to me is the few connected long-term users, including some users with high privilege levels, who use these disposable attack socks for their own purposes. We will see that in this study.

On RationalWiki, this is routine, but my sense is growing that this explains a great deal of what has happened on Wikipedia. Hence, while RationalWiki is small and largely inconsequential, some users from Wikipedia go there and show how they behave when the gloves are off. What may appear as simple POV-pushing on Wikipedia becomes outright viciousness.

Contributions  Block Log (blockee)  Block log (blocker)  Deletion log  User rights (target)

01:09, 23 September 2017 User account Skeptical (talk | contribs) was created

02:16, 23 September 2017 Skeptical created, as his first edit, the RW article on Laird Shaw. He was immediately joined by MrOrganic, also a likely AP sock. MrOrganic was more blatant with outing; for example, this sequence doxxes Heyguy as a “Rome Viharo sock,” and has previously accused Laird Shaw of impersonating RW users on his own forum, the very behavior that AP socks are known for.

Rome Viharo and Emil Kirkegaard are favorite targets of AP socks, along with mikemikev and Ben Steigmann. The account EmilOWK is Kirkegaard, who posted this on Talk:Laird Shaw:

Note that this page was likely created by under two sock-puppets (he has numerous profiles on this website). Both profiles used for this article have no other contributions. https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Skeptical https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/MrOrganic . RationalWiki admins should be aware that Oliver S. is using the site to essentially seek out random people who he thinks (rightly or wrongly) to like something RW labels pseudoscience (or fringe etc.), and then put their name on this website.

So Kirkegaard thinks that Skeptical and MrOrganic are Oliver S. socks, and this was posted the day that the Laird Shaw article was created. Skeptical and MrOrganic continued to work on the Shaw article and to “argue” on the Talk page. The brothers? Maybe. There are signs of disagreements, and Skeptical later blocked a series of AP socks and deleted their pages. But AP would be fully capabable of doing that with his own creations, ones that were only created to harass, knowing that someone else would do it if he didn’t.

On 5 October 2017, Marky, as his first edit, created the RW article on me, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax. He had obviously spend days researching this. Why the sudden interest in me? I had been almost entirely inactive on RationalWiki for years. The reason is obvious. It was attempted revenge for my activity exposing his impersonation socks on Wikipedia, Wikiversity, and the WMF meta wiki.

Then an article was created (October 8, I think) on the “RationalWiki Smith brothers conspiracy theory,” by MrOrganic, which Marky nominated for deletion as “A load of bullshit from Rome Viharo.” MrOrganic is certainly not Rome Viharo! There is some possibility that there are two active brothers; but MrOrganic created the Conspiracy article with the official line: the whole idea of a conspiracy is preposterous, but the concept of the Smith Brothers is not a conspiracy theory: there is a family of sock puppets, with an early account being, on Wikipedia, Anglo Pyramidologist, and sometimes one of the identified socks claims “my brother is the disruptive one, creating many sock puppets….” but both, if there are two, sock extensively.

The deletion nomination.  (Archive copy). Without waiting for a deletion discussion conclusion, the Smith Brothers article was deleted by David Gerard, October 8. In the discussion, DG wrote: “Nuked as a really obvious attempt at harassment. Sysops can extract anything useful if there is anything useful.”

I commented on the attached talk page. This was quick-archived, then the archive was deleted, by David Gerard, October 9, (Harassment: attempted doxing … if mods particularly disagree they can put it back, but …)” Doxxing has a definition on RW, and there was no doxxing on that talk page. 

That same day, Gerard desysopped me, with “(attempted harassment, ban may follow)”. Who  was being harassed?

Gerard’s actions were solicited on User talk:David Gerard by Marky, and Skeptical gets quite involved.

Eventually Skeptical deleted the Smith brothers Talk page itself.

His summary: (Doxing: doxing (article is already deleted for the same)). He’s lying, there was no doxxing on that page, and doxxing would normally be handled by revision deletion, not the entire page. The only “dox” was the name “Smith,” which had been put up by, it’s obvious, a Smith brothers. (The article uses some of the identical language used by an Anglo Pyramidologist sock about “zero technical evidence.” Which simply is not true, but … I had not provided the technical evidence on RationalWiki because it was unnecessary there, and also implicated a more established Anglo Pyramidologist editor. However, any RationalWiki sysop can see the evidence, and some of it is still public.

What is a near-certainty at this point is that Skeptical/Marky and many others are socks of the troll identified on Wikipedia and Wikiversity and meta as Anglo Pyramidologist, so Gerard is doing their bidding. The section on Gerard titled “Doxing” is hilarious.  This is what Skeptical deleted.

The only real names there are impersonation targets (such as Rome Viharo, or Ben Steigmann). I do not think that EmilOWK got this information from me. He compiled it himself, it’s obvious.

Almost all of Skeptical’s actions since he created the account have been following the Smith agenda and pursuing his special interests, generally revenge. It’s easier to just say “Smith” rather than “Anglo Pyramidologist,” and while that is alleged to be a real name, it is so common that it does not actually accuse anyone specific.

Enablers

David Gerard is responsible for how he has allowed himself to be used. There are larger connections and issues, there are connections with the general skeptical community. Others, not Smith and who would presumably not approve of what Smith does, have approved the activities of these socks in attacking those with differing points of view. There is a coordinated faction active on Wikipedia, it’s obvious and quite public, and this has never been confronted there, that faction has been protected, probably because it serves the larger “anti-fringe, anti-pseudoscience” faction by attacking “enemies.”

Bigs gave sysop rights to Skeptical, quite rapidly, 9 October, 2017. Bigs has not been so obviously promoting the Smith agenda, and appears to be a general purpose RW user. See Skeptical User rights log.

Christopher, as seen in that log, gave Skeptical  autopatrolled rights (which allows bypass of Captcha), 24 September, 2017. I have come across Christopher in other AP-related actions, so this bears further examination.

 

 

 

 

 

Gateway to Chaos, Confusion, and Complexity

I spent years as a very active Wikipedia editor. My contributions there don’t reflect well the level of work that I did — some users accumulate large edit counts with brief reverts based on immediate appearances, it’s very quick, sometimes even computer-assisted, I once tracked the contributions of an administrator who obviously sat at his computer pressing Save several times a minute for simple edits suggested by a program. He did this for many hours.

You can see the total numbers of my contributions on all WMF wikis on the global account display. Because my “community ban” on Wikipedia has come up recently– the situation being misrepresented in the new RationalWiki article on me — I will cover this on a page here, Wikipedia/Bans/Abd (draft, not complete)

There is a theme, revenge. In theory, Wikipedia is not a battleground. In practice, it is. Continue reading “Gateway to Chaos, Confusion, and Complexity”

Anglo Pyramidologist

Someone not familiar with how the Anglo Pyramidologist socks have operated may not understand this page. My history with this may help. I became aware of a Wikiversity resource created by Ben Steigmann having been deleted, and investigated. What I found and ultimately demonstrated, through steward checkuser findings, was that an admitted sock puppet created an array of socks impersonating Steigmann on Wikipedia in order to arouse an angry response. It worked. When I began to examine the history of this, I was massively attacked by sock puppets, first on Wikiversity, then on the meta wiki. All this has been documented on meta. One of the socks claimed to have four active Wikipedia accounts, and many others with low activity. Defeated at meta, with attempts to get the study deleted (which would accomplish nothing, it’s archived), being ignored by stewards, continued retribution was promised. And so, after some delay, an article on me was published on RationalWiki by a brand-new account, which, it turns out, is SOP for these socks. This article must have taken many hours of research, this new account was highly motivated.

“Outing” and doxxing by these socks is often tolerated on RationalWiki, but the socks are largely disposable. When blatant and disruptive sock puppetry is tolerated, as it is on RationalWiki, communities fall apart and private agendas dominate. This is a statement by one of the socks on RationalWiki:

I’ve pretty much been running this website since 2012 by content/article creations; around 700 socks to date. God bless RationalWiki! I love the fact this wiki has no check-user. lol.

This page is apparently considered worthy of an indefinite block on RationalWiki, by the only sysop there whom I had mentioned so far, AFAIK, Skeptical. He had previously deleted the on-RW version of this page. (And also the AfD for that page), and his contribution history is full of AP obsessions, with little else. His obsession with my writing here has now converted me from some suspicion that he is likely a sock from the “Anglo Pyramidologist family” to this being a high probability– as previous attacks by probable socks of the family, see the meta pages referenced below, had convinced me that I was on the right track and increased my suspicion of some of those that they insanely “defended” (i.e., that were not actually being attacked.)

(Anglo Pyramidologist also attempts to create enmity between users, so, for example, if I mentioned a user offhand, not “attacking” that user, AP then treats it as an attack, perhaps hoping that the user will see it and not realize that it’s not an attack, and then join in attacking me. The only possible appearance of AP in comments on this blog was an impersonation of a user known to have disagreements with me. Classic AP arguments were used.)

Special studies: Skeptical

There are indications or claims that more than one person is behind the AP socks. It would also be easy to imitate them (though not so easy to get steward/checkuser identification). There is much information — or misinformation — on the internet about the AP socks, and about the supposed “Smith Brothers” behind the family. What is happening on RationalWiki is that what is totally obvious is effectively banned there, but quite irregularly. AP socks are tolerated for an obvious reason: it serves the purposes of those who dominate that wiki, and that is the same reason why behavior by some on Wikipedia. so when a target user comes to RationalWiki and points out the obvious obvious — and the socks will create a huge ruckus so that it is truly obvious — that target can then be sanctioned for “outing” or “doxxing,” whereas outing or doxxing from the AP socks is routinely tolerated.

Now, back to our regular programming:


Anglo Pyramidologist is an account that was blocked on Wikipedia in 2011, but that is considered to have been operating a large number of sock puppets. It is possible that this is more than one actual user, perhaps using the same internet access; possibly members of the same family (and this is claimed on various web sites), but certain areas of interest and behavioral characteristics can be seen through the possible noise. This study of RationalWiki user patterns is informed by prior studies of Wikipedia and WMF sock behavior, which are still live on the meta wiki, but which can also be seen at User:Abd/LTA/Anglo Pyramidologist and User:Abd/LTA/Anglo Pyramidologist/User data (archive.is copies)

There were extensive attempts to harass me on Wikiversity and on the meta wiki, and when those were interdicted by stewards, an article was created on me on RationalWiki, where I had sysop privileges (since 2012, but mostly inactive). There was, again, massive harassment there. As part of my prior research, I had seen how AP uses socks, including impersonations, to attack perceived enemies and to create disruption that can then serve as a cover for hidden agendas. I started to list the accounts on RationalWiki and this was promptly deleted and I was blocked. That is all of ultimate interest. I’m starting here to recreate and expand the list of accounts to support further study.

This sock family has done extensive damage to Wikipedia and to other sites and users. These accounts are identified by characteristics seen in the past. Because “innocent bystanders” may show some of these characteristics, the listing here is merely an indication of suspicion, in most cases, not a claim of definitive identification. In some cases the evidence is very strong, however.

There are many indications in the history that there is more than one person behind “Anglo Pyramidologist.” This Wikipedia Checkuser request from July 2016 is remarkable. There are earlier claims of two brothers and a sister.

These are being sorted by the RationalWiki pages on which activity was seen as this list is compiled (which will not be complete). What is given is the contributions display for the user, which is also being archived as found for some users. Notes may be added. Most listing are based on multiple signs, which still may not be conclusive. If a listing has a question mark, this is a shallow appearance, to be reviewed later.

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Abd_ul-Rahman_Lomax&action=history

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=User:Abd&action=history

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Abd&action=history

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:RationalWiki_Smith_brothers_conspiracy_theory&action=history

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=File_talk:John_Fuerst.jpg&action=history

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Welliver [see edit adding image uploaded to Commons by AP sock]

From blocks of Skeptical:

from Wikiversity, RW accounts listed by AP sock, here and here., leading to articles of interest and editors.

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=John_Fuerst&action=history

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Emil_O._W._Kirkegaard&action=history ‎

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Rome_Viharo&action=history

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Rome_Viharo&action=history

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Laird_Shaw&action=history

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/User_talk:Heyguy (archive)

I notice that Heyguy, who was being harassed by the SPA edit (first account above), giving two real names (Rome Viharo and Ben Steigmann) is blocked, but Rome Viharo Krom heyguy is not blocked. Heyguy was accused of revealing personal information, and this was hidden by RoninMacbeth,  whereas sections on Talk:Heyguy remain as attempted doxxing of Heyguy.

Cheeseburger Face intervened, semiprotecting the Talk page for a short time, which stopped the IP edits. However, CF appears to consider Heyguy to be the Badguy. He blocked him. and revision-deleted his comments. But he left, with dismissive comments, attempted doxxing on the Talk page he protected.

Apparently it is acceptable to real-name doxx alleged socks of “cranks and crackpots,” but not “RationalWiki users,” and cranks and crackpots don’t count as RationalWiki users, who are all sober skeptics and promoters of critical thinking. Unless.

This is general RationalWiki insanity, not merely the Smith brothers, the more-or-less ordinary RW community enables these highly disruptive socks. RoninMacbeth attempted some amelioration, and blocked the sock who reverted her, but must have seen the rest that came down, including Cheeseburger Face’s collapse of her comment as “Drama.” and did nothing. This edit by a clear Smith sock (archive) stands on User:Heyguy.

MrOrganic created the RationalWiki Smith brothers conspiracy theory article, which was deleted as harassment, allegedly as Rome Viharo content. But MrOrganic has not been blocked; rather his targets have been blocked. At some point, this all becomes Obvious Obvious. What MrOrganic wrote:

Calm down, take a chill-pill

What appears to be the problem? This is a website that covers pseudo-science; Mr. Laird is a pseudo-scientist who believes in some crazy things. Why is it a problem if someone adds an entry on him here? You can avoid an entry on this website by being rational; if you believe in irrational things you might get an entry written here. So calm down sir.MrOrganic (talk) 16:43, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

This is what the Smith brothers do: they attack others, on various fora. If anyone exposes them or frustrates their agenda, they attack that person, if they think they have found a vulnerability. They create impersonation socks and attack socks, many of them. They attempt to coerce and intimidate (they threatened Wikiversity with an avalance of socks). And they create revenge articles on RationalWiki, commonly exaggerating the beliefs or alleged beliefs of their targets.

Everyone on the planet “believes in irrational things,” at least occasionally. If that were the goal of RationalWiki, there would be endless content. Notice: the standard for article creation is really if someone challenges the agenda of MrOrganic, who is one of the Smith brothers, I have no doubt. The article on me was created by Marky, and followed threats to attack my work (on meta, the WMF coordinating wiki).

What is odd about this comment is that it appears to assume that there is not already an article on Heyguy. I.e., that Heyguy is not actually Rome Viharo. (I don’t know and I have not asked, and it doesn’t matter.)

The RationalWiki community tolerates this. They treat any outraged response — or response they imagine is outraged — as “drama,” but the drama is largely created by these attack dogs. RW sysops block the targets, not the dogs. (Some of the attack accounts are blocked, but these users do not care; one of them expressed how much he loved that RW had no Checkuser. They use open proxies or other anonymous access facilities (i.e., they do what they accuse others of, but they do it prolifically. This sock master is obsessed, insane … and useful to others with a more coherent agenda. Conspiracy theory? Sometimes there are defacto conspiracies with no organization, and there are also organizations involved, such as Guerilla Skeptics or the James Randi Educational Foundation. )

James Randi is an obvious crank. (Being a crank does not mean that one’s position on some issue is wrong, crank is about obsession and narrow thinking.) Smith is an obvious crank. If internet notoriety is enough to create sufficient notability for an article, there should be one. But, of course, this would be “doxxing.” Wait? Doxxing of whom? Articles are created about real people, not usually accounts. Then if the real person is identified as having accounts, those are sometimes allowed to be mentioned. Certainly this has been allowed for Rome Viharo!

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=John_Fuerst&offset=&limit=500&action=history

https://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:John_Fuerst&offset=&limit=500&action=history

As I find them:

This study has only begun.

There is a vast amount of material to cover. I started with only what I directly experienced as harassment by sock. (Still this is not complete on that, pages have been deleted and can no longer be seen by the public.) I also have information about the real-life identity of the user or users behind this sock family, but have chosen not to reveal it, at least not yet. It’s not actually important, so far.

These users freely doxx others when it suits them, but if someone even hints at the “sock collection” they scream “doxxing.” It’s part of the pattern. They create sock accounts with the real-life names of other users, attempting to stir up action against those people, and they have often succeeded. One of the socks, in a message to me on the WMF meta wiki, claimed to have four active Wikipedia accounts, with many others for occasional use. It’s believable.

 

 

 

 

 

RationalWiki

Since RW user Skeptical has been so kind to link to this page, I should probably point to the specific discussion he wrote about: RationalWiki/Anglo Pyramidologist

He lied. I will cover this on  http://coldfusioncommunity.net/rationalwiki/anglo-pyramidologist/skeptical/ ‎. Meanwhile we continue with our regular programming


RationalWiki, see the Wikipedia article, has been said to be “kind of snarky and rude,” which is a vast understatement. It has been identified as a “debunking site,” and such may purport to be promoting scientific thinking and recognition of pseudscience, but debunking and genuine skepticism are quite distinct. RationalWiki is commonly pseudoskeptical. As a wiki, however, YMMV.

The front page invites participation.

We welcome contributors, and encourage those who disagree with us to register and engage in constructive dialogue.

That is deceptive. People with unpopular views there are harassed, trolled, restricted, and blocked. Harassment by sock puppets is not only tolerated, it is encouraged.

There are connections with Wikipedia, and with the faction that is responsible for the poor condition of the Wikipedia article on cold fusion, I’ll be documenting some of that.

Gateway to CFC articles on RationalWiki.

RationalWiki/Anglo Pyramidologist covers the RationalWiki activity of a family of sock puppets known by that name on Wikipedia.

An avalanche of sock puppets

The last few weeks I have been investigating disruption on Wikipedia and Wikiversity. This has a peripheral relationship to cold fusion. I’ll get to that.

For years, I was active on Wikiversity, supporting that community to build deep resources on sometimes-controversial subjects. Wikiversity, like all the WMF wikis, has a neutrality policy, but Wikipedia enforces it by, in theory, excluding the expression of points of view by users; rather, Wikipedia depends on “reliable sources,” with editors merely reporting what is in them, with emphasis on the “mainstream view.”

Wikiversity, instead, allows users to create resources and express opinions, and handles neutrality by attribution and framing. It is thus closer to a university library, including lecture notes of seminars and student work, which can be “primary source,” and can include opinion and unsourced analysis.

Some years back, I supported the creation of a Wikiversity resource on Parapsychology, because there were scientists and others interested in the topic.  I designed this to be neutral, and created a subpage for a young user who wanted to create his own list of sources on the topic, this was Ben Steigmann, who had gotten into trouble on Wikipedia and was blocked there. The user happily worked on his resource, and was not, in the least, disruptive on Wikiversity. However, the resource was attacked, a number of times. These attacks were always handled, it is not difficult on Wikiversity, if a resource has been created with care.

(I should add that I’m highly skeptical of many claims called “parapsychological,” but, then again, so are at least some parapsychologists. Parapsychology is a field of investigation, not a body of belief.) Continue reading “An avalanche of sock puppets”