Wikipediocracy discussion

Lomax v. WikiMedia Foundation, Inc. et al

Some points. Vigilant is, if I recall correctly, the user who was accusing a Wikipedia user of being a pedophile, insistently and without adequate evidence. He’s remained very active with an image of himself as “Witchsmeller pursuivant.” Charming. His constant theme years ago, was that I would write tomes. Anti-intellectuals and people who can’t scan-read hate long posts. Most normal people skip them if not interested. Vigilant would quote the entire post with, then “tl;dr” at the end. Funguy.

He claims that downloading one of my filings would bankrupt him. The fact is that PACER charges 10 cents per page with $3 max per document. If that would bankrupt him, he really should get a life and do something more useful than hanging out at the WPO Bar and Grill. This is the snark that has largely taken over wikis. Facts don’t matter, evidence doesn’t matter, only looking smart and winning matters.

Midsize Jake gets it more or less right, except that in Rossi v. Darden, I was supported by the public because of strong evidence in that case, including paying my expenses to attend the trial. That was fun. It is not every day that I get to hang out with and greet a billionaire (though in the cold fusion field, it’s not that uncommon, nor a famous inventor/fraud. Nice guy, just got a little reality problem. I’ve seen much worse. In fact I would prefer his company any day to most of the wikidiots. Being banned on the WMF, from that perspective, was quite a relief. I no longer had to deal with what was rapidly becoming, through the natural filtering of burnout, far too dense with really not-nice people. But the ban was a libel, having other consequences, hence the case, which is not an attempt to regain editing privileges. If that were to happen, it would be because the WMF, as advised by counsel, considers this a reasonable outcome.

Yes, I have a case, I believe it will survive a motion to dismiss, but even to file a motion to dismiss, the WMF will need to engage a lawyer, and there is an expense to that, substantially more than the $400 I have spent so far. Since I expect that the WMF has competent counsel, I think they will attempt to negotiate, what they should have done when I sent the first registered letter a year ago. It is much cheaper than duking it out in court, but I think they assume that they only ban incompetent basement dwellers who will not file, and they appear to have been mostly correct on that. I know of at least one other case where they banned someone who may have had a case. He decided that he didn’t have clean hands.

Kumioko (also office banned) wrote:

Yeah to be honest theres really no reason for a website or business in general to not tell someone why they were banned or barred from it. I also think it’s possible he could get them to reverse the policy of bans being non appealable.

Now, in general, a business can ban anyone. But can they put up a sign, visible to the public, saying “John Doe is banned from this store”? I don’t think so. I am not going to telegraph what I would settle for. But they could do it without harm and it would be safer and better for everyone.

Yes, “non-appealable” is vulnerable to attack, but it also might be defensible. I can imagine the arguments. I do know what I would do if I were counsel for the WMF. It’s really simple, and just about any attorney would do it. So this is fun. I could have filed in forma pauperis, I’m on social security with not really enough income, but I was looking at a possible statute of limitations and it would have taken time to get a judge to issue the order. So since I did have $400 available, cash in a drawer, actually, just enough, I decided to just file, it was fair enough that someone pay the court expenses, and so . . . I’ll get that from the WMF for starters. If not, they can suck eggs and spend money on attorneys and win or lose. I don’t know what they will do, but I see random idiots claiming they should “never settle,” as if that should be policy. Yeah, policy for the terminally stupid. It can get incredibly expensive. I *can* file in forma pauperis and get free process serving and more. I have studied the rules.

I was the perfect person to be put in this position, to create a possibility of at least some small reform. I have enough legal experience that *probably* the case will not be dismissed, and, yes, I anticipated the arguments that the opinionated opinionators advance.

The case against RationalWiki is different. I mentioned them, but they are more immune, as a foundation that does not itself make content decisions — unless legally compelled. I did send them an email, they ignored it, but I have never dropped the few dollars on a certified mail to them. Maybe I will. And maybe they will fold. They do have sufficient assets to be worth suing, and the law they rely on for protection is not completely clear, and, again, refusing to negotiate is not smart, particularly after someone shows they are serious. At this point, they are not under legal threat. Certain individuals may be, and individuals are not so protected against libel charges.

This was posted, from the Complaint:

See https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.mad.207020/gov.uscourts.mad.207020.1.0.pdf.

Claims (among other stuff) that:-

3. (on) February 24, 2018, without warning or notice and with no violation of the Terms of Service (“TOS”), WMF
published a global ban of plaintiff, and publication continues. WMF has refused response to plaintiff. 

And thus seeks for:-

1. $200,000 to date for harm to reputation and public support of plaintiffs legitimate activities as a writer,
2. Order that alleged Terms of Service (TOS) violations be disclosed to users so that they may correct them.
3. Order for due process with bans, and, failing that, that they be lifted or, as a minimum, hidden for privacy. 
4. Order that Does 1-9, on discovery of identity, cease defamation and, where possible, issue corrections.
5. punitive or exemplary damages for negligence and malicious defamation.

Kumioko wrote:

The WMF doesn’t respond to me either, because I honestly don’t think they care about the effects bans have on the people, the projects or the community. As I have stated before, it is my belief that the so called trust and safety section issues the bans at their discretion and legal and other areas are courtesy copied to make sure the paper work is right and to give the appearance of a fair process.

I think 1, 4 and 5 are unlikely and amount to wishful thinking but it’s worth a try. The law in the US says we have the right to face our accusers but technically being banned from a website isn’t a crime and according to multiple cases in California nor is violating the ToU or ignoring bans for ToU violations. So I don’t know if the courts are going to compel the WMF to divulge the identities of editors for something that isn’t considered a crime.

2 and 3 are reasonable IMO in most cases. Certainly the lawsuit will compel them to detail exactly why he was banned rather than some vague terms of use violation.

In the end, even if the result is NULL, it will cause the WMF to spend time and resources for what amounts to $400 of the individuals money and a few hours of time.

Gee, great minds think alike. (I always knew Kumioko was intelligent, merely a tad obsessed. I tried to encourage him to tone it down. But people do what they are going to do, even very smart people can be blind in some areas. Maybe even me.)
(The process is that the defendant can move for dismissal, but the court must, in ruling for dismissal, consider all my factual allegations, in the complaint (as it might be amended!), and in my response to the motion (which might be as advised by an attorney, that depends on funding or a volunteer), to be true. There are some claims below that have possible answers. I really do know something about the process. But, of course, I am not an attorney and my experience is incomplete.)
Even if the case is dismissed, there is a good possibility that it would be dismissed for some defect, without prejudice. There are issues that could cause a dismissal with prejudice, but these could also be appealed. Basically, fighting this will be expensive for the Foundation, which is why any attorney will suggest communication, not stonewalling, once a complaint gets to this level. I saw the parties in Rossi v. Darden settle as soon as the truly stubborn one (Rossi) had an attorney that actually served him instead of just taking his money for a really dumb lawsuit., by convincing him to settle instead of going out in a blaze for glory, probably ending up in prison for perjury, because that is what his insanity had led him to. Of course, he was going for $89 million and triple damages, and my sense is that he and/or his attorneys thought the defendants — with $2 billion under management — would probably settle for less. What they actually settled for was a walkaway. Complicated story, Rossi’s attorney was brilliant, has been my assessment. Saved his ass from possibly losing everything, including his freedom, and he probably still had a few million left from what he had been paid for a fraud.
Vigilant continued trolling, the Energizer Troll.

He will be lucky not to have the WMF awarded legal fees.
The WMF doesn’t do much right, but they have friends and donors who know which legal firms to retain.

Abd just opened a can of whoopass on himself.

There are advantages to poverty. “when you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” In order to be awarded legal fees, the WMF has to fight this, spending money. Lots of money, probably, but, of course, that depends on what I’d be willing to settle for, which, of course, I’m not revealing.
As to actual rules, there is a $75,000 requirement for filing a Diversity action, which this is (crossing state boundaries). So if I am awarded less than that, they can ask for legal fees. However, collecting them is a separate issue. That was a consideration in Rossi v. Darden. Further, any settlement will supersede that. Obviously, it’s a consideration.
Many of these people on the WMF criticism sites have been useless wimps for years, not willing to do anything that might actually make a difference, but criticizing anyone who tried. Again, being banned on Wikipediocracy was actually a relief. These sites were setups for wasting vast amounts of time, too often. Some good people comment sometimes, but overall, the context sucks and real power is not developed.
Edit: He went Pro Se…
If the WMF want to make an example of him, he’s just committed bankruptcy.
And if I am already bankrupt? Can those who are bankrupt file lawsuits? (of course they can! and that is irrelevant). But the WMF, to make an example of me, will have to reveal what actually happened. I do assume that if they do not immediately enter settlement negotiations, they will try to go for dismissal, but I suspect that will fail. So this will enter Discovery. That gets complicated and can be expensive. But one step at a time. I have a history of not doing fundraising until I actually need the money, and then, the history is that enough money is provided to do what is needed.
If not, well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I live for the experience, not the outcome, which does not vary. Everything passes away except the face of Reality.
Quote:
Ongoing libel, unremediated injury to plaintiffs reputation, harassment of family, $200,000
As an anonymous account?
Who all knows the Abd account is you?
What more damage could the WMF do to your reputation?
Harassment of family sounds like you’re on the edge of committing libel here.
The anonymous account was never anonymous. It was using a real name (Abd is the name I most commonly use), and connected with the birth name from the beginning. I once asked for rev-del of the original user page, but that was never done.  Now that the lawsuit is filed, it doesn’t matter.
As to who knows, the Does know, and have attempted to damage my family relationships and I do know that the RatWiki article has caused problems with personal relationships.
Libel is libel, and a person with a poor reputation, if I were that, could still be damaged. But try to find a poor reputation before the RatWiki article was written. What can be found is that isolated individuals accused me of this and that. Trolls, for the most part. Or people like JzG, who was outraged that the Arbitration Committee reprimanded him in the case I pursued, and never forgave, and for years blamed me for the state of the cold fusion article, even though I never heavily or disruptively edited it.
My real-world reputation is not my wiki reputation, Vigilant lives in a very confined world, and believes that his shallow opinions are reality.
Quote:
1. Having threatened plaintiff with harm, one or more Does created an article defaming plaintiff on RationalWiki,with malice, and acting to preventing correction.

The WMF doesn’t control RationalWiki and is not responsible for anyone who posts there.

That’s correct, but irrelevant. Those who did post there (“one or more Does”) used the fact of the ban for defamation (by linking to it) and also quoted a letter from the WMF confirming the ban. In other words, they apparently  tell the complainants that their complaint was acted on, and that was then published by the complainant, who was a long-term defacto banned user with no right to edit Wikipedia and very possibly globally locked. (I imagine the basis might be that, by then, I was identifying Anglo Pyramidologist as Oliver, I’m not sure, I’d have to check, though that was already all over the internet, so the WMF was protecting the privacy of a non-user. Except that he was a continued user as a block evader. Still is, by the way. This was him.
This was not on-wiki and was not related to any legitimate wiki activity, nor was my account used. Increasingly, I have seen the WMF use global bans to punish people for exercising freedom of speech elsewhere. There may be a legal issue there, but it is not the foundation of my case. It would be more difficult. If I wanted to go for general fairness, I might have asked for a jury trial, but I decided to keep it simple. (A jury might be moved more by a sense of fairness, but maybe not. And judges are people and I have been successful in communicating with judges, developing rapport. It can make a difference, in fact. I would never abuse that, but it can grease the wheels a bit.)
Quote:
2. Does 1-9 filed false complaints, possibly coordinated, with the Wikimedia Foundation (“WMF”).

What injury does a ‘false complaint’ do to you?
How will you prove this?
Again, close to the libel edge.
How is the WMF liable for this?

Vigilant is demonstrating profound legal ignorance. The Complaint is quite simple. I begins with a recital of alleged fact, which can be alleged on information and belief. I must believe that I can establish this, but I can be wrong. A complaint is never libel! (I saw many people make that mistake, they believed that Rossi, filing his complaint, must have been telling the truth because supposedly he could be charged with libel or perjury if not. No. You can file a complaint if you believe something to be true, or even if you believe it is possibly true. You do not have to have proof. You will be looking to obtain evidence in discovery. And one cannot libel a “Doe.” “Someone stole my shoes” does not libel anyone, does not accuse anyone of being a thief.

The alleged facts do not negate that someone may have filed a legitimate complaint. Only that I believe that at least one complaint was false, and the most likely one is the reported email harassment of a certain user. If he complained about harassment, and I have the emails and have published them, he libelled me. But what did he actually report to the WMF? I don’t know.

I may not be able to find out, but there are procedures for handling confidential material. No, you cannot libel someone privately and then be immune, because of privacy protections. That veil can be penetrated. There were claims of attorney-client privilege in Rossi v. Darden. I think a magistrate looked at the documents and ruled.

The fact recited did not make the WMF liable. They are responsible for their actions, not for the content of complaints.

Too long, Vigilant has been confined to his asylum.

Quote:
3. February 24, 2018, without warning or notice and with no violation of the Terms of Service (“TOS”), WMF
published a global ban of plaintiff, and publication continues. WMF has refused response to plaintiff.

You don’t have a constitutional right to use their platform.

Correct. I have not claimed I did or do.

You don’t have a financial injury from being prevented from using it, unless you’re copping to paid editing now…

I have not claimed and did not suffer financial injury from being forbidden to use the wikis. I have claimed injury from the *publication* of the ban, which was unnecessary and gratitious, and, were there actual TOS violations, they could have been addressed without that publication.

He went on with a bit more “dipshittery.” His legal counsel is worth less than what was paid for it.

Poetlstier wrote”

He’s after the John Does as well as the WMF. He’s demonstrating that one of the John Does has done things other than harass him on Wikipedia, to strengthen the case for the WMF having to help identify said person.

Poetlister is, by the way, another office-banned user. He was the first user to be honored with a “community ban,” which actually libelled him, accusing him of criminal actions which he did not do. But he never pursued recourse. The WMF would not have been liable, but they later office-banned him. So maybe, maybe not. It depends on conditions, and the WMF has been banking on the TOS provisions and that most people will just walk away. But I don’t know that anyone had ever weaponized a ban as the Smiths did, with the help of a handful of other users.

Vigilant piled on more. He’s calling it “suicide by court.” Vigilant has no idea what it is like to live without fear of conditions. He also has no idea of the possibilities. I.e., I have time to obtain counsel. No attorney would advise relying on what he proclaims as obvious.

If I erred in my Complaint, I can amend it. A judge will not grant a Motion to Dismiss without my having that opportunity.  I know many of the facts in this case, and legal precedents, and I was told by someone with substantial legal expertise that I have a case. Having a case does not mean I will win, but that it is possible, and I go for possibilities.

As a result, I have literally lived a life to die for. 7 children (two adopted) (Oliver Smith considers me a disgusting breeder, saying something about him — an anti-natalist), and 7 grandchildren, one very new and amazingly beautiful.

At 70, having been out of the sciences since my early twenties, I was published in a mainstream peer-reviewed journal on a topic of high importance, and the work I recommended in that paper has been funded with a $6 million grant.

My writing is widely appreciated on Quora, and it’s fun, I’m followed by some very, very good writers. By comparison, and without protective structure, the wikis are useless time-wasters, and standard fora are even more useless.

Besides, I do the most difficult Sudoku, in ink. Heh! And, yes, I’m getting older. Stealing a meme from Groucho Marx, that’s wonderful if you consider the alternative.

Ah yes, above, Vigilant mentioned paid editing. I’ve done paid editing. Done the way I did it, it is not a violation of policy, and the customer was fully satisfied, so Vigilant can go jump in a lake even though he is already all wet.

Just because Vigilant attacks others for free, perhaps for the sadistic lulz, doesn’t mean that everyone must write for free!

This bloviating went on. BURob13:

The WMF has made no statements about Abd publicly except to say he’s globally banned, so they cannot have defamed him.

The publication of the ban, which is distinct from the ban itself, was, in this case, intended by at least the Smith complainants to be defamatory, that was the purpose.

Moreover, he isn’t even claiming he was defamed by the WMF, at least by my reading. His only claim about the WMF in that filing is that they globally banned him. Obviously, they are legally entitled to bar anyone from contributing to their privately-owned website.

Given many of the representations of the WMF about Wikipedia, that is not necessarily true, but it has never been tested, to my knowledge. I am instead focusing on the publication of the ban as a libelous act. I am, by the way, still allowed to “use” the site. Just not to use an account (or to edit by IP).

I struggle to see where he has even articulated any claim that the Wikimedia Foundation has committed a tortious act. I agree that, if Abd is fortunate, the WMF will move to dismiss, it will be granted, and they will not seek costs. There’s a snowball’s chance in hell this reaches discovery.

Here is what I expect is likely.

The WMF will negotiate and most likely we will reach a settlement without further action. If the WMF is intransigent — or perhaps I’m stubborn and stupid, but I wouldn’t bank on that, unless I decide that whoopee! This is fun! (and I do have advisors involved) — then it is possible for an MTD to prevail, but by no means certain. These trolls have no idea how difficult an MTD is, few are granted if the plaintiff is at all competent and there is any possibility of some aspect of the case prevailing. Any possibility at all, it can be pretty dim, and I’ve seen that up close.

Beeblebrox wrote:

The whole reason the office bans are a total block box is to make a lawsuit like this hopeless. All Abd has done so far is waste four hundred bucks, and that’s probably all that will happen.

I’m sure that’s the idea. But nobody has ever tested this. The $267 million lawsuit I covered was one where an LLC was formed to buy a technology that was quite visible as probably worthless, simply to find out for sure, and they invested about $20 million for that purpose. Was that wasted? They accomplished their goal which was that discovery, knowing that if the technology actually worked even roughly as claimed, perhaps merely being exaggerated by an eccentric inventor, it was worth a trillion dollars. So was their $20 million foolishly spent? The reality is that by being that bold, they attracted a commitment of another $200 million. So those “fools” multiplied their funds to invest by a factor of ten, and that new money did not go to the fraud, $50 million was actually given to them (maybe more, it’s not clear), it went to scientists for the most part. These are very long term angel investors. And I get to meet and work with people like that. So what I invested $400 in was to find out what might be possible. That will not be wasted, unless I walk away from it without finding out. Of course, I might not find out because of making some mistake that someone else might not make. But this life, it’s always like this. If we are afraid of making mistakes, we never learn.

Kumioko wrote:

As for the $400, that’s only for the court costs. That doesn’t include airfare, hotel stay, etc. if he is coming from some where outside the US (which I believe he is).

Of course there is a small chance that he will get a favorable ruling from the Judge but in California it’s doubtful.

Kumioko has missed details found in the Complaint. The filing is in U.S Federal District Court, a Diversity action, filed in Massachusetts. The court is about twenty-five minutes drive away, or I could take a bus there for $0.75 or Uber for not much. This is not a California Court, and it is not clear to me what state law will apply. The WMF is actually a Florida corporation, the Office is in San Francisco, and the servers are in WTF land. Precedent seems to be clear that I can file this way. I did do a fair amount of research before filing.

Vigilant ranted on. Really, this guy is the true nut case.

Given his rapacious online begging for his various “cold fusion””institutes”,

Rapacious? The GoFundMe page has a goal of $20,000. A few years back, I invested about $1200 plus travel and hotel expenses in training as to how to create transformative projects. That has been amply recovered, but only a little of that show on that page. Part of that training is to not think small. Could I use $20,000 for cold fusion journalism purposes? This technology is being researched all over the world! Easily. So why not ask for it? Nobody is required to look at that page, just as nobody is required to read my blog.

In almost two years, that page raised $2750 (which paid my expenses in Florida for the trial, and going to ICCF-21 in Colorado last year. About two weeks ago there was a Colloquium on cold fusion at MIT. I was hesitant about going, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a place to stay, and though I could take the bus there for not much, hotel rooms were on the order of $200 per night, and I’d need to stay three nights for the two-day Colloquium, and there would be other expenses. So I asked the research community if they wanted me to be there. What I got was an immediate response from one investor in the field, telling me that his company would pay all my expenses, get myself a nice hotel! And others asked how they could help, and this is where the recent $500 came from, there was no open appeal. But there may be, because coming up is the International Conference on Cold Fusion in Italy, I think in September. That will be far more expensive, but I suspect that the community will also want me there. If not, well, I won’t go! I do almost everything for community, little just for myself. And if the community doesn’t appreciate it, not my problem, I go somewhere else where I am appreciated.

(As it happened, I was able to stay with a friend, so I had no hotel cost. He lives close to MIT, so it was a couple of dollars on Uber Share. Easy Peasy.)

What these trolls and lolcows don’t realize is that the people who attacked me have also attacked many, in the nutrition field, and some of these have money and high motivation. I have not received any funding for what I have done in the Anglo Pyramidologist affair, and I’m reluctant to spend Infusion Institute money for this (which pays my cold fusion related expenses, and which also received much more funding directly, not through the GoFundMe page). Those people in this new field may well contribute to legal expenses. Or not. I don’t demand anything.

Except, of course, an effing response to a Complaint! In fact, I don’t even demand that, because I’d love it if they don’t respond, because that default judgment would, well, take me out of bankruptcy. Far more than enough. I expect, as I mention above, that they will negotiate. They could ameliorate harm rather easily. Why would they refuse?

What a court will actually allow is up to the court, depending on what evidence is presented.

Not on the mindless opinions of Wikipediocracy trolls.

I strongly suspect this is a shakedown for money. In that rat’s nest of a brain, Abd probably thinks that the WMF is a soft target and that’s he’s just the Pooh Bear to extract that delicious mhoney.

I love rats. Amazing creatures. Smart as hell. The WMF may or may not be a soft target, it depends on many factors that I don’t know. But they definitely have deeper pockets than Oliver and Darryl Smith. The former is already being sued and the plaintiff does not expect to see the money, just satisfaction, and defamation is a criminal offense where Oliver lives. Oliver is on the dole, has no job, though he is about 29. Darryl, I don’t know anything about his employment and only where he lived, not where he lives. But all this can be handled, if needed. It only takes money, and Darryl has graduated, probably in biology, but also in targets, from attacking helpless students of parapsychology to going after successful authors and physicians, who just might sue his pants off. Or not. But if I succeed in opening this up, it will provide ammunition for others who are being libeled by the same team.

I only want the truth to come out, as a primary goal. The rest is to recover costs and expenses and damages.

Secondly, there is no lever that Abd can use in a judicial arena to force the WMF to explain why they banned him.

While I have asked for that, I do understand the difficulty. (The question would be protecting the privacy of complainants, great idea.) Vigilant is refusing to recognize the claimed basis for the suit. Maybe I need to amend the Complaint to make it more clear. The basis is not that they banned me, but that they published it. However, at this point, they did publish it and there were consequences. First, was I libelled in the complaints? If so , they are not protected speech, they were defamation. If the WMF refuses to disclose them, they simply become fully responsible for the action they took. Was the ban publication defamatory? That is a factual question, not a matter of law.

The WMF stands to learn something about how to better protect themselves. Will they? I don’t know. I do know this: if they won’t talk with me about the ban and at least hear what happened from my point of view, showing that they have understood it, I won’t settle, unless they offer me a fat incentive. How about “We’ll give you your effing $200,000 if you go away and stop writing about us? I might consider it, because I’ve got a lot of other things to write about. I have no idea what they will do, really, except I expect them to talk to me, because it is entirely too stupid not to, they would be risking too much for too little benefit. I don’t expect them to be stupid, but I have been wrong about things like that before!

They’ll evaluate his fiscal state to estimate how long he can afford to litigate.

I have no ongoing expenses of litigation, and I’m not in a rush. What I have as current assets are irrelevant to what I might be able to raise, if I need to do that. I have competent heirs, one highly competent legally. While we can never be certain about the future, I am very likely to see this through to the end. This alleged legal analysis is idiocy.

The WMF’s legal team will hire local legal counsel to assist. The local counsel will already know everyone in the local jurisdiction’s court system.

And, I assume, they will meet with me face-to-face. I’m really good at that! I do well with judges, too. Now, local counsel will cost them,  for competent counsel, maybe $300 per hour. Vigilant has claimed they will “bury me” with lawyers. In  Florida, the plaintiff (Rossi) had four lawyers sitting there, the defendants had five, and the third-party defendants, one. Ten lawyers. No wonder when settlement talk started up, the jury sent out of the room everyone was smiling, happy, the lawyers joking with each other and even chatting with me. (Rossi’s original counsel was with a firm where the principal, a highly experienced woman, had died, so I commiserated with a junior lawyer from that firm that was part of the team, about the loss.. These internet trolls have no idea what real people skills look like, because they don’t have them.)

So, what, they will bury me with three lawyers, $900 per hour? For how long? As a pro se defendant, if needed, I can ask for additional time for replies, and I am likely to get it if I don’t alienate the judge by being the “kook on steroids” that Vigilant imagines me to be. Under stress, I slow down and become very careful, but I avoid stress as much as possible. Judges like it.

The WMF, on the other hand, has a prime opportunity to display to any other ne’er do well malcontents that there is a ruinous cost for litigation that will be borne by vexatious litigants.
Cool. He seems to be warning a turnip that he might bleed to death. I’ve been legally threatened, not so long ago, by counsel for a $100 million corporation. I’m trained and I immediately, it was almost trivial, turned it around, into cooperation.
I’d love to meet with counsel for the WMF. I hope they find someone competent, and that they listen to counsel, because a client’s failure to do that has, in the past, been very expensive. On the other hand, in this case, expensive to them could mean more profitable for me. Still, I appreciate the goals of the WMF and thing that they have fallen into some traps, and I’d love to help them escape from them.
I also have other possibilities for resolution of this, not to be announced as yet.
Ongoing discussion seems to be unaware of actual process.
If there is going to be a Motion to Dismiss, that comes before Discovery. There is no need for discovery if the filing did not allege a basis for a judgment in favor of the plaintiff. The plaintiff may, however, amend the Complaint to remedy defects (in which cast the MTD may need amendment as well). I have studied the rules for this. A successful MTD is actually rare if there is any possible basis for the plaintiff to prevail on even one count of the claim. Further, there can be an appeal if the plaintiff believes that the judge ruled incorrectly. But I don’t expect the judge to rule incorrectly. Normally, a correct decision will be clear and I would not frivolously appeal. By that time, I expect I will have obtained even more expert advice.
So if there is no Motion to Dismiss (because of certain issues, not mentioned yet, I do expect one absent a prior settlement), or if the Motion is rejected, Discovery begins and the parties may issue interrogatories, requests for production of evidence, etc. Depositions may be taken. Discovery is the most expensive part of a suit, it has become. The parties bear the expenses of deposition. Evidence in discovery must be attested, it is admissible later at trial.
After discovery, any party may move for summary judgment, i.e, claiming that there is no question of fact, that only a question of law remains, and urging the court to decide immediately on the basis of law. The standard for Summary Judgment is similar: there is no need for a trial, the conclusion is obvious. If motions for summary judgment fail, whatever issues remain go to trial.
This is one of the issues I expect to be raised. It was written:
Abd filed suit in the wrong jurisdiction. Section 13 of the Terms of Use requires all suits to be filed in state or federal court in San Francisco County, California. If this proceeds to any extent, he’ll need to fly out there.
Yeah, I thought that for a time. Since I have kids living just north of there, I thought I might go.
Further, California law has a statute of limitations on libel of one year and the TOS also provides such a limit, and a limit on damages of $1000.
However, this troll is assuming that the suit is filed under the TOS. It is not. This an action for libel, where plaintiff and defendant are in different states. The TOS does not give the WMF the right to libel me. It does allow a ban, but a ban does not require that I be libelled. That the WMF implements a ban with an openly visible global lock and statements on user pages is their choice, not required in order to ban. I don’t want to go into details more than that. To be clear here, the tort was the publication of the ban, not a ban decision. They could trivially ban the same without that publication, but they don’t, because nobody ever noticed that the publication can be a defamation, until this case, where it was intended as that and was used that way, aided and abetted by the WMF through its incompetent and abusive process.

On User talk:Jimbo Wales no less

Lawsuit_against_the_Wikimedia_Foundation?

Yes.

According to [1] and [2] a lawsuit has been filed against the WMF, but the actual court documents listed on those pages are behind a paywall.

This page[3] allows you to download some of the documents as PDFs[4][5][6] but others are listed as “Buy on Pacer”. Does anyone know where we can access those paywalled court documents?

The only document of significant relevance is the original Complaint, which is available on link 3.

Here is the Wikipedia username listed in the lawsuit: Abd (talk·contribs·logs·edit filter log·block log)

Actually what was listed was the WMF global account “Abd”.

Related:

None of those are truly relevant. That was all very old, and I never attempted to return to en.wikipedia, having concluded that the context was hopeless. A prior arbitration case involving JzG would be more relevant, because JzG was involved in the activity at the end of 2017, pursuing a vendetta that he had maintained for so many years, taking it to Wikiversity.

I am going to assume that, being part of the WMF, Jimbo cannot comment on any ongoing legal actions. I am under no such restriction, so I will be posting a copy of this at User talk:Guy Macon#Lawsuit against the Wikimedia Foundation? if anyone wishes to discuss this case with me. —Guy Macon (talk) 18:14, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

I’d be happy to discuss it with him, but I can’t do so on Wikipedia, nor can I arrange to contact him, all of that would involve TOS violations and I have never violated the TOS, nor do I plan to.

If you have any good secondary sources, put it on Litigation involving the Wikimedia Foundation. Was Abd the cold fusion editor? Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 07:02, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
He was one of the cold fusion editors.[7] —Guy Macon (talk) 08:07, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

That’s all shallow. That case was not actually about cold fusion, but about the right of an administrator to unilaterally declare a topic ban and then personally enforce it when an alleged violation was not in itself disruptive. The case decided that my position was correct, and admin could not do this. It also decided to desysop the involved administrator. But it was, as well, used as a coatrack to sanction the complainant, a nasty habit that has worked much harm. File a frivolous complaint, yes, sanctions. But file a valid complaint, irrelevant countercomplaints should require a separate filing, attempts to resolve before filing, etc.

Cold fusion editing continued at en-wv after the actions at en-wp. The topic, broadly construted, is now subject to sanctions covered by a topic ban. —mikeu talk 17:20, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
That was a decision by mikeu, contrary to long-established Wikiversity policy, and admittedly based on anonymous private complaints. Wikiversity does not have articles, Wikipedia “editing” is misleading applied to Wikiversity. It has educational resources where topics may be studied, in great depth. The Wikiversity resource had never been disruptive, there had been no revert warring, nor was it attacked, until the end of 2017, by anonymous users who recruited two Wikipedians to show up and claim that the project was “pseudoscientific.” Those users were clearly following a vendetta, created when I exposed impersonation socking on Wikipedia, filing checkuser requests on the meta wiki, granted, impersonation socking verified. And because the prior sequence raised the issue of anonymous users or SPAs creating disruuptive process, I started to document what had happened. An avalanche of socks were created, disrupting and threatening me and others. So I moved that project to the meta wiki, where there was more supervision available.

I was threatened that everything I had written would be deleted, if I did not stop documenting the blatant socking. And so it was, later by mikeu.

But that is not the cause of action in the lawsuit. There were those who defamed me in complaints to the WMF. I may have a distinct cause of action against other acts of defamation, of which there have been many, but that’s not particularly relevant to this lawsuit, though it could be amended. Mike’s actions violated Wikiversity policy, but that’s a problem for the Wikiversity community, not for me. I was able to recover all my work and place it on another wiki, where it is actually more useful.

Is Rationalwiki owned by the WMF? –Roxy,the dog. wooF 08:18, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
no, it’s an entirely unrelated nonprofit of its own – David Gerard (talk) 00:36, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

Guy Macon, I have a PACER account. What documents do you want copies of? Kb03 (talk) 13:27, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

Just look them over and confirm that the ones I can’t see are the usual boring secondary documents. I would like to know if the WMF has been served, though. —Guy Macon (talk) 23:28, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

How about asking me? Here is the status: a copy of the complaint and a request for waiver of service has been sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the Registered Agent for the WMF in Los Angeles. I have not received the receipt back yet, so I need to find my receipt from the post office. It’s somewhere in this pile on my desk. If I don’t get a reply back soon, I will arrange for a process server to deliver it.

No, Rationalwiki is independent, that’s just weird. They know about this though as I told User:David Gerard. This is a lolsuit (I stole that from the discussion at Wikipediocracy). A sock of the racist Mikemikev told me about it (claiming that I and User:Maunus were responsible for the demise of Rightedia, which sadly neither of us were a party to, and saying he’s back at Metapedia (en.metapedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Lamprecht) where he will write an article about me. I told the WMF – I don’t think they’ve actually been served but that’s just a guess. Abd is trying to find out if the ban was the result of private communications from people who he claims were harassing him. This doesn’t seem to have been his first lawsuit. Abd_Ul-Rahman Lomax has an Encyclopedia Dramatica article but you’ll have to search for it as the link is blacklisted. Doug Weller talk 13:35, 5 April 2019 (UTC) Try this (encyclopediadramatica.rs/Abd_Ul-Rahman_Lomax} – the software seems to allow that. Doug Weller talk 13:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

The Encyclopedia Dramatica article on me was written by “Mr. Strong,” an admitted sock of Oliver D. Smith, the brother of Darryl L. Smith, who is the one who created all the disruption on Wikiversity, through impersonation socking on Wikipedia. If I get around to it, I’ll add links here to evidence.

I find it amusing that experience editors aren’t familiar with how to place an information link, but he did it. Just don’t make it a link. Leave out the http:// and the browser will fill it in. I did extensive work with getting useful sites removed from the global blacklist, and, indeed, my involvement with cold fusion began with confronting an abusive blacklisting. I was later topic banned on cold fusion because of a successful delisting request, on meta. Go figure. Basically, by that time the faction backing those I had confronted wanted me gone, and the old-timers who used to defend what I was doing were gone, including an arbitrator who resigned because of in-person, real-life threats against his family.

Before all this flap, I had decided that WMF wikis were unsafe, because policy enforcement protecting users from abusive administration was unreliable, I had seen far too many incidents, and far too little willingness of the community to protect itself. But I saw an abuse, harming an individual, and confronted it, successfully. Somehow mikeu ignored all that, and he ended up also blocking that fellow, for basically nothing but a trumped-up excuse. Very rude, indeed.

I should have added a caveat. Don’t trust Encyclopedia Dramatic to be accurate, it’s named Dramtica for a reason. Trolling seems welcome there. Doug Weller talk 16:43, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

So why even link to it? This is weird.

I passed it to the RW board, though we have no idea what, in any coherent sense, to make of it. All involved parties are banned as anything from RW and are still sockpuppeting furiously and getting banned instantly – David Gerard (talk) 00:36, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

No, not all “involved parties” are banned. David Gerard is quite involved, actually, he has shown an intense interest in protecting the Smith brothers on RatWiki, it’s obvious. The Smiths have long created sock puppets on RatWiki. On Wikipedia, they are known as Anglo Pyramidologist, see the SPI archive, but that only shows a fraction of their socks, there are many more, and some have been misidentified as the users they were impersonating. They discovered how to manipulate the WP community.

The user behind Goblin Face (one of the AP socks, actually Darryl L. Smith) claimed to having been paid to edit, by a “major skeptical organization.” That was confirmed by his brother, Oliver D. Smith, in email known to be from him. It is plausible. There are other interest groups, with more money, that might fund certain kinds of astroturfing, particularly on Wikipedia.

If Jimbo doesn’t protest I think it can be discussed here in a general context because I think there is likely to be lots and lots of lawsuits going forward as American courts, imo, in general, are becoming less and less competent, thus, less predictable in terms of what suits they will or will not entertain, therefore (not talking about this specific case) creating a lottery mentality among potential plaintiffs.

The point of discussing it on Jimbo’s talk page?

So, for example, I definitely think WMF should have a “no settlements” policy and that type of thing might be discussable here, maybe. Nocturnalnow (talk) 20:57, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

Such a policy could be very, very expensive. Ask a lawyer! I’ve never before gone to court as a plaintiff, but I’ve been sued. The plaintiffs told their lawyers not to talk to me. Expensive, that was, for them. Not for me. I’ve never lost in court, because I never took an indefensible stand.

What the WMF has is a policy that global bans are not appealable. (It is totally different from Wikipedia bans.) They also don’t warn users before banning them, that they are doing anything to violate policy, so if the person is doing something harmful, they do nothing to stop it, particularly if that thing doesn’t use the WMF account. They do not explain the ban to the banned user. Yet they publish the ban, and you really should see how the fact of publication has been used.

Lomax complains that his published SanFranBan was negative publicity that hurt his writing career, but it really depends on who his audience was and what he was trying to accomplish. If he was looking for street cred as a wiki-dissident, the ban may have actually helped him, by showing the WMF establishment was against him. 174.204.18.89 (talk) 02:38, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

I have not said it hurt my “writing career,” but I do depend on donations for my journalism. I don’t know the full extent of the damage, it’s difficult to tell. If someone googles my name and finds the RatWiki article and the ban information, that they might then not donate to my work would not be visible to me, necessarily.

What I know is that one of my children, who is somewhat well-known and thus easily findable, received an email expressing concern about me, linking to the RatWiki article, and, as I recall, pointing to the WMF ban as evidence, claiming that, while he couldn’t be sure I wasn’t a pedophile, I was defending one. Which was a lie. I have not defended any known pedophile. That’s an Oliver Smith-type accusation, and there is a case where I pointed out that it was unwarranted –the alleged evidence was not supported by the source. And, by the way, I was banned from Wikipediocracy — without warning, also, years ago — when I pointed out how outrageous certain pedophilia accusations were, and I think that person may have just shown up here.

I am a member of the Wikipediocracy forum and I have been following this case and I know about the details of how all this started, I encountered Abd’s trolling about ten years ago, the guy has not changed.

I have often confronted abusive administration, and abusive administrators — surprise — don’t like that. So an anonymous user claims I’m “trolling.” He’s trolling! Fact-free, all opinion, no evidence.

Abd has opened himself up to countersuit and discovery. As one of our other members put it “The WMF can conclusively show that he’s a net.kook with no reputation to harm. And the WMF can bury him in lawyers.”

They can show that? Good luck, I’d say. Kinda difficult to prove. And that, at best, would impact damages, perhaps, but not the fact of a libel. They can bury me in lawyers? Does this troll have any idea how expensive that can be? It’s not his money that they would be spending, and what would they gain?

The countersuit would be for what? Discovery is, of course, great. I have nothing to hide. There are people involved who do, and who lied with intention to harm. This whole affair started with that, with impersonating “Blastikus” on Wikipedia, in order to induce Wikipedians to attack him and his harmless study on Wikiversity, collecting sources on parapsychology. Talk about TOS violations! And this was confirmed by stewards, but Wikipedians never took notice. Nor, apparently, did mikeu.

However, mikeu has obviously been in communication with the trolls, not only then, but recently. I do not know if he defamed me to the WMF, so I do not know if he is one of the John Does. I’m waiting for discovery, and could amend the action, and I might amend it anyway, but will be seeking counsel. I’m not in a rush.

As for the real reasons Abd was globally banned, it was for harassment and this can be seen publicly from his edits on Wikiversity. Abd was doxxing Wikipedia users (real names, photographs, addresses, work details, families) etc on his personal cold fusion blog to attack users that he blamed for getting his cold fusion project deleted on Wikiversity. You are dealing with a very vicious internet harasser. If Abd falls out with someone on the internet, he takes it personally and will stalk and libel that person, writing thousands if not millions of words about them on his blog. There are many victims of his. I would say his RationalWiki article is actually accurate in that description.

He’s lying. This is very likely one of the Smith brothers. This is common with trolls. A single possible fact of varied possible interpretations is conflated into a vast pattern. Notice that no Wikiversity edits are linked. Further, all the Wikiversity material was deleted, and documentation was moved to meta, and I was never blocked on meta. This is all about two extremely disruptive harassers, famous for it, long before I knew who they were, and I interfered with their agenda, they threatened me, and I didn’t back down. They created the RatWiki article and then went after Wikiversity. And they were aided by three other users, whom they had canvassed from Wikipedia. At least one of those users lied, claiming I had harassed him by email. Had I actually done that, it could have been the basis for a WMF ban. I did send several emails to users, warning them about the Smith brothers, who were trolling them. But I did not harass, not at all, and I did later publish the email with the user who complained publicly. He did not complain to me, he complained to Wikiversity.

Abd also sent Wikipedia users he blamed for his Wikiversity project being deleted “harassing emails”. This user, complained about it here. That same user was also doxed on a public internet forum by Abd and on Abd’s blog ( I will not link to that) but it can be found.

That’s a long story, but the email to that user was to offer to help get things taken down. See, I had added updated information on the user to a forum that had long tangled with him, this was a very uncivil guy with a lot of people angry with him. And at least some of that was deserved. In any case, I did add that information to my blog, on an obscure page. He never complained. However, I deleted my copy and requested that forum delete theirs. They said, “It’s true, it should stay.” I argued that it could be taken down as a courtesy, and they did. But meanwhile Darryl Smith, almost certainly, archived it. (I had server log evidence of this, as I recall.) In other words, these users who are so solicitous of the alleged harassed user, actually perpetuated that information, though it was actually obsolete long ago.

The user and I emailed back and forth a few times, then it stopped. This was definitely not harassment. Rather, he was using that claim for his own purposes, to create exactly the impression that this troll is harping on here. I think these users conspired to do this, but that’s simply a suspicion. I’ve gone into court on what is clear.

If you check the rules “Inappropriate or unwanted public or private communication, following, or any form of stalking, when directed at another editor, violates the harassment policy.” [8]. Abd’s global ban was therefore justified. He was putting users real life safety at risk.

It would be. So what was the inappropriate communication, and how does a user know that it is “unwanted.” There is a standard way. “Don’t email me!” If one then emails the person, it would be harassment. This is really simple. As to stalking, what I did has never been considered stalking. (And my interest in this editor was about off-wiki behavior and I was not attempting to influence his Wikipedia activity. But I am generally interested in how factions operate on Wikipedia and elsewhere. The community is largely defenseless against factional POV-pushing and the involved users have been openly contemptuous of NPOV.

You can also check Abd’s block log on Wikiversity. He was blocked many times for his online vendettas against other users. The blocking admin wrote to Abd [9] “Your long term activity at Wikiversity shows a persistent pattern of long term disruption that has been going on for the past SEVEN YEARS! This activity has also drawn a great deal of unwelcome contentious activity to our site that distracts the community from developing learning resources.” Since being banned from Wikipedia, Abd has been doxxing RationalWiki users on his blog and impersonating them. He has an obsessive habit of impersonating users he does not like and blaming his impersonations onto others. I have counted 102 banned sock-puppets that Abd has created on RationalWiki in the last 8 months.

Actually, I have created something three or four socks or so, for legitimate purposes (such as to inform a user that they have been impersonated elsewhere. As an example, on a medical blog, a RatWiki user was impersonated, so I created a sock to ask him if it was him; it was not. The creation of socks like that is a Darryl Smith trademark, and the blog was a blog of one of his targets. When I create a legitimate sock, it is blocked by Darryl (who usually has sysop privileges there) and a large pile of imitation impersonations appear, threatening users with lawsuits, claiming that Lomax will harass them, etc. The fact is that the Smiths were known for this long before I appeared. The person counting my alleged socks has done it on RatWiki. Who else cares? It’s Darryl L. Smith, also known as Debunking spiritualism on RatWiki, Skeptic from Britain on Wikipedia, who created a big mess in December — tagged by Jimbo as a POV pusher — using that account’s retirement to attack a user who had criticized him on his talk page by creating socks outing himself as that person. then claiming he was retiring because of the outing. Clever, eh? Actually, vicious. Here is the story: http://coldfusioncommunity.net/anglo-pyramidologist/darryl-l-smith/skeptic-from-britain/

As for his next move, he wrote recently he is hiring a lawyer from money he will obtain from CrowdFundMe campaign he is starting.

Where did I write that? I write a lot, and may indeed start a GoFundMe campaign. There already is one, raising funds for journalism expenses. I don’t want to mix that with the WMF crap.

His only supporter on the internet is Mikemikev a neo-nazi he has defended.

I have not been supported by Mikemikev. I have only pointed out that certain alleged Mikemikev socks have not been him, which is obvious to anyone who actually investigates this situation.  I know that some Wikipedia socks alleged to be Mikemikev have not been him. The creator of the LTA page for Mikemikev would be Oliver Smith (i.e., the original Anglo Pyramidologist), as Stronghold1990

Apparently if someone gets banned from Wikipedia Abd will become friendly with (even if they are a nazi). I personally do not see his lawsuit going anywhere. This is an lolsuit. The man needs to get off the internet for a few days and get a reality check. No doubt he is following this discussion and will write 10, million words about it all and how he is being “harassed”. Anon63622 (talk) 04:25, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

I simply document what I see and add what I know. This is not harassing me. I was encouraged to file by a relative who is a paralegal with extensive experience. It’s a real lawsuit, it doesn’t have to “go anywhere.” The WMF will decide how to respond. By the way, a mail sent by the clerk to me was returned to them, but the address was correct (they phoned me to ask about it). They sent it again, and I got it, but someone looking at the docket might think that I had disappeared or something.

The WMF will have a certain amount of time to respond, or a default could be declared. The ban policy of “ignore them” is not going to work for this. The TOS protections also don’t apply, because the TOS does not allow them to libel me, and the restrictions they set up (must file in California, only have a year, and $1000 limit on damages) are irrelevant for an action for defamation by them. I warned them about office bans for years, that it was a slippery slope, they were losing their service provider protections. Deaf ears.

I notice that absent from your narrative are any mention of list of names redacted etc. who figure prominently in Abd’s version of events.

Mikeu redacted the names. Here is the original text.

I notice that absent from your narrative are any mention of Darryl L. Smith, Ben Steigmann, Anglo Pyramidologist, Goblin Face, Blastikus, Oliver Smith, JzG, Joshua P. Schroeder, Michael Umbricht, John66, Emil Kirkegaard, etc. who figure prominently in Abd’s version of events.

Anyway, people were saying James Damore’s litigation against Google was an lolsuit too, and you saw how that went. 174.204.18.89 (talk) 04:50, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

Note: I redacted the list of names above. Please do not enable his problematic behavior by repeating it on-wiki. This results in a great deal of cross-wiki disruption. A checkuser discovered that the account that left a notification of the lawsuit on my talk page had numerous sleeper sockpuppet accounts.[10] We caught this before they could act. Not only do these actions have real world consquences but they also are a drain on the energy of the community. The more people who amplify his actions, and those of his friends, the more work for our staff to followup. I’d rather spend my time creating content instead of cleaning up a mess. Disclosure: my name was in that list but my identity is hardly a secret. I don’t much care if anyone reverts my edit but I am very sympathetic to the harassed contributors who have reached out to me requesting help. The volunteers who improve our projects are our most vital asset and deserve to be treated with respect. signed John Doe #N —mikeu talk 01:22, 7 April 2019 (UTC)

I still do not know if Mike is one of the John Does. Making stupid or even biased decisions as a bureaucrat is not a basis for a lawsuit. The list is not my list, it is that of another observer, I don’t know who it is, though I have a suspicion. Mikeu had been inactive for a long time, dropped in in the middle of the mess, having no apparently clue about what was happening, but having been emailed, wielded a meat-axe to prohibit the study of fringe on Wikiversity, even when neutrally presented and framed, and where it had not been disruptive at all, blocked me for fixing an issue — creating consensus — where he was involved, decided I had a long block log, though there had been no problems for a long time, blocked me for a vendetta that wasn’t, it was normal documentation of sock puppetry and canvassing, complained about a personal vendetta on meta in a checkuser request that was one of a long series of successful identification of socks, and where another Wikiversity sysop had added much material to it, and then, when I was globally banned, disappeared. He was not there to create content, he was there to be a bully to support other bullies, and he bragged about it on Wikipedia. He has created very little content anywhere, he was only a bureaucrat because he volunteered in the very early days.

Is it possible that one of Abd’s enemies tried to manipulate you into having this very reaction by placing that notification, as a joe job move? That was what Abd claimed in his 18 March blog post was likely going on. 174.204.18.89 (talk) 01:54, 7 April 2019 (UTC)

Gee, is it possible or is it obvious? The sock puppetry patterns match Darryl Smith socking, the same as on RationalWiki. Names are chosen that are totally obvious. I have rarely created socks and I have almost always confirmed them. There have been non-disruptive socks created with obvious names. In fact, I still have one on Wikipedia that I could use to email users. So what? I’m not going to use it. The WMF global ban prohibits all access, under any name or by any means. It even prohibits anyone from accessing Wikipedia or contacting Wikipedians on my behalf, which is a bridge too far, my opinion, but I’m not going to test it without clear reason. (I have not asked anyone to edit Wikipedia or contact Wikipedians on my behalf. Anyone who does this is doing it on their own initiative. I have only provided information, either verifiable (it gets long because of that) or I will provide verification on request.
Those joe job accounts lied. Typical.

174.204.18.89, you should not be mentioning real life names taken from Abd’s blog. This is one of the reasons Abd has been banned all over the internet. He tries to connect peoples real life identities with anonymous online accounts, he then claims he knows “100%” who the accounts belong to and digs up where these people work, but offers nothing more than his opinion.

Who is this? There are two people involved in the mess I encountered in 2017: Oliver and Darryl Smith. Oliver has been open about his identity at times, and he is apparently being sued, so he tried to have articles he had written taken down on RatWiki, and as part of that, he confirmed the obvious, that he was indeed the original author. After a long time of being considered a valuable contributor there, he is finally being blocked rather quickly. His brother, if it is his brother, is still active, and is almost certainly the Smith brother active here, the one who obsessively follows everything I write, and then drastically misrepresents it to an audience that almost never checks and compares.

I have offered far more than my opinion, I have extensively documented the very specific traits and activities of these two (known on Wikipedia as Anglo Pyramidolist, and it does appear that the original claim that there were two brothers was true, not merely a “my brother did it” excuse. However, at one point last year, Oliver — using a verified email — claimed that it was all him, he had lied on Wikipedia and he had lied to Tim Farley (about what? he didn’t say, but the communications would be about skeptic activism and probably financial support, but Farley would know best. Farley does not necessarily know what these brothers have done, and probably would not approve.

It is very dangerous business because he has no proof, only his speculations.

That is what the creators of fake news do, “They have no proof.” First of all, I have not claimed, in most cases, “proof.” I have claimed evidence, strong enough evidence to convince a jury or expert panel, if that ever arose. Sock puppetry, when it is large scale — as this has been — leaves clear marks, very difficult to avoid. Then there is the duck test, which is circumstantiial and which is subject to certain possible errors, but is also quite clear in this case. No, he’s lying, and he knows it.

In many cases he has turned out to be wrong (he claims RationalWiki users John66, Bongolian and David Gerard are all the same person – entirely wrong and he was forced to later admit that) but his leaking of real life names can effect people and their businesses.

I never claimed that those were the same, and I never suspected them of being the same. As I recall, I’m not checking now, I did a study of Bongolian as a control, against the edits of known Darryl Smith accounts and suspected ones. Bongolian was clearly distinct, there was no question about it. Claims that Bongolian was John66 were made by sock puppets on RationalWiki. Who created those socks and those claims? It’s obvious (but there is a minor possibility that this was very sophisticated impersonation of them. I’d testify under oath that it was not me. I’m a journalist, and lying would be career suicide.

If I make mistakes, all my work can be commented on and corrected through blog comments. (In spite of many troll comments, often impersonating RatWiki users. And that led me to create accounts to ask about them.)

As for JzG, he is an admin here. Abd has impersonated him on several blogs,

I have never impersonated JzG, I would not, and I’m not aware of impersonations, but I’ve been seeing claims on RatWiki that I’m massively active all over the internet, with impersonations. There is someone who has done that, often, historically. It’s not me. It’s the Smith brothers. Both of them have impersonated. I have proven some of it. No proof? That one was easy. Ask the impersonated person if it was them.

This is a Smith brother, likely Darryl from signs I can see.

as he has impersonated Roxy the dog.

Again, he knows I did not, because it was almost certainly him (I think I recall documenting an impersonation). He has been making accusations like this for a long time, almost never with evidence.

I do not trust Abd at all, he has recently been attacking @Alexbrn: on his blog. When you spend your life online attacking people like Abd it discredits his version of events which appear to be fictional.

This is someone deliberately concealing his identity by using a colocation web host. I’m a real person willing to go into court and attest under oath that I have evidence for my claims. The “attacks” are written documentation (“evidence”), sourced and verifiable, often with little interpretation or with minimal analysis (but on a blog, I also add opinion, it’s my privilege. I distinguish opinion and interpretation from fact.)

The Alexbrn reference would be to this page. science-and-medicine/sara-wilson-as-a-target-of-medical-fascism/

His entire lawsuit is basically about a grudge he holds because a group of “skeptical” editors submitted his cold fusion material for deletion.

That is his typical hostile mindreading. However, notice the lack of links. This troll does not want people looking at what actually happened. I didn’t care about that content, for itself, though one of the pages, a list of recent peer-reviewed sources on cold fusion, was widely cited. So this damaged many pages across the internet, and that page was rigorously neutral, and, in fact, that whole resource was neutral, but to those who don’t know the research in the field, it can look otherwise. These were wiki pages, open to editing, and anyone who questioned the neutrality could have objected. Deletion was not the method to be used on Wikiversity for non-neutral material, but mikeu had never participated in developing the methods for creating “inclusive neutrality.” It’s not at all difficult, I did it many times, and it totally defused conflict. What was offensive was the attack on a specific innocent user, who was impersonated and defamed by a sock master, who also filed checkuser reports on him and who then complained on Wikiversity about him, and this was steward-verified. And then what was more offensive was the attack on Wikiversity as a place where any topic could be studied. It was a place where neutrality was inclusive rather than exclusive, i.e., like academia rather than like an encyclopedia. No longer, because of mikeu.

My opinion is that wikis without protective structure are intrinsically vulnerable to this, I had already abandoned Wikiversity as a place to create content because of demonstrations that this was the case.

Perhaps @Roxy the dog: or @ජපස: or @Mu301: can weigh in on this because they have been attacked by Abd. 2607:F710:60:0:0:BA:0:2 (talk) 11:42, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

When and where? If I describe what someone has done, is that an “attack”? There is a page on this blog which has been described as an “attack on ජපස“. It is joshua-schroeder-on-pseudoscience-on-wikipedia/. Compare that to what has been routine commentary on me, on this very page, on RatWiki, on Encyclopedia Dramatica, and, in fact, in comments all over the internet and then consider who, by comparison, is engaged in a “vendetta.”

Cos I was asked, I believe abd’s attacks on me are as effective in making a difference as a sparrow’s fart. –Roxy,the dog. wooF 12:17, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

Has he read these alleged attacks? Would he be so kind, then, to point to them? If I wrote something inappropriate, I can correct it. Roxy is active, my sense, in what calls itself the skeptical project or faction, which, my opinion, is, as organized and active, pseudoskeptical, “believing in the mainstream.” Which is not scientific skepticism. Science is not about belief at all.

It doesn’t surprise me if Abd made some false sockpuppetry allegations based on a dubious interpretation of evidence. I doubt he did it maliciously, though. He’s not the only Wikipedian to make that mistake; it happens all the time that SPIs are closed as “unrelated” because someone’s suspicions turned out to be unfounded. That’s just kind of a routine occurrence.

Yes, one would think. However, I have reported on hundreds of socks, and very few have been shown to be someone else. If contrary evidence appears, I report it. “Unrelated,” by the way, is not always conclusive, unless there are extensive edits. Some users become skilled at creating false impressions. I distinguish between suspicion and conclusion. I report evidence and am not the final judge, but I do, after seeing a great deal of evidence, come to conclusions, which often include alternate interpretations. For example, I have concluded that there really are two brothers, that Oliver was lying to protect his brother, who has made a career of being a “skeptical editor,” attacking “pseudoscience” and “quackery” and, lately certain skepticisms that offend Big Pharma, which has far more resources than the “skeptical organizations” originally served, but I do keep in mind the alternate interpretation, that Oliver, admittedly schizophrenic, actually is the only one. However, the strong preponderance of the evidence is that there are two.

And that can complicate checkuser, because these brothers do back each other up, and there is crossover. So far, though, I don’t see Oliver as appearing in this discussion.
As well, there are indications of another anonymous person who has occasionally edited in support of Darryl. Independent SPAs can be difficult to distinguish in a massive cloud of socks.

I think it is debatable how much good can come from banning people for outing users off-wiki. It obviously hasn’t stopped Abd from continuing to do it, because his SanFranBan doesn’t affect what he does on non-Wikimedia platforms.

Again, I don’t know who this is. There are several possibilities, actually. What he is writing is obvious.

And if Abd had anonymously outed people, maybe it would not have even been possible to hold him accountable.

Wikipedians are accustomed to anonymous trolls. Then, too often, they treat persons open about identity as if they were trolls. Internet trolling is such a problem because of anonymity, which somehow got enshrined on Wikipedia, and this is the original factor that will keep Wikipedia from ever becoming reliable. Reliable source cannot be anonymous. The police allow anonymous tips, but they are never evidence, and, in court, all evidence must be personally attested or it is not admissible. In Academia, anonymous sources are meaningless unless fully and completely verifiable, but wikis accept the testimony of anonymous users sometimes without question.
The most serious “outing” was that JPS affair, though it probably caused no harm, and the true outing, that was made indelible through archive.is, was by the Smith troll. Otherwise when I convinced that web admin to remove it, it would all have been gone. And I asked a former WMF board member about this, and he did not think it would rise to the level that would lead the WMF to act. But without knowing what the exact complaints were, I cannot know. After all, outing like that has been common on Wikipedia Review and Wikipediocracy — and Encyclopedia Dramatica.

Because of this type of situation, users who want to keep their IRL identities secret should practice due diligence in not making it easy for people to out them, since the admins and Wikimedia have limited power to control the spread of information that a user has put out there about himself.

I don’t think impersonation is part of Abd’s playbook; he is not known for being a manipulative guy. Some of his adversaries do have that reputation, though, and therefore it wouldn’t surprise me if an impersonator framed Abd for impersonation. 174.204.18.89 (talk) 12:52, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

I was not accused of impersonation, ever, before the Smiths created impersonation socks. Impersonation is deeply offensive. I confronted it on usenet as a moderator, because people can die when others believe an impersonation is real. Yet these accusers claim that this is a long-term behavior. It’s recognizable as a lie if anyone actuallyh looks at my history.

  • I am one of the anonymous John Doe’s listed in Abd’s filing. Thankfully he does not have my real name and I only ever used an IP to edit Wikipedia.

    This is fascinating. So, this person complained to the WMF. About what?

    Abd wrote some negative things about my IP on his blog and some deliberately false claims about me claiming I was someone else and posting someones business details.

    This would narrow him to certain IPs. And does he own the IP? Is it stable? There were certain IPs that were a mobile service provider in a small region in England, and used by Darryl in obvious socking. What claims? What stops this user from being specific?

    Well, Darryl is almost never specific, particularly if being specific would lead people to realize the truth.

    I sent a complaint to the Wikimedia Health and Safety about his revealing of private information.

    What private information? If I falsely claimed that the IP was someone else, how was this his private information? It would merely be wrong, like many claims that an IP is a blocked user, when it is not. Do realize that the claims I made eventually became that all this disruption was by one of the Anglo Pyramidologist socks, so these were like any report of disruptive socking with a request for checkuser.

    You say above “and if Abd had anonymously outed people, maybe it would not have even been possible to hold him accountable,” this is wrong, he is entirely accountable.

    The Smiths are not terribly smart, and if this is a meat puppet, as is the other reasonable possibility, not terribly smart either. The anon did not claim I was not accountable, I am, for what I do openly or privately, but that it might not be possible to hold me accountable.

    He has no reason for doing it, other than harassment. It is not acceptable to be posting where anonymous online users live or work or trying to make those connections. Max Redhill (talk) 20:06, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

    Now, is this harassment? Am I being harassed by these comments? That’s a question. From my point of view, these people are revealing the reality of how they think and how they act. It is an opportunity for anyone who cares to see what I have seen since 2017. Most people don’t really care. Reality is too boring, they think, if it involves actually looking at evidence.

    With every IP contributions display is a geolocation tab. Why? Isn’t that revealing private information?

    In addressing disruption, checkusers routinely look at those things, and others often do, you can see it in many SPI archives. I have never posted where “anonymous online users work.” I did post, one time, where a user who is not anonymous, having openly revealed his identity, had worked. It was off wiki, not using my WMF account at all, and not causing any actual harm.

    These trolls have, on occasion, contacted employers, they engage in real-life harassment. The mother of one of their targets was fired because of emails they sent, and Oliver, in particular, admitted sending the mail, he merely claimed “I did not ask them to fire her.” These users are vicious, they write defamatory articles on RatWiki, using cherry-picked and out-of-context evidence, entirely misleading, and then feed this to reporters for media, and on occasion, that information is not carefully checked and has shown up in print. Serious accusations!

    What I was getting at was, the people who have been banned for off-wiki harassment, outing, etc. have been those who linked those activities to their own Wikipedia account. Another example would be michaeldsuarez, who made it known that he edited Dramatica as JuniusThaddeus. But not every harasser or outer does that, so not all are held accountable. 174.204.18.89 (talk) 20:21, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

    I don’t know who this guy is – his dramas seem to have happened over the many years time I wasn’t actively editing Wikipedia. But seeing this name, I notice a twitter user named @abdlomax has been favourite-ing tweets where I’ve been under attack over Wikipedia (for background see here). Also during all the low-carbohydrate diet drama centred on Skeptic from Britain I (and presumably a number of other WP editors) were being impersonated on one of the blogs covering the drama, in what looked like shit-stirring (for background see here). What can it all mean? Alexbrn (talk) 16:50, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

    Ah, thanks. That user is me, but I see only one favorite. This conflation of a single action to many is common with abusive users. Skeptic from Britain was not impersonated anywhere, but himself created accusations that he was a user who had criticized him. This is classic Smith MO. So, Alexbrn was impersonated.  See a page that documents many comment impersonations on the Malcolm Kendrick blog.

So was Guy Chapman. That comment was blatantly impersonation. It confirmed the false accusation against ME. Guy (JzG) is not that stupid.

Might want to ask the man himself at abdlomax@yahoo.com, which is the email address he has been at for years, and which is listed in the complaint. In anything Abd-related, I would caution against making assumptions about authorship, given the amount of impersonation that has been alleged. 174.204.18.89 (talk) 19:15, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

Yes, and that is quite general about the internet, and email received. Assumptions about authorship can cause a great deal of damage.

I am aware of the lawsuit. I personally consider it frivolous and an attempt to harass and intimidate. My block of Abd was justified and long overdue.[16] Ping me if you have a specific question regarding his activity at en-wv and/or the actions that I/we have taken to prevent disruption of our project. I can neither confirm nor deny that I am a “John Doe” in this case as I have not received any official notification off-wiki. I am not at liberty to comment further on ongoing litigation nor can I comment on some of the specifics of this block due to WMF confidentiality requirements. (My block was primarily based on on-wiki activity, however the duration of the block was significantly adjusted to take into account privately expressed concerns which would be inappropriate to share publicly.) —mikeu talk 16:58, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
Actually, here, Mike did effectively claim to be a John Doe. No he would not be notified until I have clear evidence as to what he actually did, though I could go ahead and amend the complaint based on “information and belief,” and then discovery would include his being asked questions under oath. Mike is here confirming what he wrote before, his actions were based on privately expressed concerns. Those would be libelous. There was no vendetta, there was an attempt to protect the wiki. There was an admin there who expressed an intention to unblock. The information I have is that he was threatened with desysop. There is block and ban process on Wikiversity, which was not followed. Deletion process was also bypassed by Mike. There were lies in the deletion request, confronted by others. There was canvassing of Wikipedia users who were clueless about Wikiversity purposes, practice, and policy.
But that would merely be incompetent administration, which this affair exposed abundantly. As I have mentioned, I already had decided to abandon putting work into Wikiversity, because it was too dangerous as a place to build content. I had already moved away, toward, for example, writing for publication under peer review, and blogging, and Quora for page views. Far better. Quora is not totally safe, but much safer than WMF wikis. I have 4 million page views there and 2000 followers, which is better than anything I ever did on Wikiversity (though my best work there was never deleted, I’m wondering if they will go for that, too.)
On Wikiversity, I had demonstrated how to create neutral resources, in the presence of strong differences of opinion. It’s actually easy to do there, with attribution. Wikiversity is much more like a university library than an encyclopedia. Or was until Mike demolished the principles that had been followed for about 15 years.
  • So I know there are a bunch of links here, and the gist I got is that this is a person who has banned for OUTing users, but who exactly is Abd and what is he trying to get out of this lawsuit? By who, I mean as a Wikipedia user and other known off-wiki accounts of his.—CYBERPOWER (Chat) 17:03, 7 April 2019 (UTC)

    I outed nobody on WMF wikis. I have not edited Wikipedia since 2011 or so. This blog is  owned by Infusion Institute, Inc, but I am admin and do use the blog for topics not always related to cold fusion.  I have these other accounts:

  • WMF wikis: Abd (currently office-banned, unknown offense)
  • RationalWiki: Abd (currently blocked, considered banned but the ordinary process was followed.
  • Quora: Abd-Ul-Rahman-Lomax
  • Encyclopedia Dramatica: Abd (currently blocked, standard ED lulz)
  • Twitter: Abd ul-Rahman Lomax (used very little)
  • Wikipedia Review: Abd
  • Wikipediocracy: Abd (banned, reason not given, years ago, but context was confronting libel of Wikipedia users by a popular user there, still active. No life.)
  • WikipediaSucks: Abd

There are many, many other accounts. Since the early 2000s, I used my Muslim name deliberately, to make a point. Before that there were other accounts. I was a usernet moderator for soc.religion.islam, never, and was a forum moderator on The WELL in the 1980s.

Jimbo Wales commented, and what he wrote was no surprise.

As suggested by others, I can’t really comment on ongoing legal matters. I should also add that in general, for routine legal matters, they are handled by our very competent legal staff and don’t necessarily rise to the level requiring board attention.–Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:11, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

It is still a question as to why this discussion was held on his Talk page. I had good email communication with Wales years ago. I have not attempted to contact him since. I would also advise him to clear any contact with me with counsel, but he could communicate with me with counsel on cc or previewing it, if he wants. One of my email addresses is in the Complaint. I once spoke about my concepts for creating efficient consensus negotiation on Wikipedia, at a WikiConference in New York, before I was WP banned, and he was taking notes. but I don’t know that he ever understood the proposals.

 

If there are any questions, I am easy to contact. I will see any comment on this blog, for example, and if a real email address is used, and response is requested, I will respond.

Now, what am I trying to get? I don’t try, I do, but a lawsuit involves a “prayer for relief.”

Read the thing.

WYSIWYG

Had the Foundation been willing to communicate with me, this might all have been easily settled. But their policy is that if they — privately, based on private allegations, without warning (either as to improper behavior or or intention to ban) or explanation, decide to ban, they do not communicate with the user, they do not reply and they state only that the ban is not appealable. But they publish it, and only ban a very limited number of people, most of whom are known or accused of serious offenses or conditions, such as pedophiles or accused pedophiles, or extensive harassers. Even in those cases, the policy is, ah, not actually protective and may in fact, increase risk. But that is mere stupidity, not libel. The fact of the ban can be, in context, a libel in itself, and that is what this case is testing.

This is being discussed on Wikipediocracy, initially openly, but now privately. If anyone wishes to reveal that to me (privately if desired), I’d appreciate it. (I have never attempted to create a sock account there, though that’s easy to do. Unless there is necessity, I do not sock. Merely being banned does not create a necessity. Others being impersonated can.) The open discussion I have covered on this subpage.

Wikipediocracy discussion

Astroturf or idiocy?

I came across this from Tom Naughton’s Fat Head blog. I’ll be riffing on this. First, Naughton is not a careful reporter, he’s sloppy, but, then again, he’s a comedian, not a journalist or academic, and he is writing about topics that will be obscure to most, such as actual Wikipedia process. What he wrote:

Remember the kerfuffle when a rogue editor at Wikipedia targeted Fat Head for deletion? He was, you’ll recall, the same editor who deleted articles about Malcolm Kendrick, Uffe Ravnskov, Jimmy Moore, and pretty much anyone who recommends low-carb diets or disputes the Lipid Hypothesis.

The editor in question, originally “Skeptic from Britain,” (and my page) could not delete anything, he was not a Wikipedia administrator. Was Skeptic from Britain a “rogue editor”? Not really. There is a whole faction of editors (including some administrators) who act in similar ways, but SfB is actually a long-term banned editor (best known as Goblin Face), Darryl L. Smith in real life, according to my research (extensively documented on pages here). He is able to do what he does because of the cooperation of many editors.

He did propose articles for deletion (AfD). Links to the deletion discussions: Kendrick (deleted), Moore (deleted) and Fat Head (kept) — this was nominated as MatthewManchester1994, SfB renamed.

Ravnskov was not proposed by SfB, but by EEng, a snarky editor. (One of the problems with Wikipedia is that too many users with no life treat it like an MMRPG, an opportunity to display adolescent hyper aggression, to win by making others lose.) SfB, however was quite active in that AfD.

In the Fat Head deletion discussion, Jimbo Wales (co-founder of Wikipedia) commented about the nominator:

Strong keep – As others have noted, WP:IDONTLIKEIT is not a valid reason for deletion. It is worth noting that the proposer is a serial namechanger and POV pusher who has now apparently left the project.

When SfB “retired,” he claimed he had been outed on the internet. I was, in fact, accused of being SfB by his brother, on Encyclopedia Dramatica. That is how I came to look at SfB. What I found was that the only outing had been by troll socks, accounts that appear and create disruption (like outing), with no history of comment, and often repeating the same message under different names. The outing named the user who was the only Keep vote in the Jimmy Moore deletion. And that behavior then loudly rang the Darryl Smith bell. This was a sophisticated form of impersonation socking, Darryl’s standard MO, used to harass anyone who criticizes him.

So then I looked at edit timings, spending days compiling and studying data. This was clearly Darryl Smith, previously Debunking spiritualism, now moving from attacking spiritualism and parapsychology (and me, for the sin of having exposed his impersonation socking on Wikipedia, Wikiversity, and the WMF meta wiki), into exposing his “Dislikes = Fad diets, LCHF quackery, pseudoscience.” Did he find a new paymaster? I don’t know.

SfB, before going on a massive Wikipedia editing binge, ending with his “retiring” in December, 2018, had made a few edits to RationalWiki as John66, pursuing the anti-low-carb agenda, and when he did retire, John66 started up in earnest and is still quite active. There, he is now a sysop (RatWiki gives out that easily). The entire RatWiki site is largely dedicated to identifying and exposing “quacks, charlatans, pseudoscientists, and conspiracy theorists.” Is that astroturf? Well, maybe, to some degree. More likely it is a pile of nut cases itself (with a few exceptions).

On the conspiracy side, Darryl Smith has claimed (through socks identified behaviorally and sometimes with technical data) that he has been paid by “a major skeptical organization.” These organizations are dedicated to “debunking,” which is where the genuine skeptical movement went, losing its original scientific underpinnings and methods, becoming highly pseudoskeptical.

It is not skeptical at all, it is a “believer” movement, believing in “mainstream opinion,” even when it is not actually “evidence-based.” I.e., “evidence-based medicine” — what a great idea! — becomes “widespread opinion-based” — and widespread opinion can be highly vulnerable to astroturfing, or more deeply, to the effect of research funding and promotion.

Deletion discussions on Wikipedia, while they are sometimes influenced by opinions like “quackery,” turn on “notability,” which in Wikipedia policy is based on the availability of sources for verification of article content, and what sources are usable can be highly controversial, but if there are mainstream “secondary sources,” sources that review primary sources, or that have a business necessity for fact-checking, these will be considered “Reliable source.” Wikipedia policies are arcane to the uninitiated, because “Reliable” does not mean “reliable.” Get it?

The articles on Kendrick and Moore were deleted because of lack of adequate coverage in reliable source. That can change. “Quackery” as claimed by SfB was irrelevant, but it fires up his own support base. By guidelines, the number of votes doesn’t matter, it is the arguments that count, but in reality, some administrators are lazy as hell and just look at the votes. You can tell by the close comments. I have never seen an administrator even reprimanded for a “consensus is delete” close where it was not a “snow closure” — massively obvious — but actually not a true consensus. Sophisticated users will know how to appeal a decision, so, in theory, this is harmless. In practice, the project is slowly warped toward either majority opinion, neutrality be damned, or toward the opinions of a highly motivated faction, which can wear down and burn out users interested in creating a neutral project (i.e., following traditions of academia, that were the basis for the original encyclopedias, or of journalism, as represented by Sharyl Attkisson.)

So, that Wikipedia article on Attkisson. From the message she has in her TED talk, I expect to see her attacked on Wikipedia. Sure enough, this is how it is done (current version)

Anti-vaccine reporting

In her reporting, Attkisson has published stories linking vaccines with autism, despite the fact that the scientific community has found no evidence of such a link.[32][33] Seth Mnookin, Professor of Science Writing and the Director of the Graduate Program in Science Writing at MIT, described Attkisson as “one of the least responsible mainstream journalists covering vaccines and autism. Again and again, she’s parroted anti-vaccine rhetoric long past the point that it’s been decisively disproved.”[34]

I immediately notice a very unlikely claim reported as a “fact.” “The scientific community has found no evidence,” is essentially a lie. There is evidence, but it is also possibly countered by other evidence. “There is no evidence” is a common claim of fanatics, when there is evidence. When someone is guilty of a crime, they are likely to say, “They have no evidence,” but in court, a case will be immediately thrown out if there is no evidence. Rather, in an unbiased proceeding, plaintiff and defendant will present evidence (vetted for being admissible) and the judge or jury will balance and weigh it.

“No evidence” is rhetoric, fake news, and a tell-tale sign of someone attempting to influence opinion by lying or misrepresenting reality. So how is this allowed on Wikipedia? I will look at the process below, but the notes are:

32. politico.com: sharyl-attkisson-suggests-media-matters-was-paid-to-target-her

Former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson has accused the liberal watchdog group Media Matters of targeting her reporting, and believes someone may have even paid for them to do it. […]

Attkisson’s reporting has come in for a fair amount of criticism as well, and not just because it frequently targets the Obama administration. She has previously published stories about possible links between childhood vaccinations and autism, and stood by those reports on Sunday even as Stelter noted that doctors believe framing the idea as a “debate” is dangerous and encourages parents to not vaccinate their children. (The majority of the scientific community disagrees with that assertion and the CDC says there is no evidence of a link between vaccines and autism. A famous 1998 study that did purport to find a connection between autism and a vaccine was retracted in 2010.)

“I’m not here to fight doctors,” Attkisson said. “I’m just saying that factually, I’m not here to advocate for one side or the other. I’m just saying factually, there are many peer-reviewed published studies that do make an association, and the government itself has acknowledged a link.”

The article’s expression was confused. The “assertion” just before the claim of majority disagreement was that framing the idea as a debate is “dangerous.” This is a classic fascist argument, by the way, used to suppress dissent. Socrates was condemned for “corrupting the youth” by asking dangerous questions. However, they mean that the majority disagree with a “possible link between vaccination and autism.” This is commonly not represented accurately. The claimed link is, as I understand it so far — I’m gradually becoming more informed on this — between MMR trivalent vaccine and autism. I am very skeptical about this claim. But I would not agree that it is impossible. In any case, “majority” implies that there is dissent within the scientific community, and not merely some single crank (or, for that matter, a single visionary). This is actually contradictory to “there is no evidence.” Rather, first of all, most of the scientific community is not specifically informed, that’s normal. Rather, what can be found is that certain organizations, possibly influential, have issued conclusions. Based on balanced weighing of evidence, or otherwise, these, as science, will stand as evidence for the conclusion, but it is opinion, interpretation, not fact. (Evidence is fact or “witnessing.”) It might even usually be correct, in some way, but “science” goes astray when what is interpretation and opinion becomes “evidence,” and is used to deny that evidence even exists.

Is Atkinsson correct? The CDC page cited now redirects to a different page, with no reference to autism. The Politico article was dated 04/21/2014.  The archive.org snapshot of that page the day before shows concern about autism, and then has:

a scientific review by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that “the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal–containing vaccines and autism.” CDC supports the IOM conclusion that there is no relationship between vaccines containing thimerosal and autism rates in children.

That review clearly is about a weighing of evidence, and does not support the idea that “there is no evidence.” Is Attkisson correct that “the government itself has acknowledged a link”? The evidence shown above does not contradict her statement, which is vague and could mean almost anything. What Politico was reporting on was a CNN interview. 

(the interviewer there actually supported the idea that there is a campaign to discredit Attkisson. That, of course, does not end up on Wikipedia!)

In that interview, it is not impossible, nor would it even be surprising, if Attkisson’s views were not flawlessly expressed, or were obsolete. Her actual stand is that people should not blindly depend on her opinions or anyone else, but should dig and think for themselves, and carefully, because there is a great deal of intentionally or carelessly deceptive information available. On that stand, I agree with her completely. Even if the autism/vaccine link was a mistake. Demonizing critique (anti-vaxers are called “murderers”) “controversializes” the very process of free democratic review that is essential to science and to sane public policy.

It is fascist, and, yes, fascism can be on the left or the right. It always has “good reasons” for suppressing dissent. After all, who can be against trains running on time? Or, for that matter, the public being protected from “quackery” and “pseudoscience”? Those vague hazards are not actual risks except to those who choose to follow them, and so fascism protects the public from its own “wrongness,” which itself alienates elements of the public, which can see that forces are attempting mind control. The anti-vax hysteria is fueled by suppression. (And it can itself be fascist, see my fascism post linked above.)

Whew! That’s just the first footnote.

33. Anti-Vaccine Movement Causes The Worst Whooping Cough Epidemic In 70 Years. This is a Forbes blog story, it has apparently been taken down.  Archive.org. The author is Steven Salzberg. From his Wikipedia article:

Salzberg has also been a vocal advocate against pseudoscience and in favor of the teaching of evolution in schools, and has authored editorials and appeared in print media on this topic. He writes a widely read column at Forbes magazine[19] on science, medicine, and pseudoscience. His work at Forbes won the 2012 Robert P. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking.[20]

The “widely read” is editorial insertion, not sourced. The link is to the column itself, violating policy. (I.e., it does not establish notability of the column, though this can be allowed with editorial consensus.) The Prize is awarded by, surprise!, the Center for Inquiry, the descendant of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, which became, contrary to its title, a debunking organization going after any fringe science. That “Critical Thinking” award is for “Skeptic Authors,” but the only “Skeptics” awarded are those who debunk skeptics as “pseudoscientific,” whether they are or not. (This faction would call “cold fusion” “pseudoscientific” on Wikipedia, and tried many times, even though the basic ideas are testable, have been tested, and the bulk of the evidence confirms that there is an anomaly and that it is nuclear in nature. But who cares about evidence, if you can simply attack “believers” as “die-hards” and “cranks,” and “pseudoscientists” ? and if you can exclude clear Reliable Source (so judged by Wikipedia policy and the community) as “biased” or “written by believers.” (RS policy has to do with publishers, not authors).

His first version of the Forbes post, 7/23/2012. His tag line:

Celebrating good science by fighting pseudoscience and bad medicine

This is an activist, with axes to grind. The headline is not science. Period. No evidence is advanced that “antivax” caused the rise in cases.  He wrote:

Sometimes it comes straight from the media itself, such as the credulous, anti-science, anti-vax CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson.

That was a libel, but it demonstrates how the thinks. This is pseudoskepticism that, as Attkisson points out, becomes an extended ad hominem argument, as a red flag. It was changed later by the version cited on Wikipedia, to

Sometimes it comes straight from the media itself, such as the CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who has repeatedly and persistently reported on the purported link between vaccines and autism long after such a link was widely discredited.*

Notice the use of weasel words on one side and affirmative statements with no evidence and actually contradicting some evidence on the other. “repeatedly and persistently,” is how many times, out of a very busy career. And she reported on the link, when, and has her reporting been complete. “Widely discredited” simply could mean that a few people have discredited her, or a vast mob of people like Szalzberg. It’s meaningless, showing only a mass of opinion.

Again, I’m not saying he is wrong. I’m saying that this is conclusory, opinion, not fact, and why was this cited?

It appears that the Attkisson article has been used as a coat-rack for attacking her and anti-vaxx. And that is what happens to anyone who offends the faction. I covered the like of this here, on another person who actually supports vaccination but dared to repeat what anti-vaxxers think. , same pattern with Sarah Wilson. Journalist reports fact (in this case, her idea of what some people think), and is attacked viciously. (in this case, all that undue nonsense was removed from the article a few days ago. But Wikipedia process is entirely unreliable, and initiatives that would have made it reliable have been strongly resisted.)

Still on the sources for the Wikipedia article:

34. A blog, The panic virus, entirely devoted to attacking criticism of vaccines. Not reliable source. Vaporized. Archived. More embarrassing anti-vaccine reporting from CBS News’s Sharyl Attkisson, by Seth Mnookin. In addition to much hysteria, what it had on Attkisson was conclusory and based on various concurring opinions (other bloggers!), not any kind of overall survey. This is an information cascade, not “science-based.” There may be some science referenced, to be sure, but science is not a body of conclusions, rather it is a large body of evidence (actual “knowledge”, much of it from, at best, controlled experiment, but interpretation is always conditional and subject to revision based on new evidence, as well as recognition of possible deficiencies in previous analysis. And that is how and why science moves on. Bottom line, this was correctly attributed as Mnookin’s opinion, and he might be considered notable. Is there any balancing evidence? I will look at the history below to see if any was asserted.

Mnookin, by the way, has a book and all this could be seen as pushing his point of view. Authors commonly display a bias toward their own point of view, big surprise? Not.

The book is The Panic Virus, so he could be seen as creating a business around this. (Much as Gary Taubes is accused of doing around low-carb, on the opposite side from the Wiki fanatics. It is plausible that Taubes has a bias, and Taubes actually calls his latest book, The Case Against Sugar, the “argument for the prosecution.” Biased. Now, does “biased” mean, “to be excluded from public discourse and respect”? People with one point of view commonly call opposing views “deluded” or “biased.” The defense very often claims the prosecution “has no evidence.”

Both of which are irrelevant arguments, conclusory, not related to fact.

The Wikipedia article on Attkisson continued:

In 2011, Paul Offit criticized Attkisson’s reporting on vaccines as “damning by association” and lacking sufficient evidence in his book Deadly Choices.[35] In the medical literature, Attkisson has been accused of using problematic rhetorical tactics to “imply that because there is no conclusive answer to certain problems, vaccines remain a plausible culprit.”[36] Attkisson said that she favors vaccinating children, but claimed that research suggests that “a small subset of children” have brains that are vulnerable to vaccines.[37] She has said that pharmaceutical companies are discouraging research into the vaccine-autism link, and that they pressured CBS News to stop covering the purported link.[37]

35. So, again, a book.  Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All

This is the argument of medical fascism. The choice not to vaccinate may, if the mainstream is correct, increase risk, but only very slightly for any individual. There is an increased collective risk only if the number of those making that choice rise to a significant percentage of the public. Vaccines are also not completely effective, complicating this.

If a vaccine were 100% effective, it would fully protect the public that chooses to be vaccinated, and others would be at risk, presumably with their own choice, or that of their parents. It is a common fascist practice to take over parenting from parents, in favor of something “better.”

The non fascist answer to the refusal problem would be education, but if the education is fascist propaganda (i.e., excludes and demonizes contrary opinion), it will increase the power of anti-vax arguments, because the oppression can be seen readily, and it does not increase trust in authorities, it has the opposite effect.

I do not conclude that because fascist suppression is used against the anti-vax movement, therefore the pro-vaccination evidence cannot be trusted, but many people will think that and support, then, conspiracy theories.

In any case, this source amounts to a very strong critic of anti-vax attacking a journalist for reporting the other side. It is clear that Attkisson has been criticized, but what is the overall balance? How notable is this, for a Wikipedia biography of a living person?

What is obvious is that critique has been collected, with weak sources being used.

36. Anti-vaccine activists, Web 2.0, and the postmodern paradigm – An overview of tactics and tropes used online by the anti-vaccination movement. Article in Vaccine, a peer-reviewed journal. Copy here.
This is a fascinating article and I could agree with much of it. (I.e, anti-vaxxers use “tactics and tropes.” But so to the critics of “vaccine denialism.” In any case, the article does not mention Attkisson in the body, but cites two sources in footnotes, i.e.,

[92] Gorski D.  Anti-vaccine propaganda from Sharyl Attkisson of CBS
News, . Anti-vaccine propaganda from Sharyl Attkisson of CBS
News, http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/anti-vaccinepropaganda-from-sharyl-attkisson-of-cbs-news-2; 2011 [accessed 25.08.11]. [Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/61D4kploa]

[179] Attkisson S. Autism: why the debate rages, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/autism-why-the-debate-rages-15-06-2007/; 2007 [accessed 24.04.11] [link corrected]. [Archived by
WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5yAqYL0p2].

[92] was the “science-based medicine blog” which is affiliated with the debunkers at CSI and often is full of attacks on skeptics of mainstream ideas. Snark rules there, as it does in many “debunking” venues. From the Vaccine article:

Works critiquing the anti-vaccine movement are often accused
of being propaganda [89–91]; those on the other side of the issue
accuse anti-vaccine activists of propaganda as well [92,93].

The blog piece has been taken down. This comment about propaganda is certainly true of both sides. “Propaganda” is conclusory information designed to influence. Neutral reporting is not propaganda, through propaganda might refer to it. It is obvious that both sides of this issue create propaganda. That is normal for political activism. 92 establishes the obvious, but this is not what is supported by the Wikipedia article.

179 supports this from the Vaccine article:

4.2.4. “You can’t prove vaccines are safe”
This accusation demands vaccine advocates demonstrate vaccines do not lead to harm [178], rather than anti-vaccine activists having to prove they do. Claims such as “There is no definitive research proving a link between vaccines and autism or ADD, but there is also no definitive research ruling it out” or “Those who say autism and ADD are not linked to vaccines do not know what is causing the epidemics[179] imply that because there is no conclusive answer to certain problems, vaccines remain a plausible culprit. This involves arguing based on a lack of evidence – not knowing something is true is taken as proof it is false, or not knowing something is false is proof it is true. Likewise, because there have been no studies conducted with the specific conditions antivaccination groups ask for [180], this lack of knowledge means vaccines are not safe. Lists of questions to ask vaccine proponents [181] are circulated with the intention of stumping them, with the inability to answer taken as evidence against vaccination.

I have bolded the statement from Attkisson. The “trope” here is an alleged “implication,” that “vaccines remain a plausible culprit.” That should be a simple fact (about scientific process). If there were no evidence, this would be a terminally weak argument. At the time, however, 2007, the Wakefield et al article linking MMR vaccine to autism had not yet been retracted, and there is (I think) some other evidence. (Attkisson certainly claims it.) Behind this “trope” is an assumption that there is no basis for suspicion, hence the skeptical argument is converted to a straw man argument, essentially, “Because we are ignorant, I’m right.”

What is actually in the CBS source:

6. There is no definitive research proving a link between vaccines and autism or ADD, but there is also no definitive research ruling it out.

And, as well, what was quoted. That was a reasonable piece of reporting at that time, and might still be, the question has become more difficult.  The section then goes on to report more, all more or less standard journalism. She points to what was certainly, at the time, a live debate. She was pointing to the incompleteness of knowledge, and, yes, that would still leave vaccination as a “possible culprit,” but she certainly also asserted evidence to suspect vaccination. It’s worth reading that CBS report, it is an example of what she has been attacked for. Reporting.

Fascist attack on the media. It’s not just Donald Trump!

(Many other tropes in the Vaccine article are like the above. Yes, there are fanatics and those using logical fallacies, but, as noted in what was quoted above, this happens on all sides, except what might be called the “journalistic” or “academic side,” sometimes. When we become more interested in reality, as distinct from our opinions and interpretations, we move toward journalism. I like the Vaccine article, in part, but, as presented, it has a likely effect of “debunking” vaccine skepticism as if it were all based on such tropes. What is missing is a list of tropes on the other side. The article author has a clear position: the abstract concludes with: “Recognizing disingenuous claims made by the anti-vaccination movement is essential in order to critically evaluate the information and misinformation encountered online.”

This is an ad-hominem attack on an entire movement, when such movements will be internally diverse and will also be, for the most part, sincere, not “disengenuous.” The author of the article has a clear and strong position, and fails to recognize that behind most of the “tropes” is a reasonable core, a claim that has some truth, at least under some circumstances. It is necessary to recognize “disengenuous claims” by all sides, not just one side. Most urgently, when opinion is considered to rule instead of balanced evaluation of evidence — all the evidence! — we fall into the rabbit-hole of fascism, of the domination of factions and people who believe they are right, which is never “scientific.” In science, we attempt to prove we are wrong!

The article begins with:

… a new postmodern paradigm of healthcare has emerged, where power has shifted from doctors to patients, the legitimacy of science is questioned, and expertise is redefined

“Power has shifted.” Shifts in power are always vociferously opposed by those holding excess power. “The legitimacy of science is questioned.” What the author is calling “science,” is not science, but “expert opinion,” which may or may not be based on science. Experts put their pants on one leg at a time, and are just as capable of attachment and bias, not to mention financial incentives, gross or subtle, as anyone else.

Most people don’t take the time to study issues, even when they are crucial to their health, they simply are looking for whom to trust, as if there is some infallible person to trust. Such people will be vulnerable to propaganda from either side, whichever they trust more, for reasons that can be complex, based on personal history.

What has happened with the internet is that minority opinion can still organize with relative ease. In response, the mainstream (which is loosely defined and there is always the possibility of a “silent majority”), has become more severely repressive and even punitive toward minority opinion (though it always has been to some degree).

In the vaccine debates, minority opinion is excoriated as highly irresponsible, if expressed, and murder at worst. And, of course, the minority, noticing the suppression, readily develops a conspiracy theory (which may or may not be real) and accuses the mainstream of murder. Of innocent children, of course. Both sides shout “Think of the children!”

One more source:

37. The Daily Beast.  Scandal blog. Sharyl Attkisson: ‘I Don’t Care What People Think’ About My Reporting

This is a fairly balanced story. It is used to support this text in the article:

She has said that pharmaceutical companies are discouraging research into the vaccine-autism link, and that they pressured CBS News to stop covering the purported link.[37]

Well, did they? I do remember that Wikipedia is not about truth, but about what can be verified. So the fact alleged fact here is that she said two things. What did she actually say ?

Attkisson says she is very much in favor of vaccinating kids, but that peer-reviewed studies have suggested the possibility of a “small subset of children” who suffer from difficult-to-detect immune dificiencies that might make their brains vulnerable to certain vaccines, much like some children are allergic to polio vaccines.

But she says Big Pharma has actively discouraged scientific research into possible linkages, and that pharmaceutical advertisers similarly persuaded CBS and other broadcasters not to run stories questioning the risk of vaccines for certain children.

Well, have they? I have not seen evidence either way on that, not yet, anyway. This is a personal interview, in which she may state her suspicions, or it might be knowledge. At this point, from the interview, I don’t know which it is. But the story of Big Pharma (and other established interests) influencing research is routine, an understanding of the problem has become widespread, with increased requirements for funding and conflict-of-interest disclosures.

Never mind that a CBS News veteran, who asked not to be named, says Attkisson’s vaccine-autism reports were eventually killed not because of advertiser pressure, but because they weren’t adequately supported by scientific evidence.

None of the reports I have seen so far were such. I.e, reporting what people think and claim need not be supported by “scientific evidence,” it is ordinary journalism, and the decision of whether or not a claim is “adequately supported” is for review panels of experts (and that itself can be flawed if the panel composition has been warped, which has happened.)

“The fact is, the government has acknowledged there’s a link,” Attkisson says, citing the recent admission by a senior Central for Disease Control epidemiologist that he and his colleagues improperly omitted from a 2004 study the data that tended to support such a link. “They simply say it’s not a causal link.”

No link, no way to check this yet.

What I see as factual here is that she suspects influence from large corporations. It is not black and white, i.e., advertiser pressure or “scientific” evidence or lack of same. What if the advertiser points out the alleged problem? What Attkisson is reporting is that she was prevented from reporting on what she found. Now, that’s an editorial decision, but she decided to give up a contract with a million dollars left on it, if I read the source correctly, effectively not being willing to work under those conditions. That increases her credibility, her stand was contrary to her personal interest. As presented on Wikipedia, this looks like “conspiracy theory,” a common pseudoskeptical trope, though it is not really a conspiracy theory to suspect that large interests would act (and spend money) to defend their interests, that the would support research likely to increase their profits and discourage or at least not support research that might damage profits.

But this little piece of the article does fairly present what she said.

Now, how did the article get this way? Looking at history, I see my old friend, JzG, a blatant and obvious and uncivil POV-pusher who has gotten away with it for years, one of the people who may have complained to get me globally office-banned by the Wikimedia Foundation. For what? Unknown. In any case, here are some fun JzG edits, in reverse date order

  • 20:48, 5 February 2019‎ Reverted good faith edits by 193.173.217.58 (talk): It’s significant that she broadcaSTS ON WINGNUT CABLE (TW)
  • 10:53, 27 January 2019‎ →‎Anti-vaccine reporting: don’t especially like primary sourcing but Mnookin is a published authority so probably OK in this case. [Yup. He knew it was a problem, but did it anyway].
  • 10:47, 27 January 2019‎ Reverted to revision 880322583 by Snooganssnoogans: Revert the usual whitewashing (TW) [what he reverted was closer to sources.]

There was a strong level of churning on the Vaccination section. That’s basically quite old news, why was it still in so much flux? (My answer: there is currently a great deal of hysteria about anti-vaxx as pseudoscientific misinformation causing epidemics, etc. From history, JzG’s point of view would be obvious. He is regular and very predictable, has been for years. Whenever a neutral presentation of sourced fact makes an  article subject look less crazy, the faction will call it “whitewashing,” as if the job of the project is to blacken reputations. To the pseudoskeptics, that is exactly their agenda, to attack “pseudoscience” and “quacks” and anyone who gets in their way.

  • 09:54, 26 January 2019Reverted to revision 879123820 by Ser Amantio di Nicolao: More neutral title since she is anti-vax (TW) [He just lied.]
  • 19:10, 10 January 2019 (→‎Reporting on vaccines and autism: more to the point) [Changes the head to “False reporting on vaccines and autism]

Yes, indeed to the “point,” the POV (point of view) that JzG has been pushing for years. The sources do not support that conclusion. Some of these things were discussed on the Talk page, on which JzG demonstrated his standard rigidity and contempt for other users. He was recently reprimanded by the community and may have gone off on in a huff, he has not edited at all for three weeks, from a pace of many edits per day. It has been noticed, see his talk page. 9 March, he was in Bangalore. So maybe he is travelling.

So what’s the point?

Until we wake up to our need for truly reliable journalism, that avoids unnecessary conclusions (or, more practically, that walls off and distinguishes between fact and opinion) — just as we need reliable government and reliable institutions of all kinds —  and until we become willing to work toward this goal, trustworthiness by design, little will change, my prediction. Existing structures are almost all vulnerable to corruption of various forms.

When we become aware of problems, what do we normally do? Most of us do nothing, we don’t believe that reform is actually possible. A few become activists and create organizations, which, of course, we create using standard models, which are intrinsically vulnerable, or in a few cases, we go for an anarchist model, which, without protective structure, predictably devolves into one of the standard models. See the Iron Law of Oligarchy.

It is known how to create organizations that are not as vulnerable to this, (it has been done here and there) but few know it and understand it. And what I’ve seen, when I have described the approaches to others, is that they will say something like: “I am so glad that someone is thinking about this.” Subtext: so that I don’t have to, end of topic.  One of my old questions:

How many people does it take to change the world?

Two, but most people won’t lift a finger. Literally.

Is there anyone out there willing to take responsibility for the future of humanity? Comments here are open. Let me know!

 

 

Tweet

Sara Wilson as a target of medical fascism

Warning: in this review, I cover claims made that Sara Wilson (Wikipedia) had promoted anti-vaccination propaganda. These were false, she supports vaccination and only explained what anti-vaccination parents, in the context under discussion, might say or think, claimed ignorance, and then asked about evidence. She did not realize, apparently, that this was a Forbidden Topic.

To avoid a repetition of this unfortunate incident, a Ministry of Truth should be established, to publish a Journal of Correct Fact, and all public figures should be required to become familiar with its contents, so that they do not accidentally question the Correctness of any Fact covered there. Once fact is published there, any researcher who hints that a Correct Fact might be flawed in some way may then be appropriately and fairly discredited and professionally excommunicated, having willfully or negligently disregarded the norms of civilized behavior, and any public figure who violates the norms can be blacklisted, excluded from public appearances, and his or her work burned, to protect the innocent from corruption by error. Think of the children!


I sometimes look over Wikipedia:FTN (Fringe theories noticeboard), because activity of the Smith brothers sometimes shows up there and because the faction that has, from time to time, supported the Smiths is active there. So I saw this:

Sarah Wilson and vaccination

On 12 March I received a rather disquieting tweet from the subject of this article. The exchange can be seen here. This gained me a number of new twitter followers who seemed to approve of Wilson’s tweet (“go get him!”).

I have copied the tweets here. His presentation on FTN is not clearly supported by the exchange itself, which demonstrates classic Wikipedian belief in lack of personal responsibility. 

Our article is still pretty dire and the content in question possibly undue anyway – but Wilson seems very keen for our article to carry material countering press reports about anti-vaccination comments she made. To my mind the heavy use of her own blog to this end is unduly self-serving. Having been warned-off, I shall leave the content question to others.

I notice immediately that he assumes she made “anti-vaccination comments,” when that is the whole point (she didn’t, as we will see below).

As a “PS” I received a further tweet saying “a Group of media academics and I have been attending to the article repeatedly To update the information”[25] which piqued my interest. Whatever the state of the article, it cannot be right for article content to be decided by coordinating WP:MEAT and twitter. No WP:COI disclosures have been made. I notice in recent times the accounts Writingtask and Fransplace seem to have focused on the content Wilson is complaining about.

This is the standard Wikipedia trope. For people to discuss and communicate about WP content off-wiki is somehow bad and wrong, but to do so on a page heavily weighted toward the “skeptical” faction, and where contrary positions are quite unwelcome, is just fine. The bias introduced by “sceptics,” as Alex Brown identifies himself, is really a “scientific point of view,” but what is at stake is not science, but people and personalities and impressions. Editors make choices, and decisions are made by those with community savvy and clout, with the pretense that it is “the community,” when the community is mostly unaware, and every attempt to create structure that would generate true consensus was killed, stomped on, salted, and anyone proposing reform was harassed off the wiki.

For Brown to back off, fine. But he had to invite his friends to take over? Why is this on FTN? There is no clear involvement with fringe theory here, rather this is all about politics and appearances. The issue of whether or not Sarah Wilson made an “anti-vaccination” comment is not a fringe theory. She did or she didn’t, or it is a matter of interpretation, and is careful journalism practiced on Wikipedia?

It should be, but often it is not, and “anti-vaxx” is heavily attacked by the so-called skeptical faction, even though anti-vaxx is a skeptical position. But the “wrong kind” of skepticism, allegedly. Think of the children!

This may need to go to another noticeboard, but thoughts welcome – this reminds me of a couple of incidents in the past years where there have been issues with decisions about fringe content/BLP being taken off-wiki rather than thrashed-out transparently here. Alexbrn (talk) 08:17, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

In a real encyclopedia, there will be a great deal of unpublished discussion. What would matter would be documentation of decisions. Attempts to discuss issues thoroughly on-wiki are often deprecated, and turn talk pages into train wrecks. It appears to be Just Fine for skeptics to coordinate on other than article talk pages — that is this whole noticeboard! — but not anyone else.

Okay, let’s look at what Brown had been doing:

The article was stable for a long time. It was edited by highly reputable editors, DGG, May  2015, adding a “reads like a press release” tag, and by Iridescent, September, 2015, with minor fixes. Before Brown edited it, it contained this section:

On 11 April 2013, Sarah Wilson was heavily criticized for her statements supporting the anti-vaccination movement while a guest on the morning variety show Sunrise. Claims made included suggesting that there was lack of evidence for efficacy and safety of vaccinations. These claims are despite the fact she had no medical or health qualifications at the time. She was quoted as saying ‘What they say is that the gold standard studies, right, that are done to really absolutely conclusively prove things, the double-blind placebo cross something or other tests have not been done and it’s almost impossible to do that on human beings, especially children.’ This was in reference to double-blind randomised controlled trials, of which many are available online.[8]

The source for this was a breathless report by a social media columnist for  news.com.au (a web news source, not a newspaper), APRIL 11, 2013

Sarah Wilson creates controversy after she appears to back anti-vaccine movement
FORMER MasterChef host Sarah Wilson sparks outrage when she appears to tell Sunrise viewers that not all child immunisations are safe.

FORMER MasterChef host Sarah Wilson has caused widespread outrage after a television appearance this morning in which she appeared to advocate the anti-vaccination movement.

Speaking on Channel 7’s Sunrise program about today’s news that immunisation rates are dropping in Australia’s wealthiest suburbs, the author and TV personality claimed research about the safety and efficacy of vaccines was “not conclusive”.

“I’m not going to take a stance on this myself because I don’t know fully but the research is not conclusive,” she said, to vocal opposition from host David Koch and other panellists Kylie Gillies and Daily Telegraph reporter Caroline Marcus.

When challenged by a clearly shocked Koch, Wilson cited claims by the anti-vaccination movement that “the double-blind placebo cross something or other tests” had not been done to prove the safety of immunisation.

“I’m just putting it from the perspective of the anti-vaccination movement’s perspective,” she said.

“What they say is that the gold standard studies, right, that are done to really absolutely conclusively prove things, the double-blind placebo cross something or other tests have not been done and it’s almost impossible to do that on human beings, especially children.”

Wilson also claimed that wealthy parents were less likely to vaccinate their children because “they tend to be older and I guess more educated”.

“They tend to engage in some of the debates a bit more deeply, as a result they weigh up all the different research and so on,” she said.

Wilson’s remarks quickly caused a social media storm, with the author this morning hitting back at hundreds of Twitter users flooding her with angry messages.

“Just to remind irate @sunriseon7 viewers going me, I was asked for the arguments anti-vaccine parents cite NOT my personal views,” she tweeted.

Wilson later tweeted: “OK, once more with balance: I WAS ASKED ‘WHY ARE SOME PARENTS NOT VAXING’. NOT ‘ARE YOU ANTI-VAX’. I outlined the argts OTHERS put forward.”

However many following the debate were unimpressed, labelling her irresponsible and misinformed.

“Not impressed, Sarah Wilson. It’s not unbiased to offer crazy opinions as the other side of the coin, just irresponsible,” tweeted one user, while another branded her “ridiculous and irresponsible”.

Earlier, Wilson had seemingly continued to push the anti-vaccination argument with a tweet reading: “Can someone cite a double blind crossover placebo study proving vaccines work?”

“Eradication of Smallpox pretty compelling, ” was one user’s reply.

That story is itself outrageous. The columnist picks what comments to note, and in a tweetstorm, it would be unusual for someone to not excoriate the person. What was the overall tenor? This was all the same day, where did this settle? Wilson is definitely not an antivax advocate, she would not have said what she said as she said it if she were. Essentially, she asked forbidden questions, not realizing just how fascist the issue had become. (Fascist here refers to the suppression of dissent, even raising questions that can be seen as challenging the TRUTH is prohibited, and will be immediately attacked).

As I pointed out in a post yesterday, both sides of this issue can be fascist, condemning those who differ as beyond the pale, murderers, to be harassed and rejected. All sides (as extremes) exaggerate the evidence that favors their position, and deny that there is any evidence at all in the other direction. This is “populist fascism” which can even be “democratic,” where the rights of minorities and minority opinion are not strictly protected. Deliberative democracy (the kind that is superior to autocracy and mob rule) requires civility in discourse, and maintaining this is difficult. If it is lost, however, Athens democratically condemned Socrates to death for asking inconvenient questions, “corrupting the youth,” and the ultimate result was the defeat of Athens.

Wilson did not ask the question correctly. The issue is not necessarily all vaccines, and those critical of vaccination practices vary. In particular, the poster boy for anti-vax “murderer,” Alexander Wakefield (caution! Wikipedia article!) was not “anti-vaccine,” only questioning the specific triple-vaccine, MMR.

Rather, Wilson was asking about the gold standard for medical evidence, double-blind placebo controlled studies. As well, whenever a treatment is applied routinely to a very large population without symptoms, as a preventative measure, there is the possibility of unforeseen effects, so even if the assessment that the benefit outweighs risks — even greatly outweighs them, overall — is there careful monitoring of vaccinated populations? I have read very little antivax argument, but what little I have seen raises issues like that. Further, there can be religious issues.

A refusal to vaccinate does not generally place a child at high risk (unless there is a raging epidemic! — contrary to what some might think, measles is still very rare). Interfering in the parental relationship can cause great harm; if refusal to vaccinate leads to termination of parental rights, that is a definite harm — unless there is other abuse — it can even lead to fatalities — against a speculative risk, small in comparison with ordinary risks of childhood.

The response of that tweeter, about smallpox, avoided the issue in favor of a one-liner. While some antivax activists may be extreme, smallpox vaccination clearly eliminated smallpox, a far more serious disease than measles, from the planet. It is now only administered in situations of special risk.

To eliminate smallpox, it was not necessary to vaccinate everyone. In some areas, strict quarantine and distance eliminated smallpox (Australia and New Zealand never vaccinated widely).

Now, back to the Wikipedia article on Wilson. It’s a good example of exaggerating what is in a source, and using synthesis to add more, typically from the point of view of the editor.

“heavily criticized for her statements supporting the anti-vaccination movement ” She did not make statements supporting the movement. The source has “appears to back.” The qualification is lost in the Wikipedia restatement. While Wilson was not careful in her wording, to be sure, this was a relatively casual conversation, certainly not a carefully prepared position statement. (The original conversation is shown in a video with the news.com.au post.)

The article includes Wilson’s denial that she intended to support the antivax movement. The Wikipedia article did not. The Wikipedia article confuses Wilson’s reporting of what vaccine skeptics claim, with what Wilson herself claimed (which was actually “I’m not going to take a stance on this myself because I don’t know fully . . .”

What she said (the complete statement) was ignored in favor of the reaction to part of it. If her goal was to avoid controversy, though, she was unskillful in asking the question about studies. I don’t think that she fully realized, then, that even asking a question like that, even though it would be normal curiosity, will appear to pro-vax activists as “supporting antivax.”

“These claims are despite the fact she had no medical or health qualifications at the time.” This is not in the source. The expression of opinion like that is common in Wikipedia articles on fringe topics. A journalist doesn’t need qualifications to present the arguments of others, if those arguments are actually presented (and they are). The Wikipedia text creates an impression contrary to the facts as shown by the news.com.au source and the video itself, where we can see an immediate and horrified response that simply denies the speculative argument of the parents without addressing the scientific issues. Wilson has presented a heretical argument without immediately condemning it, and was treated as if a heretic, with almost religious fervor.

(My interest here is fascism, not the truth of this or that position. A long-term interest is information cascades, especially where they involve allegations of scientific fact, that are actually social phenonmena where the process of science has been short-circuited, commonly for political reasons. It happens.)

(It is certainly possible to go ahead with public health measures in advance of final, definitive conclusions, but the problem arises when the scientific controversy is then suppressed in order to support the policies, instead of questions remaining open. And with medicine, it all gets complicated by major financial interests, affecting funding, lobbies, and reputations.)

“This was in reference to double-blind randomised controlled trials, of which many are available online.” This is also synthesis, not supported by the source. (The first part is clearly correct. The second may or may not be correct, and there is also the issue of scale. Wilson claimed that one cannot do placebo-controlled trials with children, and it is true that there are ethical issues, but it is also true that unless exposure is high, the risk from administering a placebo is low (i.e, the person is not protected, we think, by the placebo, but that is also a small risk in a mostly-vaccinated population) might also avoid a side effect. It might take special legislation to allow it. It is also possible that antivax parents might agree to participate, in the interests of value to humanity, taking a very small risk with their children. But her point was correct in that this cannot be simply done. Some compromise might be possible, especially as the risk becomes very low from herd immunity.

Bottom line, though, this paragraph violated policies, in a way that harmed Wilson.

So what happened?

Brown showed up and removed material from the article, not touching that problematic paragraph.

This was proper or within discretion, but had not been done before, because what was removed was factual but inadequately sourced. (Is Smart Company Reliable Source? Maybe.) Often editors will postpone removing such. “Fringe” was gratuitous and irrelevant. The pseudoskeptical faction still seems to think the idea of removing sugar from diet is “fringe.” Reducing it, even greatly, is practically mainstream now, if one pays attention.

Writingtask made a number of changes to the article. This is not an SPA, but also not an experienced Wikipedian. The account goes back to 2013, and only focused on the Wilson article in November and December, 2018. Alexbrn did, correctly, ping this user over his mention on FTN. The user has not edited Wikipedia at all, however, since March 17. (Pseudoskeptical activists like Brown drive away ordinary users.)

Alexbrn reverted almost everything done by Writingtask, with little explanations and hostile comments. It appears that Writingtask initially spent about two hours adding to the article, with sources (though possibly inadequate), and Alexbrn may have taken a minute to revert it (he allowed a miniscule change the first edit of Writingtask): Reverted to revision 866889202 by Writingtask (talk): Spammy/promotional. (TW). Using Twinkle may have taken him a minute. In all this (and to this day), the Talk page has not been used. After removing material that had long been there about Wilson’s “activism,” he then edited the title of that section.

His “better title”? Exaggerate the error! Anti-vaccine stance

Then he removed a harmless bit of unsourced bio, and failed to notice a blatant typo in the same paragraph, four words before. Writingtask attempted to correct the title shift, 3 but minutes after WT saved, Brown reverted.

21:14, 29 November 2018  (Reverted to revision 870670178 by 203.213.240.210: Rv. undue/illitrate. (TW))

Is this a parody of a Wikipedia editor? That edit reason makes no sense at all, besides the ironic mispelling.

Is it any wonder that Wilson believed Brown was pushing a personal point of view?

At this point, Alex has gone way into abusive editing. Writingtask is a noob, in effect, does not understand how Wikipedia works, but Alexbrn is demonstrating what is far too often wrong with Wikipedia: editors who believe they own the place and can do no wrong. With WT’s edit, Brown would now know,i f he is paying any attention, that the title and section are misleading. (But he may not even have read that.)

An author’s blog can be used for the author’s own position, with consensus. However, unless there are more sources on “vaccine stance,” the whole affair is of very marginal notability, it could be entirely removed. As it is, it was hostile synthesis, made worse by Brown’s title.

A Wikipedia trope is “Verifiability, not truth,” but experienced editors will strive for both. Placing something flat wrong in an article without clear attribution and with lack of caution about truth is abusive and will confuse the general public.

Writingtask was not competent, did not realize what was happening (few will in that context), and added an additional weak source criticizing Wilson, perhaps trying to compromise and perhaps because that source does acknowledge that Wilson claims to not be antivax. But it was a blatantly personal blog, a writer criticizing Wilson because she criticized the writer. There is no authority behind it, it blatantly misinterprets what Wilson actually said. It has “She pretty well said on national television that anyone who did vaccinate was uneducated and did not engage in the debate.”

Sarah Wilson very much did not say that. The discussion was of wealthy parents not vaccinating, and she speculated about wealthier parents perhaps having done more research and being more aware of negative arguments. She was not claiming they were correct, and she said nothing about anyone being uneducated. She was asked why those parents might think as they do, if it is even true that vaccination rates are lower among the wealthy. So when Brown took out the comment from Sarah, which Writingtask had sourced to her blog, he left in the blog reference, but took out what was apparently sourced from it, but that text was also in the original source, above. Brown was insisting on what amounts to cherry-picking the original source, and maintaining synthesis beyond it.

Writingtask gave up, did not edit on the topic after December 2.

Fransplace  (an experienced editor) corrected the section, 04:45, 19 March 2019, putting it all together.  The edit summary: (The Anti-vaccination paragraph was previously biased and seemed to omit any contrary viewpoints. Though Sarah Wilson’s blog was cited in that previous version, her comments were not included in the information in that earlier version of the paragraph.)

That obviously triggered Brown’s comments on FTN at 08:17, 19 March 2019. He then notified Fransplace at 8:19 and Writingtask at 8:20, of the FTN post. (Asking Fransplace “Do you have a WP:COI to declare for this article?”)

Teratix, later that day, trimmed the section greatly and changed the title to Vaccination comments

Fransplace responded to Brown:

Hi Alexbrn. Thank you for your message. I don’t have a WP:COI in relation to this page. I don’t know Sarah Wilson. I added information after reading about this issue from blog entries and I believe my changes/additions did not seek to present information in a biased way (I tried to write only about what had been published “according to…” etc) or promote the living person. Teratix ₵ trimmed back my additions which must have been too wordy. Thank you for adding a link that leads to the Twitter exchanges. I didn’t see them before and see your point entirely. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fransplace (talk • contribs) 06:38, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

So where did Fransplace (who is Australian) find out about the issue? This user is an academic, and a very experienced Wikipedian, see the User page. Alexbrn was outclassed and up a creek without a paddle. The problem is that people like Alexbrn get away with this far too often. Writingtask was driven away, instead of being helped. There used to be users who would notice things like that and intervene. They burned out or were blocked for being inconvenient.

I could not find a blog mention. But Sarah was told about the issue by “academics,” and it was an Australian academic who fixed it. Any one of them might have an obscure blog. Or Fransplace did not disclose the reality. One does not develop a COI merely by knowing someone, for example. Much less by knowing a friend of the person.

Alexbrn simply could not understand that he had created a strong impression of bias from his behavior. However, he did back off. If he had not, he might have discovered the water getting very hot indeed. Or not. What I saw demonstrated there was incompetence combined with a certain ready and quick incivility. It’s a very old story, I was vastly relieved when I was banned from Wikipedia in 2011 because I no longer had any obligation or responsibility to help. Compared to writing elsewhere, editing Wikipedia can be like slogging through molasses. Only dirty, stinky molasses. Maybe mole-asses or the product of them.

Update

There was no serious problem on the Sarah Wilson article except for his revert-warring there. Brown is back on FTN again, with a similar issue (i.e., not a mature dispute for a noticeboard).

Carlton Fredericks

IP editor is objecting to use of QuackWatch to source the fact that this health-guru of yesteryear was a heavy smoker. Could use eyes. Alexbrn (talk) 10:22, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

Yes, Brown is revert-warring with an IP. He claims that the undiscussed change should be taken to talk, but does not take it there, merely revert-wars. This is a classic issue for pseudoskeptics. QuackWatch is clearly an advocacy site with a heavy slant. The Wikipedia article on Quackwatch is entirely laudatory, not a breath of criticism, even though it certainly exists. The contrast with articles on targets of the pseudoskeptics is dramatic, where anything negative, often poorly sourced, will be dredged up.

The problem with the Fredericks article is revert warring, and Brown is violating WP:3RR (as is the IP). So instead of going to the normal Administrators Noticeboardf/Incidents, he goes to FTN, where “QuackWatch” is a dog whistle to his friends.

Going to any noticeboard without attempting to discuss difference on Talk is itself disruptive. I’m seeing a pattern here with Brown.

Looking at the Carlton Fredericks article, I see immediately that it was heavily edited by Vanisheduser3334743743i43i434. This is the user who worked for most of his apparently short Wikipedia career as Skeptic from Britain (see my page) and then briefly as MatthewManchester1994. One of his last acts was a comment in a deletion discussion. About him, there, Jimbo Wales said he was “a serial namechanger and POV pusher who left the project.” (my conclusion, after over a year of study of the issue, is that SfB was Darryl L. Smith, blocked as Goblin Face, and one of the two brothers who are the Anglo Pyramidologist sock family.)

In fact, there is an entire faction of POV pushers like this, and they cooperate and collaborate, and it has long been tolerated.

(Activity on RationalWiki continued as John66, following the same agenda, plus he creates many sock puppets, often blaming them on me.)

Quackwatch is clearly an advocacy site, not neutral journalism. In this case, the statement about smoking is a throwaway comment at the end of a piece by Barrett. We have no idea how Barrett knows this. What that does is demonstrate the shallow and shoddy writing, aimed at whatever will make a target look bad. Kind of like RationalWiki and what the pseudoskeptical faction pushes Wikipedia articles toward. However, RatWiki has a better article on QuackWatch than Wikipedia. But nobody mentions the actual lawsuit where QuackWatch probably lost, but we don’t know exactly, because they settled. The organization behind QuackWatch disappeared, it is an “unincorporated association of people,” as distinct from ducks, presumably.

I don’t see how such could be Reliable Source for Wikipedia purposes. However, it is possible that it could be used with attribution, i.e, “According to QuackWatch, writing many years after Fredericks died, he was a heavy smoker.”

Does “heavy” mean he was fat, or that he smoked a lot of cigarettes. Or cigars, perhaps. big fat cigars. Fredericks died, which proved that his health ideas were wrong, right? People with the “correct scientific thinking” don’t die, only those who are or who follow quacks die. With rare exceptions, of course.

(Material from a hostile source, or a source with an axe to grind (in either direction, not fully independent) should never be used without attribution. Brown wants to continue to use QuackWatch as a source for fact, and, on FTN, calls the smoking claim a “fact”. Is it? How does he know that? The fact is that Barrett wrote it. It may or may not be a fact that Fredericks was a “heavy smoker.” This may be a rumor Barrett heard that he repeated. It may have been true at one time, but no longer true later. There is no connection between the smoking and the death, only a weak inference. Fredericks died at 76, a respectable life span. The New York Times has an actual journalistic obituary, giving fact about some of the controversies in Fredericks’ life. )

Meanwhile, another IP editor appeared to revert the IP objecting, 82.132.229.89. That is Telephonica O2, I strongly suspect this could be Darryl Smith/John66/Skeptic from Britain. All over whether this guy was a “heavy smoker” or not (from a time when it was much more common.) (But this could also geolocate with Brown.)

Continuing to watch this, Brown, as is common for editors like this, instead of attempting to negotiate consensus on the article talk page, which still remains unused — and that material from QuackWatch has never been discussed other than in edit summaries — went to WP:RFPP to request page protection, to stop the IP editing. It’s worth looking at the time sequence here.

Carlton Fredericks (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logsTemporary extended confirmed: Persistent disruptive editing – Continued removed of content by IP. Alexbrn (talk) 06:39, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

This seems to be a dispute regarding the reliability of QuackWatch, specifically this, as a source of biographical information. Samsara 07:36, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

 Already protected by administrator CambridgeBayWeatherSamsara 19:41, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

Now, this is interesting. Both Samsara and CambridgeBayWeather are long-time administrators. Both would be very familiar with basic adminstrative policy: administrators do not combine making content decisions with using admin tools. In this case, there was revert warring between the RFPP compainant, Brown, and an IP editor. Brown had said that the issue should be taken to Talk, but did not take it there, instead, kept reverting, then went to WP:FTN and then to WP:RFPP. Over a claim that Carlton Fredericks was a “heavy smoker,” combined with a statement of his death from a heart attack (creating an appearance of causation, which is exactly what might be expected of an advocacy site like QuackWatch.) It is not at all clear that notability of the alleged fact has been established.

However, there would have been an obvious compromise, which is what is recommended for advocacy sites that are also considered to have a level of reliability, attributing the reference. That was not done.

Instead, CambridgeBayWeather, reverted the IP and protected the page into his preferred version. I have seen sysops have their tools removed for actions like that, but I have also seen them get away with it for years, and to confront one is to risk one’s account. Even if one “wins.”

Samsara knows this policy and referred to it early in the day.

I had to fix a claim that wasn’t supported by the source, so might be better if someone else examines this for protection. Samsara 07:34, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

On Carleton Fredericks:

Okay, the admin had the right to do that. However, I’d worry about the use of Twinkle by both CBW and Brown. That tool is designed to simplify the handling of vandalism, and this was not vandalism. But then CBW went further, and notice that this was done within a matter of seconds:

One or the other, not both! (Were this clear vandalism, one might argue for both, but it was not. Samsara recognized the issue.) It has been a fairly common one. Researching the issue of the use of Quackwatch, it has been recommend that it can be used with care, and attribution has been suggested. This is generally true for advocacy sites, but where editors agree with the advocated position, it is often ignored. “According to QuackWatch, Carlton Fredericks was a heavy smoker.” That is simply a fact. One could still argue about the notability. Lots of historical figures were heavy smokers and it is not in the biographies.

Wikipedia is unreliable because there is no reliable editorial process, just a process that sort-of works, and was cheap. It is essentially a social media site with no responsible editorial oversight. But sometimes there is! The whole process is phenomenally inefficient, and measures that would increase efficiency while improving reliability (those actually go together) have been fought tooth and claw.

In any case, the IP did not simply go away. Did they expect this user would?

On User talk:CambridgeBayWeather

Carlton Fredericks Website

You have protected the Carlton Fredericks page from edits at the request of the author.

The page relies for sourcing on a self-published, non-neutral source, Quackwatch.org. Quackwatch.org is the website of Stephen Barrett, and the article is by Stephen Barrett. Wikipedia’s criteria for credible sources provides, “self-published media are largely not acceptable.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reliable_sources#Self-published_sources_(online_and_paper). The site is also an advocacy site. It is a non-neutral source, which produces negative articles about individuals deemed by the website owner to be “quacks.”

The page also repeats, verbatim, material from this source without quotations, a violation of Wikipeda’s antiplagiarism policy. The sentence “A heavy smoker, he died of a heart attack at the age of 76.” is a quote from Quackwatch.org. As written, the article suggests Fredericks died from complications due to smoking. In the context of the negative article, this sentence is offered to further discredit Fredericks’ claims about health. No support is offered for this claim.

The article was edited to remove the smoking reference (unsourced and nonneutral) and to remove the citation to Quackwatch (a non-neutral, self-published source). (The edit also had the advantage of eliminating the page author’s plagiarism.) An explanation of the edit was provided when it was made.

The author of the page persistently reversed the edits, without reason or support. To avoid Wikipedia’s ban on edit warring, he switched from his logged in account to editing as IP and continued to reverse the edit. He then reversed the edit again and appealed to you to protect the page.

Please explain why you are preventing a correction of page that would bring it into compliance with Wikipedia’s policies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.156.100.193 (talk)

As is common with the inexperienced, this IP was confused in his or her language. The person is clearly referring to Alexbrn (Brown), as the “author,” because of “persistently” reversing the edits. Alexbrn was clearly revert warring. Then the claim is made that Alexbrn edited as IP. That is possible, but probably unlikely. That IP matches a user who might be expected to support Brown’s position, though it could be Brown, I have not researched his location. I doubt he would take the chance, just for those few words.

You can note that QuackWatch.org is run though an advisory board of experts, so hardly WP:SPS. – Ahunt (talk) 15:49, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

Misleading. That QW Fredericks article was old, last revised 2012, and Barrett apparently changed the organizational structure after that, facing legal issues (settled in 2017). It is unclear what role the advisory board plays, it may be little more than a rubber stamp for Barrett, but the core issue, not actually disputed, is that QuackWatch is an advocacy site, with a point of view and a bias against anything not mainstream.

The ownership of the site is unclear. Donations are solicited and are sent directly to Barrett.  However, the site is clear: “Operated by Stephen Barrett, M.D.”

(Barrett is a retired psychiatrist, not currently licensed to practice medicine, if I’m correct.)

This site is most reasonably considered self-published, so the IP is correct on that account.

Please see the definition of “self-published.” Also, please explain the basis for the claim that an advisory board exists, that it is expert, and that it has reviewed this article. Finally, please explain why you believe this article to be neutral. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.156.100.193 (talk) 18:08, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

Well IP I most certainly did not protect the page based on a request from Stephen Barrett. Are you making a claim that Barrett is editing as Alexbrn and as IP 82.132.229.89? If you think that is the case you need to go to Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations or stop making silly claims. Quackwatch has been found to be reliable for certain things and Ahunt is not suggesting that it/they have reviewed the Carlton Fredericks page. Wikipedia does not have outside organisations review pages. I protected the page due to the Wikipedia:Edit warring that was occurring. Finally, you are at the wrong page. If you think the material should not be included then go to Talk:Carlton Fredericks. CambridgeBayWeather, Uqaqtuq (talk), Sunasuttuq 20:54, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

Is CBW really this clueless? Maybe. He seems to have no idea what the dispute is about. He protected the page because of edit warring. Okay, who was warned for edit warring? Not the IPs and not Brown. He reverted material back in. He does not seem to be aware of what the dispute was about. That would have taken reading the edit summaries of the IP complaining.

However, going to Talk would have been the way to go. The relevant material has never been discussed, the Talk page was not used. However, knowing the history of the faction that Brown devotes most of his editing to, I would not encourage the IP to put in much effort. You can spend months to get a change of a few words. Time might be better spent to create independent resources on Carlton Fredericks, if one cares about him. Might be an interesting person, certainly knew some interesting persons.

I have not socked on Wikipedia since 2011 (it’s all described on another page). When I see crap like this, it’s very tempting! Fascist administration creates disruption, once the oppressed realize that the banhammer is made of air and does not actually inflict pain — unless one really cares about the encyclopedia, and the growth and development of fascist administration burned out many, many who did care. I was one, and I worked for a neutral project that would seek genuine consensus. It was not wanted and while there were many who liked my ideas (including one who was elected to ArbComm), there was no reliable protection of whistleblowers. Just of administrators, “valuable volunteers.”

(The one elected to ArbComm resigned because of real-world, in-his-face threats to his family. So much for reform. Most Wikipedians have no idea how ugly it can be, under the surface.)

Do I care if Fredericks smoked or not? Does anyone really care? Yet when one becomes addicted to Wikipedia, it all can seem Very Important.

Alexbrn has global edits 36,284 edits over 12 years.

When I have been researching the sock puppet activity of Darryl Smith (aka Goblin Face), the account of Alexbrn often showed up. I have not seen any direct evidence, but in the case above, Alexbrn continued the agenda of Smith (as the former Skeptic from Britain). But he appears to be a real person. If he is. I have been learning that things are not always as they appear, and Darryl claimed, years ago, to have many accounts in good standing. Yet — that IP could have been Darryl and it also could have been Brown, if he grew impatient. We may never know. (And there is even evidence that Darryl Smith does not exist, is, instead, another persona of his brother, Oliver Smith.)

CambridgeBayWeather, global edits 230,398 over 14 years. Here, he seems to have originally spent a minute on the Fredericks article, he was either pretending not to know, or had no idea what the conflict was about, but acted using tools anyway. Why?

I don’t know, but I do know that very long-term admins tend to burn out and become less and less patient and more likely to make mistakes, and if they combine that with an attitude that they never make mistakes, it can create huge messes. Using Twinkle to handle a content dispute, not a good sign.

In the old days, if someone who cared about the community saw an interchange like this, they would go to the IP talk page and encourage the IP to register an account and then they would counsel the IP how to ask for what they want — and would inform the user of what they could and could not do. There used to be lots of users who would do this, though never enough. More common, even then, was punishment of “bad behavior,” or merely lack of clue. At best, the user runs into a brick wall.

Impersonation of “Cold Fusion” supporter and “Friend of Lomax” on WMF wikis

Normally, I do not use blog posts to cover the issue of massive sock puppetry by Oliver and Darryl Smith, though there is a connection with cold fusion (which is why I even cover this in the less-visible pages here). Today I was notified by a friend of an account created on Wikipedia. He seems to have believed it was me. First, facts, then conclusions:

The WikiMedia Foundation banned me in early 2018, no reason given, and a mail to their registered agent was ignored. I did file a lawsuit over the announcement of that ban. The lawsuit names the WMF and Does 1-9. The WMF has not yet been formally notified of the suit (but anyone representing the Foundation is welcome to contact me. Perhaps the matter can be resolved with no further fuss and expense.

From Wikipedia:

Cold fusion deletion

Last year you got Abd Lomax banned and all his cold fusion research deleted on Wikiversity. Lomax has now filed a lawsuit against you and eight other John Does for his ban [2]. You had no reason to delete his cold fusion research project. Abd at the time was being funded by a cold fusion research institute who invested a lot of money into his Wikiversity project and you had it deleted because of your pseudo-skeptic viewpoint. Could you put the project back? I am not Lomax but I support his cold fusion research. He has been targeted by pseudo-skeptics. Cold Fusion 2019 (talk) 18:46, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

From Wikiversity:

Lomax has filed against you and 8 other John Doe
My collegue Abd Lomax has finally filed https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/27215121/Lomax_v_WikiMedia_Foundation,_Inc_et_al https://dockets.justia.com/docket/massachusetts/madce/3:2019cv30025/207020 Friend of Lomax (discuss • contribs) 17:46, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

I’m aware of that. –mikeu talk 17:48, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

    • 15:50, 8 March 2019 Mu301 filed a checkuser request
        • Friend of LomaxDiscussion: “Lomax has filed against you and 8 other John Doe” per No legal threats
          Reason(s): Suspected block evasion. Inappropriate notification of legal action that could reasonably be perceived as an attempt to harass and/or intimidate. mikeu talk 15:50, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
      • Confirmed with 19 other accounts, see Checkuser results for study.

Conclusions

The checkuser results are a red herring. Those accounts appear to be people who used a Tor node during the checkuser window. Except a few of them who created accounts in a short period of time, they are unrelated. The troll first pinged Mu301 on Wikiversity, then waited for the smoke to clear, then did the same, with more detail, to Jzg and ජපස (jps or Joshua P. Schroeder) on Wikipedia. All these were involved in the fracas over the deletion of the Cold fusion resource on Wikiversity.

I had been threatened by a sock puppet (later identified with Darryl L. Smith, very active in harassing targets) that if I did not stop documenting the Long Term Abuse of whoever was behind the impersonation socking I was confronting, he would get all of my work deleted. He did accomplish that on Wikiversity, in the process demolishing Wikiversity academic freedom, the whole sequence was contrary to policy and went against the strong traditions of that project.

The lawsuit, however, does not name anyone other than the WikiMedia Foundation. To have a claim against others, I would have to know that I was defamed by them. So part of the purpose of the lawsuit is to gain access to the records of the WMF through discovery, because the evidence they relied upon when making their decision would be relevant.

I did not create those accounts, and would not. By violating the ban, I would be clearly violating the terms of service, and part of my claim is that I did not violate the terms. That ban was immediately used for defamation in the article on me on RationalWiki (under the name Abd ul-Rahman Lomax), where very many sock puppets have been created like the two mentioned above.

This creation of abusive socks that appear to be those who are actually their targets is what got me involved with them in the first place. That’s a long story. They do this because it works. Studying Wikipedia activity, I’ve seen it again and again. Account appears, John Doe is the greatest, where there is a blocked user John Doe, and many assume that this must be John Doe! After all, who else would write that? They don’t actually ask that question!

In cases where I know what was happening, it was never John Doe!

The AN/I discussion was unaware of the prior checkuser activity:

Lawsuit talk by Cold Fusion 2019

Cold Fusion 2019 (talk · contribs · logs · edit filter log · block log)
This user contacted ජපස (aka jzg) about an ongoing lawsuit against Wikipedia ([86] [87]). WP:NLT seems to apply to this, but I’m honestly not 100% sure. EvergreenFir (talk) 19:05, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

Did you mean jps? -Roxy, the dog. wooF 19:12, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

I did… I don’t even have a good excuse for that. EvergreenFir (talk) 19:15, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

Actually, you have a decent excuse for that; CF19 left an identical message for JzG. –Floquenbeam (talk) 19:17, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

And a shorter version a few days earlier for Mu301 on Wikiversity.

Oh! That’s where I saw that… somehow mixed up ජපස’s signature with JzG EvergreenFir (talk) 19:19, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

I’ve indef’d Cold Fusion 2019 for NOTHERE. Their ONLY two edits are to post about a lawsuit filed against Wikipedia? Chances are it’s very likely a sock as well. Either way, block applied. RickinBaltimore (talk) 19:21, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

Yeah, my guess is SF-banned User:Abd. –Floquenbeam (talk) 19:22, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

Which is exactly what the sock master wants to be guessed. In fact, anyone who knows this person’s long term behavior would recognize it. And what I was really banned for was creating a Long Term Abuse study on Anglo Pyramidologist on meta. Most AP socks never make in into the SPI case.

I saw this elsewhere. CF2019 is not the one doing the suing. I am not sure NLT applies in this case. spryde | talk 19:31, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

Just because CF19 says they aren’t the ones doing the suing, doesn’t mean they aren’t the ones doing the suing. –Floquenbeam (talk) 19:35, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

That’s true, but just because an account says “I’m a friend of Lomax” doesn’t mean he is. Just because he uses “Cold fusion” in his name and claims to be a supporter doesn’t mean he is. 

FYI if you’re interested in the plaintiff’s perspective – I couldn’t access the actual lawsuit. [[88]] TimTempleton (talk) (cont) 19:40, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

The link is to my review of the RationalWiki article on me, which was created as revenge for that documentation of impersonation and other socking by the brothers behind AP. Thanks, Tim.

Anyone can access the documents using the U.S. Federal Court system. The first 150 pages are free. People probably need a U.S. address. And, of course, people can contact me directly. I am entirely unlike the socks involved here.

They figured that out on Wikipediocracy.

Not really. I just remember him from long ago in the WP community and other groups. spryde | talk 19:45, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

Even if this is not the person pursuing the legal case, they are making demands based on the legal case, and I’d say NLT very much applies. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 19:47, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

[. . .]

This was not accurate. The comment does not make a threat. It lies about the users being named, “John Doe” does not name someone. It was, however, obvious socking of some kind. If it was me, it was a global ban violation, if not me, it was a “meat puppet,” or sufficiently clear to be one that one could block. But it was simply blocked for simpler reasons.

In fact, this was block violation by an Anglo Pyramidologist user, i.e., one of the two brothers, Oliver D. Smith (the original Anglo Pyramidologist) or Darryl L. Smith (best known as Goblin Face, originally Liveintheforests), almost certainly the latter. These are both widely-known and identified trolls.

This could be the same troll: Hallwang_Clinic

(A recent likely account of Oliver would be  Stronghold1990. For Darryl, it would be  Vanisheduser3334743743i43i434,  who created a huge mess on the internet over the deletion of a Wikipedia article, and who retired, claiming he had been outed. But he had not been outed, his sock puppets had accused someone else of being him, to harass the person. I did out him, exonerating that innocent target. He’s been doing stuff like this for years, and often getting away with it. He knows how to play wiki users like a fiddle.

While there is public information about the underlying facts, the only person on the planet, besides myself, likely to know enough to connect Mu301, jps, and jzg to that case would be the instigator, the one who privately complained to Mu301, socked at Wikiversity and canvassed Jzg and jps to show up there and probably to complain to the WMF, i.e., Darryl L. Smith (or, less likely, his brother).

But I have not named other defendants because the evidence is weaker than the very plain and simple evidence against the WikiMedia Foundation. They seem to have figured out much of the legal theory on Wikipediocracy.

And, yes, I have claimed damages. It’s a requirement for a diversity case, the legal minimum is $75,000. I paid the $400 filing fee out of pocket. Blasted my pocket all to hell, but who needs pockets if you don’t have any more money? After I serve the papers, I may open a GoFundMe. Those can work, the goal would be to retain a lawyer, and for other expenses.

Claim

Repeating the text of the sock edits on Wikipedia:

Cold fusion deletion

Last year you got Abd Lomax banned and all his cold fusion research deleted on Wikiversity.

How does “Cold Fusion 2019” know this? Besides the WMF, the only people who know who complained would be Darryl L. Smith, and any others who conspired in the defamation. Oliver Smith (probably) bragged about it, and there was mention of jps, JzG and Mu301 on another site, by either Oliver or Darryl.

Lomax has now filed a lawsuit against you and eight other John Does for his ban [2].

The lawsuit is against nine John Does, not eight and the one addressed. Only if that one actually defamed me, causing damage, would they be named as defendants, once evidence has been obtained.

You had no reason to delete his cold fusion research project.

He did not delete it. He argued for deletion.

Abd at the time was being funded by a cold fusion research institute who invested a lot of money into his Wikiversity project

My funding would be irrelevant, but this was untrue. No Infusion Institute funding was related to the Wikiversity project, which had been largely abandoned. In 2015, events convinced me that WMF wikis were not safe places to create content, not even neutral content. So I stopped nearly all work on the Cold fusion educational resource. When the deletion discussion was raised, in late 2017, I was being funded by the Institute (and I still am, for expenses), but this was entirely unrelated to Wikiversity.

and you had it deleted because of your pseudo-skeptic viewpoint.

It is unclear why it was deleted. The bureaucrat who deleted it violated policies and traditions, and he said he had received private complaints. The whole thing stank. But, as I had concluded, the community slept. I was blocked by that ‘crat, and an admin who planned to unblock was threatened privately with having his tools removed.

Could you put the project back? I am not Lomax but I support his cold fusion research. He has been targeted by pseudo-skeptics.

The two users targeted have no power to put it back, and this is irrelevant to the legal action. If Wikiversity were to decide to restore that resource, it would have no effect on the action for defamation.

This was all classic Darryl Smith socking. He does it to create impressions, in this case that Lomax is disruptive, vindictive, and demanding, as well as to strengthen the resolve of the “skeptical community” to resist coercion from “cranks.” Smith, pretending to be me, using troll sock names like these, has been threatening RationalWiki users with lawsuits for maybe a year.

Meanwhile, I have things to do, places to go ….

Jimbo Wales and “lunatic charlatans”

Looking at recent developments on Wikipedia with “fringe” and “quacks,” I’ve found many symptoms of a systemic corruption, and this will show how the project lost its direction, at core and in a failure to honor the original community intentions, it’s become quite explicit. This started with looking at the user page of Roxy the dog. Wikipedia made what may have been a fatal error in not only allowing anonymous edits (probably necessary and highly useful) but also in allowing advanced privileges for anonymous accounts. In this, it deviated widely from academic traditions. It eliminated the “responsible publisher” for itself, creating mob rule.

This protected the Foundation, but not the project. This is classic: organizations are formed for purposes, but their own survival, if it comes into conflict with the purpose, becomes a priority. So if the trial of “community governance” fails — in the absence of clear structures that create responsible actors — nothing can be done. It’s up to the community, not the site owners. Wikipedia is famously not a reliable source. Why not? Precisely because there is no responsible publisher!

The possibility existed for a community project to become more reliable than any such effort in history. That is, in fact, why I worked on Wikipedia as long as I did. But the radically unreliable governance, vulnerable to participation bias (whoever happens to show up in specific discussions, and where some kinds of factional canvassing are allowed, plus the possibly random nature of who closes discussions, where bias in closing could be very difficult to detect, and, if detected, they shoot the messenger), led to a conclusion that the situation was unworkable.

Wikipedia will be replaced by a project that harnesses what Wikipedia has done, but that adds reliable governance and responsibility. This may be for-profit or nonprofit, it could be done either way.

It was clear to me at one point that Jimbo Wales (with Larry Sanger the founder of Wikipedia) was interested in governance reform. However, something was missing, and I’m coming to think that what was missing was an understanding of neutrality. He almost had it, but it’s clear that knee-jerk “popular,” not academic or scientific, responses, very obviously not neutral, took over for him. And this then explains, in part, how “popular factions” came to dominate Wikipedia, as many have noted. They lose, sometimes, their control is not absolute, but it creates a steady pressure and, over time, it’s apparent to me, the project has devolved away from neutrality, and a particular faction has, many times, opposed neutrality and has declared allegiance to a point of view, and they act to push that point of view.

Anyone trained in journalism will recognize the problem, how it infects the language and overall tenor of pages. Blatant violations of neutrality policy, misrepresentations of sources, in favor of attempting to create in readers POV impressions, are, in some areas, practically the rule rather than a transient exception. Revert warring is tolerated, if done by factional editors, who are considered “valuable volunteers” precisely because they work tirelessly for their point of view.

Editors with contrary points of view are isolated and sanctioned and topic- or site-banned. Editors promoting SPOV (“Scientific point of view,” when they go beyond limits in that promotion, may be sanctioned, but also are regarded as heroes. And so if they are actually banned, they often come back. Wouldn’t you?

This is what Roxy the dog has from Wales:

“Wikipedia’s policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals – that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.”
“What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of ‘true scientific discourse’. It isn’t.[1][2]

Roxy the dog uses this as I’d expect, to justify a series of claims of being justifiably biased. First, what exactly did Wales say, in what context.?

Wikipedia developed a procedure for creating a neutral project and he is referring to it, but he overspecifies that procedure, narrowing it in a way that favors the bias Roxy the dog displays. Was this merely accidental, incautious?

and, in fact, it’s obvious. From that page:

Wikipedia’s co-founder Jimmy Wales this week sent a clear signal to skeptics who edit the user-created encyclopedia – he agrees with our focus on science and good evidence. He did this by responding firmly in the negative to a Change.org petition created by alternative medicine and holistic healing advocates. His response, which referred to paranormalists as “lunatic charlatans”, was widely reported on Twitter.

I’ve been recommending skeptics pay close attention to Wikipedia since the earliest days of this blog, almost six years ago. Susan Gerbic took up that gauntlet and created her wildly successful Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia project.

In the last year or so, the success of Susan’s project has gotten many paranormal and alternative medicine advocates riled up. They’ve repeatedly floated conspiracy theories that skeptics are somehow rigging the game on Wikipedia, or even bullying opponents off the site. Even personalities like Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra have gotten involved. None of these accusations have been supported by facts, and both Sheldrake and Chopra have been subsequently embarrassed by their own supporters’ rule-breaking behavior on the service.

This is common.

There is skeptic organization and this blog is proud of it. But if others point to organization, it’s a “conspiracy theory.”

Indeed, I have seen over-reaction, suspicion that, say, drug companies are paying editors to promote statin drugs and attack cholesterol skeptics. I find that implausible, but this is what happens where there are organizations that operate behind the scenes.

Sheldrake and Chopra have popular support, and people with popular support will be defended by some, often people with no real understanding of how Wikipedia works, and so they violate rules. But wait! Wikipedia Rule Number One, promoted by Wales himself, was “If a Rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it!” (WP:IAR)

I used to point out the Corollary, that if you have never been blocked for breaking the rules, you are not trying hard enough to improve the project.

The vision of the original Wikipedians has been lost, and this was practically inevitable (see  Iron law of oligarchy), if protective structure was not created, and it was not.

Wales response was to a petition asking for reform.

As is common with reform efforts, what might be a valid objection to the Wikipedia status quo was mixed with lack of understanding of how Wikipedia operates, and a point of view. The title of the petition shows a lack of understanding of the purpose of Wikipedia and the process of creating an encyclopedia.

Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia: Create and enforce new policies that allow for true scientific discourse about holistic approaches to healing.

I will list problems with this request:

  1. Wales was not in charge of Wikipedia, he was the Founder, not the Governor. (In the other direction, he remained influential.)
  2. Wikipedia is not a site for “scientific discourse.” Wikiversity was, and could have remained so, but that was demolished, ultimately, by the faction, early this year. It was trivial to create neutral discourse, and it worked for years.
  3. The policies on inclusion were not the problem, the problem was lack of workable enforcement structure. The structure worked, though very inefficiently, for handling vandalism and isolated point of view pushing, but, increasingly, as factions developed power, poorly with factional point of view pushing.

Wales responded. 

MAR 23, 2014 — No, you have to be kidding me. Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful.

Wikipedia’s policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals – that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.

What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of “true scientific discourse”. It isn’t.

The blog claims that the organizers of the petition were “tone-deaf,” because they quoted Larry Sanger, thus, allegedly, irritating Wales. Sanger was quoted in the petition:

Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, left the organization due to concerns about its integrity. He stated: “In some fields and some topics, there are groups who ‘squat’ on articles and insist on making them reflect their own specific biases. There is no credible mechanism to approve versions of articles.” 

Sanger’s comment was a simple conclusion matching what many, many, with high experience with Wikipedia, have found. That happens. It happens in all directions, but . . . factions that represent the “fringe” are, by definition, not popular, and that condition in the population will be reflected in the editorial community, so these factions are readily identified and their efforts interdicted, whereas the faction that is biased toward a popular point of view, can operate with far higher impunity, and in the absence of neutral enforcement, that bias can dominate.

This happened to some extent with traditional encyclopedias, but these were generally written with high academic integrity. Wales became confused on this issue, and was, himself, tone-deaf. Many have complained, and the complaints are routine and remain common. Wales only looks at what was wrong with the petition, and fails to practice what he preaches:

to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful.”

So Wikipedia sails on, undisturbed by self-examination, supporting the “Scientific Point of View,” which is an oxymoron.

Rather, the Pillars of Wikipedia include one that would, if followed, establish journalistic and academic integrity:

Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view
We strive for articles in an impartial tone that document and explain major points of view, giving due weight with respect to their prominence. We avoid advocacy, and we characterize information and issues rather than debate them. In some areas there may be just one well-recognized point of view; in others, we describe multiple points of view, presenting each accurately and in context rather than as “the truth” or “the best view”. All articles must strive for verifiable accuracyciting reliable, authoritative sources, especially when the topic is controversial or is on living persons. Editors’ personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong.

Wikipedia proposed a solution to crowd-sourcing, to allow it to be verifiable. “Reliable” source does not mean “correct.” It refers to independently published sources, presented with a neutral tone. Stating an interpretation as if fact without attribution is not “honesty.” It’s easy to convert, say, a non-neutral interpretation (which might be found in a reliable source) into a fact by attributing it. “According to . . . ”

Yet there are “skeptical faction” editors inserting their own interpretations as if fact, even about living persons, or entire fields. Because I just noticed it, here is an example, about Gary Taubes:

This is in the lead (current version), which should, by the guideline, be rigorously neutral, enjoying high consensus. The lead has:

Some of the views propounded by Taubes are inconsisent [sic] with known science surrounding obesity.[3]

The source is a book review, and such a review is the opinion of the author, particularly if it is an off-hand comment. What the review actually has, besides praise for the book (“… has much useful information and is well worth reading “):

some of the conclusions that the author reaches are not consistent with current concepts about obesity.

Are “current concepts” the same as “known science”? In fact, Taubes is challenging common concepts, explicitly and deliberately, as not being rooted in “known science,” i.e., known through the scientific method. This has been his theme for his entire career. The editor, however, believes what he has written and so considers that interpretation of the source to be a simple restatement.

The reviewer was not precise. “Current concepts” has a lost performative. Whose concepts? I used “common” as a vague term that would cover what I think is true. The concepts Taubes is challenging became common about forty years ago, through a political process that was only peripherally scientific. Documenting that has been much of Taube’s work.

This begins the lead:

Gary Taubes (born April 30, 1956) is an American journalist, writer and low-carbohydrate diet advocate.

Is he? This was there until a few days ago:

Gary Taubes (born April 30, 1956) is an American science writer.

To the faction, many examples can be shown, “low carbohydrate diet advocate” is a dog whistle to call skeptical attention to a person, who, in other contexts , might be called a “fad diet promoter,” “quack,” and “charlatan.”

Remember, verifiability not truth. The statement about “diet advocate” is not sourced. It’s misleading. What Taubes has been advocating is twofold:

  • improved public understanding of the history of the lipid hypothesis and the demonization of fat, as well as the evidence of the “diseases of civilization” being associated with high refined carbohydrate consumption,
  • but, more important (certainly to him), the encouragement and facilitation (read funding) of scientific research into diet. Taubes is not a ‘believer,” but he has drawn some conclusions and has been acting on them. That is normal in science. Wales wrote:

If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals – that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.

First of all, he was misstating the actual policy. “Published in respectable scientific journals” is not the actual standard, and such publication can happen without “replicable scientific experiments,” that is only one aspect of science, and the reliance is not on “replicable,” but on “confirmed,” i.e., actually replicated, as shown in peer-reviewed reviews of a topic, secondary sources. Many facts can be reported (with maximum freedom, by guidelines) if attributed. The attribution should be to a reliable source, but the source may be weaker, though still reliable. The skeptical faction uses their own factional publications, that focus on “debunking” and are not neutrally peer-reviewed by experts in the fields, as if reliable source, it’s been common for years, whereas independently peer-reviewed secondary source reviews are excluded by the faction as “junk” or “fringe believer author.”

These are obvious violations of the neutrality pillar, but are tolerated because of a false opp0sition as reflected in Wales’ defense of Wikipedia.

A paper that was invited by a major peer-reviewed journal of high reputation, with Gary Taubes as one of the authors:

Dietary fat and cardiometabolic health: evidence, controversies, and consensus for guidance June 13, 2018

This review treats the topic with academic tone. It presents a variety of major points of view. This is what Wikipedia could be like, were it actually supporting science. Instead, it is supporting a highly judgmental and often fanatic debunking point-of-view.

Another example: Wales wanted to see “replicable experiments.” That is not required for notability, Wales is actually substituting his own ideas for the policy, but . . . I was banned from cold fusion on Wikipedia and the claim was made that I was promoting it, and this was often connected with claims that “cold fusion” is “pseudoscience.” In fact, what I was promoting, what was actually important to me at the time, was Wikipedia neutrality and genuine consensus process. However, when I was banned from the topic, I then investigated “cold fusion” more thoroughly, and eventually wrote an article, published in a significant journal, which would, in theory, satisfy the claims Wales made:

Replicable cold fusion experiment: heat/helium ratio

Okay, a review. Check. Peer-reviewed. Check. Describes multiple confirmations of a crucial experiment, that demonstrates that there is a real anomaly, that looks like it could be fusion (but probably not what most physicists would think of). Check.

Okay, is that cited? I don’t know if anyone attempted it. It was cited on Wikiversity. Much older and weaker sources on claims of helium detection (deprecating them) have been cited on Wikipedia, and remain. As I was about to be topic banned for the second time, I put up another review in a journal of very high reputation for consideration on the Reliable Source Noticeboard. It was found usable as reliable source. And after all that, was the source allowed? No. Immediately removed every time presented.

Status of cold fusion (2010)

Peer-reviewed review in a major multidisciplinary journal, Naturwissenschaften. Check. Stronger source than any other source used in the article. If editors think it was a mistake, it could be attributed.

See the arguments against it on RSN. That discussion was narrow and focused but was never “closed.” Consensus was clear. The paper is RS, and as with all sources, to be used with appropriate caution. Just because something is in reliable source does not make it “truth,” it makes it notable. And wikipedia was properly founded on notability, established by what is found in responsible publishers.

So what happened then? I have made the point often that the major problem with Wikipedia has been inefficiency. To establish what should have been accomplished by a reference to policy and guidelines, a matter of a few sentences, took a massive discussion. A responsible publisher would go bankrupt if their editorial process were like this.

There are plenty of Wikipedia editors who understood the policies and attempted to apply them neutrally. They burn out, faced with editors who ignore the policies, are persistent, and who are enabled to continue this, year after year.

removes reference to Storms (2010) based on argument rejected at RSN. Editor: ජපස, who has changed his name many times. He is the one who made the argument about Storms being an editor. That was an attributed reference, clearly neutral. This reverted the edit of Enric Naval.

Eventually, in 2015, the bibliographic reference to Storms (2010), and another citation of it, were removed by JzG, a highly involved factional editor and administrator who had been reprimanded by the Arbitration Committee for his actions with regard to cold fusion. Apparently nobody noticed. Jzg removed the reference to the 2007 book, and the 2010 journal review of cold fusion. His edit summary:

(pruning some WP:PRIMARY, including for example a book review written by a True Believer. We have sufficient high quality sources that we don’t need to dumpster-dive.)

These are the arguments that completely failed to be accepted at WP:RSN. Are there stronger sources by Wikipedia RS standards and the standards for science topics? What was left was weaker, or if not weak, substantially older.

None of these were primary sources, and he’s highly experienced, so . . . he lied, they were all secondary. (2007) was published World Scientific, an academic press, and (2010) was discussed above. The Book Review reference is unclear. JzG also removed material cited in Simon (2002), which is an academic secondary source review (a book), not a “book review”). He did remove from the bibliography one primary source (at least arguably so), Shanahan (2006). There was an appalling discussion in talk, no consensus, and the editor objecting was “reminded” about discretionary sanctions, which was essentially a threat that he could be blocked. This was a blatant and smug display of factional POV editing, and, as usual, without consequence, JzG (and William M. Connolley), sailed on, undisturbed, as they have for years. (In two cases, I took them to the Arbitration Committee, JzG was reprimanded, Connolley was desysopped. But the net effect was, with extensive effort, long term, zero. Discretionary sanctions were established as a result of the second case, (with neutral enforcement, a good idea), but it has only been used to support the skeptical faction and threaten or block anyone appearing to have a different point of view.)

In 2015, Current Science published a special section on low-energy nuclear reactions. It included a number of reviews of aspects of the field, written by major researchers (and one journalist, me). There was mention of this in the article that resisted removal, it’s still there. However, none of those papers are cited in the article, in spite of being recent specific reviews of aspects of the field, on topics discussed in the article.

Wales is either ignorant about what actually happens on Wikipedia, or he’s lying. I prefer the former interpretation, but I also hold him responsible for maintaining his ignorance in spite of complaints. Instead of actually investigating the complaints, or setting up a review process, he smugly proclaimed an extreme interpretation of the policy that then, very clearly, encouraged the SPOV-pushers. I’ve seen a shift since that time, and this might explain it.

No, if one does research and gets it published in peer-reviewed journals, it is inadequate to shift the Wikipedia balance, because the balance is maintained in the impressions and interpretations of editors, and it’s very well-known that when people have committed themselves to a position (by using language like “charlatan” and “fringe believers” and “crank”) they become resistant to change, and will continue to invent justifications and reasons to continue to believe the same.

Ironically, this is what this faction believes about others, that they are “die-hards” and “pseudoscientific.” If someone calls them “pseudoskeptical” or “pathoskeptic,” they will block or arrange for the person to be blocked, but claims in the other direction are routine and tolerated. Enforcement is biased, creating a long-term pressure away from neutrality.

Wikipedia could be transformed, but what has been created is so highly entrenched that it might take a major event.

I’ve suggested that a new encyclopedia could be created that uses Wikipedia content, routinely, but that creates a filter and process for reviewing it. I’ve suggested that such a site might pay authors and editors, and that it might sell itself as “Wikipedia, but more reliable.” And it would solicit donations, but would also sell advertising, carefully vetted to be reliable, itself, which is quite doable. (The advertising would pay for the writing and editorial work.)

Sometimes, you get what you pay for. If you use volunteers, they work for their own purposes. It can be great, but large human organizations pay management, even when they use many volunteers.

Everipedia looks like an effort in that direction, but it utterly fails to attract me, so far, nor does it look like it could attract the kind of massive use and participation that could take it beyond Wikipedia. The Everipedia article on cold fusion is a fork of the Wikipedia article (so far, what I’d expect, but, then, if I read the article, does it invite me to improve it? If so, I don’t see how or where.)

To succeed, an improved project must present something clearly better than Wikipedia, such that users would have an incentive to look up a topic there rather than on Wikipedia. There are also complications, Google being a major supporter of Wikipedia. But a better product does not have to be better in every way, just in some, and it could flag what has been fact-checked and reviewed for neutrality, for example, and what was merely copied from Wikipedia. (Everipedia may do that, I can’t tell, but Everipedia seems to be focusing on selling access to businesses or people who want to control articles about themselves. Not on setting up an expert review process or other structure that would create reliability.)

It would use Wikipedia’s process to create a level of reliability, and then improve it. It would make comparisons with Wikipedia easy, as an example, so that changes to Wikipedia would be imported as (1) automatic if the fork article has not been validated, or as (2) reviewed, as with the contributions of any non-empowered editor on Wikipedia.

The focus appears to be on how to preserve one of the major weaknesses of Wikipedia, anonymity. That’s a double-edged sword. The new project, if linked to Wikipedia, would already have a way for anonymous editors to contribute: on Wikipedia! It could also allow suggested edits on its own versions.

(Wikipedia could also bring in content the other way, through a process that was used on wikipedia when a banned user created an article elsewhere, and then there was a Request for Comment on importing that (radical change) as a single edit. This is actually a far simpler question than the one-edit at a time process Wikipedia follows: “Is A or B better?” )

It would need to have layers of detail. It could have better editorial review tools than Wikipedia. An example of something missing from Wikipedia is an ability to search history, the entire history of the project or of an article, or of user contributions. Now, you can obtain logs, but they are not generally searchable, except primitively. I do it, but by downloading histories (the logs will not retrieve more than 5000 operations), merging them, and then using search in a text editor or in Excel, and that doesn’t give me the editorial text, only edit summaries.

It is possible to search project full-history XML, but it can be incredibly cumbersome.

Everipedia is not showing signs of being well-designed and implemented. The FAQ I find far too complicated. Wikipedia made it easy and quick for anyone to edit. While “anyone can edit” fell apart to some extent, becoming more like “anyone can waste time trying to improve the project,” that ease of use was crucial to Wikipedia’s initial success. Wikipedia failed not from that, but from failure to establish reliable review process, something that is normally crucial for serious publishers.

Another issue is that Wikipedia not only failed to reward expert attention, it actually became hostile to ordinary experts. Wikibooks and Wikiversity were much friendlier, but then I discovered something. Most experts were not terribly interested in sustained free contributions to books or educational resources, if there was no benefit for them other than simply being able to write. And if what was written was fragile, and easily hacked up by Randy from Boise, and if they have plenty of other places to publish, why should they contribute? Many people will do it occasionally just because people are mostly nice. But regularly and reliably? No.

(To assist someone who wanted to study the subject, I set up a Parapsychology resource on Wikiversity, and it actually attracted some notable scientists. But they did not regularly contribute, nor did they watch the pages. That project was deleted early this year when the skeptical faction extended its reach to Wikiversity. Long story. JzG was involved. They also deleted the Wikiversity resource on cold fusion, all based on the action of a single bureaucrat, not supported by the community. Efforts like that had always failed in the past. But the Wikiversity community that had always supported academic freedom and the inclusive neutrality of Wikiversity as distinct from the exclusive neutrality of Wikipedia (i.e., academic standards rather than encyclopedic) was, as usual, asleep. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

I rescued those resources. Cold fusion. Parapsychology. Wikiversity showed how resources could be inclusively neutral. (A clearer example, where there would have been, on Wikipedia, or any other single-level wiki, edit warring, is Landmark Education.) Parapsychology was neutral, I’d been very careful to set it up that way. Cold fusion might not have been completely neutral, (I’d written most of it) but it would have taken about five minutes, with no harm being done, to rigorously neutralize it. The Wikiversity cold fusion article was often attacked on Wikipedia, but it was open for editing, and it had not been at all disruptive. Real neutrality is not disruptive, certainly not in itself. Real neutrality, with good-faith participants, can normally find complete consensus, even in the presence of major controversies. Wikipedia never understood this.

If I just want to shoot off my mouth, or to enjoy writing, I’ll start a blog, not start up an account on a wiki. It is far, far easier and, believe me, far more fun. And I can actually obtain funding for it. (Thanks!)

As an example, I know much of the cold fusion research community. Only very small number have ever attempted to edit Wikipedia. Met with entrenched hostility, for the most part, the handful who tried it simply gave up quickly. The field needs funding, and funding is not obtained by writing about cold fusion on Wikipedia. The inefficiency of Wikipedia makes it seriously wasteful.

Malcolm Kendrick

UNDER CONSTRUCTION, TO BE EDITED AND SUMMARIZED

Subpage of anglo-pyramidologist/darryl-l-smith/skeptic-from-britain/

drmalcolmkendrick.org/2018/12/03/dr-malcolm-kendrick-deletion-from-wikipedia/ 616 replies
drmalcolmkendrick.org/2018/12/18/wikipedia-a-parable-for-our-times/ 460 replies

Dr. Kendrick’s blog came to my attention because I was accused of being Skeptic from Britain. When I looked, it was clear who this was and I have verified the identity through a review of contributions, both on Wikipedia and on RationalWiki, a hangout for “skeptics” who are, much more often, pseudoskeptics.

Dr. Kendrick’s Wikipedia article, and low-carb food plans and related information, in general, were attacked by that faction. It has not been uncommon. The same faction attacks and attempts to suppress “non-mainstream” information in Wikipedia, far more than policy would allow, and often being decades out-of-date.

This page will examine the issues, and hopefully provide some guidance for those who tangle with that faction. Misunderstanding of how Wikipedia works is very common, so perhaps some of that can be cleared up. Continue reading “Malcolm Kendrick”

Skeptic from Britain

Subpage of anglo-pyramidologist/darryl-l-smith/

Subpages of this page:

Collecting evidence on the “Skeptic from Britain” obvious Darryl L. Smith Wikipedia sock.

They will claim “there is no evidence,” and then they will claim that I will write “endless words.” In fact, what I write becomes long because I show evidence. I do not always provide links, but if anyone has a question about any assertion (anywhere on this blog) ask. If comments are not enabled on a page, link to the page in a comment on any page with comments enabled, which could include all posts (i.e, what can be seen from the main page, http://coldfusioncommunity.net).

If any page is confusing because too long, comment and ask for a summary. I read all comments. The first comment from a user (which may refer to the email address provided by the user, I’m not sure) must be approved, as an anti-spam measure, but subsequent comments, after one is approved, are automatically approved unless I actually ban the user, which I have never done. Trolls are skewered and served for lunch, not banned. Welcome! Come on over for lunch!

Baseless allegations against [XXX, name redacted]

There were accusations that SfB was [XXX], or [XXX]. (This libel was created by highly suspicious anonymous accounts in the middle of widespread outrage over the activities of SfB. This kind of diversionary tactic was used in the first AP incident I investigated. It is used to stir up enmity toward an enemy, in some cases, or in this case, to make their targets (which would be anyone considered “fringe” by them) look foolish.

(If [XXX] wants these mentions removed, he may comment here, giving a real email address (which will not be published) and I will contact him. The purpose here is to protect him from these false claims, not to increase harassment. But it will be his choice, I would anonymize the references where possible. We should discuss it. Note: he did so request, see comments on this page and on the subpage.)

I do not know [XXX] and have had no connection with him [as this was first written].  My purpose is, as it has long been, to expose deception and impersonation and the creation of conflict through lies.

This is general, not about [XXX]: when someone lies about another whose politics may be questionable, it’s still a lie, and we do not transform the world for the better by lying about anything, nor do we create “hope not hate” by hating anyone; in fact, hating racism, while understandable, is also not going to heal the wounds. Hatred itself is the enemy, and not to be hated, but understood . . . and transformed.

The trolling (or perhaps clueless in some cases) blog comments:

(some of these, since I pointed out the problems, have been deleted by the blog owners):

James 

skeptic from Britain has an Instagram [redacted]

his name is [XXX] . he is a vegetarian SJW, but oddly claims to eat red meat twice a week.

This comment is typical for AP socks (could be Darryl or his brother). They will attempt to create an appearance of hypocrisy. The claims are not evidenced, at all. The instagram page shows no evidence supporting the claim. This is all attempting create an attack on [XXX]. This then is picked up by others, some might be innocent, some are obviously Skeptic from Britain or his brother.

Stephen Rhodes 

Not sure whether this helps but over at fatheadthemovie someone has posted;

skeptic from Britain has an Instagram [redacted]

his name is [XXX] . he is a vegetarian SJW, but oddly claims to eat red meat twice a week.

[SJW == Social Justice Warrior]

That was very fast. However, Stephen Rhodes looks legitimate, simply naive, repeating a story without noting the lack of verification. Isn’t social media wonderful?

Alex Davis 
Skeptic from Britain is clearly the [XXX] guy. The age range and diet matches. Now he has been outed he quickly changed his username as a false flag to detract attention and confuse. Note that Skeptic from Britain submitted Fat Head for deletion yesterday https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_Head. He is clearly angry at Tom Naughton for being outed and wants revenge. I doubt he lives in Manchester, looks like another false flag to me. His editing history matches a US timezone.
It is not clear to me where Darryl currently lives, but he did live in Radlett. He would create, however, many diversions. Naughton had not outed him, rather the trolls had “outed” someone certainly innocent.
It can be tricky to infer location from editing pattern. Notice that non-Wikipedians will not know how to confirm the claim about time zone. This is, again, typical. (Claims without easily verifiable evidence. and anonymous, with nobody to contact to check.)
The current Skeptic from Britain account name is Vanisheduser3334743743i43i434 (the link is to archived contributions, there are currently 4622 live edits. (That’s a high rate for the time period involved, though not unusual for someone who has become very involved.) (There are more edits on Commons.)
This is a histogram of edit times (GMT), converted to fractions of an hour:
The minimum edit time is from 3:54 AM to 6:30 AM. Peak activity starts increasing at 1 PM, rising steadily to 10:06, and then falling off after midnight. This is quite consistent with a UK location. For the US mainland, that would be, East Coast, 10:54 PM to 1:30 AM. West Coast, 7:54 PM to 10:30 AM. Far from a typical Wikipedia editing pattern. While it remains possible (someone may have odd work hours and habits), it is quite incorrect to say that edit timing indicates U.S. location.
SfB showed up 12 February, 2018, making classic Darryl edits, obviously an experienced user already. This is not [XXX], at all, but an editor showing a very familiar pattern (Wikipedians should check “Goblin Face,” checkuser-identified. I will do a study of the edit timings, it will take some time (the SfB histogram was easy, but there is a lot more that can be done. I have edit timing for at least one known and active Darryl Smith sock in this period.  At this point, it looks like “Alex Davis” was lying. However, he might simply be mistaken and a bit careless. There is an Alex Davis with an interest in low-carb diets, but, as well, the Smith brothers pick real names for impersonations, it’s not uncommon, and there are no other comments from Alex Davis on that blog. Will the real Alex Davis stand up?
Goblin Face had over 7600 edits in 2014. This chart shows his last 5000 edits, times are again GMT, converted to fractions of an hour:
The match is strong. These two people are likely in the same time zone, with matching edits. Goblin Face was in England, matching the timing of Skeptic from Britain . There could be more found, much more, and again it will take time.
Low-Carb Man 

Because Skeptic from Britain got outed as [XXX] he changed his Wikipedia username and claims to be leaving the website because he was doxed, but he has submitted your Fat Head movie on Wikipedia to deletion, so you must have touched a nerve of his!

You should check Malcolm Kendrick’s blog comments various vegans have turned up to defend [XXX]. This was no doubt an attack from vegan SJW’s and they claim this is only round 1. You were right.

If a vegan is attacked, and vegans show up to defend him, would this be surprising? However, at least some of those who showed up are clearly socks, pretending to be vegan in order to stir up animosity. While there are some vegans who are fanatics about meat-eaters, it’s not normal. To SfB, all fringe believers are to be debunked and attacked, and if he can get them fighting with each other, so much the better! He creates false flag accounts, I’ve seen many of them.

Jacob 
[XXX]– vegetarian fanatic who claims to live in Manchester as of 2018, but there is virtually nothing about him on the internet apart from some old photographs on Instagram. Let’s hope he goes public about all this! If he studies biology like he claims, then he is editing at a university… I wonder what the university is he at thinks about this (!) Editing Wikipedia on their servers?

No evidence of any of the claims.  There is another post by “Jacob” on the blog. Different avatar. What I notice is the assumption that [XXX] is Skeptic from Britain, and “claims to live in Manchester.” Where? The account was named for a few days MatthewManchester1994. I found no claim to be “from Manchester,” either from Skeptic from Britain or [XXX]. So Jacob is either a troll who happens to use a name used before (which can be easy to do in blog comments) or is very incautious. The claims being made would be common for Darryl L. Smith, though relatively mild.

 Low-Carb guy
I think [XXX] is about the give up the game. Check the latest edits on his account MatthewManchester1994 . He says he has been outed by the low-carb community so he is closing his Wikipedia account and never returning.

This is a Smith brother. Skeptic from Britain was a highly experienced Wikipedia editor, with almost 5000 edits and obviously not new when that started. He would know that this announcement would create a red flag for anyone who wants to find his identity. When researching accounts, one of the first places to look would be the last edit. Here it is. No, this was a red herring. However, long-term, the SfB account has created a great deal of recent evidence, grist for the mill.

The twins are the most effectively disruptive users I have ever encountered, in over twenty years of on-line activity. Their behavior will perplex even highly-experienced users. However, they have, over time, been identified and outed, which they richly deserve for behavior such as impersonations (clearly proven) and attack libels against many, and creating harassment for innocent persons, such as [XXX], as far as I can see. Zero evidence to back up the claims. Not even reasonable circumstantial evidence. None. Zilch. Why did they pick him? They might live near him, might know him. They are in their late twenties, but still incredibly juvenile. Or they picked him at random as a “vegan.” [I found another reason, but do not wish to disclose it because it would create breadcrumbs to the real name of this person, but he is not vegan. He was for a time. He is not a fanatic.)]

I will be researching this further. Darryl has, here, created a body of evidence larger than I have seen for some time. He may now be very careful about editing Wikipedia for a time, because it is possible that checkuser would nail him. But there is more, much more. It will take time to review the evidence. Until after his twin, Oliver D. Smith, started trolling intensely on Encyclopedia Dramatica at the end of last month, I had stopped watching Smith activities.

When Oliver accused Rome Viharo of being Skeptic from Britain, I didn’t notice. But when he went to my talk page, where I get email notifications, and effectively accused me of the same, I looked. Wow! It was immediately obvious who Skeptic from Britain was. He obviously wanted me to see that (or he is really stupid in addition to being insane). Why?

Well, maybe he’s angry with his brother, maybe his brother has been angry with him. It happens in families. Or maybe there is some other reason, or no reason at all, maybe he was drunk or actually schizophrenic, as he once claimed.

Conclusive evidence

I have conclusive verifiable evidence that Skeptic from Britain is the same user as Debunking spiritualism on Rational Wiki, which would be Darryl L. Smith. ( a few people think that the “brother” story is just another deception. I consider it unlikely, but I could investigate this if anyone thinks it really matters.) I will share the evidence with anyone with a need to know. (Including WMF sysops or checkusers). Contact me by requesting an email through any comment on this blog (the comment need not use your real name, but, obviously, the email must be yours!) The contact will remain confidential.

(Anyone could find this, one merely needs to know where and how to look.)

Comments continued.

Low-Carb man

Abd Lomax is probably behind the “Skeptic from Britain” account himself.

https://encyclopediadramatica.rs/Abd_Ul-Rahman_Lomax

The above website says he is Skeptic from Britain, it also has a photograph of Kendrick.

Another website claims Abd Lomax has a history of impersonating people

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Abd_ul-Rahman_Lomax

I would say this is a scam. Why are you targeting LCHF writers Lomax?

This looks like a Smith brother, but … “Low-Carb man” was just blocked by a Wikipedia checkuser as a sock of Amandazz100. See the suspected sock puppet page. This is a huge mess. Checkusers do sometimes make mistakes. Amandazz100 is definitely not a Smith brother. There is a real person involved: Angela A Stanton. If Ms. Stanton sees this, please contact me. (Leave a comment on this page with a request for email, and be sure to include a real email address. The comment itself may be anonymous.)

(The comment below appears to have been taken down. I replied to it, and that comment also does not appear, which is more or less what I would expect.)

 Wikipedia Astronomer 

I am a Wikipedia user that has been following this discussion as it was posted on the ScienceProject. Readers here should be aware that Abd ul-Rahman Lomax a 74 year old was globally banned from Wikipedia for impersonating people and doxxing them. Over 40 people complained to Wikipedia about this person including the known astronomer, my friend Joshua P. Schroeder.

Did Joshua P. Schroeder complain? How does “Wikipedia Astronomer” know what he claims? I was not banned from Wikipedia for impersonation and doxing. I was never accused of impersonation, and there were no serious charges of doxxing except from … Smith socks and a few friends. What I had done (of “documentation”) was actually approved by a WMF steward, etc. So the ban claim is  a straightforward lie, and this person would know it if he actually knows JPS and how WMF wikis work. (I was previously banned, years ago, from “Wikipedia,” the only WMF wiki with such a ban. The “impersonations” were checkuser-confirmed as a single person, and this affair embarrassed some admins who had made incorrect conclusions about identity. Some may have been more upset with me for exposing the impersonations rather than with the impersonator … who is almost certainly already de-facto banned from Wikipedia, and who is globally locked, an effective ban from all WMF wikis. But they simply create more socks, most successfully using mobile IP.

What is the “Science Project”?  There is a Wikiproject Science, but I don’t think he is referring to it. Rather it would be Wikiproject Skepticism. And there were discussions. This user doesn’t want to call it the real name because he knows how that will look in this context. So he twists the name a little. Here are the relevant discussions:

These edits to the Fat Head AfD repeated the accusation against XXX as if fact. Quackwatch was a red herring planted by a troll account, this is not completely clear I have not researched connections with Quackwatch, but I did see that Quackwatch was cited on Wikipedia as if a reliable source, which it certainly is not, and that would be expected from Darryl Smith. This discussion indicates the alignment of Literaturegeek with the XXX story and other deceptive information. LG is a long-term editor. Darryl claimed to have many Wikipedia accounts “in good standing.”  I have not seen enough yet to do more than raise some suspicion on this point. If Darryl has “good hand accounts” he would likely partition the interests, but, then, might slip and dive into a discussion like this. I will be looking at what will be massive evidence, now. If he is not Darryl, I should be able to confirm it and likewise identity if he is.]

LG shows high familiarity with the arguments being presented on the blogs, and repeats them. This is remarkable:

British sceptics spell sceptic with a letter ‘c’ whereas in the USA it is spelt with a K so even his username is a red flag.–Literaturegeek | T@1k? 04:41, 22 December 2018 (UTC)

That is a bogus argument, but LG obviously is British! I covered this here.

This is still not enough to accuse LG, but LG being British, does he know how “British sceptics” spell the word? (Hint, they use “Skeptic.”) Perhaps he doesn’t and he’s just making an ignorant comment. Or he does, and he is making a red herring argument that he thinks will fly with the audience, which is Smith brother behavior. It seems plausible until one actually checks. Sources were easy to find, and experienced Wikipedia editors become quite good at that. I definitely see enough to look more closely at his history, and if this is an Anglo Pyramidologist sock, it would be the biggest one ever caught (almost 27,000 live edits, started in 2007(!), was largely inactive for some years, but edited as another account starting in 2014, an “interesting year.” Loose lips sink ships. (There are doubtless other users who support the AP agenda from time to time, so the coincidences here are not enough to establish anything more than mild suspicion.)

Wikiproject Skepticism is one method the skeptical faction uses to canvass, it is how editors who identify as “skeptics” will know to show up for an AfD or other discussion that might impact the factional interests of “skeptics.” Another method is the use of the Fringe theories noticeboard, which the pseudoskeptical faction uses like a chat line. I’ve seen it used to create biased participation on another wiki, which would be totally irrelevant to Wikipedia. That faction is emboldened by years of being able to violate policies with relative impunity.

The Kendrick article would be a Biography of a Living Person. It is not a science topic, not really in the scope of the Wikiproject, as stated. But the skeptical faction wants to make sure that everyone knows that so-and-so is a quack, etc. The deletion issue for a BLP would solely be the existence of independent reliable sources, and that can be a bit complex to a noob. It does not mean “true sources.” It’s complicated and arcane. For science articles, there may be a weight on peer-reviewed and academic publications, but for biographies, coverage by a newspaper, for example, is adequate. Most blogs are not adequate, etc., but some might be, if they have serious editorial review.

So they canvas, but if someone not part of the “in crowd” on Wikipedia discusses a deletion, that’s “snails and worms.” To be sure, outsiders coming in will often be clueless about what the issues really are….

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Abd

When a user is office banned, that notice will often be put on the user page.  It says that questions should be referred to “trust and safety.” The only notice to the user is a single email, if the user has email enabled. It gives no reason for the ban, and it states that it is not appealable. There is no warning that a ban is being considered and no opportunity or process for correcting errors. So why was I banned? This user says it. “Over 40 people complained.” That is a larger number than I have heard before. Oliver Smith bragged that he was one, and showed his response from the Foundation. He has long been banned on Wikipedia. I assume that his brother also complained, and he is actually globally banned under many accounts. Did they know all this.

Email access for the user is shut down, because a global lock is simply preventing log-in. But when it was realized that other Wikipedia users could still email the user, they eventually prevented that. In other words, the Office (or locking steward) is also preventing any discussion with the banned user. The community is being censored, not just the user. And hardly anyone notices or cares. This happens in nonprofits, the central authority does not actually trust the membership, because they “know better.” And they might, sometimes, but humans being humans  . . .

Joshua P. Schroeder almost certainly complained. He has often been banned but has nine lives, because the skeptical faction loves him. The page here on his accounts. He came off a self-requested three month block in July 2018. There is story about the history on that page.

JzG would have complained, and the bureaucrat Mu301 (Michael Umbricht) on Wikiversity probably did (he is the one who claimed I was using Wikiversity for a vendetta, though I had moved all activity relating to the sock puppetry of Anglo Pyramidologist off of Wikiversity.) (AP, originally an Oliver account, refers to Oliver and Darryl Smith, though I did not use those names on-wiki, and didn’t publish them until later, after becoming convinced of the identification).

There was a discussion of my Office ban on Wikipediasucks.co.  Two single purpose accounts show up there Catapult and Max. Catapult was banned as a troll. Max was not banned, but only made four posts. Max wrote:

I received an email from the Wikimedia Foundation that they had received “six” complaints of this nature about Abd. Joshua was not the only person to complain. Regards.

The Wikimedia Foundation, by policy, does not discuss global bans. They don’t explain them. We do have a response mail put up by Oliver on RationalWiki. I’ll see if I can find it.

There are more comments from Max there. He is confronted by the obvious variation from policy that I mention above. I had discussed the situation with a former member of the WMF board. I actually thought he was still a member, but he’d left the board not long before. He told me that what I had actually done would not be considered harassment within the meaning of the Terms of Service. He was wrong, except … the complainers probably lied about what I had done. For example, Joshua Schroeder claimed email harassment, which would have been using the WMF interface originally (but not in later emails). In fact, the communication was voluntary and he never requested it stop. But the WMF could see there had been an email, thus they might consider the “harassment” claim plausible. In fact, I published those emails when Schroeder complained about harassment. Did they look at those? They showed I was attempting to cooperate with him, it was a Smith brother (probably Darryl)  who had really made it difficult to delete the information (which was much more harmless than the Smiths make out), by archiving it in case I took it down. His purpose was not to protect Schroeder, but to attack me. And he announced the “outing” and linked to it on Wikipedia, and he also thereby revealed to me JPS’s most recent name, which I had not known. (I was tracking this IP’s posts. These are Anglo Pyramidologist socks. There is a small chance that there was a third user, geographically located close to the Smith brothers, using the same mobile access.)

The discussion on JPS’s talk page:  You can see there how the plan to complain to the WMF was hatched. None of this would protect JPS in any way. I was not using my WMF account to harass JPS at all. The Smith brothers could complain that I was “outing” them, except, at that point, I wasn’t. The alleged publication of family members was transient, immediately taken down so that only the two brothers showed, and nobody would be able to find the house by what was published of the address. And that information is up elsewhere and basically can’t be deleted. I’ve redacted my copies to even remove the town. Still, what was a single incident becomes “doxes addresses and family members.” These people do much, much more than that. As I said above, I discussed this with a WMF board member, and he did not think I had violated policy.

But these people will use any excuse they can find.

Max went on with more details:

The list of people who sent complaints about Abd:

1. Myself (Public IP 74.175.117.2 on Wikiversity)
2. IP 82.21.88.44 (privately confirmed his identity to the Wikimedia Foundation)
3. Joshua P. Shroeder (claims Abd sent him harassing emails)
4. Guy Chapman (Wikipedia admin JzG)
5. Oliver Smith (actually leaked one of the emails)

No proof of this one, but it is obvious (I have emailed him): 
6. Michael Umbrecht – (Username Mu301 – Bureaucrat on Wikiversity)

Indeed. Now, which one is Darryl? Oliver is not the person who had created all the impersonation socks on Wikiversity and Wikipedia. It is that person whom I first documented. Most of the socks I listed as suspected were not Oliver. Oliver was accidentally named in my original study, because the name was in a URL. That was immediately redacted and actually revision-deleted. Michael Umbricht suddenly appeared after long inactivity, attacked me and “fringe science” on Wikiversity, blocked me for an action that the other active bureaucrat thought was within discretion, threatened the administrator who also had made checkuser requests on meta over the socking, and went on a deletion spree. And then he disappeared, he has not edited since February, 2018.

Wikiversity was the place in the WMF wikis where science either fringe or alleged to be fringe, could be *studied.* Contrary to the claims of the pseudoskeptical faction, Wikiversity does not have “articles” in mainspace. It has educational resources, which can include student projects. I developed traditions on Wikiversity (I maintained the site for quite some time) that a mainspace page must be rigorously neutral (even more so than on Wikipedia, it must be neutral by high consensus), but subpages could be attributed and, again by tradition, “owned.” I demonstrated with high success how what would have been major edit warring on other projects turned into collaboration and cooperation on Wikiversity. And Umbricht unilaterally declared that “fringe science” must be first subject to approval by a Review Board that did not exist. And, based on requests from … guess who? … he deleted two projects, Cold fusion (which I had not started, but which I had expanded for a time, and which was not active at this point, I had effectively abandoned Wikiversity, realizing it was unsafe, which subsequent events proved) and Parapsychology. I started that resource as a place where Parapsychology could be studied. I am not a “believer” in psychic phenomena, but the Parapsychological Assocation is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The definition of parapsychology establishes it as a science, it is the *study* of paranormal phenomena. It is not a “belief” in such phenomena, except to this extent. Here, read the resource, I rescued it when it was deleted.

Cold fusion was possibly more problematic. I simply wrote most of what was in that resource. It’s huge, many pages. Skeptics participated on occasion. There were debates that resulted in at least one scientific paper being written (by a skeptical electrochemist, by the way). If the mainspace page was not neutral, no skeptic had attempted to make it so. I previously showed how major and deep disputes could be resolved, but I actually abandoned that resource, leaving it for others, and had not made more than trivial edits for some years.

This was obviously not an “article.” But Wikiversity was “neutral by inclusion,” not by exclusion, like Wikipedia. (This is much closer to academic neutrality.) That has been demolished by Michael Umbricht, whereas other attempts to attack the inclusive neutrality of Wikiversity had long failed. There was a documentation project in my user space that had been proposed for deletion. Community consensus was to keep it. Umbricht unilaterally deleted it. After he’d done all this damage, he then disappeared again. This would be the most “reputable” administrator to complain, probably. The other would be JzG, who was highly involved in dispute with me on Wikipedia, and who blamed me for the poor condition of the WP cold fusion article, though I had been a very conservative editor on it (and that was before I actually studied the field and published in a scientific journal on it). JzG was still grumbling years later, because I had taken him to the Arbitration Committee and prevailed. That’s wiki-suicide for most non-admins. Long story, again.

The cold fusion resource had this at the top:

Welcome to the Cold Fusion learning project. The Wikipedia article on cold fusion is here (link).

These resources and seminars may present personal opinions of the writer(s). As the resources mature, controversial statements should be clarified and sourced, and any contrary opinions presented. Opinions expressed as original research, and not as a general consensus, should be attributed. Please help make this top-level resource neutral.

It was claimed that the resource was such a mess that it would be too difficult to clean up. That would be a claim that would show no understanding of how consensus would be reached on Wikiversity. If a good-faith editor showed up and blanked everything in the resource that didn’t look neutral, there would have been no edit warring. Rather, “neutrality by inclusion” does not require agreement on an unattributed page, rather, the page will be stripped to what there is agreement on, and it could have been as little as that introduction at the top. And then the resource would have links to subpages. As one option that was tried (and it worked spectacularly), “sections” would be created. These have a named and responsible section leader, who would (by tradition) have the right to supervise content on his or her pages. Here is an example of where that was done with a highly controversial subject: Landmark Education. That is, in fact, the most important work I did on Wikiversity. Until now, not noticed by the Smith brothers. It will be interesting to see if they now go after it.

Continuing the comment by “Wikipedia astronomer”:

Abd Lomax has been running around the internet for a year claiming that a group of “brothers” were responsible for his ban. It’s all nonsense. His account was banned by the WMF Office, not anyone else. The Wikimedia Foundation have globally banned less than 50 people out of millions and millions of users. Yes they ban many but rarely ever globally ban.

This is deliberately deceptive. First of all, the “brothers” claim was not mine, originally. I had only come to the conclusion that it was correct shortly before this time. Yes, the account was “Office-banned,” but these bans are not explained, and they have banned, for example, critics of the Foundation, or a journalist who had no account (Jake Christie). Office bans are relatively new. I was familiar with them before being banned, pointed out the hazard, and saw them as a slippery slope, that would, for the first time, expose the WMF to legal jeopardy. They attempt to run them in a way to avoid that, but … this has never been tested. Perhaps it will be. There would have been other ways to protect the project without those risks. But oligarchs (often considering themselves simply public servants) almost always opt for the most direct power and freedom from oversight.

This means Lomax did something very very wrong.

What did Jake Christie do wrong?

The WMF office is not allowed to give any details but to those who were online the day he was banned, we all know what he did.

And then he straight-out lied. He was “online the day [Abd] was banned.” Who is he? I think it’s obvious. He’s Darryl.

He created fake accounts of people on Wikipedia then “framed” certain users of this on his personal website, including posting personal information about where these people live.

I created no “fake accounts” on Wikipedia, but someone did. What I actually did was to identify the fake accounts and request steward checkuser, which confirmed the suspicion, and who was behind those accounts? It’s again obvious: a long-time attacker of parapsychology and of any user who interferes with his agenda. One of the accounts with substantial edits would be Goblin face, discovered accidentally by Wikipedia checkuser. The “brother” story originated with one of the early Anglo Pyramidologist accounts. Oliver confirmed it in many places, then claimed he’d been lying, then retracted that. However, there are clearly two personalities involved. There are claims that Oliver is schizophrenic, and so there might be a multiple personality. I doubt it.

Any time someone edits by IP, information about where they live can be created, and the Smith brothers often failed to take steps to prevent this (less and less, recently. If I receive a harassing comment here, it’s normally coming from a Tor node.) In theory, WMF checkusers are not supposed to connect IPs with accounts, but it happens all the time. Yes, I published information available on the internet with the family composition, but I also redacted this quickly. It’s still up in other places. Quickly, it was just the names of the two brothers and their ages and the town they live in. Everything else was redacted. I did ask a former WMF board member about this.

There are two aspects to this: one is that Wikipedia criticism sites often out Wikipedia users, it’s almost routine. I have always taken down extremely personal information, if I ever post it. These brothers have done far more, actually, with the families of their targets, the mother of one critic was actually fired from her job based on harassing email, and the mother of another was doxxed, even though he wasn’t living with her, in a clear attempt to harass through family. Simply showing a listing with names isn’t harassment, unless presented in such a way as to invite attacks (which was precisely the case in the second doxxing mentioned.)

As of 22/12/2018 he is still doing this. He has faced several libel suits, he has been forced to remove things from his website, but he still continues to go after these “brothers”. He says he “100%” knows it is them, but when you look at his evidence it is non-existent.

I have never been sued for libel. It has never been threatened. I have never been “forced” to remove things from my web site, except for one copy of copyrighted material, subject of a DMCA claim. That’s routine.

There is a contradiction here: there is “evidence” to look at, but it is “non-existent.” Which is it? Evidence can be misleading, the Smith brothers are experts at finding it, but “non-existent” is the common argument of pseudoskeptics: “There is no evidence for X,” they will say, when It is totally obvious that there is evidence. They commonly confuse “evidence” with “proof,” and then deny evidence that is even strong enough to hold up in court. “100% knows” is a reference to what I just found. Nobody, as far as I know, ever looked that this evidence before. What is the “non-existent” evidence? I haven’t stated the evidence that created certainty for me, so how would he “look at” it?

When users are blocked on Wikipedia for sock puppetry, the common remark is “See contributions for evidence.” Okay, I claim that Skeptic from Britain (and see Commons and Wikidata.) is Debunking spiritualism (Rationalwiki), see contributions for evidence. DS (notice the initials) is not ODS, who was rather openly Oliver D. Smith. ODS and other ODS socks, often self-acknowledged, have outed DLS socks. DS is Darryl Smith, behaviorally (as is SFB). Behavior is called the “duck test” on Wikipedia.

It’s a lot of work to document the duck test. They usually don’t bother on Wikipedia. Any admin who disagrees can unblock, and then it might be discussed. But the “100% certainty” is not the duck test. It does not depend on, say, point-of-view or other content issues. I’m not revealing how the data is studied, not yet, but he might figure it out, and his first reaction is going to be “Oh, shit!” because he cannot go back and hide. And it would be very difficult to hide for the future, without seriously cramping his style.

His account on meta-wiki that shows it is globally locked.

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:CentralAuth/Abd

Which is obvious.

WMFOffice banned and locked his account on every wiki on the internet, this is exremely rare and only happens in serious situations of abuse.

This is far from “every wiki on the internet, and the lock is only of the global account, that’s one account, and we know that the WMF bans even when there is no account to lock, they just declare it, and in the Jake Christie case, J. Alexander then personally attempted to eject Mr. Christie from a WMF-sponsored event held in a public place where Christie lives, based on the declared ban. He invited them to call the police…. they didn’t. And he was not being disruptive there, nor is there any evidence as far as I have seen that he was ever disruptive. He was investigating, as a journalist. That’s it. They do what they can to silence criticism, and the claim that the global locks are only used to prevent policy violations is completely bogus.

This is interesting: Jalexander-WMF is globally locked. What was the serious offense?  This WMF account lock was unnecessary, unless it was abused. The abuse would be prevented by removing the tools that could be abused, which had been done. The global lock, however, not only prevents the user’s access to email through the system, it also prevents anyone from emailing them through the system. The global lock tool has long been known as a primitive hack. It simply disallows log-in, so the user then cannot see, for example, their own watchlist. The global lock tool has been abused on occasion by stewards. In fact, I documented that at one point, simply studying the previous 5000 global locks (a little over three months). The study was neutral and made no accusations. What do you think the stewards did?

If you know how stewards operate, lucky guess. Oversighted, by the other Italian steward, a friend of the only steward who had made possibly abusive locks (as many as 5 out of 5000, most locks were routine, for spammers, and often with no edits, which revealed that stewards look at login.wiki). Not even admins could see that list and study, only stewards. There was no explanation that made any sense. It was simply a list sorting information in the public global lock log. It did not out anyone nor accuse anyone of misbehavior. It simple looked at what stewards were actually doing.

Wiki theory is that the community can watch and act to correct abusive administration. That was an idea that was never given teeth on WMF wikis.

I was told that if I appealed the action, I’d be blocked. I pointed to it on the meta community discussion page. Nobody cared. And that’s how the wikis go south. Nobody cares enough to look at how they are being administered. And if someone pointed out a problem in the steward re-election process, I saw them threatened with blocks. The system is corrupt, and it’s obvious, and this could be expected to happen, given the structures that were set up. The system could be fixed, but only if the community wakes up, and it would much rather sleep, usually. Unless someone attacks their porn.

(That’s a hilarious story, where Jimbo Wales used his Founder tools to start deleting porn from Commons. Using Founder tools to interfere with Wikiversity academic freedom had caused a meta Request for Comment to be opened, but it had little participation and the vote was running something like “Stop Wales”:”Close Wikiversity”, 1:2.

When Wales then used his tools on Commons, to delete porn, the vote reversed dramatically, with high participation, and Wales caved and surrendered the most intrusive tools, and kept only oversight, because the tool is primitive and the abilities to see oversighted edits (he considered essential, and I agree), and to hide edits, could not be separated.)

There is a substantial segment of the WMF community, and even more the administrative community, that hates academic freedom. It’s long-term obvious.

Meanwhile, Office bans are generally implemented with WMFOffice and what is linked there is the global account log, showing almost 3800 actions. Now, many of those actions are on socks. There is one action for Abd. No socks. (But I had a few declared socks, and a few more undeclared that would be very difficult to find now, I never socked abusively.) I see 26 actions with the tag “WMF global ban.” I see 2923 changes with “banned user” in the summary, which would be sock locks. For example, there was a long-term Wikipedia critic, Thekohser, Jimbo had attempted to ban him and failed, and he was eventually office-banned. I know Greg Kohs, and his offense was being a paid editor, as well as pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. While paid editing does violate the TOS, if not disclosed, it certainly did not require an office action, because “paid editing” is a neutrality and content issue, not a safety issue. I see 9 actions for names including “kohs”.  When office-banned, he clearly created some socks, they are obvious from the names. (Socks named like that, if actually the person named, are not truly disruptive, and not a safety issue. Unless they are impersonations.)

It is possible that the global ban was based on his off-wiki activities, but this is remarkable: if someone is actually harassing users off-wiki, will globally banning the person actually protect the alleged victim? No, it would only prevent on-wiki harassment. More likely, it could sufficiently piss off the banned user enough to cause them to increase the harassment.

It is possible that the threat of a global ban could cause a user to refrain from “off-wiki harassment,” but (1) there is no warning and no definition of what is allowed and what is not (2) there is no appeal procedure, global ban decisions are “final,” and email and even legal notices sent registered are ignored. So there is no possibility of a negotiated settlement that could include removal of alleged off-wiki harassment, or correction of it.

This is done, as it is done, because it seems easy, not because it is effective. Greg Kohs easily could continue his work as a paid editor. I have been a paid Wikipedia editor, at $50 per hour, after I was banned there. This did not violate any policy, because I did not edit anything related to what I was paid to do. (or much of anything at all, I documented what I did on Wikiversity, it was deleted by the admin who blocked me there. But here it is.

I created wikitext for sourcing an article for a business, as one example. As another, I advised a blocked notable person how they could be unblocked, and provided wikitext to the person, who put it on their user talk page and was very predictably unblocked.

Greg Kohs, globally banned, has no incentive at all to refrain from actual paid editing, which is more efficient from the customer point of view. He will simply create hidden accounts. With the first issued global ban (decided by the community), I argued that applying a global ban would actually make the wikis less safe from the user, not more safe, because he was only editing one wiki at that point (Wikiversity), doing good work there, and this would provide a steady flow of IP information for checkusers to look at in case he tried to edit other WMF wikis. The practical argument was ignored in favor of punishment, which was the obvious real purpose. This guy had embarrassed some bureaucrats and others.

So, the predictable result: He did create a sock account, and became a Wikiversity administrator (this is easy to do on the wikis if one has a little patience and knows how the wikis operate), and was nominated for bureaucrat, and was about to be approved, when someone, somehow, figured out who he was and outed him. This, by the way, was real-life outing, and he’d been harassed at work by wiki enemies, who were not sanctioned at all for it. For all I know, he might have done it again. Ham-handed administration fails, easily, it can create endless work that creates no improvement of the projects.

Russavia was office-banned, and that was very unpopular on Commons. I don’t know if he is still doing it, but he might as well have been following “a sock a day keeps the blues away.” He continued his very popular work, only now the Office was spending paid time watching for socks. A Wikiversity checkuser took it on as a personal task to enforce the ban, and ran into massive disapproval and the ultimate followup from that was that he lost his tools, and was, in fact, eventually Office-banned himself. (INeverCry).

The WMF is not terribly sophisticated. The original idea (content and user behavior issues left to the community) was far better than what they eventually fell into. Instead of working to support more efficient and effective community consensus process, including procedures for privacy protection, and continuing to leave content and user decisions to the community, they went in the direction of direct control, which, they will find, I predict, opens up many legal cans of worms. Direct control with no appeal is toxic, but because it only affects a few users, there is little protest. After all, “I didn’t like that editor anyway.” And that is how societies devolve into tyrannies. “They came for the Jews and I wasn’t a Jew ….” is famous. 

As Lomax has a history of doxxing people and libel suits, you should probably remove mention of the real life names that he mentions without proof of owning the SKB account.

That’s up to the blog owner. However, I have no history of libel suits. I have never sued for libel or been sued for it. I have called a spade a spade on the blog. The argument would apply even more to mention of XXX, who was completely innocent, there are no credible assertions as to his identity except for obvious trolls (or someone repeating what a troll has written elsewhere, same problem, really.) However, I’m a real person, widely known, and the comments were attributed to me. If the blog owner allows open comment, then I would be responsible, not him. There is a procedure for takedown notices. It does not involve trusting anonymous users.

What the Smith brothers do is to attack others, real persons, generally by real name, while hiding behind their own anonymity. In this case, I have definitive evidence, strong enough to place before a jury if needed, that SFB was Darryl L. Smith, which then completely exonerates XXX. I have an obligation to communicate that knowledge. If I’m wrong, well, correction is always possible in comments here or there, but correction from anonymous users, replete with lies and claims of lying is not adequate. I will look at any evidence presented. What I have seen, instead, is actual and real-life harassment, obvious, and some of it legally actionable.

He has a vendetta to spread misinformation.

No actual misinformation has been pointed to, only conclusions that they claim are unproven. The cries of “lies” started when I first started simply listing AP socks, based on clear evidence and checkuser findings and Wikipedia decisions (which can certainly be in error, but they are still evidence). It was called “lies,” but when I asked for specific corrections, the requests were ignored.

I’m a journalist. My job is collecting and organizing and presenting information. If any of it is misinformation, that’s a career disaster! But everyone makes mistakes, so what a journalist will do is to invite and allow correction (or even alleged correction.) So they imagine that I hate them and that’s why I’m doing this. No, I’m simply telling the truth about what I have seen, and, in addition, what I have concluded. What I have seen is evidence, and my testimony regarding it is also evidence. My conclusions are not evidence, except if I am accepted as an expert by whomever is making decisions.

(Common law principle, and often statutory as well: Testimony is presumed true unless controverted. Testimony in that case is never anonymous, nor could controversion be anonymous. There must be a real person behind it. Anonymous testimony can be presented in court only with the consent of a judge, who will know who is behind it, and, generally, counsel for the parties will know. It is disliked and there would need to be a strong reason. Juries and judges want to see the person when they testify.)

There is not a shred of proof a group of brothers own the SKB account. He will no doubt turn up here and write thousands and thousands of words about it and try and mislead readers with false flags. He has been banned from practically every blog, forum and wiki on the internet in relation to these matters. Don’t fall for it.

They repeat that over and over. I have participated in hundreds of forums and wikis, and have been banned from few, and as to recent bans, mostly connected with the Smith brothers or the faction that one of them works for. Notice that “every” is a very strong claim. The evidence is? I am most active, in recent years, besides on my own blog, on Quora. Not banned there. Over four million page views and 1900 followers. Oliver D. Smith has a Quora account (they require real names and are totally intolerant of incivility). He’s behaved himself there, so far, and he has  9600 page views and 14 followers. I knew that his email address was authentic when he wrote me because he has published that address in a number of places, and the photo on Quora matches others.

I had activity on over a hundred WMF wikis, significant activity on 10. I had, when banned, over 36,000 global edits. I was not shy about getting involved with controversial topics. I confronted abuse, especially administrative abuse, and often successfully. I resolved and prevented disputes from boiling over, at leaswt

Anyone who is a whistle-blower will see blowback, it goes with the territory. I was banned only on one wiki, the English Wikipedia, and that’s a long story by itself. I’m proud of what I accomplished there, but abandoned the project (I was no longer editing at all when actually banned). I was not banned on any other wiki. I was, at the end, blocked only on Wikiversity, by the unilateral action of a single administrator (Umbrecht) and there was no community consensus for ban (and Wikiversity policy required such a consensus even to maintain a block, though what I saw was that, increasingly, the policy was dead and admins could do whatever they pleased. So I had also almost entirely abandoned Wikiversity editing and only became involved to protect a user who had been impersonated and attacked, and to defend the academic freedom of Wikiversity. I knew it was dangerous, and also that the effort could fail, precisely because of what happened. I can provide links as evidence for all the factual assertions here, but this is already getting way too long.

The faction that has supported the Smith brothers (possibly not realizing what they are doing) hates academic freedom, and also neutrality policy. They are occasionally explicit about this. They had long attacked Wikiversity, and, previously, were unsuccessful, often due to my intervention. However, where I really failed was in not inspiring the community to create protective processes and to build in watchdog roles. The software actually allows it, but the user functions are generally not enabled. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

There are something like 800 WMF wikis. I am not banned on those wikis, except for one, enwiki. Rather, my account is globally locked and a ban was declared by the WMF. At one time, local wikis had discretion to ignore global bans, any local bureaucrat could detach an account. That changed, the ability of local admins to bypass a global ban was taken away with the establishment of Single User Log-in, and I pointed that out. Basically, nobody cared. What was a reality, though difficult to maintain, was destroyed with hardly a notice. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. If we don’t protect it, it walks away — or is stolen.

There is a Wikipedia list of 100 notable wikis. As wikis define bans, I am banned on only one: the English Wikipedia. I am blocked on two more: Wikiversity and Rationalwiki. That’s it. In addition to those wikis, I have accounts on about 12 of those notable wikis, not blocked. (|This includes a few WMF wikis where there was no block).

Wikiindex lists something over 2,100 wikis. I’m only banned through normal process on one (many years ago) blocked on two more, (Wikiversity and RationalWiki) and then globally locked by the WikiMedia Foundation Office. That’s definitely not the same as being banned on many wikis,which would require, one would think, misbehavior on many wikis. Or at least wiki administration that thinks so.

In addition, I have participated in many fora over the years, going back to the W.E.L.L. in the 1980s,where I was a moderator. I am banned on lenr-forum.com, that’s the only one. This latter is a bit ironic. I am not banned on e-catworld.com, where I am very well known as a critic of the claims of Andrea Rossi, “inventor” of the “e-cat,” allegedly a “cold fusion” device, but am banned on lenr-forum, where I was, at the time of the ban, probably the most popular user. How did that happen? It’s the same old same old, I pointed out that a moderator was deleting posts with no notice or warning and without providing any way to recover the content, and declared that I was not going to post there unless this was addressed, because unexpected deletion is a problem for a serious writer. So I was banned. With no explanation, and protests from the community were ignored. This happens all over. My position is that the site owner has the right to do whatever the F he or she pleases, though there can be some moral issues.

The Smith brothers lie about me as they have lied about many people. One difference is that I use the lies to expose them, to fight lying, not with yelling and blame, but simply with the truth. They clearly hate that.

Their support has been evaporating, that can be seen in the Skeptic from Britain sequence, if one knows where to look, and on RationalWiki, where users have been getting tired of being used as a platform for personal vendettas, weaponizing Google (i.e., what they accuse me of, but what they have been doing for many years, long before I was involved.)

Update

Darryl L. Smith had been, as far as I could see, inactive on RationalWiki since May. (Though his brother was active). In hindsight, I can see that he turned his focus to Wikipedia, as Skeptic from Britain. Now that Skeptic from Britain is out of the picture, I was watching to see signs of him on RationalWiki. Today, I found them (I only check periodically, it is like inspecting a sewer. Tough job, but someone has to do it.)

John66. Registered 19:52, 22 November 2018. Apparently, Skeptic from Britain was preparing to shut down Wikipedia activity. Articles edited or created (N): (updated 11/10/2019)

Warning: the common RationalWiki user is a so-called “rational skeptic,” and may edit with a showing of views similar to Darryl L. Smith. That, in itself, is not evidence of being this highly disruptive troll/sock master. I do not recommend that people not familiar with RationalWiki attempt to attack the articles or users, on-wiki or even off. AP socks use this and will even create sock puppets that will repeat the arguments. If a critic allows their real identity to be revealed, they will up the game with real-world harassment, I have seen all this reviewing history, but particularly in the last year, when I became involved. If anyone wants to consider action, please create an email connection with me. Leaving an anonymous comment here with a real email address, requesting an email, will do that. Trolls will be sprinkled with parmesan cheese and broiled.

I am careful about identifying socks, and maintain a distinction between mere suspicion (usually based on point of view and interest in specific topics) and stronger evidence. When I was merely pointing to obvious suspicion, from WikiMedia Foundation checkuser reports about impersonation socking to defame, I was warned and threatened, which was a clue to me that I was touching a nerve, that this was bigger than some transient tomfoolery. This was amply confirmed!

I have already seen enough to be quite sure that “John66” is “Skeptic from Britain” and that they are both Darryl L. Smith. I will be looking at further evidence that takes some time to examine. I have already used this kind of evidence to clarify the original identification of SfB, and to confirm my opinion that Bongolian (the RW sysop who has no given John66 sysop privileges) is not the same user.

Something like 1% of registered RationalWiki users may be Smith brothers. That’s quite a large number, but it is normally only a very few at a time, but continued over the years. Most of the socks, as with most AP socks on Wikipedia, only show a few edits. Here is an example that turned up from looking at John66, from history for Courtney_Brown:

Brian_Gene_Kelley, only three edits in 2013, two on that article, one on Rome Viharo, a red flag.

I have edit timing studies of other DLS socks in 2013, I will see how this fits. The behavioral pattern is quite common and not usual, ordinary new user behavior: the user appears immediately creating entire articles, on a narrow range of topics. That is very popular on RationalWiki, and someone who does this in line with the site point-of-view will quickly be given sysop privileges, I’ve seen it over and over again for Smith socks. They know how to do it.

These are anonymous trolls who hide their identity in order to attack real people. I did not get involved because I agreed with their targets, but because they used lies, deception, and impersonations to attack others, which harms everyone. For blowing the whistle, I was threatened and attacked, in many ways. It’s just history.

In my training, “If they are not shooting at you, you are not doing anything worth wasting bullets on.”

The focus of Darryl on “diet woo” is recent, but reasonably consistent. After spending the day looking at the data, my confidence has increased.

  • This is not a vegan plot, nor is it funded by big pharma. This is Darryl L. Smith pandering to where his bread is buttered, the “skeptical” movement, debunkers, aligned with the Amazing Randi and friends. A much milder incarnation of this movement is Tim Farley., whose connection with Darryl Smith has been claimed but is not clear, and if there has been a connection, that Farley knows what Darryl does is even more unclear. Tim Farley’s web site is a collection of anecdotes where people believed in or were deluded by or defrauded by this or that “woo,” and died or suffered losses of some kind. No comparison is made with following “conventional wisdom,” or the “standard of practice” which can also be fatal. The skeptical movement, unfortunately, does not actually educate in critical thinking, the real thing, but rather the site is utterly unscientific, even though many of the ideas covered are often thoroughly wiggy. It is obvious that defective ideas and thinking can kill us, including the ideas that if I do whatever a doctor tells me, I’m safe, and if my doctor follows the standard of practice uncritically, he’s a skilled physician and I should trust him. The standard of practice is not necessarily and truly “evidence-based.” There is science behind much of it, but  not all of it, and the exceptions can be killers.
  • The Malcolm Kendrick article was not deleted because of Skeptic from Britain’s arguments. His claims of “quackery” and the like were irrelevant. The issue was the normal one for biographies that are deleted: a lack of reliable secondary sources. This has almost nothing to do with how well known Kendrick is in certain circles. His popularity has not yet resulted in adequate secondary sources about him. It will, I predict, and then the article could be re-created. That process will be faster if it is not recreated out-of-process, and if unskilled attempts are not made.
  • There are certain people allied with the skeptical movement and Wikipedia faction who use impersonation and other highly unethical (and sometimes illegal) tactics to promote the movement. These do not use critical thinking, they use and promote knee-jerk response to dog whistles. “Critical thinking”, properly understood, looks at balance and does not uncritically accept the mainstream, it only uses reactive thinking to identify what is “wrong” with fringe ideas.
  • Skeptic from Britain is the same user as Debunking spiritualism, Goblin Face and many identified socks, and most recently John66. (The objective evidence on the last account is weaker, because there are not yet as many edits overlapping in time, but there are enough to show consistency, and the duck test — which could be documented — is strong. Skeptic from Britain lied about his intentions, and lied in order to use his alleged departure from Wikipedia to attack an innocent user who had criticized him. That is a classic Darryl Smith behavior. Research is continuing on the set of socks, but overlap of DS and SfB is clear. It takes time to do edit correlation studies. I’m learning, so it gets easier.
  • Wikipedia is vulnerable to factional manipulation. This is not a simple problem, given the Wikipedia systems and structures that developed and became highly resistant to reform. The problem is not the policies (which can seem counter-intuitive to those who don’t understand them). The problem is enforcement of the policies, and this problem is as old as Wikipedia. Solutions are possible but the will to implement them has never existed.

One final point.

Historically, Darryl Smith and his twin brother Oliver were confused on Wikipedia, and defacto-banned under the user name Anglo Pyramidologist. The identification of Oliver D. Smith is definitive. The real Oliver Smith has many times admitted his identity. He has a known public email account, and I and others have received email from that account, responded, and he responded back. This rises to the level of proof. However, he also lied in those mails, changing his story radically as conditions changed. On Wikipedia, they did not care which brother was which account, and the accounts were linked because (according to one of them) they were both visiting their parents when editing Wikipedia. That story was consider the usual “evil twin” excuse and was ignored, but behaviorally, there was always the appearance of two users, with distinct interests and habits.

The existence of a twin brother (probably) was established from a public record for the family, showing the two brothers the same age. Oliver D. Smith has shown a strong interest in Atlantis, and wrote a paper on the topic accepted at a peer-reviewed journal. This interest has all contributed to his positive identification. However, positive identification for Darryl L. Smith, the twin, is not so easily available. Most of my opinion on this is from comments made by Oliver, who, when Darryl was outed, defended his “brother” or his “family.” (And in the emails, he, attempting to deflect blame from himself, he claimed that most of the socking had been his brother. From what I’m seeing, that was a gross exaggeration, as to certain kinds of socking.) It is Darryl, with his interest in debunking the paranormal or fringe, who created impersonation accounts and later, when I documented this, organized a quite visible campaign to privately arrange my global ban on Wikipedia.

There is another brother, older. I have seen no trace of this brother. However, in the cloud of confusion that has been created, it is possible that individual accounts might be incorrectly identified with one of the AP brothers. This is implausible with accounts where long-term behavior is visible.

Darryl claimed that he had other accounts in good standing on Wikipedia. That could be true, and it would simply indicate that he learned to use evasive techniques, to avoid checkuser identification, and partitioned his interests to avoid suspicion. I found one account that I suspected might be such a “good hand” account. When I did an edit timing study, my conclusion was, no, this was not Darryl. If anyone suspects other accounts that are or were active on Wikipedia, that have not already been identified, please let me know by establishing email connection. (which can be done by any comment here, and anonymity will be protected; however, don’t lie. All protections disappear for those who lie. Don’t worry, I know the difference between error and lying.)

(If someone names a plausible sock in a comment here, I will also investigate, at least briefly. I will respond as the situation warrants. Too many people have already been wrongly accused, such as the user attacked as being SfB based on the knee-jerk assumption that SfB would be telling the truth! (And then, that this user was allegedly vegan — it was false — led to claims that Malcolm Kendrick had been attacked by fanatic vegans! That’s a common Wikipedia error, when an impersonation sock says, “I’m BannedUser,” they believe him. That’s not an immediate problem because the response is to block that user, but when, then, there is retaliatory action on another wiki, based on this, harm has been done. That is what happened, and that is how I got involved. These tactics are repeated because they work, and so much for “critical thinking.”)

I have also done one major control study, Bongolian. This is an established RW user with advanced privileges . One look at his contribution history shows immediately, this is not Oliver or Darryl!!! (I have never suspected him of being anything more than an “enabler.”) The level of sophistication that would be required to create the appearance of being distinct would be phenomenal! It would be far, far too much work to be practical.

The comparison between Bongolian and Skeptic from Britain shows that these users are independent, with a very high level of certainty, and it anecdotally confirms the methods I am using.

List of comment socks and timeline

(and possible “meat puppets — if one carelessly repeats as if fact what is from a puppet master, one risks being called a “meat puppet,” one of those charming Wikipedian terms.) (MK is Kendrick’s blog, FH, Naughton’s)

    • MK Stephen Rhodes December 4, 2018 at 5:12 pm provided misleading information, not “first post by [SfB]”, but an essay by JzG, a factional admin. There is a post here about the source of that phrase, “Lunatic Charlatans.”
    • MK Stephen Rhodes  December 4, 2018 at 5:17 pm points to User page for SfB, edit of March 7, 2018. SfB added a userbox created by JzG. This was a notice of factional affiliation, nothing more (or less). That is linked from 59 pages. 
    • FH james    (deleted) Fathead blog appearance of false claim of identity for SfB. No evidence was given.
    • FH Wikipedia editor December 14, 2018 at 9:59 pm
    • MK Stephen Rhodes December 15, 2018 at 7:52 pm repeats the false claim from james.
    • MK Alex Davis  December 18, 2018 at 2:52 pm
    • December 14, 2018 MrStrong (Oliver Smith) hints, to Michaeldsuarez, that Skeptic from Britain is his brother (Darryl), then effectively admits it.
    • December 15, 2018, Skeptic from Britain has his name changed to MatthewManchester1994. He had previously claimed to be from Manchester. This was very likely a lie. He also claimed an interest in biology, and one of his former sock names was Skeptical biologist.
    • December 17, 2018 MrStrong claims Rome Viharo is Skeptic from Britain .
    • December 19, 2019 MrStrong claims I (Abd) am Skeptic from Britain (MatthewManchester1994) (and a host of other accounts well-known to be him or his brother.)
    • (Setting aside Michaeldsuarez — to whom Oliver admitted SfB identity — Rome Viharo and I would be the most likely people on the planet to recognize the work of Darryl Smith.)
    • FH Low-Carb Man  December 19, 2018 at 4:57 pm (that name blocked on Wikipedia as sock of Amanda ZZ, all very suspicious. Repeats the story of “XXX” being Skeptic from Britain, ascribing cause to “outing”. In fact, that alleged outing was almost certainly Skeptic from Britain planting a red herring to cause disruption. Darryl does that. Oliver might do it too.
    • December 20, 2018 MrStrong threatens to expose me to the people upset with Skeptic from Britain, on my user talk page, guaranteeing it would get my attention. So I investigated and published this page, December 21, 2018. I did not know about the conversation with Michaeldsuarez until more recently. All is not well between the brothers, if Oliver was not simply lying again. His story about RationalWiki , told to Suarez, checks out, and he predicted the articles appearing there (under John66).
    • December 20, 2018, MatthewManchester1994 puts up “farewell,” claims real-name outing (which would validate it, if it had happened, SfB was obviously an experienced user and would realize that announcing that you have been outed is inviting everyone to look for it and believe it), and then changes his name again.
    • MK Wikipedia Astronomer  repeats standard Smith story about me.

Jimbo Wales commented on Skeptic from Britain in a !vote on a deletion request SfB had submitted. My emphasis:

Strong keep – As others have noted, WP:IDONTLIKEIT is not a valid reason for deletion. It is worth noting that the proposer is a serial namechanger and POV pusher who has now apparently left the project. A quick research of the film reveals that in addition to the sources that User:Strikerforce rightly says are enough to ‘barely’ pass notability, I found an article at Motley Fool and this one at Vulture. It is not a major film to be sure, but there seems to be no reason for deletion other than the POV pushing of the proposer. In the original deletion way back in 2009, the proposer wrote, correctly “This movie may eventually garner enough coverage to warrant an article here, but as wikipedia is not a crystal ball, it’s a too early for an article now.” I would suggest that it is no longer too early. [Addendum: this review is now beyind a paywall. It is from BoxOffice (magazine), a clearly reliable source.]–Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:54, 21 December 2018 (UTC)

Wales probably is not aware that this “POV pusher” has long been blocked, he is a sock of Goblin Face, who is one of the Anglo Pyramidologist brothers, most sock investigations are under the latter name. When he “retired” from Wikipedia, he took up on RationalWiki with the same agenda.

Wales also is unlikely to realize that this activist is affiliated with a faction, and claimed to have been paid to edit Wikipedia by a “major skeptical organization.” If Skeptic from Britain was such a major POV-pusher, why had he escaped notice? In fact, his POV fits in with that of a faction I confronted long ago. They are “debunkers,” and have strong opinions, they have explicitly rejected Neutral Point of View, but advocate what they have called “Scientific Point of View,” but that is an oxymoron.

Wikipedia on cold fusion patents

This is a subpage of jcmns/v13/p118, a review of an article by David French on Patents and Cold Fusion

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cold_fusion&oldid=852432636#Patents

Patents

Although details have not surfaced, it appears that the University of Utah forced the 23 March 1989 Fleischmann and Pons announcement to establish priority over the discovery and its patents before the joint publication with Jones.[30] The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced on 12 April 1989 that it had applied for its own patents based on theoretical work of one of its researchers, Peter L. Hagelstein, who had been sending papers to journals from the 5 to 12 April.[174] On 2 December 1993 the University of Utah licensed all its cold fusion patents to ENECO, a new company created to profit from cold fusion discoveries,[175] and in March 1998 it said that it would no longer defend its patents.[75]

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) now rejects patents claiming cold fusion.[88] Esther Kepplinger, the deputy commissioner of patents in 2004, said that this was done using the same argument as with perpetual motion machines: that they do not work.[88]

It’s a problem when Wikipedia alleges a current state of affairs with “now,” especially based on an old source. Reference 18 is to this article, from 2004. From that article, this:

… The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has refused to grant a patent on any invention claiming cold fusion. According to Esther Kepplinger, the deputy commissioner of patents, this is for the same reason it wouldn’t give one for a perpetual motion machine: It doesn’t work.

This is popular language, not a legal position. Perpetual motion machines violate a strongly-held understanding of thermodynamics, so any claim of one is going to be met with skepticism, and if skepticism is broad and wide on a particular class of inventions, and if the USPTO notices this, and if an invention actually claims what is considered impossible (that is not the same as actually being impossible), it will require proof of utility and enablement. 

These problems, Hagelstein and McKubre argue, are all tied to the 1989 DOE review. While the report’s language was measured, pointing out the lack of experimental evidence, “it was absolutely the intention of most of the framers of that document to kill cold fusion,” McKubre says.

McKubre was probably correct about that intention, though the document itself was modified to avoid that, in theory (it actually recommended research). However, the intention, whatever it was, is irrelevant to the patent situation. What is the problem is a widespread belief that cold fusion experiments are not reliably reproducible, or not reliably reproduced from a specific protocol, or . And that belief happens to be reasonable, it’s also understood by many LENR researchers, and that bears directly on patentability.

Not all real effects are patentable. They must actually be useful, and not merely potentially useful at some point in the future, but in the present. The enabling description in the patent must be adequate to generate practical results, of practical utility, when implemented by a Person Having Ordinary Skill In The Art (PHOSITA), and not only that, the patent and evidence shown to the USPTO must be such as to convince such persons that the invention will work. (or at least is likely to work!)

There came to be, after that rushed 1989 report, plenty of experimental evidence that there was a real effect, and even that the effect was nuclear in nature. (Some of that evidence shows the reality without requiring reliability, through correlation; specifically, the effect is difficult to set up, but when it does occur, there are reliable correlates.)

[. . . ] According to McKubre, the reason cold fusion experiments can’t be reproduced on demand is a materials issue: It’s a matter of developing a form of palladium, or another metal, with the right mix of impurities. With help on that issue and more funding, he suggests, a small cold-fusion-powered heater or generator could be ready in as little as two years.

And that’s the rub. That “issue” is still unresolved. If it were resolved, the suggested possibility is not unreasonable. With such a material to specify, if it were creating reliable heat and if this heat were adequate for practical use, not merely measurable experimentally — which would be enough for science — then such a generator could be patented. Until then, once the substantial doubt has been raised, clear evidence is required to rebut the skepticism.

This is often considered unfair, because most patents don’t need to provide that kind of proof. However, the courts have again and again supported this position, and I have to agree that it is sensible. There are ways for inventors to proceed, if they actually have found a way to make a practical device.

Patent applications are required to show that the invention is “useful”, and this utility is dependent on the invention’s ability to function.[176] In general USPTO rejections on the sole grounds of the invention’s being “inoperative” are rare, since such rejections need to demonstrate “proof of total incapacity”,[176] and cases where those rejections are upheld in a Federal Court are even rarer: nevertheless, in 2000, a rejection of a cold fusion patent was appealed in a Federal Court and it was upheld, in part on the grounds that the inventor was unable to establish the utility of the invention.[176][notes 5]

Yes. (This is much better than what the article used to have on this topic, by the way.) Note 176 refers to In re Swartz, called “Swartz I” in the 2018 Swartz v. PATO rejection.

A U.S. patent might still be granted when given a different name to disassociate it from cold fusion,[177] though this strategy has had little success in the US: the same claims that need to be patented can identify it with cold fusion, and most of these patents cannot avoid mentioning Fleischmann and Pons’ research due to legal constraints, thus alerting the patent reviewer that it is a cold-fusion-related patent.[177]

The issue is not the name, so much as the claim. Patents have been granted which were cold-fusion related. One of the problems is that “cold fusion” is a loose popular name for the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect, and there is a large family of such effects, more commonly called Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, and that the “reactions” are nuclear in nature is a matter of theory, and only in a few instances, strong and direct evidence. Mostly what is seen is anomalous heat. “Little success in the US” is a bit misleading. Looking up the source, this was Voss, in Science, 1999, ‘New Physics’ Finds a Haven at the Patent Office and I doubt he understood the real situation (he seems to think that fringe science should not be patentable). Few cold fusion related patents had been granted by 1999, and there are fast-approval exceptions, for example for the age of the inventor. There are more, now. I don’t have the article (paywall). There was a sidebar, though, referring to Thomas Valone case. A Free Energy Enthusiast Seeks Like-Minded Colleagues. Valone won an arbitration with the USPTO. 

David Voss said in 1999 that some patents that closely resemble cold fusion processes, and that use materials used in cold fusion, have been granted by the USPTO.[178] The inventor of three such patents had his applications initially rejected when they were reviewed by experts in nuclear science; but then he rewrote the patents to focus more in the electrochemical parts so they would be reviewed instead by experts in electrochemistry, who approved them.[178][179]

Note 178 refers to Voss and gives the three patents:

US 5,616,219  US 5,628,886  US 5,672,259 are broken links. These work:  US5616219 US5628886 US5672259 .  These are Patterson patents. My understanding is that these were issued under a fast-track rule for inventors over 70 years old. So these have nothing to do with normal Patent Office practice.

Note 178 refers to a Law Review article, which I found of high interest. 2006 Wis. L. Rev. 1275 (2006) They cite an Internet Archive copy, this is the original publication: A Case Study of Inoperable Inventions: Why is the USPTO Patenting Pseudoscience, Daniel Rislove. Rislove covers the patenting of inoperable inventions, recognizes the difficulties involved, but seems to think that nevertheless the USPTO should protect the public by not issuing patents to “pseudoscientific” inventions. However, the mission of the Patent Office is not to protect the public, but to benefit inventors. The problem is that the issuance of a patent can appear to support an inventor’s claim of legitimacy, in some cases. The problem is actually public ignorance and the ability of some inventors to deceive the public or investors as to the utility of their inventions, by the fact of a patent. Rislove seems to believe that that problem is insoluble, therefore the Patent Office should avoid harm to the public by taking greater care to reject inoperable inventions. But this will raise costs to inventors, and can also harm the public (he is aware that what is considered impossible might not actually be so. Perhaps an invention operates by an unknown principle, instead of what the inventor thinks. Patents are not scientific theories, and are not “pseudoscientific,” if described accurately.

The FDA is mentioned, but the mission of the FDA is to protect the public. At least in theory! There are other legal institutions that can protect the public from fraud and fakery. On the patent issue, every patent could be accompanied by a disclaimer that the patent does not guarantee operability or suitability for purpose. It could be made a form of fraud to claim that a patent shows these things.

When asked about the resemblance to cold fusion, the patent holder said that it used nuclear processes involving “new nuclear physics” unrelated to cold fusion.[178]

The quoted phrase is not found in source 178. Rislove does cite Voss so maybe the Wikipedia editor was confused. However, that would be a generic argument. “New nuclear physics” is not inherently incredible. “Cold fusion” conjures up a specific idea that is probably impossible under the relevant conditions. But there can always be new physics, including new nuclear physics. It’s merely unlikely, and until and unless the new physics is confirmed, the USPTO may have a basis for challenging it. But it is not clear to me that this right is actually useful for the purposes of patent law. Such rejections, as Rislove points out, are rare, but plenty of garbage is patented.

Melvin Miles was granted in 2004 a patent for a cold fusion device, and in 2007 he described his efforts to remove all instances of “cold fusion” from the patent description to avoid having it rejected outright.[180]

The source is an article, Cold fusion is back at the American Chemical Society It quotes Miles:

Miles is also careful to avoid using the words ‘cold fusion’. “There are code names you can use,” he says. In 2004 Miles and colleagues were granted a US patent for a palladium material doped with boron for use in low-energy nuclear reactions, but if the patent application contained the CF words it would never have been granted, Miles says. “We kind of disguised what we did.”

The Wikipedia link for the patent is dead. US6764561B1 Remarkably, though, the patent does cover the use of his material for generating energy. My emphasis:

The present invention generally relates to processes for the production of a high-strength alloy that may be used as a gas purification membrane, as an electrode for numerous applications including the generation of heat energy or other electrochemical processes, and more particularly to the preparation and use of two-phase palladium-boron alloys which have greater strength and hardness than other palladium metals or alloys and which thus can be advantageously utilized in a variety of applications including hydrogen purification membranes or electrodes.

And then in the Background, again my emphasis:

. . . the demand for energy increases each year while the world’s natural energy sources such as fossil fuels are finite and are being used up. Accordingly, the development of alternative energy sources is very important and a number of potential new energy sources are under study. Although there have been many attempts to develop a palladium compound which can be utilized in processes to generate heat, such as through the introduction of aqueous deuterium, none of these attempts have been successful or repeatable, and there is thus a distinct need to develop palladium alloys which can be utilized for the generation of heat as a potential energy source.

So he is claiming a possible use, but not standing the patent on “nuclear reactions,” even though he is obviously talking about what is known as “cold fusion.” He is centrally claiming an alloy with multiple uses. It is not “incredible” that an alloy can be made. The utility of such an alloy might be claimed, but this is where the burden of proof would be on the USPTO, to show that it is not useful.

At least one patent related to cold fusion has been granted by the European Patent Office.[181]

The Davis patent I have cited elsewhere, which is a US patent which clearly cited Fleischmann and Pons, also cites this patent, EP0568118, “Process for storing hydrogen, and apparatus for cold nuclear fusion and method for generating heat energy, using the process.” application 1990, granted to Canon in 1993.

There are other European patents, for sure, but Wikipedia can only cite what is in reliable secondary sources, and the source here was a 1994 article in New Scientist.

A patent only legally prevents others from using or benefiting from one’s invention. However, the general public perceives a patent as a stamp of approval, and a holder of three cold fusion patents said the patents were very valuable and had helped in getting investments.[178]

Yes. Patents are not stamps of approval. Period. You want approval, for safety, go to Underwriter’s Laboratories. For drugs, go to the Food and Drug Administration (in the U.S). For investment in cold fusion inventions, scream and run in the opposite direction unless you have experts with you. Even scientists have been fooled by “demonstrations.”

What is required for validation is verification by independent experts, in circumstances under the control of those experts. For an investor, the most important word in this is “independent.” Cold fusion is not impossible, we know that, because of controlled experiment, multiply confirmed. (But the word “fusion” could still be misleading.) As it stands, a lot of very smart people have worked for decades to create reliable devices and they have failed. So a reliable cold fusion device is quite unexpected. The US Patent Office, rightly or wrongly, wants to see proof of utility and enablement, and if you actually have such a device, proving it should not be all that difficult. Unless you want to keep secrets, or don’t actually have something reliable, then it could be impossible.

Yes, Virgina, there is a cabal

A link to this was posted here, and I didn’t see it until recently. By itself, this is only a rant of a disturbed fanatic skeptic, who is known to lie, but there are breadcrumbs, pieces that fit together over time, and this comment caused the picture to pop into view. I wrote in 2009, there is a cabal, presented evidence of de-facto coordinated editing on Wikipedia, by a faction. I did not claim that this violated policy, in itself, but the effect was a warping of Wikipedia process, and I wanted ArbComm to look at that. Unfortunately, ArbComm was infected by the cabal or the cabal point of view.

The cabal uses attack dogs to create a cloud of confusion that allows others to intervene to “prevent disruption,” blaming the target and the dogs, and the dogs don’t care, because there is an endless supply of dogs, a dog can be created from any non-blocked IP.


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From later research and evidence, this was Darryl L. Smith. The story matches information from his twin brother, Oliver D. Smith.

Wikipedia activity and impersonation

This is a red flag waving with “Oliver Smith” embroidered on it. Last edit 18:04, 17 April 2018 implied retirement previous edit.
confirmation on RationalWiki:
Agent47 is an acknowledged Oliver D. Smith sock. addition dated 21:46, 17 April 2018 (next edit retired) Next Oliver D. Smith sock would be Aeschylus.
The article has unfit sources. Someone complained.
Reverted with “(Open Proxy IP and unconstructive drive by tagging Undid revision 838983183 by 162.210.197.59 (talk))* The revert was little more than an hour later, indicating someone watching the article, likely the creator. The tagging was obviously legitimate, as is shown later. The reversion was by mobile phone IP known to have been used by the Smith brothers, it is likely that this is Oliver.
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rightpedia&diff=838995174 IP Telephonica O2 mobile phone network likely used by Oliver before, supporting his brother on Wikiversity and meta and on Wikipedia.
tags restored:
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rightpedia&diff=839071675 (proxy server). “(Undid revision 838995174 by 82.132.217.247 (talk) no unconstructive: article uses primary sources und forum posts)”)
Apparent impersonators began to blank the article with multiple accounts:
129.21.234.92(Undid revision 839153038 by Money emoji (talk) I am Eleonora, the owner of Rightpedia. This article was written by a known anti-fascist Oliver Smith and his friend Nick Lowles from Hope Not Hate. Please remove.)” IP is a Tor exit node. Block notice says it is being used by two accounts to make the same edits. A user openly declaring real identity would not use a Tor node. This … and the two accounts … is an impersonator, and AP socks have long done this.
It is highly unlikely that “Nick Lowles” has anything to do with this. The article was written by Oliver D. Smith. There is a small possibility that the Tor IP is Oliver’s brother Darryl, known to use impersonation socking.
 this kind of imitation offensive point of view is common with impersonation socks. Sometimes they actually copy text written by the target, but then add twists, such as threats or spamming the original text, obviously seeking to be identified as the target and blocked as such. Then, in articles (commonly on RationalWiki) they point to all these socks as proof of how disruptive their targets are. And it works, there, and it has also worked on Wikipedia. This can be seen in the comments on the ANI report
Doug Weller:
Rightpedia owner and Admins being disruptive

Three accounts were registered today, Rightpedia 1488 (talk · contribs), Eleonóra Dubiczki 1488 (talk · contribs) who identifies as Rightpedia’s owner, and Wyatt from Rightpedia (talk · contribs). I can confirm that they are all editing from the same IP address and probably the same machine, although as it’s a university address I’m not sure. No surprise, they are being disruptive. Wyatt’s only edited once[232] to add racist nonsense to an article on a fish. User:Maunus has been told “We will be covering other left-wing Wikipedia users and those such as yourself who deny race. Our admins Mikemikev and Wyatt will be writing them all. [[User:Eleonora Goldmann” who also “Created page with ‘https://en.rightpedia.info/w/Wikipedia Wikipedia is a Communist-controlled website.” They’ve been editing Rightpedia and Metapedia to delete material about Rightpedia. Obviously I could block them, but I’ve got a WMF call in a minute and in any case the community might want to handle this. Doug Weller talk 16:59, 1 May 2018 (UTC)

So Weller is using off-wiki evidence for part of this, but ignoring the RationalWiki evidence. The threat to Maunus is classic impersonation socking.  Those edits were hidden, as was the “Communist-controlled edit,” which was to Talk:Rightpedia.

I understand Wyatt is American, while Eleonora is in Hungary, so the real Wyatt and Eleonora wouldn’t be editing from the same location, so impersonation likely occurred. Since it’s unlikely that Eleonora would impersonate Wyatt, the more likely culprit is a Smith brother. Alternatively, it appears that a Tor node was being used, and, again, users waving their supposed real-life identity would be very unlikely to use an anonymizer. I have seen many Smith socks, including impersonations, using proxy servers and sometimes Tor nodes.
The usernames were obviously chosen so that Rightpedia’s userbase would be blamed.
“::*(Non-admin comment) Only thing I want to add is that clearly there was no attempt to be subtle here. Plastering [[Fourteen Words|1488]] all over their user names shows that they wanted to be recognised and to cause as much of a stink as they could, possibly to provoke us into doing the opposite of what they appear to want. The best thing we can do is to not let it change our behaviour at all. If that article needs to be deleted then delete it. If not then don’t. That said, if it is kept then it needs a lot of work to get the sourcing up to minimum standards. –[[User:DanielRigal|DanielRigal]] ([[User talk:DanielRigal|talk]]) 18:09, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
Something about Wikipedia is filtering for obtuse. Daniel is correct, but he does not proceed to reasonably obvious conclusions. Wikipedia structure is heavily invested in dealing with vandalism, and vandals often DGAF, they are “in your face.” Long term POV pushers, however, will hide, not make it obvious who they are. A real person, displaying their real name, will not use a Tor node to broadcast it. No, the person using the Tor node wants to conceal where they are editing from.
There is an LTA — actually two brothers, as claimed in the SPI archive — who does all this. He even “outs himself,” on occasion, to cast aspersions on his targets, whom he (or his brother) impersonates. He is writing articles about these people on RationalWiki, and he recently admitted this.
Any SPA who waves a Block Me flag should be suspect as not who s/he appears to be. Yes, the account should be blocked either way, but the LTAs involved here have claimed to have active Wikipedia accounts. Occasionally, over the years, they slipped up and checkuser identified them. Checkuser should still be run, looking for sleepers or other accounts.
Through impersonation and false-flag vandalism, Oliver creates naive responses like that of Doug Weller. He has done this extensively on RationalWiki, manufacturing animosity between the RationalWiki community and his enemies, which results in the RationalWiki community keeping and guarding the hit pieces that Oliver writes.
Have Oliver’s tactics backfired?. By drawing so much attention to the article, it has been nominated for deletion. We may easily assume that he didn’t want that. Making assumptions about the Smith brothers is a dangerous business. He will  have archived the article, for starters, and he can continue to point to it on RationalWiki. He will point to the alleged “Rightpedia administrator” socks.
is snowing delete. What started this cascade is an IP tagging the article with the obvious tags. Who was that IP? There are many enemies Oliver has created. I am no fan of Rightpedia, but I will agree that it is not notable by Wikipedia standards. Oliver has been spamming RationalWiki articles all over the internet. In the impersonation sock edits, he’s promoting the idea that he is a prominent “anti-fascist.” What he is actually prominent for is trolling and harassment.
A user opened an SPI case for Eleonora Goldmann. They missed an important IP to check.
Doug Weller wrote there:
To clarify. Goldman identifies as the owner of Rightpedia. Wyatt from Rightpedia (talk · contribs) is an Admin there as is [[User:Mikemikev]], known for being so racist Metapedia kicked him off, also a prolific socker here. But on second thought, he’s not Rightpedia as the geographical location is different. Doug Weller talk 17:06, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
Again, naive. Mikemikev and Oliver Smith have a long-term feud running. He has been impersonated, and he has also socked on Wikipedia, but not extensively and recently. Weller has apparently confused a Tor exit node with an actual geolocation, but he is completely missing the obvious: any account waving a Block Me Flag together with an identifying name or edits should be suspect as an impersonator. Impersonation was confirmed by stewards in the case that got me involved investigating Anglo Pyramidologist socks. They are still at it. The “Tor node” was also identified by a steward, Wikipedia checkusers again being asleep at the switch — if the steward is right –, failing to check for the obvious obvious.
Also missing from check as very possibly related:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/NemeanOdes
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/82.132.217.247 (that provider was strongly suspected by me of being a Smith brother, and I had additional evidence. There is an open admission of involvement on WikipediaSucks by a user claiming to be the person who was editing then, claiming to be different from Oliver, but not disclaiming being the brother. And there is a massive tissue of lies that contradict each other.)
That there are two Smith brothers (“Anglo Pyramidologist”) can confuse the hell out of checkusers. Sometimes they make mistakes and edit from common IP. Mostly they keep identities separate by using open proxies or access from different locations (it is believed that they no longer live together.)
Weller claims “‘Wyatt from Rightpedia’ is an admin there.” However, what he named is a Wikipedia account and very unlikely to be Wyatt, and it is “Wyatt” who is an admin. As well, the Mikemikev Metapedia story is Oliver Smith propaganda. Has he verified it? And what does this have to do with the SPI case? Those should focus on accounts. Stewards very much dislike this kind of discussion, on their Steward requests/checkuser page. Wikipedia never figured that out and checkuser findings and “block” considerations get all mixed up.
(If an SPA creates an article and another SPA vandalizes it, it simply does not show up on Wikipedian radar as possible that they are the same. In the original impersonation case, a user, openly stating he was using a new account to conceal his identity, filed a checkuser request. When that request was going nowhere, he then created a flock of blatant, disruptive impersonation socks, which got attention and set up retaliation on Wikiversity, the original goal.
When I first filed a checkuser request on meta, a steward declined to look, pointing out that Wikipedia checkusers would surely have seen the problem. No. Obviously, they didn’t. They may have checked the filer when the original case was filed (which was actually about some relatively minor socking by his target), but not in the additional case for the impersonation socks. Again: take-home lesson, if anyone is watching. Whenever socks are Blatant Obvious and Openly Disruptive, suspect impersonation! Long-term POV-pushers or other blocked users who want to edit articles do not generally behave like this!
So then there is the Eleanora Dubiczki SPI case.  And the archive. That was apparent impersonation socking. But in the present case, Doug Weller claims:
No sleepers. I can confirm that the accounts in the earlier SPI are identical, but they locate to Prague, while these are in the US. Two of the socks there identify as the owner, one of them using the owner’s name. I can’t confirm that that lot is technically the same as this lot, but they’re clearly the same people. Eleonora Goldmann (talk · contribs) is identical to those in this SPI. So we’ve clearly got block evasion, not just meatpuppetry and probable socks. Doug Weller talk 17:49, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
Geolocation to Prague could easily be an open proxy there. Dubiczki is apparently located in Hungary. The three accounts in the present report are, no surprise, identical. The problem is that Weller assumes that “same people” is Dubiczki, not an impersonator. He seems completely unaware of of what those who have followed these issues know: there is impersonation socking, which happens to be illegal (impersonation to defame is illegal everywhere.
Completely missing in Weller’s understanding is that the creator of the Rightpedia article is a well-known LTA (“Anglo Pyramidologist,” actually the original AP account, not his brother, but his brother might support him with some impersonation socking.) The accounts for the creator and the supporting IP (that removed the tags that were proper on the article) should also be checked.
This may not be conclusive, but the sock master(s) make mistakes from time to time.

Protecting the fringe allows the mainstream to breathe

Wikipedia is famously biased against fringe points of view or fringe science (and actually the bias can appear with any position considered “truth” by a majority or plurality faction). The pseudoskeptical faction there claims that there is no bias, but it’s quite clear that reliable sources exist, per Wikipedia definitions, that are excluded, and weaker sources “debunking” the fringe are allowed, plus if editors appears to be “fringe,” they are readily harassed and blocked or banned, whereas more egregious behavior, violating Wikipedia policies, is overlooked, if an editor is allied with the “skeptical” faction. Over time, the original Wikipedians, who actually supported Neutral Point of View policy, have substantially been marginalized and ignored, and the faction has become increasingly bold.

When I first confronted factional editing, before the Arbitration Committee in 2009, the faction was relatively weak. However, over the ensuing years, the debunkers organized, Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia (GSoW) came into existence, and operates openly. People who come to Wikipedia to attempt to push toward neutrality (or toward “believer” positions) are sanctioned for treating Wikipedia as a battleground, but that is exactly what the skeptics have done, and the Guerrilla Skeptics (consider the name!) create a consistent push with a factional position.

There is increasing evidence of additional off-wiki coordination. It would actually be surprising if it did not exist, it can be difficult to detect. But we have an incident, now.

February 24, 2018 I was banned by the WikiMediaFoundation. There was no warning, and no explanation, and there is no appeal from a global ban. Why? To my knowledge, I did not violate the Terms of Service in any way. There was, however, at least one claim that I did, an allegation by a user that I had “harassed” him by email, the first of our emails was sent through the WMF servers, so if, in fact, that email was harassment, it would be a TOS violation, though a single violation, unless truly egregious, has never been known to result in a ban. I have published all the emails with that user here.

This much is known, however. One of those who claimed to have complained about me to the WMF posted a list of those complaining on the forum, Wikipedia Sucks. It is practically identical to the list I had inferred; it is, then, a convenient list of those who likely libelled me. However, I will be, ah, requesting the information from the WikiMedia Foundation.

Meanwhile, the purpose of this post is to consider the situation with fringe science and an encyclopedia project. First of all, what is fringe science?

The Wikipedia article, no surprise, is massively confused on this.

Description

The term “fringe science” denotes unorthodox scientific theories and models. Persons who create fringe science may have employed the scientific method in their work, but their results are not accepted by the mainstream scientific community. Fringe science may be advocated by a scientist who has some recognition within the larger scientific community, but this is not always the case. Usually the evidence provided by fringe science is accepted only by a minority and is rejected by most experts.[citation needed]

Indeed, citation needed! Evidence is evidence, and is often confused with conclusions. Rejection of evidence is essentially a claim of fraud or reporting error, which is rare for professional scientists, because it can be career suicide. Rather, a scientist may discover an anomaly, au unexplained phenomenon, more precisely, unexplained results. Then a cause may be hypothesized. If this hypothesis is unexpected within existing scientific knowledge, yet the hypothesis is not yet confirmed independently, it may be “rejected” as premature or even wrong. If there are experts in the relevant field who accept it as possible and worthy of investigation, this then is “possible new science.” There may be experts who reject the new analysis, for various reasons, and we will look at a well-known example, “continental drift.”

There is no “journal of mainstream opinion,” but there are journals considered “mainstream.” The term “mainstream” is casually used by many authors without any clear definition. In my own work, I defined “mainstream journals” as journals acceptable as such by Dieter Britz, a skeptical electrochemist. As well, the issue of speciality arises. If there is an electrochemical anomaly discovered, heat the expert chemists cannot explain through chemistry, what is the relevant field of expertise. Often those who claim a field is “fringe” are referring to the opinions of those who are not expert in the directly relevant field, but whose expertise, perhaps, leads to conclusions that are, on the face, contradicted by evidence gathered with expertise other than in their field.

With “cold fusion,” named after a hypothesized source for anomalous heat,  in the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect,  (also found by many others), it was immediately assumed that the relevant field would be nuclear physics. It was also assumed that if “cold fusion” were real, it would overturn established physical theory. That was a blatant analytical error, because it assumed a specific model of the heat source, a specific mechanism, which was actually contradicted by the experimental evidence, most notably by the “dead graduate student effect.” If the FPHE were caused by the direct fusion of two deuterons to form helium, the third of Huizenga’s three “miracles,” if absent, would have generated fatal levels of gamma radiation. The second miracle was the reaction being guided in to the very rare helium branch, instead of there being fatal levels of neutron radiation, and the first would be the fusion itself. However, that first miracle would not contradict existing physics, because an unknown form of catalysis may exist, and one is already known, muon-catalyzed fusion.

Evidence is not provided by “fringe science.” It is provided by ordinary scientific study. In cargo cult science, ordinary thinking is worshipped as if conclusive, without the rigorous application of the scientific method. Real science is always open, no matter how well-established a theory. The existing theory may be incomplete. Ptolemaic astronomy provided a modal that was quite good at explaining the motions of planets. Ptolemaic astronomy passed into history when a simpler model was found.

Galileo’s observations were rejected because they contradicted certain beliefs.  The observations were evidence, and “contradiction” is an interpretation, not evidence in itself. (It is not uncommon for  apparently contradictory evidence to be later understood as indicating an underlying reality. But with Galileo, his very observations were rejected — I think, it would be interesting to study this in detail — and if he were lying, it would be a serious moral offense, actually heresy.

The boundary between fringe science and pseudoscience is disputed. The connotation of “fringe science” is that the enterprise is rational but is unlikely to produce good results for a variety of reasons, including incomplete or contradictory evidence.[7]

The “boundary question” is an aspect of the sociology of science. “Unlikely to produce good results,” first of all, creates a bias, where results are classified as “good” or “poor” or “wrong,” all of which moves away from evidence to opinion and interpretation. “Contradictory evidence,” then, suggests anomalies. “Contradiction” does not exist in nature. With cold fusion, an example is the neutron radiation issue. Theory would predict, for two-deuteron fusion, massive neutron radiation. So that Pons and Fleischmann reported neutron radiation, but at levels far, far below what would be expected for d-d fusion generating the reported heat, first of all, contradicted the d-d fusion theory, on theoretical grounds. They were quite aware of this, hence what they actually proposed in their first paper was not “d-d fusion” but an “unknown nuclear reaction.” That was largely ignored, so much noise was being made about “fusion,” it was practically a Perfect Storm.

Further, any substantial neutron radiation would be remarkable as a result from an electrochemical experiment. As came out rather rapidly, Pons and Fleischmann had erred. Later work that established an upper limit for neutron radiation was itself defective (the FP heat effect was very difficult to set up, and it was not enough to create an alleged “FP cell” and look for neutrons, because many such cells produce no measurable heat), but it is clear from later work that neutron generation, if it exists at all, is at extremely low levels, basically irrelevant to the main effect.

Such neutron findings were considered “negative” by Britz. In fact, all experimental findings contribute to knowledge; it became a well-established characteristic of the FP Heat Effect that it does not generate significant high-energy radiation, nor has the heat ever been correlated (across multiple experiments and by multiple independent groups) with any other nuclear product except helium. 

The term may be considered pejorative. For example, Lyell D. Henry Jr. wrote that, “fringe science [is] a term also suggesting kookiness.”[8] This characterization is perhaps inspired by the eccentric behavior of many researchers of the kind known colloquially (and with considerable historical precedent) as mad scientists.[9]

The term does suggest that. The looseness of the definition allows inclusion of many different findings and claims, which do include isolated and idiosyncratic ideas of so-called “mad scientists.” This is all pop science, complicated by the fact that some scientists age and suffer from forms of dementia. However, some highly successful scientists also move into a disregard of popular opinion, which can create an impression of “kookiness,” which is, after all, popular judgment and not objective. They may be willing to consider ideas rejected for social reasons by others.

Although most fringe science is rejected, the scientific community has come to accept some portions of it.[10] One example of such is plate tectonics, an idea which had its origin in the fringe science of continental drift and was rejected for decades.[11]

There are lost and crucial details. Rejected by whom, and when? The present tense is used, and this is common with the anti-fringe faction on Wikipedia. If something was rejected by some or by many, that condition is assumed to continee and is reported in the present tense, as as it were a continuing fact, when an author cannot do more than express an opinion about the future.  Now, plate tectonics is mentioned. “Continental drift” is called “fringe science,” even after it became widely accepted.

Wegener’s proposal of continental drift is a fascinating example. The Wikipedia article does not mention “fringe science.” The Wikipedia article is quite good, it seems to me. One particular snippet is of high interest:

David Attenborough, who attended university in the second half of the 1940s, recounted an incident illustrating its lack of acceptance then: “I once asked one of my lecturers why he was not talking to us about continental drift and I was told, sneeringly, that if I could prove there was a force that could move continents, then he might think about it. The idea was moonshine, I was informed.”[47]

As late as 1953 – just five years before Carey[48] introduced the theory of plate tectonics – the theory of continental drift was rejected by the physicist Scheidegger on the following grounds.[49]

That rejection was essentially pseudoskepticism and pseudoscientific. There was observation (experimental evidence) suggesting drift. The lack of explanatory theory is not evidence of anything other than possible ignorance. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

The fact is that the continental drift hypothesis, as an explanation for the map appearance and fossil record, was not generally accepted. What shifted opinion was the appearance of a plausible theory. Worthy of note was how strongly the opinion of “impossible” was, such that “proof” was demanded. This is a sign of a fixed mind, not open to new ideas. The history of science is a long story of developing methods to overcome prejudice like that. This is a struggle between established belief and actual fact. Experimental evidence is fact. Such and such was observed, such and such was measured. These are truth, the best we have. It can turn out that recorded data was a result of artifact, and some records are incorrect, but that is relatively rare. Scientists are trained to record data accurately and to report it neutrally. Sometimes they fail, they are human. But science has the potential to grow beyond present limitations because of this habit.

Anomalies, observations that are not understood within existing scientific models, are indications that existing models are incomplete. Rejecting new data or analyses because they don’t fit existing models is circular. Rather, a far better understanding of this is that the evidence for a new idea has not risen to a level of detail, including controlled tests, to overcome standing ideas. Science, as a whole, properly remains agnostic. Proof is for math, not the rest of science. This does not require acceptance of new ideas until one is convinced by the preponderance of evidence. Pseudoskeptics often demand “proof.” “Extraordinary claims” require extraordinary evidence.” Yes, but what does that actually mean? What if there is “ordinary evidence?” What is the definition of an “extraordinary claim,” such that ordinary evidence is to be disregarded?

It’s subjective. It means nothing other than “surprising to me” — or to “us,” often defined to exclude anyone with a contrary opinion. For Wikipedia, peer-reviewed secondary source in a clearly mainstream journal is rejected because the author is allegedly a “believer.” That is editorial opinion, clearly not neutral. Back to the fringe science article:

The confusion between science and pseudoscience, between honest scientific error and genuine scientific discovery, is not new, and it is a permanent feature of the scientific landscape …. Acceptance of new science can come slowly.[12]

This was presented by formatting as a quotation, but was not attributed in the text. This should be “According to Michael W. Friedlander.” in his book on the topic, At the Fringes of Science (1005). He is very clear: there is no clear demarcation between “science” and “fringe science.”

Friedlander does cover cold fusion, to some degree. He hedges his comments. On page 1, “… after months of independent, costly, and exhaustive checks by hundreds of scientist around the world, the excitement over cold fusion cooled off, and the claim is probably destined to take its place alongside monopoles, N-rays, polywater, and other fly-by-night “discoveries” that flash across our scientific skies to end up as part of our folklore.”

He hedged with “probably.” On what evidence was he basing that assessment?  Cold fusion was not actually his primary investigation. On pp. 27-34, he reports the early days of the cold fusion fiasco, (with some errors), and doesn’t report on what came later. He doesn’t mention the later confirmations of the heat effect, nor the discovery of a nuclear product, published in 1993 in a mainstream journal (though announced in 1991, Huizenga covered it in 1993). He does not distinguish between the”fusion theory” and the actual report of anomalous heat by experts in heat measurement, not to mention the later discovery of a correlated nuclear product. He closes that section with:

To summarize briefly, the cold fusion “discovery” will surely be remembered as a striking example of how science should not be done. Taubes has compared “many of the proponents of cold fusion” to Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth century scientist who “renounced a life of science for one of faith>” [Bad Science (1993), 92] The whole episode certainly illustrates the practical difficulty in implementing an innocuous-sounding “replication” and points to the need for full and open disclosure if there are to be meaningful tests and checks. It has also exposed some unfortunate professional sensitivities, jealousies, and resentments. At least to date, the exercise appears to be devoid of redeeming scientific value — but perhaps something may yet turn up as the few holdouts tenaciously pursue a theory as evasive as the Cheshire cat.

I agree with much of this, excepting his ignorance of results in the field, and his idea that what was to be pursued was a “theory.” No, what was needed was clear confirmation of the heat anomaly, then confirmation of the direct evidence that it was nuclear in nature (correlated helium!), and then far more intensive study of the effect itself, its conditions and other correlates and only then would a viable theory become likely.

Cold fusion was the “Scientific Fiasco of the Century” (Huizenga, 1992) It looks like Friendlander did not look at the second edition of Huizenga’s book, where he pointed to the amazing discovery of correlated helium. There was a problem in cold fusion research, that there were many “confirmations” of the heat effect, but they were not exact replications, mostly. Much of the rush to confirm — or disconfirm — was premature and focused on what was not present: “expected” nuclear products, i.e., neutrons. Tritium was confirmed but at very low levels and not correlated with heat (often the tritium studies were of cells where heat was not measured).

Nobody sane would argue that fringe claims should be “believed” without evidence, and where each individual draws the line on what level of evidence is necessary is a personal choice. It is offensive, however, when those who support a fringe claim are attacked and belittled and sometimes hounded. If fringe claims are to be rejected ipso facto, i.e., because they are considered fringe, the possibility of growth in scientific understanding is suppressed. This will be true even if most fringe claims ultimately disappear. Ordinary evidence showing some anomaly is just that, showing an anomaly. By definition, an anomaly indicates something is not understood.

With cold fusion, evidence for a heat anomaly accumulated, and because the conditions required to create the anomaly were very poorly understood, a “negative confirmation” was largely meaningless, indicating only that whatever approach was used did not generate the claimed effect, and it could have been understood that the claimed effect was not “fusion,” but anomalous heat. If the millions of dollars per month that the U.S. DoE was spending frantically in 1989 to test the claim had been understood that way, and if time had been allowed for confirmation to appear, it might not have been wasted.

As it is, Bayesian analysis of the major “negative confirmations” shows that with what became known later, those experiments could be strongly predicted to fail, they simply did not set up the conditions that became known as necessary. This was the result of a rush to judgment, pressure was put on the DoE to come up with quick answers, perhaps because the billion-dollar-per-year hot fusion effort was being, it was thought, threatened, with heavy political implications. Think of a billion dollars per year no longer being available for salaries for, say, plasma physicists.

However, though they were widely thought to have “rejected” cold fusion, the reality is that both U.S. DoE reviews were aware of the existence of evidence supporting the heat effect and its nuclear nature, and recommended further research to resolve open questions; in 2004, the 18-member panel was evenly divided on the heat question, with half considering the evidence to be conclusive and half not. Then on the issue of a nuclear origin, a third considered the evidence for a nuclear effect to be “conclusive or somewhat conclusive.”

The heat question has nothing to do with nuclear theory, but it is clear that some panel members rejected the heat evidence because of theory. The most recent major scientific work on cold fusion terms itself as a study of the Anomalous Heat Effect, and they are working on improving precision of heat and helium measurements.

If one does not accept the heat results, there would be no reason to accept nuclear evidence! So it is clear from the 2004 DoE review that cold fusion was, by then, moving into the mainstream, even though there was still rampant skepticism.

The rejection of cold fusion became an entrenched idea, an information cascade that, as is normal for such cascades, perpetuates itself, as scientists and others assume that was “everyone thinks” must be true.

In mainstream journals, publication of papers, and more significantly, reviews that accept the reality of the effect began increasing around 2005. There are no negative reviews that were more than a passing mention. What is missing is reviews in certain major journals that essentially promised to not publish on the topic, over a quarter-century ago.

One of the difficulties is that the basic research that shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the effect is real and nuclear in nature was all done more than a decade ago. It is old news, even though it was not widely reported. Hence my proposal, beginning quite a few years ago, was for replication of that work with increased precision, which is a classic measure of “pathological science.” Will the correlation decline or disappear with increased precision?

This is exactly the work that a genuine skeptic would want to see.

I have often written that genuine skepticism is essential to science. As well, those who will give new ideas or reported anomalies enough credence to support testing are also essential. Some of them will be accused of being “believers” or “proponents,” or even “diehards.”

The mainstream needs the fringes to be alive, in order to breathe and grow.

Diehard believers have hope, especially if they also trust reality. Diehard skeptics are simply dying.

(More accurately, “diehard skeptic” is an oxymoron. Such a person is a pseudoskeptic, a negative believer.)

New

Working page, in process.

List of accounts

List of impersonation accounts (likely)

 

Details for accounts:

Largewarhammer (metawiki contributions)

first edits to Forum, revision-deleted by Billinghurst.

Acknowledges being Oliver D. Smith. — archive copy.

Interacts with Michaeldsuarez.archive copy.

(ODS has acknowledged that he was ZaFrumi in an email to me (published on this blog) where he said all the other socking in that period was his twin brother, i.e., Darryl L. Smith. Later, a few days ago, he claimed that this was all lies, that there is no brother. Yeah, right.)

Discussion on User talk:Billinghurst. — archive copy. Blanked by MDS.

Billinghurst would know, if he were paying attention, that the new account was the original Anglo Pyramidologist, Wikipedia defacto banned and with associated accounts globally locked. He’s quite correct to say that this mess doesn’t belong on meta. We’ll see what he does with this.

By the way, could this be an impersonation? It’s pretty elaborate. Not impossible, but unlikely. The arguments are fresh-baked Oliver D. Smith.

Then the sock adds more:

Thanks and request

I removed comments I made about that drama not relevant to here. I just have one request. A banned Wikipedia editor whose website is blacklisted for harassment is misusing his user-page on this wiki as traffic to that website. His name is Rome Viharo. His only edits on this wiki was creating a userpage to influence google searches of his name so his website is advertised. The website Wikipedia we have a problem is blacklisted by Wikipedia, it doxes and attacks Wikipedia & RationalWiki editors. I’m a sysop from the latter and we have an article on Rome Viharo that documents more about his harassment against Wikipedians. It’s not appropriate he misuses this wiki for traffic to his website. Largewarhammer (talk) 12:35, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

The page itself is no different from hundreds or thousands of others. In itself I have no scope to delete it. — billinghurst sDrewth 12:41, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

Remarkable. So Rome linking to his own blog (very normal for a user page) is offensive, but linking to Oliver D. Smith’s wiki is not? Billinghurst is not noticing that this is harassment of Viharo, a real person, using his real name, by someone hiding (though he is effectively outing himself in many of his comments).

Final request

I’m no longer posting here, but have a final request. Can you delete this and this. The user Abd was recently globally banned by the WMF for harassment, as part of that he was creating LTA “studies” filled with misinformation on another user. Those separate articles were taken down, but he has two “user-data” links still up that still links to the edits; someone else recently blanked them complaining, but they should be completely deleted. Abd deceptively is linking to this on his blog still since there are still edits on that page if you view the history, as well as it comes up on a google search. Is there any chance these here and this link can be deleted completely? Largewarhammer (talk) 15:08, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

That has already been assessed by another administrator, and I have no need to override their decision by discussion at my user page. — billinghurst sDrewth 15:10, 14 April 2018 (UT

Smith lied in several ways. The history, in fact, showed the attack socking, of course he wanted that hidden. The links are redlinks as displayed on meta. So I made them red above. That signifies that the pages have been deleted. Yes, Oliver simply forum-shopped, and found an admin who didn’t realize the history and deleted. He cited speedy deletion criterion G3, which would not apply. That content was not created after I was banned. It’s hard to find good help.

Not that it matters. I knew that those pages could evaporate at any time. Wikis are unstable.

OMG! He even deleted my Sandbox! Waaa! My favorite Sandbox, carefully raked! (I’m not going to complain about this — I’m globally WMF banned and any use of WMF facilities would violate the TOS, other than reading what is public — but anyone could. But does it matter enough to be worth the effort?

So, I had exported the pages and imported them to the CFC wiki. With full history, which is what was most important.

(the main LTA/Anglo Pyramidologist study was copied to the blog long ago. The current version is here.)

(The pages use meta templates. They are broken, and it’s not worth fixing them yet.)

Why did he pick that admin? I don’t know, but the fellow is a ‘crat on Wikipedia. The Wikipedia G5 criterion is very similar. One would think he’d know the principle! One might think he would also look at prior history, deletion discussion, etc., but either he didn’t or he wanted plausible deniability.

Just something to keep in mind.

Canaries demonstrate that the air is toxic. Billinghurst knew to be suspicious of a new account demanding sanctions against another user. That deletion request was a personal attack on me. Xaosflux apparently did not suspect a problem, and rushed to satisfy the misleading request. I have seen that many, many times on Wikipedia.

Rightpedia activity

NemeanOdes an obvious Oliver sock. created an article on Rightpedia.

There were then disruptive socks, with names characteristic of AP impersonations. Impersonation socks want to be seen as socks and blocked, the goal is to defame the impersonated one. This is a great example:

Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Eleonóra Dubiczki/Archive#21_February_2018

Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations/Eleonora_Goldmann#01_May_2018

(Notice how readily some Wikipedians assume that an account waving a Red Flag is a Red. Most real socks with a political agenda don’t do that, only trolls do it. And impersonators.

Tumbleman

DRAFT

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

Comments to correct errors are welcome below.

Tumbleman, it was revealed, was Rome Viharo, who has written extensively about his experiences on “WWHP,” his blog, Wikipedia We Have a Problem. This is also covered elsewhere, and there is an extensive attack on Rome Viharo on RationalWiki.

Contributions/Tumbleman

Statistics

Right off, I notice the block log.

Even setting aside the obvious stumbling incompetence of the admin blocking indef, this was an unusual block log. Normally, a user will be blocked for a series of offenses, shorter blocks, gradually reaching to indef. If we look at the Talk page, there will be warnings, generally before blocks.

What happened? There is reference to an AE discussion. On the face, the filing was outrageous, grossly uncivil, relied on off-wiki activity (doxxing!) and consensus was not obvious. Tumbleman was not permitted to defend himself. But I’ll come back to that. What was the background?

Tumbleman was not an experienced editor when he dove in to Rupert Sheldrake. His first contributions, in 2005, were adding links to his own concept or site, OS 0 1 2, and then to the deletion discussion.

(the discussion refers to it being “spammed all over the wiki.” Contributions show three links placed. To some editors, that is “all over the wiki,” but this was, quite simply, an unskillful user, who did not yet know how to sign comments, nor what was appropriate for articles and deletion discussions. Very common for noobs.)

(“OS 1 2”) article on another wiki, written apparently by Tumbleman. I can now see that he was headed for a conflict with Wikipedia culture, which nominally seeks consensus (the only measure of neutrality is the level of consensus found; organizations use lower than 100% as a practical measure, but if the wiki actually valued true consensus, it would recognize anything short of 100% as less desirable; however, “wiki” also means quick, and while full-consensus process was developed extensively in the twentieth century, it requires much discussion, which the wiki tends to avoid and even sanction.  Full consensus process works in small groups, so larger groups require some kind of representative process, and time for feedback and broader communication, all of which Wikipedia, in its naivete, suppressed.)

Edit counts by month shows no activity until July and August of 2006, a burst then, (still not highly active), sporadic for a year, then almost nothing until August, 2013.

In 2006, his user talk page bloviated about AfD process, based on his very limited experience. He thought in terms of “winning” and “losing.” Apparently he had recreated the “OS 1 2” article — a newbie mistake — and it was deleted. He filed a Deletion review (that’s proper process, but the article was doomed, even though enough supported undeletion to allow it.) So the second AfD was created procedurally. Tumbleman argued extensively. That’s a losing strategy on Wikipedia. The way to get an article kept is to show adequate independent reliable source showing notability, but Tumbleman had no concept of this, he was thinking in terms of what people might be “interested” in. (and a user changed his vote in the DRV because he found the article “interesting”). The second AfD was a mess. He still didn’t know how to sign a comment. He was not informed until 2013.

With very little experience, Tumbleman “explained” to experienced Wikipedians how Wikipedia worked. He thought. He also was reactively uncivil. Was Tumbleman warned? No. Too bad. Tumbleman was a bright guy who had thought a lot about group process, and had strong ideas about what Wikipedia should be. People like this often run into trouble, if their ideas don’t match the editors they interact with. Wikipedia can brutal with these. Efforts to create a welcoming culture that would educate new users, mentoring them, were mostly crushed.

So, Tumbleman returned in 2013 and used his User page as a discussion page. He did not realize that what he was writing could be reliably predicted to be used against him. Even a much less explicit suspicion of using Wikipedia as an experiment has resulted in community rejection. Wikipedia is not generally open to new ideas and “outsiders” coming in with ways to improve the project are commonly treated with hostility. He was naive and did not actually study how Wikipedia worked before diving in.

When I became involved with Wikipedia governance,attempting to support balance and informed consensus, I also did a great deal of Recent Changes Patrol, and participated in many and widely varied processes. Tumbleman simply did not know what he was doing, and he was diving into what was, by that time, a quite firmly established editorial faction. How did he handle it?

The place to express personal ideas would be in a user space essay (subpage), if you are going to do it. Then people may comment on the attached talk page. Tumbleman did respond appropriately to the helpful criticism that appeared — which matched more or less what I wrote above.

Tumbleman moved that discussion to the Talk page. The talk page ended up being Archived here. But there was a previous archive (I call that “archiving to history). It is invisible to the Wikipedia search facility, which is why it’s not such a good idea, unless one wants to avoid the content showing up in searches.

I saw this conversation with vzaak (renamed to Manul):

I accept your olive branch and I can assure you I am quite serious about my role maintaining a WP NPOV. I did notice that you took your page down, I undid it without viewing this first so please feel free to take it down once more. If you remove your page, I shall remove this page, and we can return to a purely NPOV conversation on the Sheldrake page when I get back to editing. Sound fair? The Tumbleman (talk) 19:30, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you Vzaak for your honorable resolution to this issue and I look forward working with you again maintaining WP NPOV. See you on the page! The Tumbleman (talk) 19:44, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

The faction does not support NPOV, often explicitly denigrates it. I’ve seen user essays promoting what was called SPOV, or Scientific Point of View (Joshua P. Schroeder used to have that on his user page, as I recall). That, of course, means “mainstream.” When push comes to shove, with wide community attention, the faction loses. And “Scientific point of view” is an oxymoron. The whole point of science is to move beyond “point of view.” “Purely NPOV” would mean, legitimately, “purely detached.” Not going to happen. The skeptical faction is explicitly dedicated to promoting “rational skepticism,” or “fighting pseudoscience.” Yet they get away with it.

Tumbleman was a noob and was slaughtered. A noob with a skeptical (more accurately, debunking) point of view would have been protected by the faction. We will see that Tumbleman made many mistakes, but they are very common newbie errors. His stated goals were noble. There were some who recognized this and who argued against the indef block. They were outnumbered.

How does that happen? It’s easy, factional coordination is facilitated by watchlists. By 2013, there was also increased off-wiki communication. As well, any factional “member” — it’s not necessarily formal — will be protected if any sanction process starts, and enough supporters will show up to prevent anything like a consensus from being formed, even if behavior was outrageous.

So in that discussion with vzaak is a clue to conflict. What are the “pages” referred to? I don’t think they were pages, they were talk page sections. And this could be it.

Vzaak outs Tumbleman as Rome Viharo. One basis was the OS 0 1 2 history, plus off-wiki research. Not legitimate. The other was linked without explanation. This was all a blatant personal attack, not an attempt to communicate with Tumbleman.

Tumbleman’s response was too-typical noob. He tells Vzaak that what he is doing could be sanctioned. It’s a normal knee-jerk reaction, but it is similar to the childhood “I’ll tell!” No, for outing, the standard response is to privately message an administrator to get it revision-deleted. (And the admin might decide to warn or block.) Instead, Tumbleman argued.  Vzaak denied “revealing personal details.” That strongly reminds me of later denials of the obvious obvious by his friends. (or him?)

Notice the diff of Tumbleman’s first response.

He accepted the default edit summary with the section title. Responding at all was a blunder. Basically, at that point, STFU and get help. Now, Vzaak claimed that Tumbleman had “identified himself on WP by real name.” The argument about the deleted article was not adequate, it took off-site research to put that together. Basically, that public records establish an identity (say, by reasonable inference) is not consent to reveal or argue based on off-wiki evidence. Where did Tumbleman identify himself? vzaak pointed to the edit. Looking at the diff: “[[User:Tumbleman|Rome Viharo]] ([[User talk:Tumbleman|talk]]) 20:02, 31 August 2013 (UTC)”

One minute later, Tumbleman corrected that, so this was clearly unintentional. Now, we know that Tumbleman was Rome Viharo, that’s water under the bridge. However, that was not a wilful revelation of the connection, and Rome, as a noob, did not realize that he could have requested revision deletion of that version. It would take an admin a minute, if he sent the diff.

… and nobody protected him.

Dan skeptic (declared alternate account of Goblin Face, later blocked as an AP sock) made the claim here, a few days later. Did anyone warn vzaak or Dan skeptic? No (other than Tumbleman himself).

This is certainly not the complete Tumbleman story. But looking for that incident — which shows that those are deceptive who continue to argue that Tumbleman was not “doxxed” — has also shown me what I had seen some years ago. The Tumbleman affair was a factional hit, one of many. Many familiar names show up. And Dan skeptic argues like Oliver, in fact, but so might Darryl. The interest, from prior information, would be Darryl. And then there are the factional editors who slobber over Dan skeptic. And when I mentioned Manul/vzaak in the original AP study, with no accusation of any wrongdoing, AP socks went ballistic. The lady doth protest to much, methinks.

The suspicion that arises from the protest is not that Manul was an AP sock, though that is possible. Rather it would be that Manul was an asset to be zealously protected, even overprotected, because that calls attention to possibilities. Dan skeptic was an AP sock, that’s well-established. Which brother? Who cares?

The story of Viharo’s supposed voluntary self-outing has been oft repeated by AP socks, and then, perhaps, by others. It started with vzaak/Manul, apparently.

A fuller review would look at the factional editing, and the very rough treatment accorded Tumbleman, in spite of a few voices opposing that. Those voices, as I’ve seen happen many times, gave up. A faction with as many as a few dozen editors can be wiki-suicide to confront, and I saw an admin resign when he realized that another admin was going to ignore policy and get away with hit. The sane people walked away, over and over, so what was left?

Not purely left, because some sane people, with time to devote and a lot of patience, remained. Increasingly outnumbered, though, because the community, in spite of many opportunities, refused to face the structural problems that facilitate all the incredibly inefficient disruption, and that create defacto factional domination unless someone invests the enormous effort involved in filing an Arbitration case. To overcome this requires quite what the GSoW have done: cooperation. A faction cannot be defeated alone. At least not easily!!!

Total breakdown

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

If Oliver Smith had, as a goal, thoroughly exposing the idiocy of RationalWiki — and to a lesser degree, also the WMF wikis — he couldn’t have done a better job.

From his own emails and comments on RationalWiki:

Oliver Smith claims

  • He made up the brother story years ago to get unblocked on Wikipedia.
  • He fed the story to many, fooling them. It was a joke, and funny as hell.
  • He lied to Tim Farley.
  • His real brother’s name is now being published. [It is!]
  • Yet his real brother isn’t involved at all. [Is he?]
  • Nobody is paid, that was all his deception.
  • He’s the victim of massive harassment.
  • And Lomax is crazy for declaring as possible the story that Oliver made up and repeated for many years.

Let’s take a look!

His emails to me — and my recent replies — are here.

A few days ago, I protected most pages dealing with Anglo Pyramidologist, requiring a password, which, for the time being ,will be revealed to those with a need to know.

Then, April 4, 2018,  I received an email from  Oliver Smith, from the known and verified email address for him, offering a “truce,” he would fix the RationalWiki article on me if I removed mention of him on my blog (and he sent the exact same oemail to Rome Viharo). I responded as can be seen there. I thanked Oliver for certain things and pointed out that improvement he proposed on RationalWiki would not address many of the problems created by the Smith brothers’ history, including perhaps the most serious (a massive sock and then cross-wiki canvassed attack on Wikiversity and Wikiversity users). I suggested simply telling the truth.

April 5, Debunking spiritualism attempted to edit the RW article on me to make it more about substantial subjects, but was — as I’d have predicted — promptly reverted.  He then wrote on the Talk page (archive copy of the page):

Proposed re-write

I re-wrote some sections, but they got reverted. I’ve spoken to Lomax by email, and he says he will no longer disrupt or make more articles on RationalWiki on his blog etc., if we just focus more on his cold fusion and try to more neutrally present his research on this. The problem is his page has been a battleground and much drama over his activities on wikis that are mostly irrelevant to RationalWiki – its main purpose is to document pseudoscience. I just think its sensible if we rewrite his article and the drama will end.Debunking spiritualism (talk) 21:46, 5 April 2018 (UTC)

Wait? Who spoke to me by email? I was communicating with Oliver D. Smith, who was, until recently, ODS on RationalWiki. Many evidences from ODS pointed to his brother, Darryl L. Smith, as “DS.” Second problem, here, I never did disrupt RationalWiki, this was done by a series of impersonation socks. The user with an extensive history of similar impersonation would be DS, and it was almost certainly a sock of DS who wrote the article, and DS had been obsessively editing it. The page had not been a battleground except, briefly, impersonation socks vandalized it, pretending to be me.

While I have never ruled out the possibility of a third party impersonator, the impersonation patterns were those of the sock master I confronted on WMF wikis as “Anglo Pyramidologist,” and, with evidence and claims from Oliver, almost certainly his twin brother, Darryl. (AP, there, is both brothers — or Oliver Smith lied from the beginning, which he has now claimed.) The other possible troll would have had no interest at that time, and there was no cooperation from the Smiths that would have exposed the impersonations. No, Darryl was the impersonator. Or there is another possibility that arises here, and it’s remarkable. The whole thing was a lie and harassment targets were not the only ones impersonated.

This possibility aligns with the opinion of another critic of the Smiths: there is no brother, this is all one person, pretending to be two. To deal with what has been published, this requires one of two possibilities: (1) there is literally no brother, and the public record that purported to show that was fake, created by Oliver as a red herring, or (2) Darryl is silent, uninvolved.

The appearance here, given the emails to me, is that Oliver is Debunking spiritualism, who has carried on conversations with ODS and other Oliver socks, and this was all fake, deception. There is a more likely scenario, I’ll get to that. GrammarCommie, obviously believing in the tissue of lies created by the impersonator and the Smith editing, continues with

RationalWiki is objective not neutral. Furthermore this sounds like extortion to me, i.e. “do what I say or else I’ll harass you.” ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 21:49, 5 April 2018 (UTC)

What “sounds like extortion” is a story made up by DS. I have not threatened anyone with harassment. I have pointed out the obvious: what one writes on a wiki is public and open to examination and critique. I would not attempt to coerce anyone, and have not. But someone has done this, through the impersonation socks, pretending to be me. I have circumstantial evidence — not proof — that the harassment socks were “Anglo Pyramidologist.” Yet the RatWikians who show up in this present discussion obviously assume they were me. In fact, they were designed that way. They copied text from me, using names that someone naive might think I would use — I have no history of disruptive account socking — and then tacking in threats and accusations, or simple vandalism.

I actually proposed to re-write some of it. At the very least there’s been lots of mistakes & errors on the article. What I wrote was actually a lot more objective. I would invite Lomax here to correct things he has a problem with, but he’s already published a response on his blog and I went over it. He’s mostly telling the truth about his cold fusion research. It is misrepresented by the original article creator. Of course I’m not defending Lomax’s antics on wikis and other sites (he recently got blocked on the RW reddit section), but I think the article should more accurately present his cold fusion stuff.Debunking spiritualism (talk) 21:58, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
I invited @Bongolian and a few others to discuss my edit.Debunking spiritualism (talk) 23:21, 5 April 2018 (UTC)

Remarkable. “He’s mostly telling the truth about his cold fusion research.” Who was the original article creator? That creator complained about me and I was promoted (sysop tools removed) as a result. Then another obviously related user indef blocked me for “doxxing,” when I had not doxxed, another sock had, I had merely responded. This was all someone with long experience manipulating wiki communities, preying on the naive, ready to make knee-jerk assumptions that involve primitive models of human behavior.

The “response on my blog” that I wrote was months ago and the article changed a lot since then. What I suggested, with a declared sock, was that I be unblocked and I could then make suggestions on the Talk page. What DS proposes here — and that unblock — would be more or less standard for RW, as to how RW presents itself to the world on the Main Page. But the problem is far, far deeper than my article.

DS knows how and why I was blocked on the “RW Reddit section.” He complained to David Gerard, and it was immediately actioned. There, I had responded to a few blatant attack posts, by users who showed up only to make them, referring to RW articles of which they were likely the author. Someone has been abusing RW, for a long time, as a personal attack platform. (Looking at that now, I wondered how DS knows. Reddit does not show who is banned. I logged out, and a comment I made, visible when logged in,  now shows as “Removed.” This is the thread. My response was

RationalWiki is run by people apparently terrified of real discussion, believing in a mission that involves suppressing whatever they think is wrong and anyone not a true believer in their brand of skepticism. They pretened to be about rejecting authoritarianism. They lie.

If it’s a matter of correcting errors on RW, then, yes, this should be done. We should not however be put in a position of tone policing ourselves because of Lomax. I don’t think that Lomax is a trustworthy actor based on his past documented history here and elsewhere, and we should not cater to his whims. There is no possible guarantee that he could make that he will not continue his harassment on or off of RW. Bongolian (talk) 00:13, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

That “documented” history is full of misrepresentations and deceptions, most recently the massive impersonation socking on RW. Generally, aside from his acceptance of a load of deception, I’d agree with his position. However, there need be no binding guarantee, were I proposing some quid pro quo. Suppose, for simplicity, that the article were deleted. (That is not the most inspiring possibility!). And I committed to not writing about RationalWiki. Not that I would, mind you, I’m a journalist, but I do have choices about where to focus. If I violated my commitment, the article could simply be restored. If the agreement were public, there would be some actual misbehavior — a lack of integrity — to point to. It would take a minute to undelete the article.

These guys have little or no business experience or imagination. It’s hard to find good help. But this was all actually irrelevant, since I was not making or offering any guarantee, this was a Smith initiative, and the question arises, “Why now?”

Lomax wants some kind of deal where his lead is edited, and the cyber-harasser and troll is removed and the article accurately reflects his cold fusion research. Lomax had about 30 articles very negative about Rationalwiki users, some of these contained dox. He has now removed some those from public-view and they are password protected, but he is talking about contacting the media privately about his ban from Rationalwiki and Wikipedia. He says that is a possibility, he also says his obsession with all of this has damaged his health, I can believe that. He was writing thousands of words about this every-day, it was not normal.

I personally would have his RW article deleted, I actually voted delete in the deletion discussion. The whole thing has caused too much trouble here and these petty internet feuds with Lomax are messing with peoples lives. It would be better for everyone if this was all to just end. Obviously many people voted to keep his article so it will not be deleted but I don’t know if it is worth inviting him here to comment on what he wants changed on his article. Debunking spiritualism (talk) 00:28, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

How does he know what I want? Telepathy? He’d be evidence it doesn’t exist. But, yes, a focus on cold fusion would not be a problem, if that’s considered worthy of an article.  The only “dox” was, eventually, long after being “banned” for doxxing, the names of the Smith brothers. RW articles, written by the brothers, routinely dox targets…. Oliver apparently just created an article on Michael Coombs on Wrongpedia that gives the address of Coombs’ mother, with no excuse other than a suggestion she could be harassed because he visits home sometimes.

DS showed up to comment in that deletion discussion months after it closed. It was pointed out how odd it was for him to show up and vote delete for an article that he was obviously obsessively editing. At a certain point I began to emphasize “Darryl L. Smith,” because I was realizing that it was likely that most actual damage, in many areas, was coming from that brother. Maybe he was realizing that he had attempted character assassination on a target who can defend himself. And there is more.

If Lomax permanently removed and deletes all the negative commentary about Rationalwiki on his cold fusion community blog and decides to move on with his life, is it possible his article could be deleted? This might not be policy but is it not possible to arrange some kind of deal like this? Both parties would win at the end of the day and people could move on with their lives. Several users have been doxed by Lomax on his blog so all this is having real life consequences. Debunking spiritualism (talk) 00:34, 6 April 2018 (UTC)
@Rimuru Tempest, @Readymade, @Christopher @David Gerard your thoughts about the above? Debunking spiritualism (talk) 00:39, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

I know RationalWiki reasonably well. This proposal had no chance of success as stated.

First of all, who is feeling “real life consequences?” There would be one class of such: the targets of many articles created by the crazy duo, and fewer by articles created by other RatWikians. Almost all RatWiki users are fully anonymous. Oliver and Darryl Smith are only not anonymous because they were so massively disruptive in so many fora that they attracted a great deal of attention. The first three pinged are anonymous, to my knowledge, and would not care personally about this. David Gerard probably believes he is completely secure. He might be, the legal theory on which I might sue him is thin. But it doesn’t really cost a lot to try. RW is a more inviting target, and RW actually has raised money on the idea that they need it for legal defense. RW, however, is not yet on the hook, there is due process that remains first.

The only two actually feeling consequences — or simply fearing them — would be Oliver and Darryl Smith. But they are not appealing based on the truth. I’m not sure what the point of this exercise was. It seems that DS wants to maintain the myth of “Abd harassing multitudes all over the internet,” while shutting down attention on himself and his brother. They created that myth, creating evidence for it (such as the Reddit ban, simply a decision probably by Gerard — though there is another moderator), just as they created the WMF ban by canvassing for complaints, all visible if anyone looks.

Let me put it this way: Fuck no!!! We will not cave in to every halfassed crank that suddenly decides that they’ve “reformed”. that is the very definition of whitewashing. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 00:43, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

Sure. But what “halfassed crank” has “suddenly decided” that he has “reformed”? The DS narrative, backed as it is by several months of bombarding RW with impersonation socks, is accepted, whole hog.

I think he has delusions of self-grandeur if he thinks “the media” will be interested in his petty squabbles and persecution complex. Password-protecting his doxing is not a particularly conciliatory action in my view: this is basically an admission that he has been a harasser. I invite other moderators @CheeseburgerFace, @Christopher, @CowHouse, @DiamondDisc1, @LeftyGreenMario, as well as the semi-active: @David Gerard to comment. Bongolian (talk) 00:48, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

The story as they would imagine it would not be of interest to the media. Did I mention the media? If I file an action, I would probably create a press release, and an organization might be involved. The main show would be an action against the WikiMedia Foundation, with RationalWiki being a minor player.

I never indicated the password protection as “conciliatory.” It was explained here.

Until this point, all my work was public, my research notes were public. “Going dark” means creating access security, as I work with legal issues, counsel, and develop necessary resources, until a final report is created and action taken. It is tempting to explain more thoroughly, but I’m resisting that. They can guess but they won’t know until this hits them.

The ordinary RW users probably have nothing to fear, it’s not worth going after useless basement-dwellers and twits and anti-crank cranks (and a handful of sincere and perhaps genuine skeptics), but RW itself might see some action, that depends on how they respond to challenges. This is a matter for RMF legal, not ordinary users, and they need not consider it.

I don’t think we should whitewash his past. If he shows signs of a changed man for over 5 years, we can add that to the article and perhaps give him a nicer writeup.—♥€h33s3βurg3rF@€3♥ Spinning-Burger.gif (talk • stalk) 03:15, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

I think he’s clueless. I have not suggested, nor would I suggest, “whitewashing” my past. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but he and RatWiki in general have no clue what that is. They have believed a story invented by the Smith brothers, and intensely marketed through impersonation socking. Even as it becomes completely obvious that these brothers are liars and highly deceptive. To accept that, they would need to become skeptical of their own ideas and reactions. Which would make them genuine skeptics. Some of them would rather die first.

On second thought, why are we even covering Internet drama? We care about woo. I was under the impression that we don’t cover Internet drama for anyone on this website.—♥€h33s3βurg3rF@€3♥ Spinning-Burger.gif (talk • stalk) 03:18, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

Indeed. My answer for him: RW is covering internet drama because it allowed the Twin Queens of Internet Drama to create hundreds of sock puppets on RationalWiki (probably an understatement) to create articles that were intrinsically attack and revenge and fanaticism, it enabled them and protected them against exposure, opped them and encouraged them, because those who are loudest rueing Teh Drama often do the most to create it and enjoy it. DS here was proposing to focus on woo and alleged pseudoscience, which was, indeed, missional. But the Mob loves Drama! And it cares nothing about truth and careful and thorough research, but only wants to react to the latest hue and cry.

It is the opposite of rational thinking, so RW has a foundational contradiction. Snark is an appeal to quick reaction, and snark is policy on RW. It appeals to the immature. It’s fun. RW is not my problem. However, where the site and its defacto policies create an “attractive nuisance,” there can be consequences.

Honestly, after looking into all of this stuff I’m not so sure we can just throw it under the rug. I agree with Cheeseburger on this, let him show he decided to change through his actions and others will begin to see better of him. Let us not forget what we do here at RW.
Our purpose here at RationalWiki includes:
1.Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement;
2.Documenting the full range of crank ideas;
3.Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism;
4.Analysis and criticism of how these subjects are handled in the media.Rimuru TempestRimuru Slime.png 03:40, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

What I notice is a massive confusion of conflicting ideas. If the article were objective, there would simply be no question. If facts alleged in the article were backed by sources that actually confirm the claim, or that are not simply cherry-picked from a vast corpus of work, if conclusions stated in the article could be challenged and discussed with someone knowledgeable (i.e., the article subject if the subject is willing), the issue of “change” would be irrelevant. The thinking here is high-school, as if I were some juvenile critically concerned about how people see me, and whining “But I’ve changed.” If I did any such whining, please point it out, so I can stomp on it. I change all the time, I hope I will continue to change until I die, but I am responsible for all of it.

All this discussion was based on the thinking of a deranged Smith brother, his imaginary presentation of what I supposedly wrote to him, that I didn’t. The full emails are on that page from the recent correspondence.

focusing on each and every crank rather than the ideas they espouse is such a waste of time and energy. Anyways, if this Lomax fellow is vandalizing the article, just lock it down–“Shut upBrx.”02:33, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

That’s RatWiki. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Especially on RatWiki. “If this Lomax fellow is vandalizing . . . .” Well, is he? Brx is two clicks away from seeing the history, but the RW cry is “Don’t confuse me with facts!” I never vandalized the article. I edited the article once only, in October 2017. The edit stuck. The short period of editing by socks with my name on them were not me. It’s reasonably obvious who they were, because the behavior is quite old, oft-repeated, long before I was ever involved, and only one person would be interested at that point.

I stumbled across his site at one point, didn’t think much of it, I kept scrolling down and I saw my name of his “Enablers and Supporter” claiming he was working on a draft of me. Idk what he is or was going to write (as he seems to have password blocked it) but after reading a few things of his I think now see him in a worse light than I did at first. I don’t know why he put me on one of his pages and made it seem like I told him “The Christian God is the real God and not Allah” but seeing what he said about everyone I wont really believe him unless he actually shows a change and apologized to those who he attacked. I’m not going to hold a grudge with him but he needs to show we can trust him.リムルテンペストRimuru Slime.png 04:01, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

Enablers and Supporters is a page to describe how the AP socks have managed to effectively abuse wikis and sites, and RationalWiki in particular. He doesn’t say what I wrote, it wasn’t anything like what I wrote. He was attacked by impersonation socks and believed they were me. He didn’t ask me. But he did respond to my question about a sock who impersonated him here.

To apologize for an “attack,” I’ll need to have a reference to the attack. Documenting what an account has done is not an attack. If it is, then is Rimuru  acknowledging that RationalWiki articles are “attacks”? Does he and other RatWikians believe that anyone on the internet is fair game for documentation, but RatWikians? “Supporters and Enablers” would actually  be a compliment if what was supported and enabled is laudable!

His report is weird. The main page shows blog posts, but all the AP and related documentation is pages, used for information and studies. There is a sidebar with Pages, which lists all of them. He would see the page hierarchy, which is RationalWiki/Anglo Pyramidologist/Supporters and Enablers, and the subpages with certain people where there are notes. All my page work is “studies.” If he was able to see the S&E page, he’d have seen, in the TOC,

Rimuru Tempest subpage (draft, not yet published)

Some of the above have been added from a narrow suspicion, and S&E may be inadvertent or ignorant or otherwise

Further down the page, there was his name and a link to his RW contributions. That was all. What does this have to do with “Christian God” and “Allah”? In any case, I looked at the draft page and published it so that Rimuru Tempest may comment on it if he chooses. It is just some notes with a little speculation. Nothing to call a lawyer over, in fact, calling that page an “attack” would be just plain crazy. Perhaps I might flesh out the subpage, except I have a hundred things to do more worthwhile at this point.

An apology and even a website wipe won’t be enough to have us remove what he has done with the past. He remains responsible for any harm he has done and he will learn the consequences of being a little less than an unpleasant piece of work. I’m not holding any grudges, but this person will have to do quite a bit to make up for all the the trouble he has caused. –It’s-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 05:41, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

The issue here is belief not founded in fact. What trouble did I cause and how? I did not create the AP sock farm, I didn’t even hear about it until September, 2017. 200 socks on Wikipedia, and then, I began to discover, many more even there that aren’t documented, they are quietly blocked. At one point an AP sock claimed to be running RatWiki, having created 700 socks. That might not actually be an exaggeration.

What harm have I done? Any specifics? I can say exactly what harm has been done by AP socks, and it will become far more visible over the next few months. The waste of time on RatWiki from the impersonation socks I certainly did not create. But RatWiki is not actually that important to me.

You have two users lying to you, here on this RW Talk page, and it’s easy to see if you look, and you don’t care. You win the prize, you have to live with the mess.

Any actual inaccuracies should obviously be removed, but don’t cave in to his threats and don’t remove information about what he’s done in the past just because he claims to have changed. Christopher (talk) 08:15, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

Again, all this discussion was founded on claims from DS. Nobody seems to suspect the accuracy of his report. This was all radically confused. I have not claimed to have “changed.” I shifted tactics, that’s all.

Since this affair began, AP socks called the studies I was doing — merely listing accounts on Wikipedia, Wikiversity, and meta (mostly checkuser-identified) — “Lies,” but never pointed to any specifics. If I have erred, I always appreciate correction, and I don’t hide my past. I learn from it.

I have made no threats. There were threats made by impersonation socks. By “cave in,” Christopher would be referring to threats of harm if one doesn’t do what is demanded, i.e., coercion. I hate coercion. What was demanded by me? (There were demands by impersonation socks.)

I would appreciate making the changes Debunking spiritualism made to the article. I’m someone Lomax smeared and doxed on his blog. He’s since removed nearly everything and is happy to stop this feud if we make amendments. There are clearly inaccuracies, just like Lomax writing lies and hearsay about people on his blog, so it would help to correct/remove the misrepresentations, errors, poorly sourced content and mistakes from Lomax’s article. Agent47 (talk) 22:43, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

Agent47 is obviously Oliver D. Smith. Early on, the AP message was that documentation of AP socking was a “vendetta” or “feud.” It was Oliver who actually emailed me, not DS … if they are different. I did hide material, and I didn’t reject Oliver’s offer, but thought that he would not be able to deliver unless he revealed the truth about the history. His comments here show that he was keeping up the story that I was lying, even while pretending to advocate some reasonable action to do what he imagined would “settle the feud.” I have some sympathy, because the truly vicious behavior was probably not him, probably his brother … but he’s completely insane, this comes out. He demonstrates that no matter how we slices it, he lied or he is lying. Why? That’s what gets interesting.

Perhaps @Debunking spiritualism could write a short synopsis here of each correction along with a supporting reference for each correction, then we can move forward. Bongolian (talk) 23:11, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

Sensible. There is actually a better way, I saw used on Wikipedia. A rewrite in user space, to be then compared with the standing article. May the better article win! and then the better might still have some content merged from the old. But it might all be a waste if I demand take-down from the RMF, which is under consideration. If the article were actually improved with a plan for keeping it that way, I might not demand take-down. Criticism of cold fusion research is normal, expected, and actually appreciated. However, I just looked at the article. It is heavily designed to defame, full of appeals to knee-jerk assumptions, single incidents conflated to an alleged long-term pattern, and other niceties that afflict far too many RW articles.

RW is full of articles created by this team. One of them has claimed the other is paid (“to the best of his knowledge”) by a major skeptical organization. It’s plausible, and the other has hinted at the same, and then this all starts to get very ugly.

And then this, together with the actual emails, takes the cake:

Lomax email

The above attempted re-writes or deletions requests is because of Lomax blackmailing, coercing and harassing RW users – so like myself we want the option of being left alone by this nutcase. Below is a harassing email I’ve just received. Lomax believes I have a brother involved in this website, I don’t. That’s the “smith brother conspiracy theory” he’s obsessed with. Aside from this misinformation and conspiracy theory, he claims to be taking legal action. But note how rude and aggressive this old prick is:

If I don’t want RW to have an article on me, my recourse is with the RMF. I did email them, they ignored it (not surprising). Next step is a certified letter, a formal demand.

You and your brother have lied so extensively about me and what I was doing, and created such a widespread mess, that the only way to undo it is probably to come completely clean, and openly acknowledge what you know, in a way that is verifiably you. Otherwise it would be considered impersonation. That is the mess you and your brother have created.

You complained to the WMF. What did you complain about? That is not going to be a privileged communication, it’s vulnerable to subpoena.

I don’t think you realize how difficult it could be to undo the damage you and your brother have done. Having a sysop account is largely meaningless on RW. Any user, generally, can rewrite an article. I could rewrite may article. But would it stick? The two of you have created a myth that the RW community believes, demonstrating how naive and gullible they are.

All those vandalizing socks on RationalWiki, copying my text, twisting it, and vandalizing with it, who were they?

David Gerard only acts when he has cover. He is, after all, real-name and vulnerable to defamation suits.

And it appears that it will be coming to that.

I basically retract my claims above. There are no inaccuracies on the article, its just that Lomax has threatened us and doxed our family members etc, that people want a way out of this dispute and some of us were prepared to give in to his demands and whitewash the article. I’ve changed my mind and won’t be further doing this. I don’t see this guy stopping his harassment, he’ll probably end up getting a restraining order against him, or sectioned under a mental health act. Agent47 (talk) 02:02, 7 April 2018 (UTC)

What claims is he retracting? His lies and misrepresentations? Who is “us”? The documentation has all been about Oliver D. and Darryl L. Smith, twin brothers, long ago (2011) tagged and blocked on Wikipedia as “Anglo Pyramidologist.” Oliver was much better known outside of Wikipedia, and many of those confronting this monster sock drawer have focused on him. Even where Darryl was mentioned, it was almost as a footnote. What shifted with my involvement was shining the disinfectant light on Darryl.

Because of this claim above, I have published the entire email set. What I wrote was not sent to Oliver D. Smith to harass him, at all. It was a response to his mail.

It was assertive, not aggressive. It did not threaten. Oliver Smith published, on RationalWiki, the WMF response to his complaint, so I know he complained. From what he has written about me and others, and from what I know I was actually doing, I can reasonably suspect that he misrepresented the truth (and he has done this with many others, getting web sites taken down, he got the mother of an enemy fired with a harassing email to her employer, and the only thing keeping him out of a U.K. prison is police inertia, which then takes coordinated action to move. Tim Farley, years ago, showed how it was done. And, by the way, I do not consider Tim Farley an enemy, and attacks on Tim Farley on RW were by impersonation socks. The Smith brothers attempt to stir up enmity, to get supposed enemies of their targets angry and to arouse them to attack their target. It’s really an amazing strategy, particularly considering how well it worked in various venues.

So I’m warning him that more lying isn’t going to help. His response: more lies — or, amazingly, his claim that he was lying previously, as if somehow that’s going to prove that those exposing him are wrong. Look how he fooled them with his lies! The stupids!

Will RationalWikians see this and realize how they have been taken for fools? I’m not betting either way. But there is more. He didn’t quote, of course, his own claims, though he refers to them with his “smith brothers conspiracy theory” rant. I will not be so shy. Quoting from his last email to me.

Ask Rome Viharo to see the last email I sent him. There is no brother. I’ve just had fun misleading people, like yourself stalking me as have other RW sysops who have tried to protect their identities. It’s a problem though that you would target and dox an innocent family member of mine, based on this. Ask Viharo to see the full email, or I can post it here later. The ” smith brother” conspiracy theory is a joke.

No, if he is not lying, he created the theory as a joke, and now is disliking the consequences. But does he claim up by telling the truth, the whole truth? No. And what he says is internally contradictory and requires a long-term conspiracy, and, in particular, a compliant brother who doesn’t blow the whistle on this. There are only two “family members” involved in what has been published by me (and by Rome Viharo): Oliver and Darryl. If there is no brother, who, then, is the “innocent family member”?

He has extensively attacked Mikemikev for publishing a page, apparently from a public record, showing the names of inhabitants for a certain house in the U.K., as doxxing his family, giving the “address,” which is a road, with no street number (apparently a rural road, so mail would go to the name on that road). As it was, technically.

Doxxing at that level, per se, is not necessarily illegal, but if it can be considered harassment, it can be subject to prosecution. Briefly, I had the text from that public record on the Identity page here. I redacted that immediately, but the Smith brothers continued to insist that I was doxxing the family. Here, Oliver Smith is claiming that he was lying back in 2011, and then further in his edits to RW referring to DS as his brother, and in prior emails to me (where he blamed “most of the socks” on his brother.” (Those are published on that same page.)

Just a little joke! Heh! Whatsa matta? Can’t take a joke?

Debunking spiritualism is, on the face, an anti-parapsychology fanatic (not actually a skeptic, “fanatic skeptic” is actually an oxymoron), easily identified by his editing patterns and interests, as what I, for a time, called AP/D, probably also Goblin Face on Wikipedia, and others. But this is all called into question by Oliver’s new claims. I do not assume that someone is lying, in any particular instance, because even liars tell the truth on occasion.

I’m not really interested in you complaining about lies, since all you’ve done is lie about me. You’re currently writing all sorts of nonsense and smears about me on Wikipedia sucks on the bizarre mikemikev section on your blog. I’ve never in my life been to Birkbeck college, I never studied at London University and never have been a “white nationalist”. Also, I don’t live close to Birkbeck. None of the accounts you claim are me are mine, but mikemikev.

I wasn’t “complaining about lies.” I was telling him that his lies have consequences. Oliver is either simply lying, or incapable of understanding the difference between a statement of suspicion and allegation. I never claimed he had been to Birkbeck college. It was simply a suspicion, and it would only take one trip, a little outing, on one day, to then create an impression that anyone editing from Birkbeck on certain topics was Mikemikev. Read the SPI reports!

“White nationalist,” a term which Oliver tosses around casually about others, is not a fact but an interpretation, a judgment, and Oliver was a supporter of the BNP, it’s easy to see his Metapedia comments. He claims that those were impersonations of him. Fine. Did he let those impersonations stand, or did he document and disclaim them? Those are matters of fact or evidence.

He is calling “lies” what arises from his own interpretations. The “mikemikev” section is a subpage of a review of a blog post on Hatewatch, where the RW article on Mikemikev was used as a source to make claims about problems with Wikipedia socking.  So I looked at the Mikemikev Wikipedia Sock puppet investigations page and reviewed it. It’s quite long, and my impression is — unverified — that Mikemikev did sock extensively on Wikipedia, originally, but that, later, impersonation socks appeared, and that is a known AP pattern, to take a blocked target and impersonate them, to ramp up enmity toward the target, and that is exactly what has been done with me on RationalWiki: many disruptive socks, using my names or ready associations.

Someone is impersonating me. Who? Default hypothesis: the same person as the one who impersonated a user on Wikipedia in order to arouse attack on his work on Wikiversity. I had assumed the brother Darryl, the one with a long-term declared interest in “spiritualism,” etc., whereas Oliver had settled on other topic areas, such as racism and fascism. Now Oliver is claiming that it’s all him. There is an obvious suspicion to report.

Also the impersonation claims are bizarre, considering Mikemikev has impersonated me all over the internet including at Metapedia. I closed my account, it was then reopened to impersonate me with a false accusation of having schizophrenia. This is proven if you bothered to actually view the logs.

I’m not sure how one “closes an account” on a wiki. I think Oliver claimed to have spiked the password, and if you do this with email turned off, access is lost. Very much, this is not recommended! Anyone with a sufficiently high privilege level can “fix” the problem. Oliver has just set up an extensive task which would take hours. I did review his Metapedia contributions, and some, at least, of the logs. On the face, he would be claiming that there is evidence for what he is now claiming. It should, then, take a few minutes at most for him to point to the logs that I could allegedly examine. I’m not going to go digging through ancient refuse for something that actually matters very little. His Metapedia history is merely ironic, at most. I pointed out that he disclaimed it.

The claim of schizophrenia appears in a number of places. Given what I have seen of his behavior, by email, it’s plausible. Certainly something is radically off in what he is displaying, in the emails and on RationalWiki and elsewhere.

“Proven” is language used by believers, not by genuine skeptics, outside of narrow circumstances. There is a lost performative. Something is “proven” by a claimant to the satisfaction of a judge, an observer. It does not exist in the evidence itself. Evidence is used in a proof. Language around this can be sloppy, though. In this case, the claim and the proof exist only in Oliver’s mind. He could change that, with clear communication, but he doesn’t do “clear communication.” He just makes wild claims, asserted as fact, even when the evidence which he sometimes cites is more contradictory than confirming, when read carefully.

He depends on wiki users not caring to undertake that careful examination, but, too often, reasoning from conclusions, i.e., the conclusions stated match their own assumptions or prejudices, so they accept the claims.

I also find it mind boggling that you dispute Mikemikev is an online nazi.

I haven’t. Smith’s inability to interpret sane text is remarkably poor. He is probably referring to my comment a few days earlier, referring to what he had written that Mikemikev had written to him.

Mikemikev is cute, eh? I have little problem with his being called a racist, he may qualify, but … I just found a bio of him and I will be reviewing it. I have had no communication with Mikemikev. However, your brother is lying about him admitting to all those socks. That was obviously not what he meant.

The Wrongpedia attack on Mikemikev and his mother is beyond the pale. So you are continuing your rampage. Or is someone deviously impersonating you on RatWiki?

Where does this “dispute” the claim? Smith apparently sees everything as a dispute or argument or feud. and lack of agreement — or in this case, weak agreement — is seen as crazy opposition, as if it is necessary for me to believe what he believes or I am the enemy. Whoever has been behind all the AP mess for many years does apparently think like that. They are intellectual fascists, who is not loyal to the Cause is an enemy.

your emails are being ignored by the RationalWiki foundation, I was told this.

Far out. Told by whom? In this affair, what has appeared is something long obvious to many, but denied by some. There is a cabal. In my attempt to raise the attention of the Arbitration Committe to the issue of de-facto coordinated editing by a faction — which was actually obvious from the evidence I presented — the Committee reprimanded me by claiming I had not presented evidence of policy violations. But the problem was that this did not violate policy, unless there was off-wiki coordination. It happens through watchlist patterns. However, what has become much more visible since is that there is off-wiki coordination, so policy is being violated. And that is tolerated, and why? I find that an interesting question.

(My solution to the “cabal” problem  would be not to ban cabals, but to actually encourage and identify them and to then regulate activity. It is a soluble problem, but not if the very existence of the problem is denied. Wikipedia got stuck in the idea that it could and should ban “POV-pushing,” which is what cabals do. That then made the attainment of genuine consensus probably impossible. To find consensus — which is powerful and self-maintaining — requires all parties to be at the table. This is all basic organizational understanding that was unclear to a naive Wikipedia community, mostly composed, early on, of computer techies. Not academics.)

So Oliver suggested that I contact Rome Viharo. He provided me with his correspondence with Oliver, so I added it to the Oliver D. Smith email archive here. The story is mind-Boglin.

The emails of

To repeat what I wrote above: Oliver Smith claims

  • He made up the brother story years ago to get unblocked on Wikipedia.
  • He fed the story to many, fooling them. It was a joke, and funny as hell.
  • He lied to Tim Farley.
  • His real brother’s name is now being published.
  • Yet his real brother isn’t involved at all.
  • Nobody is paid, that was all his deception.
  • He’s the victim of massive harassment.
  • And Lomax is crazy for declaring as possible the story that Oliver made up and repeated for many years.

Sometimes the truth, when it is incomplete, can appear implausible. However, Occam’s razor, here, indicates that he is now lying through his teeth, but why?

It’s obvious: His brother is pissed, Oliver shot off his mouth far too much, and his actual family is putting pressure on him, because it is indeed a possibility that the brother could be harmed.

Someone did the impersonation socking on Wikipedia, which was illegal, and Darryl might be in hot water over that, or might fear it. So Oliver, who was not being paid to engage in all this crap, and could more readily walk away, decides to take the rap, but without admitting what was illegal (the impersonation socking, for starters). Nice. Will he perjure himself if deposed? Inquiring minds want to know.

If the brother is actually “innocent,” my advice for him would be the same as I gave Oliver months ago when he was claiming his brother had been the sock master: tell the truth, the whole truth, reveal what you know, or stand as equally responsible. At that point he denied knowing what his brother was up to, even though any warm body could see it from miles away, if it simply looked.

Defamation may be remediated by full disclosure, sometimes. Legally, it’s their best shot.

 

 

Notes

from contributions of the sock:

Rome Viharo & Abd Lomax filing fake sockpuppet investigations
A known troublemaker and banned Wikipedian and Wikiversity user Abd is filing fake sockuppet investigations; another today was done on MetaWiki, but his request was declined and he admits he is a;sp doing them via email. Some background to Abd's internet antics and stalking of Anglo_Pyramidologist can be found on RationalWiki: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Abd_ul-Rahman_Lomax#Wikipedia

I noticed abd accusing Anglo as creating the tumbleman2018 accounts, that were Viharo’s. So these are fake filed sockpuppets. evidence for viharo and lomax working together is found on Lomax’s website who has a rome viharo section WayoftheSamurai4 (talk) 17:11, 2 February 2018 (UTC)

I wondered what he was talking about “admits he is [doing them] by email. Then I realized he was talking about the email sent to the stewards with confidential, private information about IP and editing. The request was public, only the additional evidence was by email.

Someone recently emailed me about this. None of the above accounts are AP. The person who filed the block did it externally, and there is zero technical evidence and the duck test is dubious. A known troublemaker and banned Wikipedian and Wikiversity user Abd is filing these fake sockuppet investigations; another today was done on MetaWiki, but his request was declined and he admits he is a;sp doing them via email. Some background to Abd’s internet antics and stalking of Anglo_Pyramidologist can be found on RationalWiki: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Abd_ul-Rahman_Lomax#Wikiversity  WayoftheSamurai4 (talk) 17:05, 2 February 2018 (UTC)

Harassment on Krelnik talk.

(notice edits of 82.132.186.199 to the page)

The original history is here.  Edits of interest:

(cur | prev) 14:44, 4 February 2018‎ Defending Rhine (talk | contribs)‎ . . (73,246 bytes) (+1,298)‎ . . (Nancy Appleton: http://coldfusioncommunity.net/w/index.php?title=WikiversityParapsychology/Sources/Steigmann/Parapsychology)

Check February access records for access to the misnamed page (starting with WikiversityParapsychology).

Rhine Defender was the last real Blastikus sock to edit. Defending Rhine was effectively blocked as Blastikus. The AP strategy works, because Wikipedia is utterly naive about impersonation socking. It has occasionally been noticed. Checkusers do not follow up. Why bother, since impersonation or block evasion, the result is the same: block? Hence AP normally gets away with massive impersonation socking, until there are cross-wiki consequences, Abd notices it, and asks for steward checkuser. All those impersonation socks, clearly identified as not Blastikus, are still listed on Wikipedia as Blastikus. In the last checkuser request, these socks were not noticed. Others were. And the stewards had become hostile, and the source of that is fairly clear. Private complaints.

See the Blastikus SPI archive for February 4. Blastikus has acknowledged Rhine Revival (edited 30 November 2017) and Areyoumoral  (a sock that edited none-disruptively in March 2017 and then  November 30 on the Blastikus SPI to apologize for prior views.  Rhine Revival self-reverted. JzG, clearly involved, used tools. That’s what got him sanctioned before, in the case I filed.

AP socks take content from their target and post it, in order to amplify impressions of disruptiveness and vandalism. Back to those edits. There is an additional possible motivation in the FTN filing: to get the cold fusion community blog and wiki blacklisted. I’ll check on that. More edits:

(AP has been doing quite the same thing on RationalWiki, creating impersonation socks, pretending to be me, and pointing to the CFC blog.)

(By the way, Blastikus had not edited the CFC wiki. Rather, that was material exported from Wikiversity, and imported to CFC, as a courtesy, pending restoration of sanity on Wikiversity. AP was here attacking it, using impersonations.) Roxy the dog welcomed the user…. then

naturally. Blocked for username violation.

You are the pseudoskeptic Roxy who has been harassing my friend Rome Viharo and removing paranormal research from Wikipedia articles. [[User:Roxy the dog pseudoskeptic|Roxy the dog pseudoskeptic]] ([[User talk:Roxy the dog pseudoskeptic|talk]]) 14:56, 4 February 2018 (UTC)

The goal is to increase conflict with Rome Viharo. I’m not sure that Blastikus even knows about Rome Viharo, but maybe. Anyone who has studied the AP/D editing would immediately recognize this as Darryl, who is an anti-fringe fanatic. Roxy the dog feeds the troll. The snark is so common that it isn’t even noticed. (Guidelines would suggest ignoring this obvious trolling.)

I’ll just leave this here.Guy Macon (talk) 16:01, 4 February 2018 (UTC)

My, my, linking to an attack article on Rome Viharo on RationalWiki.  Perhaps Guy thinks he is being helpful. Instead, it appears he is one more clueless Wikipedian. Unless he is in on it.

Slaterstephen makes an ordinary skeptical comment. “Extraordinary claims” do not need “extra ordinary sources,” because “extraordinary” is POV. Rather, reliable source is reliable source. Editorial consensus will decide whether or not to report as fact or attributed statement. What has been done, though, is cherry-pick sources according to editorial judgment of “fringe” or not, rather than using RS guidelines, and Guy Macon’s user page shows the problem. He may really believe what he’s saying. His view requires the Wikipedia community to be ontologically naive, to not distinguish between fact and interpretation.

I think Defending Rhine is identical with Rhine defenderRadin Revival and the Rhine Revival who has been blocked indefinitely for using multiple accounts. —Hob Gadling (talk) 16:50, 4 February 2018 (UTC)

He was almost right. Rhine Revival was not the others. The checkuser wasn’t explicit, but would have indicated that Rhine Revival and Areyoumoral was not likely to be the same as the others. Open proxies were being used. When Blastikus edited with disclosure of who he was, he would have had no reason to use an open proxy. But AP socks would. This is all so obvious. Hob Gadling is a bit suspicious…. some overlap with AP socks. Reading this discussion on Atlantis, referred back from a more recent Hob Gadling comment on Talk:Atlantis, I’m reminded of why I was so relieved to be banned from Wikipedia. What could be simple if there was a genuine seeking of consensus becomes tedious and repetitive. One of the signs that consensus has not been found is that argument continues endlessly. Solutions to all this were suggested years ago and ignored. “It is not how we do things,” so endless hours continue to be wasted.

Also Viharo revival. Probably more. Obviously trying unsuccessfully to walk through a wall again and again, like General Albert Stubblebine. —Hob Gadling (talk) 16:56, 4 February 2018 (UTC)

No, the sock master is doing exactly what he wants and getting exactly the response he wants. Until that is understood and effective response designed and created, disruption will continue, because what he wants is to blame the disruption on someone else, and so that blame, readily concluded in spite of many evidences to the contrary, creates more and more incentive for this troll. The checkuser evidence on Wikiepdia, plus the checkuser evidence on meta, shows the fact. Someone is using impersonation socking to defame and attract a desired response.

What is of more concern, though, is the appearance of signs that the sock master is being protected by a faction. He doesn’t care if his socks are blocked, after all, he has well over 200 blocked socks, that’s meaningless. What he cares about is that his targets and their topics of interest are banned not only from Wikipedia, but from the internet entirely, and he has been on this mission for at least six years or so. He claims that he’s being paid. By whom? By a major skeptical organization. Was he lying? Maybe. AP socks — and even the AP masters (there are at least two brothers — regularly lie or exaggerate.

But the existence of coordination behind the scenes has become obvious and almost open.

For years, I assumed that ignorant comments that supported the factional agenda were just that, ignorant. That may still be true for most who edit supporting the faction. But there is something more, and those who would know about it are tolerating, and to read what AP socks have written, encouraging it.

This is corruption, all for a “good cause,” i.e., lying for truth.

Slatersteven correctly pointed out that FT/N was not the place to discuss socking. But AP accomplishes his purposes by placing what may have some detested truth to it, in front of those who follow FT/N, which is the faction he abuses (or which uses him). He developed a strategy, a bit counter-intuitive for most Wikipedians. If you hate a point of view, create straw man accounts to abusively push it. This should be suspected whenever socks appear that wave red flags, “I’m a sock.” WP:RBI would be a correct response, but often much more than that is done: the socks are tagged with the intended target, making it far more difficult for such a target, if they want it, to take advantage of the Standard Offer, an increasing the perception that those who support that detested point of view are fanatics and lunatic believers. Or, even, sometimes, those who simply want to move articles toward a consensus neutrality, which is not that difficult if the goal is clear and there are users who support it. Too often, though, fringe or alleged fringe articles are “owned” by “majority POV users,” which means, in fact, a majority of those aware of or interested in the article, not a majority of all users.

I’ve blocked Viharo revival. A hearty quack to all. Bishonen pseudosceptic | talk 20:52, 4 February 2018 (UTC).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going dark on a topic

(May 2, 2018) This is obsolete. Some pages are still hidden, being reviewed before being re-opened. The content here has been misrepresented elsewhere. Simple documentation has been called “attack.” If we are attacked by reality, we are in big trouble no matter what others say!)

I have been documenting the Anglo Pyramidologist sock puppetry and massive disruption. Because of what I have found, and the tasks before me over the next year, I am going dark. All pages in the category of Anglo Pyramidologist will be hidden, pending, and possibly some others. Some have been archived (often on archive.is) and will remain available there. If anyone has a need-to-know, or wants to support the work, contact me (comments on this post will be seen by me, and if privacy is requested, that will be honored, the comments will not be published. Provide me with an email and a request for contact and I will do so.)

The connection with cold fusion is thin, but exists and is significant.

Warning: documenting AP can be hazardous to your health.

As well, the next year’s journalism will need support, some of this may become expensive. I will be asking for support, to supplement what is already available or in the pipeline.

Sometimes reality comes to our door and knocks. Do we invite her in? Other times we need to search for her. Ask and you shall receive. She is kind and generous.

Don’t ask, and reality might seem to punch you in the nose, and you might be offended. In reality, you just walked into a lamp post. Who knew?

Summary:

The sock family known on Wikipedia as Anglo Pyramidologist is two brothers, Oliver D. Smith (the original Anglo Pyramidologist) and Darryl L. Smith, perhaps best known as Goblin Face, who continues to be highly active with the “skeptic faction” on Wikipedia. It is possible that there is a third brother involved.

They have engaged in impersonation socking, disrupting Wikipedia while pretending to be a blocked user, leading to defamation of the target user, and they have engaged in similar behavior elsewhere.

I was attacked for documenting the proven impersonation and other socking. My behaviot did not violate any policies or the Terms of Service,

The Smith brothers were able to coordinate or canvass for multiple complaints, (they have bragged about complaining) and it is possible that this led to the WikiMedia Foundation global ban, but those bans are not explained and the banned user is not warned, and has no opportunity to appeal or contest them.

Substantial damage was done to the long-standing tradition of academic freedom on Wikiversity.

Action to remedy this will continue, but privately.

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 193.61.48.26 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. 188.112.131.133 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 69.123.131.248 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

libel study

If you see this on an archive site, be sure to check the original URL for updates and possible corrections. These are research notes, as are many pages on this blog.

I have been libelled by the WikiMedia Foundation, by the issuance of a global ban with no foundation in fact, apparently based on private complaints considered valid without any opportunity to respond. The WMF appears to think that issuing a global ban with no explanation protects them from liability for libel. However, they have claimed that global bans are issued only rarely, for exceptional cases, to protect the community. The fact of the ban is being used as an element in a series of defamations, by a person known to be one of the complainers. I believe that I have sufficient cause, based on this, for action to require the WMF to lift the ban or to provide evidence, and specifically the complaint mails or other evidence and arguments considered by them. I need not prove libel to file an action, as long as the legal theory on which the filing is based is possibly valid. Here, I’m looking at information sites and cases that might relate to this issue.

As to the WMF, the primary claim would be for libel, from the global ban issuance. For a libel claim, the restrictions of the TOS on the liability, and court jurisdiction for action against the WMF may not apply.

As to the RationalWiki Foundation, a different legal theory might apply, it’s more difficult. My sense from what I have seen is that the RWF will take down defamatory material on demand, unless they see it as mission-critical. I did already email them, they ignored it. (and there is a claim from Oliver D. Smith that he was told this was deliberate. So the next step would be a certified demand letter to the registered agent.)

In all cases, as I understand the matter, communications from users of these web sites are not privileged and would be subject to discovery, and users are not protected from defamation for actions they take, the protections of Section 230 are for removal of material, not for provision of it.

Libel_case_against_Wikimedia_Foundation_dismissed

As a minor point, the Wikinews article has, at the very end:

The Register has a long history of denigrating Wikimedia projects.

That is an obvious neutrality violation. The preceding text fails to distinguish between reporting and editorializing. The Register source was an editorial by Cade Metz, not “the Register.” This what you get when amateurs are given collective control. They play at journalism. In any case, the Register article is excellent.

Memorandum of law in support of motion to dismiss

47 U.S. Code § 230 – Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material

isp-liability-for-internet-defamation looks good. (those who post defamation may be held liable. The liability of the ISP may vary with context and conditions. It’s looking to me like it might take a court order to force this, if the ISP is merely inactive. But if it takes a positive step that has the effect of defamation, it could become liable.

the-decline-and-fall-of-section-230/ is a gold mine to be carefully studied.

At this point, this is the bottom line. There is sufficient case law that it may be possible for an action for libel to survive a motion to dismiss, and a motion to dismiss will still require expenditure by the defendant. That would not allow the filing of a frivolous suit without associated hazards. If the cause of action is reasonably plausible, it need not be bulletproof to be effective for remediation purposes.

Further, the law does not protect the individuals who defamed, nor is the WMF or the RWF likely to defend them. The impersonation socking I have been describing has known individuals as perpetrators, very likely, and I do have evidence that can be used, and more evidence can be obtained lawfully. I will continue to study the case law and analysis.

(The issues with involved individuals, the WMF, and the RMF, are distinct and different.)

https://law.stackexchange.com/a/6822 confirms user liability, and site owner is protected if they take the libel down. That’s my understanding of Section 230. They cannot maintain the defense of “the community did it” in the face of a specific claim of defamation, unless they take it down. By taking an action on their own judgment, they become liable for defamation, if the action defames. I expect the WMF will argue that the action was needed for user protection, but that argument, given the facts, is false, and, more directly, the defamation involved in a global ban is unnecessary for protection. If they formally notified the user that they are prohibited from editing, and the user violates that, this would be a TOS violation, and it would then allow the use of the global lock tool and public announcement. The banned user would still have a right to see defamatory claims (the evidence considered), for possible action against those who  may have defamed.

At this point, I don’t know if this has been tested anywhere. Untested legal theories, if plausible, can make for actions that will survive summary judgment.

http://www.adlexsolicitors.co.uk/internet-defamation.htm focuses on UK law (some actions related to the issues may be filed in U.K. courts). They suggest a first response is a “lawyer letter.” Legally, a demand letter does not require a lawyer, in my opinion, but such a letter is more likely to be taken seriously. My interest will be that such letters be legally sufficient to put a site operator — or an individual — on notice that their behavior is defamatory, so that they may take remedial action, and if such action is reasonably prompt, it may allow, then, the “service provider” protection to be effective.

https://seqlegal.com/blog/10-things-you-should-know-about-libel again focuses on the UK.

This is handy.

Wikimedia Foundation
c/o CT Corporation System
818 West Seventh Street
Los Angeles, California 90017
legal@wikimedia.org

and then

Business ID#: 4330247 Status: Active
Entity Name: THE RATIONALWIKI FOUNDATION, INC. Standing: Good Standing
Entity Type: Domestic Nonprofit Corporation Domestic State: New Mexico
Statute Law Code: 53-8-1 to 53-8-99
Mailing Address:
122 GIRARD SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
Principal Place of Business in New Mexico:
122 GIRARD SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

Character Of Affairs: Operating sites RationalWiki.org and EvolutionWiki.org and related.

Director Information

  • David Gerard: 122 Girard Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
  • Aidan Bissell-Siders, 122 Girard Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
  • Eric Doe 122 Girard Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
  • Simon Peter Hughes 122 Girard Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

Officer Information

  • Chief Operating Officer:Trent Toulouse 122 Girard Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
  • Chief Executive Officer:Huw Powell 122 Girard Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

08/04/2010 Certificate Of Incorporation THE RATIONALWIKI FOUNDATION, INC. 3 PAGES PERPETUAL 08/05/2010 893489

The RationalWiki article on the Foundation lists current directors as:

Below is mostly dicta.

There is a discrepancy. Huw Powell (RW User:Human) is not listed by New Mexico as a Director, but as the CEO. Openly real name. Human’s  edits to the John Fuerst article seemed designed to improve it (toward objectivity). As a board member, does Powell know about the deliberate lack of response to a complaint email, as claimed by Oliver Smith? Maybe I’ll ask him. Not the most urgent task on my list. Human has almost entirely stopped editing RW for the last six months.

David Gerard is, of course, David Gerard. Interesting that someone who has supported the libellers — generally indirectly and possibly maintaining plausible deniability , but quickly actioning requests — is on the Board. The claim of the RMF is that it does not make content decisions, but if Board members are active members with high privilege, and use that privilege, this is disingenuous. The RMF does, in fact, make content decisions, I’ve seen at least one page deletion made as official, with warnings to users not to restore the page. My guess: someone didn’t just send a complaining email, they took more substantial action. The WikiMedia Foundation not uncommonly does that with some kinds of complaints. The protections of Section 230 do not extend to the maintenance of alleged defamatory material or other illegal material after notice provided.

Simon Peter Hughes is openly Spud. As they say on RW, seems sane.

Aidan Bissel-Siders is probably this nice kid, who wrote this RW-interest paper, serious work addressing (actually taking the piss out of) a stupid claim. Fun. I’ve done a fair amount of that kind of writing, though not normally so sarcastic. However, that kind of sarcasm is so common on RW that I don’t yet see a clue as to which user Bissel-Siders might be. So far, the candidates are FuzzyCatPotato and Reverend Black Percy.

Eric Doe I could find nothing on with a quick search. However, Rev. Black Percy has not edited for over six months, but I’d expect Bissel-Siders to remain active (given his research paper and age). I vote for the latter as being FuzzyCatPotato.

From prior history, I expect I may see complaints on RationalWiki that I am “attacking” RW users here. Yet what I am actually doing is showing who is responsible for RationalWiki, the real people involved. Board members are presumably covered by errors and omissions insurance. This actually makes them attractive targets. However, the only board member where some liability might be imputed, so far, is David Gerard. (Basically, his action to support defamation would be asserted. It is not necessary to have proof to assert a claim; proof may not exist until discovery.

My guess is that the RMF will settle relatively easily, if pushed. With the WMF, I’ll be challenging a process they have used for a few years. I have no crystal ball.

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/civil-litigation/demand-letter-defamation-case.html
https://jux.law/cease-desist-defamation-of-character-template-example-sample-form/

Pro Se filing in US District Court