Alleged harassing emails

Joshua P. Schroeder claimed, on Wikiversity, that I had harassed him by email.

  • Delete and ban User:Abd for harassing me in e-mails. Wikiversity should be ashamed of itself for continuing to let him abusively campaign here. I have asked the foundation for a ruling as well. ජපස (discuss • contribs) 22:53, 21 December 2017 (UTC)

It is possible that his complain was one that the bureaucrat who blocked me was referring to. He was lying two ways: first, I did not harass him with emails (this page documents them). Second, I was not “campaigning” on Wikiversity, and, for two years, I had been mostly inactive, becoming active only because I saw genuine harassment, involving impersonation, leading me to massive disruption, cross-wiki and on other web sites, and I documented the WMF portion of it on the meta wiki. Many socks were blocked and locked, but the user vowed revenge.

I first wrote, through the Wikipedia interface:

On Sat, Dec 2, 2017 at 12:04 AM, Wikipedia <> wrote:

I see that, who is a very crazy person, probably Daryl [Darryl] Smith, has kindly pointed out your new user page, and has elsewhere called you a “very old friend.”

(I have asked for that edit to be rev-del’d for obvious reasons.) I am not obsessed with you and hadn’t thought about you for quite some time. However, there may be some issues between us. If you ever want to talk, you will now have my email address. My talk page on Wikiversity and on meta can also be used.

Meanwhile, if you have friends like Smith, you are in trouble. You might take a look at the global contributions of this IP and also the .10, which was just globally blocked and .9 will probably be blocked soon, it’s so obviously socking, block evasion. The guy has at least 200 socks on wikipedia and was just stirring up shit, calling a lot of attention to himself. And now to you. I have no plan to publish your new user name unless some reason appears. If you have any requests to make, you may make them.

Good luck with your work. Astronomy is fun. Real science is fun.

This was, by the way, taking some risk, because my email has never been blocked on Wikipedia. So his later claim of harassment could be very serious, if taken seriously. He replied:
From: X X <[redacted]>
Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2017 13:07:40 -0500

Why did you post the post to Would you be willing to delete it?

 To be clear, that post is exactly why I changed my username.
We then corresponded directly.
Sun, Dec 3, 2017 at 10:20 AM, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <[redacted]> wrote:

That post was in an obscure forum. It was then posted, about a month later, on my blog. (the blog post has a date, but that is the date it was created. It was private at first, only made public later, as I was under extensive attack by your “friend.” Your “friend” also pointed me, very handily, to your new account. This[Thus] if my motive were actually to expose and attack, as he is claiming, he made it easier.

But that is not my motive, and I hope for your career success.

Why I posted it is irrelevant now, but we can discuss that later. Yes, I am willing to delete it, but that may be useless, since your “old friend,” he called himself, archived both it and the later copy on my own blog. I already deleted the personal information there, but he’s linking to archive copies. (I have IP and timestamp evidence that he is the one who archived it.)

This is an extremely disruptive troll. I will attempt to delete the thunderbird post. I don’t know if I can do it, but I will certainly support a deletion request by you if it helps. Let me try first.

We can then discuss any issues we have, which might go into the reasons I posted that.

But first things first.

I did, in fact, take the post on my blog private, as a courtesy. I did that immediately. I also requested that the thunderbolts post be taken down.

From: X X <[redacted]> Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2017 13:07:40 -0500

Look, I don’t care one way or another about any of this and I have no idea who the IP is who is posting to my page. I just want you to stop writing long screeds about me around the internet, okay?

Someday maybe you can take a step back and consider what evidence there is that I have been personally attacking you. I can point to a lot of times where you have personally attacked me on fora where I am not active.
The same user behind the IP also canvassed him to come to Wikiversity and vote in an RfD that was hardly even disguised as an attack on me. To not care who is leading him around by the nose is foolish.

On Sun, Dec 3, 2017 at 9:32 PM, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <> wrote:

This is not encouraging, Joshua. I took down what I could and did what I could and you show zero appreciation. I have not been writing “long screeds” about you on the internet. I have written much more about Joshua Cude, which I do suspect is you from a number of evidences. That was old. Mostly he’s smart and relatively knowledgeable, like you. I said we have issues, and I’d hope we can talk about them and possibly come to some agreement, but if you prefer to maintain hostility, I don’t predict a good outcome.

I have not claimed you were personally attacking me, unless you did so as Joshua Cude. (I [And] that’s not how I think about him.) However, there are other issues. What you do has effects. At this point I’m not making any claims or asking you to change anything, except maybe that battleground attitude. I’d prefer to see you let go of the past and move into a future that will be far more satisfying.

Your comment on that Noticeboard in response to the IP, who was clearly attacking me, in a completely inappropriate place, it had nothing to do with the business of that Noticeboard, was discouraging. (He was doing [this] on Wikiversity and on meta as well, and that’s why he was globally blocked. He was also lying, about many things.)

JPS was essentially supporting the anonymity of an user who was blatantly attacking, in a place where it was irrelevant.

That person is vicious, and vicious people will make “true accusations” but mixed with poison. He is the one who has made it difficult to get that material on you taken down, not me. If you don’t know who he is, maybe it’s time you learn. You have worked with him, I’m pretty sure. But I have not researched that specific issue.

I have specific technical evidence on that claim about who ordered the and copies being made. “Worked with him” might only mean as a Wikipedia editor, before the AP accounts were identified and blocked. But it might mean more than that. However, if JPS had not worked with him before, he proceeded to do so, clearly and aggressively.

I have not done anything, as far as I know, to real-life harass you. Documenting your accounts is what I did, which would not be harmful unless (1) those accounts did things which will harm your career or (2) others will real-life harass you. But they could also do what I did. It wasn’t that difficult!

The socks of Anglo Pyramidologist/Dan Skeptic/Goblin Face and many other names have attacked people — and continue it — who might be interested in harassing you, if you appear to be allied with them. That comment in the Noticeboard made me think you might actually be allied.

In other words, you may be creating causes for your own harassment. (By others, not by me.) Doing that while attempting to hide is crazy. Attempting to hide actually motivates search and discovery.

I’m not really that interested in you, you are not anywhere near as much of a threat and harm as Anglo Pyramidologist.

You could, you know, have asked me months ago to delete that material. If you had done that, it would have been gone before they found it and archived it.

One more comment. You wrote: ” I can point to a lot of times where you have personally attacked me on fora where I am not active.”

“personally attacked” is often not an objective statement. It is more of an emotional response. If I wrote anything about you that was untrue, do point to it and maybe I can correct it. I could even correct old material on Wikipedia, indirectly. Don’t assume I would not be cooperative, and you might actually see cooperation!

Good luck. Again, if I can assist with the removal of that material from and the internet archive, let me know. (they are attacking me for removing the material from my blog!)

From: X X <[redacted]> Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2017 11:50:42 -0500

I’m sorry, I’m not in the mood to thank you for taking something down you shouldn’t have done in the first place.

The fact that you think I’m “Joshua Cude” still is just more evidence of your continued paranoia. Stay in your lane.

That was suspicion, not belief. It is not paranoid to suspect what is reasonably obvious as a possibility, on evidence. So he was accusing me of being crazy. In spite of years of Wikipedia experience, he has no idea of how to calm disputes and find agreement. He does the opposite of what it would take.

On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 1:42 PM, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <[redacted]> wrote:

Joshua, you create the response you get. You must prefer insults and fighting to actual discussion and cooperation. That explains a lot.

“Joshua Cude” was reasonable surmise and I never attempted to prove it. Too much work for too little value.

I may or may not restore the material. I may or may not cooperate with you as I said I would, hoping that you would appreciate that much. I may or may not point to your new account, except that I now have, because of that discussion that you encouraged on your Talk page, which leads into some very dangerous territory, attacking not just me, but Wikiversity and, in fact, academic freedom.

Instead you prefer to maintain that I was “wrong” to write what is available in public logs and documents you created about you. Your friends, and you are treating them as friends, when I documented the ruthless attack they made on Ben Steigmann (Blastikus), impersonating him and then attacking his Wikiversity account, where he had done no harm, and, I can see, Wikiversity itself, which you are seeking to destroy, created an article on me on RationalWiki. Enjoy it. It’s probably how you think.

This was not created by “skeptics.” It was created by one of the Smith brothers. That’s all making it quite clear how they operate. That’s what I’ve been documenting, not your sorry history, that was over two months ago, and I actually don’t remember at this point why I wrote that. You are motivating me to look at your edit history. Proud of it? I’m proud of mine, and I’ve always been public, real name available. I’ve never hidden and I’m responsible for what I write.

You are collateral damage and I was hoping to ameliorate it. Forget that!

From: X X <[redacted> Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2017 21:56:12 -0500

You are behaving unethically. It is really amazing.
Some days later I responded:
Abd ul-Rahman Lomax 12/07/2017 (11:45:21 AM MST)

confirmation bias. your approach to interpersonal communication can be predicted to fail. How often have you succeeded in creating cooperation by accusing someone of unethical behavior?

In none of this conversation have you shown that you were actually paying attention to what was said.

If you actually cared about removing that material, one would think you would cooperate first, then deal with “issues.” That’s exactly what I proposed.

However, you don’t, it’s obvious. Sanely, you would have immediately deleted that material from the obvious sock on your talk page, and would have located all other occurrences of WMF references to the documentation, and asked a steward or the stewards list (better) for rev-del or suppression of all of it (easy to find those, just follow the sock edits — and, of course, you can find all the recent socks on my study page on meta. That’s what it’s for. I would have done this except if you don’t care, why should I?

You could start at any time. Meanwhile, because that sock is active and has been encouraged to file a complaint with the WMF, I’ve taken precautions.

Can you point to any evidence that what I did was “unethical”? It is contrary to Wikipedia policy, but, Joshua, I’m banned. I have no contract with Wikipedia. (One of the stupid aspects of banning instead of working with a user to create cooperation, which is possible and I’ve proven it.)

I could sock there and point to the archive copies that I did not create — that sock did, and the evidence I have is conclusive — and keep it up. If I actually wanted to harass you, you’d be experiencing a lot more harassment. As it is, because of this incident and your response, I am studying your history more closely, something I’d never done. But that’s not being documented openly and won’t unless it appears to be useful, which I don’t know yet.

I do not start with an assumption of bad behavior and then look for proof. I don’t know what I will find. But I look.

The world is much broader than Wikipedia.

He did not respond. Again, a few days later, with developments as they arose, I wrote:

The problematic material I was willing to delete (and the rest, temporarily) was your present name and employment. I apologize for posting that information. It is not relevant to what you have done on wikipedia. I would advise you to live openly, but I have no intention of aiding those who might harass you.

My interest is in community process and often Wikipedia. Your wikipedia history and activity is quite relevant to my work and it is not private information. Your extensive attempts to cover it up are an attack on the ability of the community to police itself. You got away with a lot that would have resulted in blocks for anyone else, because of lack of documentation and short institutional memory.

As a courtesy, I am informing you of a study I have begun on the blog. This is on a “page,” not a “post,” i.e,. the blog part of the site. It may or may not be referenced from blogs, which more people read.

Comments on it are open and you may, if you wish, correct any errors there (or at least assert your position). You may also do so by email. I will consider removal of material, but make no promises on that.

Reviewing the history, you got in with a bad crowd. Hipocrite especially, a troll who told me on RationalWiki to “go fuck my kids.” (When that was tolerated by mods, I stopped doing anything much on RationalWiki.) Sometimes, Joshua, we suffer for the behavior of our friends, sometimes our “friends” are our worst enemies.

No response is required.

(I remain willing to cooperate with you in getting those archived pages deleted and the Thunderbolts forum post deleted. I asked again and this time actually posted a request, and the mod just responded to me, seeking clarification. “Corrections” would be useless. Cat out of bag.)

That was my last email to JPS. He did not complain about either of the last two. I would ordinarily not publish private email, but when “harassment” is claimed, privacy rights have been waived.

The moderator of Thunderbolts decided to delete the posts as a result of my communication with him. So at that point, the truly private information (even though found in public documents), his changed working name (legally changed? I don’t know) and current employment as an astronomer, was hidden except for the and copies his “friend” made in order to attack me. He showed no interest or inclination to confront the obvious disruptive troll.

So … I republished that information. The page I pointed to was retitled “Joshua P. Schroeder on Cold fusion,” and at this point it is mostly a list of 313 edits to the Wikipedia cold fusion article. Contrary to what is claimed, that page is not an “attack, ” unless describing with links what JPS has actually done on Wikipedia is an “attack.” It would not be the first time research and documentation has been considered an attack. But is it an attack? Perhaps he did good work?

He did some socking, those accounts are listed. I have not yet checked to see if they edited cold fusion.

The information, besides existing on and, might end up being actually useful to someone. I don’t know. I have not yet analyzed those editings, I merely spent the considerable time to copy them into the page, so I saw some idea of the extent. I could jump to conclusions, but it would not be thoroughly grounded. It might be contaminated by my understanding of Joshua Cude. Was he Joshua Cude? Elsewhere I state the reasons why I suspected it, but it doesn’t really matter.

It is not illegal to create and use an anonymous account. Whether it is ethical or not depends on how one uses the account.

With his comments on that Wikiversity Cold fusion request for deletion, he established himself as an active enemy of academic freedom, and someone willing to be highly deceptive in order to disparage another, with a serious charge, of harassing emails. He deserves no protection (even though I redacted his email address above. Perhaps he might want to communicate in the future, so I will protect that, at least … unless he actually started harassing me by email, which I doubt he would do.


In the original Anglo Pyramidologist study, there was this, one name is now bolded as is the disclaimer at the top:

The older Wikiversity SPA accounts possibly involved (listing here is not necessarily a claim of disruptive behavior):

MrRowser, his Wikiversity contributions, edited on 8 March and 14 March 2015.  His edits did not display extreme skepticism or incivility. There were a few hints that raised my eyebrows, but … the behavior was not disruptive. (Some others listed were actually disruptive.)

Then, after no apparent WMF editing with this account, for over two years, he showed up on the meta wiki, to address the Anglo Pyramidologist undeletion request.

Delete I just received an email from another user that I was included in Abd’s study so I will respond here. Abd has now ported this study to his personal website Abd/LTA/Anglo Pyramidologist. I did a handful of edits in regard to the Wikiversity article on parapsychology back in 2015. I am a skeptic who has published a handful of papers debunking psychics. I am not a fan of the parapsychology article on Wikiversity, it was written Abd’s friend Ben Steigmann a banned Wikipedia user and neo-Nazi. I am not a troll or a sock, vandal that Abd claims. I have never heard of AngloPyramidologist (what a stupid username!) so I would appreciate if Abd would please remove my username from your “study” which is now on your website and contains false information. This is defamation and I will email the Wikimedia project about this. You are not a steward here so I am not sure why you are hosting these personal investigations!? My username is now blacklisted on your personal website. Please remove. MrRowser (talk) 22:21, 26 December 2017 (UTC)

The study was open here for a short time, accidentally. That link is broken now, because the open page was caused by a WordPress duplicate page. Remove the 2 from the end and it would work now. When I saw this comment I immediately took it private. The arguments given are, however, vintage Anglo Pyramidologist. MrRowser was mentioned as shown above. Steigmann did not write the Wikiversity Parapsychology resource, though he contributed to it and was the author of a few subpages. Called Steigmann my “friend” has been common for AP, and so is pointing to his Wikipedia block (he is not banned there), but has been indef blocked. There is a difference. Calling him a neo-Nazi may or may not be correct, but is likely related to old positions, he has moved on. There are indications that the long-term conflict between Steigmann and AP were related to problems on other web sites. AP is possibly a fascist but certainly has a high interest in political organizations that have been called fascist. He was not called a “troll or sock,” then. He is now. He has not pointed to any false information. (Stating that he was possibly involved wasn’t a claim of being a troll or sock. There is evidence of some level of off-wiki coordination — notice the claimed email — but I have not emphasized this yet. He was making a legal threat (“defamation.”) “You are not a steward here” was commonly repeated by AP. His username was not “blacklisted” anywhere.

That density of false or misleading information is an AP characteristic. I suspect that he forgot that in 20165 he was running a good hand account. But AP does not care if he is identified and blocked. After all, he has created hundreds of accounts. An SPA is a throwaway, the only benefit gained is autoconfirmation, and it is easy to get that for a new account.

I considered filing a checkuser request, but … at this point MrRowser is not causing particular harm and I want to be quite careful about filing any more such. There are hostile watchers. So there would need to be benefit. I already know, from the evidence here, that MrRowser is an AP account and I don’t need checkuser for that. If he wants to prove that he is not AP, he could do so. I doubt he will try, but commentary is open here. I’ll see it.


I noticed you deleted his study which is a good thing! He has incorrectly put me on his study. See my edit here. Abd has now ported his study to his personal website [8]. How do I go about getting this removed? I am not the person he claims I am. According to another IP who has complained Abd is also attacking Wikipedia users on his website [9]. Is this behaviour to be tolerated?! MrRowser (talk) 22:27, 26 December 2017 (UTC)

Stirring up shit with stewards is another AP trait. AP has freely linked to my pages that are allegedly attacks, which is the direct opposite of how to handle them. AP has even archived pages allegedly containing privacy violations, so that I could not even hide them, and then linked to the archive. The page he points to is primarily a list of the edits of Joshua P. Schroeder. It consists of a list of his accounts and then a list of his edits to the Cold fusion article on Wikipedia. That’s an “attack”? However, JPS strongly dislikes exposure of his activities, and has been allied with AP socks in the past.

My blog pages do not violate any WMF policy. He was wasting Vittuzu’s time.  The full discussion in which I suggested that Vituzzu checkuser MrRowser, and MrRowser replied, digging the hole deeper:

Abd you included my username in your LTA study and you have been writing about me on your website.

He is not careful. He slips. At that point “MrRowser” had not been mentioned on this site. The other IPs recently commenting also made the same claim, that I was writing about them. But the study is only about AP socks, including recent socks locked and blocked for disruption. Is he one of them? There were a very few users mentioned in the study that were reasonably suspected as being involved in some way, withotu definitive identification, which could include meat puppetry — and MrRowser is effectively admitting meat puppetry here. He wanted the study deleted because, in fact, it is about him. He went on:

I have been emailed what you have been doing, you have now deleted the evidence on your website which is very dishonest because you are now running scared.

That damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t-argument has been used often by AP. “Evidence”? He complained about being “included” in a study that was accidentally published, and so I deleted it, and he claims that this means I am “running scared.” Identified AP socks have claimed that. At that point, by the way, I had not seen the extended evidence that he thoughtfully provided that, in fact, he’s AP (or one of the family).

You wrote to another IP on the undeletion request that your study only included “blocked” users, but that is a lie because it included many unblocked IPS!

Two things happened recently. AP stopped using logged-in accounts and started using open proxies. Those were blocked. Then he started using a mobile phone provider (O2). Stewards will be reluctant to block those, because they are constantly reassigned. I took a look at the range involved, and there are many edits probably not AP. However, geolocation is very close to that of known AP IP. Without looking at the post … he provided no link — I don’t know if the claim was true at the time. AP often distorts what has been written in a way that makes it untrue. It can be a small shift, a single word omitted, for example, and if someone looks at the evidence, they might fall for it!

You have included innocent people in your study such as myself and other IPs who are not socks.

An IP is not a person. An IP which continues the exact arguments of a blocked IP/user will often be tagged as a sock. Vituzzu could have confirmed or disconfirmed this, though AP is getting more sophisticated and knows how to defeat checkuser. The narrow focus and arguments, though, completely betray that MrRowser is AP.

I just told you it is defamation and within 20 minutes of my reply you deleted it from your website.

I did that immediately, giving him the benefit of the doubt. I did that from his first edit, and thanked him for calling attention to it. As have other AP socks, he is making an attempt to comply with a request, at least temporarily, into a claim of misbehavior, “dishonesty.” I explained the page and the removal in my response to him in the request for undeletion he linked to.

I was not agreeing that it was defamation. The comment can be seen above. It was not defamation at all.

You have been accusing innocent people of being Anglopyramidologist, a user you have a vendetta against for allegedly creating your Rationalwiki article.

AP makes up arguments that he thinks will fly with his audience. First of all, he is not “innocent,” but he wasn’t accused. By the way, AP socks, mentioning AP usually mispell it, perhaps so that Google searches will fail. Just one more small sign. Secondly, I did not have a vendetta against AP, but AP attacked a user, using impersonation socks to make him seem far more disruptive than any actuality (the reality was very minor, a small amount of socking, not disruptive in itself, except for being block evasion. AP has done a hundred times that, and disruptively, attacking.) So I investigated, realized what a huge sock family there was, and started to document it. AP went bananas, creating more and more socks. That made me think I was onto something! The RationalWiki article, which he is pleased to link to, did not exist at that point. AP vowed he would get even and he has now succeeded in obtaining a deletion decision on Wikiversity — which is trashing Wikiversity traditions — but I had already decided to not invest more work in Wikiversity itself, and the recent sequence shows that the decision was sane.

No, the vendetta is his, and that will be documented more thoroughly. He announced it plentifully, as a threat! However, I don’t intend to stop documenting what he is done and it will now be on this blog, cooperating with others who have done the same for some time. I can now reveal some of what was kept private because I was still working with WMF policies and traditions. I have much more freedom here.

As the IP pointed out in the un-deletion request, you originally wrote here [10], Friends and Enemies.

And what does that mean? It’s still up, that page. The link is to a diff where I was changing the section name from Friends and Enemies to a clearer expression of the intention, . “Other persons named by AP”

You appear to being using this website to attack users you have personal issues against, your “enemies”.

No, AP names others in many of his account names, and they mostly are his enemies. It’s a behavioral characteristic, that is obvious, if one looks at the list of account names. Apparently this argument fooled a Wikiversity administrator who referred to it.

I also do not understand your other LTA study [11], it lists socks of AngloPyramidologist which are found here [12] active from 2011-2015 on Wikipedia but then you added about 50 other accounts unrelated to AngloPyramidologist that were active on Wikiversity in 2017.

Actually active on Wikipedia, Wikiversity, and meta. He understands. He’s lying.

Your study is not supported by solid check-user evidence and you appear to be making false connections.

Appear to whom? AP made a few mistakes that connected the older and newer accounts. This argument is a particular obsession of AP. “You have no technical evidence” he has said many times. First of all, the duck test evidence is even stronger than checkuser technical evidence. They are, however, supportive of each other. I have private evidence, and he had edited IP on RationalWiki there in a way that connected him with a newly blocked sock in the Michaelskater series. That was promptly revision deleted, but I was a sysop at the time and could read such edits. The IP had edited a Wikipedia article, carrying on the work of HealthyGirl, who had been blocked as an AP sock.

Most of the former meta LTA study is from checkuser evidence, though. What MrRowser is arguing is that there is no proof that there are not two separate families of socks. Who is the judge?

For my own life and what I write, I am. I am responsible.

You are not a steward so you should not be conducting these investigations. AngloPryamidologist was a sockpuppeteer but I do not see evidence he was any of those accounts in 2017.

So? There are many incorrect sock identifications on Wikipedia. (and AP created some of them!) Why is he obsessed with this one? It’s obvious. And “you are not a steward” is a common AP argument. True, but without consequences. Stewards don’t do investigations that lead to checkuser requests. The community does, those who decide to do it.

I just read over what the various IPS have written about all this.

I will be putting all that together to make it easy to review.

Admins have complained about your behaviour [13], you have also accused innocent IPs of being AngloPyramidologist which they have denied [14][15].

They are not innocent. The most recent O2 IPs geolocate to AP’s home location, which, of course, I could not reveal on meta. They were continuing the same arguments as the blocked open proxies he had been using just before that, and those open proxies connect with technical evidence to much AP activity. What they were doing was exactly what AP socks had promised they would do, in an apparent attempt to intimidate me.

You have sent another Wikipedia user harassing emails [16]

He claimed that, yes. Did I actually send harassing emails? I will show the emails to a qualified functionary with a need to know, but I sent one email to Joshua P. Schroeder through the WMF interface, to his current user name, which the IPs had pointed me to.

The way that works is that it is forwarded by the WMF to the addressee, who may ignore it or respond. The original mail was an offer to cooperate in getting certain material taken down from another web site and then saved on and by AP. And, yes I have proof of that. JPS responded, which he would not do for a harassing mail (he has claimed to be harassed for years, and it certainly wasn’t me!) We went back and forth and he never requested I stop mailing him, though he did not reply to my last mail, I think. This is not “harassing emails.” However, as a result of that false claim, which was libelous and may have influenced the thinking of others, I have returned all the material that I had hidden.

AP thinks it is perfectly okay to out and defame users on RationalWiki — and he did create that article on me, that is quite clear, but if someone documents what he does, he’s oh, so offended. He is a liar and a hypocrite and probably fucks sheep without their consent.

Ahem. I’m human and I can actually get angry. Reading MrRowser lying, over and over, I am reminded this is not about some attack on “skeptics,” or, from the other side, simply exposing pseudoscience and “woo.” Genuine skepticism — ancient and honorable — does not need to lie, ever. There is a far darker agenda involved here. It’s been exposed on many sites, and I’ll be collecting that muck as well. This is about violations of basic human decency.

 and you defame him on your website [17][18] on several articles

Where is the defamation there? 17 is a link to a page on JPS edits to Cold fusion. It is, at this point, almost entirely a list of edits without comment. If anything there is defamation, I appreciate knowing. (But I will probably begin to analyze the edits, so it could be come more, ah, controversial.

18 is a link to a list of his accounts and, now, what had been removed, his current real name and current position as an astronomer. Information like this is routinely posted on RationalWiki, without the consent of the targets, largely by AP (many articles have been documented in the RationalWiki page). That is certainly not defamation, or is it, Mr. Smith?

According to another admin you spoke to there have been numerous complaints about your behaviour. The same admin on that talk-page says the Wikimedia foundation have received “numerous legitimate complaints about your activity over a long period of time.”

I’m easily accessible and I have received no indication of Foundation interest and I’m told by someone who should know that the Foundation is very unlikely to be interested. People have complained about me for years. Why? Well, I confronted administrative abuse on Wikipedia, successfully (one admin reprimanded that then one who came after me, possibly in retribution, desysopped), and people who do that had better be prepared to face complaints.

In my training — yes, I’m trained — we were told, “If you are not being shot at, you are not doing anything worth wasting bullets on.” A bit of an unusual perspective, eh?

My own version, before the training, related to Wikipedia Rule Number One: (If a rule prevents you from improving the project, ignore the rule.) If you have not been blocked, you are not trying hard enough to improve the project. It follows from the Rule and from human nature.

As this IP wrote [19], you are using these “LTA” studies to “defame” innocent people. You then link to it on your personal website.

He does not name one innocent person defamed! Over 200 socks are listed, plus a few IP addresses globally locked and then a few checkuser-declined (for technical reasons). (And the LTA studies are completely independent from the material about JPS or others sometimes described on these pages, except that AP is now attempting to create allies by claiming a common “enemy.” That is another AP trait.

To defame a person I must name them or show their identity. Mobile phone IP addresses, which this user was so concerned to defend, are not identified people, as such, and cannot be defamed. However, we can share that information because it may be useful to an administrator somewhere, and there are also legal actions being contemplated by some. AP has allegedly real-life harassed people, with phone calls and threats, and his internet activities have caused damage to business interests. Sooner or later someone with resources that can be dedicated to that will say “enough!”

I have not been harmed, or I’d be talking to an attorney myself. But I will cooperate with anyone needing assistance. AP is defaming people under real names (such as me! but many others)

You also have an obsession with claiming different people are “AP” a target of yours, as another IP pointed out this is extreme paranoia.

Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you.

However, I present evidence, not just wild accusations. I was originally completely ignorant of AP, I knew a little about one sock, Goblin Face, but no idea that this was a sock of a large family of socks. Just seemed like a highly opinionated user, and ready to make accusations of others. It was Wikipedia business which hasn’t been my business, as such, for about six years. Except I am interested and involved with cold fusion, and the state of the article there is atrocious, so I have researched sources that others might use if they choose.

I can assure you none of us are that stupid user from years ago!!

This is absolutely amazing. He is describing himself as “one of us,” which must be one of a number of people named in the study, which describes, for the largest part, blocked and socked users, who have lied and been uncovered and blocked and locked. He could mean the recent IPs, which geolocate the same as AP. It’s like he believes readers won’t put that together. And he might be right. Wikis seem to generate clueless users, or burn them out and make them so.

I do not know what the official rule on off-site harassment is, but as you have been harassing different Wikipedia users on your website I will email the Wikimedia Foundation and see what they say about this. You obviously need to be blocked because you have no intention of stopping. MrRowser (talk) 02:49, 27 December 2017 (UTC)

He will be wasting their time. I doubt he will actually email, because it would reveal more about his real identity, and the WMF will ignore anonymous complaints, I’m fairly sure. I cannot be stopped by the WMF, even if they wanted to, and they don’t. That is, my account could be locked, that they can do. But that would not stop me at all, it would merely give me higher motivation, which all of AP’s fuss has done.

He seems to have believed his own propaganda, that I was using Wikiversity to “push” pseudoscience. I actually stopped most work on Wikiversity years ago because I concluded it wasn’t safe, it was vulnerable to attack from Wikipedians, in this case led by a troll, obviously socking. And that reveals a great deal about Wikipedia and about wikis in general. I just found out out obtuse some administrators can be.

So the guy walks across the street to a police officer to report a mugging taking place, and the officer arrests him for jaywalking. However, when life gives me lemons, I don’t just make lemonade, I make lemon chiffon pie or lemon chicken. Yippee!

I warned AP that I was the Tar Baby and that attacking me was a Bad Idea. His response was to complain about 73-year old cranks who should not be allowed access to the internet. Ah, no respect for elders! His choice, though.

MrRowser now does actually join the list. Previously, there was only a mild suspicion and his edits looked much like common skeptical edits, reasonably ordinary.

MrRowser is not merely suggesting that he was improperly “blacklisted” — the study was not a blacklist at all, and had no such effect — he was attacking the list and supporting and using the block on RationalWiki, which he linked to (such external links will normally be considered harassment), which block was by … an AP sock; one such sock claimed, on RW to be “running the place” and to have about 700 socks. Joke? Maybe. Like editors affiliated with what was called in reliable source a “cabal” had, almost always, a “Cabal Approved” template on their user pages.


And now another clue. An AP sock just posted notes on my Wikiversity talk page:

he also attacks Wikiversity and Wikipedia admins on his website.

I have made references to a Wikipedia administrator,JzG; and I have not reviewed them for consideration as “attacks.” However, Wikiversity administrators? Where? The only Wikiversity users I have discussed here have been AP socks (on the AP study page) and … this page, just created, on MrRowser. Or is he simply lying? In any case, I am putting together a study of recent events on Wikiversity, and connecting them with a long-term trend, where Wikiversity was slowly going down the tubes. I have never told the story in one place. It will name names, which would have been avoided, generally, before now. I’m going to add the IP information to the AP study and tell why I conclude the IPs are Anglo Pyramidologist.


Anglo Pyramidologist



This study of the massive socking called “Anglo Pyramidologist” was originally on the meta wiki, the first study having been moved from wikiversity to avoid disruption, as the file User:Abd/LTA/Anglo Pyramidologist, but was deleted there for mysterious reasons, given that it was the source, the evidence, for a list of socks that was allowed by the same steward. That page was ported here from an archive of the meta page and I am removing all the chatty discussion of why I started the study, etc., the page before such stripping can be read at

When hosted on meta,  I attempted to comply with WMF privacy policy, and some material was not disclosed there, that is disclosed here, where there is no such restriction. This user is the most disruptive and libelous I have ever seen, and does not deserve protection, and those who are protecting him (and there are some), are taking a side against decency, not to mention WMF neutrality policy.


  • MrRowser deserves a special honor being at this point the most recent identified AP sock to edit using his account. (Identified by the duck test.)  There are other new IP accounts listed.
 There are indications that AP is more than one person, two brothers are often mentioned on other sites (Oliver and Darryl Smith) and there may be a third brother or a sister (HealthyGirl?). Behavioral differences may be seen.
Complicating matters is that, as Anglo Pyramidologist is known to impersonate enemies in order to bring down  the thunder on them, it is possible that he has also been impersonated. He has not complained about this, as far as I know, and it has not been investigated using checkuser or similar tools, to my knowledge. I am finding, for sure, strong signs that almost all of the activity is coming from one location in England, where IP can be identified (the user often uses open proxies, but not always).
This will be covered in the IP section.
On Wikipedia, though, all the accounts are classified as Anglo Pyramidologist, they don’t really care if it is one or two people, if they behaviorally match one of the tagged accounts, and/or are confirmed by checkuser (which can fail to distinguish between people using the same internet access).


Inclusion of an account here is not a claim that identification is correct, only that it — or suspicion — can be documented in some way. If a claim is included that is not documented, correction is invited.
The recent activity has been through SPAs, which register and dive immediately into high conflict discussions, these are easily recognized. Most recently, open proxies and then mobile phone IP addresses have been used
You can delete this message if you like. Just to let you know I will not be further engaging you. It seems you live for this drama, I will not longer be involved. I will do my best behind the scenes via email to get admins to delete all your material.
He meant it, and he has done just that, but was lying when he said he would not be involved. He continued to create sock puppets — or to create disruption with open proxies and then mobile IP>
If you want to spend the rest of your life stalking someone that is up to you, but it is not healthy.
On his favorite web site, RationalWiki, that is called “concern trolling.” The sock master has obviously been stalking Ben Steigmann, then me, and many others.
I object to such a thing. I am done with this.
Excellent, but he just contradicted that with a threat of endless effort.

I would like to add though that AngloPyramidologist is innocent. If you want the debunker of parapsychology/or pseudoscience it is me.

This would be, I tentatively assume, Darryl Smith, whereas AP was Oliver Smith. I don’t really care. Both were disruptive and the checkuser evidence does not distinguish. There does appear to be crossover, i.e., some shared interests. If the original AP is inactive, good for him, but the other brother, then has also taken on some of his brother’s interests, because the original patterns still show up.

I have debated Ben in the past, he knows who I am, I have talked to him on Wikipedia in 2014. I have nothing against Ben personally, unfortunately he uses Wikipedia to promote his fringe beliefs, he promised in 2014 not to come back but his mistake was coming back in 2017.

Obsession with Ben Steigmann is an AP trait.

Take care. Btw I do object to the ‘troll’ allegations. I have written over 250 articles on Wikipedia. As to this very day 30/9/2017 I have four Wikipedia accounts and 12 others I occasionally use, the admins are only interested in banning vandals.

Most of the provocative posts this user made were trolling, poking, attempting to find some vulnerability that could be exploited. On Wikipedia, this user, perhaps hiding his true mission, would poke and provoke until a naive user explodes … and then he can get the person blocked for incivility. There is a trail of wreckage, if one were to look back.

If you are atheist, pro-skeptic like me and debunking fringe beliefs the admins love us.

If admins love this, they have lost the core of Wikipedia, NPOV, in favor of something they like personally. I could think of a couple who might, but most would recoil in horror, and the SPOV faction has lost every time the issue comes to serious community attention.

I can’t go wrong. I was even offered paid work from the owner of a skeptic group.

There are possible connections between AP, the faction mentioned, and a well-known “skeptic group,” but others are working on that aspect of this. I’m not, at this point. That is, I think this may be true, and I may know who that “owner” is. However, I also know that it is possible that some enemy of those people is pretending to be their friend, here.


I still create articles perhaps 12 or so a week. I have serious knowledge and I have improved the Wikipedia in skeptical related articles in relation to fringe beliefs.

I have found some recent activity, but I have not begun systematic study. Now, if this is true, why would he tell me? Indications are that this person is mid-twenties, and is obviously arrogant. He is likely unaware of all the ways that activity can be studied, that socks can be identified. He may imagine that certain defenses are impregnable. Truth, however, tends to out. If he stops attempting to disrupt Wikiversity, and to attack me, maybe I’ll never get to it. He’s been quiet for a day now. I’ve been warned that these people never give up, so we’ll see.

Your statement we are all vandals or doing illegal activity is false.

First of all, there may only be one of him. Secondly, impersonation with intention to defame is a crime almost everywhere.

This is common in his arguments, they misrepresent what has been said. It has not been claimed that the accounts or IPs are “all vandals or doing illegal activity.”

Take care and Good bye. My advise for you would be to give up. You are fighting a war you cannot win.

I’ve already won, thanks to reality. Survival is a game that we always lose, eventually, if that’s the game we play and the war we fight. However, at my age, every day that I’m still alive is a victory, and the mystery is how many more I have left to win.

You will never work out who I am or get rid of me from Wikipedia.

Leon. From a tower (talk) 01:24, 30 September 2017 (UTC) [this section has a link to the edit in the heading]

Relying on sources I consider reasonably reliable, I have some developed opinions as to personal identity, I’ve mentioned that. This would be AP/D, probably. It doesn’t matter. I’m unlikely to sue, because I have not been damaged. Some, however, might.

If Wikipedia is infested with him, that’s their problem, not mine. No critical interest of mine depends on Wikipedia at all. Nor, in fact, on Wikiversity or any WMF wiki. There are sincere people there, working for the goal of a user-created encyclopedia based on neutral presentation of what is in reliable sources, and that goal is damaged by those who work to selectively exclude some point of view or position, rather than channelling these into collaborative work. Wikiversity, not having limited space for specific topics, is not normally afflicted by factional wars, AP/D attempted to take such conflict there. He failed, because I recognized what had happened and addressed it.

(However, the last attack, by IP, including canvassing on Wikipedia, drawing in his faction, the one that he claims “loves him.” And something was indeed going on behind the scene, because admin response on Wikiversity (1) completely ignored the previous history and obvious personal attacks, and (2) served the AP agenda.  The effect of that is to demonstrate conclusively to me that Wikiversity is not safe, so, unless something drastically shifts, bye bye Wikiversity!

I will continue to document what has happened and is happening. I’m not dead yet.

 SPI investigation archive for Anglo Pyramidologist

roughly 190 socks on Wikipedia, plus IP
11 April 2011

15 June 2011

28 November 2011
13 December 2011
above confirmed mutual.
21 September 2011
27 September 2011
03 October 2011
03 October 2011, take 2
05 October 2011
IP check declined for privacy reasons. There was “other behavior” which the checkuser declined to disclose. I have a suspicion of off-wiki coordinated editing, and the checkuser may have detected actual sock accounts and left them alone. I may look more closely at this later. These are all Verizon wireless. So why doesn’t the account register, if they want to edit that much? Likely reason: they don’t want to be identified. Wikipedia went overboard in privacy protection. Privacy is important, but … sometimes there are higher values. I don’t know if that applies here, yet.
It appears that IPs were blocked. These IPs don’t look like AP, but … open proxies or something else.
02 November 2011
all confirmed. match to BookWorm44.
13 June 2012
claimed to be w:User:Earthisalive
Quack. Previously blocked as User:Earthisalive, now returning as User:The earth has a mind, First edit is to recreate European origin of modern humans as Out of Europe theory. Check user requested to check for sleepers. SummerPhD (talk) 23:35, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Follow-up. Mentions a series of articles deleted, that lead to RationalWiki articles and more possible socks there. AP has been claiming that he has created many Wikipedia articles and RationalWiki articles. Yes, he has. Often very disruptive articles, the cloaca of RationalWiki. See the tip of the iceberg in the RationalWiki/Anglo Pyramidologist study. 
29 September 2012

From a combination of the duck test (which I have not confirmed (but the account names!!!), I have not yet studied these account activities) and the checkuser confirmations, I suspect that AP may have been using some kind of open proxy then, though that also seems unlikely.

11 November 2012
24 December 2014
10 June 2015
all confirmed

17 January 2016

At this point investigations were moved to Anglo Pyramidologist

29 March 2016

all confirmed. Again, Anglo Pyramidologist asserted as master.

08 August 2016

all confirmed.

28 September 2016

Meta checkuser/lock reports

Filed 20 September 2017

Filed 24 September 2017

Locked 26 Sept 2017

26 accounts. New ones not listed above

Locked 27 Sept 2017

Filed October 15, 2017

locked in this sequence (no explicit checkuser request or report, and not all socks will be seen, no active watch will be maintained, only accounts seen as actively disruptive by the duck test or inferred from logs)

Other locks

IP reports

Mobile IP

Additional suspected socks, not yet handled globally

Detailed study comparing users

Because a probable AP sock has claimed to have multiple active accounts, a study of the editing patterns of AP socks, as well as possible suspect users, is in order. On this subpage, links will facilitate study of contributions and data generated by user comparison tools. Being listed on this subpage is not an accusation of sock puppetry, because there are multiple possible causes of comparison positives. Correction of errors in data or analysis is invited. Please be careful about privacy policy, real-name identification is prohibited. Even if a user has admitted to real-name identification, it should be avoided. The subpage is /User data. —Abd (talk) 14:04, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
This was a meta subpage and is still there.

connection between Anglo Pyramidologist and the Michael skater sock family

(I have seen evidence connecting AP to Michael skater, to be supplied with any filing that depends on it. These users are all blocked on Wikipedia (except as noted above, i.e., possible innocent bystanders). Michael skater socks have generally been globally locked.) I do not assume that all identifications above are correct. After all, the Michael skater socks were identified and tagged as Blastikus in the Bastikus case archive. It only matters if a tagging is then used as evidence against a user cross wiki, as happened with Blastikus (Ben Steigmann), as socks were designed to implicate him, see cheesecloths ben steigmann above. Could an enemy of AP have run these socks to get him whacked? If so, it failed. However, there are known agendas, and, with some care, it can be seen that the false flag socks, which exist, are designed to interrupt and damage the impersonated user while, sometimes, pretending to share the user’s point of view.
There are additional clues in the latest suspected socks that have not yet been checkuser connected, even though one admits to being Michael skater. Because the history is rife with possible impersonations and red herrings,I am not starting there.

Identifiable characteristics of Michael skater socks

Michael skater contributions

  • registered enwiki 22 June, 2017
  • filed SPI for Blastikus.[4]
  • claims to have been following Ben Steigmann on Wikiversity, claims Ben Steigmann (BS)is banned.
  • points to edits of Psychicbias and Myerslover (Steigmann) to w:Frederic W. H. Myers. Meyerslover (Steigmann) reverted by IP with same POV as skater, which also edits w:Bruce Lipton, fringe, epigenetics, “crank,” “quacks.” check geolocation.
  • BS allegedly pushing “psychic beliefs” on Wikiversity
  • reveals alleged BS IP
  • asked if he has another account, does not answer, but says he does not want to reveal his Wikiversity account for fear of being targeted by BS.[5]. This would necessarily be off-wiki drama, if there was anything like that. BS was non-disruptive on Wikiversity, and his WP socking was low-key and not characterized by personal attack or disruption (other than being block evasion, and that was not extensive).
  • pings Manul
  • Edits as IP (forgot password). check geolocation.

more analysis

The following material was rev-del’d for “personal information.” [6] based on a complaint from one of the socks, now globally locked. There was a link to a critical wiki that gave the name of the real-life person allegedly behind AP. I have removed that link. If any other material here violates policy, please suggest changes on Talk. Any registered (not SPA) user may also remove specific allegedly offensive material here. Disruptive editing will be reported. However, this was the complaint that led to the rev-del:[7]
Doxxing and harassment from abd
Abd is personally stalking mikemikev, anglo-pyramidologist, manul and other Wikipedia editors and writing false claims about them [8], he has no technical evidence linking any of those accounts to Ben Steigmann but presents his speculations as factual. He also links to a real life name that is alleged to be of a Wikipedia account, taken from internet troll Rome Viharo‘s website. Can you remove the doxing and stalking? I fail to see why this is being put onto Wikiversity. Abd is a 72 year old man who seems to spend his time online now stalking people. This sort of behaviour and the doxing is unhealthy and breaking multiple laws. Antifa activist (discuss • contribs) 21:08, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Remarkable — and ironic: the user has given a link that will lead to much more independent information. that was not necessary. This is classic, and this is a long-term user, one might imagine that he would know to report alleged doxxing by email to an admin, not on a public page, because that will call attention to it. However, the real purpose was to irritate the administrator and lead to action to be seen — by me — as harassment. In fact, the admin properly offered to email me the rev-del’d content (completely proper) and I saw all this as evidence that some nerve had been touched.
The report to Dave lies: that page complained about, copied here, did not claim fact, but collected evidence and some preliminary opinion (some of which was incorrect). There is technical evidence for much of the linkage (i.e., checkuser reports) but the duck test can actually be stronger. This user attacked many other users as socks without “technical evidence” in his activity, specifically the sock activity reported in w:Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Blastikus/Archive#19 August 2017 which followed w:Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Blastikus/Archive#22 June 017 filing by the same user as behind the disruptive sock activity.
The page did not accuse w:User:Manul, mentioned in the study, of any wrong-doing, nor have I found evidence of that. Manul is not responsible for v:User:Friend of Manul nor v:Manuls brother.
w:User:Mikemikev, blocked on Wikipedia, may have been the target of impersonation, as have been others; this appears to be a developed behavior.
There are piles of false accusations, in many places, from AP, and he is essentially a troll, seeking to upset others. Yes, I’ve been spending a lot of time on this case over the last week or so, because AP had done extensive damage, harming others through impersonation, personal attack (often with outing) and damaging wiki content. It took a great deal of research, looking at maybe hundreds of pages, to put together what had happened, and that, then, led to steward requests, granted, and the basic conclusions were confirmed, and then the threatening and menacing response that followed demonstrated deeply the character of this person. He’s obsessed, obviously. I spent a week, he has spent at least six years, with some indications of more than that.
Off-wiki activity will not be documented here unless permitted by wiki administration. But the user does, himself, provide some documentation, as can be seen above. Rome Viharo was a long-term target who decided to fight back.
Per w:WP:stalking, documenting the behavior of wiki users is not, per se, stalking. It is ordinary research, and, in fact, this SPA routinely violated privacy in filing Wikipedia sock puppet investigations and in recent editing.

Tracking one case back

This starts with an account on Wikiversity: v:User:Sci-fi- This led to w:User:Michael skater on Wikipedia. A host of accounts, including this one, were identified by a steward as likely related.
Looking at the list of accounts Identified as Michael skater, I found two that had only edited Commons, one upload each. These were accounts that would be of high interest to Mikemikev, or at least possibly so.
(Interests of Mikemikev, at that time, would overlap those of AP/O. The link between Mikemikev and AP came from RationalWiki, as found by another here. There is more misdirection by an AP sock there. The puppet master here has done what he did on Wikipedia, on other wikis, creating impersonation accounts, creating misdirected responses. He has succeeded in getting targets blocked and banned elsewhere.)
I requested block of those accounts and deletion of the remaining image upload, and that was promptly done. The image ofw:John Fuerst that was deleted led to a usage on RationalWiki, asserted there by a user immediately after upload, and that image went to a redlink when the Commons image was deleted, causing attention and re-upload on RationalWiki. This, then, led, through IP evidence, to recently active IP editing Wikipedia, working on an article that had been the work of w:User:HealthyGirl, blocked as a sock of w:User:Anglo Pyramidologist. John Fuerst himself would be a particular interest of AP/O, while HG’s interests might match those of AP/D. This kind of cross-over seems common. The IP would, then, could be shared IP, linking the two users. The AP accounts have created an incredible mess.
This edit is astonishing. An identified sock of AP, [w:User:Evil Boglin] accuses another, w:User:Goblin Face, of being AP andw:User:HealthyGirl. In this edit, another AP sock, w:User:Late night joggersee this diff, defends HG and is whacked by the admin. The arguments are similar to those made recently by AP/D, and AP/D is apparently real-life involved with one of the founders of Guerilla Skeptics, who might share some agenda on occasion. “Involved” must likely be real-life because of IP identification. GS users come from many locations, though, what has been amazing to me is how much this has *not* been the case. Fooling checkuser is not all that difficult, but AP doesn’t seem to bother. I will not detail how it can be done!
Writing styles may be different. However, a person may also wear more than one hat. Real-life data has shown — I am told by a source I deem reliable — that there are, however, two brothers with the names asserted in various places on the web. So the “my brother did it” excuse, the subject of some level of ridicule on Wikipedia, may actually be somewhat true. But both brothers were disruptive and blocked in their own right. Birds of a feather may have literally been born together.
Again, looking for connections, I looked back at Wikiversity history for accounts with similar behavior, and found several, and one of those led me to Mikemikev as an identified puppet master, from Wikipedia checkuser that caught them. Since Single-unified login, Wikipedia logins are created, often, automatically for people who register on Wikiversity, so Wikipedia checkuser may pick up a consequence of Wikiversity activity. Listed as a Mikemikev sock was w:User:Goblin Face which then connects with even older accounts. I took this back to Anglo Pyramidologist. These various puppet master accounts had not been connected on Wikipedia.
The link to mikemikev was likely an error; rather the same interest would be relevant for AP, long-term. —Abd (talk) 19:24, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
The older Wikiversity SPA accounts possibly involved (listing here is not necessarily a claim of disruptive behavior):
Link to external web site removed as containing personal identifying information.
(This was from the original SPA study on Wikiversity, revision deleted. It was a page containing the name of one of the Smith brothers, perhaps this one.
The site is a Wikipedia criticism site, started by someone who had experienced high disruption on Wikipedia. There are many such sites, his would be relatively sober. His site led me back to w:User:Dan skeptic, who created an “alternate account” before being blocked. That was w:User:Goblin Face, a name I was familiar with from years back, having seen the disruption well before Goblin Face was blocked. Sometimes Wikipedia continues with w:WP:AGF well beyond sanity, as long as vulnerable editors are being attacked, i.e., editors with some minority point of view. DS and GF were a sometimes-not-recognized kind of SPAs, i.e., a “skeptical” point of view — and it is a point of view, as practiced by the abusers — will appear as an interest in many different articles and someone may look at contributions and not see the connection. But a high level of attack on others, not Assuming Good Faith, should properly cause a suspension of that assumption with regard to them. This may actually happen if there is an Arbitration case, but, unfortunately, Wikipedia can be a bit like Lord of the Flies. The “community” — meaning those who show up — can be a vicious mob, not the intention of “consensus” enshrined in policy. A structural problem, and considered quite a difficult one.
In any case, the ”’redacted”’ page refers to brothers. In one of the old SPI discussions, one brother claimed that problem edits were by his brother. This is a common sock defense. However, there may actually be two brothers. As well, the user is aware of defense against checkuser. I have historically, found ways to penetrate the defense, but it is tedious and requires co-temporal editing, it is not useful for sequential socking. The user claims that Ben Steigmann used a defense, but there is no sign that Ben used any active method of avoiding detection. Rather, pot, kettle, black. Maybe. The user did not use defensive methods in the recent Attack of the Massive Inpersonating Socks — possibly because he wanted them all to be identified as socks, but as socks of Steigmann! Howeeer, he also did not use defensive methods to protect *other accounts” which were then revealed. This is the realilty of using VPNS to avoid detection: it’s a nuisance, and given that one can, with low cost, use new accounts as throwaways, an LTA may not bother. He will create accounts to toss mud, he will do it as quickly as possible, and maybe some will stick.
These are just pointers to tracks. There is at least one w:WP:LTA here in fact, though not in recognition on that page. Hundreds of socks. Maybe more than one LTA. This much is clear at this point. Ben Steigmann, the supposed target, is not an LTA. I just reviewed his Blastikus talk page. Very common story. Editor writes too much. Nobody was advising him, just warning him, and nobody telling him what the actual problem was. He did eventually figure it out, but did not know how to recover. When I was active on Wikipedia, I used to identify such users and advise them. If they listened, they often avoided being blocked. I saw only one serious process there: An [ ANI notice] in May, 2011. Common practice on this used to annoy the hell out of me, because when one comes along later, finding the notice is a PITA. However, I know how to do it. What can be tricky is finding the full discussion, not just how it looked when that notice was posted. Here it is. My, my, my. Very common problem. User is convinced an article is Wrong, and then argues at great length on the Talk page. It does matter if he is right or wrong, this will be very much disliked by the community. So when he is warned, he thinks the warning is aying that he is Wrong. About what he’s been advocating. No, and then he’s taken to ANI. And what does he do? He argues — at great length, and with low skill — that he is right. Sometimes users like this can be helped, but Wikipedia typically has no patience for them. Wikiversity does, basically, the Wikiversity structure allows almost endless expression, within reasonable limits, especially on a single page or a tight family of pages, not presented as “neutral.” And if what he was claiming is considered truly offensive (such as it actually being “anti-Semitic,” a point he was arguing endlessly about — or it actually appearing so, because what counts in community decisions is appearance, not necessarily reality — he’d be stopped. But when he eventually came to Wikiversity, he did not misbehave. And I’ve seen that again and again. Give a disruptive user something constructive to do, something of interest to them, many will become constructive. Blastikus was blocked, as was more or less predictable. Looking at his block log, my thought is “They shoot baby seals.” It used to be that if a user was disruptive, there were graduated blocks, to get the user’s attention. Here, the user was immediately indef blocked. I agree that a block was appropriate, but zero to indef in one action? However, some administrators have zero tolerance for what they don’t understand — or have a view of “disruptive users” that they cannot change. Users can change, it it is rare that it happens in one day. So Blastikus argued with the blocks with repeated unblock templates. Nobody told him this was a Bad Idea. If there are pages giving guidance for what to do if blocked, what works — and what doesn’t work — I never saw them. Maybe I should have created one, but I pretty much know what would have happened. It would have been attacked as So, then, sock puppet investigations.
Joe Slovo blocked by duck test, which is heavily vulnerable to possible “POV ban,” i.e, a user with an apparent POV similar to that of a blocked user is blocked as a sock “by the duck test.” It happens fairly commonly.
Pottinger’s Cats blocked, as possibly compromised account. Possible impersonation. A very suspicious “confession.” I will check to see later if Steigmann acknowledged this account. [He did. —Abd (talk) 14:06, 1 October 2017 (UTC)]
Pile of IPs. Checkuser ID’s as same IP user as topic banned [9]. No identification as Blastikus at this point. (ban was a discretionary sanction, meaning only one admin created it. ArbComm created that to make arbitration enforcement easier, then POV admins drove a truck through it. Which is not a claim that this particular action was incorrect, just that these things are not necessarily reliable.
The SPI was filed by vzaak. That seems familiar to me. User talk page was deleted, for personal attacks. User name gone. The page history was concealed by the one who copied content from another page. Well, I’ve been here before. Finding another talk page edit signed with “vzaak” the edit was at 23:40, 31 August 2013. Page history tells me vzaak wasw:User:Manul(the edit). I was unable to find the user rename log; there was a usurpation involved.
Ben Steigmann was almost certainly the real Ben Steigmann. Steigmann had registered a Wikiversity account and was using it. This autocreated a Wikipedia account, and it easily happens that the user goes to Wikipedia, is not blocked, and just edits, may not even realize that they are logged in, if they have been editing by IP. There was only one edit. It may be a continuation of edits by [10]. This was in a discussion with w:Goblin Face. Fully disentangling this mess would take more time than I’m willing to devote. Ben Steigmann was not blocked as a result of this report, but did not edit again, He was not blocked until
Pottinger’s cats was accused above, blocked, and accused again. Evidence? supposed confession, easily spoofed. That’s a pattern here, seen most egregiously in the later SPI, with a large pile of impersonating socks. There is no sign of Steigmann being a massively disruptive sock puppeteer, this entire Blastikus archive, up until the activity this year (2017) was quite weak compared to LTAs and compared to AP.
Manul also filed a request for ban for Blastikus. The request failed. My conclusion: Blastikus is not banned on Wikipedia.Any admin could unblock; properly they would want to see assurances of low risk of disruption. It would be easier to request this for Ben Steigmann, as a real-name account with no special history of disruption (other than a relatively low level of block evasion, not necessarily disruptive in itself. But an unblock request could avoid considering most of that, with mere disclosure of actual socking and then a commitment to using a single account and avoiding old behaviors. It’s actually easy, unless some faction massively attacks — which could happen in this case.
In recent discussions, it has commonly been said that Blastikus is banned on Wikipedia. No, apparently not. Neither has any unblock request been refused since 2011. However, my private information is that Steigmann (Blastikus) may not want to return. If he does, he might want a new account. Those are all issues for him and his future. For now, he’s unblocked on Wikiversity and he may not care even about that.
(Steigmann was later unblocked on Wikiversity as a result of the checkuser investigations, and his resource was restored, and as soon as he started editing it, again, he was attacked again. To be sure, he had socked on Wikipedia, though relatively harmlessly. The attack on him was, this time, by an IP user massively complaining on Wikipedia, Contributions/, which then also attacked him on Wikiversity and now has shown up here. That’s an open proxy. This is the LTA, certainly, from some of the edits. Note added 02:28, 2 December 2017 (UTC))
What I care about is the massive disruption caused by long-term attack on Steigmann, and on alleged “pseudoscience” that is not clearly such — and, even if it is pseudoscience, Wikiversity can cover alleged pseudoscience if it is done in a neutral fashion, and, unlike an encyclopedia, Wikiversity neutrality allows full presentation of alternate points of view (there is no notability policy, only neutrality), and attacks showed up on anyone who assisted Steigmann, such as me, now as in the past. I will also document this, it has been done almost entirely through SPAs, probably socks of the Sock Ring described recently. When Wikiversity users and their work is attacked by SPAs with nothing to lose, it is incumbent on the entire Wikiversity community to defend them and Wikiversity resources, and when this is lost, due to various excuses or just plain neglect, the entire Wikiversity project is at risk. The abusers will almost always go after those they perceive as vulnerable. If they succeed, they will be emboldened and they will then go after bigger targets.

Wikipedia neutral or not neutral?

Well, what is it? Inquiring minds want to know. First of all, the policy.

The policy follows the “impartial” or “objective” journalistic model, as described in this document from

Supporters of this tradition feel it is the most honest form of reporting, attempting to lay out all sides of the issue fairly so that readers can make their own decisions. Reporters and editors following an objective model generally conceal their personal political beliefs and their opinions on controversial issues.

It is not necessary to conceal one’s own point of view, but the effort of an “impartial” journalist is to cover the topic, not their own opinions. As pointed out in the essay, if they do write about their opinions (as distinct from the facts on which those opinions might be based), this is labelled or distinguished as opinion.

Objective journalism does not require so-called “he said, she said” reporting that just cites the arguments or each side without seeking to draw any conclusions. Objective reporters can judge the weight of evidence on various sides of a dispute and tailor accordingly the amount of space they give various opinions. There is no need to provide “false equivalence” — treating every opinion equally.

News media following the objective model may express opinions in clearly labeled editorials, commentaries and cartoons, but those views should not affect the organization’s news reports.

Calling the neutrality goal “Neutral Point of View” was misleading, because “impartial reporting” is not a “point of view.” It’s a choice, a decision, a practice, the goal being to present, for Wikipedia, encyclopedic information that is not based on some point of view, but that provides readers with the information they might need to make their own assessments. There has been long-term conflict on Wikipedia over the interpretation of this, and what is remarkable is that there are users and administrators who openly prefer advocacy reporting, who have edited in conflict with others, and used tools to enforce, their own obvious point of view.

It has been called the “scientific point of view,” which was also a misnoer, because science, by definition, has no point of view, but seeks to establish knowledge through testing of ideas. Humans have points of view, not abstractions like “science.” Scientists often have points of view. In fact, scientists often get blocked on wikipedia for expressing them.

Again from the Policy:

Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources.[3] Giving due weight and avoiding giving undue weight means that articles should not give minority views or aspects as much of or as detailed a description as more widely held views or widely supported aspects. Generally, the views of tiny minorities should not be included at all, except perhaps in a “see also” to an article about those specific views. For example, the article on the Earth does not directly mention modern support for the flat Earth concept, the view of a distinct minority; to do so would give undue weight to it.

Wikipedia made a decision very early, not based on extensive experience, to use a flat model, with all encyclopedia articles sitting in a single namespace, called “mainspace.” Subpages are not allowed in mainspace. Wikiversity decided differently, having had more experience. The flat model discouraged exploration of detail. So the Wikipedia article on the Earth does mention Flat earth ideas, by linking to the article. By doing so, the coverage becomes complete, and roughly proportionate to coverage in reliable source.

Notice: the standard for inclusion of material is coverage in reliable sources, a term of art for Wikipedia, a substitute for having an actual editorial staff of experts making notability and reliability decisions. However, in actual practice, the flexibility allowed creates situations where a point of view, especially if held by a significant faction of users, can warp what is allowed for inclusion and can effectively exclude from the entire project, information presented in reliable sources, because of editorial opinion about what is accepted by “most scientists,” as it is often put.

Reliable sources include the expression of opinions, not all are purely factual. So if some reliable source shows an opinion that “most scientists consider parapsychology a pseudoscience,” as a real example, this is then often reported in articles as if a fact, rather than the opinion it often is. However, perhaps there was a poll. The fact is the poll and objective reporting would cover that poll, where it was appropriate. If there are other sources which treat parapsychology as a science (which it clearly was, by intention, the “scientific study of claims of the paranormal”), these will then be labelled by anti-fringe users as “fringe,” which is synthesis, often, i.e., the insertion of personal judgment for reporting of verifiable information.

And “most scientists,” if they have not studied a topic, have opinions that are not much more informed than those of anyone else. Generally, they may depend on what others they consider to be informed have said, and this can be an information cascade. In the case of parapsychology, they may readily confuse parapsychology itself with belief or promotion of the claims studied. They may have an opinion that all paranormal claims are false, unsupported. Is that opinion a scientific fact? Consider what it would require! There are two aspects to a claim:

The first aspect is the evidence, and the second aspect is analysis. So there is a claim, perhaps, of some “paranormal ability,” and the bottom line for classifying a claim as “paranormal” is that it is not understood, or not understood scientifically, and it may seem to conflict with ordinary understanding of how the universe operates. Is the investigation of the unknown “pseudoscientific”? Investigation will develop evidence. Suppose the evidence shows that the so-called “psychic” was a fraud. Was the investigation — parapsychology in modern times — therefore “pseudoscientific”? Hardly.

Basically, if people are asked survey questions who are not experts on the topic, their responses might be poorly informed. But a collection of those responses might well be published in reliable source. Does it therefore become “fact,” which can be reported on Wikipedia without attribution?

Notice that with attribution, anything can become a “fact.” That is, if the attributed report is verifiable by looking at the source, that such and such was said or claimed is “verifiable fact,” not that the statement or claim was necessarily true.

When I began, as a Wikipedia editor, looking at Cold fusion, what I saw was that sources were being cherry-picked, and, as well, an administrator had blacklisted the main site where one could read scientific papers on the topic. At that point, I was quite skeptical about cold fusion, believing the common wisdom, that nobody could replicate the original findings. That claim, by the way, is still found in many articles on cold fusion in reliable sources, particularly newspaper or tertiary sources not actually focused on the topic, but which mention the inability to replicate in passing.  When I attempted to balance the article, as policy would require (this was, after all, on an arguably fringe topic, so covering it more thoroughly than in an article on nuclear fusion would be appropriate) I ran into high resistance. I have since researched coverage of cold fusion on Wikipedia and saw that this went way back. Many arguments were advanced to avoid covering what should be, by Wikipedia guidelines and Arbitration Committee rulings, golden for science articles. One of the principle ones was “undue weight.”

Yet this was an article on a subject that was poorly defined. First of all, it was called “cold fusion,” first, in media (I think the first to apply the idea of “fusion” to the anomalous heat seen by Pons and Fleischmann in 1984 and first reported publically in 1989, was the University of Utah press office, but it caught on, and Pons and Fleischmann themselves were iffy about it. They actually claimed an “unknown nuclear reaction.” The only nuclear evidence they had were some detections of neutrons (an error, artifact), tritium (actually confirmed by others but of unclear implications and not at levels expected if the reaction were producing tritium through ordinary deuterium fusion) and inference from the energy density they calculated, which was weak; and confirming their work was very difficult. Even they had trouble with it, later. (The finding of anomalous heat in palladium deuteride was later confirmed by many groups, but it remains a difficult experiment).

Cold fusion immediately became, by 1989 or 1990, a fringe topic. That is, the idea that there actually was a nuclear reaction taking place in the material studied was largely rejected, but it was never conclusively shown that the original work was defective as to the report of heat. There is still no successful and verifiable theory of mechanism, but a practical theory has emerged that is verifiable, and it has been widely confirmed, and this is reported in scientific journals, and not just in primary sources. There are multiple secondary sources, peer-reviewed reviews of the issue or of the field in general including the issue or of some aspect of the field that takes this practical theory as a given, and that is that the reported heat is explained by the conversion of deuterium to helium, without significant loss of energy to other products or radiation. That conversion, by the laws of thermodynamics, must generate the observed energy in some form or other. (In classic hot deuterium fusion, if helium is the product, the large bulk of the energy is released as a high-energy photon (gamma). This is not observed (which caused many to reject helium as a possible product, “because no gammas.”)

So, the entire Wikipedia article is on a fringe topic. Many sources from almost thirty years ago reject cold fusion as a phenomenon worthy of study. The formal reviews, by the way, (1989 and 2004, U.S. DoE) did not do that; these are merely widespread opinions, back then. As it happens, if one restricts a source study to mainstream peer reviewed journals and academic publications, the best sources, there are more papers considered positive on cold fusion than there are negative. But that cannot be reported on Wikipedia because it is synthesis. As to reviews of cold fusion, I studied papers in Wikipedia qualified reliable source (or should be), published since 2005 on Wikiversity

I count 19 peer-reviewed or academically published reviews, in the period 20015-2012. In 2015, there were 34 papers published in Current Science, a peer-reviewed publication of the Indian Academy of Sciences. Some of them are reviews (such as my paper there). Are any of these reviews, over twenty, cited in the Wikipedia cold fusion article? Yes.

A small community of researchers continues to investigate cold fusion,[6][11] now often preferring the designation low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR) or condensed matter nuclear science (CMNS).[12][13][14][15]

15. Biberian, Jean-Paul (2007), “Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (Cold Fusion): An Update” (PDF), International Journal of Nuclear Energy Science and Technology, 3 (1): 31–42, doi:10.1504/IJNEST.2007.012439

Links shown are to the Wikipedia article or, for Biberian, to a copy on his web site. I cover some of these sources here: [15] [16]

15. Biberian is a general review of the field (as of 2007), and would be reliable source. All that is taken from it is the name shift. Isn’t that a bit odd? There is another paper that I did not classify as a review, ([16], Labinger & Weininger), but it could be taken that way (and there are other sources that are not peer-reviewed as scientific papers).

Since cold fusion articles are rarely published in peer-reviewed mainstream scientific journals, they do not attract the level of scrutiny expected for mainstream scientific publications.[16]

16. Goodstein 1994,Labinger & Weininger 2005, p. 1919

From Goodstein (my emphasis):

Cold Fusion is a pariah field, cast out by the scientific establishment. Between Cold Fusion and respectable science there is virtually no communication at all. Cold fusion papers are almost never published in refereed scientific journals, with the result that those works don’t receive the normal critical scrutiny that science requires. On the other hand, because the Cold-Fusioners see themselves as a community under siege, there is little internal criticism. Experiments and theories tend to be accepted at face value, for fear of providing even more fuel for external critics, if anyone outside the group was bothering to listen. In these circumstances, crackpots flourish, making matters worse for those who believe that there is serious science going on here.

Who believes that about “serious science”? Goodstein, physics professor at Cal Tech, apparently. Goodstein covers the “fiasco,” the total mess of 1989 and beyond. He ends up with what became my position, very quickly, which was very unpopular with the editors sitting on the Wikipedia article. What was a casual, off-hand remark that actually makes little sense when closely examined, if taken literally, is what is selected from him. That was his opinion. He expresses other opinions, which are ignored. Why?

Because, I came to think, the anti-fringe faction believes they are wrong. By the way, by “serious science,” Goodstein was not claiming that cold fusion was real. He was claiming that there is genuine research and there are some genuine mysteries, things not understood yet.

What Goodstein wrote, in 1994, was about the very large body of research reports that are not published under mainstream peer review. That’s a loss, created by the difficulty of publishing experimental results in some journals. But others accepted papers and the issue obviously does not apply to what is published under peer review. So research published in that was does receive — or would be expected to receive, normally — the necessary critique. My position is that genuine skepticism is essential to science, and critique within the field is crucial and necessary.

The article presents Goodstein’s 1994 comment as if it describes the present situation. Does it?

And then there is Labinger and Weininger, 2005.  It isn’t easy to find a copy of this paper, but I have one. It’s a decent report of the history of the cold fusion controversy. It does not support what is attributed to it.  Because of the importance of this study, I am uploading a copy of the paper, claiming fair use. The page referenced is 1919, but the entire paper is worth reading. Again, there is much in this paper relevant to what have been major issues with the Wikipedia article, and it’s been ignored. Heat/helium correlation is covered, as was known to the authors in 2004 (and there is much that they apparently didn’t know, but they were certainly aware of the significance of the correlation claim). I will probably write a fuller review of the paper.

The heat/helium correlation is still not covered in the Wikipedia article. All attempts to refer to it were reverted on various excuses or sometimes no excuse. Yet Labinger and Weininger, in 2005, considered this significant.

So how does this happen? It’s what I called MPOV-pushing, Majority Point of View Pushing, and in practical terms, “Majority” does not refer to the “majority of experts on the topic,” nor to “the majority of scientists,” nor even to the “majority of Wikipedia editors,” but rather to the “majority of those who are watching an article and who have not been blocked or driven away by the majority faction.”

And that faction has been quite open about opposing neutrality policy. Here is an essay by an editor, Manul,  Neutral and proportionate point of view.

There was no participation in that page by other than the author, and there is no comment on the Talk page, but it’s linked from many pages.

The neutral point of view policy does not prescribe neutrality, in a certain sense of the word. When there are competing points of view, Wikipedia does not aim for the midpoint between them. Rather, it gives weight to each view in proportion to its prevalence in reliable sources. Wikipedia’s less-than-obvious meaning of “neutral point of view” is a perennial source of confusion.

NPOV editing would be “objective and impartial.” “Points of view” are actually irrelevant. The problem is in determining “weight,” because Wikipedia verifiability rests on what appears in reliable sources, and the faction tends to reject sources that “promote” views it opposes. That judgment is synthesis; it’s prohibited in text, but infects the process by which text is selected — or rejected.

How the faction distorts the subject is by creating “balance” that reflects their own views, by cherry-picking from a vast array of sources of differing quality and relevance. And the strongest sources, for how cold fusion is currently viewed, would be those peer-reviewed reviews. In my opinion, that balance is itself somewhat skewed as to general scientific opinion, because, as pointed out by Labinger and Weininger and others, most scientists are not aware of “recent research,” which includes much research published as early as a few years after Pons and Fleischmann announced. From what I’ve seen, many scientists will argue that the biggest problem with cold fusion was the absence of a nuclear product, and that argument depends on ignorance of the heat/helium correlation.

Facts are not points of view; they may be used in arguments to support or oppose a point of view. But if a fact is verifiable by reliable source, my position was that the fact belongs somewhere in the project. For example, there are claims of evidence for a flat earth. If these appear in reliable source (which might be an article on the Flat Earth BS, published by a reliable secondary source as Wikipedia requires), they belong in the project somewhere, assuming that an article on the topic exists, which it can if there is enough reliable source. It only takes a few for an article, and only one for a mention.

The faction would exclude these arguing that they would be undue weight in an article, but would also disallow and historically opposed creating a new article that would include those facts, being more specific and balanced within the topic of that new article.

Presenting an argument against some position while not presenting the position itself is clearly POV expression.

Effectively, evidence that they think contrary to their point of view has been excluded. The essay by Manul is not completely wrong, but is misleading, because the issue is not the “weight of points of view,” but the “weight of what is in reliable source.” If all of that is presented somewhere in wikipedia, and properly linked and contexted, what is “mainstream” will become obvious.

Yes, there can be reliable source claiming that such and such is fringe or pathological science or pseudoscience. However, are there reliable sources that claim other than that? And if a source claims something is fringe, but another reliable source accepts that thing and covers it, is the latter to be excluded because a source claims it is fringe?

That exclusion, which has obviously happened, is not neutral in the meaning of the policy. As a practical reality, opinion shifts over time, and the opinions of experts can differ from that of the majority, so there is also the fact that what is “fringe” may vary with time.

There are rejected views that exist in reliable source. “Reliable source” does not become unreliable because opinions expressed became obsolete. Rather, it would be covered somewhere, in the project I and many others envisioned. “The sum of human knowledge” includes mistakes that were made.

I never attempted to present cold fusion, in the article, as other than fringe, but simply to present what was in reliable sources, following policy. This was heavily attacked. On the talk page, however, I argued that the extreme skeptical view, favored by many editing that article, had disappeared from scientific journals long ago, and that cold fusion was being routinely accepted, in some journals. Not in all. There were journals that vowed, in 1990 or so, to never again publish an article on cold fusion. All this, by the way, is not some vague conspiracy theory, it’s well-covered in sources accepted by Wikipedia, such as Simon, academically published, Undead Science, mentioned by Labinger and Weininger.

Wikipedia never developed reliable structure to deal with factional POV pushing. Yet it obviously exists, with some administrators being among the pushers.

Is Wikipedia neutral? No. It could be, and it often is. There are many editors who understand the principles — as are well-known to experienced journalists. The “He said, she said” style of journalism is lazy and shallow, and the idea of neutrality as being “in the middle,” as Manul decries, is a primitive idea, a straw man. However, what the principles behind the NPOV policy suggest is allowing the weight in the sources (which means, effectively, the weight of the sources) to determine the balance of articles.

Factional, POV editing pushes out information, even though reliably sourced, that contradicts the faction’s point of view.

I found that this only happened when there wasn’t broad community attention. Factional POV-pushing, then, thrives in the noise, the huge volume of activity on Wikipedia, where a faction can, through what is created by watchlists, appear to be in the majority, and can revert-war out what they don’t like, and they did, long-term.

When broad attention was attracted, as with RfC or other process, they would lose and articles would be improved. So a priority for the faction came to be eliminating or disempowering users who could skillfully manage creating those processes, within policy. And so there is an essay written originally by a factional administrator: Civil POV pushing

There is philosophy that developed of creating a neutral encyclopedia by excluding editors who were not neutral.

As can easily be understood, that was doomed, because nobody is always neutral. Very rarely are those who  become highly informed on a topic completely neutral, having developed no point of view.

What human organizations develop, that need objective judgement, is process, and there is only one real standard for assessing neutrality: consensus, with the degree of neutrality generally being measurable through the degree of consensus, including all participants willing to behave civilly. Civility is crucial to this.

In standard deliberative process, if a member of an assembly is uncivil, they are not banned, but asked to sit down, and if they refuse, they are conducted from the room. To actually ban a member from a deliberative assembly generally takes a supermajority vote, after announcement, and it’s rare. Most people will cooperate with an attempt of a chair to maintain order. So if the chair orders a member excluded from the room (the equivalent of a block on Wikipedia), that only applies to the immediate session. Wikipedia went for “quick,” i.e., :”wiki,” and lost the power to develop consensus as a result. It famously takes time and much discussion.

In fact, however, wiki process as it developed on Wikipedia is incredibly inefficient, failing to establish real consensus after massive discussions, enormous wastes of time, because few do the real study needed. Instead it’s quick: Keep/Delete, Block/Unblock, and if you argue, Ban. Or if you argue for what a strong faction likes, ”Unban.” Even after massive process to determine a need for a drastic change in behavior.

What I saw from the author of the CPOV essay was gross incivility from him and those whom he supported and who supported him. These users, including administrators, could freely and with little restraint insult those who disagreed with them. Before I was involved with cold fusion, the faction was not doing well before the Arbitration Committee. The open “SPOV (Scientific Point of View) pushers” had suffered losses in arbitration and thus we can see disgust with the Arbitration Committee in the essay — though I agree that they failed to deal with the issues. Then there was the first cold fusion arbitration, in 2008.

I was largely unaware of this case until later. (And at the time I was quite skeptical about cold fusion.) There was no finding of improper behavior (by which I mean behavior not matched at least as strongly by those arguing for Pcarbonn to be banned), rather the core finding by the Committee was this:

3) Pcarbonn edits articles with a stated agenda against Wikipedia policy[1] [2][3] Additionally, Pcarbonn has treated Wikipedia as a battleground; his actions to that effect include assumptions of bad faith [4], and edit warring. [5][6]. For more complete evidence see [7][8][9].

The “stated agenda” links to a screed by JzG (Guy) on the Administrator’s Noticeboard. JzG was far from neutral, I established that later, he was involved in the controversy. So they validated JzG’s agenda by blaming the problem on Pcarbonn instead of looking at the underlying cause of the continued dispute. (And JzG, emboldened, then proceeded to act even more disruptively, leading him to blacklist out-of-process, which I noticed and confronted, purely as a neutral editor …. and JzG will never mention it, but that first arbitration led to his reprimand. But nothing was done to actually restrain his POV-pushing. He resigned his admin tools in disgust, but, then, because the resignation was after the ruling, he was able to request them back and then work, piece by piece, over time, to get revenge.)

What was the “stated agenda”? JzG wrote:

See also WP:COIN. The long and the short of it is, Pcarbonn (talk · contribs · logs · edit filter log · block log) has written an article in a fringe journal, New Energy Times, openly admitting that he has been pursuing a years-long agenda to skew the article Cold fusion (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs | views) to be more favourable to the fringe views proomoted by that journal, [10] and especially [11]. Example:

“I’m pleased to report that the revised page, resulting from the mediation process, presents the topic as a continuing controversy, not as an example of pathological science. This is a major step forward in the recognition of the new field of condensed matter nuclear science and low-energy nuclear reaction research … I now have a lot of respect for all paradigm-shifting scientists, like Copernicus, Galileo, Fleischmann and Pons, and the other courageous cold fusion pioneers”.


Few media outlets are paying attention to the subject, and many of the prominent individuals known to New Energy Times who are observing the field are keeping mum though a few observers such as Ron Marshall and Pierre Carbonnelle have tried their best to participate.

That note was from Steve Krivit, not Pcarbonn.

The source given by ArbComm does not support the claim. The whole article should  be read (the old links are dead), it is here. Pcarbonn was claiming that the Wikipedia Dispute Resolution process worked. What he was allegedly “promoting” was what is quite obvious from recent sources, including the 2004 U.S. Department of Energy review.  An “agenda to skew the article” would be far from reality for Pcarbonn. But ArbComm fell for it.

In addition the edits they point to with “[1][2][3] “do not support the claim. They have stated that they do not wish to rule on content issues, but what Pcarbonn was claiming in those edits is easily supportable from sources, and they seem to infer an agenda from pointing to what would be, for him, simple knowledge found in reliable source (or at least sources accepted by most editors). That’s ruling on a content issue, by using an opinion or claim as evidence of improper agenda to promote that opinion, while claiming they were not so ruling.

I am not here looking at the behavioral claims, i.e., the alleged results of “battlefield mentality,” (revert warring and incivility), but Pcarbonn’s accusers had, for years, in many situations, behaved as badly or worse (and continue). Assumptions of bad faith have been routine for them, and it is still going on. Pcarbonn had been able to work through mediation to improve the article, but the faction (JzG and Science Apologist being prominent factional users) did not like the results, so they got rid of him, it’s pretty much that simple. They knew what arguments might appeal to the Committee, and this time they prevailed. Science Apologist was only a few months away from being sanctioned himself, but he was able to later return with no restrictions, with factional support that misrepresented the history to the community.

The Arbitration Committee did not have the sophistication to realize that “POV pushing” is human, and normal, and that what we would hope for is “Civil POV pushers,” who will negotiate in good faith, and seek consensus.

Instead, “POV pushing” is considered a crime, and experts get banned frequently, because they have a point of view and argue for it. A sane Wikipedia community would guide them toward advising the community, to provide sources. A “fringe POV pusher,” is likely to know better than anyone else what reliable sources exist, if they exist.

I argued before the Arbitration Committee that Wikipedia might consider suggesting that experts declare their credentials and with that be treated as having a conflict of interest (since Wikipedia does not want them as “authorities,” but would — or should — respect and consider their advice. An expert (which would include “cranks” and “crackpots”) is likely to be aware of the best sources, but should not be judging whether or not these are adequate. Those are editorial decisions, which on Wikipedia would be made according to policies, not “truth,” or even “expert opinion.”

By banning experts, and, relative to the other editors involved, Pcarbonn was an expert, Wikipedia warped the article.

Other experts, including scientists, showed up, but generally did not understand how Wikipedia worked and tended to argue “truth,” an easy mistake to make.

JzG actually disclosed, at one point, where his POV came from. He had a friend who was an electrochemist and he had asked the friend about the article, from before Pcarbonn and others had worked on it, apparently, and he thought it was “pretty good,” as I recall. So, JzG concluded, Pcarbonn and others must be wrong. He had a point of view, and he pushed it relentlessly, and continued to do so, but it was not a point of view based on expertise, nor on the best reliable sources, but on emotional reactions and personal opinion. JzG was famous for radical incivility, long before I ever became involved. And it continued, it’s still going on….

Pcarbonn faced, as I later faced, some outrageous opposition, and commented about it, which could look bad. But I have not examined those specific claims. I’m just looking, now, at what was cited by ArbComm as the proof of an “agenda contrary to policy.” It wasn’t there. So they imagined it, synthesized it, which, I found, was all too common. They did themselves what they accused Pcarbonn of, not “assuming good faith,” but assuming an intention to violate policy — which was not shown in the evidence given. And they did it unanimously, which is scary.

(Later, the ArbComm mailing list was hacked. ArbComm considers it valuable to present a face of consensus to the community, but that is negotiated privately, on the list. So much for open process.)

(One point: I think they considered Science Apologist an expert. He was indeed a physicist, but that conveys almost no expertise on cold fusion, only on the theoretical reasons to expect it’s impossible, which is not controversial. That is, “cold fusion” is not well defined, but the common concept of it, the easy assumption from the name, is probably impossible and SA would know why — and so do I.

Yet that argument is also flawed, and was known to be flawed. Basically, perhaps something is happening that we have not anticipated. Low-temperature fusion is not “impossible,” but a first approximation of rate, for d-d fusion, which is what everyone thinks of first when “fusion” is mentioned in connection with the heat effect, would have the rate be very, very, very low. However, rate cannot be calculated for an “unknown nuclear reaction,” which is what Pons and Fleischmann actually claimed. That fact, by the way, is not mentioned in the article. My source for it would be primary, the actual first paper. Here it is: (my emphasis).

… We realise that the results reported here raise more questions than they provide answers, and that much further work is required on this topic. … The most surprising feature of our results however, is that reactions (v) and (vi) are only a small part of the overall reaction scheme and that the bulk of the energy release is due to an hitherto unknown nuclear process or processes (presumably again due to deuterons).

The title of the article as printed was “Electrochemically induced nuclear fusion of deuterium”; however, I have seen claims that as-submitted, there was a question mark after this, dropped in the editorial process. The matter was enormously confused by the coverage of the classic d-d reaction, because they apparently believed they had detected those neutrons, and tritium as well, which, as to the neutrons, was artifact and error. Looking at that paper now, numerous errors stand out. This was rushed and sloppy — and apparently did not disclose enough to allow replication.

There is later work reporting neutron production from PdD, but the levels are extremely low, and have never been correlated with heat. There is also later work finding tritium, but roughly a million times down from what is apparently the primary product, helium. And, again, I have seen no attempts to determine if tritium was correlated with heat. Experiments tended to look for one or the other, or if they looked for both, as in some of the famous replication failures, they found neither.

“Fusion” also appears in the University of Utah press release.

Again, I’ve seen a claim that this came from the press office, not Pons and Fleischmann.

My favorite counterexample to the “impossibility” argument is to point to a form of cold fusion that is not controversial, it is accepted as a reality, and the argument as to why “cold fusion is impossible” does not consider it. Muon-catalyzed fusion takes place at very low temperatures.

What we know of as “cold fusion” is definitely not muon-catalyzed fusion, but the naive impossibility arguments don’t think of exceptions, i.e., what if there is some catalyst? MCF (or an equivalent with another catalysis, perhaps some kind electron catalysis) isn’t happening because MCF has the same branching ratio as hot fusion, and would generate fatal levels of neutrons (from the level of heat reported), so a simple catalyst causing ordinary d-d fusion cannot be the explanation of cold fusion. But what if the reactants are not just two deuterons (and some catalytic condition)? Basically, what Pons and Fleischmann actually claimed was an “unknown nuclear reaction” and the later-developed evidence, still excluded from the article even though very amply covered in reliable source, does not tell us the actual reaction, only the fuel and the “ash” or nuclear product.

I still find it hard to believe that the strong helium claim remains, after so many years, and in spite of ample coverage in peer-reviewed and academically publish sources — including sources cited in the article for other, relatively trivial matters, totally excluded. What the article has on helium is this:

In response to doubts about the lack of nuclear products, cold fusion researchers have tried to capture and measure nuclear products correlated with excess heat.[121] Considerable attention has been given to measuring 4He production.[13]However, the reported levels are very near to background, so contamination by trace amounts of helium normally present in the air cannot be ruled out. In the report presented to the DOE in 2004, the reviewers’ opinion was divided on the evidence for 4He; with the most negative reviews concluding that although the amounts detected were above background levels, they were very close to them and therefore could be caused by contamination from air.[122]

(The links in the article quotations are to the Wikipedia notes, but I will cover some of these sources below. [121] [13] [122])

Ugh. “In response to doubts” was POV synthesis. There was a search for nuclear products, from the beginning. Helium was not expected, from “fusion theory.” The lack of other products (especially neutrons) was a cause for doubt that a nuclear reaction was involved. But helium can be a nuclear product. Helium was found to be correlated, but that is not stated, only that there was a search for it. Describing this as a reaction to doubts follows the debunkers’ opinions that this is based on fanatic belief, trying to prove the belief. Not good science.

Other nuclear products have indeed been reported (at very low levels), but only helium has been correlated with heat. Tritium has been widely observed, but still only, roughly, a million times down from helium; if tritium is being produced, it is probably from some side-reaction or rare branch. No attempt was made, to my knowledge, to compare tritium levels with heat reports. The discovery that helium and heat were correlated was not announced until 1991, by Miles, and that fact was reported by Huizenga in his book — also reliable source. He was quite skeptical but considered the report astonishing, as it would “solve a major mystery of cold fusion,” as I recall. All this, of high importance in the history of cold fusion, is missing.

One of the main criticisms of cold fusion was that deuteron-deuteron fusion into helium was expected to result in the production of gamma rays—which were not observed and were not observed in subsequent cold fusion experiments.[40][123] Cold fusion researchers have since claimed to find X-rays, helium, neutrons[124] and nuclear transmutations.[125] Some researchers also claim to have found them using only light water and nickel cathodes.[124] The 2004 DOE panel expressed concerns about the poor quality of the theoretical framework cold fusion proponents presented to account for the lack of gamma rays.[122]

The new sources are [40] [123] [124] [125].

[121] The 2010 Hagelstein review in Naturwissenschaften, being cited for what is trivial about it. Wow: they point to a convenience copy on JzG must not have noticed. What would be a bombshell in that article is the stated assumption in the abstract:

In recent Fleischmann-Pons experiments carried out by different groups, a thermal signal is seen indicative of excess energy production of a magnitude much greater than can be accounted for by chemistry. Correlated with the excess heat appears to be 4He, with the associated energy near 24 MeV per helium atom.

Peer-reviewed reliable source in a mainstream multidisciplinary journal (then, it later narrowed the focus to life sciences).

[13] The Hagelstein paper submitted to the 2004 U.S. DoE review. Not peer-reviewed, though. Primary source for claims of a segment of the Condensed Matter Nuclear Science community.

[122] is the 2004 U.S DoE review report, misrepresented — or synthesized. The statement, however, is from the summary and was the opinion of the anonymous review author, based on some reviewer opinions.

From the review, listing the claims in the review submission:

1. “The existence of a physical effect that produces heat in metal deuterides. The heat is measured in quantities greatly exceeding all known chemical processes and the results are many times in excess of determined errors using several kinds of apparatus. In addition, the observations have been
reproduced, can be reproduced at will when the proper conditions are reproduced, and show the same patterns of behavior. Further, many of the reasons for failure to reproduce the heat effect have been discovered.”
2. “The production of 4He as an ash associated with this excess heat, in amounts commensurate with a reaction mechanism consistent with D+D -> 4He + 23.8 MeV (heat)”.

The second claim being considered is not mentioned in the Wikipedia article, only a criticism of it. “Commensurate” is stronger than “correlated.” That is, not only is 4He correlated with heat (i.e., increases when heat increases, is not found when heat is not found), but the ratio found experimentally is consistent with the requirements of thermodynamics for deuterium conversion to helium. (Which might not be the reaction shown, but another which accomplishes that conversion). And then the review had:

The hypothesis that excess energy production in electrolytic cells is due to low energy nuclear reactions was tested in some experiments by looking for D + D fusion reaction products, in particular 4He, normally produced in about 1 in 10in hot D + D fusion reactions. Results reported in the review document purported to show that 4He was detected in five out of sixteen cases where electrolytic cells were reported to be producing excess heat.

Wait just a cotton-pickin’ moment!  That was a blatant error. It’s not what was in the document, they are referring to the Case Appendix, which mentions “sixteen cells” that were tested. But 8 of them were controls which were not expected to show either heat or helium. Unfortunately, the Case work was never published, I’ve been leaning on McKubre — gently! — to arrange its release, it was done for a governmental client. In any case, only five cells are reported in the Appendix, I forget the exact details, someone could look them up. A detailed heat report was only shown for one cell. There were not “sixteen cells reported to be producing excess heat.” And, as well, these were not electrolytic cells. Someone read quite carelessly. (One of the reviews made the heat error and I think the summarizing bureaucrat made the “electrolytic” error.) All of this shows that the review report itself was not carefully checked. Primary source, my opinion. It went on:

The detected 4He was typically very close to, but reportedly
above background levels.

Misleading and inaccurate. In two cells, helium levels rose above ambient, and showed no slowing as they reached ambient levels. In most 4He work, the helium levels are either below ambient (and ambient helium has been excluded) or in one case, which I cover in my 2015 review in Current Science (reliable source!) ambient helium was not excluded and the measured helium was an elevation above ambient.

This evidence was taken as convincing or somewhat convincing by some
reviewers; for others the lack of consistency was an indication that the overall hypothesis was not justified. Contamination of apparatus or samples by air containing 4He was cited as one possible cause
for false positive results in some measurements.

That is a “possible cause” if one pays no attention to experimental details and the correlation, and if one believed the 5/16 claim, as one reviewer did, of course the “lack of consistency” would be an indication that the overall hypothesis was not justified. However, what is the hypothesis? The work was investigational, and the conclusion was that heat and helium were strongly correlated, and this was not based on Case, except a little. It was based on Miles, which the reviewers ignored, but who is featured in all reviews of the topic.

The correlation is covered in many, many reliable sources, but totally missing from the article, yet it is the strongest evidence for the nuclear nature of the heat effect called “cold fusion.” By far. All the rest is circumstantial and remains debatable for the most part. Garwin on input power and heat measurements: “They must be making some mistake.” Okay, it’s possible, but the “mistake” somehow creates a correlation with blinded measurements? I’ve said that if cold fusion was a treatment for heart disease, it would be standard of practice already, the evidence is that strong.

Remember, though, Wikipedia’s standard for inclusion is not “truth,” but verifiability in reliable sources, and for scientific articles, the gold standard is peer-reviewed and academic sources. Not editorial opinion about “mainstream views.” If a view is not mainstream, that can be stated, by showing a reliable source claiming it. All this can be verifiable if properly attributed.

But the faction actually censors and makes the subject obscure. This example makes that obvious. Continuing to look at the notes on what I quoted from the Wikipedia article:

[40] is an article from Scientific American in 1999: What is the current scientific thinking on cold fusion? Is there any possible validity to this phenomenon?

Peter N. Saeta, an assistant professor of physics at Harvey Mudd College, responds:
Eight years ago researchers Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, then both at the University of Utah, made headlines around the world with their claim to have achieved fusion in a simple tabletop apparatus working at room temperature. Other experimenters failed to replicate their work, however, and most of the scientific community no longer considers cold fusion a real phenomenon. Nevertheless, research continues, and a small but very vocal minority still believes in cold fusion.

Fuzzy in, fuzzy out. What did Fleischmann and Pons actually claim? “Fusion in a simple tabletop apparatus”? Not actually. They claimed evidence for an unknown nuclear reaction, and the apparatus only seemed simple. It was actually quite a difficult experiment. “Other experimenters failed to replicate their work” was false, if taken as excluding confirmation, the reported effect was eventually confirmed by many, the idea of general failure was obviously based on early difficulties in replication.

The statement about “most of the scientific community” was true for 1999 and may still be true. What does “believes in cold fusion” mean? Is cold fusion a religion? The question was about “current scientific thinking,” but it is asked as if there is some authority, when, in fact, scientific opinion can vary widely. “Very vocal” is a tad, ah, judgmental. People who are working on something may be enthusiastic about it. Is that a problem? I will quote the skeptical inquirer Nate Hoffman from Dialog (1995):

YS: I guess the real question has to be this: Is the heat real?

OM: The simple facts are as follows: Scientists experienced in the area of calorimetric measurements are performing these experiments. Long periods occur with no heat production, and then, occasionally, periods suddenly occur with apparent heat production. These scientists become irate when so-called experts call them charlatans. The occasions when apparent heat appears seem to be highly sensitive to the surface conditions of the palladium and are not reproducible at will.

YS: Any phenomenon that is not reproducible at will is most likely not real.

OM: People in the San Fernando Valley, Japanese, Columbians, et al, will be glad to hear that earthquakes are not real.

YS: Ouch. I deserved that. My comment was stupid.

OM: A large number of people who should know better have parroted that inane statement….

The Scientific American article then presents Michael Schaffer. He is clearly at least somewhat knowledgeable, but he’s also sloppy. Nevertheless, he comes to a reasonable conclusion:

“So, what is the current scientific thinking on cold fusion? Frankly, most scientists have not followed the field since the disenchantment of 1989 and 1990. They typically still dismiss cold fusion as experimental error, but most of them are unaware of the newly reported results. Even so, given the extraordinary nature of the claimed cold fusion results, it will take extraordinarily high quality, conclusive data to convince most scientists, unless a compelling theoretical explanation is found first.”

He is talking about the political situation. He obviously thinks that something might be valid. However, he does not mention the strongest evidence that the heat effect is nuclear in nature, the heat/helium correlation. He merely points out what is not controversial, that the ordinary d-d fusion reaction only very rarely produces helium and when it does, it will always produce (must produce) a gamma ray. It is not clear that Schaffer realizes that the reaction might not be “d-d.” The lack of gammas strongly indicates that. But what I find of interest in his comment is the description of the position of “most scientists.” Is this “reliable source”? Obviously, the editors think it is for the comment about gammas. What about the ignorance of most scientists on the “newly reported results”?

A “compelling theoretical explanation” is quite unlikely at this point. Many have attempted to come up with one. Most theories conflict with the experimental evidence, so are not complete even if valid, i.e., there would be details to be worked out. Some theories replace one mystery with another, i.e., cold fusion is a mystery but what is known does not actually contradict known physics, it is merely unexpected, something yet to be understood. The theory that most closely attempts to explain experimental results would require a massive revision of basic nuclear physics, but without the specific experimental evidence that would justify this.

However, as to a scientific examination, the heat/helium correlation hypothesis is testable. In addition to having been confirmed widely, there is a project under way to confirm it with increased precision, and I hope and expect that there will be results in “not long.” Which could still be some years. My concern here is simply that there is extensive coverage of the heat/helium correlation in reliable source, the earliest I know of would be Huizenga, Fiasco, 1993 (2nd edition), yet it is still entirely missing from the article, almost 25 years later. This is not “recentism.”

The rest of the Scientific American article is pseudoskeptical bullshit, mostly scientifically irrelevant. I have sometimes considered writing a detailed review of that whole article, but … so much bullshit, so little time. (Morrison also did debate Pons and Fleischmann in a journal, and we are reviewing that elsewhere on this site. In that environment, he was more careful. What the other respondent wrote could not have been published in a scientific journal … but Scientific American published it…. so much for them. There was no thorough analysis of the topic, it was almost entirely opinion.

Phlogiston theory is covered better than cold fusion.

Completing the notes to that quoted section of the Wikipedia article:

40. The 2004 U.S. DoE report, again, which is reporting the “most negative” individual reviews. The argument of leakage is an obvious possible artifact with helium measurements at the low levels that would be expected if helium is the source of the reported heat (as helium production from deuterium is very energetic). The objection completely neglects the correlation and the actual experimental behavior.

[The review report was itself not subject to peer review, it was political. It actually shows a sea change in thinking from the 1989 review, but … attempts to insert fact from the review that could show this was always reverted. Instead, superficial comment from the review that is easily misunderstood was used. There was massive revert warring over this, over the years (before I was ever involved).  Is this still the condition of the article? Yes. The 1989 review is presented this way:

In 1989 the United States Department of Energy (DOE) concluded that the reported results of excess heat did not present convincing evidence of a useful source of energy and decided against allocating funding specifically for cold fusion.

That is easily verifiable from the primary source, the 1989 review. It is also misleading. First of all, the 1989 review was rushed, and the conclusions based on almost complete replication failure in the early efforts. Of course those reported results “did not present convincing evidence”! Further, the concern was “useful source of energy,” and there are still no such results, only indications of possibility, certainly not “convincing evidence,” enough to justify the charge to the panel, should there be a massive, heavily funded project? No, there shouldn’t have been, and still should not be. Not yet. Rather, the panel did recommend further research “under existing programs.”

A second DOE review in 2004, which looked at new research, reached similar conclusions and did not result in DOE funding of cold fusion.[10]

And on that point, (a massive or special program) the 2004 review conclusion was “similar” as in 1989, and said so, and that is also my conclusion, with much more thorough knowledge of the evidence than they were able to gain in the short review process. Rather, the panel again recommended further research– unanimously this time (the 1989 recommendation was actually forced by the threatened resignation of the Nobelist co-chair if it was not included, along with other language noting doubt, not certain rejection) further research. What was missing from that summary of “similar” was that what they report from 1989, about the lack of “convincing evidence” was definitely not the conclusion of the 2004 panel. Yet the way the reports are presented in the article matches the common opinion of skeptics on this: that the 2004 report also rejected cold fusion, and that there is no decent evidence for it. There is language in the summary of the report that shows the contrary; the panel was divided, which actually is a better reflection of “emerging science” rather than “fringe.” Given the very strong general negative opinion of cold fusion, some reviewers were apparently predisposed to misread the evidence, as can be seen in the individual reports (and then reflected in the summary). I never attempted to state this in the article, because it is “original research,”  though it is easily verifiable in the primary source, the review submission and report.

123. Rogers, Vern C.; Sandquist, Gary M. (December 1990), “Cold fusion reaction products and their measurement”Journal of Fusion Energy9 (4): 483–485, Bibcode:1990JFuE….9..483Rdoi:10.1007/BF01588284

The abstract is at the linked URL. From the first words of the article:

Ambient or cold fusion of deuterium is postulated to occur when two deuterium nuclei in a palladium or titanium metal lattice with ambient kinetic energy quantum mechanically tunnel through their mutual coulombic charge barrier and undergo one or more of the following
nuclear fusion reactions.

It is not controversial that gammas are not observed. The article examines the proposal (“postulated to occur.”) By whom? The reactions listed are the three known d-d fusion branches, and it was obvious from the original Pons and Fleischmann paper that these were not the main reaction, and what they presented showing that the might be happening at low levels was either artifact (neutron measurements) or weak (tritium and helium, as of that time). The article wastes a lot of space on what is completely not controversial: the absence of any product other than helium at significant levels. Is this the best source for that? Perhaps. They use the source to show “no gammas.” Right. No gammas, at least not high-energy gammas. There is later work reviewing this issue in more detail and with more experimental history, this was 1990.

124. This is Simons, Undead Science, p. 215. He is actually studying the sociology of cold fusion and the rejection. Simon is cited for “X-rays, helium, neutrons.” To repeat the quotation:

Cold fusion researchers have since claimed to find X-rays, helium, neutrons[124] and nuclear transmutations.[125] Some researchers also claim to have found them using only light water and nickel cathodes.[124] 

Now, due weight. What are the “main claims”? What has the most reliable source? Further, there are claims of major effects, correlated (and also with correlated causal conditions), and claims of minor effects, not correlated. The article mashes all this together. There are indeed persistent reports of X-rays, , but with no particular coherence or consistency across multiple researchers. Likewise neutrons have been reported, with the strongest report, least likely to be some artifact, being more recent than Simon, so why is Simon cited? And the levels of neutrons reported are only slightly above background, with the relationship to the primary reaction (primary symptom: heat) being quite obscure.

This was “passing mention,” by a sociologist and it contains no detail or references. It is quite unspecific. They are avoiding citing peer-reviewed reviews, which do cover all this with far more detail.

p. 215 in Simon mentions light water reports (mostly heat and tritium). This is all vague and not clearly confirmed, unlike the primary findings: heat from palladium deuteride, and correlated helium. There is no balance, in spite of the existence of peer-reviewed reviews of the field that cover these issues in detail.

The sentence makes it seem as if helium were found in light water experiments. No, helium has not been so reported. Light water or light hydrogen have been used in control experiments. If there are light water reactions, they are largely unconfirmed. Light water has been used as a control in heat/helium studies. No helium from PdH. (Storms has theorized that light water LENR would produce deuterium, which would be very difficult to measure.) What Simon actually says is:

The most startling of these are reports of the measurement of excess heat and nuclear particles (mostly tritium) using light-water based electrolytes with nickel cathodes, as opposed to heavy water and palladium.

So not helium and not transmutations other than to tritium. Poor sourcing. And these editors don’t actually sit down and read Simon; rather they grab snippets from Google Books. Simons reports much on the sociology of high interest, but the faction just cherry-picks what tells the story they want to tell.

125. Simon again, 150–153, 162. Mysteries abound in cold fusion research and Simon is aware of it. What is reported by “most cold fusion researchers” and what is reported by only a few, inconsistently? Again, the article mashes all this together, an inconsistent collection of artifacts generated by confirmation bias.

The Wikipedia editorial process encourages sentence-by-sentence, line by line, point by point “negotiation” of article content. It is extremely difficult to generate an article with overall balance, because of how the work proceeds.

Ironically, it was Science Apologist who demonstrated another approach. While he was site-banned, for a time, from his disruptive editing, he used the time to create an article on Optics, in his user space on Wikisource. I don’t know why he didn’t use Wikiversity, it would have been ideal for that. What he wrote was judged better than the standing Wikipedia article, and it was then RfC’d to replace the existing mess in one edit. I supported that move. See the discussion. It was all much more complicated than necessary. Really, there would have been a binary choice to make, which article is better? (Not “perfect.” Just a comparison!) (The author being banned was actually irrelevant, the content was released under the standard WMF license, but some argued “meat puppetry.” An opinion that an article written by X is better than the articles written by a farrago of users, erratically, is not “meat puppetry,” and if there is consensus for a substitution, that is it, as to my understanding of Wikipedia process. ArbComm apparently explicitly approved what should really have been obvious.) I am not aware of any other example of this being done. Nor have I found much interest in doing it. People would rather fight than switch. And writing an article on a topic as complex as cold fusion is actually a lot of work. And nobody is being paid to do it.

Many hands make short work, so if that were to be done for cold fusion, it would take collaboration, which has never appeared, in spite of opportunities.



SOS Wikipedia

Original post

I’ve been working on some studies that involve a lot of looking at Wikipedia, and I come across the Same Old S … ah, Stuff! Yeah! Stuff!

Wikipedia has absolutely wonderful policies that are not worth the paper they are not written on, because what actually matters is enforcement. If you push a point of view considered fringe by the administrative cabal (Jimbo’s word for what he created … but shhhh! Don’t write the word on Wikipedia, the sky will fall!) you are in for some, ah, enforcement. But if you have and push a clear anti-fringe point of view — which is quite distinct from neutrally insisting on policy — nothing will happen, unless you go beyond limits, in which case you might even get blocked until your friends bail you out, as happened with jps, mentioned below. Way beyond limits.

So an example pushed against my eyeballs today. It’s not about cold fusion, but it shows the thinking of an administrator (JzG is the account but he signs “Guy”) and a user (the former Science Apologist, who has a deliberately unpronounceable username but who signs jps (those were his real-life initials), who were prominent in establishing the very iffy state of Cold fusion.


Aron K. Barbey ‎[edit]

Before looking at what JzG (Guy) and UnpronounceableUsername (jps) wrote, what happened here? What is the state of the article and the user?

First thing I find is that Aron barbey wrote the article and has almost no other edits. However, he wrote the article on Articles for creation. Looking at his user talk page, I find

16 July 2012, Barbey was warned about writing an article about himself, by a user declining a first article creation submission.

9 July 2014, it appears that Aron barbey created a version of the article at Articles for Creation. That day, he was politely and properly warned about conflict of interest.

The article was declined, see 00:43:46, 9 July 2014 review of submission by Aron barbey

from the log found there:

It appears that the article was actually originally written by Barbey in 2012. See this early copy, and logs for that page.

Barbey continued to work on his article in the new location, and resubmitted it August 2, 2014

It was accepted August 14, 2014.  and moved to mainspace.

Now, the article itself. It has not been written or improved by someone with a clue as to what Wikipedia articles need. As it stands, it will not withstand a Articles for deletion request. The problem is that there are few, if any, reliable secondary sources. Over three years after the article was accepted, JzG multiply issue-tagged it. Those tags are correct. There are those problems, some minor, some major. However, this edit was appalling, and the problem shows up in the FTN filing.

The problems with the article would properly suggest AfD if they cannot be resolved. So why did JzG go to FTN? What is the “Fringe Theory” involved? He would go there for  one reason: on that page the problems with this article can be seen by anti-fringe users, who may then either sit on the article to support what JzG is doing, or vote for deletion with opinions warped by claims of “fringe,” which actually should be irrelevant. The issue, by policy would be the existence of reliable secondary sources. If there are not enough, then deletion is appropriate, fringe or not fringe.

So his filing:

The article on Aron Barbey is an obvious autobiography, edited by himself and IP addresses from his university. The only other edits have been removing obvious puffery – and even then, there’s precious little else in the article. What caught my eye is the fact that he’s associated with a Frontiers journal, and promulgates a field called “Nutritional Cognitive Neuroscience”, which was linked in his autobiography not to a Wikipedia article but to a journal article in Frontiers. Virtually all the cites in the article are primary references to his won work, and most of those are in the Frontiers journal he edits. Which is a massive red flag.

Who edited the article is a problem, but the identity of editors is not actually relevant to Keep/Delete and content. Or it shouldn’t be. In reality, those arguments often prevail. If an edit is made in conflict of interest, it can be reverted. But … what is the problem with that journal? JzG removed the link and explanation. For Wikipedia Reliable Source, the relevant fact is the publisher. But I have seen JzG and jps arguing that something is not reliable source because the author had fringe opinions — in their opinion!

What JzG removed:

15:48, 15 December 2017‎ JzG (talk | contribs)‎ . . (27,241 bytes) (-901)‎  . (remove links to crank journal) (undo)

This took out this link:

Nutritional Cognitive Neuroscience

and removed what could show that the journal is not “crank.” There is a better source (showing that the editors of the article didn’t know what they were doing). Nature Publishing Group press release. This “crank journal” is Reliable Source for Wikipedia, and that is quite clear. (However, there are some problems with all this, complexities. POV-pushing confuses the issues, it doesn’t resolve them.

Aron Barbey is Associate Editor of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Nature Publishing Group journal.[14] Barbey is also on the Editorial Board of NeuroImage,[15] Intelligence,[16] and Thinking & Reasoning,.[17]

Is Barbey an “Associate Editor”? This is the journal home page.

Yes, Barbie is an Associate Editor. There are two Chief Editors. A journal will choose a specialist in the field, to participate in the selection and review of articles, so this indicates some notability, but is a primary source.

And JzG mangled:

Barbey is known for helping to establish the field of Nutritional Cognitive Neuroscience.[36]

was changed to this:

Barbey is known for helping to establish the field of Cognitive Neuroscience.[35]

JzG continues on FTN:

So, I suspect we have a woo-monger here, but I don’t know whether the article needs to be nuked, or expanded to cover reality-based critique, if any exists. Guy (Help!) 16:03, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

“Woo” is a term used by “skeptic” organizations. “Woo-monger” is uncivil, for sure. As well, the standard for inclusion in Wikipedia is not “reality-based” but “verifiable in reliable source.” “Critique” assumes that what Barbey is doing is controversial, and Guy has found no evidence for that other than his own knee-jerk responses to the names of things.

It may be that the article needs to be deleted. It certainly needs to be improved. However, what is obvious is that JzG is not at all shy about displaying blatant bias, and insulting an academic and an academic journal.

And jps does quite the same:

This is borderline Men who stare at goats sort of research (not quite as bad as that, but following the tradition) that the US government pushes around. Nutriceuticals? That’s very dodgy. Still, the guy’s won millions of dollars to study this stuff. Makes me think a bit less of IARPA. jps (talk) 20:41, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

This does not even remotely resemble that Army paranormal research, but referring to that project is routine for pseudosceptics whenever there is government support of anything they consider fringe. Does nutrition have any effect on intelligence? Is the effect of nutrition on intelligence of any interest? Apparently, not for these guys. No wonder they are as they are. Not enough kale (or, more accurately, not enough nutritional research, which is what this fellow is doing.)

This is all about warping Wikipedia toward an extreme Skeptical Point of View. This is not about improving the article, or deleting it for lack of reliable secondary sources. It’s about fighting woo and other evils.

In editing the article, JzG used these edit summaries:

  • (remove links to crank journal)
  • (rm. vanispamcruft)
  • (Selected publications: Selected by Barbey, usually published by his own journal. Let’s see if anyone else selects them)
  • (Cognitive Neuroscience Methods to Enhance Human Intelligence: Oh good, they are going to be fad diet sellers too)

This are all uncivil (the least uncivil would be the removal of publications, but it has no basis. JzG has no idea of what would be notable and what not.

The journal is not “his own journal.” He is merely an Associate Editor, selected for expertise. He would not be involved in selecting his own article to publish. I’ve been through this with jps, actually, where Ed Storms was a consulting editor for Naturwissenschaften and the claim was made that he had approved his own article, a major peer-reviewed review of cold fusion, still not used in the article. Yet I helped with the writing of that article and Storms had to go through ordinary peer review. The faction makes up arguments like this all the time.

I saw this happen again and again: an academic edits Wikipedia, in his field. He is not welcomed and guided to support Wikipedia editorial policy. He is, instead, attacked and insulted. Ultimately, if he is not blocked, he goes away and the opinion grows in academia that Wikipedia is hopeless. I have no idea, so far, if this neuroscientist is notable by Wikipedia standards, but he is definitely a real neuroscientist, and being treated as he is being treated is utterly unnecessary. But JzG has done this for years.

Once upon a time, when I saw an article like this up for Deletion, I might stub it, reducing the article to just what is in the strongest sources, which a new editor without experience may not recognize. Later, if the article survives the AfD discussion, more can be added from weaker sources, including some primary sources, if it’s not controversial. If the article isn’t going to survive AfD, I’d move it to user space, pending finding better sources. (I moved a fair number of articles to my own user space so they could be worked on. Those were deleted at the motion of …. JzG.)

(One of the problems with AfD is that if an article is facing deletion, it can be a lot of work to find proper sources. I did the work on some occasions, and the article was deleted anyway, because there had been so many delete !votes (Wikipedia pretends it doesn’t vote, one of the ways the community lies to itself.  before the article was improved, and people don’t come back and reconsider, usually. That’s all part of Wikipedia structural dysfunction. Wasted work. Hardly anyone cares.)

Sources on Barbey

Barbey and friends may be aware of sources not easily found on the internet. Any newspaper will generally be a reliable source. If Barbey’s work is covered in a book that is not internet-searchable, it may be reliable source. Sourcing for the biography should be coverage of Barbey and/or Barbey’s work, attributed to him, and not merely passing mention. Primary sources (such as his university web site) are inadequate. If there were an article on him in the journal where he is Associate Editor, it would probably qualify (because he would not be making the editorial decision on that). If he is the publisher, or he controls the publisher, it would not qualify.

Reliable independent sources
  • BRADLEY CORNELIUS “Dr. Aron Barbey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Emotional Intelligence  APR 27, 2013
  • 2013 Carle Research Institute Awards October 2013, Research Newsletter. Singles out a paper for recognition, “Nutrient Biomarker Patterns, Cognitive Function, and MRI Measures of Brain Aging,” however, I found a paper by that title and Barbey is not listed as an author, nor could I find a connection with Barbey.
  • SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE David Noonan, “How to Plug In Your Brain” MAY 2016
  • The New Yorker.  Emily Anthes  “Vietnam’s Neuroscientific Legacy” October 2, 2014 PASSING MENTION
  • Liz Ahlberg Touchstone “Cognitive cross-training enhances learning, study finds” July 25, 2017

“Aron Barbey, a professor of psychology” (reliable sources make mistakes) Cites a study, the largest and most comprehensive to date, … published in the journal Scientific Reports. N. Ward et al, Enhanced Learning through Multimodal Training: Evidence from a Comprehensive Cognitive, Physical Fitness, and Neuroscience Intervention, Scientific Reports (2017).
The error indicates to me that this was actually written by Touchstone, based on information provided by the University of Illinois, not merely copied from that.

Iffy but maybe

My sense is that continued search could find much more. Barbey is apparently a mainstream neuroscientist, with some level of recognition. His article needs work by an experienced Wikipedian.

Notes for Wikipedians

An IP editor appeared in the Fringe Theories Noticeboard discussion pointing to this CFC post:

Abd is stalking and attacking you both on his blog [25] in regard to Aron Barbey. He has done the same on about 5 other articles of his. [26]. He was banned on Wikipedia yet he is still active on Wiki-media projects. Can this guy get banned for this? The Wikimedia foundation should be informed about his harassment. (talk) 13:30, 16 December 2017 (UTC)

This behavior is clearly of the sock family, called Anglo Pyramidologist on Wikipedia, and when I discovered the massive damage that this family had done, I verified the most recent activity with stewards (many accounts were locked and IPs blocked) and I have continued documentation, which Wikipedia may use or not, as it chooses. It is all verifiable. This IP comment was completely irrelevant to the FTN discussion, but attempting to turn every conversation into an attack on favorite targets is common AP sock behavior. For prior edits in this sequence, see (from the meta documentation):

This new account is not an open proxy. However, I will file a request anyway, because the behavior is so clear, following up on the activity.

I have private technical evidence that this is indeed the same account or strongly related to Anglo Pyramidologist, see the Wikipedia SPI.

(I have found other socks, some blocked, not included in that archive.)

I have also been compiling obvious socks and reasonable suspicions from RationalWiki, for this same user or set of users, after he created a revenge article there on me (as he had previously done with many others).  It’s funny that he is claiming stalking. He has obviously been stalking, finding quite obscure pages and now giving them much more publicity.

And I see that there is now more sock editing on RationalWiki, new accounts with nothing better to do than document that famous troll or pseudoscientist or anti-skeptic (none of which I am but this is precisely what they claim.) Thanks for the incoming links. Every little bit helps.

If anyone thinks that there is private information in posts that should not ethically be revealed, please contact me through my WMF email, it works. Comments are also open on this blog, and corrections are welcome.

On the actual topic of that FTN discussion, the Aron Barbey article (with whom I have absolutely no connection), I have found better sources and my guess is that there are even better ones available.

JzG weighs in

Nobody is surprised. Abd is obsessive. He even got banned from RationalWiki because they got bored with him. Not seeing any evidence of meatpuppetry or sockpuppetry here though. Guy (Help!) 20:16, 16 December 2017 (UTC)

This is a blog I started and run, I have control. Guy behaves as if the Fringe Theories Noticeboard is his personal blog, where he can insult others without any necessity, including scientists like Barbey and a writer like me. And he lies. I cannot correct JzG’s lies on Wikipedia, but I can do it here.

I am not “banned” from RationalWiki. I was blocked by a sock of the massively disruptive user who I had been documenting, on meta for the WMF, on RationalWiki and on my blog when that was deleted by the same sock. The stated cause of the block was not “boring,” though they do that on RW. It was “doxxing.” As JzG should know, connecting accounts is not “doxxing.” It is revelation of real names for accounts that have not freely revealed that, or personal identification, like place of employment.

“Not seeing any evidence of meatpuppetry or sockpuppetry here.” Really? That IP is obviously the same user as behind the globally blocked Anglo Pyramidologist pushing the same agenda, this time with, likely, a local cell phone provide (because the geolocation matches know AP location), whereas with the other socking, documented above, was with open proxies.)

Properly, that IP should have been blocked and the edits reverted as vandalism. But JzG likes attack dogs. They are useful for his purposes.

Fringe theories Noticeboard

NPOV edits on Joseph Banks Rhine and other parapsychology articles

There is a current SPI open about this user but as he is promoting fringe theories I mention it here so people can monitor the article because I believe this will be on-going on other articles. The user in question Ben Steigmann is a psychic believer who argues that J. B. Rhine’s experiments actually demonstrated clairvoyance and telepathy. He uploads his POV version of the article [4] on his “Rhine Revival” account many times. He then deletes it knowing that his version will stay on the Wikipedia database. He then cites his Wikipedia edits as a ‘valid’ source on his anti-Wikipedia/pro-parapsychology research project on Wikiversity [5]. His project claims practically all Wikipedia articles are wrong on parapsychology and that all psychics were basically genuine. He has also been doing this sort of thing on the Frederic W. H. Myers article recently, uploading huge chunks of fringe material and spam from his Wikiversity project and then removing it so it is still stored in the database and he can link to it. I have requested that his edits are striked and they are entirely removed from the database but this has not yet happened.

As this user is doing this on two parapsychology articles, it is likely he is doing it on others on different accounts. Has anyone noticed a similar pattern on any other articles? If you do it is likely the same person. (talk) 15:31, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

Abd comment: The IP user created a great deal of noise about some relatively minor socking by Ben Steigmann (Blastikus.) This is the same user who first filed an SPI case about real socking, (though exaggerated) then impersonated Steigmann with a series of socks, causing a huge mess on Wikipedia and then on Wikiversity and on meta. (see the LTA page I’m working on, stewards confirmed the socking, the Wikiversity damage was undone, except for the wasted time, but Wikipedia has never taken notice. This has happened many times, a disruptive user starts offensive process and everyone looks at his target instead at him.) Steigmann should not be socking at all, but what Anglo Pyramidologist (AP) does is far, far worse.

Because I confronted the abuse, AP attacked me, Wikiversity, and the meta wiki, with an avalanche of sock puppets, insults, and threats. And then he created an article on me on RationalWiki, making claims like he will make here. This user will make a fuss about me being banned on Wikipedia, but that was years ago — even though my name seems to come up, still being blamed for how things are. By JzG. Who shows up here. is an open proxy, and as soon as it was blocked, he started again on, and when that was blocked, he started again on a new proxy,

There was no massive socking going on, except by AP. This IP in this sequence admits, more clearly than before that he is actually AP, creator of nearly 200 socks so far on WMF wikis and many more elsewhere. He does that to attack people perceived as enemies. He is the only one I’ve been putting significant effort into documenting, because of his attack on Wikiversity.

I’ve revision deleted the repeatedly added, then deleted, content at Joseph Banks Rhine. Hope that helps — I’m frankly not sure if it perhaps needs an oversighter. And I’ve warned the Rhine Revival account. Bishonen | talk 18:48, 30 November 2017 (UTC).

Abd comment: There was no dangerous content there. This was a foolish idea Steigmann had, badly implemented. This was three self-reverted edits on two days, and the content would not be anywhere near worthy of oversight. It probably should have been just left. No harm would have been done. Rev-del is a tool that does not allow the community to oversee what’s happening, that comes up here. The idea was probably to discourage him from doing it. Simply asking him not to would be more effective! Has anyone thought of that? (Me! I asked and I hope he has stopped.)

Thanks for your help on this. The user has since turned up on another account and said he is not being confrontational with other users anymore but is now using this website for archive purposes. In other words he is using Wikipedia as a place to store his fringe material. (talk) 19:47, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

Abd comment: Remember, the IP is highly disruptive, blocked from many accounts, globally locked on many accounts. “Fringe” is actually irrelevant. These edits were problematic only because Steigmann is blocked. He is correct in one way: there is high bias against anything that can be seen as “pro-parapsychology.” Parapsychology is a recognized science, but that faction that opposes it, very strongly, confuses the science, which is the study of the paranormal, with “believe” in the paranormal and possibly pseudoscientific ideas. This has created long-term conflict on Wikipedia, and it’s still going on. These people treat Wikipedia as a battlefield against “pseudoscience” and “woo” and “fringe beliefs,” and at least two long-term warriors in this — who have been sanctioned on occasion for going to extremes — will show up here. Steigmann accuses the IP of being Goblin Face, an old enemy, and, in fact, Goblin Face was AP, and was blocked for that.

He is now using his IP on the Frederic W. H. Myers talk-page claiming he has “refuted” the skeptics. (talk) 20:19, 30 November 2017 (UTC)In regard to the removed edits on the Rhine article, he is complaining they have been “censored” [6]. This is cross-wiki abuse, so I guess I will have to take that up at the correct avenue. (talk) 21:32, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

To use the word “censored” to refer to revision-deletion is not particularly inaccurate. This was simply a comment Steigmann made in his resource on Wikiversity. It caused no harm and few would have seen it if not for his arch-enemy bringing it up on Wikipedia. And he changed it. The IP harassed him on his talk page on Wikiversity and filed a request for sanction — which was immediately rejected and the IP was blocked. Wikipedia, however, seems totally clueless. Some people suggested (on Wikiversity and on Wikipedia) that he register account, and it’s fascinating who defended his refusal.

I know it’s shocking, but people can criticize Wikipedia articles on Wikiversity. There are behavioral limits when it comes to criticizing Wikipedians, and it appears he did not cross them.  But this attack IP did.

The checkuser results came back and he has been blocked on four accounts [7]. I just reported Ben’s cross-wiki abuse and socking on Wikiversity. A Wikiversity admin told me “Sorry, anonymous posts have no value in this discussion. Please move on.” [8]. This is very sad. So I guess the abuse will continue into the future. (talk) 23:33, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

Checkuser found four accounts were technically indistinguishable. This situation was completely irrelevant to Wikiversity. Steigmann was not disruptive there. AP was very disruptive, and blatantly socked, cross-wiki, after being blocked, continuing significant disruption and attempting to stir up trouble.

Generally users are not sanctioned on one wiki for socking on another, if they do not improperly use multiple accounts on the first wiki. It is totally possible that a user is disruptive on one wiki and not on another. Wikipedia tends to be a high conflict zone. Wikiversity tends to be quiet; it does not have the kind of conflict over content that is common on Wikipedia. Don’t like someone’s educational resource? Write your own! The more the merrier, and they will (properly) be placed such tha  the overall structure is neutral. Discussing article topics on Wikipedia is highly discouraged, it is encouraged on Wikiversity, as it would be in a university. Wikipedians generally have no understanding of this. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, Wikiversity is far more like a university, including student projects, essays, original research, etc.

The IP was harassing a Wikiversity custodian, who saw immediately what was happening. Wikiversity has had its fill of Single Purpose Accounts which show up and attack a user. The discussion the IP links was on the custodian’s talk page. The admin removed it. Here is how that discussion stood before removal. Worth reading, Steigmann responds there (and I give Steigmann some advice.) The IP was totally inappropriate, rejected, but insistent. And then the IP, blocked, came back with a new proxy, attacking me, linking to the RationalWiki article on me — that he created as revenge. And then added more. He also harassed me on my talk page, and on my meta talk page. Notice that the last removal of his trolling was by a steward. AP knew he’d be blocked in short order, he doesn’t care.

What was unusual here for AP was using IP. Mostly he creates SPAs, rarely he creates accounts that he uses for a longer time.

Have you actually considered registering as a Wikipedia user? It is free of charge. Dimadick (talk) 21:52, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

He knows. He has created probably over 200 Wikipedia accounts. He claims to have 3 active accounts. He’s not going to spend one of them on this, and he probably partitions his access carefully so that he mostly won’t get whacked by a checkuser. But he makes mistakes and then accounts are exposed.

If I read the material over at the wikiversity talk page of the editor in question, @Abd: over there seems to think that the IP is someone’s sockpuppet, and the IP accuses the named editor of being a sockpuppeteer. Isn’t love grand? John Carter (talk) 22:49, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

It’s not just “think.” He actually admits who he is. He admits being the LTA I have been documenting, which is Anglo Pyramidologist as known on Wikipedia. He will try to confuse this with “attacking skeptics,” citing one in particular, some old work he found, calling it “doxxing,” and “harassment,” and he archived so it couldn’t be deleted — which left unmistakeable footprints — and then rushed around pointing to it in many places. I’ve become, it seems, his major target. This was a Fringe Science noticeboard and what he brings to it is completely irrelevant. Watch out for a particular kind of content. Okay, what kind? There is actually very little information about that. Here he goes:

Abd is a known parapsychology advocate and pseudoscience promoter. He has been banned on Wikipedia for sock-puppeting himself and disruption a few years ago.

One sock, used for a short time, not disruptive in itself. Banned by a faction, it’s obvious. But that will be covered elsewhere and it was totally irrelevant on this page. It’s the same faction that AP has allied himself with, and I have seen some evidence that he’s been supported to some degree. That’s coming out here to a degree. I’ll refer to this below.

I am an advocate of scientific investigation, and there was an organization called “Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.” That title would be quite equivalent to “Committee for Parapsychology,” because that is the definition. Parapsychology is not a belief system. So, yes, in general, I “advocate” science. However, parapsychology is not my thing. Parapsychology has been a battleground on Wikipedia, and I arranged a resource where the topic could be studied on Wikiversity. I am not a “believer” in what is commonly referred to as “psi.” I also am an advocate of research in a field where two major reviews of the field recommended such research, cold fusion. It’s a fringe field, but … that has to do with how it is seen by “most scientists.” In fact, in mainstream peer-reviewed journals, papers and reviews are being published, and one of mine was published, and the research I was reporting on and suggesting be done with increased precision is actually being done, at Texas Tech, fully funded, about $12 million. Last I looked this was science, not “pseudoscience.” What has been found and confirmed remains falsifiable. This pseudoskeptic does not actually know what science and pseudoscience are.

He is a personal friend of Steigmann, they both do a lot of edits in promoting paranormal material on Wikiversity, there seems to be no rules over there on content.

I’ve never met him, we have had occasional email contact, and I simply helped get a neutral educational resource going on parapsychology, which studies the paranormal. The Parapsychology resource.

If that is not neutral, any user can fix it, like Wikipedia.

There can be subpages (Wikiversity, unlike Wikipedia, allows subpages in mainspace), some of which are like essays or individual research projects, with attributed authors, who own them. Traditionally (I set up or firmed up much of this process), attached talk page remains open. Users can edit an “owned” resource, but the “owner” will generally be supported by custodians to make it the way he or she wants. It’s their essay or report or research.

The parapsychology resource has been attacked a few times, but Wikiversity has always supported it. Anyone may create a subpage study and own it, as Steigmann in effect owns his. It was set up that way. This avoids endless waste of time on conflicts. And, in fact, people learn. Steigmann has learned, it’s obvious. “Learning by doing” was an original slogan for Wikiversity.

The parapsychology top-level page is not owned. It is a brief summary and then an index into resources and studies, seminars, etc. So there is a subpage, Parapsychology/Sources, and Steigmann has a subpage under that, with his name on it. That clearly identifies it as his work, for which he is responsible. There is also a page of sources compiled by another user, notice, sources deemed hostile to parapsychology or the paranormal. Steigmann found that and put it there. In other words, Steigmann is actually studying the field, even though he presents himself as  That is actually what we want to see on Wikiversity, academic balance.

Wikiversity has a neutrality policy, like Wikipedia. The Parapsychology resource structure does not violate it. Wikiversity is simply neutral by inclusion rather than by exclusion. (Conflict is rare, in fact, except for conflict that appears to come from “outside,” i.e., from Wikipedians thinking something is nonsense and wanting it deleted. I once preserved from deletion the writings of a 7-year old who was being blocked globally for “vandalism.” I recognized what he was, and encouraged him to write his stories in his own user space (things that are not considered useful for others as well as personally useful will not generally be deleted on Wikiversity, but will be moved to user space. That young man is now, as far as I can tell, the youngest WMF sysop. He learned! It took a little work. He made mistakes sometimes that needed to be fixed. He was well worth the effort, and I protected him from the usual Wikimedians who seem to know only block, delete, and blacklist as methods for improving projects. On Wikiversity, the people, “scholars,” are the project.

He will go massive lengths to try and clear Ben’s name.

All I did was to identify and document the massive impersonation socking that AP did, this person who is now describing my alleged motives where it is totally irrelevant, in order to attack Steigmann and Wikiversity. Ben was not responsible for that. He was responsible for what he did, and he’s written about that. He has also been impersonated elsewhere, clearly on RationalWiki. But Ben Steigmann was just the initial reason I started to research AP … and then I filed steward checkuser requests and then got a series of global locks issued. This had nothing to do with Steigmann’s actual socking, and whatever Steigmann has done in his life — he has admitted to some prior opinions that I certainly would not support — is irrelevant to me. He was working as a Wikiversity scholar, not being disruptive there, and I generally protected Wikiversitans from attack by Wikipedians (which is not terribly uncommon; it used to be worse.)

Abd claims that a group of ‘skeptical’ editors are out to ‘target’ Ben.

He is, as usual, misrepresenting what I claim. First of all, I don’t know the motives, but attacking Steigmannn has been one of many AP behaviors. This is not a “group of skeptical editors,” not what I have been documenting. There may have been some collective attack on Steigmann years ago, but that is not what I have studied. So far, anyway. I have been only looking at the activity of a single person, the sock master, or there are claims that this is two brothers, and I do see two personalities. But I don’t care. If there are two, they are both highly disruptive.

Ben was banned on four socks recently, yet according to Abd I am ‘harrassing’ Ben and his sock-puppetry is ‘harmless’.

Actually, the admin blocking did not tag the socks as Blastikus. However, creating massive discussions in many places, which AP did, and going to Wikiversity and harassing Steigmann on his talk page and trying to get him sanctioned there is definitely harmful. It seems the most disruption — meaning activity creating some need for admin attention — was a set of self-reverted edits, which, if they had been ignored, would have been harmless, at most using up a tiny fraction of a cent worth of disk space. And one editor seemed to find some of that useful. I am not judging that. But there is a huge difference between that level of disruption, which could have been ignored without harm, and what AP created.

“Four socks” sounds like a lot, until one looks and sees how little editing was involved, over an extended time. This was only noticed because AP is obsessed with Steigmann. Why? I have some speculations, but I don’t actually know, because I have not researched Steigmann’s history. 

I guess spamming the J. B. Rhine article like Ben did is harmless then.

That wasn’t “spamming.” AP looks for whatever pejorative term he can use. This was all blatant personal attack, by a block-evading LTA, and ignored on Wikipedia. I handled the IPs on meta based on the cross-wiki abuse — real cross-wiki abuse — and the use of open proxies (which is an automatic block, normally, because it’s used by LTAs and spammers, block evaders or users avoiding checkuser identification with other accounts, and AP does claim to have many active accounts, and it’s believable.

If that was harmful, the harm was very small, compared to the extensive disruption, cross-wiki, AP created in this incident.

Like I said this will continue long into the future. Ben will continue to spam his ‘pro-paranormal’ content from from his Wikiversity project onto Wikipedia. He does it every few months. He needs to be blocked on Wikiversity but nobody over there seems to be interested in this cross-wiki abuse. (talk) 02:40, 2 December 2017 (UTC)

Why does he “need to be blocked on Wikiversity”? The only disruption on Wikiversity over this has been caused by AP socks. AP wants that because he needs to win, and this is a battle he’s been fighting for some time. I have not gone back to how it happened that Ben was originally blocked on Wikipedia; I think there was interaction with AP elsewhere. Ben was young and perhaps foolish. But I’ve seen others attacked by AP who were not young and foolish, merely a bit naive about how Wikipedia works. AP is clearly not on Wikipedia to improve the project. He is there to attack enemies. 

I doubt anyone is interested but you can have you say here on the matter if you are, here. The reason I take this seriously is because this will not doubt happen again in the future. I will not be further responding. Abd who has been blocked on Wikipedia and elsewhere, is impossible to reason with. 03:06, 2 December 2017 (UTC)

That request was going nowhere, and nobody showed up. I closed it (“involved close,” but that will normally stand, and IP or SPAs reverting that won’t be tolerated, I’d predict.) Previously, when AP impersonated Steigmann, with sock puppets displaying defiance and claiming that Wikipedians could do nothing, a WP admin did go to Wikiversity and complain, and was able to convince a custodian to create a deletion discussion and the resource was deleted and Ben was blocked. To fix that required arranging checkuser of the original filer of the Blastikus report (who had actually acknowledged being a sock, but who pays attention?) and then a user who came to Wikiversity to support the deletion and block request. And all those disruptive accounts, I new were impersonations. It was naive not to at least suspect that! SPAs. Red flag. And then when I started to question it, it started raining socks. I never saw anything like it before. And I was threatened with retaliation if I pursued the matter.

By the way, that was canvassing. Heh! What does the Fringe science Noticeboard have to do with Wikiversity process? That’s not a neutral place to notify people of process…. 

I cannot access revdeleted edits to see their patterns. It seems that a lot of text is being copied. It would be interesting to know if those texts typically include common links which would suit for reporting at WT:WPSPAM for potential blacklisting… —PaleoNeonate – 06:02, 2 December 2017 (UTC)

And where is my pitchfork? (It’s unlikely to be a fruitful source for blacklisting. Steigmann collects book sources and similar materials, as far as I’ve seen, not fringe web sites.)

Abd has defended Steigmann’s sock-puppetry even claiming [9], when the time is “ripe”, Steigmann should request an unblock request.

I did not say “should.” I said “could,” this is the Standard Offer. Steigmann is not banned, if I’m correct, merely indef blocked. I have not “defended Steigmann’s sock puppetry.” I’ve strongly recommended he not sock. I’m not God, and even if I were, sometimes people don’t do what God tells them to do. Great mystery, eh? Again, AP is trying to find a way to attack. So I am supposedly encouraging a disruptive user to request unblock. It would be a waste of time if he hasn’t learned how to avoid disruption. I was telling him that, however, if he wants to return to Wikipedia (he has said he doesn’t want that), he could manage it, and I know how he could do it. There is a problem with this?

Abd is now stalking and harassing several skeptical Wikipedia editors.

Nope. One former editor, still socking. And he isn’t a legitimate Wikipedia editor. Anglo Pyramidologist/Dan Skeptic/Goblin Face, and many other names, blocked, some globally locked. LTA.

Notice that this user clearly stalks Ben Steigmann. Previous reports brought together Facebook pages, details of what Steigmann had written on Wikiversity, etc. And this user also created a biography on me, on RationalWiki, finding some quite obscure material from long ago and then, incorrectly interpreted, presenting it as libel and smear. The socks are documented here, because when it was documented on RationalWiki — simply a beginning list of sock accounts, something that AP does on Wikipedia with Steigmann — I was promptly blocked there. Not a problem. I moved the documentation here, and it’s getting long. But AP is persistent and scours the internet for mud to toss. So he found something relatively obscure, from months ago, not “now.”

On his personal website (which I wont link to here), he has posted slanderous statements and the full dox, and personal details of user ජපස. He has also done the same to several other skeptical users who used to edit Wikipedia. Outrageous behaviour. 06:30, 2 December 2017 (UTC)

No slanderous statements. Maybe AP should look up “slander.” If what I wrote were false it would be “libel,” not slander. It was almost entirely a list of Wikipedia account names for the user who was previously banned for disruptive editing, which anyone can find with a little patience, and who came back to Wikipedia and is editing freely, with what I’d call factional support, and who had not changed his behavior, in my opinion then (around the beginning of October).  I really don’t recall why I decided to post this, but it went onto a web site of a group that had been discussing him. It was not “full dox.” It had his more recently changed Wikipedia account names, and a new name he’s using professionally. No truly “personal details.”

When AP found this material, what did he do? Did anyone ask me to take it down? (No.) If it contained defamation or error did anyone object (No.) What he did, because he’s been on a mission to take down Abd, was send it to (one page) and the internet archive (the other page), and his posts link to those archived copies in many places, making this allegedly defamatory material far more difficult to remove. When I saw that the page on my blog had been noticed, I immediately set it for private, then edited it to remove the information that the user might want kept private and republished. And I asked moderation on the other forum to take that post down. (Last look, they haven’t) And then I was attacked for taking it down and for asking for it to be removed?

Which shows, clearly, what is important to this troll. Not protecting that user, but attacking AP’s enemies. I’ve seen him do it with many others, now, this is SOP for him.

“Have you actually considered registering as a Wikipedia user? It is free of charge”. No sorry, user Abd likes to stalk skeptical users and write deliberate lies and negative things about them on blogs and forums to damage peoples reputations. He also goes after peoples family members. He has a personal vendetta against anyone who is skeptical of cold fusion or parapsychology. I have tried to get him blocked on Wikiversity before for doxing people, he got some warnings for this but no action was taken against him. I am using proxy IPs to remain anonymous for safety reasons. I even requested for my previous one to be blocked. I will give this up for now, but when Steigmann sock-puppets again or decides to spam his fringe content in a few months I will report him again. There is a user called Manul who used to be excellent at finding Steigmann’s socks but unfortunately he hasn’t been active recently. (talk) 06:42, 2 December 2017 (UTC)

With his IP, I could follow him more effectively, and have. That was an open proxy, but he used it elsewhere! He really is rather dim, but he’s persistent and has been pursuing his enemies for years, viciously. I’m told that there has been actual harm. To him, “skepticism” is closely akin to “hatred.” That is not typical of genuine skeptics. Wherever I have posted, I have invited correction (or it has obviously been possible. No corrections have been offered, only threats and attack. And lies about what is in the documents. This all is being documented and some is still private, because it can reveal confidential information. As this troll continues, necessity allows what is otherwise prohibited.

Here is one new account on RationalWiki connected with the IP.  I have “technical evidence” on this one.

I have no “vendetta against people skeptical of cold fusion”. Skepticism of cold fusion is natural. After, all, it is a phenomenon of unknown mechanism that is very difficult to reproduce. To understand the body of work that has been done takes some level of motivation to study. If it’s all bogus, which was more or less the consensus of “scientists,” over 25 years ago, what’s the motivation to put in that work? I support the study of skeptical objections to cold fusion, and have proposed research to resolve open questions. That is science, not pseudoscience, and was the recommendation of both U.S. DoE reviews. The research has been funded, $6 million from a very famous donor, and $6 million in State of Texas matching funds. This is real science, whatever the results.

Unless someone wants to sanction the IP for personal attacks on the apparently banned Abd, who I think probably still shouldn’t necessarily have been insulted (as it seems to me he was) by the IP above, I guess we can close this thread? John Carter (talk) 19:09, 2 December 2017 (UTC)

Smart. Actually, the IP attacks got more and more intense and obvious, with, so far, the use of five open proxies and counting.  See [ LTA/Anglo Pyramidologist – IP reports] on meta. AP is, quite obviously and amply demonstrated, a Long-Term Abuser. Now, if someone is imitating him (which could happen!) what is being imitated is a long-term abuser. I don’t really care who the real person is behind this. Others, who have suffered actual harm, may care and I will provide information to them if they need it. That’s ordinary.

The IP is largely correct about many problems that are happening. And I don’t think the insistence that people register accounts is necessarily a good one because there aren’t a lot of assurances that privacy can be kept (I know this from personal experience). Let this stay open for the normal length of time (twelve days) to see if this settles down. jps (talk) 23:14, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

JPS is now supporting AP. I think it got worse. More will be revealed. There is no “insistence that people register accounts. Rather, there is simple reality: regular accounts get more respect. And regular accounts, established for so many days with so many edits without getting blocked are autoconfirmed and can edit through semi-protection, which becomes relevant here. The IP editing this Noticeboard page led to it being semiprotected, and the IP later complains about that.

JPS’s comments about privacy would be based on his own very unusual experience. He made a lot of enemies, and was quite visible. He was editing with his university IP, and I think it may have been traced back to him. It is IP editing that is more likely to reveal identity. He has it backwards. He has been, I suspect, pursued and harassed, enough that he has changed his Wikipedia username a very large number of times (which doesn’t work!, it simply makes it slightly more cumbersome to track him. Right now, anyone who wants his current username can easily find it in a matter of minutes. He got involved with conflicts that had nothing to do with his career, but with an obsession of his. Long story, and it is his problem. What he is attempting to do is to attack real people (and their ideas and beliefs) while standing off, immune. Not going to work. He could easily vanish but continue to edit Wikipedia, if he avoids high-conflict pages and calling attention. But what he’s doing, changing his username, gives him the credit of high contributions. He’d have to start over. So he wants the benefit of his prior work while attempting to cover it up. Naive.

I applied ECP to the Rhine article, based on the fact that Bish actually had to revdel some of the abuse out. Also the IP is absolutely correct about Abd. He caused endless grief here for a very long time, his purpose on all Wikimedia projects is to reflect his personal idiosyncratic version of reality rather than the empirically established facts on which impartial observers agree. Guy (Help!) 09:50, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Guy is very much a factional editor, famous as such. Guy was behind my Wikipedia “community ban”. “Endless grief” for a “very long time.” Drama? Sure. Guy was reprimanded by ArbComm in the first case filed, and William M. Connolley, following a factional agenda, I came to suspect was caused by the first case, was desysopped for blocking me. Of course, I caused all this by pointing out what they had done. Rude.

In Guy’s case, I compiled a list of his edits to articles related to cold fusion. It was neutral, it accused him of nothing, but it showed that he was not neutral and that therefore his use of admin tools was “involved,” which he was denying. So … what “impartial observers”? His friends claimed I had edited that list to make him look bad. What they were doing was assuming that the comments with each edit were mine. No, they were his. I had not touched them. His own comments made him look “bad,” or at least quite biased.

And this is obvious: he is aligning himself with the IP, as AP socks were aligned with him and his friends, before they were detected and blocked. This is all evidence of factional administration. Not my problem, I am not a Wikipedia editor, but I do watch and report, and the public is at least covering my expenses, which is far better than what happened when I was a Wikipedia editor. Being banned there was like being released from prison.

This is pretty obvious: Guy’s claims are very personal and very opinionated and have zero evidence attached. I attach evidence, generally — though not always — and that makes my comments long, and that is one of the allegedly Bad Things I do, write long comments.

According to a discussion on Wikiversity (which I leave to you all to discover), the person behind the Rhine Researcher socks has declared their intention to dispense with the kind of disruption described above. Abd, interestingly, counseled against such behavior, so hopefully there won’t be more happening over here. Unfortunately, it looks like Wikiversity continues to be used as an incubator for WP:RGW against the fringe. Don’t know why the foundation tolerates that, but there you go. jps (talk) 14:51, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Again, JPS is aligning with the IP and attacking Wikiversity, which has nothing to do with RGW. He shows later how clueless he is about Wikiversity. None of this has anything to do with the topic on the Noticeboard. However, he is not AP and may say things that are not pure AP agenda. He seems to be mostly clueless about AP. 


This page will list studies of Wikipedia bans. Most Wikipedia blocks and bans are justified, but some are abusive. Some have extended consequences. A “ban” is a formal decision, either by the community or the Arbitration Committee. The Arbitration Committee rarely bans for more than a year. When discretionary sanctions have been declared for a topic area, individual administrators may enforce sanction including a site ban for up to a year. The community may declare indefinite bans.

Bans are generally enforced with blocks. However, that a user is indef blocked (i.e., no expiration declared), is not a ban. Sometimes an indef block is called a “de facto ban,” if no administrator is willing to unblock, but, in fact, any administrator could decide to unblock. Unblocking a banned user without discussion would usually be considered improper. There are massive sock farms, up to a thousand socks blocked, with nobody ever having been banned.

Case studies:

Abd (that’s me!)


Wikipedia on Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia with the aim to allow anyone to edit articles.[3]

Notice that the “aim” is presented as fact. I will cover how Wikipedia attempted to create a level of reliability. It failed for lack of clarity and, most of all, enforcement. With a volunteer labor force that strenuously avoided structure (“bureaucracy”), reliability was likely impossible.

So, fact (and interpretation, for that matter) is, by policy on Wikipedia, to be verifiable. Interpretation should be attributed to source, and Wikipedia requires, for most purposes, reliable secondary sources. This is because, even though Wikipedia advertised itself as the “sum of all human knowledge,” in fact, that knowledge was to be filtered by notability, and notability is, in theory and by policy established by coverage of the “knowledge” by independent sources with a motive to be accurate, to appeal to their audiences. This typically means a responsible publisher, either for-profit, or an academic nonprofit or other source where reliability is important to the publisher.

“Passing reference” in a reliable source, is not enough, in theory. Note 3 is:

3. Brandom, Russell (September 4, 2015). “Wikipedia founder defends decision to encrypt the site in China”The Verge. Retrieved September 19, 2015.

This is hilarious. The “source” does not state the “aim” of Wikipedia. A sourced lede is, by guidelines, only a neutral statement of what is established in the body of the article, which is where sources would be given. The claim of “aim” is an example where a primary source would be allowed: Wikipedia can state what its aim or purpose is, and this would be attributed, for example, “The Main page states, ‘Welcome to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.'”

However, they could also cite a Reliable Source. In this case, the source doesn’t support the text. Rather, the source is about Chinese access and may or may not relate to the goal.

As of March 2017, Wikipedia has about 40,000 high-quality articles, known as Featured Articles and Good Articles, that cover vital topics.[17][18] In 2005, Nature published a peer review comparing 42 science articles from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia, and found that Wikipedia’s level of accuracy approached that of Encyclopædia Britannica.[19]

That’s certainly interesting. However, that Nature article is a primary source. It is not a “peer review.” It is a study that involved reviews of articles, and was narrowly confined. Wikipedia looks for secondary sources because the significance of primary sources can be unclear. How has this study been received?

The body of the article is more nuanced than the lede and covers the controversy to a degree. However, the dominant faction will insist on its view being represented in the lede, knowing that many readers will just look at the lede (and Google often just cites the lede).

Wiki theory has it that so many users are monitoring articles that errors will be quickly discovered. So, above, in moments, I found an error, a source cited as evidence for text that is not supported by the source. In order to discover that error, a reader has to actually look at the source (though I was suspicious that there might be a problem just from looking at the title of the source.) If it “looks okay” to Recent Changes Patrollers (who commonly are searching desperately for vandalism to be the first to revert it, and actually reading a source will only be done by a small fraction of them) it can last a long time. When was this introduced? September 19, 2015. The user, editing since 2008, is actually a “reviewer” ironically, that being an aspect of Flagged Revisions, an effort to create more reliability that was shot down by the “community,” meaning the insane portion of the community that follows such things. That user has gotten into some trouble, but the problem here is not the user, but the structure, with unreliability built-in, unless addressed by corrective structure, which has always been resisted.

That’s not a particularly important “fact,” but, as stated, it’s simply wrong. At one point I studied global locks, and there were about 5000 accounts being globally locked when I looked, a few years back. Most of those were spammers, but a few were not. And there are many, many users blocked at any given time. Some for obvious necessity, but some not. “Anyone” must be qualified to be true.

Wikipedia Rule Number One, it was called, “Ignore all rules.” 

If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipediaignore it.

I wrote at one point, about Wikipedia, that a corollary of this Rule was “If you have not been blocked yet, you are not trying hard enough to improve the project.” The reason is obvious. There are administrators who will block anyone who ignores rules. One might be able to then get unblocked, but the block log will then forever show the block, and future administrators will look at it. However, if one is an administrator, the application of the rule changes. Administrators may, with relative impunity, block users on their own opinion, without actual rule violations; there is almost no accountability unless a pattern becomes so obvious and someone actually takes this to the Arbitration Committee, and if “someone” is not an administrator, this is practically wiki-suicide. I demonstrated that! Even if the user wins, they lose, because the “cabal” — what Wales called the administrative corps when he formed it — will be looking for excuses to get rid of the “troublemaker.” And they are generally administrators-for-life. There are plenty of administrators who would never pass a confirmation vote, but to remove them is extremely difficult. There is almost no responsibility. That’s the wiki structure! And that is why Wikipedia is unreliable.

But I get ahead of myself.

The Wikipedia article on Cold fusion was a Featured Article at one time. Then it became a battleground, with administrative interference — avoiding actual dispute resolution process. I came into the picture long after this started, massive damage had already been done. I was a neutral editor, but was treated as a “POV-pusher.” I only later developed a deeper knowledge of cold fusion research, to the point of being able to write an article published under actual peer review.

So what happened to me on Wikipedia? The story: Wikipedia/Bans/Abd.

A study of the edits to the Wikipedia cold fusion article by JPS.

A general coverage of Wikipedia bans, case histories and comparisons.

Gateway to Chaos, Confusion, and Complexity

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

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

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


Draft — under construction

In recent discussions on Wikiversity and elsewhere, it has been mentioned that I’m banned on the English Wikipedia. While I have been blocked elsewhere in the WikiMedia Foundation family of wikis, that is the only WMF wiki where I’m currently blocked, and it is actually a formal “community ban.” How did this happen? How does this compare with other blocks and bans?

The difference between an “indefinite block” and a “ban” is that any administrator may lift a block on request, whereas a “ban” has, in theory, been decided by either the community or the Arbitration Committee. A case I filed actually established that individual administrators cannot “ban”, even though they can “indef block.”

I registered on Wikipedia some time in 2005, the User Creation log either did not exist then or was cleared. My first edit was to Talk:Waldorf School, February, 2005. Even though I had prior wiki experience, I had no idea what I was doing with MediaWiki, and here I was, diving into a controversy. I was most accustomed to mailing lists, and interspersal of comment, so I tried to do that. Utterly inappropriate there. It appears that by December, 2006, I finally figured out how to sign comments. Before then, I added signatures manually.

Now, to my Wikipedia block log, which got pretty long, eventually. My first block was for revert warring with a collection of socks. I had been ready for it, had prepared my User talk page so that the admin would see what was happening. That worked. I was immediately unblocked. The log for then.

I was nominated for adminship twice. The first time was completely ridiculous, I had nowhere near enough experience. The nominator told me he nominated me so I would see how it worked. The second time was closer. It was still premature. All things considered, I did quite well. Had I not confronted administrators, had I played the game, staying away from controversy, I’m pretty sure that third time I’d have become an administrator. But I didn’t actually think that I was personally that important. I was much more interested in process and community. I was later an administrator on Wikiversity, and with that and twenty-five cents, long, long ago, in a land far away, one could get a ride on the subway.

Later, there was a misunderstanding involving Fritzpoll. There was a sock master who put up some edits that looked like they might be Fritzpoll. I pointed out the appearance, it was not actually an accusation (seemed quite unlikely!). I was promptly blocked indef. The log. An indef block for what was really a first block was unusually long. But Iridescent was a good admin, simply overworked, most of them are. This is a version of my Talk page with the discussion. Immediately I see the biggest problem. Talking way too much. A blocked user has only one legitimate use for the Talk page: requesting unblock. Otherwise, STFU. What I see then, however, are two other factors:

I was being seen as a reformer with good ideas by some. I was also being attacked by trolls who used sock puppets. (Not Jehochman, and my reaction to him was foolish — but we actually met in real life later, at his invitation, during the JzG Arbitration). I was learning how the system worked.

Eventually Fritzpoll became quite a good friend, and went on to run for the Arbitration Committee (and won) and told me he was inspired to do that by my work. Then he resigned; he told me he and his family had been threatened in real life, face-to-face, by thugs. Not worth it, he decided. Wikipedia is quite vulnerable. 

So … at the beginning of 2009 I noticed an odd blacklisting of a web site by an admin. I requested that he retract it, he refused … but when it became apparent that the blacklisting would be undone on the English Wikipedia, he went to the meta wiki and requested global blacklisting (over which the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee had no authority. This was about, the site that hosts legal copies of articles on cold fusion. The admin had lied in getting the meta blacklisting. (I.e., grossly misleading statements that he should have known were false or misleading). So I continued with dispute resolution process on Wikipedia. I drafted a Request for Comment on the admin. A very well-respected former administrator agreed to cosign, but she warned me that if I filed this, I’d be banned. I went ahead; again, I did not think that I was personally that important. They don’t actually shoot people, not so far, anyway.

I was not involved in cold fusion at that time.

I had already seen the “faction” involved, in another RfC.  I had actually facilitated that RfC, because of technical difficulties getting it started, but … then I read it! The user was being targeted by a faction that included administrators. So I was not surprised when many editors with familiar names showed up to scream “Ban Abd,” even though I was irrelevant. So the RfC I filed came to no conclusion, as expected, but that failed attempt to find consensus created a possible ArbComm case,  and Jehochman beat me to the filing: Requests_for_arbitration/Abd_and_JzG.

About this time Jehochman invited me to a presentation he was giving in the Boston area, so we met. He told me that ArbCom would not remove JzG’s tools, because he had done such valuable work with OTRS, but that he would be “on a short leash.” He was right about the first, but not about the second. There was no short leash. JzG did learn to avoid certain obvious direct actions, but did repeat his earlier behaviors.

When the faction questioned the evidence I had provided, claiming that it had been cherry-picked to make JzG look bad, an arbitrator recompiled it, using a bot, totally neutrally. At that point the faction backed away, and the Committee reprimanded JzG. They also criticized me. For not being quick enough! I had attempted to ask JzG’s friends to advise him to back off before going ahead with the RfC.

It was an amazing victory, it seemed. But it was essentially useless. Nothing changed, really, and now I was clearly a target. I’m now seeing the pattern quite clearly: to get rid of an inconvenient editor, send attack dogs. When the user responds to them, whack the user for incivility or other disruption. Simply create excuses.

I had begun to work on the cold fusion article, which had been damaged. I was quite conservative. The long-term abuse of that article by the faction had left out basic facts, shown in reliable source. Gradually, I was finding editorial consensus on improvements. So, one day, a user started revert warring, Hipocrite. Ah, I could tell stories about this user, in many situations! He would push and prod and create disruption and then as it started to get hot, he’d “retire.” It would work. Wikipedia admins would fall for it every time. No use beating a dead horse! He started to revert war on the article, including making extensive changes up to then went to Requests for Page Protection and, at 02:51 requested the article be full-protected (alleging that I was revert-warring with him, which was untrue). Then he went back to the article and made another to it, at . And the article was then protected into that version. So I began to organize a process to decide what to do with the article. Hipocrite was disruptive in that, but it was working, a consensus was being found anyway.

And then a factional administrator, William M. Connolley, showed up and declared that both Hipocrite and I were banned from editing the cold fusion article and its Talk page.

This was Hipocrite’s goal all along. He did not care one whit about cold fusion, nor did he know anything about it, nor did William M. Connolley, but WMC knew that I had confronted his own abusive use of administrative tools previously.

In any case, I had previously described a way that a banned editor could edit a page non-disruptively, essentially by suggesting an edit and self-reverting “per ban.” I had suggested that first for the editor then known as Science Apologist, who had been making spelling corrections to articles from which he had been banned, in order to make administrators look foolish. He was working with …. Hipocrite, who would report his edits as if an enemy, which he wasn’t …. WMC was a scientist, and I actually liked him, but … Hipocrite was an attack dog. So this takes me to my next block, which was by WMC, for a self-reverted edit (zero change net edit) to the cold fusion article. Ironically, I was wrong about the correction I suggested, but that I had pointed out the problem led quickly to its being fixed. I had seen self-reversion work, to create cooperation where there had been conflict. It made far more sense than what is generally suggested: describe the edit to someone else. Much easier to just make the edit and self-revert per ban, because it leaves nothing to be done if the edit is not accepted by someone else who takes responsibility for it.

Eventually, I took this issue to the Arbitration Committee. The case has been renamed, Cold fusion 2 from the original Abd-William M. Connolley. I can see on that Arbitration page WMC’s snark…. That doesn’t seem to have been any kind of problem to the Arbitrators, they don’t mention it.

This time the faction took the whole thing seriously. I was primarily concerned with the problem of factional editing and wrote about the “cabal.” This group of editors was actually being called a cabal in media, but it had become an inspeakable word on Wikipedia. I did not accuse these editors of violating policy, as such. However, the Arbitration Committee, it appears, did not understand the issue at all. They considered mention of a cabal as a sign of being a disruptive editor. The same faction was confronted later, with more success (by a steward!) but the Arbitration Committee still took minimal action. It would probably take structural changes, well beyond what they saw as possible.

During the Arbitration WMC insisted that his ban was still valid, and he could prove it. I knew what he meant, so I let him demonstrate it. The result was predictable. I made a harmless edit, he blocked me for it, and then I was unblocked by an arbitrator and they were discussing emergency removal of tools. However, it appears that a committee majority wanted me gone even before that case, it came out in the hacked ArbComm mailing list. So, while WMC lost his tools, and the point I had filed the case over was confirmed, I was also sanctioned in three ways:

  • Topic ban on cold fusion for a year. The finding on which this appears to have been based:

11) Abd (talk · contribs) has tendentiously edited the cold fusion article.  12345

These evidences were entirely the statements of Enric Naval, a long-time editor of Cold Fusion and very involved in prior disputes. The article had become a battleground well before I became involved. ArbComm had previously banned Pcarbonn, whom the cabal considered an example of a “Civil POV-pusher.” That means someone who has, the cabal believes, a point of view but who pushes it within civility and other policies. Yet cabal members have points of view which they push, sometimes outside of policy, and very little is done about it.

Selective enforcement is a common tool of biased administration. In this case, it can be seen that major problems involving administrative misconduct were on full display before the Committee, and were generally ignored. WMC was desysopped largely because of a single gross error, blocking me during the case. The Committee majority is enforcing a very naive view of wikipedia process, a view that thinks of administrators as neutral and reliable, and if they aren’t, they should be removed, because the system depends on this. Yet the system was obviously broken, and reform is extremely difficult, and those who recognize the problem often end up banned, if they don’t first leave in disgust, as many have.

In general, Carcharoth understood many of the issues, but he was a voice crying in the wilderness of the Committee. The links as given in the ArbComm are broken because the entire evidence page was “courtesy blanked.” I was sanctioned for writing too much, but Enric Naval’s Evidence was voluminious … and is mostly deleted now. I have fixed the links by adding the revision number – which is not enough for all.

Item 1: The link is pointing to an Enric Naval section, “Multiple sources say that Cold fusion is pathological science or is considered as such, and Abd has willfully ignored them in several occasions.” The section points to an Enric Naval user subpage. It was moved to here, and then the redirect was deleted at Naval’s request and the page was edited further. Archived copy. The version the Committee would have seen. The page is evidence about “multiple sources,” but cold fusion was described by Huizenga as “the scientific fiasco of the century.” As such, multiple sources can be found for many different points of view. Key word in Naval’s statement, “is.” The present tense. A source will state what is considered at the time. The “pathological science” claim is not found in secondary source reviews of cold fusion. On the point here, no evidence is presented for the claim as relevant to my behavior, “has willfully ignored.” I am and was quite aware of the claim, and of it being widely accepted, at least at one time, but that opinion does not reflect the present position of cold fusion in many mainstream peer-reviewed journals (nor as it was in 2009). What Naval was often doing was assuming “pathological science” as a background, a light in which everything else must be considered. No evidence here supports “tendentious editing” of the article. It does not even support argument by me, this was entirely Enric Naval. More on this below.

Item 2:  The cited Enric Naval section has: Abd has stonewalled progress in the article by walls of text and derailing discussions into off-topic and OR and it refers to another Enric Naval page that has been deleted. However, on the face, this is not about tendentious editing of the article. “Walls of text” would refer to talk page discussion that Naval found difficult to read. Yet any editor (including Enric) could collapse discussion considered too long or off-topic. This would not prevent progress at all. “OR” is “Original research,” which is not allowed on Wikipedia as source for articles, though the cabal often uses it when it suits them. The example of my own OR that comes to mind is comment on the 2004 U.S. DoE review of “cold fusion,” which contains several blatant errors by the anonymous author that had an impact on the overall review conclusions. So I pointed out the errors, and the point for the article would be that, in fact, the DoE review is a primary source, not a peer-reviewed review (though it is often treated as such, and then the conclusions are cherry-picked, and attempts to correct this by slightly more extensive quotation from the summary were always reverted.) The overall issue here is how editorial consensus is found, and the role of experts or others who become highly informed on a topic. Wikipedia is famously hostile to experts, and here we see why. Experts will assume that editors are actually interested in the topic! In some fields, one simply will be uninformed if not interested. And then we are left with uninformed editors balancing conflicts in sources. And there goes the project. Consensus famously takes extensive discussion, but discussion is not “wiki.”

Common cause of warnings on cold fusion: discussion of topic on talk page. There is a long-term solution which was strongly opposed (later) by the cabal: refer users to Wikiversity for discussion, since Wikiversity allows and encourages discussion of topics. These people do not want the topic actually discussed anywhere, not even on a neutral “sister wiki.”

No evidence here of tendentious editing of the article.

Item 3.   Abd has has consistenly removed or reworded sourced negative statements, and edit warred with other editors. Again, the actual evidence page is deleted. My responses were also deleted, at the request of JzG (highly involved. Does he disclose that? No.)  “Consistent,” to be evidenced, would require an extensive review. Consistent removal of sourced “positive” statements on cold fusion has been a characteristic of editors on cold fusion since before I was involved, and has continued. I have never done a review of this, nor did it happen in “Cold fusion 2.” ArbComm does not do “careful review.” It opens up a page and the community starts shouting, and then it picks. It does not create investigations, it uses “wiki discussion process,” which is utterly broken whenever depth is required. There have been a few users who would do it, and they end up banned. Evidence will be a “wall of text.” Enric Naval presented a huge farrago of arguments, but shoved the actual evidence off to his user pages, which, then, he could have deleted. I also used subpages; but would have, if I could have, protected them. Evidence presented in an ArbComm case should not be deleted, that was my position. As with many suggestions I made to ArbComm, it was ignored. And so the lynch mob mentality of many cases continues, without sober and independent investigation.

My recollection of Enric’s evidence here is that there was very little and that it did not support a pattern of behavior. I did remove some “negative statements,” specifically where either not supported clearly by the source. As can be seen with Enric’s evidence on the “pathological science” issue, he quotes sources sometimes with the opposite import of that intended by the author. The judgement of statements as “negative” and “positive” is actually OR, it is far from objective. As to revert warring, Hipocrite had appeared at the article, and in later review, he was clearly trolling for revert warring. The incident that led to WMC’s ban of me and Hipocrite arose when he revert warred, not with me (though I may have reverted once in that sequence), but with a series of other editors. He created the revert war, then requested protection, then edited again to create a version under protection that not even he supported. When I attempted to negotiate a deep consensus on the Talk page, this was the “experiment in democracy” Enric refers to as if this is some kind of terrible accusation. In fact, it was merely an attempt to measure consensus in a more sophisticated — and thus more efficient — way than by one proposal at a time, Yes/No.

This would have been the only piece of evidence relevant to “tendentious editing,” and it’s deleted. I might go over the history of the article. In this case, WMC was shown to have edited with an intention to “rile up” editors. Yet he wasn’t banned from cold fusion! Nor was Hipocrite, who “retired” as the case was filed, and WMC revert warred with me over including him as a party. Blatant misconduct by an admin was largely ignored by the clerks. Again, selective enforcement: a regular editor is banned, an administrator might be reprimanded, and only truly egregious abuse results in loss of tools. Sometimes. Sometimes not.

And the normal response of humans to abuse is then an excuse to ban them. I suggested that ArbComm process not make a case about the person who filed it, unless it shows frivolous filing, i.e., actual harassment, which should actually be a separate case. Instead, ArbComm makes and encourages each case to be come a possible monster, as this one did.

All this became clear to me through this case. However, I am now going further. There is a cabal. The extent to which it is a “conscious cabal,” isn’t clear, but there are too many “coincidences,” and recent events are showing that. The long-term problem is factions of editors who collaborate toward a particular shared point of view, and then decision-making process that allows a relatively small collection of such users to dominate article point of view, through controlling what sources are presented and what sources are excluded, and how all this is framed. In the matter of WMC and Hipocrite, the appearance is very strong that Hipocrite was an “attack dog,” sent to create a disruption that could then cover up factional intervention. Enric Naval is a relatively ignorant user who became involved, long-term, in pushing the “pathological science” conclusion about cold fusion. I did collect evidence on the long-term involvement of users, and that was deleted.

(Looking at Cold fusion today, I see that there is a “slow edit war” going on. Consistently and insistently reverting is a user with an unpronounceable name, who is actually Science Apologist, who was long ago banned from fringe science topics ….  but he managed to move around that, supported by “the community,” which means those who show up in a discussion, and that is highly sensitive to canvassing, which can easily be invisible — or merely constellations of watchlists.

It is very clear that some standard other than “reliably sourced” is involved in this revert war. The real problem is that the quoted text “looks positive,” and Science Apologist thinks this is wrong. However, the RS is Popular Mechanics, and it does not include that quotation, but rather the quotation is primary source referenced by PM. The real point to notice is how Science Apologist handles this: it is about an allegedly “activist editor.” But he is an activist editor, and the Arbitration Committee, while it has sometimes sanctioned such behavior, also long-term tolerates it … and promoted it, in effect, through banning me and others (then allowing unmonitored General Sanctions to create individual topic warnings, which somehow always seem to be one-sided).

In some cases there was blatant collaboration between administrators. For example, Jed Rothwell had been caustic in writing about the administrator JzG. His contributions. However, by 2006, Rothwell abandoned his account, giving up on Wikipedia, requesting his user talk page be deleted, which it was, and merely made occasional talk page comments by IP, which he signed, “Jed Rothwell, librarian, lenr-canr.og.”

His block log.

Setting aside the block for insulting William M. Connolley (who later pretends to be uninvolved), what stands out there is the block by MastCell in 2009, long after Rothwell stopped using the account. His block reason: (Account has long been abandoned, but editor continues to engage in disruptive behavior and advocacy via various IP’s)

The deletion log for his user talk page. 

What had happened that led MastCell to block Rothwell?

See this discussion on User talk:JzG. This was before the arbitration that found JzG had used tools while involved. That discussion references a request for arbitration. 

That request by JzG presents a pile of misinformation. I know both Pcarbonn and Rothwell. The only connection between them was that Rothwell is a librarian for, the best source for copies of peer-reviewed and other papers, now and then, and pcarbonn, once banned on Wikipedia at JzG’s insistence, would certainly know him. The article JzG mentions was published not by Jed Rothwell, but by Steve Krivit, a very independent publication. However, here, the issue was extending a ban for pcarbonn to Jed Rothwell, when the only evidence was a similarity of point of view. Rothwell always signed his posts as described above. The posts in question were not so signed. To distinguish point of view in a relatively arcane field, from someone prone to knee-jerk reactions, can be difficult. What JzG wanted to do, effectively, was ban a point of view, while leaving his own point of view free to operate, even with use of tools.

Some behave in the discussion as if the question is whether or not meat puppetry is banned. It is. That was not the actual issue. The issue was whether or not an IP editor can be blocked as a ban evader merely due to a similarity of point of view, and by an involved administrator. In real life, from the IP addresses — I studied this at the time — the IP editor was simply someone else interested in cold fusion, with some knowledge. That is going to resemble pcarboon and Rothwell. Then there were the actual Rothwell edits, i.e., signed. JzG had blacklisted the site, claiming that Rothwell had been “spamming” it. However, aside from legitimate links to, what JzG claimed as “spam” was simply that signature, which did not include a link, so blacklisting it had no effect. The whole thing was crazy, and it took quite some time to straighten out on the meta wiki (because when it became clear that his Wikipedia blacklisting was going down in flames, he went to meta and his request for listing there was followed. After all, reputable Wikipedia administrator, etc.

MastCell’s comment in that request for arbitration.

So, in the middle of an arbitration request, MastCell used his tools to support one point of view, and arbitrators don’t notice and don’t care. On the JzG talk page, Spartaz, a sometimes-worrisome adminnistrator, reprimands me based on the arbitration request:

It appears that those commenting on JzG’s proposal completely support him. Does that make you feel like you are hounding JzG a little bit. Spartaz Humbug! 16:47, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

He was a bit hair-trigger on that. What I had already seen by this time was a rapid pile-in of users involved in the “cabal” who would support the cabal position, quickly, often overwhelming the community, so that even blatant misbehavior, if confronted, would escape “consensus.” And so the cabal could continue doing whatever it wanted. To overcome this took substantial effort and time and was often simply impractical. And it would irritate many, and when people are irritated, they tend to lash out, to identify a scapegoat and whack the scapegoat. Again, to overcome that very human tendency takes structure, which is why, in ordinary society, we have rule of law and bureaucracy with responsible decision-makers and all those protections.

(JzG himself replied after this, from his Blackberry — unsigned by IP. His comments were, as was common, unbecoming of an administrator. The refusal to consider what was being said led to the subsequent arbitration, where my position was confirmed … but, still, JzG did not lose tools. In fact, that’s not what I wanted. I wanted ArbComm to set up some kind of supervision or relatively efficient review, something intermediate between toleration and removal of tools — or banishment..

In fact, reviewing the complete request, I find remarkable agreement with the position I was presenting, expecially with the arbitrator Carcharoth. I can also see harbingers of later arbitrator positions, i.e., Risker, Coren. I notice that the evidence I presented of JzG involvement with cold fusion has been deleted. Who deleted that? There were actually two deletions.

Deletion requested by JzG (“Guy”) The closing admin decided on deletion after allowing time to file a Request for Comment (RFC). I did file that and it refers to the original evidence page. In general, while the wiki software preserves most information, it is not uncommon for, in practice, this to be only visible to administrators, because of page deletions. It is also assumed that old history is irrelevant. This, then, inhibits the Wikipedia community from learning from the past, by making the past inaccessible for study. It is difficult enough to study without that problem.

There was a long-term problem with Jzg and it was obvious. So why was his administrative status allowed to continue, and why was he also allowed to continue interacting with users when it was clearly disruptive? To me, the question boils down to whether this was incompetence or whether it was something darker. (At the time, I assumed that ArbComm would be fair; others, such as Durova, knew otherwise. Jehochman, who actually filed the Abd-JzG arbitration, told me that JzG would not be sanctioned, even though he had grossly violated recusal policy. Why not? He was a valuable volunteer, who had done heavy lifting with OTRS (the WMF complaint ticketing process). But Jehochman was wrong about what would then happen, “they would keep him on a short leash.” There is no sign of any leash, and JzG continued with disruptive behavior, beyond, a little, abstaining from using tools when clearly involved: he would simply ask another admin to do it, and, as MastCell did as shown above, it would be done.

The actual encyclopedia content issue, and building a quality encyclopedia is supposedly the goal, gets lost. Traditional encyclopedias depend on paid editors with a responsibility for quality, and who rely on academia for support and writing. Good academic writing is also sourced, but organized by experts who know how to balance sources. It doesn’t always work, but it works far better than what amounts to warring factions on Wikipedia, who obscure the article issues by creating disruption. Yes. Administrators create disruption, at least some of it. They also provoke others who might be inclined to disruption, and I showed that in the period leading up to my ban. What would have been a minor incident turned into a massive family of sock puppets. Is it still happening? Yes. As well, these attract imitators! That is what happens with oppressive, authoritarian administration, or, really, with any unskillful administration. Teenagers are probably genetically programmed to resist domination, and some go on for a long time. See Scibaby on Wikipedia Review, I do show up in that discussion, it was during the 2nd RfAr.

This recent Scibaby Sock puppet investigation — filed 27 July, 2017 — reveals the problem we were concerned about back in 2009: a ban that is really a ban of a point of view. It’s quite explicit. The SPI was filed by an IP (always a bad sign). Looking at the IP contributions, the IP is also a “sock of somebody,” repeatedly disruptive, deliberately hiding identity. This mess a few days later is not so surprising, then. But only one apparent side of a very long-standing dispute is sanctioned.

The Wikipedia process crowd-sourced writing, editing, and administration with an ad hoc process that sort-of-worked, creating a massive project that was, at the same time, unmanageable. Solutions were known and strongly resisted by those with defacto authority in the community, see that Wikipedia Review Scibaby discussion. Some of those were very long-term, highly experienced Wikipedians.

One more point on Scibaby. In a long process of investigations, I have seen this, an incorrect identification can occur. Perhaps one user was accessing the internet from the same library, as an example, and that user is then blocked. Believing he or she was unfairly blocked, the registers a new account, which is then tagged as “Scibaby.” Ban enforcement becomes an end in itself, but Scibaby was never actually banned (a point I made back in 2009). This was simply two administrators (Raul654 and Wiliiam M. Connolley” making a decision and then enforcing it, and enforcing it became an industry. It used to be the situation that it was not enough to suspect someone of being a sock puppet to lead to checkuser being applied, there had to be actual disruption. Without that, checkuser requests were rejected. I know, because I’d attempted it with a blatant sock, later confirmed because the sock became more disruptive and was eventually checked.

That policy was consistent with “Wikipedia Rule Number One: Ignore all rules,” If a user is improving the project, the problem is? Well, they are violating the ban. That’s a “rule,” and does not necessarily improve the project.

Back to the reasons given for the finding of “tendentious editing.”

Item 4. We can’t take every peer-reviewed source seriously. Again, Enric Naval:

here from my evidence in the Fringe Science case. Actually, you should also look at the sections below “POV pushers won’t listen to reasoned arguments”, “People fighting POV pushers are being punished” and “People fighting POV pushers are being punished”.

This is not about me. It is about Enric Naval’s ideas, he presented in a prior arbitration where his position was not accepted. It is worth looking at in detail. It is essentially arguing against Wikipedia Reliable Source policy, and against the finding of that case. I was astonished at this being cited as evidence of “tendentious editing.” Did I claim some cherry-picked source as reason to imbalance the article? I certainly hope not! However, what Enric points to actually shows a serious problem, if examined closely. He wrote:

Fringe science POV pushers can cite literally hundreds of cherry-picked primary sources to support their fringe view (examples below). On certain fields they can also cherry pick from hundreds of published secondary sources (in homeopathy,389 published reviews and meta-analysis).

First of all, this is what any “POV-pusher” will do. This behavior is not confined to “fringe science POV pushers.” As well, it has been the habit of many anti-fringe editors, and Enric Naval has certainly done it, see his “pathological science” page cited above. He finds sources, therefore the fact he wants to assert is truth. No, by policy, Wikipedia takes every “reliable source,” as defined in the criteria (which is not all “peer-reviewed sources,” and there are reliable sources that are not peer-reviewed) “seriously.” That does not mean that it is taken as “truth.” Reliable sources are not “truth.” They are, however, independent sources with a reputation for accuracy and fairness to maintain. They make mistakes. How to balance this is up to editorial judgment, but the general solution is to cite and attribute, “according to.” However, the faction excludes what it thinks is wrong, even if strongly sourced, and includes what it thinks is right, without actually seeking consensus, preferring to seek sanctions against any editor who disagrees. Eric then gave this example of “piling-up primary sources for POV-pushing purposes:”

353 papers in Cold fusion out from a list of 1390 papers gathered up by a researcher, just 11 days after the cold fusion arbitration case was closed

This is highly misleading. The link is to an IP edit on Talk:Cold fusion (I have no idea who made that edit). The edit placed this comment:

Is a non-quantatative summary of DOE 2004 really better for the last paragraph of the intro than reliable sources?

It is remarkable that those who wish to report only the majority opinion of the 2004 DOE panel in the introduction are so steadfastly opposed the stating the size of that majority, or the experiments that the 2004 DOE panel proposed to resolve the controversy, some of which were performed and have been reported in the peer-reviewed literature. No matter how you look at it, that is an attack on WP:NPOV, giving WP:UNDUE weight to the deniers in the introduction, and it’s opposed to the vast majority of the experimental results published in the past decade. We already explain how Dr. Shanahan’s opinion about the recombination volumes he has apparently never observed are contradicted outright by authors who have measured them first-hand. Are we going to do the same for Kowalski’s complaints about the CR-39 pits or not? Shouldn’t we be doing that instead of “summarizing” in absolute terms the majority-only opinion of the DOE panel which everyone agrees didn’t even consider the SPAWAR results, wasn’t an anonymous review, and wasn’t even intended to produce anything more reliable than a government technical report? Why aren’t we using the more reliable peer-reviewed sources instead?

This issue of the 2004 DoE review was a clearly example where long-term POV-pushing maintained the impression that both reviews (1989 and 2004) were rejections. The reality, reading the review itself, is quite different. Since the source (the review report) is accepted, why not balanced information from it? The problem with this is?

It is obvious: those review statements make cold fusion look better than simply ripping a shorter statement out of the review. And this argument had been going on for a long time, and the apparent strong dislike of JzG for Pcarbonn I found originated in Pcarbonn skewering an ignorant comment by JzG, years before, on that topic. JzG was losing in the community, so he turned to wiki process to win. That is a story all its own, how PCarbonn, really happy that Wikipedia process was actually working, wrote about it on New Energy Times, and that was then twisted to make it seem like PCarbonn was attacking Wikipedia neutrality, when the reality was that JzG had been doing this, and others, for a long time.

I saw, time and again, whenever there was a careful and complete review process, JzG’s position would fail. That is precisely what he could not tolerate. The IP went on, and this is what Enric Naval is using: has 313 papers with “res+” (meaning positive research results, case insensitive) on lines beginning “**” that do not contain “theor”, meaning experimental results, and 234 similarly but with “res-” instead. How high does the ratio need to go before it is accurately reflected by the introduction? (talk) 05:17, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

This was not a reliable source being cited, but it was also not a “POV-pusher.” The link is to the Dieter Britz bibliography, and Dieter Britz is a skeptical electrochemist who started, years, ago, maintaining a database of cold fusion papers, covering and briefly reviewing all papers appearing in mainstream peer-reviewed journals. Naval cites different numbers, 353 papers in cold fusion out of a list of 1390 papers.

He was confused. Without spending too much time on this, I think that the “list of 1390 papers” was the complete contents of the Britz cold fusion database at that point. The IP excluded theory papers and only counted experimental papers, and Britz had classified 313 as “positive” and 234 as “negative.”

Whatever this is, it was not “cherry-picked.” It was the opposite: it was an attempt to look at the entire field, at all papers. For practical purposes, for Wikipedia, one would want to look at peer-reviewed reviews, not primary source research, so what is the balance there? And that opens a huge can of worms.

Later reviews take priority over earlier ones, in real science, because science moves on. Reviews of cold fusion — as distinct from passing mention in sources not intended to review the field — entirely moved to accepting the reality of an anomalous heat effect, with a strong majority considering the origin of the heat as nuclear in nature. For a list of reviews of cold fusion (not fully up-to date, and starting in 2005), see this Wikiversity resource (reviews are bolded). This is not cherry-picked, it attempts to be all mainstream documents. If it is not complete, anyone could add to it following the standards (or create their own list). Wikiversity deals with cherry-picking by adding in the rest of the cherries! But the Wikipedia faction has never deigned to contribute to Wikiversity, then they complain that the Wikiversity resource is biased.

The 2004 DoE review was actually evenly divided on that fundamental question, according to the report (and it is this fact that the faction always revert warred to exclude from the article.) How is it now? Same old same old:

In 1989 the United States Department of Energy (DOE) concluded that the reported results of excess heat did not present convincing evidence of a useful source of energy and decided against allocating funding specifically for cold fusion. A second DOE review in 2004, which looked at new research, reached similar conclusions and did not result in DOE funding of cold fusion.[10]\

I agree with the actual conclusions of both DoE reviews, setting aside certain errors that were made, and recognizing shortcomings. However, this presentation badly confuses an anomalous effect, indicating something not understood, that might possibly, under conditions that don’t exist yet, become an energy source, with one with “convincing evidence of a useful source of energy.” The actual report is much clearer that the DoE panel recommends further research. The original panel, in 1989, made the same recommendation. That is the “similar conclusion,” that and not recommending a new major program. In the article, this is presented as if this were a rejection of the effect itself. The 2004 review was far more positive on “reported results of excess heat,” but half the panel still did not find the matter conclusive. And this is obvious: the finding of anomalous heat as being reported was very unexpected and is not readily explainable by existing theory, hence some will demand “extraordinary evidence.” The real question is up to those who fund research, and there has continued to be funding for cold fusion research. My sense is that there is enough funding at this point.

The faction on Wikipedia would generally oppose research and seek to discredit those who engage in it. The faction continued to reject mainstream reviews of the field, no matter what the quality of the journal. And “reliable source” is not a matter of author, it is a matter of publisher, which has often been ignored. They trash policy in order to maintain their point of view in articles, they are still doing it, long after this could have been addressed.

That talk page as it stood later, immediately after I began to edit the cold fusion article and discuss it. It was already  a train wreck, and I did not cause that.

Back to Enric Naval’s claim: In the Fringe Science arbitration, his arguments were part of a defense of Science Apologist, wherein he defended uncivil editing as being necessary to “protect Wikipedia” from “fringe POV-pushing.” Wikipedia policy got a bit crazy about this. All “POV-pushing” was discouraged, but …. having a POV and arguing for it, civilly, on talk pages, was never against policy, it is probably impossible to find Neutral Point of View without allowing advocacy of Points of View. With the first cold fusion arbitration, the Committee allowed a faction to sanction an inconvenient user (Pcarbonn). In the FS arbitration, however, Science Apologist was topic banned.

The Final Decision in the Fringe Science arbitration, which was fresh and I was operating under the principles the Committee declared, but the faction never accepted that. Enric Naval, only a short time later, was essentially arguing against the Committee conclusions. From that Decision:


4) Neutrality requires that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each. Academic and peer-reviewed publications are highly valued and usually the most reliable sources in areas where they are available, such as history, medicine and science.

I interpreted this as requiring that if there is reliably-sourced information, it belongs somewhere on Wikipedia. (Being in Reliable Source also establishes notability.) There is a general problem in confusing “viewpoint” with what is published in reliable source. sources may support a viewpoint but if they are actually reliable, they do not “belong” to it. They are evidence that might be used to support a point of view, but articles should avoid an “article point of view.” The “SPOV editors” (Scientific Point of View, Science Apologist’s claim, explicitly rejected by the Committee in this decision) pushed continually for articles reflecting the point of view of “mainstream science.” If “most scientists” think cold fusion is completely bogus, then the article should convey that idea. However, there is no “Journal of Mainstream Scientific Opinion.” If Wikipedia editors do their job, as outlined by the Committee, the majority of reliable sources will reflect the majority opinion, but restricted in a way: journals only publish articles, in general, by experts. They don’t reflect “majority opinion,” but rather “expert opinion.”

To actually have a sense of what current thinking is among scientists requires original research, often. And original research is prohibited as a basis for articles. My own compromise on this was to allow original research in discussion, as background, but article content was to be decided by discussed consensus, and where there was local conflict, discussion was to be widened; this was standard Wikipedia Dispute Resolution process. And completely hated by the faction.

Again, the link provided does not show what was purported by the Committee finding. It actually shows the situation I was dealing with, a faction, including Enric Naval, who were holding on to personal views of “fringe science,” that think of “mainstream science” as a monolith, unchangeable, and that reject coverage of “developing science,” even when it reaches the level of peer-reviewed reviews and other academic sources. This was exactly what the Committee’s Fringe Science arbitration covered.

Link 5: Abd and other CF advocates have driven away editors from the article

Again, Enric Naval’s view. His explanation:

[121] (first paragraph, when asked to make an edit to the article) (there are more diffs, but they are difficult to find).

The editor in question was Woonpton. Looking into this, I find such a massive can of worms I’m going to give it a subpage, most of what is below in this draft will be moved there. I did write an arbitration case page on Woonpton, but JzG arranged for all that to be deleted. I may be able to find a copy. Woonpton played a larger role in setting up that cold fusion disruption than I had realized before.

I’m sure they are. Enric scrapes the bottom of the barrel and finds this comment from Woonpton, and it is not about tendentious editing of the article, but a reference to too much writing. This has nothing to do with article editing. This is common with uncivil editors: they see an incident that can be described a certain way (“driving away editors”), and they conflate it to a pattern.  At the point that all this disruption was taking place, I had just started to study cold fusion, I had been quite skeptical. However, when I’d encountered the abusive admin actions, I became curious and started to work on the article in some obvious places where it had strayed from neutrality. I was not an “advocate,” I became an advocate later in other contexts, and specifically an advocate of genuine research to resolve fundamental issues, i.e., I was advocating exactly the same thing as both U.S. DoE reviews. I was not using Wikipedia for this. To someone who was ignorant even of the basic physics involved in the idea that cold fusion was impossible (that would be Enric Naval, who demonstrated this clearly in his editing of Oppenheimer–Philips process) (the history shows a radical lack of understanding of basic physics), this looked like “advocacy.”

When I attempted to move toward neutral presentation in the Global warming article, which is where I first encountered William M. Connolley, I was doing the same. I was not — at all — advocating Global warming denialism (my general understanding was not far from that of WMC, I expect, just — like the IPCC — more nuanced), simply making the actual findings of the IPCC clear, and that is where WMC first targeted me for being banned. He wanted the article to make it appear there was no doubt, whereas the IPCC actually attempted to quantify doubt, the terms were defined and did not have the meanings of common language, but common language appeared more certain. The faction was immoveable, and used admin tools to enforce its point of view.

So what did Woonpton actually write? This was a discussion on User talk:Enric Naval. Looking at all this now, I’m seeing things that escaped me back then. I obviously saw that discussion, because I replied in it. Woonpton was showing far higher knowledge of cold fusion and cold fusion issues than is common. Looking at Woonpton’s contributions history, I’m now suspicious. Very early, the user redirected the user page to the user talk page. That’s very unusual for a new Wikipedian. There are plenty of signs, this user was not new in 2008. One of the first comments by Woonpton was:

I’ve done quite a study of Wikipedia, about the internal politics, the lack of respect for expertise, the wars between opposing factions on controversial articles, and decided that I was very naive in thinking I could make a difference or that anyone cared about anything I might have to contribute.

Then Woonpton became involved with a topic dear to pseudoskeptics, What the Bleep do we know? And immediately Woonpton reveals his or her point of view on the Science Apologist user talk page.

So, long before this, Woonpton was leery of getting involved on Wikipedia, and this had nothing to do with me. So, the Enric Naval talk discussion:

Controls in original cold fusion claims

Hi Enric, I know you removed it almost as soon as you asked it, maybe because it could have started a discussion that may have sidetracked your point, which was a good one. But if your question about a control experiment was intended as a serious question, I’ve been studying the history of cold fusion (not for Wikipedia; I doubt I’ll ever care to get involved with that article again, but for something I’m writing in RL) and I can tell you that the question of whether Pons and Fleischmann did controls and what they found was answered in so many different contradictory ways by the researchers themselves that it’s almost anyone’s guess what they actually did and what they actually found. On March 28, five days after their press conference, Fleischmann was asked by researchers at Harwell if they’d done a light water control; he answered that they “hadn’t had time;” in other words, his answer was no. When the paper was made available (unofficially by someone getting hold of a copy and faxing it to colleagues who faxed it to other colleagues) on March 31, it was immediately obvious to everyone who saw it that it didn’t include a control experiment; neither did the final (published) paper, nor did the errata published a few weeks later mention any controls. Surely by then they must have realized that the lack of a control was a big problem, so if they did have results to report from a control experiment, you’d think they would have added them to the errata, at least. That they didn’t, suggests to me that either they didn’t have a control, or that they’d done a control and that the results didn’t support their claim and they didn’t want to publicize that.

Context: this is July 20, 2009. I had already been effectively banned from the cold fusion article since June 6. The comments Woonpton is making about Pons and Fleischmann and light water controls were fair, but there is much more known about this now, and much more that I knew by then as well.

But aside from the lack of controls reported in their published paper, there were conflicting reports about controls elsewhere within the first few weeks. On April 5, Chase Peterson, president of the University of Utah, told the press that there had been a control with light water and that it “produced no significant heat.” On April 9, according to Taubes, Pons told a colleague privately that they had done a control and got excess heat with light water as well as heavy water, and that “This is the most exciting thing, this cold fusion works in light water too” but said he wasn’t allowed to talk about it (presumably by the DOE). At the ACS meeting in Dallas on April 12, Pons was asked if they’d done a light water control and said yes, and then after a pause, added “Several people are looking at that right now, including ourselves… ..that sort of reaction might be interesting,” but no followup questions were asked. On the same day at a conference in Sicily, Fleischmann answered the same question by saying “I’m not prepared to discuss it.” There are many more examples of inconsistent and even mutually contradictory answers to the question, but that gives a flavor and I wouldn’t want to swamp your talk page. A year or so later, Pons and Fleischmann published another paper which listed, according to Taubes, “fourteen control experiments, five of which had palladium electrodes in light water, and two of these, they claimed, had been done before March 23, 1989…” which begs the question, why, if they had those controls prior to March 23, they didn’t publish them in their original paper. It makes no sense, and scientists were left to draw their own conclusions, which they have. Woonpton (talk) 16:28, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

I was, at this time, banned from the article and talk page, but not from discussing cold fusion.

diff of removal for reference.

This was actually on my user talk page, so Woonpton was paying close attention to it! Woonpton as involved in the incident that led up to WMC’s topic ban.

You are right, I thought that it would just derail the discussion.

Ah, the article doesn’t mention the control thing? Gotta love these controversial topics with their contradictory sources and their main characters contradicting themselves in those issues that might make them look bad…. Also, yet another important bit of info that the article lacks -.- …. I’m still angry with myself for failing to notice this problem before. God knows for how long was our article saying that it was P&F who decided to betray Jones in their own, instead of them caving in to the pressures of their university. Way to comply with WP:BLP. Wikipedia, Fuck Yeah!! Coming again to save the motherfucking day. Funny that supporters of cold fusion didn’t notice that bit either, mind you, it reinforces my belief that nobody ever actually reads the articles, lol.

This is clear with Naval: he is focused on “supporters of cold fusion,” because he thinks that is me. Later, I concluded that “support” was appropriate, as in “support for basic research,” but in this time period I was solely a Wikipedia editor; but I was finding more and more reliable source covering matters excluded from the article, very actively so. Enric Naval was far from the worst.

There were many mistakes made in the cold fusion affair: Huizenga’s Cold Fusion:Scientific Fiasco of the Century is only one book, but the title speaks volumes. (And there is plenty in that book, written by the highly skeptical co-chair of the 1989 DoE review, that remains excluded from the article. For example, Huizenga noticed and was strongly struck by the Miles 1991 finding of helium correlated with heat, making that notable. All mention of the fundamental finding that the Fleischmann and Pons “anomalous heat” is correlated with helium, not merely sometimes found in the cells (which could be leakage, perhaps), remains excluded to this day, in spite of being covered in multiple reviews in mainstream peer-reviewed journals and academic publications).

That is the only direct evidence that the Anomalous Heat Effect, as it is often now called, is nuclear in origin. (McKubre adds the tritium findings, but that is not quite so direct, and tritium is apparently not involved in the main reaction, whatever it is.)

The issue of light water controls is certainly interesting, but there are some assumptions being made. Yes, Pons and Fleischmann reportedly did do light water control experiments. Many have run those as well, and one of the best illustrations of an episode of anomalous heat, SRI M4, shows calculated excess heat from a current excursion run through a light water cell and a heavy water cell, otherwise identical, where the heavy water cell shows substantial heat, and the light water cell only a small increase in noise, very little anomalous heat if any. That is a standard result, many have seen this. Pons and Fleischman were running more precise calorimetry than anyone, and found that light water did not produce a “clean control.” That could be caused by a light water reaction — but at much lower heat yield — or by the amount of heavy water normally present in light water. Nobody really knows from the existing experimental evidence. It is very clear, though: In a Fleischmann-Pons cell, if light water produces heat results, they are very low, near noise, whereas heavy water generates much more heat.

I consider that Pons and Fleischmann did not reveal all they knew to be one of the biggest mistakes they made. The situation with helium measurements was even worse. That is not covered in the Wikipedia article, through there is plenty of reliable source on it. (Taubes and Huizenga to start).

Well, I normally solve these problems by using the same strategies that I use in historic articles: I cite some secondary RS that has noticed the same problem and has made an analysis of it. I think that Simon’s book has a recount of those days where this issue might appear. As a secondary source, I sort of recall that maaaaybe it makes some statement about how it’s not clear how and when the controls were done, and how this helped casted doubts at a certain important moment of the process of rejection of CF, although Simon uses much more complicated words to say it. Park also makes his own conclusions out of the incident, and maybe also Huizenga. I’ll have to purchase from Amazon a few of these books (simon, huizenga, park, taubes, maybe Close) so I don’t have to rely in with its non-viewable-pages-in-the-middle-of-the-section-that-I-need-to-verify. —Enric Naval (talk) 17:23, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

This was the situation then: when I decided to take an interest in the cold fusion article in early 2009, I bought all the major books, including those five plus Storms (2007), much more recent, but also reliable source (it’s the publisher who matters). And Hoffman, clearly reliable source, published by the American Nuclear Society with EPRI support.

This was the first time I had actually spent money to do Wikipedia research. I was a Wikipedia editor, with high interest in community structure and dispute resolution, not a “cold fusion promoter)” I also had enough science background to understand the issues, and I did not dive into “belief.” I wanted the article to present what was in reliable source, not opinions and wishful thinking or unverifiable opinion in either direction. As I came to see cold fusion as emerging science rather than established as fringe, I was very careful not to attempt to assert this in the article, but occasionally gave my opinion on the Talk page.

Taubes covers this in some detail, both in the text and in a lengthy endnote, and Huizenga also gives it good attention. Simon’s lack of neutrality, which I suspect is an inadvertent result of his spending too much time with cold fusion advocates and not having the scientific background to understand the thing from a scientist’s perspective, rather than a deliberate promotion of the aims of cold fusion advocates, makes his book less useful as a reliable source. There’s a definite POV to his portrayal of science’s dismissal of cold fusion as a conspiracy to suppress good science as a way of protecting the interests of physicists; the record, and the reports of neutral secondary sources, simply don’t support that. Woonpton (talk) 17:49, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, I have noticed that. Still, his book has restricted view at, so I can check it out, and the others don’t, or they have less pages available. Which is why I want to buy the dead tree version, so I can use 100% of all the sources. I think that other sources mention that Huiznega’s book was the most influential book in the post-announcement debacle, and I have only seen from it a few quotes.

Also, Simon seems to cover the little details quite well, and it’s interesting because he tries to cover the events from the philosophy of science and ethic of science viewpoints and not just from the narration point. This mean that I can use him to nail the relationship of the naked facts with the evolution of the perception of the field by the scientific community. It’s not just that X said Y, it’s that X said Y becasue of Z and because of R and S had just happened, and this later caused T to happen due to its influence in the thinking of U. I want to see if those other books say that too.

Also, Simon is from 2002, so it has a bit more perspective, and it can see how the field evolved years later. —Enric Naval (talk) 18:13, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Umm, this is so different from my perception on having read the book, that I wonder if we’re talking about the same book. Bart Simon, Undead Science? If so, I think you’re putting much more faith in this as a reliable neutral source than it merits. Taubes and Huizenga are both much better on supplying minute detail and context than Simon, and besides, as I said before, the “context” Simon puts everything in is a false context, that of a conspiracy against cold fusion which simply isn’t supported by the facts and by an objective view of history, and what few details he chooses to include tend to be details that support that theory.

Woonpton is demonstrating a common faction editorial approach: “reliable source” has to do with “putting faith” in the source, which makes, then, the Wikipedia editorial process much more highly subjective than the policy intention. Sources are considered reliable per the publisher’s neutrality and motivation to publish worthy work. The publisher of “Undead Science” is Rutgers University Press. The book is RS, but Enric Naval wants to cherry pick the parts he likes. Woonpton is concerned about the author (which is typical for the skeptical faction). Simon discloses his potential bias, he has actually seen an excess heat experiment, and actually witnesses the effective suppression. His interest, though, is the sociology of science, and he never abandons objectivity on that, as far as I have noticed. There are other sociologists with similar conclusions, plus there is Taubes himself, who, while he has never revisited his book (yet, anyway), has written about another major “information cascade” that resulted in effective suppression of research and ideas that were never clearly demonstrated scientifically becoming “consensus.”

It is typical for a knee-jerk skeptic to accuse someone like Simon of cherry-picking, but it’s irrelevant. If Simon reports a fact, it’s notable by definition, and balance would come from including other facts that Simon might not have covered, not by exclusion of Simon. The skeptics have played fast an loose with “reliable source.” Because new editors arrive at Cold fusion, enthusiastic to include fact from other than RS, the faction easily picks them off. Few get to the point of actually learning about policy, how Wikipedia works, and they sure are not going to learn it by example from editors violating the policies with impunity.

Nevertheless, I’d have been happy to work with Woonpton, who actually is knowledgeable. However, as it turned out, Woonpton was highly reactive, and took a simple editing error and misunderstanding, easily cleared up, to the Administrator’s Noticeboard in what led up to the situation the above comment was made in the middle of. Again, this is a trait of the faction: rapid seeking of sanctions on “opponents.” But this was completely crazy in this situation! I was polling editors and seeking to maintain an orderly process, that’s all! I really didn’t care which version it was, if everyoue would be satisfied. And that is what the process actually found, such a version, and … WMC totally ignored it and restored the article to something completely different, he pulled out of the place where he was sitting.

The AN report. I am so reminded of why I was relieved to be banned from Wikipedia!

Woonpton continued on Enric Naval talk:

As far as the issue under discussion here, the lack of consistent information about controls coming from the researchers themselves, he provides almost no detail but simply refers to it very generally in passing, saying that Pons and Fleischmann’s answers to questions about controls were “troubling,” adding that scientists varied on how they viewed this evasion: “Some suggested that their hands were tied because of patent restrictions, others suggested that they did not have enough data to talk about their experiments competently.” Then he goes on to say that the troubling nature of Pons and Fleischmann’s replies to questions about controls was mooted by an independent replication, including controls, by Robert Huggins of Stanford; Simon’s description of this research says “More importantly, Huggins also ran a series of control experiments using light instead of heavy water. The light-water cells produced no discernible excess heat…” This description fits Simon’s theory, but is simply not consistent with the facts. Huggins’ controls with light water gave heat approximately 1.5 degrees lower than the experiments with heavy water, which according to Chuck Martin of Texas A&M, who found the same thing, can be explained by the difference in conductivity between light and heavy water.

I am again struck by the depth of Woonpton’s knowledge of those events, and I’m sure Enric Naval was. 1989 was a huge mess. Simon is not attempting a scientific review of the phenomenon and critique of Huggins’ work is not within his scope. What is the source for what Woonpton claims here? One does not naively assume that a difference in temperature equals heat production in the hotter cell; cells are individually calibrated, so Woonpton’s comment does not make sense, as stated. Excess heat in these experiments is often reflected by an unexplained temperature rise on the order of 1.5 degrees.

It is fairly strange to demand light water control experiments and then dismiss them because light water has different physical constants (which it does).

Huizenga does not cover the alleged Martin statement. Taubes has substantial coverage of Martin’s work, and mentions a light-water control which also showed heat (p. 190-192, 196-197). On p. 207 is the report of the first artifact found: a second thermometer that was functioning as a second cathode. When that thermometer was removed, the excess heat went from 110% to 30%. Okay, found it. Taubes p. 229.  So more accurately, Martin’s graduate student told Taubes, “the conductivity of LiOD in D2O is about a factor of 1.5 smaller.” If all that was being done was to compare temperature between a cell with LiOD/D20 electrolyte vs LiOH/H2) electrolyte, at the same temperature, yes, there would be a difference. Taubes has it as two degrees. Woonpton was probably writing from memory.

All this is actually not terribly important. What is quite clear is that some cold fusion research was overheated, too quickly conclusions were drawn. The effect was obviously either artifact or difficult to create. The reasons for skepticism are easy to see. However, that does not ultimately resolve the basic issue: is there an “anomalous heat effect”? And, if so, is it nuclear in origin. The early skepticism was often based on a lack of significant “nuclear products.” If deuterium was being fused, one would expect tritium from half the reactions, and a fast neutron from the other half. Further, there had been some reports of helium. If helium was the reaction product (that is very rare in hot fusion of deuterium), then there should be a very hot gamma ray, not observed. Tritium was observed at very low levels, very roughly a million times lower than would be expected. Neutrons were even more scarce, if the scattered neutron reports were not merely artifact or background.

But in 1991, Miles reported that he was finding excess heat and helium, and that he had measured the helium for set collection periods so that he could compare the heat and the helium, and they were correlated, and — Huizenga reports this with amazement, in the second edition of his book — the ratio was within an order of magnitude of the value expected if deuterium were converted to helium and heat without loss of energy through radiation. (Later work indicates that the actual ratio is close the that theoretical value.)

This casts an entirely different color on the whole affair, in hindsight. Something is happening in those cells and we don’t know what it is, but we do know, a little, what it does.

Now, the remarkable thing is that this has all been published. Huizenga was probably the first appearance in Wikipedia Reliable Source. But there are many, many secondary source reviews, but all of this has been actively excluded from the Wikipedia article, because of … people like Woonpton. Woonpton didn’t do much editing of the article, but he clearly had an influence on Enric Naval. Unless, of course, Woonpton is actually another editor, and there is a reasonably obvious suspect, who was banned, at the time, and who also complained about how Wikipedia was favoring the “fringies.”

Going on with Woonpton’s comment:

In other words, Simon dispenses with the inconsistencies about P-F’s controls or lack thereof by stating that the controls provided by Huggins were definitive and settled the question, when that’s simply not the case.

Simon says no such thing, so Woonpton cannot be trusted. Simon is not presenting scientific conclusions. He is looking at scientific process, at the sociology of science, his topic. Huggins served to “keep cold fusion alive” as an active topic for a time. It “looked like” a confirmation. I have never heard any “cold fusion advocate” tout Huggins as proof of anything.

My impression is that Huggins’ “replication” was later withdrawn entirely, but I got that from Seife and I don’t seem to have made a note of it, so I can’t confirm that precisely, since Seife has gone back to the library. Seife would be a good source BTW. Sun in a bottle: the strange history of fusion and the science of wishful thinking, by Charles Seife, 2008. It covers all the various discredited claims of discoveries of fusion so there is just one chapter on the Pons and Fleischmann version of cold fusion, but it’s quite good.Woonpton (talk) 20:44, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Seife is horrible as a source on cold fusion. It’s simply a comparatively cursory glance at the subject. “Cold fusion” as imagined in 1989 — and as he describes (incorrectly or misleadingly) as Pons and Fleischmann as having claimed — is probably impossible. There is nothing useful in Seife, probably, that is not present in more detail in Taubes, but Seife does cover the 1999 U.S. Patent Office fiasco involving Thomas Valone and Robert Park. This is reliable source coverage of that affair, otherwise mostly accessible through primary source, such as the arbitrator’s judgment. Seife has a clear story to tell: “wishful thinking.” And that is why Woonpton quotes Seife at the top of the user talk page. I thought, in 2009, that Woonpton was a woman; I don’t know how I got that idea, but I used “she.” In any case, this at the top of that user talk page:

“The more limited your understanding of science, the more scientists resemble masters of the occult, and the more paranormal phenomena seem likely to reflect undiscovered scientific truths.” — Wendy Kaminer

“The annals of science are littered with the names of once-celebrated scientists whose wishful thinking forced them to jump into the fringe. If their pet theories become resistant to contrary evidence, if their logic resists criticism, if their peers suspect that they have fudged results, they are expelled from the scientific community. Pons and Fleischman were at the brink days after they went public. Almost immediately they were told that their peak was in the wrong place. They had to make a decision: retreat or press on despite the damaging evidence. In the end, they leaped into the void and will never rejoin the ranks of mainstream scientists.” –Charles Seife Sun in a Bottle: the strange history of fusion and the science of wishful thinking. Viking, 2008.

These might as well be a CSICOP Manifesto. The point of view is being broadcast, and with it, there is a “Cabal Approved” stamp that I found very common on editors involved in the faction I pointed to in the arbitration that followed. It was not present there yet, the Manifesto was added 10 Sept. 2009.

The TINC logo (“There Is No Cabal”) was added by another editor I recall as having identified as regularly supporting the faction, Crohnie. The comment was “join us on the dark side.”

Woonpton again:

I went to the library and checked out Seife again to check my vague recall that Huggins had later withdrawn his report of replication. That turned out to be not quite accurate; he didn’t withdraw the report of replication, but the problems that had been found with it by other scientists had pretty much destroyed its value as a “replication of cold fusion.” Woonpton (talk) 00:28, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Seife mentions Huggins in two brief sentences on page 152, almost entirely missing detail. “Texas A&M’s John Bockris and Stanford’s Robert Huggins became staunch supporters of cold fusion based on their labs’ results.” And then, “Huggins was criticized at the APS meeting by a fellow Stanford professor.” Taubes would be a far better source.

Since I haven’t read the other books, I can’t really compare and see if Simon is selectively citing details. I assume that you are correct in that Simon does. However, Simon is a science sociologist, and as such he gives insights that other sources are just not going to give. Anyways, I’ll just try to get a hold of those books, and cross-check the details in the article that are sourced to Simon to make sure that I didn’t source anything incorrectly.

By the way, couldn’t you add Seife’s book to the article and add Huggin’s experiment and cite the problems with the controls? —Enric Naval (talk) 00:45, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Naval was correct about Simon’s perspective. The story of cold fusion is enormous. Taubes is a huge book. It would overhwelm Simon’s purpose to tell all the details. Woonpton implies that Simon is telling a story of a conspiracy to suppress cold fusion. That’s not what I got from Simon. However, pseudoskeptics common accuse people they think are “believers” of pushing some conspiracy there. There was what Tiernan, after Taubes on another subject (nutritional science) later called an “information cascade,” which is a social phenomenon, it happens with no conscious conspiracy. There were incidents where some kind of collaboration to suppress research occurred, and I mentioned the APS and Park and the Patent office affair, which was such an incident, but cold fusion was not crushed because of some conspiracy, and when I claimed a cabal on Wikipedia, it was not about a conspiracy theory, in general. I do see one example of probable behind-the-scenes collusion in that affair (Hipcrite and WMC). Mostly, the problem is a massively dysfunctional decision-making structure that does not actually seek consensus in the presence of conflict; rather it attempts to exclude the “bad people,” the “POV-pushers.” And Woonpton came in swinging in that cause. This answer is interesting:

Um, no, I couldn’t, sorry. Rather than try to explain why not, I’ll just point to the email from Kirk Shanahan that Mathsci posted on the case somewhere; that echoes very well my own view about trying to edit the cold fusion page, or any page where science and superstition meet. Not that I’m an expert in cold fusion as Shanahan is, but I am very solidly grounded in science and especially in statistics and in reading, interpreting and summarizing research literature, and like Shanahan, I don’t see any hope in ever getting that article to NPOV and keeping it there, nor do I see it as a good use of my time and energy to work toward that end; it would be as futile as tilting at windmills, or ploughing the sea. The cold fusion advocates will never allow it to stay neutral, and the quality of content, unless Wikipedia takes strong steps to curb such advocacy, will forever be compromised by their efforts.

The article is very poor and “cold fusion advocates” cannot be blamed for it. What “superstition?” Cold fusion is an experimental anomaly (heat and some other signals) coupled with an idea that the original might be nuclear (because expert chemists are unable to imagine a chemical explanation for it.) They might be wrong, but what is the “superstition?” This is classic “anti-woo.” Basically, it’s ad-hominem.

There definitely is a point-of-view problem, though. Some people become very attached to particular positions on cold fusion, and this happens in both directions. If Wikipedia policy were followed, it would not be such a problem, but … it isn’t, so it is.

People following the thinking of Woonpton — and Enric Naval — are far more responsible than those alleged “supersitious believers”. There are people who occasionally attempt to edit the article, to remedy the blatant defects. First of all, the amount of material available in reliable source on cold fusion is enormous. The article could not bear it. The solution is obvious: create specialized articles on subtopics. This has always been resisted, because, the faction believes, cold fusion is “fringe” and having multiple articles would be “undue weight.” But the idea of undue weight is legitimately based on an alleged availability of reliable sources. And this was the point I attempted to make in working on the cold fusion article: if it is in reliable source, it belongs somewhere in the project as an aspect of human knowledge that not only exists, but is notable, which was what appearing in Reliable Source shows. (“Reliable” does not mean “true” or “accurate.” The faction uses this against interlopers, who commonly don’t understand this, but then shoves the policy aside when they don’t like it.)

Shanahan had written quite a bit of material about his own ideas, and did not understand that it wasn’t usable. I rescued his content (it was later deleted in JzG’s frenzy), hoping that it might become an article on cold fusion calorimetry, which is quite a subject with many sources and reviews. Shanahan, however, is fanatic “Shanahan is right and nobody understands him.”

Creating a good cold fusion article is a lot of work, and doing that on Wikipedia is ten times as much work. What an editor can do, individually is only a very little, except for one possibility, which Science Apologist actually demonstrated. The Wikipedia article on Optics was apparently poor, a disorganized mess, which Wikipedia articles can easily become. So while SA was site banned, he wrote an article in his user space on another of the WMF wikis. He could easily have done this even in mainspace on Wikiversity, and he could have drafted a Wikipedia article as a subpage there (and Wikiversity does allow effective ownership of a page, at least for a time, if it is neutrally linked from the top level in mainspace, and there is almost total freedom in user space.)

This is not the reason why Woonpton would not make that edit. Naval is trying to use this to claim I drove Woonpton away, but a review of Woonpton’s history does not support that. The reason is that Seife had nothing on the particular topic to contribute, and Woonpton had allowed Naval to think that what he said was from Seife. In fact, if anything, it’s from Taubes, and is also probably far too much detail for the article as it stands. A complete Wikipedia article on cold fusion would actually be a family of articles, but, again, almost every attempt to create more specialized articles was met with massive resistance by the faction. JzG, as I recall, personally deleted one (out of process, that was part of what he was dinged for).

Simon does give some good context for the aftermath, in describing the dynamics and interconnections and sense of persecution by which scientists who have marginalized themselves by hanging onto discredited science become more and more insulated and self-reinforcing, and certainly that should be part of the article. But he doesn’t seem to understand enough about science to be able to understand and cover why cold fusion was so thoroughly discredited in the first place. It’s really pretty simple, why scientists turned against cold fusion. For example, I was at a family reunion this week, and one of my brothers-in-law, a chemistry professor emeritus, asked me what I’ve been thinking about lately. I said, “Well, as a matter of fact, I’ve been thinking about cold fusion.” He proceeded to tell me about his reaction to the cold fusion business at the time it was happening. He said that a colleague in his department brought him a pre-publication copy of the Pons and Fleischmann paper and asked his opinion. He read it over, said it was a bad paper and that some of it, like the estimate of the pressure within the lattice, was just plain wrong and the rest looked fishy; he didn’t see enough data or rationale to back up their claims to make it worth his time to try to reproduce it. This was just one chemist, not in a big research university on the east coast but in a state college in the midwest. The idea that was begun by the Wall Street Journal on April 12, 1989 and quickly taken up by cold fusion advocates, that the opposition to the research came from physicists in big research labs on the east coast, is just, well, not supported by evidence. It makes a comforting excuse for their research not getting funded and so forth, but the data just don’t support it. And it’s instructive, I think, that Simon simply repeats that meme without questioning it, even though most of the people who criticized the research and couldn’t replicate it were chemists, not physicists. At any rate, I’ll leave you to your own devices; I’m sure you’ll do the best for the article that you can. BTW, I haven’t read the below and don’t intend to; the first phrase was insulting enough that I didn’t care to read any further. At any rate, one thing about Abd’s writings is that they are endlessly repetitive, so I expect I’ve seen it all before, on the case pages of this case and the previous cold fusion case, on various user talk pages, and on the cold fusion talk page, and I haven’t seen anything persuasive in any of it yet. Good luck, Woonpton (talk) 00:16, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

At this point, I had a background (physics with Feynman at Cal Tech), had been aware of the announcement in 1989 and understood the possible significance, but concluded from the lack of progress (which I assumed from how obscure the topic became) that it had been a mistake. I did not start reading in the field until early 2009, but …. I bought all those books and I actually read them, which was very different from Enric Naval. I also understood them, Naval’s understanding of science was very, very poor.

Woonpton appears to have been expecting “persuasive” writing about cold fusion, i.e., persuading that it was real or something. I was describing what I found as I studied the sources. And yes, I was finding some remarkable stuff.

I was naive at this point, I imagined that those who would want to edit the article would actually be interested in exploring the subject. I learned not to do that, but even dealing with ordinary editorial decisions was like pulling teeth. Looking back at it now, the process was utterly insane, weeks of work to push a boulder up a hill, it seemed like a boulder, but from a wider perspective it was a pebble. Why was it so hard to push a pebble up a hill? And then it rolls down the hill.

I spent some weeks negotiating the addition of a single link to a conference paper by Martin Fleischmann, that JzG had blatantly and personally revert warred to keep out. It was hosted on, which he had arranged to have blacklisted, but … this paper told his story, what Leischmann was looking for in his research with Pons. (Hint: it was not “free energy.” They suspected that the actual fusion cross section in the solid state would be different from the calculations based on the Born approximation, i.e., treating matter as mostly free space. They thought that they would probably find nothing, that there would be some difference would not have been surprising at all, one of the few things I remember from Feynman is his comment that we did not have the math to calculate the solid state, so approximations are used, simplifications. So when their experiment melted down ….) I had obtained whitelisting of the link (which was, again, like pulling teeth, when it should be, by policy, easy. Except that JzG commonly lied about the web site.

And I was naive, thinking that Enric Naval actually wanted to learn about cold fusion (and by this time I knew far more than him), and that Woonpton might actually want to discuss this. So I wrote:

Woonpton, it is a huge relief to me that you have obviously done as much research as you have. The issue of controls in CF experiments is a deep and complex one. Yes, P and F did run some controls with light water, but the results weren’t what they expected, for whatever reason. It should be realized that the P and F work on excess has been confirmed by hundreds of research groups, from peer-reviewed studies (I think the count is at 153), and much more from conference papers, and some of these groups report control results with light water. It’s clear that with palladium electrodes, light water controls generate far less excess heat than do heavy water experiments. P and F did not report the light water controls because they didn’t function as a clean baseline; part of the problem may be that light water does normally contain some deuterium; further, it is not impossible that some level of fusion or other reaction takes place with hydrogen. (There are non-nuclear explanations proposed for the excess heat; hydrino theory would be one, that don’t necessarily involve any fusion, they they do involve new physics.) Given that in the early days, most experiments showed no excess heat at all, the conditions that result in the P-F effect were very poorly understood. So it would have taken many more experiments to make some kind of consistent sense out of the light water/heavy water comparisons. In addition, Fleischmann was functioning under some severe legal constraints coming from the University of Utah, the field was hampered for years by those restrictions.

This issue of light water controls is a fascinating aspect of the history of cold fusion, and the article — or a fork — should cover whatever we have from reliable source on it. I do recommend Simon for general reading on the subject. It’s not expensive on-line for a used copy, if you can’t get one from a library. Simon researched the history with more depth than any other source we have, though he doesn’t cover, obviously, the very significant developments after his publication.

(I found Simon interesting, but not as important as Huizenga and Taubes, on the skeptical site, and Storms and Beaudette on the more positive side (but Beaudette was self-published, so not RS, even though he was careful), and then Hoffman, for a genuine skeptic who realizes that he doesn’t have all the answers.)

One part of the story I’ve read in many places, but I’m not sure it was RS, is that when they ran out of the original batch of palladium, and for a time, Fleischmann and Pons were unable to replicate their own work, all the experiments were flat, no excess heat. We do have RS on the problem of experimental variations that are likely to lead to excess heat or no excess heat, including the exact palladium condition needed, but it wasn’t until 2007 that we have secondary peer-reviewed source showing that some groups had reached 100% excess heat success. One of the techniques is co-deposition, which is far simpler and far more reliable and far faster than the earlier bulk palladium work, this is what the SPAWAR group has done most of their work with. Good luck with your research.–Abd (talk) 15:46, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

I’m no long quite as bullish on co-dep. There have been replication problems. The SPAWAR results are fascinating, though, particularly the neutron findings, even though, this is totally ironic, neutrons tell us almost nothing about cold fusion because the levels are so miniscule. “Something nuclear is happening” gets old, if it doesn’t get specific! I went on:

One more comment, Woonpton. I have Taubes, Huizenga, Hoffman, Mizuno, Simon, Storms, and the ACS LENR Sourcebook. Hoffman is fairly early, 2004 [sic, 1994], and a skeptic who is very neutral. Simon is neutral, in my opinion, and he is simply much more informed than most of the skeptics, he interviewed both “believers” and skeptics. Hoffman should be read, I’d suggest. He lays out the issues and doesn’t force any conclusions on the reader. He reviews Taubes and Huizenga pretty accurately. Taubes had an agenda, which is revealed in a number of sources, and Huizenga had a huge axe to grind, but both are valuable sources as to the history. Park, which I don’t have, appears to be far from neutral. [It wasn’t long before I got a copy.] Storms is generally quite accurate; obviously, he believes the effect is real, you don’t devote twenty years of your career, even at the end of it, to something you think is totally bogus, and Storms is secondary RS, for the most part, and that gives us RS access to some of the conference papers, i.e., what he considers notable. The ACS sourcebook, unfortunately, is quite expensive, but it is peer-reviewed. There is another one coming out this year. Notice the publisher, not just the ACS, but Oxford University Press. Cold fusion is coming out of the cold, and being welcomed. Whatever we have of RS on this, we should not withhold from our readers, per the Fringe science arbitration. As always, it should be presented with balance and attribution where there is no clear scientific consensus; the fact is that at this point, there is no longer any clear scientific consensus on cold fusion. There is a general atmosphere of rejection, but whenever neutral experts have reviewed it, the support for the reality of low-energy nuclear reactions is significant, far above what would be expected for pathological science or even for fringe science. I’m contending that it is now emerging science, still quite controversial. …. We should follow the guidelines to determine due weight. —Abd (talk) 15:58, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

At this point I had roughly six months of looking at cold fusion sources, so my view of the field was still relatively naive. I had impressed some in the field enough that I was given that copy of the ACS LENR Sourcebook, but everything else I bought. (Now, I have donation funding and just bought a library on cold fusion for shipping cost, so I may sell what is extra.)

All a complete waste, as far as improving Wikipedia. I did learn about cold fusion, not just then, but continuing, writing about it on Wikiversity and in other fora, mostly engaging with the actual scientists (very few of them would consider coming near Wikipedia), and eventually identifying the paper that needed to be written, and writing it and seeing it published under peer review, something that Shanahan can’t manage, nor could any of these “editors” come close.

What drives editors away is when they cannot add information to an article that they know is true — commonly a problem on Wikipedia, often biting newcomers, because “verifiability, not truth.” But instead of this being explained carefully, and being supported to to what they could do within policy, they are attacked as “POV-pushers.” It happens on all sides, by the way. Woonpton may have wanted to add things that would not be allowed.

What Enric Naval cited did not show what ArbComm was claiming in Item 5. There was a toxic environment at the cold fusion article, and it had begun long before I became involved and it continued to this day.

Part of that toxic environment is more general for Wikipedia. I was banned from a topic when I had been taking great pains to seek genuine consensus. The article was literally attacked by Hipocrite, who was then protected by William M. Connolley, all with a show intended to seem “neutral,” but WMC was far from neutral. What I eventually found was that there were arbitrators, possibly a majority, who had wanted to ban me during the JzG arbitration, but they had no cover. They were looking for an excuse, and they took the train wreck of the “Cold fusion 2” arbitration to pick out some excuses, but there was no there there.

In addition to the topic ban for a year, I was site banned for three months, and there was the so-called MYOB ban. It runs directly contrary to Wikipedia policy on disputes, but it’s not hard to see what they were reaching for.


3.2) Abd is prohibited from participating in discussion of any dispute in which he is not one of the originating parties, unless approved by his mentor(s). This includes, but is not limited to, article talk and user talk pages, the administrator noticeboards, and any formal or informal dispute resolution. He would be allowed to vote or comment at polls.

This caused the most mischief of any of the decisions. It’s odd because Wikipedia dispute resolution procedures suggest finding someone to intervene who is not involved. So …. they wanted me not to help others resolve disputes. However, on what demonstrated problem was this based? Nothing was shown in this case. In the events that led to the WMC ban, etc., I was very involved. However, with JzG, I was not. I saw clear recusal failure and confronted it. I had intervened in many disputes and actually resolved them, finding consensus. That, however, often takes much discussion.

Reviewing the case, it seems that it was based on this finding:

Abd’s style of discussion
10) Abd’s style of discussion has made it difficult for other editors to work with him.

The MYOB sanction was indefinite, no term. It was, however, softened by the mentor provision. But then the Committee rejected the mentor proposals. They apparently believed that mandatory mentorship doesn’t work. Of course it doesn’t, given the lack of reliable structure. (It is not enough to utter the magic word, “mentor.”) So the MYOB ban passed but no mentorship requirement was passed. Later, I voluntarily accepted a mentor, and that was rejected even though the plain wording allowed it. (The Committee voted to remove that language later — instead of strengthening mentorship, perhaps requiring ArbComm approval of the mentior — or what would work even better a mentorship committee, a group of trusted users, each one of which could serve. And rules to cover the unavailability of the mentor, or conflict between the user and mentor.)

And this was ironic. Fritzpoll ran for ArbComm and won. He told me that my work was what had inspired him to run. He recused himself on any case involving me, there were several later minor procedures. He volunteered to be my mentor. He was told that an arbitrator cannot be a mentor. (According to his report to me, this was all private discussion, probably on the ArbComm mailing list.) Where did they get that rule from? The arbitrator would simply recuse, as Fritzpoll was already doing.

No, a majority of the Committee wanted me gone, or confined to the Recent Changes salt mines. The MYOB ban was, over time, interpreted to the point of utter insanity. I was blocked for things that I never contemplated would be issues, and it became obvious: things became prohibited because I did them.

To continue with the story: Site-banned for three months, I went to Wikiversity and became involved, and realized that Wikiversity had the potention to transform Wikipedia, being a place where issues can be discussed and educational resources on a topic built, with depth and true neutrality-through-inclusion, a place where revert warring on educational resources was rare, because multiple resources could be created. (If someone wanted to create a Biology seminar through a creationist perspective, and with certain caveats, they could do it. Global warming “denial” (it is called “denial” by those who believe in global warming, generally, and “skepticism” by those who reject it.) could be thoroughly covered — in all directions.

This is an unrealized potential, compared to what is possible. The in-depth discussion that so many Wikipedians hate is fully possible and common on Wikiversity. I was far more at home there than on Wikipedia. When I returned after the three months, I was much more careful. I suppose I should review the block log.

Standard. It is interesting to me that autoblock was disabled. Not sure why that was part of it. My paranoia leads me to think that it was to avoid blocking any sock puppets. If I was socking, they’d want me to go ahead so they could whack me more deeply. Had I used another account during the site ban, it would have been within the checkuser data retention period and would very likely have been detected. I later created one sock to test enforcement (I’ll cover that below), and, even though that sock was not disruptive, an arbitrator ran checkuser and tagged it. This was then the basis for my ultimate “community ban.” Set up by an arbitrator. “Just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you.”

I did not sock during the block. I did believe that the community had the right to ban, generally, as long as the general implied contract was in place. It was in place until due process was completely exhausted, there being the issue of the general rights of the full human community, and that is a very tricky road to follow against a community consensus. What was the consensus?

Wikipedia structure might as well have been designed to avoid finding it. Most of the full community has no clue that it has power. Those who do have defacto power do not want to see power distributed, it would lessen their own power, and those few who would welcome that mostly retire anyway, it becomes far to tedious to follow the wikidrama.

This is all consequential on the default wiki structure, what it is without restraint. It could have been predicted. My stand is that there are solutions, but every attempt to explore them, even experimentally, was demolished, sometimes with surprising vehemence, by a few very opinionated and very vocal members of the community. Not “fringies.”

What led up to that? Mathsci had warned me, December 31, (and Mathsci had been reprimanded by ArbComm in that arbitration for incivility). WMC and JzG show up in the ensuing discussion. JzG was actually nice, and I think my response to him, while “frank,” was rude, from the perspective of my later training. His suggestion of Durova as mentor seems to have been sincere, but the problem was that the Committee majority really didn’t want me editing at all. Durova would have been great (she had cosigned the JzG RfC that led to him being reprimanded by ArbComm). But I don’t think I asked, because I could see it would be useless.

So, January 10, I was notified that the editing restrictions had been revised. The mentor provision had been removed. There was a request for Arbcomm clarification of the restriction filed January 11, 2010, by WMC. Just how tight the faction wanted the restriction to be interpreted can be seen in Enric Naval’s statement. Oppenheimer-Phillips process had been cited by me as a physical process that might help understand one of the cold fusion theories, but it is not cold fusion, the connection is only speculative, and my edit was truly minor. I had edited that article extensively before, leading to no conflict (though Enric Naval had demonstrated major ignorance of physics), and the edit was only about avoiding multiple identical wikilinks in the same paragraph, standard wiki practice. So Naval was attempting to wikilawyer this into a violation, and that is a factional trait: attempting to tighten sanctions on anyone perceived to have an opposing point of view, even if the actual protested behavior is harmless at worst. The edit was accepted with no problem. Obvious obvious.

Who was Skinwalker? The user repeated Enric Naval’s argument about O-P process, adding nothing. By examining history, it can be found, this is  Vanished_user_kasjqwii3km4tkid.  This was a factional user, from contributions. The user registered 27 August, 2005. Contributions do show factional interest. The name “skinwalker” has implications of someone hiding true identity for malevolent purpose. I was unable to find the rename log entry; however, it happened after the last edit

A name like Skinwalker would be attractive to a factional editor, so I suspected it would have been re-used. It appears it was. So I found a plauasible identify for Skinwalker. He is a professional archaeologist, a blogger, with a penchant for debunking and skepticism. He uses “woo” as if it’s an objective reality. He made a statement and later defended it:

The idea only truly becomes pseudoscientific once Morgan ignores the data and arguments that successfully refute the hypothesis without refuting the data and counter-refuting the arguments

This is classic pseudoskeptical fog. Ideas are not pseudoscientific merely because someone who has the idea ignores something. “Refutation” is a high-level judgment, highly sensitive to the world-view and emotional responses of the judge. The situation described, if realistic, would show a failure to defend the idea, that’s all. The claim by internet flame warriors, “You ignore that …” followed by various allegations, is common. It does not actually show ignorance, only that the commentator is simply trying to make that person wrong. (“Ignorance” is not a measureable entity, it is an imagined non-existence of something. We are ignorant of almost everything in the universe, it could be said; the common expression is the “price of eggs in China,” obviously said outside of China.)

“Refuting data” is weird. Data is data, unless it is fraudulent. What Skinwalker would mean is answering criticisms of interpretation of the data. Maybe he was just being sloppy, but I am seeing here the typical arguments of the more intelligent — but still factional — editors on Wikipedia.

Some of Skinwalker’s last comments were in another RfAr/Clarification. 

He is taking a position very similar to Science Apologist at the time: ArbComm was, in their view, unfairly favoring editors with fringe points of view, who, that faction more or less believed, should be kicked off the project.

ArbComm commonly flogs users who fail to follow Dispute Resolution process, or — in my case — who fail to follow it quickly and with perfect, succinct arguments, or for many real or alleged faults, but I never saw ArbComm actually set up a working DR process that would seek genuine consensus. I ran those a few times, successfully, but … ArbComm with the MYOB sanction, prohibited it. I don’t think ArbComm knows how to do it. They are not trained.

I find the later behavior eerily similar to Skinwalker popping into that Clarification about my MYOB ban. I am not sure when the Guerilla Skeptics began to operate, but Skinwalker was not involved in that dispute, yet dives in with a standard antifringe point of view. That point of view frequently is rejected when there is broad discussion on topics where understanding is relatively easy. Skinwalker was lambasted by Keithbob. Shortly after this Skinwalker vanished.

Now, to the point: this is not how to run dispute resolution, and not how to make decisions where consensus is the goal. I wrote a great deal over the years about how it could be done with far higher efficiency and effectiveness, and that was very much unwelcome among the dominant factions on Wikipedia. They want to win, not to find consensus.

It ought to be obvious: a consensus developed by excluding dissenters (or intimidating them into silence) is not actually consensus. Wikipedia operates on a naive model of how people function, assuming that there are those who simply will not cooperate. While such doubtless exist, they are actually rare. In the twentieth century, extensive consensus-seeking technology was developed. It was ignored by those who created the Wikipedia structure.

That someone wants another banned should be grounds for high suspicion of the accuser. Yet I recently studied — and acted in — a case where the accuser was plainly and blatantly disruptive, and an admitted sock puppet, but all attention was focused on the alleged offender, creating disruption that took months to disentangle, as to effects on other WMF wikis — and the mess still has not been cleaned up on Wikipedia.

Genuine consensus is stable, self-enforcing. Genuine consensus is “community.” While there will be people who will defy genuine consensus, these are very few. Disruption occurs when points of view are suppressed and repressed. So Wikipedia, with its naive ideas of “NPOV” and “rough consensus,” was a setup for endless conflict.

To finish up looking at the Future Perfect block, FP explains his action on that RfAr/Clarification. 

He refers to the warning and discussion on my User Talk page, which he represents in a manner that demonstrates what I was saying. He was, or quickly became, involved. Future Perfect revert warred with Atren over the removal of my comment. We can see in my block log, Future Perfect became a frequent visitor to my block log. (Three more blocks.) In a sane system, another administrator would have tapped him on the shoulder, as Atren attempted to do, without being an administrator, and said, “recuse!”

and so the first tightening of the MYOB ban began. There was wikilawyering over whether or not it was a poll. It  looked like a poll to me, and, in addition, I considered myself involved. ArbComm declined to clarify, — other than removing the mentor issue — so it was predictable that unless I simply abandoned working on Wikipedia issues, which is what they really wanted — it would get worse.

At this point I looked more at Atren’s history. This is remarkable. On his User page, he copies the list of bans from the Global Warming arbitration.

The following editors are banned from the topic area of climate change, and may not appeal this ban until at least six months after the closure of this case (and no more often than every three months thereafter); William M. Connolley Polargeo Thegoodlocust Marknutley ChrisO Minor4th ATren Hipocrite Cla68 GregJackP A Quest For Knowledge Verbal ZuluPapa5 JohnWBarber FellGleaming

I had not much followed Global warming, but in 2008, I had noticed and confronted William M. Connolley’s abuse of tools with it. That was a background to his actions wrt me in the cold fusion area. Notice Hipocrite, again, and Verbal. Other editors I don’t immediately see as problematic, but …. there were many more not mentioned, particularly administrators who supported WMC and the others. I recognize, as editors who confronted those abuses, Atren and Cla68. ArbComm was, once again, shooting the messenger. Now this doesn’t mean that they did not make mistakes, but ArbComm essentially asks of those who might identify and act with regard to admin abuse (and factional abuse, a far more difficult problem) that they be perfect, in areas where arbitrators themselves don’t know how to act. The structure does not select for those skills, it largely selects for those who don’t ever rock the boat, at least not until they have been handed the keys to the wheelhouse.

Atren comments:

I have been sanctioned by arbcom because I asked questions and challenged admins who behaved badly.

I am displaying this sanction at the top of my User page because I am proud of what I did throughout my time in the climate change topic area. I was one of the few editors with the guts to push back against one of the most destructive factions ever to edit here, and that did not sit well with some of the agenda driven power brokers who run this place. So even as they begrudgingly handed out sanctions to the real problem editors, they had to catch me and others in the net as well. It’s called “shooting the whistleblower”.

Indeed. In this particular sequence, Future Perfect revert warred with Atren.

Researching this, I saw these Administrator’s Noticeboard posts. JzG seeking and obtaining topic ban for Pcarbonn. and extended discussion. I don’t think that anyone could claim after reading all this that Wikipedia makes decisions by deliberated consensus. It’s a lynch mob, and the few sane voices are drowned out. JzG did this over and over. ArbComm ignored it.

And, of course, they went after GoRight (as they had been, for some years. I first became aware of the “cabal” as the group of users demanding that GoRight be banned. That’s a long story by itself.

And this attempt by JzG to stir more up. What I notice the most, besides JzG’s usual deception, was the comment by Tzenkai:

I also am of the opinion that this would be a lot easier to sort out if the same cast of characters didn’t show up every time.

I.e., my point. Problem is, uninvolved users notice the problem but actually do nothing about it. Many pointed out to JzG that he would best back away. But why should he? ArbComm had shown — and continued to show, that they would allow almost anything from him. Very few users would take a matter to Arbcomm, unless they don’t care if a screaming mob shows up demanding they be eviscerated, which ArbComm often allows. Someone who has been editing for years on Wikipedia has countless hours invested. So do just go away, and that may be the sanest response.

See also the discussion on Tzenkai’s user talk, started by WMC. ArbComm was about to prohibit WMC and I from having any interaction with each other. Enric Naval also attempted to stir things up. The more I see all this stuff, they more I never want to have anything to do with that community again. It allows people like JzG and Enric Naval to have free rein, and goes after people who actually care about the core values of the project. This is not about points of view, other than humane vs. inhumane.

And this is the discussion that I commented in, as closed. Train wreck. This is the damage that a faction can wreak. They will see the activity and pile in. So many names there are still familiar. ArbComm refused to look at the “cabal” — which simply meant “faction that exerts some kind of power.” This was head-in-the-sand behavior. They did look a little later in the Climate Change arbitration mentioned, but the actions they took were minimal, largely ineffective, and many of them have slid back down the hill. It can be seen there that some users did think that this discussion had become a poll.

And that shows how slippery the MYOB restriction was. The actual intention was not clear, so intepreting it was difficult. JzG obviously interpreted it differently than I. I did not think that my comment was violating the restriction (in spite of all those claims that I was pushing the edge. In addition to the “poll” issue, I was quite involved with the topic, for years, I had defended GoRight extensively when he was under attack by these same users.

Later, quite a few of those who supported the GoRight block were topic banned by the Committee. Atren was right. They shoot whistle-blowers, and then, maybe, later, they take some token actions to deal with what the whistle had been blown over. It’s “wiki.” After all, if they shoot the whistle-blower, which is easy, it makes things nice and quiet and maybe the problem will go away by itself. Actually understanding the causes of conflict can take work, time, energy.

That discussion history.

The “poll” or “not-poll” as it was when I made my supposedly violating comment. I count eight “!votes.” Then my comment. “not-voting” continued, and Future Perfect removed my commentAtren restored it, pointing out my prior involvement (correctly).

TS (Tony Sidaway) then responded to my comment, asking me to justify my comment (which I did not do, even though the “involvement” is fairly obvious. The later Global Warming arbitration brought out some of this, the tip of the iceberg.) Future Perfect then removed my comment again. Unusual to remove a comment after there is response. This is an admin revert warring, believing his position is “right.” “not-voting” continued.

(To remind readers: I was allowed by my restriction to participate in polls, and this definitely looked like a poll.)

So then, in an attempt to shift the appearance, TS edited all those bolded “not-votes.” His summary: (GoRight Blocked: Isn’t a vote so making it look like one isn’t a good idea.)

In other words, it looked like a vote. However, except for certain elections, Wikipedia does not vote. Anywhere. But bolded simple comments are commonly used, say in deletion discussions. “Bold” doesn’t actually change anything.

TS also removed a comment he didn’t like from another user. It was restored. Then the user removed it himself.

Users continued to add comments with bolded summaries…. Thegoodlocust pointed to the obvious about the bolding. I think he was right, this was done to legitimate blocking me for the comment. At the time, I’d have been more inclined to understand it as simple bull-headedness.

At some point perhaps I should explain how those Noticeboards have long been badly broken. The way they function is utterly cumbersome. Researching is difficult. So someone is notified of a discussion on their talk page. Trying to find that discussion later can take far longer than would be necessary with a decent structure. The entire process wastes the time of many users, solicits uninformed comments that only confuse issues (from people crazy enough to have the Noticeboard on their watchlist), and commonly fails to bring out the best in the community. This is what happens when one takes wiki process that works with a small community and expands it with little change, to a huge community. The discussion history covers 600 edits to that page during the time the discussion was open, from the initial edit by JzG, clearly irritated that GoRight had dared to question his ban of Pcarbonn, to closure with GoRight blocked.

GoRight was then subject to a community ban discussion in March, 2010. Opinion was divided, but the close, remarkably, depended on a finding of “Most people supporting restrictions also support a full ban with equal preference. I’m therefore closing this discussion with a consensus to ban and blocking GoRight.” This is quite common. Supposedly a ban discussion is to be decided by uninvolved users, but I have never seen a closer consider prior involvement in making a decision. (That would take research, which would be time-consuming, not “wiki”). So numbers of users who show up with some position make a difference. The way decision process works is that someone makes a proposal or points to a situation, and then users show up and give opinions. Early opinions may be based on evidence that has been presented, or (often) are knee-jerk. Those opinions still stand even if later evidence would change them, users commonly don’t reread the discussions.

In theory, a close will be by the weight of arguments, not the weight of numbers,and  that is what is meant when it is said that Wikipedia does not vote and is not a democracy. The reality is quite different, it is rare to see a close that does not respect the majority; I saw a close where the majority was a screaming mob and a closer set the majority aside and decided differently. Ah, the horror! They found a technicality to get the close undone, the discussion was re-opened. With no change in the result. (but later not-voting was different!)

GoRight apparently socked a little, a month after ban, in 2010, which led to a rejection at a request for reconsideration years later, in 2014. Lord of the Flies.

  • 21:27, 2 March 2010 Future Perfect at Sunrise (talk | contribs) blocked Abd (talk | contribs) with an expiration time of 1 week (account creation blocked) (breach of Arbcom editing restriction again; personal attacks and excessive wikilawyering)

Same administrator, and, once again, I was surprised. What happened? Who was attacked?

I first find this notice on my User Talk page. February 27.

It refers to this arbitration enforcement request. This version is at the point where JzG and Stephan Schulz and the complainant (quite a piece of work!) have commented in the section reserved for uninvolved administrators. This is the complete version.

Sandstein issued a clarification of the sanction. There is reference to an AN/I report. Looking for origins, I find this discussion on my Talk page, a request from SamJohnston to stop “hounding” him, dated February 25. Looking back, I see this budding revert war.

Looking at the talk page, I see reference to a 2009 Deletion Review, resulting in undeletion, and the page was sitting in my user space. How did it get there? I see that I edited that article in 2009. It’s been renamed, but the move log doesn’t show up for the current name. Something is off. JzG suspected, in the AE filing, that I had gotten involved because I was stalking him.

I see that I warned LirazSiri not to move that article back to mainspace without consultation.  That warning refers to an earlier Deletion Review.

From that warning, it can be seen that I’d become involved with claims of Conflict of Interest on the part of LirazSiri, and this was before the flap in 2010, and before the MYOB ban. I generally dealt with issues like this by supporting the legitimate interests of the “offender,” because this would be less likely to lead to long-term conflict. The history of the page shows what had happened and what I did.

JzG was indeed quite involved. LirazSiri had attempted to place a copy of the article in his own user space (which should have been permitted). This was not spam, but JzG was treating it that way.

I have not identified the first thing I noticed, but what I did was not uncommon for me. Procedurally, LirazSiri had duplicated deleted content, which was not the way to go (possibly it would create licensing issues). Rather, a request would be made to an administrator to undelete and userfy, so the article could be worked on to possibly satisfy policies. So that’s what I did, more or less “adopting” the article in my user space. This was not controversial, I don’t know if JzG noticed. Later, there was a successful Deletion Review and LirazSiri moved the article back to mainspace (which was legitimate, though it might have been better if he’d waited for someone else to do it.)

Reviewing LirazSiri history, he had been encouraged by what I’d done, that somebody was sane. See his account of the history, in the request to restrict him filed at AN by JzG, in his last edit to Wikipedia. It can also be seen on the AN/I report — where my comments were eventually considered to be violating my MYOB ban — that support for my review of the situation was buried by the screaming mob, including JzG. My request there that SamJohnson be sanctioned was very rare; however, this kind of editor did enormous damage to Wikipedia, driving away other users unnecessarily. I was able to deal with that at one time, but JzG was an administrator when I found him doing it to users, and he was famous for it. I was warned I’d be banned if I confronted him, by Durova — who agreed with the issue I raised, and co-signed the RfC I filed on JzG, that led to the arbitration. Experienced editors know and are either complicit with the manner of administration, or continue in the hope that it won’t affect their own interests too much. Many of them eventually retire, if they aren’t banned first because they blow the whistle, or otherwise react to what becomes obvious.