Cold fusion wiki created

In response to an ugly situation on Wikiversity, which will be covered elsewhere on this blog, I have created a wiki, CFC, for the use of the cold fusion community and others, to read, create, edit, and critique studies and articles relating to cold fusion, and to coordinate activities. The cold fusion resource on Wikiversity, now exported to Wikiversity/Cold fusion on CFC,  is no longer accessible on Wikiversity, having been deleted in a way that makes it difficult for any reader to discover what happened and where the pages may be found.

For the time being, to avoid some of the maintenance labor, only registered accounts may edit. Anyone may request an account through a comment on a page for that purpose, made with a usable email address (which is normally private information. Real-name accounts may be subject to verification.

Accounts wishing to be anonymous may be assigned an account name of Anonymous N, where N will be assigned to the user by site management. Exceptions may be made on a showing of necessity, but real identity and contact information, in that case, must be known to site administration.

A means has been provided to allow quick anonymous editing without waiting for administrative approval. Ease of editing is important for wikis, but … Wikipedia went way too far. No anonymous account should ever have been allowed administrative privileges; it removes the personal responsibility that is essential to reliability.

To be quite clear, skepticism is essential to science; a cold fusion community that excludes skeptics is, as such, leaning into pseudoscience. Pseudoskepticism can be difficult to distinguish from genuine skepticism and we will be slow to assume the former. Extreme pseudoskepticism, however, can become disruptive; this community will enforce civility policies, but in a way designed purely to create useful discussions, never to punish.

To be successful, this wiki will need substantial participation. The status of the Wikiversity cold fusion resource demonstrates that if community projects are not defended, they may not survive. Defending the study of cold fusion should not require a belief in the reality of claimed cold fusion effects.

Author: Abd ulRahman Lomax


21 thoughts on “Cold fusion wiki created”

  1. Many are called, but few are frozen. I’m frozen, globally locked, now, by the WikiMedia Foundation, something never before done with anyone related to cold fusion issues.

    There was no warning, no notice or explanation, no opportunity to respond to charges, or to correct errors, only a claim of “TOS violation” in the lock notice — which was not provided to me. It’s visible, though, on any request for my contributions and, say, my meta user page. My last contributions were on the meta wiki, here. My very last contribution was a request to hide the URL for this blog, allowing and accepting demands for its removal. After I was locked, that request was ironically rejected. There was nothing disruptive about what I’d posted. It was just the truth of the history, from my experience.

    This is only peripherally related to cold fusion and I will be starting another blog to cover other issues and all related content here will be moved there (with links, for history).

    To Oliver D. Smith: thanks for creating an opportunity here, to address many long-standing issues, including issues related to cold fusion, for legal action. There are many who have been waiting for such an opportunity, and by goading the WMF into action, you exposed, for the first time, more accessible targets, because what has kept you from being sued was your being an unattractive — in more than one way — target, living with your parents.

    In possible legal action, you will be named as an additional defendant. The primary defendants may be people who happen to be local to me, whom you deceived into supporting your demands, and who were, in their actions, negligent and with a developed intention to harm, and, of course, the WMF, which would not, until the global lock, have had any liability at all. Now they may, because of the apparent false claim of TOS violation.

    I expect a series of co-plaintiffs, also thoughtfully created by you because you attacked many, but, for now, a preliminary list of possible co-defendants:

    Michael Umbrecht, Rhode Island (or close), bureaucrat on Wikiversity
    Joshua P. Schroeder/Tan, New York, long-time disruptive Wikipedia user, who lied about harassing email from me.
    Guy Chapman, England, with a vendetta against me with many public defamatory comments, for almost ten years,
    Oliver D. Smith and Darryl Smith, England, creators of attack articles on RationalWiki, doxxers and trolls and libels against many
    The WikiMedia Foundation, which acted without balanced investigation on the requests of the above and others, identities unknown, and, of course,
    The RationalWiki Foundation, host of defamatory articles, which has blocked attempts to correct these articles and allow response, which has also thoughtfully been collecting funds to protect against lawsuits, which, of course, makes them a more attractive target. I think these would fit nicely into a U.S. federal action, and I’ll be looking for counsel, to advise and assist, and other support.

    If those who complained to the WMF made recklessly false and defamatory statements in those complaints, they may be included. (And WMF privacy policy does not trump a legal right to possibly libelous information; if the WMF does conceal such information against a subpoena, they would become liable for that alone.

    (To those of the possible defendants listed above who see this, you may expect formal letters, from me or from counsel, in the near future. You may also contact me at this time to see if some compromise or settlement is possible, even before the involvement of counsel. I cannot speak at this point for other possible plaintiffs, but attempts to resolve issues in good faith will be respected by me — as I offered before to Oliver D. Smith.)

    This will not be a crank lawsuit, I’ve seen many. It will not be filed if it cannot be done to professional standards, with a reasonable likelihood of recovering damages. That decision will partially depend on the requirements and interests of sources of funding.

    Responding to harassment is not harassment, unlike what you and others on RationalWiki have been claiming for years. Casual and often-repeated defamation are going to bite you and your friends in the ass.

    1. Abd – I’d wondered about the reason for the hiatus in posts here. It’s long been known that if you can control the information people can see, then you can also control the direction people think. Personally, I’m seeing the heavy hand of coercion (politically correct thinking allowed, all else denigrated and marginalised) in many places, and the acquisition of a prominent platform seems to result in an attempt to suppress all dissenting viewpoints. This is obvious in Facebook, Google, Twitter, and the Wikipedia projects, as well as Murdoch’s attempt to own all the newspapers and thus try to make his views the main ones. This is the era of Fake News, where what is broadcast is not necessarily actually untrue but by suppression of some parts and spreading others a false view of events is easily created. I find I can only believe the stories from people I personally know who were personally there at the time something happened.

      Good luck with this lawsuit. If you need more funds, put up a fundraiser or otherwise advertise the need.

      One thing to point out is that in wartime the flak gets heavier the closer you are to the target. It seems you’ve found the target….

      1. In my training, the saying was “if they are not shooting at you, you are not doing anything worth wasting bullets on.” This started with what looked like a single troll attacking a Wikiversity parapsychology source study and the student who created it. An enemy had created many highly disruptive and obvious socks on Wikipedia, pretending to be that student, inducing a Wikipedia administrator to go to Wikiversity and request deletion and block. Not satisfied with this, the troll, which would be one of the Smith brothers, behind a family of socks called “Anglo Pyramidologist” created a sock on Wikiversity to pursue this, with irrelevant attacks. A Wikiversity administrator was attacked for blocking him, threatened, and that was the first sign that something deeper was afoot. However, I can still chalk that up to foolishness, but … I now suspect private communication was behind that otherwise puzzling defense of the sock.

        My initial concern was the participation on Wikiversity in disruptive process (i.e., likely to be contentious) of Single Purpose Accounts, obviously concealing identity and existing only for a specific attack. So I started to document this. (I will have the page up on the wiki shortly, in order to recover this, I have had to process a 21 GB data dump, yielding a file with my own User pages, which is still too large to edit directly, so I’ll need to process it further. This all takes writing custom programs, since I was unable to find tools allowing simple page extraction. I do have the latest copy of that page (getting current versions was much easier) but it had been blanked to avoid disruption — about which, the following….)

        When I started to document the situation in a study, in my user page, recording what I found as I found it, the study was attacked by many sock puppets, I was threatened with retaliation, etc. That convinced me that I was onto something, whereas before it seemed like, with the checkuser identification of the socks, it appeared to be just another troll, probably some kind of “skeptic,” but with a very personal agenda of hatred of the target.

        And the more I found and reported what I found, the more intense the attacks became. And this is a pattern, it turns out. If anyone exposes what the Smith brothers have been doing, they are massively attacked. I can show many examples.

        Meanwhile, I had found and demonstrated that the WMF wikis are often allergic to actual documentation and study. At one point, I saw what appeared to be possible steward abuse, locking user accounts on the steward’s own initiative, based on personal considerations. But to understand this, I needed to understand how the stewards were operating, normally. So I studied the issued global locks. There were 5000 of them in three months. This kind of data had never been collected. I looked at these blocks and classified them according to stated reason, and collected and showed data for each steward. What I had come to was that of 5000 locks, maybe five looked suspicious. That is quite low for an error rate. However, I also showed how many locks each steward was issuing. One had roughly 2000 locks in that period. He’d made a couple of mistakes but promptly fixed them — and the error was explained. The five suspicious locks were all from one steward. And that steward had issued only above seventy locks. I had not stated any conclusions. All the data was from public logs. There were administrators and stewards commenting on the pages. There was no sign of a problem.

        And then, abruptly, the pages were not only deleted, they were suppressed, so that only stewards (or other oversighters) could see them. I was told that if I requested undeletion, I’d be blocked. I didn’t request undeletion, but reported what had happened on the Meta general discussion forum. There was no interest. Nobody cared. And that is how wikis, with ideals of “community governance,” fall into something quite different. This was an early wiki motto:


        I find this all over. Many people will complain about the way things are, but few will lift a finger to create transformation or at least to become open to it. I don’t think the lack of interest was fear. There had been users who would have commented … but they burned out. The wikis did not create a structured process allowing a graduated access to expertise … and they did not value expertise (I became expert on what I studied, but what I did was judged, often in a few seconds, by people without actual knowledge but only knee-jerk reactions.) Whenever I was able to find wide attention, what I was doing was accepted, but … the attacking responses could flourish in obscurity.

        1. Abd – as you noted, the Wiki structuring is not suited to the task. There are too many trolls around, even though in absolute numbers they are not many. It doesn’t need many.

          As I see things, a structure built from people risks being taken over by some (let’s call them activists for now) who will push their point of view onto the structure. How long it takes depends on how well the system was designed in the first place. When something is basically open to everyone, then the activists will rise to the top because they are the only ones who feel strong enough about it to concentrate their time into pushing their views. I saw this when I was in college – only the people really interested in politics spent the time debating in the Union, and then went into a career in politics. Most of the students didn’t think too much about politics. For the activists, they practised twisting words and not saying what they meant, and doing what they said they wouldn’t, and some ended up as Prime Ministers.

          When a structure goes bad this way, I don’t see much of an alternative to building a new one and getting the design better. Chuck out the old one. You may be able to weed out the troublemakers now, but if the structure allows it they will come back – or people much the same will come in.

          Re-making something as big as the WMF is a big task and will need a lot of people. On the other hand, a group of no more than around 15 can be cohesive and starts to factionate at higher numbers, and so there is a big problem in setting up the structure to maintain cohesiveness in a large project. I don’t see a reasonable alternative to a hierarchical structure where what the boss says is what happens – this is basically a normal business structure because it actually works. Flat and democratic structures can work for a while but are too easy to disrupt. They can be good for a while but suddenly decay when the wrong people get in. Look at the number of communes started where after a while they break in disarray. Good intentions aren’t enough. As such, I see the WMF gradually losing any reputation of reliability as an information source and basically disappearing up its own backside. It’s a matter of when.

          The problem is of where the buck stops. It seems that in the WMF there is no such designated person, and instead you have a flat structure where individuals can apply their own ideas. Very democratic…. Ultimately doomed to failing, because people are people. Some pigs are always more equal than others….

          Basically, the idea of “community governance” sounds great, but will degenerate into control by the activists after some time. Defending each other is also a great idea, but can only really be successful in small groups that aren’t factionated (so everyone is known to have the same aims). What is your hoped-for end-position in sorting out the current batch of trolls/disruptors? I’m only asking you this in case you haven’t considered what happens beyond the court case. It seems to me that the WMF structure is simply unfit for purpose.

          1. The possibility of scaling up governance of an organization so that it maintains the cohesiveness of a small organization and the efficiency of representative democracy is what occupied me for many years. I came to understand it as possible, but it normally cannot be implemented in an organization after what came to be called the Lomax effect takes over, the dominance of an oligarchy, that will resist change, in order to distribute power and access to power, and the rising of an oligarchy is considered inevitable, the Iron Law of Oligarchy.

            The Lomax effect is natural and not a result of greed or power-hunger. The result, though, is a narrowing of participation in governance, with a result of what I called “participation bias.” Participation bias is not Bad, and, indeed, it is normally beneficial, but … the active core, over time, drifts away from the genuine group consensus — or, more accurately from the consensus that would arise if there were full participation, and especially of all knowledgeable. Wiki means “quick” and this is not quick in the sense that wiki users desire. Over time, bias develops toward decisions that can be made quickly, and the kind of investigation and development of reports that is standard in deliberative democracy not only becomes rare, but it is actually rejected and sanctioned, on the obvious possibility that someone motivated to do that research must be biased. This is all actually mob psychology.

            I watched over the years as the most thoughtful and cautious administrators retired, burned out. Overworked and underpaid, to say the least! Some of them became cynical and impatient — and intolerant of criticism. The structure, as designed, did not factor for this, with “administrator for life” being standard, and it was extremely difficult to dislodged even the most abusive. I did “dislodge” an administrator, but he was not the worst, by any means. The whole affair was a bit sad. Yeah, he had to go, but … the Arbitration Committee refused to deal with the structural issues I raised, and then his faction, long-term, harassed me off the site. I don’t have information from the WMF yet on the global ban, but a response mail has been published by one of the complainants, and he is an LTA (long-term abuser) with over 200 identified blocked sock puppets, not to mention many more on RationalWiki and elsewhere. He must have been joined by others, and there are three obvious candidates, from what they had previously written. All highly deceptive. No real investigation, because a real investigation would have asked me to respond to claims. So it’s a star chamber. And the active core creates those, it’s part of the phenomenon.

            1. Abd – it looks like we’re seeing much the same problems. I can see why you have a tendency to get banned, though, since you explain your viewpoint in depth and and using logic, and that can be difficult for people (if they actually read the “wall of text”) since it may force them to re-examine their underlying beliefs and expose some illogicalities. That takes work to consider the arguments properly, and definitely isn’t quick. Of course, it also fills up the blog comments with a lot of long answers whereas most comments tend to be single liners or even down to an emoji or two (that is, just an emotional response without any deep consideration).

              Most situations where a “job for life” is assigned will lead to problems. I can point to sexual predators in the Catholic Church, for example, who have traditionally been moved elsewhere instead of being prosecuted, and I’m pretty sure the same applies in most religions. Here in France the SNCF workers are somewhat upset about the moves to eliminate their “jobs for life” and enable management to sack incompetent people. It seems WMF have set things up so that it’s very hard to sack administrators, and this is an obvious structural problem that will be difficult to solve since the other administrators (who will need to agree to rule changes) will of course think that they may be subject to such sanctions too if they allow it for anyone.

              The response mail you linked says there are sock-puppets on this blog. That’s a somewhat-strange accusation, since it seems you’ve done some good weeding and either removed any you’ve seen or added a comment on such posts (often longer than the post itself, as on this article). A bit of pot calling the silver teapot black…. (As it happens, an earthenware teapot actually works better, though.)

              It remains that Wikipedia is useful for stuff that’s non-contentious. Everyone knows (or should know) that what you get there reflects a possibly-biased viewpoint, but then that applies to any information you get anyway. Once you’re out of the academic system (exam questions) and actually want to apply the book data to do things, you’ll find discrepancies in the data and will need to measure it personally. Test that the data is correct before moving on with using it. This is nothing new, and in fact the Royal Society’s motto is “take no-ones’ word (for it)”, so the problem has been recognised for over a century.

              Cleaning up the WMF structure seems like it should have been one of Hercules’ twelve tasks. Meantime, you’ve found that having your own blog is a better way of ensuring that your writings are not deleted and that the information remains the best truth you know. There is a problem reaching a wider audience, of course, but that is always a problem. Still, it may be a better option than trying to change the WMF.

              1. The page on Anglo Pyramidologist/Comments shows some real doozies, including a sock that first claims to be a lawyer, then, next post claims he wants to join my “side,” and is a sniper. None of these are presented by me as being real. All are suspect. I also always keep in mind that someone may be impersonating the brothers. But … the brothers are highly disruptive and clearly have been socking and impersonating. So far, no impersonations of the impersonators have been clearly shown. I have technical evidence that some socks posting here are likely one of the brothers. What is most authoritative is the emails I have published from ODS himself. They were from a known email address, and we went back and forth, so they are genuine. Remarkably, as you can see reading them, they started out fairly calm and apparently sane, then deteriorated rapidly. It resembles a multiple personality or manic disorder.

                As to the WMF, changing the WMF was not my goal. Standing for honesty and truthfulness and careful consideration of evidence was, but I gave up long ago on the structures of the wikis as they existed. Wikiversity, however, had not shown the more extreme mob mentality — or, more accurately, not recently. But I had concluded that it was dangerous, and so I’d stopped working there to create much new content. There were a couple of resources that I might occasionally maintain.

                So, in some ways, this is all good news for me, because I will eventually develop more on the CFC wiki. Maybe. Maybe not. I’m going to ICCF-21, and I may write a paper to present. If I have time. As I have written, I’m considering legal action, which is speculative, but not impossible. There are people who have said they will support me. Will they? I don’t feel like spending cold fusion support funding on this. On the other hand ….

                1. Abd – there’s a lot of backing data and comment in those links. I find it difficult to see where ODS gains from the trolling and socks, though. Possibly therefore some mental problem.

                  Still, as I see it LENR is somewhat more useful as a way of using your time. My time is very well filled at the moment exploring odd ideas. Some might even work…. I’ll look forward to reading your paper.

                  1. If you read the emails, the man is insane and attempting to understand his motivations could be a fool’s errand, they “don’t make sense.” However, I could offer this: He has trained himself to expect that if he creates a great deal of confusion with his socking and impersonations, he drives others, frustrated by the drama, into doing what he wants. He has learned how to manipulate incautious administrators.

                    Right now on RationalWiki, it appears to be working — or, in a darker view, it gives sysops cover to support what would otherwise be unsupportable. Absent more direct evidence, they can always claim that they didn’t realize what they were doing. I’m reasonably sure of the sincerity of Wikipedia administrators who blocked impersonation socks as if they were the impersonation targets instead of a troll attacking the targets — a totally naive position, based on a classic weird Wikipedia trope: blocked users are insane and will troll just to get them upset, making highly disruptive edits just to prove that they are more powerful and can’t be stopped, basically daring them to try.
                    With the Ben Steigmann case, the actual checkuser-confirmed socks never displayed their identity combined with blatantly disruptive edits. The impersonations (later confirmed from my request) did, with all their edits.

                    Rome Viharo has been impersonated on Wikipedia (User:Tumbleman there) with socks that don’t resemble his editing at all, but that will fit the “crazy blocked user” trope.

                    On RationalWiki, socks are being created that use my real name, or other names identified with me, that quote me (or someone supporting me) and point to my blog, that are then blamed on me, such that the actual sock I created and acknowledged was blocked with them, as if the same.

                    And I’ve seen this done with many people.
                    Nobody expects him to be creating so many socks, so totally outrageously.

                    But he does, and that has been confirmed.

                    What’s fascinating to see is the community response. On Wikipedia, impersonation is a clear TOS violation. What I did — off-wiki description of realities — is not. Off-wiki behavior is only a factor in global bans if egregious harassment, that was a long tradition, now violated, and I don’t yet know exactly why — the ban email provides no explanation at all — but it’s pretty obvious: there was a very squeaky wheel that got some grease to get it to shut up.

                    1. Abd – I did read the emails and couldn’t make sense. On the other hand, I couldn’t make sense of people wanting to break telephone boxes or peoples’ windows, and there are people who enjoy doing that. If we don’t accept that such people are around, we don’t design systems that are robust enough to deal with the disruption, which is why the “noble ideas” of Socialism always screw up in real life. It seems Wikipedia is based on such noble ideas, and that all people will do what is best for the community….

                      Yep, it’s normally the squeaky wheel that gets the most grease. There are exceptions – medics are trained to first attend people who aren’t making a noise when there’s a disaster, since the people who are noisy obviously still have enough energy to scream, and those who aren’t are closer to death and in more need of urgent attention. People do indeed learn from experience.

                      Impersonation of other people is something the WMF system should disallow (not just by saying it’s against terms of service, but actually not allowing it to happen in the first place). Banking systems seem to have some halfway-decent ways of doing this, so it’s not that tricky to implement. There are however failures of that system known about and exploited, but loopholes are being closed as they are found. There’s of course a constant battle on security, since there are bright people on both sides of the war. Unless the WMF implements some reasonably-foolproof system, though, I don’t see the problem you’re seeing going away. Of course, first they need to admit that there’s a problem, and sometimes that’s the biggest step and proves to be too high a barrier.

                      It thus seems to me that what is needed is to convince the hierarchy of the WMF that the problem exists. It seems pretty likely that a lot of individuals will know that there’s a problem, though. Much the same as the Weinstein story, where the casting couch is an old cliché and people even joked about Weinstein’s proclivities. That’s however been “the way it is” for a very long time and if you went to work in Hollywood then you’d need to accept it or turn a blind eye to it. That all-seeing blind eye is what needs to be fixed in the WMF, and at the moment I can’t see a way to unblind it. No photogenic actresses to complain, here.

                      So: how to change the attitude from “it’s a small problem and isn’t important” to “this is an existential problem and needs fixing now!”.

  2. The original comment here:

    Your blog used to be very useful for updates on cold fusion. You now waste your time discussing Wikipedia users, pedophilia, neo-Nazism or people’s online identities. I think you should go back to how your blog was 7 months ago. Your latest interests in blogging do not come across as healthy, they read as obsessive.


    Abd’s comment:

    I am publishing what is normally private, because this is almost certainly an Anglo Pyramidologist sock, whose goal for a long time has been to discourage and disparage and attack exposure of his activities. This is not about the user being a skeptic, nor is it about mere disagreement — and here the user pretends to be a supporter. That is part of what AP does, create massive confusion toward his goals, which are generally revenge (and to stop exposure of his methods).

    So this comment from “Jim” was posted by and the email address is “Cold_fusionguy” on an email service that allows quick creation of anonymous accounts. That user name is a common AP pattern: “[point of view]guy” … or fellow … or activist, or the like. The focus is very narrow, very specific, so obviously this user has been studying pages here. This is a blog, and “blog posts” get much higher visibility. What he refers to is on “pages.” Most users won’t see pages unless I specifically refer to them in blog posts … or they show up in comments or they find them in a google search. I have not made many such highly visible comments, precisely because the main focus of this blog is, as the name implies, cold fusion.

    But there is a relevance, and especially to the Community and to the project recently mentioned on the page this comment is appended to (which is not about the subjects mentioned, again, except peripherally. All these factors taken together wave a big red flag, Anglo Pyramidologist, and I’ve looked at many hundreds of these sock accounts. When I research a topic, usually because some necessity has appeared, I will be as thorough as my time allows. It’s what I’ve done for years, and … there are people who strongly dislike it and want me to do something else. Well, want me to do something else, pay me! Those who have donated are free to make requests that will be given special attention. Don’t comment here with pure discouragement, using an anonymizing proxy and a very likely fake email address. I can easily be contacted privately, the simplest way is to make a comment and request privacy in it. I will not themn publish the comment, nor the private information, but … if you attempt disruption and deception, all such promises are voided. Be honest, straightforward, and your privacy will be respected.

    This is not Wikipedia, constrained by policies developed to allow and encourage anonymous contributions. This is a private web site.

    There are opinions recently expressed that it is “illegal” to reveal private information. I’ve researched it. The law is shifting, but as far as I could find, it is not illegal. It might be a violation of a site privacy policy and might then be enforceable as a civil matter, but we have no privacy policy. Oliver D. Smith has claimed he has gotten Google to suppress this site. I’m checking that, there is a Google tool for it (but it takes some time). He lies about much.

    He’d have a prima facie civil case for defamation, maybe, but truth is a defense (and there are many complexities.) I know things that he could do that would create inconveniences, but I’m prepared for that.

    A steward on the meta wiki just said that he was ” anything but smart.” If his goal were to preserve his anonymity, yes, really dumb. But what if that is not his goal? He just started a blog under his real name to attack one of his targets. It was taken down by blogspot, it was obviously a violation of blogspot policies.

    Is there more evidence? I can see much more, as site administrator. So I looked. Yes, this is again Anglo Pyramidologist, from even more “technical evidence,” which AP constantly claims doesn’t exist. He’s not very smart, indeed, but maybe he doesn’t care. One of his techniques is to make it obvious to people who take the time to look, and then to attack them as “conspiracy theorists,” asserting “they have no evidence,” when, if anything, there is too much evidence. It overwhelms people and they will then assume that the one reporting it must be obsessed and a “conspiracy theorist,” since, many will believe, only someone crazed with a conspiracy theory would actually research the topic.

    He only fools those who are not willing to look carefully. There are plenty of people like that, and some of them gravitate to administrative positions, and there goes that community!

    He’s not smart, but he is amazingly persistent. What happens when an irresistible force meets an immmovable object?. Perhaps we will find out. The most dangerous job in the world, though, is the “fastest gun in the West.” Fun story.

    1. Abd – this is one of the reasons why the structure of anything open to anonymous edits will have a limited life. In the same way, you’ll find telephone boxes and public toilets vandalised because people can do that anonymously in dead of night and get away with it. In a big city, crime tends to be higher because there’s a higher degree of anonymity – may be reduced with the AI and CCTV identifying people in future, but it isn’t quite there yet. In the village, where people know each other, people are more likely to know who does what, and bring them to account for the problems they cause, but there will still be teenagers who break the isolated phone boxes because they can.

      Anonymity is also necessary for whistleblowers and others exposing various types of crime – effectively breaking the anonymity of the bad guys, if you wish. That’s the reason TOR is government-supported, even though it also enables crime. It’s complex….

      In the news again is the case of Lauri Love, who hacked the FBI, NASA and other because he could. The USA wants to extradite him from the UK to the USA to face trial and possibly 99 years jail. Love is however Aspbie, and so the extradition is blocked on health reasons. Of course, the various US agencies should really have fixed their security, since if a lone hacker can break their security then that implies that various other state entities are likely to have also hacked them but, being more professional, didn’t leave traces behind them. Still, rather than jailing Love, they’d do better to pay him to try to break their security so they can fix the backdoors they didn’t know they had. That might help in keeping the Russians, Chinese and North Korean government hackers out. Still, the point here is that if there’s a structural weakness, *someone* will find it and exploit it for whatever reason or for no reason other than that they can.

      Are you sure Oliver D. Smith is not also a made-up identity? Are you also sure it is only one person and not a group? It’s hard to work out what he/they are gaining. Could be, as I intimated at the start, that there’s no real gain but the feeling of power over people and it’s only for the joy of anonymous destruction and obstruction.

      From what I’ve gathered of the Wikipedia structure and processes, it’s wide-open to vandalism. I don’t see the need for anonymous edits when the object is to achieve a consensus view of the sum of human knowledge, and sock puppets are even more difficult to eradicate when you don’t even know who is a real person. Even if you specify that an ID must be supported by something like a social security number, we know that identity theft occurs and that electoral rolls may contain people long dead or made up. A while back there was an example of such fraud when somewhere around 200 people were registered to the same small house in London. We only know about the frauds that come to light.

      There are maybe only a small percentage of people who abuse the system, but they have an inordinate effect on everyone else. I’m not sure there is a solution. For Wikipedia, I suspect improvements would need a re-think of the whole structure and some way of eliminating socks, but the problem can only be reduced and not eliminated while the people involved do not personally know each other. Since such personal knowledge is necessarily limited, and groups up to around 15 people can have good knowledge of each other and work as an effective team and groups up to around 150 can function provided they are sub-grouped into workgroups (corresponds to family groups and tribes in anthropology), you’d need a cell-structure with cross-links if you want it overall flat or you’d use the traditional pyramid structure if you want chain-of-command. Still, before the problem can be addressed, it will be necessary for the Wikipedians to admit that there’s a problem. I haven’t really looked, but I also haven’t heard Wikipedia talk about there being a problem.

      Back in my days as Failure Analyst it took me 2 years to convince the designers they had a problem in field failures (DOA) where the fix was actually cheaper than building the board as-designed, since it involved not putting in one component. By the time they actually accepted the fix, the copier was at end-of-production, but the DOAs showed the expected drop for those that were delivered after that. Admitting there’s a problem is really the start of fixing it.

      1. Are you sure Oliver D. Smith is not also a made-up identity?

        “Sure”? Preponderance of the evidence. There is a real person, Oliver D. Smith. I did not pay for information, and if it matters to someone, they could do it, but the information in the image that was widely posted shows the two Smith brothers, same age. There is an Oliver D. Smith who published a peer-reviewed paper on Atlantis (and one of the best-known O. Smith identities is “Atlantid.” The person has web sites with a contact address. I received mail from the address, so whoever mailed me had access to it (the address is on a major service). All the information fits together, once we understand certain basic facts.

        Are you also sure it is only one person and not a group?

        The opposite. There are two brothers. In identifying what may be the better part of a thousand accounts, there may be some misidentifications, and Smith might either induce someone to write like him, or there is voluntary “agreement,”, but there are very clear patterns and sometimes technical evidence of socking. When an IP address is shown as pursuing the clear agenda, and does not geolocate to Smith’s known location, it has almost always been an open proxy. I also have other technical evidence that has shown a very high probability that these proxy edits were a Smith brother. (Strictly speaking, that they were “Anglo Pyramidologist” socks), the probability of coincidence is somewhere around 1 in 10^8.

        The geolocation, where that data is meaningful, points to where the Smith twins have lived or lives, from that directory data.

        Oliver Smith, through those emails, claimed that 99.9% of the socks were his twin brother. That is an obvious exaggeration, but there is someone creating massive numbers of socks. It might indeed be his twin. But they support each other. I originally identified specific interest areas (that identify Anglo Pyramidologist on Wikipedia), and Oliver Smith more or less confirmed those interests (about Darryl) … but then there is crossover. I have come to the conclusion that Oliver Smith was lying about certain things, based on evidence. Or his brother is lying about what he has done. I.e., the brothers might be lying about each other. I’ve learned to not trust anything they write — which is not my habit.

        It’s hard to work out what he/they are gaining.

        Not so hard if one has experience with trolls. And Oliver claimed that Darryl, his brother, was being paid to do what he does. It is plausible, and there are plausible sources. What is their motive? Well, one of them is a professional skeptic, someone who is in it as a business, and there are organizations that collect funds for promoting “skepticism.” But I have no strong evidence, it is only circumstantial at this point.

        Could be, as I intimated at the start, that there’s no real gain but the feeling of power over people and it’s only for the joy of anonymous destruction and obstruction.

        That could be the original motivation. (Smith has claimed that he is using RationalWiki as a “dump,” his actual politics are very different. There are claims that he was a fascist, and his attacks on alleged fascists are trolling his personal enemies.

        But then perhaps he — or they — found that the “skeptical” actions were popular among some, and could pay real money. I do not know how large that motive is. Trolling habits can be very strong. Adrenaline, you know.

        1. Abd – I can see the size of the problem you’re trying to fix. It seems that some of the Wikiversity people who were also attacked really ought to be both willing to help you and also have the experience of the system. Still, maybe a lot of them would be anonymous so you couldn’t ask them.

          I still can’t see who gains, and therefore why someone would pay a troll or a pack of trolls. Yep, the trolls would see money for it, but there doesn’t seem to be a gain for the people paying them. I can of course see that the trolls would do it just because they could – much like wrecking the phone box. Adrenaline, and enjoying the thought that people will be pissed-off. Strangely, such activity with phone-boxes increases the GDP of a country….

          I did look at a small selection of the Wikiversity data you’ve moved here. I couldn’t see anything to complain about, except of course for the people who consider it bad physics and that the experimental results are all errors. Even then the attack would not be logical, since if LENR is not real then it will not affect the hot-fusion physicists or their grants. It would be logical to put LENR in the fringe, but no need to suppress it. I can probably find a load of data on the wiki on permanent magnet motors or Bessler wheels etc.. Not suppressed at all, they just don’t work.

          The sort of trolling that AP seems to be doing must be a full-time job. Maybe some specialised programs to launch emails through various sources and make sure they aren’t copies but have some variations. Either the Smith brothers have enough money to not need to work (so it’s just because they can) or someone is paying them to do it as a job. It looks like you may be up against an evangelical Keeper Of The True Knowledge, with some deep roots and long-standing socks with privileges.

          1. The Wikiversity resource was designed to be rigorously neutral. That is, the overall presentation would be neutral. The way that has actually worked is that someone working on a resource may express their opinions. It is not like Wikipedia, it need not be sourced. But if it is on a top-level resource, presented as fact, and if that is challenged, it would not be allowed to stand as a bare statement; but it would be *attributed*. For example, I placed the abstract for Storms “Status of Cold Fusion (2010), prominently on the page. Nobody tried to change that. It was attributed to Storms. there were other examples where someone came along who had a very different point of view about a topic than I did. I split the resource in to “sections,” each one “owned” by a named user. The top-level resource then neutrally linked to them as subpages.

            There was nothing to complain about, but people did complain. If you read the Request for Deletion, you can see. I never saw anything like it before. The closing administrator completely and explicitly ignored the arguments. What was really going on was he was receiving many complaints about me by email, so this was really about me, not about the resource itself. Wikiversity traditions were tossed in the trash. I never saw a bureaucrat go quite so crazy, not even Raul654 was so nuts.The bureaucrat lied or was radically careless about alleged prior disruption from the Cold fusion resource. There had been none at all. this was the first attempt to delete, and it had been there for many years (I did not create it, but expanded it.) I do have the complete history on the CFC wiki.) Wikiversity/Cold_fusion

            I already told you. There are people who make a living as “skeptics,” as speakers, etc. Then there are what you might call the “Keepers of True Knowledge,” the Defenders of the Public against Pseudoscience and Woo. And there are plenty of basement dwellers who have nothing better to do than troll. Oliver Smith just scored a bit coup, probably emailing links to his RationalWiki articles, which were taken up by media (the London Student) which was then quoted by other British media, and then…. what they wrote, which really came from him with verification being shallow and misleading … is then quoted back in revised RationalWiki articles claiming reputable sources as proof. So a man is being called a “pedophile,” when there is no evidence at all, but years ago he wrote some dumb comments that could be misinterpreted if one ignored the context. He was not approving of pedophilia, and showed no sign of being personally sexually attracted to children. Very sloppy journalism. RationalWiki articles created by this guy (there are many) are causing real-world damage. And Wikiversity, with the potential to become the most useful of all the WMF wikis, is now trashed, and it is not simple to fix.
            The man does claim to still have multiple active Wikipedia accounts, in spite of having almost 200 socks detected and blocked.
            What I’m seeing is that he lies, and when the lies are exposed, he keeps on lying, more and more preposterously. And some people don’t get it.

            1. Abd – yes, it looks like it’s a personal attack and deletion of what you have contributed. It seems the parapsychology resource is deleted too. It seems some people don’t realise there’s a lot we don’t know and that we sometimes get big advances from people at the fringe, who do things that are thought to be impossible. A current example would be John Goodenough, who invented the Lithium-ion battery. He’s now looking at a battery with metallic Lithium for both anode and cathode, which most people think is impossible so wouldn’t even try. Looking at what he’s already done, I’d be wary of panning his ideas as impossible, and instead try to understand what he’s saying. As regards parapsychology, recently it has been demonstrated that a computer can read brain-waves well enough to display a picture that corresponds closely with the picture the subject is thinking about. Given that, it’s not so outrageous that a brain may have some way of doing the same thing, and that because we can’t currently measure brain emanations at a distance doesn’t mean that it is either impossible to do or that we may not find a way of doing it if we keep looking. Not my line of interest, but if someone gets the data and proves it then the correct response is to look for experimental error and not to simply ignore it as impossible. A case in point there is the investigation of near-death experiences, where people have reported that they looked down on their bodies from above. Some doctors now have placed pictures on top of cupboards that cannot be seen from below, so that if the person survives they should be able to describe those pictures that they otherwise couldn’t have known about. So far no results that I’ve heard about, so no data yet. Still, it’s all about getting proof one way or the other, and not deciding automatically that any idea is wrong.

              Galileo had the same sort of problems, of course. You’d have thought we’d have learned by now that theories can be disproved by a single experiment, when that experiment can be repeated and replicated. Things don’t do what we wish them to do, but instead do what they do. We can ignore it if we want, but that won’t change what happens either. Maybe that’s why I’m not cut out for the academic wrangling – it adds little value. Better to get the experiment done and find out what really happens.

  3. I am redacting the name and most of what was written because I suspect the author does not realize just how vicious wiki politics can get.What I’m leaving is in bold, and indented as quotations. I (Abd) am the author of most of this post, reacting to what the original author wrote.

    If the author wants to actually do something about the situation, training will be necessary, and coherence and community. If interested, use a real email address with a comment (this is not published, but would allow me to contact the author.) The Guerilla Skeptics realized that and developed it. It is contrary to policy, but, it is what actually works. My goal would be to support Wikipedia in general (not just the Cold fusion article) in moving toward compliance with policy, and the existing structures allow massive noncompliance to exist for many years, with efforts to correct it being crushed. Routinely.

    One of the problems is that those who recognize that there is a problem with an article, such as Cold fusion, are usually completely clueless about how Wikipedia works and why it is the way it is, whereas the faction that is sitting on the article knows these things. So a newcomer shows up and argues “truth.” But truth is not the basis for the encyclopedia. It couldn’t be! Those with a narrow focus do not understand the necessities of a crowd-sourced encyclopedia, and don’t understand how to work within the system, and those who do understand generally go one of two ways: they get blocked, because the dominant faction involved recognizes the danger to their point of view from any such — and it is a point of view that hides behind the rules and defects in policy implementation — and it may find a way to block and ban, or such users burn out, tired of pushing the boulder up the hill only to see it roll down again.

    I see no way to move beyond the impasse but division of labor and cooperation and collaboration. And the faction — which clearly does this — if they get wind of it, and can identity such organization with specific editors — will use the structures and tropes of Wikipedia to crush them. Hence the title of a post, “To live outside the law you must be honest.”

    I am not suggesting violating the purposes of Wikipedia, the goals of the policies, but rather action along the lines of the original Ignore All Rules (WP:IAR). That is intrinsically dangerous. I used to write that if you have not been blocked, you are not trying hard enough to improve the project, because that is a logical corollary of IAR, given the kinds of people who mostly end up as administrators: enforcers of rules and authority.

    and they don’t have time to understand your explanations of why you violated a rule. tl;dr

    Wikipedia refuses to acknowledge. . . . [and he fills in the blank].

    This story has been repeated over and over and over. To understand how Wikipedia works requires experience or study or both. The writer here is a Single-Purpose Account, quite obviously. If one wants to be effective on Wikipedia, it is necessary to become very familiar with the traditions or the community and its practices. I joined Recent Changes Patrol, which is like a video game. It then creates a familiarity with the whole project, and it creates a broad edit history. It’s fun, by the way. It is not easy to be the first to revert vandalism or to find other inappropriate edits.

    Does Wikipedia matter? Perhaps. If so, it would be worth investing time to learn how to work with it. Instead, newbies have private ideas of How Wikpedia Should Be, but have no experience in creating a crowd-sourced project, and what that might require. Wikipedia developed its policies gradually, over years. And then the reality of the project does not match the policies. And one can rail about this, as being bad and wrong, but that does not fix a single article, and doing it on-wiki is quite likely to lead to a block. Mostly, I find, people complain but won’t lift a finger to transform the situation.

    There is an exception. Sometimes, those who have established their credibility may criticize the project, and administrators, without much hazard. Very few, with a special interest, are willing to do what it takes. Yet it often ends up accomplishing little.

    There is another way: join with others, in a group that includes people with experience, and volunteer to support the group’s work. This does not require such a high investment, but simply a willingness to show up and support others. The effectiveness of that will depend on the skill of group leaders.

    Doing that within policy can be tricky. Some would claim that it’s impossible, but it is obviously possible (and the possibility has scared the hell out of the Arbitration Committee in the past.) They know how vulnerable Wikipedia is to factional manipulation, but they also never set up structures that would counter the danger. Because many human beings will communicate and cooperate, in spite of rules, banning it only works to stop the naive (such as the example I have in mind, the Easter European Mailing List), but not more sophisticated or security-conscious efforts, which would include entities that can liberally pay for editing and could readily buy an administrator (for a billion-dollar corporation, would this be impossible? It has actually happened, apparently, that admin accounts have been sold, and there is practically no way to prevent it. Admins retire all the time, more or less disgusted, many of them. I can imagine an auction. My opinion is that it would be legal. Sure, it would violate policy. Proving that a specific admin account had been bought could be very difficult, and if it’s discovered, the access would merely evaporate. No jail time and, my sense, no legal repercussions. If the admin stays on as a consultant (more money!) then a skilled admin would know what could be done and what not. Given what I’ve seen, though, quite outrageous actions are routinely tolerated without sanctions.

    Recent events have demonstrated the power of off-wiki communication — in quite harmful ways.

    Now, a somewhat common idea that I think is highly misleading:

    I can only guess that Wiki is influenced by nuclear industry academics and engineers. They are routinely paid these days to influence public policy and public opinion , then there’s the fossil fuel industry.

    I think this is a minor effect, if it exists at all. Realize that to spend money to “suppress cold fusion research,” a payer would have to believe that this is a real economic threat. Most uninvolved scientists and managers think cold fusion was a big mistake.

    Cold fusion is not at all close to commercial application. Some companies involved with fossil fuels have supported LENR research, because that’s smart, for the long run. After all, fossil fuels will run out!

    The Edison Institute, a utility company trade association, identified solar as the biggest threat to utility companies current profit model. It easy to understand how much more then, that they would fight cold fusion, which will be far cheaper than solar panels, and meet virtually every energy need. So the editor trolls on the Wiki’s are driven by money and paid by companies that would like to make sure we keep paying a premium for energy, to them.

    I often address the idea that “cold fusion will be cheap.” Maybe. Maybe not. We will not know until prototypes of commercial devices exist. From what we know, serious nanotechology will be necessary and this is not likely to spring up as “cheap” in the near future. We do not know if the most efficient and cheapest applications will be small and highly distributed or larger and centralized. A smart utility industry would want to be ahead of the curve, instead of being crushed unexpectedly by it. The best long-term research in LENR was done by SRI, funded by EPRI, the Electric Power Research Institute, which is funded by utility companies.

    I think it highly unlikely that any of the editors I know who have been sitting on the article for years are anything but volunteers. I do think there are organizations funding “skepticism,” but that’s relatively new and has only attacked cold fusion as a secondary target. They are much more interested in “pseudoscience,” “alternative medicine,” and other special interests.

    1. Just to add to the idea that entrenched energy suppliers are paying astroturfers to stop it…. IIRC, Amoco replicated F+P within a year. Currently, BP and Shell (and probably a lot of other energy companies) are investing in and pushing renewables of various forms. They are in business to sell energy, and if they could make a profit on LENR then they would be pushing it and telling people how it was so much better than oil. And of course pushing the green credentials of it, as they currently do with their renewables ventures.

      Any version of producing energy that was cheaper than currently available would thus be taken up by the big companies that sell us energy. It would not be “suppressed” as being opposition, but embraced. In order to reach that point, though, LENR has to be seen as both real and viable, and in its current state we’re talking about relatively low outputs and complex preparation in order to be able to have the chance of even doing that. There are no guarantees that scaling it up will work reliably or that there won’t be a meltdown, since no-one yet knows why it works or has a failsafe way of ensuring that it will work when tried. In general the “nuclear experts” seem to be of the opinion that it’s simply experimental error anyway. By his own words, Mitch Swartz was of that opinion and set out to do a good replication of it and prove it was experimental error, and found instead that he got excess heat. Despite that, and his attempts to make a reliable version, he seems to have not succeeded in getting something that works every time or to have persuaded his peers (other than Peter Hagelstein) that it works.

      Though Wikipedia can be seen to be against LENR, my opinion is that anyone interested in LENR can access Jeds’ library and sites like Abd’s and see the truth and the current state of affairs. Google is not removing these sites from their search results as far as I know, and of course there are other search engines that claim to be non-censoring anyway. I’ve just checked on Google with “LENR”, and Jed’s library turns up on the first page in position 8. Alan Smith’s Looking For Heat turns up of page 4, Abd’s site not in the first 10 pages. I tend to stop at page 10 of a search and try to refine the search terms, but it seems most people don’t go beyond page 1 and quite a few just take the first result. Sure, the Wiki gets it wrong, but a simple search turns up a lot of references to useful stuff (just a bit too much that’s enthusiastic about Rossi…). Someone who wants to find out what’s really happening could get a good grounding in a few days of work, and then find Jed’s library and spend a few months digesting the scientific papers on it, and thus come to a balanced view. Jed – if you’re reading this, then maybe consider publicising Abd on your home page?

      I thus don’t really see a need to “fix” the Wikipedia description of LENR. People who are interested in science probably won’t take the Wiki seriously anyway, and will go to the sources. If people aren’t diligent enough to go to the sources, then it seems unlikely that they would be much help in solving the puzzle anyway. Yes, there’s maybe an emotional hit in that the Wiki says LENR is pathological science, but that’s really about it, and the sort of nerds who investigate LENR aren’t going to be bothered by that.

      1. I generally agree, however, I was an enthusiastic supporter of Wikipedia, and only got involved there because I saw admin abuse and confronted it. I was not a “believer,” I had been assuming that “nobody could replicate,” and that is the story that Wikipedia still encourages. However, the wiki here was created to hold the Wikiversity cold fusion resource, which represented voluminous study and discussion, over many years. It was just deleted because of cross-wiki disruption, coming from the same people that impose a strong factional bias on Wikipedia. Many people do want to do something about this, but don’t know what they could do. I’m creating a path, a way, a possibility.

        People will support this or not. Meanwhile, I have other fish to fry. Right now, I’m in the middle of relearning Basic so I can filter the 600 MB Wikiversity XML dump to retrieve all my user space pages, abruptly deleted by an administrator there. These actions are entirely unprecedented, and what happened, apparently, is that the trolls bombarded that administrator with complaints by email, and he decided to act unilaterally, instead of following clear community policies and procedures. I have not documented this yet, because I’ve been hoping that some sanity might appear. It’s a mind-boggling story, basically showing that Wikiversity has lost its community. (Once upon a time, there would have been many users complaining about all this.) I’m just working on recovering my files and continuing the documentation of the puppet master behind all this. He’s just created an enormous media splash in England, causing newspapers to be filled with lies, or highly misleading intepretations, all confirming each other. that isn’t about cold fusion, but …. these are the same group of people who have done major damage on Wikipedia, I’m finding. That is, the sock master is a young troll, but he’s being paid to attack the targets of skeptics. And there are at least two organizations that may be involved. And fixing the wiki problems that allow these pseudoskeptics to get away with massive violations of policies and strong wiki traditions would open up the Wikipedia article to what is in peer-reviewed academic secondary sources.

        1. Abd – you’re a bit elliptic about what the fake news in the UK is. Any clues? I’m trying to figure out who wins from deleting good information about LENR, and how that would tie in. Good luck in recovering the files anyway. Will you be adding those files here once recovered? May be worth asking if Jed would also host them.

          Sanity seems to be an endangered resource.

          1. Abd – you’re a bit elliptic about what the fake news in the UK is. Any clues?

            This is part of a massive story that I’ve been working on for months. Basically, there is a highly disruptive troll, with over 200 sock puppet accounts on WikiMedia Foundation wikis, and many on RationalWiki and on many other internet sites, who largely acts to defame and attack personal enemies, currently under the guise of being a “skeptic,” and who also claims (and it’s plausible) to be paid by a major skeptic organization. Part of the damage was my block on wikiversity — for basically nothing — and not only the deletion of the Cold fusion resource there, but a blanket prohibition of the study of cold fusion — and any “fringe topic” — on Wikiversity without prior approval. It used to be possible to study any topic on Wikiversity unless there was a consensus against it, but that principle has now been turned on its head — which is unworkable — done by a single bureaucrat with no consensus. Why? It appears that it is the same story as in many other places: the sock master creates a massive set of apparently independent complaints, privately, and then a clueless administrator decides to get rid of the problem in the easy way: ban the target and delete the target’s work. This actually happens all over the web. The “fake news”: Underneath all those articles was fake news provided by Oliver D. Smith to media, probably citing the RationalWiki article he created (which he implies in his comment on RationalWiki). I have now seen many examples of how the RationalWiki articles have created real-world harm. Many people believe what they see on a site like that. Or they check out the sources, and Smith is a master at creating a prior impression that a shallow glance at sources can seem to confirm. He’s been doing it for years. There is a real story there, but mixed with poison and libel. The behavior can also be seen — probably, I haven’t investigated yet but will — in a pending comment here, pretending to be from a supporter. I will probably approve it for the purpose of demonstrating what the sock master(s) do. Right now, just looking at the comment-to-be-approved, it is waving a big flag that says, to an experienced eye, “Anglo Pyramidologist.” I’ll explain with that comment.

            I’m trying to figure out who wins from deleting good information about LENR, and how that would tie in. Good luck in recovering the files anyway. Will you be adding those files here once recovered? May be worth asking if Jed would also host them.

            In this case, a fake skeptic wins by getting what he wanted, a threatened revenge. The regular pseudoskeptical Wikipedia users who supported that once again demonstrate that they may pretend neutrality, but are actually fanatics. One of the two known Wikipedians who commented on the cold fusion deletion request has a clear long-term grudge against me because I confronted his abuse of tools with respect to cold fusion there. Successfully, he was reprimanded by the Arbitration Committee. What did he gain by later arranging for all my user space pages to be deleted? This was personal, not at all about some external agenda nor about the welfare of the project, but at least he did it through a normal request for deletion. The recent deletions of my Wikiversity user space pages — with extensive incoming links — did not pretend to go through such a process, there was no warning, no opportunity to export them (which would have been aasy before they were deleted. He used a bot and massive bot undeletions may not be simple to undo. In any case, he refused. He also just full-protected my user talk page, with zero legitimate excuse. (This does not just involve me, he blocked and deleted pages from another user, and has threatened another administrator with sanctions for totally legitimate actions. Mess.

            I was able to recover the cold fusion pages, and just finished recovering the deleted talk pages. All this took working with enormous files. They broke the web site, until parameters were changed. I found the Wikiversity XML dumps, but they were enormous. The full history dump is 20 GB. The current version dump is more manageable at 687 MB. Even that won’t load into Notepad++. So … eventually I bit the bullet and started writing file-processing software. I used to do it all the time with QuickBasic, but it had been years. I found FreeBasic (same language, basially) and installed it, then needed to go step by step through writing programs, which I hadn’t done for almost twenty years. Finally, I got the programs I wrote down. So I can process enormmous files and extract what I want, and I just got, for example, my Talk page archives. However, for more complete data, I will need to extract full page history for some. These pages were very much a part of Wikiversity history.

            A list of pages with links for the Wikiversity cold fusion resource is now at In an Wikiversity resource, the Talk pages are also important (there was significant work done in them). Wikipedia has a flat namespace, with defacto restrictions on the size of the page. Wikiversity allows subpages in namespace. Wikiversity has a neutrality policy like Wikipedia, but is generally neutral by inclusion, rather than by exclusion, because the subpages allow vast flexibility. Subpages can be “attributed” as individual opinion, something totally impossible on Wikipedia. This is hypertext, not a flat single-page “article” model. There is a top-level “resource.” That resource, in the scheme I settled on (which was accepted for a very long time), must be rigorously neutral. If someone considers it non-neutral, they were invited to fix it, and I guarantee that I’d have sought full consensus on that. Anything not *clearly* neutral would have been moved to an attributed subpage, and, say, skeptics or pseudoskeptics would have also been able to create such subpages. This was tested on another subject, with a quite aggressive “anti-cult” activist ending up being amazed that we could cooperate.

            My user pages are now recovered as well, but some of them will need page history, which requires using the 21 GB dump. I think I can do it, but these massive files create many problems. There are no MediaWiki tools I could find for handling the full dumps. I found a tool that will extract page titles from them, but that’s about it. I now know, I think, how to proceed.

            Sanity seems to be an endangered resource.

            The problem is reactivity. Reactivity reduces the cerebral cortex to serving the reactive brain, the “lizard brain,” it’s called. The lizard brain has a natural override, it runs the endocrine system, designed for emergency judgment, where there is no time for the far deeper analysis and intuition of the cortex.

            Democracies developed deliberative process to support and allow far deeper analysis that the quick, knee-jerk analysis of emotional reactivity. Wiki means “quick,” so wikis are highly vulnerable to populist manipulation. There are ways to transform this, but they require more than one person! How many? Two would be a great start, historically that is what it has taken, in many areas. But who studies these things? Not very many. Considering how important decision-making process is in every field, one might think that more would be interested.

            Behind the lack of interest, my analysis became, years ago, was despair.

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