Brief answer: If two users can ban a third user, without a community process, yes, I am, by this definition, banned on RationalWiki. However, that is contrary to not only RatWiki traditions, but also to long-standing general wiki traditions. Any sysop with the tools can block. Any RatWiki moderator can sysoprevoke, which prevents ordinary sysops from restoring sysop tools for a user (and blocking a sysop is useless, except that Rats use blocks as a messaging method, because any sysop can unblock themselves.)
However, by standard wiki language, I am not banned, but only blocked. However, they used to talk, on Wikipedia, about being “defacto banned,” because no admin was willing to unblock. But that can be reversed by an admin, at any time. The Smith brothers, as AngloPyramidologist, are “defacto banned,” not actually banned, because there is a ban process not followed, nor considered necessary, because of the massive socking.
Any RW moderator can declare sysoprevoke for any user, preventing that account from being given tools by other sysops. However, these are all ad hoc measures, which can be taken as a prevention of harm. Any sysop can actually desysop and then block, but any sysop can reverse that. It is not a ban.
The Smith brothers have blocked a user, then, for further action, declaring that user “banned.” An example is given below, of Debunking spiritualism (Darryl L. Smith) blocking Merkel, and then unblocking his brother Oliver, (as Callimachus), who had been blocked for harassing Merkel, part of which was a cooping that failed.
In my 2nd cooping attempt, an oligarch declared that there is no difference between a block and a ban. That cooping, started by DS, was closed after less than an hour, with only a handful of comments, so it was certainly not a real cooping. There is no community ban established through community process. But the Smith brothers are great at creating Mob opinion, by creating hordes of impersonation socks. It works!
However, this shows that the hierarchy has abandoned not only deference to the Mob, but ordinary wiki language as well (where a block can be declared by a single sysop, but a ban requires community process). These usurpations of community power take place slowly, over time, it’s “wiki disease.” It happens partly because the core (that started the wiki and that had wiki ideals in mind, or others that joined it with similar ideals) burn out and retires, stops paying attention, and only those who love power remain, until they too, burn out, through generations of accumulating loss of collective intelligence.
One of the common phenomena that accompanies this is persistent trolling, the creation of enormous armies of sock puppets, stimulated by normal human response to being abused. Insulting trolls and vandals is highly likely to stimulate more trolling and vandalism, but immature sysops — RatWiki is overwhelmed with such because of how easily it gives the tools — routinely insult those they block or whose edits they delete. And it is rare that anyone points this out.
Cutting off talk page access on Wikipedia is an extreme measure, not done without substantial warning, at least that used to be the situation. Gradually, the protective measures and traditions fall away in favor of severity. Treating people like trolls creates and intensifies trolling, making the sysops even angrier, and this process predictably continues.
My RatWiki user page was recently edited by Dysklyver, and he thoughtfully linked to the alleged coopings that would normally accompany a ban, particularly of a user who was a sysop. So here they are:
This is very odd. This was not a cooping resulting in ban. The discussion was created by Wing Street. Allowing blatant attack SPAs to start disruptive process is a classic problem with wikis allowing anonymous editing. Normally, a new user starting something like that would be whacked. But he wasn’t. Wing Street also copied text from a Talk page, and went after Ikanreed and Ariel31459. This was all reverted by Christopher, but then restored by him immediately. I’d expect Christopher to know better.
There was no discussion on the Coop, only the material copied from elsewhere (which should never be done without explicit reference). There was only one edit to the section on me, by RoninMacbeth, then FuzzyCatPotato archived it all. This creates the appearance of a cooping. WingStreet tried to restore it and was trout-slapped. I see no sign that any sane RW user noticed a desysopping out-of-process, solely on the authority of David Gerard. The discussion copied to the Coop came from the Saloon Bar. So a new user was allowed to remove massive comment from the SB, and take it to the Coop, and that ended up standing.
That discussion was started by Skeptical (whom I think was likely Oliver, certainly a Smith) and referred to https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Talk:RationalWiki_Smith_brothers_conspiracy_theory. Later, Skeptical deleted that page as “containing doxxing.” There was no doxxing on that page, only the name of the article, essentially.
The actual “Conspiracy theory” article was archived. That article was created by Mr Organic, which would be Oliver or Darryl. The same idea (“conspiracy theory”) was added to the article on me by Skeptical. My sin was discussing the article on its talk page. The talk page had been archived to Talk:RationalWiki Smith brothers conspiracy theory/Archive1, but David Gerard deleted it. On that page, I simply told the truth, and did not claim that the trolls I had identified were “Smith brothers.”
Since then, the evidence about the brothers has become overwhelming and Rats are starting to realize it. Oliver is currently being treated as banned. It is not clear if they realize who John66 is. There may be other Smith socks sporadically active, less easy to detect.
In any case, there was certainly no consensus in that alleged cooping. The only live comment made in it by a regular user questioned the need for sanctioning Abd. The discussion on the Saloon Bar only showed support by David Gerard, who certainly acted abruptly. This was the end of that discussion,
I would like to add that there was quite a bit of back-and-forth about whether Abd should be a Sysop back in 2012, with several people, including @David Gerard removing that status due to abuse. Abd doesn’t have the benefit of the doubt in my view, but let’s see evidence first. Bongolian (talk) 19:25, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
evil Mod powerz I deleted the article and the talk page, and have deopped Abd. Ban may follow if other mods concur. Abd, stop it – David Gerard (talk) 20:00, 9 October 2017 (UTC
Again, what was I to “stop”? Yes, David Gerard had promoted me in 2012, but the mods and others had reversed this. The difference in 2017 was that those mods were gone, nobody intervened, David Gerard supported the Smiths (an astonishingly high percentage of his recent logs show Smith support) and so there it sat. I was not blocked by Gerard, the indef block was by Skeptical.
First, there is another cooping on that page, on User:Merkel, started by ODS, who was openly Oliver D. Smith. The attempt to ban Merkel failed. Debunking spiritualism showed knowledge appropriate for Oliver’s brother. (There are many, many signs that DS was Darryl L. Smith, not just initials!). In May, DS went on a sysop rampage, deleting many pages, blocking old inactive accounts, before retiring, claiming he had been hacked. One of his actions was to bl0ck Merkel, who had not been active for a month, unblock Callimachus, clearly Oliver, who had been blocked for harassing Merkel . The unblock comment: (Merkel has been banned for doxing/harassement; everything callimachus said was true) Nobody noticed (unless they were following this blog.)
This was Darryl, without doubt. His deletions covered up, among other things, places where he had been outed as “my family” or “my brother” by Oliver. The hacked story was believed, even though it was ridiculous. I have never hacked an account, it’s actually illegal. But if I did, first thing I would do is to change the password! The history of DS in those few days was standard Smith agenda, only the last few edits, relatively speaking, got crazy. He was setting up the hacking story, likely. Or was drunk.
So Debunking spiritualism dumps a pile of lies on the Coop, but he has, with many accounts and socks, been setting up the Rats to believe them.
The cooping was filed 17:23, 11 March 2018
Abd ul-Rahman Lomax has been socking on hundreds of accounts and proxy IPs recently causing disruption on multiple pages
Nope. I have socked, to be sure, but not to disrupt. As an example, comments on my blog appear with names that are RW users. These are almost certainly impersonations. This is completely normal when the Smiths are involved. But I think those impersonated should know. So I dropped notes on user talk pages referring to the comment, so they could affirm or deny them. But I stopped doing this fairly quickly, because few Rats appreciated it at all. The list of socks from my article. The real accounts are left in black.
- Abd my long-term account
- Abd_ul-Rahman_Lomax obvious impersonation sock.
- AbdLomax copied material, mangled, I had written from elsewhere. Impersonation.
- ColdFusion Impersonation
- Lomax Impersonation
- EnergyNeutral My only blocked sock on Wikipedia, an experiment, acknowledged. Impersonation.
- Cold_Fusion_Community Impersonation.
- لله الحمد لله Bad Arabic, impersonation.
- Cold_Fusion_Team Impersonation
- DGL My birth name initials. Impersonation.
- CFC Impersonation.
- Cold_Fusion_Community.net Impersonation.
- 35672 I have no idea who this is. Not me.
- 1,950,258 No idea who this is, unless Smith was angling for site blacklisting. Not me.
- Defending_myself Not me. Impersonation, in effect.
- InfiniteEnergy not me, impersonation. (“Infinite Energy” is a magazine that publishes on cold fusion.”)
- Kujilia (impersonation, this is a Wikipedia user Abd has a vendetta against) Impersonation indeed, pretends to be me. I have no such vendetta. (Smith creates impersonations to cause those impersonated to attack his target.) See meta for cause. (Read the collapse. No vendetta against Kujilia. A mild suspicion, followed up — in too much detail — by a Wikiversity sysop.)
- Cold_Fusion_Research definitely not me.
- Deal not me. I never thought ReadyMade was a Smith.
- Dealer not me, impersonation following a real sock of mine (disclosed)
- RealDeal not me, impersonation
- The_Real_Deal not me. Characteristic of impersonation socks: very disruptive. I have zero history where that was even alleged, until the Smiths created this mess on RatWiki. The real deal was me. Notice how that is not listed.
- Authentic Also me, disclosed on my authentication page. The sole edit was revdel’d by Debunking spiritualism.
- CF not me. Essentially, I would not use a name like that (nor any of the other CF-related names
- A_full_disclosure impersonation. (of the following account)
- Full_disclosure was me, blocked with no edits, by DS.
- 20,000 was not me. I was IP 188.8.131.52. 20,000 reverted my comment back in. Impersonation? Troll?
There were many other impersonations not listed. Because of Smith history, I suspect Smith was behind these impersonation accounts, but it is certainly a possibility that one of his enemies decided to troll him. It worked, or he faked being absolutely hysterical. I think, instead, that Darryl was lying, and he lied many times. He lied about having email communication with me, that was only with his brother.
In the cooping, DS lists also Open honesty as my account, as it was. Blocked by DS with no edits.
Because accounts were so quickly blocked, even before being allowed to edit, I signed up for a proxy service. (It was only for one month). Wasting time on RatWiki was not worth more than that. If Rats don’t mind being fed continuous BS by the Smith brothers, not my problem. (Defamation is my problem, but editing is actually a distraction from dealing with it.)
He lists IPs.
-  March 1, 2018, edited User talk:ODS. Confirmed. Four edits, one page. No block, non-distruptive.
-  26 Feb., two edits, responding to ODS. Confirmed. Blocked for doxing, (pointing out that ODS has outed himself).
-  March 4, one edit, Blocked by DS for legal threat. NOT ME.
-  March 4, one edit, clarifying fact Confirmed.
-  March 4, three edits, probably me, not sure. No block. Problem is?
-  March 1, one edit, no block. Confirmed.
-  March 5, four edits to my article talk, Confirmed. Blocked by DS for block evasion and trolling.
-  March 5. two edits, explains what has been happening. No block. Confirmed.
-  (Finally admits to being Abd, in the same range as other 159 proxies) March 5. Indeed. Confirmed. No block, informing user about impersonation.
-  (IP hopping within minutes, as his proxies get blocked) March 5. Message for Christopher, self-reverted. Confirmed. DS blocked.
-  (In this edit,  admits to being Abd, says he can use 20,000 more proxies to troll) 49 Confirmed. 50 linked to a deleted edit, to a deleted talk page. No block. Did mention 20,000 proxies, but not “to troll.” Then account 20,000 reverted that back in (that was not me.)
-  (Same 159 proxy range, back to talking in third person) March 6, Confirmed, and, by the way, I often refer to myself in the third person. Depending on context, it can be meaningless. Were the statements true? Blocked by DS, unblocked by Cow House.
Recent disruption on proxies
-  March 11, reasserts an edit that was mine (see 53), I doubt this was me. Blocked DS.
-  March 11, Confirmed. Blocked by Christopher as “sock of a banned user.”
-  March 11, Responded to DS comment about me on this talk page. Telling the truth, or honest opinion, is “disruption” to DS. Confirmed.
-  March 9, Confirmed and proud of it. Was the headline “a lie” Yes. Easy to confirm.
- [56 March 9, DS added three misleading mentions of Abd on “Pissed at us.” IP removed them and edited Talk, removed by DS. Confirmed.
-  duplicated 54.
-  edits to User talk:CheeseburgerFace, suppressed March 12. Possible, can’t tell.
On most of the above IPs he has been leaving messages on CheeseburgerFace’s talk-page. Abd in his latest edits claims “If I’m banned, where is the cooping?”) .
As I recall, my comments on CF talk were being blanked by others, so I asked him to choose to receive messages from me or not. Again, as I recall, he never answered, but ultimately suppressed all of it. I may have asked that, the edit was among those suppressed.
Kujilia an Abd sock, is actually an editor on Wikipedia that Abd has a grudge against. A month earlier Abd had filed an abusive check-user request against this user which was denied by a check-user steward.
Kujilia was not my sock, for sure, and impersonations like that are a Smith specialty. I did file a checkuser request on a series of suspected “AP” socks — and that was only suspicion, no claim of policy violations was made, just his name added to the request, probably from some transient appearance. Kujilia was shortly checkuser-blocked as the sock of another user, and my recent review of that user does not turn up AP suspicion. That request was closed without action by a steward clearly disgusted by the argument on the request, stewards hate that, and this is another example of how the Smiths have learned to disrupt wiki process (pile in with many socks!). I had filed many such requests and almost all were granted, and that is how I first identified AP socks as impersonators. They continued socking, so requests continued. That one was joined by a Wikiversity sysop, who wrote way too much (which didn’t help!).
I started this coop so people can vote if they want to ban Abd or not. As I understand it he has already been blocked, but he is requesting a ban. No doubt Abd will turn up here on hundreds of proxy IPs claiming he has been impersonated and framed by skeptics. He also a tendency to write thousands and thousands of words and drain out anyone else’s opinion by bolding his own text or trying to get the last word in. I personally wouldn’t let him comment here but leave this vote for other users. But whatever. Debunking spiritualism (talk) 16:49, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I did not request a ban. I did comment, after others had commented. First, what they wrote:
ODS was openly Oliver D. Smith. I never emailed him harassing messages. He emailed me and I responded.
He’s already banned, blocked and banned are synonymous on RationalWiki. However, if a coop case making it more official can get him to fuck off, I vote yes. Christopher (talk) 17:49, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Blocked and banned are obviously not synonymous. Users are blocked all the time, and there are users (Such as ODS, for sure), who have been blocked as an account, and who nevertheless create obvious socks, even socks that admit identity, and who are not considered banned.) There is a situation called “defacto ban,” where no sysop is willing to unblock. Obviously, though, this would not prevent a sysop user from unblocking themselves, which has always been allowed. The real issue would be revoking sysop privileges, which has traditionally required a cooping, and that never happened. These traditions maintained a certain diversity on RatWiki. As matters stood, any sysop could have decided to unblock and resysop. There had been a prior attempt at cooping, started by a troll, closed quickly. In order for desysop to be sustained, there normally must be abuse of tools shown. That was never shown, and the only alleged example was trivial. There was no wheel-warring, etc.
It’s all too obvious: the Smith brothers have support in high places, particularly from David Gerard.
I responded to the cooping, after Christopher’s comment. I just noticed, by the way, that there was no User talk page notice of the cooping and no other announcement. These notices create community attention.
Effs sake yes, the demented poltroon thinks he’s hard done by because there wasn’t a vote. I vote yes, infinite block, and my brother does too. WilderBicycle 18:25, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Typical Rat, believes s/he can tell what I think. This is what preceded that.
Account had no contributions. Christopher unblocked, Readymade reblocked and it was left that way. This was not me.
19:49, 5 March 2018 Readymade deleted page Abd Lomax is being suppressed by Rationalwiki trolls (Hopelessly off-mission: help! Help! Abd Lomax is being suppressed!)
Page was created by CF, an impersonation account. Why would I create a page on RatWiki when I can create them on my own blog, with total freedom? I would do it if I want the page author to be anonymous, but by a sock waving a flag that says ABD? No way. If I want to send a message to RatWiki users, I have much better ways.
19:50, 5 March 2018 Readymade blocked CF with an expiration time of π×infinity! (account creation disabled) (I have reported you to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Lomax being a whining pisspants crybaby again)
CF created at 19:42. Page created at 19:42. The coop comment was canvassed, on Readymade talk:
I created a coop about him , you can respond there if you like. He has now written about your account on his blog. Debunking spiritualism (talk) 16:53, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
i can’t find a reference to me on his blog. Link please? WilderBicycle 18:16, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
http://coldfusioncommunity.net/category/anglo-pyramidologist/ CowHouse (talk) 04:28, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Ooh, I’m a paid AP sock! How delightful. I’ll let the gender assumption go by for now, it’s part of his obsession that we’re all The Smiths. WilderBicycle 08:49, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
There was no such claim, and no gender assumption. What was there at that point would have been this page on Supporters and enablers, explicitly not socks or paid. Only the account name. This idea that those who realize and write about think that all Rats are Smiths is a standard Smith trope. And those who spread Smith tropes are “supporters and enablers.” It’s a mild accusation, hardly even an attack. It can be inadvertent. The link given by CowHouse would be useless, it is a category link that would pull up many, many pages, because I’ve been writing about the “Anglo Pyramidologist” sock family — originally about the problem of disruptive process triggered by SPAs — for about 18 months. For some reason, this is what Smith socks have usually used, probably because they watch that category. But the display changes as new pages are added.
So I did create a page on ReadyMade, March 16 was the first edit, and it covers all this. Back to the cooping:
ABD was permabanned for making legal threats against RW. No coop case was or is necessary. End of story. I call to archive it now. Bongolian (talk) 18:30, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Bizarre. I made no such legal threats. The RWF is reasonably well insulated against legal hazard, but if there is any possibility, it would come after a formal take-down notice was ignored or rejected. I did send an email to the RWF, it was ignored, but that email would not be sufficient notice, and I have not threatened to sue the RWF. I have mentioned that some users are possibly liable, and that test was quoted as if it was about “RationalWiki.” I have not made anything remotely resembling legal threats on RW itself. But the impersonations socks did it many times. Bongolian is in any case claiming that a cooping is not necessary, and calls for a close. So then:
Abd says on his blog that being blocked and banned is different on RW and that he has only be ‘blocked’ and for a ban a coop is required. He was obviously lying or misinformed. I myself didn’t know either. He said he would stop socking if the community agreed to ban him but judging from his recent socking that was a lie as well. Best to move this to the archive. I apologise for creating it. Debunking spiritualism (talk) 18:34, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I do not recall saying I would “stop socking” if the community agreed to ban me. (DS has reported me as saying many things I did not say.) However, I will normally request the considered wish of a community. Maybe I don’t recall something. As mentioned above, there is such a thing as a defacto ban, and an action can be taken in an emergency, and legal threats could be an emergency. But I did not make threats. Sometimes any mention of legal issues is considered by naive communities as a legal threat, though. It becomes a “forbidden topic.” An attempt to create a resource on defamation was attacked by Smith socks as being from Mikemikev. This was truly weird. What if there are things that users should know about the law? Wikis are protected by the CDA, except for their own actions, but what about users? Should users know that a plaintiff can subpoena server records? That if the identity of a user can be established (which it often can), that they can be held liable? Or, that, in the UK, defamation is a criminal offense — and in some states, if I am correct? Should users know the difference between protected speech and defamation?
So then I responded to Christopher. DS reverted without comment, and semiprotected the page and then Readymade archived the discussion at 19:40, 11 March 2018, with the comment (he’s already permabanned, archiving this). So it was open for two hours and 17 minutes, with a handful of comments.
My conclusion: this was not a cooping, to the extent that any decision was made, the originator withdrew it. Those who had previously questioned the evidence about me may never have seen it.
So the desysopping, as a defacto ban, stand, but normally “ban” does mean a community action as distinct from an individual or very small group one. The traditions that made RationalWiki have some degree of diversity and stability have been abandoned.
The Mob supposedly rules RatWiki, which is bad enough, but Mobs normally sleep most of the time, and a very few users can effectively dominate wiki process, if it is not announced and left open. I used to say that for on-line process, discussions should be left open for at least 10 days, to allow for weekly work cycles. Wikipedia AfDs have that standard time, and with, normally, announcement requirements. Wikipedia has plenty of safeguards — and even then small factions can dominate.
I came to the conclusion, well before the flap on Wikiversity, that wikis, absent protective process (which is possible, but rare) were inherently vulnerable, and unreliable as places to invest time. Wikipedia works, but with incredibly low efficiency, and the theory that pages would naturally improve with time was naive. It would work if there were stop-loss procedures, but such as were created were so inefficient that few maintain them. On Wikipedia, I took two cases to the Arbitration Committee. In both cases I prevailed, but the cost in time and effort (and other damage) was, quite simply, not worth the effort, and whatever benefit was created fell apart quickly.
The wiki model can be useful, and the original wikis, with coherent communities of users, were very useful and efficient. (The early Wikipedia community was relatively coherent, but the project rapidly outgrew what that community could handle, and I saw those older users drop away, mostly. The wiki ideas got lost, with excuse after excuse, betrayal after betrayal. In the presence of conflict and factionalism, wikis are, uniformly, very, very inefficient, only surviving as social services for collections of largely dysfunctional users. Even the best burn out.
I had decided in 2012 that RationalWiki was not tolerable as a place to regularly participate. I was told to “go fuck your kids,” and the mods thought that was perfectly acceptable. Well, few Rats have children! My involvement with RatWiki over the last 18 months has been dealing with the damage done by Darryl Smith (Oliver was very little involved) on Wikiversity, where he destroyed the core of what had made Wikiversity special. Libelling me was a small part of the damage. Years of work by many people, disrupted, with a defacto prohibition of even rebuilding it. Cold fusion can be studied in real university, in real labs and with real funding, but studying cold fusion on Wikiversity was prohibited in that sequence. And why?
Policies were changed by one person, without community support, only the tolerance of inattention . . . and threats, I’ve been told. This is what the founder of Wikiversity called Wikipedia Disease.
I had considered Wikiversity the hope of the WMF. But I also had come to realize that it was vulnerable to corruption, unreliable, and that the community was not sufficiently attentive to prevent this. And into that rode Darryl Smith, creating massive disruption with impersonation socks and then another sock that accused the impersonated target of serious misbehavior, then taken to Wikiversity, where that target had been working quietly and nondisruptively on Parapsychology, creating a massive attributed subpage of sources. The overall resource was completely neutral as validated by Wikiversity administration. Wikiversity had found ways to gain nearly 100% consensus. Skeptics on fringe topics were not at all excluded, but simply invited to create balancing material, if they thought something was out of balance.
Wikiversity was not like Wikipedia, with one page per topic, and then conflict over position on that page, and notability restrictions, all of which might be intrinsic to an encyclopedia, but not to, say, a University library, particularly one that includes all student essays, seminar discussions, etc. Wikipedians would see Wikiversity and think of it as “articles.” But Wikiversity was not for articles, rather for studies, dissertations, collections of information on a topic.
Destroyed, quickly, by one bureaucrat who believed the Smith propaganda and ignored the rest of the community, who had been inactive for a long time before this, but still had the rights. And then, of course, the Smiths crowed about it on RatWiki. A sysop followed process and requested comment on unblocking me. He was threatened with desysop. He might have done it anyway, but … the WMF then globally banned me, without warning or notice.
And many others who have in any way gotten in the Smiths’ way have experienced massive attack. So I’m standing for them. Many hold unpopular opinions in some way or other, but nobody deserves to be lied about. Not even Donald Trump. Or Mikemikev. Nor, for that matter, Oliver and Darryl Smith. I have always asked for correction of errors, and the response was almost always, “Lies!!!” Not specific corrections. There is an exception, where Oliver Smith did comment on my study of his history as Atlantid, though on Encyclopedia Dramatica. His responses were noted. I am not the judge. Reality is, and then after that, the human community. Convince me of an error, I will correct it. Object to an alleged fact, I will consider the objection, and at least take note of it, leaving judgment, in the end, to readers.
Mostly, the Smith brothers lie about what is on this blog, or misrepresent it with insinuations, as if, for example, the existence of many pages studying a complex subject proves something. Are the pages accurate? I could make it all much briefer by only reporting conclusions. I do that when a topic is mature for me, it happens within a few years, and when the context calls for polemic.