This article was posted to RationalWiki by MrOrganic.
- 18:37, 8 October 2017 . . MrOrganic (talk | contribs) (3,655 bytes)(adding this since it keeps getting raised)
It was presented for deletion here:
The article was suppressed a year and a half after being deleted.
10:34, 22 April 2019 D (talk | contribs) secretly changed visibility of 16 revisions on page RationalWiki Smith brothers conspiracy theory: content hidden, edit summary hidden, username hidden and applied restrictions to sysops (Personal or potentially identifying information)
I have recovered it , so the content is below as it was last archived.
- The article (as of October 8, 2017)
- Comments by Abd, May 10, 2019
RationalWiki Smith brothers conspiracy theory is a paranoid speculation by some individuals with RationalWiki articles, written about themselves, that maintains their articles were created by a duo or trio of brothers (with the surname Smith) from a single household. According to this conspiracy theory — the brothers have created tens, if not hundreds of RationalWiki articles as “hit pieces” to damage people’s reputations via a Google search.
Evidence for the conspiracy theory is non-existent and was started on Encyclopædia Dramatica, arguably as satire. Nevertheless, an assortment of cranks, fundiesand pseudoscientists upset at RationalWiki for creating articles about them, now promote the conspiracy theory to vent their anger at a scapegoat, who can be potentially doxed. This article will not provide any alleged dox, only referring to the surname “Smith” (which is very commonw).
Proponents of the Smith brothers conspiracy theory include: Rome Viharo, Alex Tsakiris, Craig Weiler, Laird Shaw (all from the woo-forums Skeptiko or Pscience Quest), John Fuerst, Emil O. W. Kirkegaard and Abd ul-Rahman Lomax.
In December 2016 an article appeared on the troll website Encyclopædia Dramatica named the “Smith Brothers” that argued a household of brothers with the surname Smith use RationalWiki in order to bash people online by creating articles to discredit them, by writing about their pseudoscience or irrational beliefs (which actually is in the stated mission of RationalWiki: “documenting the full range of crank ideas”). The article itself was nonsensical, filled with gay pornographic imagery; its purpose was arguably to satirize RationalWiki skeptic editors. The NSFW-porn article was deleted within a few weeks. Before deletion there were some screenshots on an archive webpage.
The folks over at Skeptiko and Pscience Quest discovered the archived screenshots of the Smith Brothers article in September 2017 and absurdly read it as being factual, thus they think there really is a household of brothers who have created most the RationalWiki articles on paranormalists, creationists, psychic-believers and other pseudoscientists over a 5 year time period (2012-2017). Laird Shaw openly links to the gay-porn article on Pscience Quest and recommends readers of the forum he administrates – go there to see evidence for the Smith Brother conspiracy theory.
The short-lived ED Smith Brothers article purported to provide evidence as “connecting the dots” linking the brothers to multiple RationalWiki users and dozens of article creations; in reality, this consisted of unsubstantiated allegations and zero technical proof (note: RationalWiki has no check-user tool to confirm sockpuppetry), with some gay porn thrown in for good measure. This however has not stopped Rome Viharo quoting the article as “proof” for the conspiracy theory on his website Wikipedia We Have a Problem, that has 100,000 words of gibberish dedicated to the Smith brothers. Viharo has also discussed his belief in the conspiracy theory in his YouTube videos.
[the original references section was lost in archiving; however, there was only one reference, and it is simulated here, as what it might have been at that point in time. On the other hand, it may have been a more innocuous page.]
but this page was a bit earlier than what shows there, and is more on point:
Commentary (by Abd, May 10, 2019)
Unless it was in that reference, this page contained no outing, so the suppression reason was incorrect. The arguments given in the article are still being advanced by Oliver Smith, just today.
As I pointed out at the time, this was a Smith brothers version of the Smith brothers conspiracy theory. But that’s RatWiki. It was treated, though, as if written by a Smith enemy, to harass innocent Rats being accused of being a Smith brother. Like most of what has been written by the Smiths, it was deceptive.
a paranoid speculation by some individuals with RationalWiki articles, written about themselves, that maintains their articles were created by a duo or trio of brothers (with the surname Smith) from a single household.
Oliver Smith subsequently acknowledged many of his article creations. However, the duck test is not a “paranoid speculation.” By looking at article editors, and then at the contributions of each, patterns of interest popped up. An article would be created with many edits. Then there would be sporadic edits by other users who did not show the patterns appearing. Then another account with many edits, whose other contributions showed the same interests. There were two sets of interests, quite distinct. This matched old claims on Wikipedia from the brothers, and other evidences.
Nobody has claimed a trio that I have seen. They are twins, both born in 1990, and living in the same house at one time, i.e., with apparent parents, same surname. Public records were published in a number of places. The Smiths have been attacking others since something like 2012, if not before, and they have managed, over time, to alienate many. Oliver is the most visible of the brothers, has an actual peer-reviewed article (on Atlantis) published in his real name. The brother, Darryl L. Smith, is far less visible and has never openly revealed his name.
The article on me was written by Darryl, who had attacked a Wikiversity user and then threatened me with retribution, and the first sign of the retribution was that article. Shortly after the “conspiracy” article was deleted, Skeptical placed in the article:
RationalWiki conspiracy theory
Lomax was perm-banned from RationalWiki for doxxing and trolling. He now uses his personal blog to spread a paranoid conspiracy theory and misinformation that a group of RationalWiki editors who live in the same house (yes, you read that correctly) created and edited his RW article.
Note 36 refers to my block log. I was blocked by Skeptical. Who was Skeptical? Oliver Smith, of course, the signs are unmistakeable. Note 37 refers to my blog.
He was lying. “A group of RationalWiki editors.” No. One, using the account Marky (Darryl) which was created for that purpose. That there were two brothers sometimes at the same house was known from way back, on Wikipedia. However, the other brother did edit the article. What I recognize now as Oliver socks which later edited my article are Asgardian (now blocked by D as Oliver, and see his comment about himself) , Skeptical, probably Jog, Dr._Witt (see his last edit), SkepticDave, Vimpto, Pringles, EvilGremlin, Arcticos, Jean, and Tobias.
(These are not the only socks of the Smith brothers active in the period since my article was written, just the ones that edited the article on me.)
Oliver Smith has certainly created more than “tens” of articles, and describing them as hit pieces would not be an exaggeration. My article was clearly created to damage reputation, and has been used that way, heavily. Others, the same. This is not a “conspiracy theory,” and the brothers do not necessarily coordinate, but . . . it is likely that both of them complained to the WikiMedia Foundation. Oliver bragged about it, in fact, though Darryl actually organized the other complainants.
Always be suspicious when something asserted by many and allegedly “believed” by many is claimed to be without evidence. That is the claim of deniers, and the guilty.
ED is satirical, yes, but I did not take fact from there without careful independent verification, and most evidence I have found directly on WMF wikis, RatWiki, and then email from Oliver himself, and his comments on ED, and other miscellaneous sources.
(Pages written about the Smiths often have what I consider errors. They have created, over the years, an heavy smokescreen, with, yes, hundreds of accounts — that is not at all an exaggeration, though 700 on RationalWiki might be, unless we include impersonation and trollsocks they created, which they have done at a high rate at various times — like what they are doing on Reddit as this is written — so errors are understandable. I considered the no-brother-all-Oliver theory, but find it difficult to fit it to the facts.)
its purpose was arguably to satirize RationalWiki skeptic editors.
Oliver and Darryl hide behind “skeptics.” Skepticism is essential to science, and my purpose in documenting the impersonations and deception is not at all to attack genuine skepticism, nor even to attack pseudoskepticism, though I write on that topic (just as some skeptics write about pseudoscience.) The ED article was not written to satirize skeptics, in general, and did not mock the Smiths for skepticism, at all. But the Smiths are constantly working to convince other Rats that they are under attack by enemies of RatWiki and of rational skepticism, while they create cause for others to attack, well beyond the necessities of the RatWiki mission.
That would mostly be Darryl. “Household of brothers” is language chosen to make it seem ridiculous. These are twin brothers, and apparently do not live in the same household, but were checkuser-connected back in the day when one of the brothers was away at college but visited home and accessed the internet.
The brothers have supported each other at times, but are also independent. Darryl has offended “paranormalists”, sure, but more recently has moved into diet and medicine and is attacking people with resources (as he did on Wikipedia with alternative medicine, that’s how Rome Viharo got involved). Oliver has gone after alleged racists and white supremacists — often marginal, but when he tacked in “pedophile” he set up a world of hurt for himself as well as his targets.
Much in the various versions of the ED articles I have seen was supported by evidence. The claim of ” zero technical proof” is common, one more of their deceptions. My original study was entirely based on Wikipedia and WMF steward checkuser evidence, supplemented by some of my own and that of others. As well, some checkuser evidence was published from ED (but that was later, as was some checkuser evidence provided from Conservapedia for Oliver trolling there.)
(When they troll a blog, sometimes the blogger checks IP, that’s easy, WordPress shows it to admins for comments.)
As well, it’s true that RatWiki does not have the checkuser extension installed, but any tech with access to the raw access logs can see not only the same data, but more. I have technical evidence! Those who depend on hiding are depending on something that reality tends to dislike. Not safe.
There are actually many people who have independently investigated the Smiths. Oliver himself confirmed much of the brother story in email to me, but then claimed he had been lying for years, there was no brother. Either way, then, that the story would exist is not a “conspiracy theory” but a conclusion from apparent fact, which is all we ever have anyway, with degrees of reliability.
So either people are not confused and there is a reality to the “brother” story, or the person creating confusion by lying is blaming people for being confused, which is simply more lying. Neat, eh?