Some posts on Gender Desk, a blog “Tracking Wikipedia … so the barbarians don’t win”
Abd files a lawsuit
APRIL 21, 2019
Nice, friendly, more knowledgeable — by far — than most, but the situation is complex.
Two commenters were probably defendants.
“Robert” could be Darryl L. Smith, the one whose impersonation socking caused the entire mess with the WikiMedia Foundation. His comment is highly deceptive, as usual, it is certainly the Smith party line. The current Amended Complaint explains some of this, but Darryl’s real issue with me is that I exposed what he had done, which is called “picking fights.” I typically create one account when I participate, and if I am banned (which does happen sometimes), I consider that site owners have the right, and don’t keep creating accounts. Exceptions have been quite rare and for very limited purpose. Darryl and his brother Oliver have created thousands of accounts, pursuing their attack plans.
And then his brother shows up, using his real name, Oliver D. Smith.
It’s a lolsuit. At least one of the defendants he lists doesn’t even exist and another is wrongly listed. I’m also listed for no reason.
There is clear evidence for “existence” of every defendant. Yet there have been so many lies and deceptions around the activities of the Smith brothers that it’s difficult to be sure about anything.
How would Smith know what he claims? This is the apparent fact: he and his brother know who complained, and there is a defendant named where evidence of participation in the conspiracy is thin, so he might be referring to that as “wrongful.” But one may name a defendant in a lawsuit, or even in a “lolsuit,” based on suspicion if there is any evidence at all, and there is.
As to not existing at all, there is a defendant called “Max,” who wrote about being a complainant to the WMF, over a year ago. Recently an anonymous user on the CFC wiki claimed to be this person and confessed his role (and then commented more as Max). Max was then threatened with harm. Does “Max” exist? Or is this yet another impersonation in the smoke screens laid down by the Smiths? Again, I don’t care. Max is on the list unless he decides to help clean up the mess he helped make. And if he doesn’t exist, I will have some difficulty serving him, right?
As to Oliver being listed for “no reason,” he is either brain-dead or lying. He was one of the complainants leading to the WMF ban. He bragged about it.
And then, on Gender Desk:
Oliver D. Smith JULY 17, 2019 AT 12:39 AM
lol. The deletion of what you call the “parapsychology resource” had nothing with attacking academic freedom but the fact they’re pseudoscience. The person who wrote that junk who doesn’t want to be named isn’t even an academic (as you know). And Wikiversity deleted it for being pseudoscience.
They had no idea what they were doing. Wikiversity hosts “educational resources,” which can study anything, excepting only certain illegal material. “Pseudoscience” was never before a deletion reason on Wikiversity, and there is, of course, a Wikipedia article on parapsychology. Parapsychology is explicitly a science, quite the same science as was involved with the founding of CSICOP, “The Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.”
Many “scientists” — in what fields? — imagine that parapsychology involves a “belief” in some interpretation of claims.
The Wikiversity resource was rigorously neutral, it had been challenged and was confirmed by an administrator there. But there was an occasional attack on it, by those who it or part of it deleted. That was an attack on academic freedom, a fascist prohibition of the study of “forbidden topics.”
Compared to “normal disruption” on Wikipedia, this was practically trivial.
“The person” referred to was the collector of one subpage, an annotated list of sources, not the whole resource. And he may have realized that study of parapsychology (and “psychic phenomena”) is not necessary good for him. This is completely irrelevant, and that work still exists (I rescued the deleted material) and he has not asked for it to be deleted.
Wikiversity is not only for academics. It’s a public wiki, where people may study any topic they choose. That is, it was that until the Smiths attacked, having recruited some Wikipedians to kill the one place in the WMF family where there was genuine academic freedom (though Wikibooks could be close, and, in fact, Wikiversity was an offshoot of Wikibooks)..
Oliver D. Smith JULY 17, 2019 AT 12:32 AM
The defendants (all of them) he lists have said Lomax is lying and that’s not at all what happened. Obviously though he disagrees and has his own view of events. All I can say is take what Lomax says with a pinch of salt.
Again, how does Oliver know this? It’s obvious and there is plenty of evidence (quite enough to take this into discovery and trial), these people communicated and coordinated off-wiki.
“Lomax is lying” is not a statement with any specificity. Oliver has been saying this for more than a year, almost never pointing to any actual statements. It’s just a big blob of mud thrown. I have made a series of statements in the Amended Complaint (and it should get even clearer in the Second Amended Complaint, which is planned), and each of those is factually based, plus there are interpretations based on “reasonable suspicion.” To survive a motion to dismiss, the suspicion must be plausible. I affirm, in filing such a complaint, that everything in it is true “on information and belief.” What are Oliver’s statements?
He has lied over and over, and this has been covered many times and there may even be a reference to one of them here. For quite some time he claimed that all the disruption on Wikipedia, Wikiversity, and Meta was not him, it was his brother. He confirmed other aspects of the story as it was developing. And then he wrote that it had all been a lie, it was all him. And then he wrote something like maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t.
So sometimes he claims that his brother doesn’t exist, or if he does exist, he has nothing to do with the wikis. It is radically implausible, given the very obvious personality differences, but we will find out. What I care about most is that the truth emerges. And I trust the truth more than I trust myself.
(He was realizing that the heat was being turned up on his brother, who was far less well-known, and it is possible that his brother was being paid, that was one of the stories based on statements made by socks apparently Darryl. Since Oliver is on the dole in the U.K, living with parents, he would be taking the heat on himself as “judgment proof.” So that’s a motive to lie. Reality will come out, it has a way of doing that. There is a brother, it’s called “public records.” And this is no longer a wiki game, where “outing” is BAD. It is real life, where it can be necessary to name names.
Meanwhile, Oliver is being sued for defamation in the United Kingdom, and the case appears to be pretty much open and shut. He called someone who is not a pedophile a “pedophile.” He toned it down in some presentations to “pedophile defender” or “child rape apologist,” when his target was neither. And because I pointed this out, I was also called a “pedophile defender” or the like.
“No reason”? Besides being blocked as many accounts on Wikipedia, Oliver is now also formally banned (as many accounts) on RationalWiki, has many, many blocked accounts on Encyclopedia Dramatica, and many thowaway accounts on Reddit that appear to be him, from arguments, they either simply disappear or show up as [deleted], which could mean “blocked.” (I am no longer blocked on ED, that was transient). I’m not socking anywhere, though there are impersonations, one of their favorite tactics.
To my knowledge, the only defendant who has openly denied the charges in the lawsuit is Oliver. None of the others have commented publicly. So unless he is completely lying (not impossible!), he is in private communication with them. [Since this was written, JzG has made statements.]
And finally, a comment from Gender Desk herself (assuming a pronoun, if I may):
As far as I can tell, this is about Rational Wiki and the Skeptics, and started out as a content dispute over whether pseudoscience and “original research” should be included in certain areas of Wikimedia projects.
What this was originally about and what it became are not the same.
Originally, this was not about RationalWiki at all. Nor was it really about “the skeptics,” though Darryl Smith presents himself as a skeptic. It was about a very personal attack on a student of parapsychology, who had been invited by me to work on the topic on Wikiversity, because I knew he was interested (This was partly to distract him from socking on Wikipedia, where he had been blocked long before for old behaviors.) It worked, he almost entirely refrained from editing Wikipedia, but there were a few exceptions, actually harmless. What happens when you compile sources and annotate them is that you learn. This is why students do this in real universities. That page was attributed as his work. And that is how Wikiversity allows original research. It is not presented as neutral. It’s “study.”
The Parapsychology project on Wikiversity was, over the years, occasionally attacked by single-purpose accounts, later recognizable as Darryl. (Darryl was also known as Goblin Face on Wikipedia). This time, as an SPA, Darryl filed a sock puppet investigation, but nobody was paying attention (there was really very little disruption, if any, and Darryl relied on Facebook postings, etc.)
So, as he later explained as a sock, I think it was on Meta, he had to do something. So he created sock puppets to impersonate this user, daring Wikipedians to do something to stop him, he could do whatever he wanted on Wikiversity, LOL!
So they did something, and the particular page he had been working on was deleted and he was blocked for “cross-wiki disruption.” I had not been paying attention to Wikiversity, having basically abandoned it as unsafe (even though it was much safer than Wikipedia). When I found out, I filed steward checkuser requests and the impersonation socking was confirmed. And I started looking at how obvious single-purpose accounts could create such disruption, while administrators were clueless dupes.
Starting up that study, I was intensely attacked, and many socks were globally locked. And then the RatWiki article appeared. And then the coordinated attack on the Wikiversity resource on cold fusion appeared, started by an IP. This was then repeated for the entire Parapsychology resource. The arguments can be seen in the archive.
There had been no disruption at all over cold fusion on Wikiversity, since the resource was started in 2006, until this Request for Deletion arrived in 2017, full of irrelevant arguments, a complete mess. (The resource history can be seen here. No revert warring, no conflict. Actual educational discussion.)
There had been minor disruption over Parapsychology, all easily handled. Until this.
The attack was actually personal, on me and my work (I created the Parapsychology resource in response to requests from scientists, and to show how a resource on a controversial topic could be neutral, and still academically free. If interested, I suggest reading the discussions.)
“Original research” was always explicitly allowed on Wikiversity, as long as it was disclosed as such. There is a huge difference between activity in a university and activity in creating an encyclopedia. The force for deletion was entirely from non-Wikiversitans.
Michael Umbricht, who acknowledged receiving complaints by email, invented an entirely new reason for deletion, never seen before or since. From his behavior, he intervened precisely to support the revenge effort from Darryl, who had recruited Guy Chapman (JzG) and Joshua P. Schroeder (ජපස), who were long-term Wikipedia enemies of everything fringe or “pseudoscientific.”
Umbricht then extended deletion to a large number of pages in my user space, deleting them without warning — totally violating deletion policy. These pages had been used for many purposes and some were historically important. But they were easily identifiable as “Abd’s work,” which he had likely promised to delete. Deletions without notice, for legal content, was unheard of on Wikiversity.
To recover these pages required downloading very large Wikiversity XML dumps and writing a program to extract pages with a prefix from it. (I’ve been unable to find such a utility that I could use).
The actual motivation here was not really a content dispute. It was about revenge. The RatWiki article was about revenge, and there are many examples where the Smiths did that, going back long before I was involved.
They learned how to manipulate administrators, and the WMF fell for it.
Gender Desk has posted another page about the lawsuit:
Lomax v. WMF: Abd names names
JUNE 28, 2019
Thanks, Gender Desk, it all works together. One point that can be missed. I did have a “Count 4” in the Amended Complaint, asking to be unbanned. But I am abandoning that, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that this would be of very little value to me personally, and by the TOU, very limited recovery ($1000 max) for damages. It is not worth the effort for a single person. It could be a class action, but I’m not holding my breath. It would be difficult, because of how the CDA Section 230 has been interpreted, but not impossible. Not my call. I’m going for what is easy. After all, Not a Lawyer.
The rest of the suit is about defamation and conspiracy to harass and defame, not their right to ban.