Monday, December 28, 2015

Zzuuzz: Example of a Minor Threat

One of those "evil patrollers" my source notes are shot through with, Zzuuzz (yes, that is his Wiki-handle) is mostly used to block the living hell out of any IPs (internet protocol numbers) that might be spamming or hoaxing articles. Zzuuzz's true name is unknown; my sources think he is a gamer kid from London, England. He showed up on August 3rd, 2005 and was reverting vandalism manually by August 9th....my sources believe he is a sockpuppet of some insider, which puts him in good stead with a number of those people. It's now 2015 and Zzuuzz is still doing the patrolling and article-gnoming he was doing ten years ago.

We are bringing up this clown because his successful Request for Adminship in 2007 marked the point where the "patroller" types were held in higher regard then the people who actually wrote new material. Zzuuzz had tried to get an RfA going in September of 2006 - he was shot down:

Final (55/16/7) Ended Sat, 17 September 2006 21:54 (UTC)
Zzuuzz (talk · contribs) – A solid vandalism reverting user who has been serving the wiki community in an exemplary manner for over a year now. I must admit when I saw that he wasn't an admin I had (a first for me) the cliched 'oh, he's not one?' thought. The user has already been entrustd with Vandal Proof and Zzuuzz's regular speedy-article tagging, 3RR and vandlaism reports indicate a thorough familiarity with policy.
Put simply, a perfect example of a dedicated user who would serve the community as a civil, intelligent vandal-busting admin. Robdurbar 09:59, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Candidate, please indicate acceptance of the nomination here: I do, thanks. -- zzuuzz (talk) 09:36, 10 September 2006 (UTC) Thank you all for your comments. I am withdrawing this nomination. -- zzuuzz (talk) 21:54, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Questions for the candidate
Dear candidate, thank you for offering to serve Wikipedia in this capacity. Please take the time to answer a few generic questions to provide guidance for voters:
1. What sysop chores, if any, would you anticipate helping with? Please check out Category:Wikipedia backlog, and read the page about administrators and the administrators' reading list.
A: I will mainly continue the battle against vandals by helping with AIV, which I already monitor - I like to have all the vandalism reverted by the time the user is blocked :) I will also help with the speedy deletion backlogs, PRODs, page move/merges, and category renaming. I would like to get more involved with determining and removing copyvios - it is quite inefficient to get involved as a non-admin, but it's something I have an interest in. I will also help with open proxies and closing xfDs. Basically, any backlogs and processes I have the ability to help with.
2. Of your articles or contributions to Wikipedia, are there any about which you are particularly pleased, and why?
A: I am very pleased with all the little edits. I have created only a handful of articles (egs [1] [2]), but stubbed many. And prodded quite a few too. I often trawl the trashier categories and special pages, sifting the junk, wikifying, and dampening the POV, introducing newbies to the way of the encyclopaedia. My work on vandalism and preserving the integrity of Wikipedia is obviously a key thing - I am pleased with whichever contributions it was that prompted my RickK barnstar[3]. I am especially pleased with every reference I have added (I am a verifiabilist, but they are also great for helping with POV and vandalism), and some of my talk page contributions have been quite helpful too.
3. Have you been in any conflicts over editing in the past or do you feel other users have caused you stress? How have you dealt with it and how will you deal with it in the future?
A: I don't think I get into conflict, or get stressed - but I see most editing as a process of negotiation. If people have a point of view it will usually have to be catered for eventually (subject to NPOV and verifiability etc), so I tend to make corrections and balance POV in small stages and over the longer term, using references and the talk pages. I am of the opinion that the vast majority of disagreements can be overcome with reliable references and that is how I generally approach things.
There was one episode which once caused me to despair a little. This edit was never really going to stick. I tried discussing it on the talk pages (before and after) but no one was convinced. I will leave it to readers to see if they can spot the problem I was addressing. Though I think I had policy, encyclopaedic values, and common sense in my favour, I had consensus against me. If I had pursued it further I would probably have put in a RFC and/or summoned some independent third parties, but after some effort I just gave up on it. I have worked on quite a few religion/statistics articles, and gradually got used to the idea that some of them are just full of unverifiable numbers. I have to admit I am not that bothered by it now - there are worse things, and I usually have better things to do than continually try and convince people that that you can't just make up numbers and make whole populations appear and disappear. Unless it's vandalism or I have support of course. I usually just put the verifiable facts on the talk page [4], safe in the knowledge that encyclopaedic standards will prevail one day. 

Then the second RfA happened:

Final (42/1/1); Ended 03:28, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Zzuuzz (talk · contribs) - This user is yet another great user who would be an asset to the administrator community. He contributes strongly to all areas, and has improved since his last RfA, which may have passed if he didn't withdraw. He's great at vandalism-patrolling, he also contributes quality disussion to AfD, and he has improved his article-writing, which was the reason for most opposes last time. Definitely deserving of the tools. Wizardman 04:10, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Candidate, please indicate acceptance of the nomination here: I accept thanks. -- zzuuzz(talk) 21:40, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Questions for the candidate
Dear candidate, thank you for offering to serve Wikipedia in this capacity. Please take the time to answer a few generic questions to provide guidance for participants:
1. What sysop chores do you anticipate helping with? Please check out Category:Wikipedia backlog and Category:Administrative backlog, and read the page about administrators and the administrators' reading list.
A: I will mostly use the sysop bit to help with the backlogs at AIV and CAT:SPEEDY. I have much experience of cleaning up vandalism which has given me a good idea who needs blocking to prevent further damage and who doesn't. I will probably also help with protection where appropriate, and I anticipate assisting in other areas with frequent backlogs such as copyvios and open proxies.
2. Of your articles or contributions to Wikipedia, are there any with which you are particularly pleased, and why?
A: I am pleased with all the contributions I have made to cleaning up Wikipedia, improving its quality, and helping others improve their contributions.
A2: In light of some requests, I will try and expand this answer. I've improved thousands of different articles and I'm pleased with just about all of it. I don't really focus on improving the coverage of subject x or topic y, or adding significant text to any particular article. I prefer to focus instead on introducing elementary encyclopaedic standards across a broad range of articles. There are many articles I revisit of course, and slowly improve over time. The list of articles I have edited most (as mentioned below) contains some of the following... I help a bit with the MySpace article, both in the article and the talk page. The article is a magnet for vandalism and original research. But I can't take too much credit for that. I help to maintain the List of Internet slang phrases which is one of the most-edited and best-referenced articles on Wikipedia, though you will either love it or hate it (or try and transwiki it). The List of London School of Economics people is another list I have edited frequently, along with quite a few of its sub-articles. The United Kingdom, England, and London articles get their share of vandalism removed by me, but I have also improved them in some other ways. I have also helped a fair bit with CAT:NOCAT and Category:Lists, as well as numerous articles within Category:United Kingdom and its sub-categories. My article creations include the notable Clara Furse and the significant Sandy Gall. I will also take credit for rescuing Ray Moore (broadcaster) recently, and I have created an article for Roncq which still needs a bit of work before it reaches featured standard. I've removed libel from literally hundreds of articles, especially but not exclusively from school articles, several hundred of which I have been helping to clean up over the last few months. I've removed a further load of copyvios, hoaxes, spam, vanity, abuse, and fake deterrent protection templates which were all quite embarrassing to the encyclopaedia. My favourite AfD recently was Fecal vomiting which was headed quickly for a rather unpleasant end before I contributed. I also take a small amount of credit (rightly or wrongly, probably wrongly) for the first eight words of the Northern Ireland article, which are now stable following an extensive debate about them into which I interjected. I have contributed significantly to our knowledge of which statistics we lack about English people, and for that matter, Irish people, Cornish people, and perhaps also to some extent Asian (people). I contributed stability to the year of establishment of the term chav, and I have added some good references to the article about Wanker. I have also been active at the Help Desk and at the other end of the {{helpme}} tag, assisting many other editors with their questions and problems to help them contribute what they can. I help a fair bit with new pages and new users in a similar vein, and I obviously assist to quite a large extent in the effort to help vandals find the right path. These are a few of the various things I have worked on, and I take pleasure in it and credit for it to varying degrees.
3. Have you been in any conflicts over editing in the past or have other users caused you stress? How have you dealt with it and how will you deal with it in the future?
A: I don't really get into conflicts over editing. I generally only add material that is well referenced and NPOV, and I find this is a good ingredient to prevent and even resolve conflicts. If there are disagreements of opinion or fact then I will normally open or join a discourse and attempt to negotiate a suitable narrative within the editorial guidelines.

Supposedly there was a lot off-wiki arm-twisting in the first RfA, paving the way for the "success" of the second. Since winning, he has been known to ban the IPs of entire colleges to shut down one troll; he has blocked nearly 14,000 users (mostly by 'bot) and others have had to unblock more than 1000 users he has shut down. He is also as clumsy in chasing suspected socks, which is hilarious if he actually is one. Zzuuzz deserves to be unmasked and kicked out.

Because Ian Frasier "Lemmy" Kilmister died today, some music:



You will be missed.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Guest Post by Mutineer: "Is Jim from Wikipediocracy Wikipedia's James Alexander?"

Below is an untitled article from Mutineer. Consider it a Christmas present, or a really late Chanukkah gift.
 
There are reasons to believe the WMF's Trust and Safety Manager James Alexander engages in sockpuppetry on Wikipedia. There is a reason to believe James Alexander, prominently shown at his WMF employee page, is not his real name. "Sockpuppetry" is an Internet term for deceptively making use of different accounts to create the appearance of support or resistance for a particular matter of debate. It can also be for harassment of someone the sockmaster dislikes, for example one has been in an online argument generating personalized antagonistic feelings, and so the sockmaster creates the new account to attack his or her enemy as if it were some new person coming fresh to argument. The James Alexander question can be organized like this:
 

 
1) WMF employee James Alexander openly points to his previous unpaid Wikipedia account of Jamesofur. He leveraged it when he sought employment. He said his advanced community rights indicated his value. Jamesofur passed an RFA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_for_adminship/Jamesofur#Questions_for_the_candidate), and has OTRS rights.
 
2) Wikipedia user Begoon had very sporadic and mainly non-verbal activity, but sounded off angrily when Jamesofur failed his RFA, basically saying it was a stupid system and so forth. Begoon angrily retorted a person that questioned why someone with an handful of edits would show up so vociferously in an RFA. Begoon fired back that the person should not be so uncivil and suspicious, that this was exactly why Wikipedia was unfriendly to newbies, that he, Begoon, had just been watching for a while. With this theme, he was speaking like someone well-versed in Wikipedia's administrative workings. It was a Shakespearean "methinks thou dost protest too loudly" moment. In his comments protesting the RFA down-vote of Jamesofur, Begoon hand-typed the signature "Jim." (Https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Requests_for_adminship/Jamesofur&diff=prev&oldid=356234568.)
 
3) A Wikipediocracy participant Jim in his avatar's undertitling identifies himself as Wikipedia editor Begoon. (Http://www.anony.ws/image/JfhR.)
 
4) Wikipediocracy's Jim has asserted that he has personally communicated with the WMF's former Community Relations Director Philippe Beaudette. Beaudette led James Alexander's WMF work section, and was James Alexanders' immediate superior. (Http://wikipediocracy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=6424.)
 
So, in drawing this thesis together, I've shown, solidly or inconclusively, a daisy chain connection from Begoon to Jamesofur to James Alexander to WO's Jim to Begoon. The obvious supporting clue is of course the name "James," which is commonly shortened to "Jim." A review of Begoon's editing history is rather startling. It doesn't seem a natural progression of an editor. It's actually a little bizarre, sort of mechanized and incredibly sporadic in its first years of edits. It makes a bit more sense if considered as an alternate account of some other user, who goes to Begoon now and then for particular administrative edits. This would fit in with the idea that Jamesofur is the sockmaster. Jamesofur edits in his own hand, and makes use of Begoon now and then, such as in the complaint at Jamesofur's RFA failure.
 
The broader question begged by this example of James Alexander is whether WMF employees should be allowed to list themselves as pseudonyms on the WMF's official organizational profiles. Another WMF employee, whose name is either Karen Ingraffea or Karen Brown, communicates on the official Wikimedia-l mailing list under a pseudonym.
 
Let us examine momentarily the contributions of Begoon. On first looking, his edits appear to reveal something of a strange fish. Begoon contribution history overview:
 
Very first edit is on 13 September 2009 to "Pole dance." He deletes a reference, claiming it is "commercial." However leaves the article text that was said to have been supported by it. Second and third edits less than 45 minutes later appear to be, not sure, automated rather than manual edits, marked as "creating" the user and user talkpages, but they don't say anything.
 
Comes back after about two weeks and fourth and fifth edits appear to be, what, looks like bolding or upscaling "==User Page: Begoon==" the labels on the the talk and userpages. Comes back for sixth and seventh and eighth edits no less than six months later and is back at Pole Dance article, again removes a references on basis "commercial link," he's removing some text as well now.
 
Okay I'm speeding up, comes back 11 days later in an RFA on Jamesofur. Begoon speaks! So which way does he go on the nominee? No way! What, he complains that the process is absurd, and is miffed when questioned how a person with nine edits happens to show up there. How uncivil and suspicious and mean to a new user, he says. Here, I'll quote a sample:
 
 
"I don't really blame you for wondering - however, The answer is yes, I have a grand total of 9 edits. Please explain how that makes my opinion invalid, or even, failing that, less valid than yours. As to how I found this page - well it's a high profile page, and I was interested in how this wikipedia stuff works. You can assume I have some kind of motive, or you can take my remarks at face value. I can't see any reason to care what you think after such an uncivil reaction to the first attempt of a new user to involve himself. Jim...."
 
Okay, now he's editing more frequently. Just spot checking now. Some edit where he puts... lines? on a talkpage discussion regarding edit filters. An RFA again, this time he opposes HJ Mitchell's second RFA. Something at his talkpage. Something at "Cubelurker's" talkpage regarding a message. RFA stuff. WP:AN/ANI! I knew Begoon was going to end up there as a sneering regular constantly maneuvering for blocks.
 
Minor administrative changes at Chamberlain Memorial, Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo, Millersburg Township, JP1 remotes. Begoon's into remote controls. Uploads an image of an emblem for "Vanatuatu Girl Guides Association," okay. Seems to be doing the same for a bunch of Girl Guides Associations. Templates an editor for, the template says, "apparent vandalism." I looked at the edit, yeah it was vandalism of the goofy sort. Really skipping now.
 
Templates (w. Twinkle!) an editor with "final warning vandalism." It's all sort of like this. There's a lot! If there's a content *addition* anywhere as opposed to tag or revert or something, I haven't seen it. Skipping 250 at a time now. An SPI, says doesn't know but the alleged sock edits look similar. Good gosh, there's so much. Skipping to 2013. Same sort of stuff, I guess it's more advanced because the bit counts are higher. Begoon seems to have made friends now, WP:AN/ANI captain Dennis Brown seems to be one, Christmas greetings etc. RFA, RFA, RFA. Ah! Some block philosophy worth quoting:
 
 
"But, see, there's the problem, in a nutshell... The history of this talk page, its archive, the Fort Lee talk page, the welcomeg template, the ANI discussion etc., all say the very same thing. A succession of experienced editors come to you to give advice or discuss problems with edits you have made. Your response is invariably a massive rant about why you are right, and they are all of them wrong, every one, they're not "assuming good faith", they are picking on you, "denigrating" you, "deriding" you - rinse and repeat (and, boy, do you repeat...) Your analysis of all this is ''"The overwhelming body of my work and experiences has been decidedly positive"''... Can you see the disconnect here? That's what you're being asked to do, because if you can't, the amount of other editors' time you insist on wasting with your repetitive wikilawyering, pointless arguing, and assertions of unfair treatment has been judged too costly in wasted time and effort to permit. Nobody can make you see it, but you now need to if you want to continue to edit.17:01, 28 April 2014 (UTC)"
 
This is absolute classic WP:AN/ANI pontificating where the gangs of sharks have picked their prey, and set the stage for the ritualized slaughter. It remains but to mute the content editor, keep sneering and mischaracterizing, and wait for the LCDA (lowest common denominator administrator) to press the block button. Begoon is bonding and socializing with his fellows at WP:AN/ANI. Block of victimized content editor equals victory and someone for them to feel superior to. He continues this behavior in other examples.
 
In conclusion, this article has made the case that, while not 100% certitude, there is reason to believe that the WMF's James Alexander sockpuppets Wikipedia under the Begoon handle and is part of the abusive administrative culture that derives satisfaction from targeting, hounding (often in a group), and blocking potentially good content editors.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The End-of-the-Year "Where Should We Go?" Post

It's been an interesting year and a quarter here at Wikipedia Sucks! - Wikipediocracy began it's final slide into irrelevance, major Wikipedia assholes were named and shamed (though Beyond My Ken will not bend and admit the game is done), and the eternal truth that Wikipedia is a doomed enterprise was promulgated. However, the shadows are falling on this enterprise:

My information is getting older. The information that was leaked to me was a few years old when I got it, and it's aging faster still. I want to talk about new fiascoes beyond whatever tomfoolery Jimbo or one of the "name" WMF'ers is involved with, but I'm noticing a lot of the stuff discussed online has to do with GamerGate and it is this blog's opinion that GamerGate is a cul-de-sac. It's "interesting" for the drama but utterly pointless in the end, like a split in a Trotskyist group. So what I need is to be clued into the non-GamerGate drama in the remaining cadre of Wikipedians. But those guys lead into point "B" which is....

I don't want to write about WikiPedos. But I will be forced to do so because I'm the only one with a working blog with the information on them - it was a real cottage industry last decade to name these people in now-abandoned blogs that I keep stumbling across.....Encylopaedia Dramatica is also a great source because they have chunks of the lawyered-to-death "Evil-Unveiled" copy-pasted and buried inside the website. The only reason I would "want" to name-shame these clowns is that they are there on Wikipedia not to get the facts straight, but to pick up young boys. It needs to be done, but it distracts from what I thought was going to be my bread and butter....

Nerd crimes. I'm talking about illegal rings of Warez traders doing their business inside Wikimedia Commons, hacker/cracker/script kiddies shooting the breeze in talk pages, late-stage phone phreakery discussed in the early 2000s version of Wikipedia.....I'm sure it happened, but I can't find traces, thanks to the Secret Collapse of 2007. I'd rather talk about technocrime or bizarro cults or UFO believers involved in technocrime-accomplishing cults rather than discussing Matthew Buck.

So this is where we are going, probably: more dumping of old scandals written in a way so that outsiders can understand them, research into new scandals to keep relevant, occasional posts on the child porn/child-molesting scum Wikipedia is shot through with, alongside the regular features of the blog. With any luck I will run out of the old material in two years.

I would like to thank all the readers for boosting our views from zilch to 21,940. I would especially like to thank all the German readers over the last month who showed up over 3Apes and SearchBastard thanks to that recent heise.de article on the subject of Wikipedia's prehistory. Vielen Dank. I would also like to encourage anybody who speaks African languages to translate these posts and send them around to African websites, and the same with Chinese ideograms. The people sailing into the sea that is the English-language internet need to be warned of the rocky shoals out there.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Guest Post by E. A. Barbour. "Encyclopedia Dramatica: It Could be Funnier"

Encyclopedia Dramatica: It Could Be Funnier
by E. A. Barbour

This isn't intended to be a "history" of ED. I've already written a lengthy account of that for the private book wiki about Wikipedia I am associated with. This essay is mostly intended to be a discussion of ED's shortcomings, and why it continues to exist and enjoy popularity with a certain demographic. Please note that some of the links in this essay lead to highly disturbing content.

The first time I ever saw ED was in 2006. A blog linked to the lengthy ED article of Gemma "Snapesnogger" Wilson, a young woman from Australia who was a well-known amateur cartoonist and "furry" fan. She had generated incredible chaos on DeviantART, furry forums, and elsewhere by constantly dramaqueening and attacking others -- who cheerfully reciprocated. I was amazed at the nerve of whoever created said article, in complete disregard of libel law and common sense. Still, so far as I can tell, Ms. Wilson has never sued anyone over her militantly hostile treatment on ED, and similar things can be said for other popular ED targets. "Chris-Chan" Chandler's ED article  is still one of their longest and most popular, and I can find no evidence of any serious legal action stemming from it. Mr. Chandler seems to relish the negative attention he receives from ED, like many of their drama-happy "victims". And the Offended article (Don't look at that!) continues to be among their top-rated and most linked-to pages. "Offended" is intentionally one of the ugliest and most disturbing things on the entire Internet. So (of course!) hackers and trolls link to it routinely.

HISTORY

ED started out in December 2004  as a place for disgruntled Livejournal users (founders Sherrod "Girlvinyl" DeGrippo and Andrew "Jameth" Thornton being among them) to complain about each other. Absurd but true. Despite its profound offensiveness ED has always enjoyed a considerable amount of infamy. During the Sherrod era of 2005-2011 it peaked at around the 1000 mark on Alexa's web rankings. Since Sherrod and company abandoned it in 2011 (to start a now-failed "fork" called "Oh Internet") and it was revived by GNAA- and Anonymous-associated troublemakers, its Alexa rank cratered -- and slowly built up again. It recently peaked at the 15,000 mark (April 2015) albeit with a slow decline in late 2015. Nevertheless this is a remarkable showing for a website that is not advertised anywhere and is intentionally designed to offend. Even after the attempts by Google/Wikipedia critic Daniel Brandt, attorney Sue Basko, and others to get ED's TLD registration canceled in 2011-2012, it continues to exist today thanks to private donations and aggressive banner advertising.

The Wikipedia article has some helpful information, although it can't be trusted fully thanks to endless editwarring. The Brandt connection resulted in a Taking Down ED portal, and a number of personal attacks against Brandt and a few others which persist today. The Wikipedia article says: "In a question and answer session at the ROFLCon summit in October 2011, DeGrippo was asked why Encyclopædia Dramatica was closed and replaced with Oh Internet. She replied: "We were unable to stop the degradation of the content. It just kept getting longer and longer and dumber and dumber and less and less coherent over time." She also explained why she had not released the site as an archive, saying that she "didn't want to", and suggesting that this would have made her personally responsible for any DMCA and privacy violations that it contained. She also stated that hosting Encyclopædia Dramatica caused her to have troubles involving the FBI." DeGrippo was notoriously working for a US Defense Department contractor at the time, and may have lost her job thanks to angry ED fans contacting her employer. As with Wikipedia editwarring and hacker disputes, most of the ED-involved people (pro OR con) are equally guilty of abusing, "doxxing", etc. each other, and of frequently refusing to discuss it openly. The "lulz" must flow. How is that different from much of the current Web 2.0?

FLAWS

ED is just like its "good twin" Wikipedia, in that it has severe flaws, many of which are directly shared between the two. They tend to flow directly from the dominant fanbase: young male gamers, hackers, and online trolls. As with English Wikipedia, Americans dominate and a much smaller group are British or Australian. Unlike Wikipedia, however, ED does not pretend to be a "legitimate and reliable reference work".

1) ED is constantly used by angry social media users, looking to piss on each other. Look at the Needed/Proposed page for a typical mix, or just watch "New Articles". Every day a few more bitchfests about little-known troublemakers from Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, 4chan, 8ch, forums or other "griefer havens" are posted. Usually the subjects are blindingly obscure nobodies who would be ignored in "polite company" yet manage to generate "dramah" online. It's possible to be a successful net troll and "noted asshole" without ever being mentioned in "serious media", or even anywhere offline. ED coverage feeds into that world of social-media lulz by being more outrageous than any other wiki. Sorry dudes, "epic lolcows" just aren't very funny.

2) A great deal of its database is badly outdated. ED started for Livejournal bitching and many such early articles continue to exist today despite their total lack of current relevance. Especially since Livejournal was bought by a Russian company in 2007, causing most of its English-speaking users to abandon it by 2010. Yet ED continues to have massive coverage of LJ drama dating back to before 2007. See the category for some examples, with 269 articles at present. A good example is Drama Queen Kim, which dates from 2006 and is probably forgotten by both its subject and by the people who wrote it originally. A similar connection to 4chan exists, and is similarly becoming outdated. Complaints about ED's heavy focus on outdated 4chan and other web "memes" tend to be accurate. This material is "ancient history" by web standards and keeping it live today makes little sense. Much of it connects to a long-dead forum called ljdrama.org. When the GNAA/Anon people took ED over in 2011, they simply restored as much content from archive.org and elsewhere as possible, without checking or updating most of it. As with Wikipedia, updates are mostly accidental and not well managed, if they happen at all. And many ED weblinks are long dead. Perhaps some historian will derive research materials about the early web from ED's old content. That is about the only legitimate purpose it could serve.

3) As I've said before, ED and Wikipedia grew up together and are more closely connected than even ED's current admins might realize. From 2005 until 2010 it was a meeting-ground for prominent Wikipedians, who used it to complain about and attack each other. Most of those Wikipedia insiders will not discuss their ED activities today, for obvious reasons. See Bureaucratic Fuck for some remnant examples. Pieces of forgotten (or censored!) Wikipedia history are still mentioned on ED today. Because of Sherrod's abandonment, the article edit histories, talkpages and deletion records from that era were not preserved. Thus most of ED's historical links to Wikipedia drama are lost forever.

4) The way ED insiders are treated by the outside world, especially the Wikipedia world, is inconsistent and hypocritical. From 2004 until 2011 brutal editwars occurred over the Wikipedia article about ED; it is still commonly vandalized today. Until late 2010 a well-known ED administrator was Wikipedia checkuser/oversighter Alison. Now-banned Wikipedia editors Badmachine/Hipcrime and Junius Thaddeus are currently high-ranking ED administrators. Ironically, complaints about ED's offensive content usually don't include these popular personalities, even though they have some ability to remove bad content (except in certain politically-motivated cases, such as Daniel Brandt's article). All of them are current/former regulars on the defunct Wikipedia Review and the current Wikipediocracy fora. Also ironically, Wikipedia itself is declining in popularity and editing activity, and is expected to eventually self-destruct in perhaps 10 to 20 years (my personal estimate). Its disgusting bastard stepchild ED might actually outlive it. Finally, an academic researcher wishing to study Wikipedia and how its "community" was built, succeeds, and fails, is advised to look closely at Encyclopedia Dramatica as well. I am quite serious.

5) A primary reason for the hatred pointed at ED is the frequently antisemitic content. It routinely regurgitates the tired old jokes about Jews being greedy and manipulative, most of the time purely to offend. Claims that "Jews did 9/11" are commonplace, intended for satirical reasons, and often misinterpreted. Much of this Jewish mockery was encouraged by the GNAA/Anon/LulzSec-associated hackers. The "mainstream media" has sometimes erroneously described ED as a conventional "hate site". Try searching for Encyclopedia Dramatica on urbandictionary.org for some examples. One of the most infamous GNAA-connected people, Andrew "weev" Aurenheimer, often liked to attack Jews online. I'm told he was responsible for many of the antisemitic rantings in present-day ED articles prior to 2011, along with Jeremy "Grawp" Hanson, Wikipedia's worst vandal (and himself Jewish). Since weev was imprisoned by the US Department of Justice (and later released by a judge's order because the DOJ's case was questionable), he has become openly and honestly antisemitic. Interestingly his ED article, which originally was a very positive hacker/griefer fan letter, has recently become less laudatory as weev has declined in popularity with ED's userbase (although this can be difficult to tell, as his article is occasionally trashed and restored.) In fact, much of ED's direct connection to the hacker underground has faded since 2012. As with Wikipedia history, past hackerdom exploits have left ragged traces on ED. Hackers love to offend "normal society", and also throw the words "faggot" and "nigger" around with abandon, just as ED does. At some point the meaning of such words is changed. More irony: the ED people using these words are often LGBT or members of ethnic minorities. The present-day admin called Oddguy is himself also Jewish.

6) As I said, for a "satirical" website, ED often isn't very funny. Part of the content is worthwhile as offensive satire and humor (see the Lulz map ) or IT-industry articles for some of the better examples), but much ED content is merely puerile and annoying, as well as outdated. Personal attack articles tend to be crude and humorless. Again, as with Wikipedia, ED writers are often ADHD/OCD personalities who have questionable social skills or skills in humor writing (or actually, in writing anything). I've seriously suggested that ED's operators hire a Jewish comedy writer with a Sacha Baron Cohen-style reputation for offensiveness, simply to deflect accusations of antisemitism or "hate speech". That won't happen.

7) And any discussion of funding leads to one of the darker aspects of ED today. The sysop and owner of its DNS entry, Brian Zaiger, runs numerous banner ads on ED and keeps all the resulting revenue -- and refuses to discuss ED's financial state. Until recently it was running "pop-under" ads that occasionally attempted to hijack user PCs via Javascript malformations. These ads caused many complaints and are no longer visible. ED users have openly questioned the actual costs of hosting ED and what part of the revenue is being kept by Zaiger rather than being used to keep ED going, and their questions have been mocked or ignored. Nothing can be verified, including frequent claims by insiders that ED has been "struggling" ever since the takeover. As with the early Wikimedia Foundation there is some money involved and the persons handling the money refuse to discuss the fate of the revenue publicly. This is reminiscent of the Freenode IRC server that has been heavily used by Wikimedia projects from Wikipedia's early days to the present -- and is also popular with hackers. Its sysop Rob Levin was notorious for begging money from Freenode users and claiming extreme poverty, while actually living in a posh Houston apartment, and hiring a nanny to look after his son. Levin's scam was exposed in June 2006, and in September 2006 he was killed in a mysterious "bicycle accident". Wikipedians still regard Levin as a "tragic" hero in spite of his proven dishonesty. Is Zaiger doing similar things with ED? He's already got plenty of enemies.




                                                              Brian Zaiger: Why is this man smiling?

8) As outrageous as the ED wiki can be, its attendant forum is much worse. New ED users requesting assistance or offering opinions are routinely harassed and degraded verbally, by the "regulars". Many of whom are also ED wiki administrators and sysops. Who often abuse and ban each other on the forum and thence on the wiki, giving ED something in common with the deeply insane RationalWiki (also a popular hangout for Wikipedians). Outright racism, sexism, and every other kind of -ism is practiced on the ED forum, and unlike ED wiki articles, it can't be easily dismissed as "satire". The level of trolling there sometimes exceeds even 4chan's /b/ or various hacker forums. ED's "official" IRC channel is similarly insane. Yes, it is possible to have juvenile and institutional cruelty as the primary purpose of an online discussion area. What a surprise.

CONCLUSIONS

Whether people like it or not, and despite its numerous problems, ED is perhaps the purest example of satire the world has ever seen. For good and for bad. ED is continuing a dark 20-year web legacy started by now-forgotten sites such as Rotten.com, Ogrish, and Portal Of Evil. It carries content that is disgusting, illegal in many countries, and would have gotten a book publisher shut down due to legal action. Yet it continues. ED is living proof that the web does not follow the usual social rules for media outlets. Web content is 100% ephemeral and prone to disappearing without traces, and being both ephemeral and America-centric, ED can use the First Amendment as cover, so it gets a sort of "free ride". In my opinion, despite its toxicity ED serves a semi-legitimate social purpose. Or it would, if not for the crazies.



ED would not exist at all if the web were not dominated by a libertarian/libertine, anti-copyright, and pro-libel attitude. And if it sucks, then the entire Internet sucks. Satire is like David Gerard: by intention neither pretty nor friendly. Griping about ED trolling merely nourishes the trolls and says or does nothing about the underlying social-media problems.

One final point needs to be made. ED appears to be in its unstoppable terminal decline. Each time its domain was changed between 2011 and 2013, its Alexa rank dropped massively. And despite efforts to encourage new editors, it continues to struggle in Alexa and search-engine rankings. The operators could make it a "legitimate" satirical website that ordinary people can stand to peruse; instead, they want to maintain the personal backstabbing glory days of 2007, or an approximation thereof. It needs drastic cleanup which simply won't happen. Just like Wikipedia.


                                                   Encyclopaedia Dramatica: Slip slidin' away.

                                     A fitting theme for this article: Dave van Ronk's version of "Mack the Knife"

Monday, November 30, 2015

Wikipedians Jimbo wants You to Forget: Jon Schillaci

Though he was only on Wikipedia for the month of July, 2004 as Marlais (aka Jon Schillaci), Wikipedia has been desperate to obfuscate that Schillaci edited the online encyclopedia because he was doing so while hiding from the US government in a small village in Michoacán, Mexico. He was running from a trial, his second time in court being accused of child molestation, and he was in the middle of a nearly nine year dissapearing act.

Before Wikipedia

 Jon Savarino Schillaci (b. 1971) was a computer specialist, allegedly had a master's degree in the humanities and speaks Spanish, French, and German (fluency in each unknown). In 1989 he and another man had sex in Schillaci's home with twin 11-year-old boys to whom they had shown child pornography. As the disgusting icing on the cake, Schillaci videotaped the sex, then tried to sell the tape to a porno bookstore for five hundred dollars. They turned him in, and after a quick trial in 1990 he was sentenced to ten years. He was nineteen years old. Jon Schillaci left prison in 1999, and was "adopted" by a family in Deerfield, New Hampshire. They knew about his crime, but they thought he had reformed, and they were willing to let the twenty-eight year old live in their house. Big mistake; he molested their five-year-old son while giving him piano lessons in October 1999. To top that, the family computer was packed with images of child pornography. Jon Schillaci fled the country to avoid appearing in court, and a warrant was made for his arrest.

Online in Mexico

 He was a hero to the online "boylover" community; when he made it down to San José de Garcia in the central Mexican estado (state) of Michoacán de Ocampo, they sent him money and "moral" support. He became the administrator of BoyChat, a pedophile hangout, in 2003; his handle was Dylan Thomas, a fact that makes me throw up a little in my mouth. He also allegedly ran an Internet radio show under that name. We have no information on what Schillaci did for money in Mexico, probably it was low-key and menial. He did use assumed names like "Jon Willis" and "Christopher Keegan", among others. In the summer of 2004 he became Marlais on Wikipedia but he first edited under the IPs 201.135.118.109 and 201.135.118.251; their edit histories are here and there. All of it revolved around pedophila and coming up with in-Wikipedia justifications for pedophile behavior. During that month in 2004, Schillaci as Marlais had a talkpage discussion on a "boylover"article with noted pedophile creeps Zanthalon and Moon light shadow.

Der Untergang

During all of his time in Mexico as he moved south to his final digs in San José de Garcia he was having sex with male children, but he was smart enough this time to not film it. He did, however, show up for an ABC News taping on a Michoacán beach as Dylan Thomas to comment on the then-upcoming 2005 Michael Jackson trial; ABC did not use the footage. In 2007 the FBI made Schillaci one of the Ten Most Wanted; a year later he was finally nailed by FBI agents and Mexican Federales in San José de Garcia. The evil-exposed.com website (now defunct) and Perverted-Justice group had begun hunting him in 2007 and they quickly tracked him down, giving the FBI their information. After a quick trial, Marlais-Dylan Thomas was once again behind bars, this time for the bulk of his life, and even if he is paroled in the 2020s he will be on a watchlist the rest of his mortal existence.

Some creepy sentiments Dylan Thomas made on BoyChat in 2008:

The fact of the matter is, we hold all the cards. We (speaking on the broad scale) have sex with their children. And when they arrest us and put us in jail, a zillion more of us are still having sex with their children. And when they get us in therapy and "cure" us and teach us how not to "offend," a zillion more of us still slip through the cracks and still have sex with their children.

And there's not a damn thing they can do about it.
  
For every pedophile they arrest and put in jail, ten more are fucking their children.
  
I love it when the bloggers say, "They want us to believe they're harmless, but look, so-and-so got arrested!" That just shows how clueless they are. We are not harmless. We never claim to be harmless. That's their own wishful thinking. The truth is, they will never be rid of us. Their children will never be "safe" (as they define "safe"). We are the most dangerous people in the world, and there isn't a damned thing they can do about it.
  
When the mental health professionals come to me asking for my help in dealing with society's problem, I will be at their disposal. But when they talk about trying to solve the "pedophile" problem, my only message is this: You can't. You've already lost. Ask Ernie Allen and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: more of us are having sex with your kids than ever before. All your money, all your laws, all your daytime talk shows, and all your therapy: worthless. There are more of us than ever; you're fighting a hydra. Cut off one head and two more spring up in its place.


Wikipedia's Stonewalling

The website wants nothing to do with Jon Savarino Schillaci; members were far more concerned with the non-question of whether or not he considered himself gay than telling the truth about Marlais, who was finally blocked in 2009 by John Vandenberg. There is no mention of Schillaci-as-Marlais in the article on him, and if I didn't have the information I was provided I would not know about the connection at all, it is hidden that well. By doing this they have become his accomplice.

                                                       Marlais at trial in 2008.


"Schillaci's trail of molestation through Mexico will likely and unfortunately, never be accounted for fully." - Statement by Perverted-Justice



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Stuff That Has Nothing to do With Wikipedia: "China Uncensored" and "Russia!" magazine

This is one I've wanted to do for a long time....

China Uncensored

This one has something to do with Wikipedia, but only tangentially. China Uncensored is a YouTube series run by a Sinophile named Chris Chappell who may-or-may-not be fluent in Mandarin aka "Standard Chinese" (Pǔtōnghuà). His shtik is that he plays this Stephen Colbert-like anchorman who talks about mainland Chinese news stories, most of whom paint the Chinese Communist Party in a bad light. The only problem is that Chappell is aligned in a "open secret" way with New Tang Dynasty Television, which is the satellite network run by Falun Gong practitioners, but you would not know it from the "about us" page of the website.

                         Chris Chappell and the NDT.tv "bug" that came and went from his videos.

And what is "Falun Gong"? That's complicated; it's a form of "qigong" (pronounced "chee gung") exercises (think Tai Chi but with more meditating) founded by a man named Li Hongzhi in the early 1990s during a post-Tienanmen Square Massacre "back to the roots" national fad. Another name for it is "Falun Dafa". The CCP is not happy about the growth of folksy religions after they opened up the country in the 1980s, so they have banned Falun Gong. My problem with all of this is that Chappell is not open about his links to NTD.tv on YouTube, nor whether or not he is a Falun Gong user or in it to talk about the "house Christians" (Chinese Protestants or Catholics who won't attend the State-approved churches, so they have illegal masses/services in their homes.) We don't know, and nobody in the media is willing to talk to Chappell, even though China Uncensored has been on YouTube for three years and counting. The other thing that bugs us is that Chris uses The Epoch Times as a heavy source, and that newspaper was founded by the same group of people who founded New Tang Dynasty Television: Chinese-Americans who may or may not be Falun Gong practitioners. Here is Chris Chappell spending most of a video talking to an Epoch Times reporter about how China is running a secret economic war against America. Did I mention they also run a dance troupe? The Yelp reviews are fascinating. Something should be said about the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, the "anonymously written" anti-Communist screed that appeared in 2004; it has become the bulwark and lodestone of the Falun Gong press movement, to copy the sort of anti-Communist ranting of the John Birch Society and Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. Chris Chappell uses comedy to get that message across, and it works, mostly.

The Wikipedia element only has to do with The Epoch Times and NTD.tv; they have SPAs dumping in pro-Falun Gong material and there is a lot of infighting. User OhConfucius had this to say about the situation last year: Falun Gong does not exist in a vacuum, as its leadership is at loggerheads with the PRC regime. Although Falun Gong claim the moral high ground, neither side has the gospel truth on its side although both claim it. FLG is certainly more of the victim in this game, but you can expect a violent reaction if you poke a wild animal enough times. Disliking both in equal measure, I edit without pro-Falun Gong nor pro-PRC government agenda....The Falun Gong have a formidable propaganda machine in New York under Gail Rachlin which grew out of the same Cultural Revolution mindset as the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China, otherwise known as the "Propaganda Department". In a small way, I'm happy to say Rachlin's operation now qualitatively surpasses the regime's – it's much more reactive, and imaginative on the attack, but it's still paranoid and highly sensitive to criticism, like its counterpart. Operating in exile [NTD.tv and The Epoch Times are based in New York City, as is China Uncensored] against a regime that is as brutal as it is opaque, there are no party lines to follow. Shen Yun becomes the vanguard, and propaganda gets dressed up deceptively as art. Li Hongzhi ordered followers to pick fights with the regime while he himself is safely in the US. His footsoldiers irritate the monster and add to their statistics. Ever imaginative, Falun Gong rides on the PRC's abysmal human rights record, their propaganda machine, in addition to hiding behind glossy silky dance performances, generates and spreads stories of Nazi-like atrocities that only a brutal totalitarian regime could conceivably commit. Like all smears, plausibility is key; never let the lack of evidence get into the way of a good story. One anonymous informant hiding behind dark glasses and waiting political asylum, without documentary or photographic proof.....Pointing to their motto but being cagey about the true and kooky nature of some of their teachings, Falun Gong hold themselves up as virtuous; anyone who dares to utter any criticism is labelled "evil". Their declared primary objective is the overthrow of the Communist Party of China – as can be seen from any issue of Epoch Times. Falun Gong hold themselves up as champions of human rights but actually only care about themselves; they are wary of other human rights defenders who are not Falun Gong. Anyone who dares to criticise them is thus a human rights abuser. Their proselytism is a defining trait, and they seek to discredit anyone who is not totally in support of them. Although the term "enemy" is usually reserved for the any observer who isn't completely on board is considered "the enemy" or a collaborator. They discredited cult-buster Rick Ross, vilified the sceptics He Zuoxiu and Sima Nan; poured scorn over the work of respectable academics like Margaret Singer, Heather Kavan by tarring with guilt by association to the regime. Initially welcoming him, they have scorned Harry Wu – probably the world's foremost authority on Chinese forced labour camps – since he declared that he found no evidence of the organ harvesting allegations. They spread rumours about Wu turning collaborator after his swift release from PRC arrest. Falun Gong editors quote extensively from texts written by "investigative journalist" Danny Schechter, whose discourse concerning Falun Gong is disconcertingly similar in tone and content to Falun Gong propaganda. Another favourite is Ethan Gutman, who writes for the neo-conservative Weekly Standard, and whose storyline repeating FLG allegations of live organ harvesting on FLG practitioners marries well with the journal's US-centric/anti-PRC agenda and rhetoric. Wikipedian Colipon discusses the issue of Falun Gong members editing Wikipedia here; the short version is that Wikipedia has seen waves of SPAs (single-purpose accounts) run by Falun Gong members trying to control Falun Gong articles since 2004; they were chased off twice, but now control the articles either because nobody gives a damn anymore or there are not enough people left smart enough/thick-skinned enough to deal with the problem.

David Owenby wrote a good book on the issue over a decade ago, Falun Gong and the Future of China; seek it out if you want to know how nutty they truly get.


                               Award given to people willing to call the Chief of Daqing City Police to release the mother-in-law of 
                               Ben Hedges, host of the You Tube show "Lao Wai Kan Zhongguo" (A Foreigner's View of China.)


Russia! magazine

This one is less complicated; Russia! magazine is a website about the largest country on Earth that originally was kind of like Soviet Life during the perestroika period or it's successor Russian Life: focused on what was going on within the country while also discussing culture, art, etc. The only problem was that new websites began emerging in the last decade or so that did Russia!'s job better (Russia Beyond the Headlines, The Russian Reader, KinoKultura, etc.) so it switched over to more and more of an economic/political magazine, and after the Crimea-Donbass War started, it moved over to sounding more like a narrowly-focused defense issues blog. That written, I will never sass Jim Kovpak for going into the Ukrainian war zone to report on how it is (surreal, bombed out, and shitty for the elderly), my problem is with Mark Adomanis, who unlike Kovpak, does not live in Russia; he reminds me of Michael McFaul, the American Ambassador to Russia. He once wrote a column titled "Revenge of the Losers" slamming Soviet refrigerators and Igor Strelkov (the former insurgent leader of Novorossiya), a piece which has since vanished. If they could find a Russian writer who is as pro-markets as Adomanis without being as annoying, Russia! would probably drop-kick him to the curb.....not that it matters as he also writes for Forbes. If I had to pay for Russia! as a physical publication, I would rather read back issues in a college library. Rodina deserves better.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Going Meta: Trying to Save Wikipedia From Itself

Because there is so much scandalous bullshit going on with Wikipedia, we've gotten away from the airy-fairy theorizing about Internet information theory I was doing in October last year. So let's play an extremely distaff version of Plato's Republic and try to design a better version of Wikipedia.

Structure

Wikipedia is built on the idea of human goodness and altruism, but as ninety percent of this blog has shown, it is easily gamed by assholes, especially assholes who form into tribes. The best way out would be to take the English-language Wikipedia (so we have a prototype) and split it up into separate sections based on broad topics. So there would be a Wikipedia of History, a Wikipedia of Philosophy, a Wikipedia of Science, a Wikipedia of Indigenous Cultures, a Wikipedia of Popular Culture, etc. There would be a Meta-page with a search engine to direct people to the articles they are looking for, and all the wikipedias would have links to each other (which would have to have those popup windows warning them that they are going from article A in Wikipedia B to article B in Wikipedia X.)  The major purpose of breaking en-Wikipedia apart is to keep "brigading" from happening; I am not a fan of the "Guerrilla Skeptics" and all the drama Rome Viharo ran into. Jimbo Wales knows, but will not say that his project is a haven for jerkoffs, sperglords, the power-mad, and all the flavors of social media idiot - so we split the place up, give each separate wikipedia it's own administration (elected to two year terms with term limits after the fourth year so they can't serve another four year block, assuming anybody survives the second election) and task them to keeping the bullshit to a minimum. The next thing that would change is the markup language; the hardliners will never give it up, so you take it away and give them a more modern system to work with. I know people will be lost, but it will open up the place for users who were intimidated by the previous system. Paid editing should be allowed BUT paid editors need to register that they are paid editors, they will have a small superscript green "P" an the end of their handles. Any articles with paid editing will be marked with red-and-white barberpole striping at the top and bottom of the page to warn readers that paid edits happened. MastCell is a dickhead, but he is right about one thing: disclaimers on Wikipedia medical articles are a must and should be implemented on the presently-existing Wikipedia as well as this model we are building. God knows how many people were mangled following medical advice on the site.

There are claims that putting YouTube/Vimeo/Dailymotion links and hiding the hypertext links in the documents like I do will make Wikipedia friendly to the kids and I would be willing to experiment with that; it would also help to experiment with the layouts, because the standard Wikipedia page is ugly as hell now compared to corporate webpages or personal weblogs. The other, more important thing is that the science wikipedia, the philosophy wikipedia, the medical wikipedia, and (possibly) the architecture and fine art wikipedia must let experts in so that the articles can be checked for accuracy, comprehensibility, and complicated hoaxes/inside jokes. Why those? Because they aren't arguing about which episode of Steven Universe came first; they are trying to teach through writing/editing/cross-checking online encyclopedia articles, which is the true purpose of Wikipedia, not all the BLPs, news articles rewritten into "recent history" pages, etc.

Content

One of the long-buried bodies is the fact that Wikipedia in the early years was beefed up with articles from the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911), the 1899 Encyclopaedica Biblica, and the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia. All of which were good examples of scholarship before World War One occurred, but are now so obsolete as to be laughable. And yes, I did steal that list of publications from myself. There is a book, The Myth of the Britannica by Harvey Einbinder (1964), which discusses the various problems with the 1958 and 1962 editions, the one most important to this post being obsolete material. The "great EB" reused material for years after it was rewritten in the late 19th century, and Einbinder found reams of the 1890s-1911 material still sitting inside the 1958 Britannica, a lot of it stylistically mutilated to fit size constraints. If the Wikipedians lied and used the 1911 EB but also later Britannicas, who knows how much of this obsolete, mangled junk was transcribed into Wikipedia? This is why the Wikimedia Foundation needs to hire copy editors; if they want to be the "sum total of human knowledge" or some other monomanical piffle, then it all needs to be sourced correctly, stylistically uniform, and encyclopedia-like. Right now it's lumpy, uneven, full of linkrot, (sometimes not so) hidden bias, and crappy stub articles.

Not a Conclusion

We know Wikipedia (including all the foreign language versions) is dying, the number of editors fading away to a pitiful remnant by 2020 or so. Changing the rules of the game might breathe new life into the project. Even if nothing like what I have roughly outlined ever happens at Jimbo's Jungle, something like it could be used in the next online encyclopedia project, assuming anybody gives a damn to try again. In either case, this subject will be brought up again in the future, because I know there are angles I'm missing.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mathsci and MastCell

We could also call this one "Skeptics on Wikipedia" or "The Science Police"; both of these (academic or medical) clowns should be using their brains and skills within their own fields, but instead they are wasting time arguing with non-scientists and non-doctors on Wikipedia, though we are beginning to understand that the doctor actually gets off on arguing/ganging up on dissenters/banning people. The fight is why these two remain on Wikipedia; if they were actually interested in presenting skeptical views of the "pseudoscience", both Mathsci and MastCell would have decamped to RationalWiki long ago.

The Mathematician: Antony John Wassermann

Wassermann (b. 1957) is a British mathematician who lives in Cambridge, England. He is the son of Gerhard Dietrich Wassermann, a mathematician and parapsychologist; his mother is Bertha Edith Weiss, whom G.D. Wassermann married in 1948. Antony Wassermann went to Royal Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne for his elementary education, and received his Ph.D at the University of Pennsylvania in 1981, studying under Jonathan Micah Rosenberg. All that I just wrote was found out by Captain Occam (Jonathan Kane); according to him, A.J. Wassermann hasn't published since 1998 which Kane didn't understand. An unspoken rule of thumb of mathematicians is that you see fewer and fewer papers from them as they get older; the flame of genius burns out, and they just teach the shiny new things. The great irony of Wassermann being Mathsci on Wikipedia is that there isn't even a stub article on Antony John Wassermann, even though he was a Miller Research Fellowship recipient in 1986-88, winner of the Whitehead Prize in 1990, and allegedly an expert on the Baum-Connes conjecture, but nothing he wrote on it was mentioned in the Wikipedia article.

Wassermann became Mathsci in 2006, though his early history (like most of the real pissants of Wikipedia) was retroactively screwed with by his friends. And his friends are such august figures as Herr Doktor Lukas Pietsch (Future Perfect at Sunrise), Charles Matthews of Wikimedia UK, and MastCell, who protected him like the Turkish heavy artillery did Aqaba harbor in 1917, because Mathsci was endlessly useful as a "meatpuppet." A quote from Cla68 (Charles Ainsworth), March 2013: "One interesting aspect of the Mathsci Steamroller is the protection he gets from a select group of admins. Future Perfect and MastCell are academics like he is. If you can find some real-life connection between them, even if it's just social such as being friends on Google+, then that will make the narrative more compelling. The deeper, core problem that the Mathsci Steamroller hits on, IMO, is the use of Wikipedia by activist, agenda-driven editors. Future, MastCell, Mathsci, the global warming gang (not cabal:)), etc are mostly minor academic types or wannabees who apparently feel compelled to use Wikipedia to spread their message because they feel their opinions have not been sufficiently heeded by the general public." The name Mathsci came from AMS Mathscinet, a search system for academic publications that is subscription-only. It would be like if an archaeologist used the Wikipedia handle JSTOR_Jones. The one truly decent thing about Wassermann on Wikipedia (beyond his math and classical music articles) is that he never ran for administrator.

The major dogfight Mathsci was involved in was the Race and Intelligence clusterfuck aka "Japanese People are the Master Race." As the reader can tell, I am neither interested nor offended by this quasi-scientific, quasi-racist timewaster, but Mathsci was, so we have to write about it, dammit. The Wikipedians who were pro-heredity were: Captain Occam, Varoon Arya aka Aryman, David.Kane aka Ephery, Mikemikev, and Mirade aka Acadēmica Orientālis. Opposing them and supporting the "environmental" position were: Ramdrake, Mathsci, Hipocrite (Robert Djurdjevic), WeijiBaikeBianji, ArtifexMayhem, and Volunteer Marek. Then there were the intermediate people who thought the environmentalists were bullying the hereditarians, but mostly backed the environmental position: Ludwigs2, Vecrumba, Maunus, and VsevolodKrolikov. Mathsci was accused of numerous underhanded dealings during five years Race and Intelligence was in Arbitration and before that; when it first went up to Arbitration in 2009, Mathsci threw a fit claiming that Reubzz, the mediator "wasn't professional enough." Reubzz quit. In 2011 he followed Mirade around undoing everything he wrote, then claimed Mirade had a "real name" account on Deviant Art, never mind that he was gunning after the wrong target. In 2010, Rvcx quit Wikipedia after the Race and Intelligence Arbitration ended with Mathsci not being thrown out on his ear; Rvcx told Captain Occam this in a private email: "My reason for requesting the arbitration was to try to find *someone* with admin privileges who was willing to stand up for Wikipedia's professed principles, and the general notion of collaborative editing. In fact the ruling has made abundantly clear that ArbCom endorses Wikipedia as not an encyclopedia project, but a reputation economy: Mathsci has purchased the right to abuse other editors—and in fact rewrite ArbCom findings at the last minute when it's clear which way the votes are swinging—by spending so much of his time editing. As has been said about Wikipedia so many times by so many others, it's game where the most persistent editors with the most time to invest inevitably win.....Like several others have made clear through this case, I have more important things to do in life than play such a game. I have an academic career to pursue (with, quite frankly, far more significance than Mathsci's mathematical hobbies; we have names for faculty who exploit tenure without significant research contributions) and have no interest in a version of Farmville in which mainspace edits take the place of crop-watering." So that made Reubzz, Rvcx, and Distributivejustice the three editors Mathsci chased off in three-four years; that has to be some kind of record. As for the 2011 Mirade stalking the following exchange occurred:

Miradre: Talk: Cultural_anthropology "Please respect my privacy."

Mathsci: Talk: Cultural_anthropology  "Ha, ha, ha, ha."

Miradre: Talk: Cultural_anthropology "You have already been cautioned against such incivil remarks."

Mathsci: Talk: Cultural_anthropology  "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha."



The problem with explaining Mathsci's horrible behavior is that there is so much of it; my source had forty pages of material with links.....he was abusive from day one with Syrran (Gianni Giachetta) whom he chased off and then openly named on the 26th of August, 2006. So that actually makes four editors he chased off. And we haven't even gotten to the sockpuppets; he both investigated other people for sockpuppets while running his own socks, Aixoise and P0CF1A, of which most of the information about them was deleted; notice the name of the first, a French term for an inhabitant of Aix, a commune in Southern France. Guess who has a residence in Aix-en-Provance, the university city? Luckily for us he finally smashed too many toes with a sledgehammer because they blocked him at the end of 2013, then banned him outright in October 2014.....during the ban period, he actually had the chutzpah to send Rschweib unsolicited emails on the algebraic mutation article! He also edited his own talk page under the ban. A textbook Wiki-junkie if there ever was one.

A long comment from my source's material:



"Apart from the group of admins who've used their tools in unusual ways to protect Mathsci, there are a few long-term patterns which are worth noting here. The first is how his misconduct has been basically constant for the past four years, despite all of the warnings he's received, the times that arbitrators expressed certainty that his conduct would improve, and the times he promised this himself. During this period he's twice promised to disengage from RI disputes (once in December 2010 and once in April 2012), and broken that promise shortly afterward; he's twice been sanctioned or admonished by ArbCom (once in August 2010 and once in May 2012); he's been warned three times by individual arbitrators (Risker in April 2011, Jclemens in December 2011, and SilkTork in May 2012), and arbitrators have twice decided against taking action about him because they were confident his conduct was going to improve (Cool Hand Luke in September 2011 and Newyorkbrad in December 2012), only to have him return to the same conduct a few months later. This is apart from all of the numerous uninvolved editors and admins who've asked him to stop or registered their disapproval with him at various points. The second is the number of editors who he has one way or another driven away from the project. If we exclude editors who Mathsci believed to be socks, we have observed nine examples of this: Reubzz, DistributiveJustice, Rvcx, Varoon Arya, Ludwigs2, Captain Occam, Ferahgo the Assassin, TrevelyanL85A2, and Deltahedron. With the possible exception of DistributiveJustice, none of these were single-purpose accounts, and all but the the first three had nothing to do with Race and Intelligence articles when Mathsci got rid of them. (Deltahedron never edited in the RI area, at all.) The actual number of people he's eliminated is probably much higher than nine, because this number doesn't include editors he got rid of because he thought they were socks, or editors where this happened without anyone noting it. It also doesn't include editors who quit the project after being attacked by Mathsci but who never explicitly stated that he was a reason for their leaving. One example of someone like that was HPotato, a newbie who disappeared after having an argument with Mathsci in January 2013:Link.

And the last thing of importance, a large portion of the community seems to be aware of this problem, or at least of some part of it. ArbCom has come very close to doing something about Mathsci on several occasions, and would have done so if not for the lengths gone to by his supporters. In November a majority of arbitrators supported turning the one-way interaction bans into mutual bans, but changed their minds because of Timotheus Canens' threat. In December, at least four arbitrators felt that a full case was needed if someone were to request one in 2013, and ErrantX was planning to request it himself, until (according to ErrantX) Mathsci's supporters forced him out of Wikipedia with their threats against him. In the past year, at least twelve uninvolved editors have urged ArbCom to take some action about Mathsci in the various arbitration threads about him: Silver Seren, Penwhale, Vecrumba, Only in Death, A Quest for Knoweldge, Collect, SB_Johnny, NE Ent, ErrantX, Seraphimblade, Youreallycan, and D. Lazard."
                                                  Marta Aseda, Antony Wassermann on piano 
                                                                  or computer,Vaughn Jones in background.
                                                                  Cropped photo from Los Angeles, 2004.





The Doctor: David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D.

This guy is well-known in the "anti-vaccination" crowd (i.e, the parents of young children terrified that their vaccinated children will become autistic); he used the name Orac online for years, in fact he still uses it to blog. He runs a website called Science-Based Medicine where he and other medical doctors rant about what a threat not-immunizing children is; his personal page on that site is shot through with disclaimers and flimsy financial statements (but he will admit to writing for pay), but the bottom is an overblown "the people on Google are trying to destroy me" rant complete with hidden links making himself out to be the aggrieved party, even though a few paragraphs above he said he got involved in "refuting pseudoscience" on a lark; he has been on the Internet since the 1990s, and yet he has never figured out that people will act like crazed Berserker Vikings online if their precious personal beliefs are attacked, especially if it has to do with their young children. It should be noted that his personal page hasn't changed a lick since 2011.

As with Mathsci, Dr. Gorski became MastCell in 2006, the year before Wikipedia began imploding thanks to the Essjay scandal and Durova's (Lise Broer) "cyberstalking" secret email list, among other fiascoes. He wrote about cancer drugs like desatnib (aka BMS-354825 and "Sprycel")  and vinblastine ("Velban"), which gave many the suspicion that MastCell was doing paid editing on Wikipedia for the drug companies, which is an accusation made by his many anti-vaxxer enemies. One of his first edits was to the article on Matthias Rath, a German doctor whose "cancer cure" uses "micronutrients"; MastCell accused him of being an AIDS denialist on top of slamming his system. As with Mathsci, MastCell has his own sockpuppet Jinkinson (popped into being, January 2013) who wrote a BLP of Dr. Gorski in March 2013 using hard-to-find references. He was made an Administrator in 2007, the RfA begun by Durova. Notice that the only dissenter, Wooyi, was browbeaten into supporting Dr. Gorski's appointment. Following in the golem-like footsteps of Mathsci, MastCell has one true redeeming feature: he wants disclaimers at the top of medical articles at Wikipedia. Nobody else at Wikiproject Medicine agrees, so any gibberish can be passed off as medical knowledge on medical pages. Aside from that, he supports all the scumbags Mathsci hung out with so it's like replacing the White Spy with the Black Spy from Antonio Prohías' Spy vs. Spy cartoons, except that he isn't as much of a thuggish goon like Ernst Kaltenbrunner-like Mathsci. It doesn't hurt that he's getting tired of the whole thing: 

"I'm sure you're right. I dunno. Wikipedia forces us to choose between playing a primarily "editorial" role or a primarily "administrative" role. It takes a lot of effort to do either one well, and I certainly don't have the time, energy, or interest to try actively fill both roles anymore. And I feel like I have a more important role to play on the administrative side. I've been sort of appalled at the level of attrition among clueful, mature, reality-based people here. I'm even more appalled at what passes for serious discussion of meta-issues and project-level dilemmas.

"And finally, I've dealt with a lot of tendentious axe-grinders and nonsense-peddlers here, and I recognize the corrosive effect that such people have on the time and goodwill of well-meaning editors. I feel an obligation to deal with problem editors in order to preserve the editing environment for people who actually care about creating a reputable online reference work. And because I've got an admin bit (and a lot of hit points, and a solid armor class) I feel especially responsible for taking on these kinds of cases, because not a lot of other admins can or do. After all, anyone can join and edit, but not many people are in a position to deal with problematic situations from an administrative perspective.
 

"There used to be a group of admins who were smart and had good judgement and could wade into these situations, but their numbers have dwindled to the point that I feel pretty alone in that regard. There really isn't any roadmap for someone like me - I honestly don't know of anyone who's been active as long as I have in editing and adminning primarily controversial topic areas. I've outlived my natural wiki-lifespan.:) I don't think it's as simple as going back to editing articles more, because that's not as fulfilling as it used to be. The people who made this place fun for me are mostly gone, or else they're still here but burnt-out shells of their former wiki-selves. (Present company excluded, of course).:)
 

"That said, I'd be happy to work on the esophageal cancer article. I'm not sure I'll be able to work on it in a timely fashion; I've been contributing fairly little for a while now because of real-life demands. Anthony, I'll follow up with you by email. Thank you both for the notes—they are genuinely appreciated, and it's always good to hear from both of you. MastCell Talk 04:13, 26 September 2014 (UTC)"