Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wiki-Douchebaggery: Beyond My Ken as an Example

Earlier this month we revealed how Beyond My Ken aka Edward R. Fitzgerald warped Wikipedia's coverage of modern dance and off-Broadway shows by pointlessly promoting his boss, David Gordon, and the production company he's worked at for twenty years. Now we will fill out the rest of the picture, how he acts on Wikipedia itself.

Before the danse macabre, it should be said that Beyond My Ken, Before My Ken, Between My Ken, Ed Fitz and the other alternate accounts/sockpuppets he used have never been given administrative power; instead he has accumulated the average number of so-called "minor trusts" allowed to editors such as "rollback", "pending changes reviewer", "file mover" and so on. His real power is strident dickishness, which he displays constantly. The following is a good example:

"Is everything ok? Do you want to talk about it?" Deoliveirafan 19:33, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

"Sure, let's talk about it: Fuck off." Beyond My Ken 19:35, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Pointlessly sticking his nose into a Bob Filner edit issue

When one editor pointed out that somebody had edited in the name of one of ex-San Diego (CA.) Mayor Bob Filner's sexual harassment accusers into his Wikipedia article, Fitzgerald made this statement out of the blue:

"Do no harm" is an impossible standard to live up to and, if taken literally, would seriously harm the encyclopedia.

Like it or not, facts, encyclopedic facts, may well be harmful to some living people: criminals, corrupt politicians and avaricious businesspeople, just to name a few. Any additional broadcasting of the activities of these people will be harmful to them, their reputations, their court cases and their families - but that's hardly the point. The point of BLP is not to try to avoid doing harm to anyone, it's to avoid doing harm to living people if the facts are not extremely well supported by citations from the very best of reliable sources. When that happens, when impeachable sources -- not tabloids, not scandal sheets, not TMZ or E! -- report something, and those reports are corroborated by other equally reliable sources, then it's out of our hands. Not to include those facts is a distinct disservice to our readers -- the people we are supposed to be serving here -- and an abrogation of our responsibility as encyclopedists in the modern world. That those facts will have a harmful effect on a living person is regrettable, but the additional effect of our including them when unimpeachable sources are reporting them is minimal.

We are not a social services agency, here to make everyone feel better about themselves, we're here to write an encyclopedia in a neutral, straightforward, non-judgmental manner, with our information supported by citations from reliable sources. When we fulfill those requirements, we have fulfilled our obligations to our readers and to the subjects of our articles, to whom we owe nothing more than that: accuracy and neutrality. To say that we have another, overriding obligation, a blanket proscription to "do no harm" is a egregious misreading of the intent of the BLP policy, one that, if widely believed, would cripple our ability to do what it is we're here to do. Beyond My Ken (talk) 08:27, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
 In doing research on Edward Fitzgerald, we've discovered that he is a Democrat and that all of the above may have been written as a way of sticking it at Bob Filner's accuser because Filner was a politician of his party.

Some of his wittier ripostes 
"Essentially, editing Wikipedia is a frustrating experience because the rewards of working on a project that has such fantastic potential are constantly being overwhelmed by the feeling that one is swimming upstream against a current of vandals and unhelpful editors. Strangely, the vandals are easier to cope with than the editors who clearly don't have a clue about what's best for the encyclopedia, but stick to their positions like glue nonetheless. These are the kinds of folks who consider any policy or guideline to be akin to Holy Writ, to be defended to the last edit, without any particular consideration of whether a posited alternative might actually be an improvement. These editors come in two basic flavors, those who do what they do out of ignorance or stupidity, and those who pursue their editing with malicious glee, and go out of the way to butt heads with their opposition. This is the core of what I've come to think of as Wikipedia's "CIA" problem – that is, the unfortunately large number of Children, Idiots and Assholes who inhabit its precincts." (Date Unknown)

 .....I'm a smart guy, but I'm human, I fuck up. 22:15, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

 "The notion that POV pushing, paid editing or the editor's intent doesn't matter is posited on the very dangerous notion that Wikipedia is a perfect machine, catching all biased edits and invariably correcting them. This is obviously empirically untrue. A POV pusher makes as many edits as possible as often as possible, most get caught and negated, some get through, and the net result is a small amount of movement in the desired direction. Rinse and repeat, and the POV has successfully been implanted. As long as POV misconduct is not given as high a priority as behavioral misconduct, our NPOV policies are in danger of being subverted. If ArbCom confines itself to conduct without dealing with biased content, POV wars will be settled on the basis of who has the best control over their behaviorial impulses, as opposed to whose content contributions hew closest to NPOV. It's a real problem that's not being dealt with well at all." (AN:Breach of General Sanction by User:Triton Rocker 01:55, 8 August 2010 (UTC)) [Bold added by this author, because the hypocrisy was too much to take.]

How he treated a Vietnamese editor

This whole story was turned into a Wikipediocracy blog post but the short of it was that Trongphu, one of the Vietnamese Wiktionary sysops was blocked for two years on the English Wikipedia and his talkpage access was revoked. He even went to the English-language Wikipedia Administration boards to try to get unblocked.  At one point Trongphu asked Fitzgerald on his user talk thread:

What I don't understand is you don't even know me nor do I even know you. How can you hate me so much? I feel like there is a reason that I don't know? I think I made perfect sense but, if you thought that I was being nonsensical then it's your choice. (08:39, 5 January 2014 (UTC))

To which Beyond My Ken responded:

You’re a total, loser, pure and simple, and you’ve sullied my clean and empty talk page. I pity if you are one of those in charge. I think I’ll have to reconsider Eric Corbett’s position about shutting down the lesser Wikipedias. (date unknown)

We had to put that the date was "unknown" because Fitzgerald later yanked it down; it was probably the same day in January, 2014.

A Summation

If Wikipedia were a paid job, Ed Fitzgerald would have been fired two weeks in. The Wifione people quietly went about making a chain of for-profit, unaccredited Indian business schools look good. Meanwhile, Beyond My Ken was quietly puffing up his boss while also being as abrasive as Larry David without the grace of being comedic. He brings nothing to the table, in fact, he takes things away from the table; he undermined the factual value of the wiki's theater coverage, he committed paid editing, and he was awful to anybody who slightly bothered him. To keep this post from being any larger, we cut out how he and Hipocrite (Robert Djurdjevic) supported Mathsci during the "Race and Intelligence" mediation fiasco of 2010. That anyone could confuse him for a surgeon astounds me; he is theatrical to his core.


  1. This was emailed to me:

    Kumioko once said: "Don't even
    get me started on BMK! He is just one of
    a growing number of Wikipedia editors
    who should be banned from the site
    for general assholery. He may be a decent
    editor but he has no sense of
    propriety, he's rude, he's a bully, he drives
    off new editors and is just generally a jerk. In the real world we refer to
    these individuals succinctly as "Losers"."

    Don't forget what Ed said when
    the deletion of "List of banned users"
    was proposed for deletion: "The people
    on this list are here because
    they harmed Wikipedia, and Arbcom or the
    community took action against
    them because of it. I am not in any way concerned that
    these people might be "harmed" by being on this publicly
    available list, as they have only themselves to blame for it. Individual
    privacy does not eliminate the community's need to protect itself from harm,
    nor does it abrogate the necessity of the individual to be responsible for
    their own actions. BMK (talk) 01:26, 15 September 2014 (UTC)"

    Which is not
    entirely true or accurate. Many of them were banned without
    "official process", only because some well-connected asshole
    (Slimvirgin, Jayjg etc.etc.) wanted them gone. Arbcom was not always
    involved. The list was deleted anyway, and presumably Ed went back to
    shitting on people on their talkpages.

    Yeah, he's a screaming prick. Any good work he does is being
    nicely nullified by his jabbing needles into people.

    - Doctor Why

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Fuck this user BMK. He keeps sticking his nose in my business ever time I go to an article. He needs to stop sticking his fucking nose were it doesn't belong!, no wonder he drives everyone crazy!

  4. I haven't read one attribute on this page about Mr. Fitzgerald that I don't completely agree with. This pusilanimous editor seems to revel in his self-made domain. Any argument that he is "only doing his job" doesn't take into consideration the level of vindictiveness with which Mr. Fitzgerald carries out his so-called "work." After getting into a disagreement about the wording of an article, he proceeded to visit my contribution page in order to revisit almost every single edit I had made in the past month. It's as if the disagreement wasn't enough--the man had to go out of his way to discover more locations on wikipedia where he might offer his "contributions" as long as those contributions revised edits I had done. One of his favorite methods for ensuring a disputatious environment on Wikipedia is his use of "status quo ante". As Wikipedia is continually in motion, there is no status quo ante. As a term, he should change it to "status fitzgerald" -- since for him, the status quo includes only his edits. In deleting people's contributions--a pasttime with which he completely relishes--Beyond My Ken is Beyond The Pale.