Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Battle Over Scientology: Part II

To paraphrase Alex in Kubrick's version of A Clockwork Orange: "This is the real boring and like nitpick-y part of the story beginning, O my brothers and only friends."

The 2008-2009 Request for arbitration on Scientology

That is a document that screams to be seen, because it's part CYA exercise, part kangaroo court because anybody who spoke up for Scientology (or who was suspected of being pro-Scientology) was blocked or banned. The RfA began on December 11, 2008 and ran through to May 28, 2009. After all the decisions were made it was amended five times, mostly in 2012 (once on the same day - the First of June at 2:10 and 2:40AM!), with the last amendment on September 19, 2013.

To make it worse, all of the evidence has been "courtesy blanked" so you have to go into the article history to see all of this stuff, most of which would be laughed out of even an Albanian court when Enver Hoxha was leader:

Cirt's inability to edit in good faith alongside a Scientologist # 2

Xenu Xenu Xenu Xenu. There, I said Xenu. Cirt seems to think that Scientologists cannot say Xenu. What an odd concept and what a total misunderstanding of what Scientology is and how it works. And then to imply that a Scientologist that edits anything related to confidential materials must be an agent or something is just plain misleading and bad-faith. Here is the deal. Ex-Scientologists and critics assert that Xenu is mentioned in some upper-level Scientology materials and they use the Xenu story out-of-context to marginalize and ridicule Scientology. OK. That is true, they do assert that and do that. What is also true is that the upper levels are confidential and no Scientologist in good standing that has done these levels may discuss what they contain because that would be a breach of the confidentiality agreement. That does NOT mean that Scientologists cannot discuss how the alleged upper-level materials are already presented in reliable sources. That is all I personally ever do, make sure that articles correctly interpret reliable sources in an NPOV fashion. Do you get the difference? If I have done the levels (and I am not going to reveal personal information), I cannot discuss what they contain from my own first-hand knowledge but I can certainly discuss if a reliable source is being represented correctly and fairly. I do not need any "special permission" for that. Nor have I any. Nor do I "get in trouble" for what I do here on Wikipedia. Cirt proves again that s/he cannot edit in good faith alongside a Scientologist and now tries to get the lot of us barred. Sheesh.
(Lyncs as Justallofthem on Cirt, taken from here.)

The accounts originally involved in this fiasco were Durova (the filing party), Justallofthem (aka Lyncs), Cirt, Jayen466 (Andreas Kolbe), Jossi (later-banned sockpuppet of Jossi Fresco), Shutterbug (puppetmaster of Misou), Misou (sockpuppet), GoodDamon, Bravehartbear, Shrampes (another Shutterbug sockpuppet!) Once the ball was rolling, the list grew voluminously; there were four more Shutterbug sockpuppets (Derflipper, Grrilla, Su-Jada, TaborG); real people like Rick Ross (the cult deprogrammer/expert, not the rapper), Tory Christman (aka "Tory Magoo", an ex-Scientologist on YouTube), Hkhenson (Keith Henson the Scientology critic), Karin Spaink (Dutch journalist then involved with legal proceedings with the Church over posting the Fishman affidavit online), David Gerard (mentioned in the last post); also a number of people only known by Wikipedia handles, so around 45 accounts in all. It quickly turned into a melee worthy of a Shaw Brothers movie; Rick Ross and Jayen466 sniping over Ross' "biography of a living person", while
Ross accused Jayen466 of being a follower of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, GoodDamon hammering Shutterbug/Misou over "civility" while defending Cirt, etc.

One of the best statements made during the original process was by AndroidCat:

I certainly didn't want to participate in the annual time-suck, but having been named as a party to this event, listed among the guilty, perhaps I should leave a few words.


I doubt this will be much of a patch on a continually erupting problem. (One almost suspects this as gamesmanship as part of someone's plan.)

Even with the WikiHitThemWithSticksHitThemWithSticks! topic-banning of involved editors, the problem will continue.

Expecting that institutional socks will vanish and CHECKUSER requests will decrease after several institutional IP ranges are blocked is .. wow. If institutional editing is assumed, then this is an institution that is well known for setting up dummy ISP accounts to hide ownership.

Expecting that the articles will drift to some happy norm: That's not going to happen. It's a topic that polarizes even among academic circles.

Here's a heretical notion: the articles have been hugely improved by conflict. Is there a way to limit it and harness it?

Umm... The arbitrator discussion seem to be giving the impression that Jossi has just stepped out for a smoke or something, and when he returns, he'll have to get back in line. Aren't we talking about rather severe warping of Wikipedia policies, guidelines and articles going back over several years? Almost.. even.. a dreaded.. Single Purpose Account? (Sorry if this has all been previously discussed privately on secret channels, I like candor, transparency, and honesty, and hope this is properly addressed out in the open.)
  
Metz, Cade (2008-02-06). "Wikipedia ruled by 'Lord of the Universe'". The Register.  
Metz, Cade (2009-01-09). "'Lord of the Universe' disciple exits Wikipedia". The Register.

My general impression is that this RFAR is a side-line for some sort of Wikipedia political faction maneuvering. brb, popcorn. AndroidCat (talk) 06:41, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

***

Being cool about it didn't help; AndroidCat was topic-banned from Scientology.

Wikipedia Hackery vs. the Scientology Spinoffs

One of the issues not really discussed by the Scientology critics are the ex-Scientologists who go into business for themselves. According to Kristi Wachter the Scientology-watcher, 65% of Scientologists go inactive one year after achieving the level of Clear. She also estimates there have been 15,013 Clears from 1976 to 2004 based on figures printed in Auditor, a Scientology magazine.

Look at the Wikipedia article on Eckankar; no mention that Paul Twitchell, the group's creator, was an ex-Scientologist. He was, and his article is a monument of bad Wikipedia writing.

In Berkeley, California, there is the Berkeley Psychic Institute, founded by Lewis S. Bostwick in 1973; group is also called the Church of Divine Man. Not a word in the Wikipedia about Bostwick's time in Scientology, nor his modifications of "the Tech." The fact that the article is nothing more then a large stub with links doesn't help.

The article on est, now called Landmark Worldwide (and no longer owned by Werner Erhard) mentions nothing about Erhard's connection to Scientology, though his BLP does.

The Wikipedia article on Adi Da actually mentions his time in Scientology and is pretty balanced, proof that you can write a decent article on Wikipedia if you put your mind to it.

Finally we should mention the article on The Process Church of the Final Judgement, which began in 1964 as "Compulsions Analysis", a fact left out by the article. The Process Church quickly created a new orientation and theology after L. Ron Hubbard declared them a "Squirrel Group" (i.e. a group "unlawfully" using "the Tech") in 1965. Christ, Satan, Lucifer and Jehovah took the place of going Clear (Xenu hadn't appeared yet in Scientology.) Co-founder Robert DeGrimston's quasi-Biblical writings are out there for the reading, all 520 pages of them.

In 1970 Hubbard published a list of so-called "Squirrel Groups" and that any Scientologist who had been a part of those groups at any time was out. They were:

Abilitism – USA
The American College Propriotary Ltd. – Australia
Amprinistics – USA, Aus. [,] New Zealand, UK
The Assoc. of Int’l Dianologists – USA
The Aus. Center of Applied Psychology – Aus
Balanced Determinism – USA
The Brotherhood – USA
Calif. Assoc. of Dianetic Auditors – USA
Calif. Dianetic Fdn. – USA
Church of the final Judgement – USA, UK, EU, Mex.
Church of Satan – USA, UK, EU, Mex.
Christan [sic] Spiritual Alliance – USA
Dianology – USA
E-Therapy – USA
Eumentics – UK
Harmonistics – USA
Institute of Ability – USA
Int’l Awareness Center – USA
New Principles – USA, UK
Personal Creative Fdn. – USA
The Process – USA, UK, EU, Mex.
Reform Church of Scientology – USA
Sciognostics – USA
Self-Realization – UK, USA
Trichotomy – USA
Trinitology – USA
Triology – USA
Vacuum Cleaning Procedure – USA
World Society for Everyman’s Freedom – USA

Notice that the Process Church is on the list twice, because Hubbard hated them that much. Later four names were added:

Eductivism – USA
Anderson Research Fdn – USA
Defense or Thought – USA
Erhart [sic] Seminar Training (EST) – USA

Very few of these groups have been mentioned by Wikipedia, and Wikipedia still lacks a page for Scientology offshoots.

***

We will finish our look at Scientology on Wikipedia by examining some bizarro articles ("Neutrality in Scientology", the AfD on "Scientology Public Relations"), and how other cults control their articles. After that an article on Howard Keith Henson, and we can finally discuss the LaRouche war.

2 comments:

  1. Makes for compelling reading. Very useful summary.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Plus, you're right, Wikipedia says nothing about "freezone" Dianetics practitioners, apart from one pathetic little article.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Zone_%28Scientology%29

    ReplyDelete