Friday, October 16, 2015

Guest Post: Mutineer interviews Triptych, formerly of Wikipediocracy, on Wikipediocracy

The interview below came though the email; we had been contacted by "Mutineer" before and he was able to speak with Triptych.

Mutineer: What are your recollections of

Triptych: Well, first I'd say it does a lot of good insofar as it conforms with its stated mission, which is to shine a light on the failings and abuses of Wikipedia. But, second, it's now increasingly steered *by* Wikipedia insiders. It's staffing its moderator slots with Wikipedia administrators like Hex and SB_Johnny. It had pretty near a welcoming party for new members Dennis Brown and Kww, who are two of Wikipedia's most horrendous administrators.

Mutineer: ...Why is Dennis Brown horrendous?

Triptych: Most recently he was a key operator in the "Orangemoody Investigation." That was touted by the WMF and ignorantly bought into by an alarming amount of mainstream press as some sort of victory over cybercrime. What was really happening is they were geolocating and terminating all these Bangladesh-vicinity editors that would accept pay to improve and maintain articles. So, on his blocking spree and erasure of the articles, Dennis was putting a good number of these impoverished third-world people out of work. Before that, he's shown himself to be a cyberbully on several occasions.

Mutineer: Back to Wikipediocracy. You submitted some articles to it?

Triptych: I've got a junior co-credit on one article on Wikimania 2014 that I didn't expect until I read it. So I was surprised. But reading the article I realized that, yes, it drew from a forum post or three I wrote. It was a good article, so okay. The first article I actually submitted was on the WMF's Philippe Beaudette, who resolutely destroyed the identication document copies submitted by the Wikipedia administrators seeking advanced accesses to look at the non-public information (IPs, locations, etc.) of Wikipedia contributors. He was in complete violation of the WMF terms of use, in which the WMF told Wikipedians "we know who they are, these people we're giving access to your information."

Mutineer: Go on.

Triptych: I wrote that article and it gets put into some sort of group-editing process in WO's backroom. So the article sort of has to be endorsed, I guess, by all of the trustees and staff. But I can't even see what they're saying mainly, they do a "black box" thing, and update me now and then. Kelly Martin had a problem with it, he or she says "focus on the system, not Philippe." But my point was it was Philippe doing it. The terms of use said "these people have identified to us." But Philippe's doing "shred and forget." So submitting the article to WO was a bad experience, and it got worse the next couple or three times I tried.

Mutineer: How so?

Triptych: Well, let me keep it brief. I wrote one about Bwilkins bullying the Nobelist. I was supposed to get final approval on the final version if they edited it, but they publish it at like 2 AM on a weekday my time without my ever seeing a single edit of it. The article been tweaked in (my opinion) stupid ways, and they've inserted inexplicable pictures after taking out the one that I worked on. I most objected to the fact that they stuck in a low-resolution image of a Nazi jackboot stepping on something as an analogy to Bwilkins behavior. I complained, and Greg Kohs said "okay we'll take it down." After that we tried to come to terms, but they tell me my article as it was didn't meet their standards. "Standards?" You should've seen that garbage they turned it into in the first version they posted. Later, Hersch completely rewrites my article, sticks in a couple or three original paragraphs, and puts it up with himself as author in the byline. I didn't get angry really, as his rewrite was high quality, unlike that first thing they posted. It was still based closely on my work and research, he even copied over one of my mistakes.

Mutineer: Anything else about your article submissions?

Triptych: Wikipediocracy asked me to expand on a forum post once or twice, and once or twice I submitted on my own. But the experience was reliably excruciating each time. The last time, which I thought couldn't possibly go wrong, turned out to be the most excruciating of all. I wrote an article that explored the "Anvil Email," AGK's threat to complain to Kumioko's employer which was carried out, and the stalking of Dutch Wikipedia participant Moiramoira. My article's thesis was "Arbcom behaved inexcusably." What the black box group-editing process at WO did was invert the thesis into "The Grave Menace of Sockpuppetry Sometimes Forces Arbcom to Take Extreme Measures." They ripped out the liver, spleen, and a lung of my article, and put it into something I completely disagree with. Kumioko is not even a sockpuppet, he wants all his edits to be known as him. Eric Barbour and "Yerucham Turing" were supposedly my co-authors on that abomination, but I never exchanged a word about it with them. I reached terms with Kohser to publish my objection at the article but Zoloft stepped in and said "The article is not meant to convey the opinion of co-author Triptych. It is meant to convey the opinions of Eric Barbour and Yerucham Turing." Which may be seen if you look close enough at the bottom of the article now. WO calls this co-authorship? I call it robbery of my work and research.

Mutineer: Let's move on. What do you see as Wikipediocracy's failings?

Triptych: To reset that for a moment, I want to go ahead and praise Greg Kohs for having the fortitude to launch the website. Yeah, they're the trustees and Zoloft and so forth, but it's Kohser that puts his butt on the line with registering the website and so forth, and lives with all the little Wikipedia administrative punks that no doubt send "stop harassing me" emails when a forum participant criticizes them. He also writes really decent and well researched articles. Now, WO's failings? Let's hit the frontpage first. Sometime the articles are very good. However "the well runs dry" all too often, and it republishes stuff from years ago. The other part is the discussion forums. To me, it's forum technology that is really dated. It's a 1990s sort of discussion board. I suggested one time "can you modify the board code to place the avatars of the last person that commented in the thread, to bring some visuals to the top forum menu screen?" But the management wasn't going to try that. It'd probably be difficult, so I understand. I also criticize the moderators SB_Johnny and Hex. Why doesn't WO just hand over the moderation to WP:AN/ANI, if it's going to use that sort? SB_Johnny is just an idiot. Hex is a little wiener in the classic Wikipedia administrator mode. He quit his admin rights at Wikipedia several months ago with an overwrought statement of dissolution, and a pout, and I instantly opined at WO he'd be back to reclaim his rights in a couple or few months. Bigger than heck, he did that, but not without Arbcom intervening to query him privately on some stuff he wrote at WO. Arbcom, I think it was Salvio, gloated "he answered all our concerns perfectly." Frickin' Arbcom lapdog Hex. Why is he a WO moderator?

Mutineer: I thank you for your time. In closing, let me ask how you see the health of Wikipedia criticism generally and into the future?

Triptych: Hey, listen, thanks to you, Mutineer, I'm happy to be here at Wikipedia Sucks! and get a chance to comment on these matters. The health of Wikipedia criticism is terrible. Wikipedia has such a great influence on web results and thus human knowledge that it's processes really need to be examined and critiqued. You look at the behavior of the administrative class, which I rightly describe as a "bullyocracy" and it's an aspect that needs to be burned like a bug on a sunny day with a magnifying glass. Who are all these people they've blocked? Are they're really any controls on them? You get a bully administrator like Kww and he gets two Arbcom case (unless I'm forgeting a third) amounting to like 80 days of process, would probably make as big a paperback as Stephen King's "The Stand," until he's finally dumped. Meanwhile these little monsters are perma-blocking editors with their little Twinkle buttons, a mere button click, at astronomic rates each day. I also question the WMF's status as a charity. They route the donation money to their employees and trustees in large doses, rather than doing the accounting as a corporation. Is Wikipedia's purpose really benevolent? No, I don't think so.

We sent the interview to Eric Barbour, who responded on the matter of the blog post:
Thing is, the WO admins never asked ME if it was okay to use my name on that blog 
item, and I essentially had nothing to do with it. Who to blame? Probably Zoloft
although it's impossible to prove.

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