Monday, April 18, 2016

Guest Post on Robert "Gamaliel" Fernandez

This was sent to me by a person who has been following this mess for a long time. No major edits were done, which is why the layout is slightly different from the norm.

The Neckbeard's Neckbeard; Robert Fernandez

By Friendly Rich

It's too easy to throw around terms like "basement dweller" or "neckbeard" when talking about Internet nerditry. It goes triple for Wikipedia administrators, who have an incredibly high percentage of total losers and cranks in their ranks. Yet there's one who is rarely mentioned in any discussion of Wikipedia history, in spite of his long years of abusing his power. That would be Robert Fernandez, aka "Gamaliel".

                                       Robert Gamaliel Fernandez in the (ample) flesh, 2015

He showed up on WP in 2004 and diddled the exact sort of content one expects from a loser: political conspiracies, comic books and the University of South Florida, whence he obtained his advanced degree in library science / English. Rob is not a "nerd", he is a NERD; in ten-foot flaming capital letters. And tragically knee-jerkingly left-wing as well. For examples, look at the FAQ for a USF newsgroup he ran in the late 1990s. Or consider old archives of his talkpage. As soon as he logged in to WP he started fighting with people, mostly over politics. One of his favorite off-wiki hobbies was participation in the old college "Quiz Bowl" competitions. That's what anyone would call a nerd.

Rob was the primary "combatant" in a July 2004 battle over John Kerry's "swift boat" career, with a right-winger named Rex071404. This battle led to a very early Request For Comment, leading to Rex's permanent banishment. Rob thereby learned that he could manipulate Wikipedia, with some assistance, pushing his favored political POV and thence make the other party "vanish". His rigid, mechanistic, cold, and policy-quoting method of argument was an early example of successful "Wiki-lawyering". Rob also fought with various people who tried to insert conspiracy talk in the article about Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, or anywhere a conspiracy was claimed in regards to the Kennedys. So he quickly learned how to play the system. Rob is clearly "neuro-atypical", a politically-correct way of saying he is somewhere on the "autism spectrum".

And if anyone needs proof that Rob is a "typical Wikipedia insider" with a typical insider's paranoia and contempt for criticism, consider this very early Wikipedia Review thread. Even as late as 2011, Kennedy conspiracists were still pointlessly complaining about Fernandez.

Inevitably he became a Recent Changes patroller. And as soon as he passed his RFA in November 2004, he started blocking vandals, mostly IP addresses, in his usual robotic style. The people who voted for him in the RFA were the same people who supported him in the Rex071404 dispute; Wikipedia insiders of much infamy. Yet he already was developing a reputation for unpleasantness and abusiveness. His "content work" was mostly minor and bureaucratic in nature, adding categories to articles and such. But he wasn't there to "write an encyclopedia", he was there to collect power. And suck up to insiders such as the now-world-famous Linda "SlimVirgin" Mack.

Rob also enjoys a special mark of distinctiveness as one of the first anonymous administrators to be "outed" by early Wikipedia critic Daniel Brandt. As Brandt wrote on a historic forum thread in December 2006: "Gamaliel is one of the main people behind the move against RPJ. He worked closely with SlimVirgin in the war against LaRouche articles on Wikipedia in early 2005. When SlimVirgin started the bio of me on September 28, 2005, it was mainly because I was quoted in a newsletter about Chip Berlet, where I had pointed out some evidence of intelligence-community collaboration by Berlet in the government's successful effort to jail LaRouche during the 1980s. I independently confirmed this evidence before I wrote about it in the newsletter. SlimVirgin deleted the quote from me and called me "unreliable." Then she started the bio on me a few months later! You can see why I soon launched a war to get my bio taken down. I felt that there was no way I needed a bio on me if it was started by SlimVirgin, who clearly had ulterior motives. Gamaliel worked closely with SlimVirgin and was very active in frustrating all of my efforts to delete my bio. He permanently banned me from Wikipedia in early April, 2006 for making legal threats. I merely pointed out that there was a new federal law in the U.S. that makes it a felony to harass someone while hiding behind a screen name…Fernandez is or was a grad student in library science. He dug out information about me from page 20 of a New York Times story from 1968, and took much delight in using this to brand me as a draft-card burner in my Wikipedia bio. Needless to say, that doesn't help me when I have to send out my resume to try to get a job. Fernandez brags on his user page that he is most proud of his contributions to the Wikipedia article on Lee Harvey Oswald. His edits de-emphasize the conspiracy angle. If I ever find myself in court over my Wikipedia biography, I'd like to put both Jimmy Wales and Rob Fernandez on the stand. Conveniently, Wales and Fernandez both live close to each other, near St. Petersburg, Florida, which is where the Wikipedia servers are located, and where the trial would most likely take place."

Unlike most Wikipedia power-hogs, Rob avoids involvement in petty warfare on noticeboards, so he is little noticed by the usual drama-seeking crowd. He does his shanking in private and with a coldly logical style. And anyone friendly with Brandt becomes a target. Consider the L. Fletcher Prouty article as an example of Rob's "excellent work" in defaming someone via Wikipedia biography. Wikipedia observers suspect that many of the assorted editors appearing in the history of this article are among Rob's undeclared sockpuppets.

He even helped out with occasional coverups. An IP address belonging to the Wikimedia Foundation ( was caught vandalizing the biography of sports writer Rob Parker on 6 January 2012 (during an editwar triggered by a column Parker wrote about Atlanta). Nothing was done until Greg Kohs pointed it out in 2015. Fernandez quietly vanished the edit from visibility, long after the fact. Other defamatory edits of Parker's article were not hidden, because they were not made by a WMF employee.

Should there be any claims that Rob is an "evenhanded" administrator and does not engage in bias or "conflicts of interest", simply bring up his slavish multi-year protection of one biased editor, Scott "Goethean" Zimmerle. You can learn all you want to know about Zimmerle from his blog. He is a minor business drone at DeVry University, he is a Chicago-area progressive, and he has a deep, slavish obsession with an obscure pseudo-mystic philosopher named Ken Wilber. The "integral theory" championed by Wilber has gotten almost no traction in the mainstream academic world, and is today mostly a "fringe" idea cited by Indian mystics. See the archives of the Ken Wilber talkpage for remaining traces of Goethean's obsessive "owning" of this content.

Uncounted numbers of times, Gamaliel protected Goethean's Wikipedia activities against all foes, especially conservative foes like Joe Hazleton. Go to Wikipedia Review and search for the innumerable threads Hazleton started there, only to complain about the two "besting" him over and over. As usual in this kind of dispute, there is no "right" or "wrong" and the winner is the side which is most mechanistic and determined. Having an administrator to protect him, Zimmerle got away with Wiki-murder more times than can be counted, from 2004 to 2012; many  of the relevant Wikipedia edits were later "disappeared". But we can show some remaining examples of Zimmerle getting his way on Wikipedia, no doubt with the silent support of his "pet administrator". Why Fernandez and Zimmerle were so closely connected, other than by similar political goals, remains a mystery; observers suspect they might have common family connections in the Chicago area.

Even Goethean isn't bulletproof, as in September 2013 he was topic-banned by Arbcom from any article dealing with the conservative "Tea Party" movement. And a petty dispute in 2014 over gun-control articles resulted in a mild slap on the wrist. Plus, he was keeping his "war notes" about opponents on user subpages, a longtime practice. And he makes the usual number of blindingly stupid and hypocritical mistakes. Finally, he seems to be losing control of Wilber-related articles. This would have been impossible only six years ago. Perhaps Rob's been too busy to "help" him.

Rob Fernandez reached the pinnacle of Wikipedia warlordism in 2013. First he ran for ARBCOM in December, and failed by a narrow margin. In January 2015, he became a principal editor of Wikipedia's absurd internal newsletter, the Signpost. In March, he wrote this contemptuous Signpost editorial about the "participatory grantmaking" scandal, in which he smugly attacked Wikipedia critic Greg Kohs, and by extension anyone who edits Wikipedia for pay. As usual, it is a "conspiracy theory", therefore Rob says it doesn't exist. And Kohs is a "petty vandal" of glorious Wikipedia, and therefore has no rights as a human being.

The robot speaks: "We should be less concerned about who wrote a borderline Wikipedia article which a little over a thousand people have read and be more concerned about how the WMF is using its funds, so the community can ensure that the encyclopedia has not been improperly monetized by grifters. Perhaps it is not surprising that Kohs has chosen not to complain about this potential monetization of Wikipedia, as Kohs has engaged in eight years of criticism of Wikipedia because he was unable to monetize Wikipedia in the fashion of his choosing."

In December 2015 Rob was given every magical key one might need to abuse power; he was just barely elected to a one-year term on ARBCOM (despite having many enemies in Wiki-world), and was thence given oversight and checkuser abilities. Plus he somehow managed to be elected to the Board of Directors of the Wikimedia DC chapter. Meanwhile, he was making enemies in the Gamergate world, and becoming a regular subject of abuse on the Reddit area r/Wikiinaction. The secretive Wikipedia insider, who was furious about "outings" for years, now appears in public by his real name; is the next logical step a high-ranking job with the Wikimedia Foundation? One can easily "fail up" within certain organizations, it seems.


  1. Well, Rob? Nothing to say? Haven't got the stones to argue your case off a Wikimedia talkpage, do you? COWARD.

  2. Rob is a coward and a thug weak of mind and sprit.

    Joe Hazelton...

  3. One of the elephants in the room about WP is that it's admins and regular editors are increasingly being populated with people (mainly men) who are autistic. It's likely one of the reasons why the site is so frustrating to use by people who aren't autistic. However, it's taboo to talk about this.

  4. Not autistic, just psychopaths... Scott "Goethean" Zimmerle is a crazy psycho nut job and his friend Robert "Gamaliel" Fernandez is a power drunk, brain damaged dork. Both of these worthless scumbags are failed humans. Wikipeidia is a useless "game of thrones" MMPG game site. A simulation of a liberal paradise similar to NORTH KOREA or Russia under Stalin. All information on Wikipeida is unreliable.

  5. Hardly a liberal paradise, dude. For example I tried making suggestions and edits to the SOCOM page referring to targeted night raids or killing of civilians as "murder" and was routinely reversed and then finally blocked and banned. These autistic nuts come from both sides of the spectrum and Gamaliel happens to sound like a dude less motivated by politics than by an obsessive need for control.

  6. FYI update to Robert Fernandez bio....
    He is now a

    Reference/instructional Services Librarian
    Cannon Memorial Library

    Ph; 352.588.7867

    Saint Leo University
    33701 State Road 52
    Saint Leo, Fl 33574-6665

    I bet He would like to hear from his dear and close wiki buddies who over the years have developed a warm and close relationship with Rob... now here is your chance to break out in to the real world and interact with the real Rob "Gamalile" Fernandez....