Thursday, July 28, 2016

Cranks and the Mentally Ill, a Long-Running Wikipedia Problem

If you have been reading this blog for long, the reader should have seen a post like this coming.....people who have mental illness and obsessives on certain topics are a component of Wikipedia and have been since the project picked up steam in the early 2000s. Where the crank starts and the mentally ill person ends is hard to say solely based on editing histories, so we are addressing both here as an overlapping pair of categories. We are not here to mock these people, only pointing out that they do exist on en.Wikipedia, and probably on the foreign-language Wikipedias as well.

What we do know

The utility page Userboxes/Health has hundreds of userboxes describing the health issues of Wikipedians; around 60 percent of the boxes are for mental illnesses or processing issues like dyslexia or dyscalculia. In 2014 the list included 33 sufferers of Tourette's syndrome, 23 self-admitted schizophrenics, and Someone_that_loves_cats, who claimed they were a psychopath. This person was a sockpuppet only used in 2013, but that is an odd thing to admit. At the same time there were 512 autism-spectrum users and over a hundred people claiming to be dyslexic. And those are the people who will admit it; there are many more out there on Wikipedia who have mental health issues and say nothing. Wikipedia's secrecy makes knowing the true number of editors and administrators with former or current issues impossible to discover.


The following are things found by Eric Barbour and Peter Damian while researching the topic.

"There are quite a few mentally ill people who edit Wikipedia. I have been stalked and harassed by more than one person here during my tenure, and while almost all of those folks were eventually indef blocked, after awhile, it gets to be too much. It is emotionally and physically draining. While some were mostly annoying time sinks who seemed to be just desperately seeking the attention they must have lacked in their real lives, others have displayed all the signs of full-blown psychosis, particularly in engaging in cyberstalking both on and off Wiki. I foolishly attempted to deal with through a rename, but alas, to my own stupidity I didn't think about the fact that it would be a public process."

- AnmaFinotera, on her userpage, August 2, 2010. She "retired" from Wikipedia after writing that.

Email to Peter Damian about another user, December 2007:

"What i don't understand is your surprise to find such a user; this is Wikipedia, not myspace...i'd say 25% of the big contributers are total psychos, i mean have you seen the detail and time there is in those "child murders" articles? have you taken a look into some of those insanely long discussions? you just have to distance yourself from them, it's simple really." (sic)

Part of a user talk section written by Anthonyhcole, April 12, 2012:

"Like many internet communities, this is a magnet for social outcasts of one colour or another. The bedridden, the housebound, the lonely, the frightened, the hated. This is a good thing. Most outcasts I know are good people, and this provides a place where they can do a lot of unalloyed good in the company of others. But the project needs to face the corollary that there will be an effect on the ethos here. When a bunch of rejects get together and tries to form a society ad hoc, they'll make mistakes that stem from poorly honed social sensitivity. It is highly likely that the social norms regarding each other, our subjects and the world at large (our readership) will be a poor fit for people of normal social sensibility. This matters. It is only just beginning to be addressed, starting with heightened attention to civility, but there's a long way to go, and the more these questions are discussed, the sooner we'll evolve into something that can seamlessly and responsibly engage with the world community."

Jimmy Wales claiming the now-defunct Wikipedia Review was full of mentally ill people, May 2006. An odd way to pass the buck as it were:

"There is actually a strange irony. Some of the people who post to Wikipedia Review are or could be legitimate critics, with thoughtful and perhaps even interesting criticisms of things that we have done wrong, either through honest mistakes, human failings, or bad policy. Such critics might be hard to listen to, but traditionally we have been quite good at doing so, and I am always one of the first to say that we should try to listen to all criticism for nuggets of wisdom. But those who are potentially legitimate critics do themselves a serious disservice by participating in a forum with people who are, quite simply, mental cases, and who discredit the entire operation with what can only be classified as offensive hate speech and stalking." (sic)

Sore bizarre theorizing from the IP address on Super Metroid:

the odd Level and enemy names 

"am I the only one who thinks that Kraid looks like Kermit? A green frog. The inventor of Kermit, Jim Henson, died from AIDS. Note: krAID'S lair, contains AIDS and liar. Kermit contains the letters for "krem", the German word for cream when you use the old spelling. Krebs is the German word for cancer. It starts with "KR", just like Kraid. Maridia lacks only two letters and then you get mare and India. Sea and India. When you think of India, you'll probably associate it with curry. And the German word for sea is "Meer". So you'd come up with "Mercury", just like Freddy Mercury, who had died from AIDS about the time Super Metroid was released. When you rearrange the letters of Norfair, you get "Air Fron", like "air front". When I hear "Mother Brain", I think of brain dura mater. Mater also is the latin word for Matrix. Think about the word "dura" one letter up it's "evsb", which contains "BSE", and another letter up following the alphabet it's fwtc, which contains "WTC". I'm pretty sure that there's something wrong with that and that it aren't just my paranoid delusions. The Nintendo developers picked those names with intention because they knew something special."

It should also be known that was also a 9/11 denier, claiming that the World Trade Center jetliner crashes and building implosions were film tricks.

Some userpage ranting from the ex-US Army soldier Kolakowski:

"Civilized countries? I do consider only countries such as Japan to be fully civilized because wisely, their oldest people, with only a small portion of their life span remaining to be lived out, volunteered for the near-suicide mission to save others. However, at their worst, they are worse than almost any other nation. Semi—civilized states: Poland, Germany, France etc. They do try to save people even if they heart has not beaten for an hour (not just professional soccer players, but they did the same for my father, extending his life by about 10 years); they seek volunteers for near—suicide missions from general population (of soldiers). Not civilized but close to it: They do save people for at most 15 minutes and seek volunteers from young men. Brutally uncivilized: Countries using 14 and 15 year olds in combat Foolishly brutally uncivilized: Using kids under 14 in combat (kids under 14 are useless for the purpose of armed combat)! Sincerely, Robert Kolakowski son of Stanislaw son of Jozef Elizabeth, NJ, 07202 Bialystok, Poland JMRC Hohenfels, Germany"


"The positive "holes" do not transmit power, the elctricity travels backwards in time. Proposed on 18APR2010 Robert Kolakowski son of Stanislaw son of Jozef Elizabeth, NJ, 07202"


"Because of the Research (pl.) run on me, I am forced to like Caliph ‘Umar a little, since women were frozen with fear when he appeared; and I am also forced to believe in the Hadith that states that Heaven will be full of poor men, and there will be a very few women. I am dead certain that second only to Devil Himself, a woman, is behind what has happened to me! Sincerely, Robert Kolakowski son of Stanislaw son of Jozef Elizabeth, NJ, 07202 PS Women give birth to children! I do not care; I have no children!"


Before we leave the world of the Wiki mentally ill we need to mention two other users: Serafin and Ulillillia. Both are male; Ulillillia is Nick Smith the gamer and blogger, who wrote the book The Legend of the 10 Elemental Masters, an outsider novel written by a self-described obsessive-compulsive disorder sufferer. We don't know who Serafin is; all the indications are he's Polish, and thus like Kolakowski part of the Brotherhood of Francis E. Dec (if they were more artistic, it would be the Brotherhood of Stanisław Szukalski); he repeatedly defaced the Nicolas Copernicus article with the sentence "Copernicus was a Polish astronomer!"  which was endlessly reverted by Germanophile crank Helga Jonat and some other editors that were also later banned, as was Serafin for running an army of sockpuppets to keep this war going for five years off and on.

Cranks and Crankery

The list is a lot shorter, but that doesn't mean it's any better.

From a Wikipediocracy forum thread, post written by Tarc:

"A recent example is Hopiakuta, subject of a discussion at AN. Creates bizarre redirects, article additions, etc... responses to concerns are near-unintelligible, so they block him. Others are objecting and asking for the users' disabilities to be taken into consideration. I think it will be quite a downward spiral if problematic users are given this sort of trapdoor to avoid responsibility for their negative contributions to the Wikipedia."

Hopiakuta was around from 2006 to 2012, considered a bizarro, and given the third degree at the Administrators' Noticeboard:

Can someone tell me what exactly is this user doing? I've been looking over his history and he's taking a lot of non-existent pages and making them into redirects. Especially his edit summary is impossible to decipher. All I guess by this is that he's doing some sort of google bomb in association with these terms and his edits goes back years. Judging by his talk history, there hasn't been much notice at all about this habit. ViriiK (talk) 10:18, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
  • What is it you want an admin to do here exactly? You don't appear to have tried simply asking them. Beeblebrox (talk) 10:28, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Look at his edit history. I'm guessing he's manipulating wikipedia to his advantage to implement some sort of Google bomb or something similar. ViriiK (talk) 10:34, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
While his edit summaries are incomprehensible, the redirects themselves look good to me. Have you tried contacting the editor? I've notified him of this discussion. Huon (talk) 10:50, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I agree that this should have been brought up with the user before running to ANI with it, but if garbage like this and this and this is not SEO then I don't know what it is. See User talk:Hopiakuta/ index Samantha Geimer Lot Elizabeth Ann Smart Gilmour Deon Baptiste Ian Baptiste Emmett Louis Till Stanley Ann Dunham Anneke Frank Annele Frank Charles Augustus Lindbergh, which is the user's talk page before it was moved to a hidden sub-page in May. Nearly every edit since the middle of 2007 has been like this.
Is this something like the Sven70 situation? It looks that way, except there was no problem with Sven's articlespace edits, while these ones are indistinguishable from SEO spam to me. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 11:13, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Treat me like I'm dumb. I've been contributing to Wikipedia for years and I've read people's edit history which this was just the first time I've seen this long list of incomprehensible changes in the edit reasons. I felt like there was some motive behind it like a google bomb or some form of SEO manipulation since the edit reasons do have links to the articles or redirects. ViriiK (talk) 11:21, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Requesting some time, leaving a note with Xeno, who at one point was mentoring said user and might be able to shed light on this. - Penwhale | dance in the air and follow his steps 11:30, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
You make up fantasy crimes that are not supported by evidence, then delete honest questions.
You have even made Uunartoq_Qeqertaq inhabited, which is absolute nonsense.
hopiakuta Please do sign your communiqué .~~Thank You, DonFphrnqTaub Persina. 11:40, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I never made up any "fantasy crimes". I simply said that your edit history is incomprehensible and it warranted my suspicion that there was some motive behind your edit reasons. As for "Uunartoq Qeqertaq" where did I do that? It never was inhabited in its entire history so it never was deserted in the first place. How can you desert something if no one has lived there permanently? ViriiK (talk) 11:44, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
(ec, responding to Penwhale:) Xeno seems to be inactive; I asked them about this some time ago (User talk:Xeno/Archive 29#Confusing edits by Hopiakuta) and received no response. In view of talk page contributions that are ... inscrutable ... at best, maybe a preventative block is appropriate? If only because Hopiakuta appears unable to meaningfully communicate with others, which isn't good for a collaborative project like ours.  Sandstein  11:46, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
The only reason how I came across you was because of where you made these modifications that made no sense whatsoever. The company, Stericycle, has nothing to do with any of these categories. Can you explain how you come to these conclusions? ViriiK (talk) 11:47, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
A desert island is uninhabited island is an island that had yet to be (or is not currently) populated by humans. Uninhabited islands are often used in movies or stories about shipwrecked people, and are also used as stereotypes for the idea of "paradise". Some uninhabited islands are protected as nature reserves and some are privately owned. Devon Island in Canada is claimed to be the largest uninhabited island in the world.
Small coral atolls or islands usually have no source of fresh water, but at times a fresh water lens (Ghyben-Herzberg lens) can be reached with a well.
Collaborative fraud.
I do not need to copy them all; this is from google:

Report: Romney made millions from investing in abortion related firm

Jul 3, 2012 – Romney Invested In Abortion Cleanup Company Stericycle ..... $100000 and $250000 in the Bain Capital Asia fund that purchased Uniview.

hopiakuta Please do sign your communiqué .~~Thank You, DonFphrnqTaub Persina. 11:55, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Didn't answer my question on the Stericycle changes. The modifications you made to Stericycle specifically with those categories did not belong there nor was there a valid reason to do so. Also I reverted the changes from that IP address regarding Stericycle because Wikipedia is not a newspaper. WP:NOT#NEWS As for "Desert Island", I'm talking about this change I made specifically because you made this change which you happened to include some non-related article's discussion on an already deleted article. I don't care about the whole "desert island" (although you just answered your own question but I can say that this is a case of WP:COMPETENCE). I'm calling into question how do you come to bring unrelated stuff into the talk pages or any article anywhere on wikipedia? Doing investigation of my own, I assume you own a site called and which thankfully is broken although your name is implicated in the broken links. Chrome actually prevents me from going via to the redirect site but in the link it says var/chroot/home/content/h/o/p/hopiaku/html/htttp:// However had it properly worked Chrome actually let me visited the site, it redirects I would have been sent to a malware website. I'm suspecting that you are doing SEO manipulation on google or some other website to redirect users to malware websites. ViriiK (talk) 12:07, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Your argument is too convoluted & I have not the slightest knowledge how to do most of what you have described, let alone the intent.
that had yet to be (or is not currently) populated by humans.
hopiakuta Please do sign your communiqué .~~Thank You, DonFphrnqTaub Persina. 13:00, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
So you're saying that you don't own these websites despite the fact you linked them in your talk pages (which I've removed) but are now malware redirects? ViriiK (talk) 13:09, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Frankly, a few minutes looking at this user's 'contributions' reveals that regardless of the motivation for making them, they are gibberish. On that basis, a permanent block per WP:COMPETENCE looks a foregone conclusion. Trying to figure out what is behind this is an irrelevance. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:17, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Egads. Block this nonsensical user now so that the cleanup can begin, i.e. "Condo Rice" redirects to Condoleeza Rice, "Mars Won" to Mars One, etc... Tarc (talk) 13:24, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
He also has the following sockpuppet accounts which are: User:persina & User:Kutahopia ViriiK (talk) 13:33, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Neither account seems to have been used since 2007. I suspect they were never intended for socking - they should likewise be blocked, per WP:COMPETENCE, which is the only relevant issue. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:38, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I have blocked Hopiakuta (talk · contribs · logs · edit filter log · block log) and his alternate accounts indefinitely because the above contributions show that they lack the ability to communicate (and, at least to an extent, edit) meaningfully.  Sandstein  13:45, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

.....And so he vanished.

The Devil's Advocate of Wikipedia and Wikipediocracy turned out to be a 9/11 Truther who editwarred over the World Trade 7 building collapse, and was temporarily topic-banned in 2011 for their troubles. Then they were kicked off WO-MB for some other later "transgression", don't know when but it happened. Notice in the WO-MB thread (which goes on for four pages) that not only was The Devil's Advocate later banned, but Dan Murphy later "retired" as did rd232, dogbiscuit, Notvelty,while EricBarbour remains a user in theory because they are terrified to kick him out.

Finally, this list from VentureBeat in 2014 of the most-edited Wikipedia pages

1. Deaths in 2014 (19,324)
2. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (10,166)
3. Japanese dissidence during the Shōwa period (8,101)
4. Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa (7,644)
5. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (7,312)
6. 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict (6,485)
7. Shooting of Michael Brown (5,419)
8. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (5,147)
9. 2014 Pacific typhoon season (4,954)
10. List of works by Eugène Guillaume (4,229)

Notice numbers 3 and 10....the now-vanished Greg723 was the author of the Shōwa dissidents article, while Weglinde hammered out the Guillaume list (the subject was a French sculptor of religious statues on cathedrals in the 19th century.)

An Accounting Never to be Made 

Without the mental cases and the monomaniac cranks, en.Wikipedia would be a much smaller place. The real damage has to be the normal people who have to deal with the obsessed and the addled in an environment like Wikipedia which is already a free-for-all gang fight....the Wikipedia Sucks! messageboard has members who have been harassed by Wikipedia's legions of cranks, trolls, and crazies. As the site loses more and more members, we can already guess that the cranks and the mental cases will become the norm in editors and administrators. The Wikimedia Foundation might be better off locking Wikipedia in October 2017 then letting it devolve any further.


  1. "while EricBarbour remains a user in theory because they are terrified to kick him out."

    Because I wrote down as much dirt about Wikipedia's inner operations as I could possibly collect. It's only a tiny fraction of the total madness in there anyway.

    And not that I give a rat-shit what WO regu-tards think. They want the magic, they want Wikipedia to work like a Disney cruise ship;

  2. You are right indeed. I would add that editing in Wikipedia contributes to develop their problems: they are encouraged to dwell on them while being protected by the herd from any criticism, at the same time breeding in them a gregarious herd mentality.