Saturday, October 1, 2016

BADSITES: An Idiocy that Will Never Die

This was brought up over at the Wikipedia Sucks! forum,so let's jump into it....

An Idea Whose Time was Never

BADSITES was part of the aftermath of the Daniel Brandt vs.Wikipedia war I need to write about some time soon; at any rate, because Brandt had websites reminding people about the Bomis Babes and all the other more unsavory parts of the Jimmy Wales/early Wikipedia story, "The Cabal" (i.e., the administrative leadership, such luminaries as MONGO, Will Beback, SlimVirgin, Snowspinner [Philip Sandifer], Fred_Bauder, Mantanmoreland [Gary Weiss], und so weiter....) decided  to come up with a hidden shite list of websites to be linkbanned and thus BADSITES was born. This was done when Wikipedia was at its highest point, 2006-2007, when it seemed Wiki-inania would be the future and everything was milk and honey, hookers and blow. Now that Wikipedia looks like the tottering wreck of Wilhelmine Germany in 1918, the choice to create such a list looks even more petty and short-sighted.

As with everything "heavy" on Wikipedia, there is a massive backroom discussion chain; in this case it was an RfA "workshop" where ideas were tossed around. Who was on this list? Encylopaedia Dramatica (natch), all of Daniel Brandt's websites (most he later shut down), Kelly Martin's blog (defunct?), science fiction writers Teresa Nielsen Hayden and Kathryn Cramer, along with Danny Wool's defunct website (all I could find). Who else? It gets really Hollywood: producer Don Murphy (for not wanting a BLP), Overstock.com's Judd Bagley, and director Michael Moore (!), the latter being on the Wiki-shitlist for saying something about Wikipedia the cabal didn't like. Moore is still making movies while most of the Cabal has gone AWOL from "the Project." All of the websites and people we names, plus many, many more were labeled "attack sites" and were not allowed to link to Wikipedia within Wikipedia articles, thus breaking the vaunted "Neutral Point of View" (NPOV) because the reader can't easily hear from the other side, they have to go hunting for it. The arbitration that created the "attack sites" concept was actually much longer originally; Arbcom clerk Penwhale trimmed it down on September 14, 2007 and got an adminship as a possible reward a week later. Within a year BADSITES evolved into the idiot "spam blacklist/whitelist" system used to this very day, mostly as a way to keep out sites like this one, Eric Barbour's SHIT PLANET!! blog, probably WO-MB (if Steve McGeady or William "Monty" Burns hasn't gotten it off the shite list through a backroom deal), basically any and all other criticism websites.

As with all Gestapos, BADSITES created victims; Wikipedian/off-and-on Wiki critic Dan Tobias (Dtobias) noted the case of Gracenotes (not to be confused with Grace Notes), who lost an adminship request because he did not think BADSITES was all that hot. Look at the following:

"Strong oppose. I have to oppose based on Gracenote's answer to my question about attack sites. I feel that websites that out and defame Wikipedians should never be linked to; I certainly can't think of a single encyclopedic reason they would ever have to be. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:00, 23 May 2007 (UTC)" 

"No longer reluctant, and changing to strong oppose. GN's slippery and evasive answers to questions and general behavior in this RfA has increased my concerns about him becoming an admin. --Mantanmoreland 21:44, 26 May 2007 (UTC)" 

"Oppose. Per Slim, Dakota, Avi. Gracenotes' responses during this RFA show a disturbing lack of empathy and judgement, both of which are extremely important for administrators. Note, contrary to the straw man statements of supporters, this is not about support for the failed BADSITES policy, which was itself a straw man proposal. Jayjg (talk) 17:23, 25 May 2007 (UTC)"

The silverback gorillas came out to defend their territory from a weaker gorilla and they chased him off. Gracenotes has just completely dropped out of Wikipedia, vanishing in 2010. Tobias had a wonderfully long rant about BADSITES in 2007 and how awful it was:
  
"Well, there isn't actually any official "attack sites list" anywhere. This would be a silly thing to have; if it were out there in the open, publicly visible, then it would amount to a central, prominent set of links to the sites that the proponents of the policy don't want anybody linking to... kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? If it were kept secret, it would be the sort of "star chamber" thing we don't really want to have in a wiki. So we end up with a "I can't define it, but I know one when I see one" attitude (like Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart once expressed with regard to hard-core pornography). Once a site has been so regarded by the enforcers of this "policy", it's pretty much impossible to get it off; you'll have better luck getting off the no fly list of the Department of Homeland Security. Even if a site is not presently hosting anything that "outs" personal information about Wikipedia editors, the enforcers will say "That's irrelevant; it has done it in the past, and probably will do it in the future." Any attempt at discussion is futile; it's hard to do without actually citing links to the sites in question, and the policy has quite definitely been enforced on people in the course of engaging in debate about the policy itself, so that's out."

"Actual applications of the policy have included removing a link to one of Daniel Brandt's sites from a Signpost article about him and his site (even though a link to the very same site was on Brandt's article itself, though the entire article has since been deleted after much fighting); and a removal (quickly reverted) of a link to Kelly Martin's blog on her own user page (somebody decided that this constituted an "attack site" because she criticized the actions of another editor)." 

"Especially controversial was the case of the official site of notable science fiction editor Teresa Nielsen Hayden, which includes a blog that happened to critique a particular Wikipedia editor (Nielsen Hayden has some issues with Wikipedia), causing that Wikipedia editor to declare everything from that site to be an "attack site" and attempt to remove all references to it. This caused a major flap extending to articles on a wide variety of subjects where things in Nielsen Hayden's site were used as reliable sources. (A very ironic coda, years later, is that the editor in question, fervent in his insistence that "attack sites" be suppressed due to their evil harrassing of Wikipedians, eventually got banned from Wikipedia for "outing" personal information about another editor with whom he was in a dispute. That's just the sort of activity that those "badsites" are hated for engaging in.)"

"More recently, people have attempted to argue that Perverted Justice, an anti-pedophile site that has criticized Wikipedia for not rooting out and banning all pedophile editors, is an attack site. This situation is made more complicated by the fact that they've been redirecting links with a Wikipedia referer to their anti-Wikipedia page rather than the particular other pages being linked to, which makes their site hard to use as a reference and gives a valid reason to avoid linking to it, but some still go beyond this reasonable point and try to whip up general anti-attack-site hysteria against it. Another recent case is that of the official site of Michael Moore, which attacked a particular Wikipedian and prompted various people to edit-war over whether it should remain linked on the article on him (and lots of other places where it's linked). And somebody has been trying to delink the official site of Don Murphy from the article on him... but ironically also linking to things on that site several times on talk pages while discussing why he considers it an attack site. (These last three cases were part of a very busy week in which some other things were also attempted to be delinked as attack sites, including the above-mentioned Nielsen Hayden blog again.)" 

"On the other hand, not all vehemently anti-Wikipedia sites that "out" real names (and locations, and sexual fetishes, among other things) of editors seem to be created equal; Wikitruth does that stuff, but still has an article on Wikipedia, complete with an external link to that site. (Well, it did, at least until an apparent single-purpose troll sockpuppet making a WP:POINT went and removed the links and put the article up for deletion... but it was speedy-kept and the links restored. This didn't stop one of the anti-BADSITES editors from subsequently removing a bunch of links to it from other project, talk, and archive pages, though. At a much later date the article was finally deleted for good as lacking in long-term notability.) And when Slashdot published an article repeating claims from some of the "attack sites" regarding the identity of a particular administrator, there were some futile "closing the barn door after the horse left" attempts to suppress links to and discussions about that particular article, but nobody was so foolish as to insist on a total link ban of that notable "geek site" as a whole."

The worst of it is, the idiot Doomsday Machine robot survives; the Wikipedia_POV private wiki run by Eric Barbour and Peter Damian was on the en.Wikipedia blacklist during 2010 to 2011, Wikipediocracy was put on the list improperly in March of 2013, after the blog named who Russavia aka russiansafetycards (Scott "ne Russkii" Bibby) was. Anthony G. Kelly (AGK) did the "dirty deed" and it set off a lot of drama with MZMcBride (Max McBride) and SirFozzie (that guy who deserves three "tenners" at Kolyma), but that is outside of the purview of this article. BADSITES is a disaster that creates other disasters and undermines Wikipedia itself. If another free encyclopedia website were attempted later this century, the creators of such a website would do well to research BADSITES and what a mess it created.








2 comments:

  1. PS: most of the actual serious criticism sites have been removed from the spam blacklist, so 99+% of it consists of actual spam/phishing sites. However, I found a few items that really should not be there.

    *Harold Covington's blog from 2013 complaining about his block from Wikipedia [http://defamedbywikipedia.blogspot.com/]

    *An inoffensive Citizendium article [http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/training_within_industry]

    *Two now-defunct Google sites that had complained about long-forgotten editwarring: sites.google.com/site/wikipediadrk and sites.google.com/site/antikpopcrusadersonwikipedia

    *A few of the sites listed are inoffensive and legitimate commercial company sites, probably placed here for "daring" to have paid editors work on Wikipedia, or for other unknown and unexplained reasons. A good example is skins.net.

    *And some of the entries make no sense at all. Example: wikigender.net.

    Good luck getting those little fucks to explain any of this. I've already gone thru the noticeboards and found nothing.

    Plus I figure that at least 50% of these URLs on that list are now dead links anyway....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Some other sites proposed for the black list under the BADSITES initiative included Judd Bagley's "AntiSocialMedia" blog, Wikipedia Review, and WikiTruth. You don't mention this in your post today, but one of the major reasons for the BADSITES proposal was that several Internet personalities, including Brandt and Bagley, had noticed that SlimVirgin was basically controlling large sections of Wikipedia and was directing a cabal to police her approved content in those sections. They highlighted her and her cabal's abuse of Wikipedia's processes and for that, Wikipedia's insiders tried to blacklist them.

    ReplyDelete