Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"Operation Swill" and TGI Friday's - or: Don't Go To New Jersey, And Don't Look It Up On Wikipedia

 Another guest post from the Man in the TARDIS, Doctor Why.

Ever heard of "Operation Swill"? Happened in May 2013, and was widely reported, yet today it's barely remembered. One would swear there was no such bust.

Note this part: "Twenty-nine bars and restaurants, nearly half of them TGI Fridays", okay? Ya got that? One of America's biggest restaurant chains was involved, at multiple franchise locations in New Jersey. Something about putting rubbing alcohol in liquor bottles and serving it to patrons, disgustingly enough.

Now, go to the TGI Friday's article on Wikipedia. Nothing. Not even a "Controversies" or an "Issues" section. Nothing bad ever, ever happens at or around TGI Friday's, according to Wikipedia.

Look at the history of the article, it shows the common signs of carefully concealed paid editing. Numerous small changes by a mess of IPs and minor accounts that do an assortment of things. More obvious is the presence of that notorious Burger King employee, Jerem43. He's been "watching" this article quite a bit, until recently.

Here's the thing: last May, someone tried to insert a paragraph about "Operation Swill", a fact which would embarrass any restaurant chain mightly. Other editors expanded it. But it only lasted a month, because Jerem43 smugly removed it, snarling "Remove section that concerns TGI Friday's franchisees, it is not about the corporate entity known as Fridays."

Jerem43 also removed a section about a number of Friday's locations being closed due to the 2008 recession. "Remove section relating to defunct franchise in one city - unrealted to the company as a whole." (sic)

So, this is one of the "clever" things about business franchising. If a franchisee feeds his customers rubbing alcohol and "dirty water" and calls it "top-shelf liquor brands", well, hell, that's not the fault of the brandname owner. Not only that, they'll get their paid editor to remove any such scurrilous information from Wikipedia.

Which, to this day, does not mention "Operation Swill" anywhere. The head of the New Jersey Alcohol Board of Control, Mike Halfacre, had a Wikipedia biography. Which was put up for deletion  two months after Operation Swill, by "I am One of Many", a "spamfighter" who likes to report usernames as "spamusernames". Media coverage of Operation Swill was mentioned as one reason to keep it, and it was kept. Yet even Halfacre's biography today doesn't mention Operation Swill, one of his biggest career successes. Why?

And as of November 2014, Jerem43 is still carefully manicuring "History of Burger King", in spite of his user page being prominently tagged "I am going back to school after 25 years. I will be editing Wikipedia a bit less. I am checking up daily, but cannot devote a lot of time to it." Guess the money's worth neglecting schoolwork. What other restaurant chains is he "serving"? His edit summary mentions hundreds of edits to "List of McDonald's products", "KFC", and "Wendy's", in addition to his thousands of edits to Burger King articles, so he must be a full-service editor for the fast food industry.

As if anyone cares, mind you. And so far as we can see, no one does. Enjoy your whiskey sour.


  1. You know, I was going to post a profanity-laden scribe about you, your parentage and your general person. Then I realized that you're not worth the four letter words.

    I will say this: who on Wikipedia butt hurt you so much that you have to setup such a trivial little blog about the site and its editors? Did you not get your way in an article? Did you get banned for stupid things such as this?

    So someone edited an article, an edit you did liked, and the edit was removed because it wasn't factual. (read the sources, Fridays did not have anything to do with the fraud, its franchisee did. There is a distinction between the two, despite what you promote) So since this little piece of falsehood wasn't allowed to stand, you decide to shoot/discredit/make shit stuff up about the messenger. You have decided to use the classic distraction tactic of those who don't what to hear the truth, or simply cannot accept the truth, instead of accepting crazy things such as facts.

    May I suggest, a site for those who decide to live in their own personal reality where things such as truth or facts don't get in the way.


    1. The author wrote me this in response:

      "That's dead typical. They simply cannot figure out why someone would hate them, other than in the context of an editwar. They think in pure black-and-white paranoid terms. The idea that someone who wasn't fighting over Scientology, or politics, or pseudoscience, or whatever articles would hate them simply for being corrupt little assholes -- they just can't understand that."

    2. You're missing the point:

      You view Wikipedia through a lens of hate. As such you see everything done on that website as questionable or suspect. As such, and since you do not know who I am, what I like, or why I edit Wikipedia, you view me through the same lens.

      You assume that since I made an edit that you disagree with, I therefore must have an agenda or other such thing. You assume I must be doing the edits because someone is paying me to do so, not because I disagreed with them. You forget that assumption is the mother of all screw ups.

      What you have done here, for those who are more litigous than I, is known as libel.

      What I am is a person who has worked in restaurants for more than 30 years, what I am doing is applying that knowledge to developing articles on the industry, and nothing else. I have no agenda, I am not pro-anything or anti-anything, and I am not nor have I ever been paid shill for anyone. The edit I made to that article was not to defend anyone or anything. I simply did not agree with it, it allegations, and the reasoning behind it.

      Your rant is off-center and incorrect. Like I said before your lens of hate skewers your view of the website. That same lens of hate is coloring your view of other people, their intentions, and their actions, and as such is wrong.

      I am not seeing just through the context of an edit war, it is neither black nor white nor paranoid. You are the one who cannot understand that.

    3. For some reason this logged me into through my friends account.


  2. So your real name must be Jeremy Brown.

    PS: "What you have done here, for those who are more litigous than I, is known as libel."....what happened to "No Legal Threats"? Hypocrite.

    1. I have no idea who that is since I have never used Google+

    2. Also:
      I was just saying he libeled me, I made no threats to sue. He said something that was untrue about me in a manner insinuating it was true, e.g. libel.

      Also- This isn't WP, so that whole "no legal threats" wouldn't be pertinent anyways. You can't be a hypocrite if you haven't said one thing and done another.

      I'm not going to sue him, he has the right to say what he wants - he just needs to verify the facts before saying it.