Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wiki-Douchebaggery: Beyond My Ken as an Example

Earlier this month we revealed how Beyond My Ken aka Edward R. Fitzgerald warped Wikipedia's coverage of modern dance and off-Broadway shows by pointlessly promoting his boss, David Gordon, and the production company he's worked at for twenty years. Now we will fill out the rest of the picture, how he acts on Wikipedia itself.

Before the danse macabre, it should be said that Beyond My Ken, Before My Ken, Between My Ken, Ed Fitz and the other alternate accounts/sockpuppets he used have never been given administrative power; instead he has accumulated the average number of so-called "minor trusts" allowed to editors such as "rollback", "pending changes reviewer", "file mover" and so on. His real power is strident dickishness, which he displays constantly. The following is a good example:

"Is everything ok? Do you want to talk about it?" Deoliveirafan 19:33, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

"Sure, let's talk about it: Fuck off." Beyond My Ken 19:35, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Pointlessly sticking his nose into a Bob Filner edit issue

When one editor pointed out that somebody had edited in the name of one of ex-San Diego (CA.) Mayor Bob Filner's sexual harassment accusers into his Wikipedia article, Fitzgerald made this statement out of the blue:

"Do no harm" is an impossible standard to live up to and, if taken literally, would seriously harm the encyclopedia.

Like it or not, facts, encyclopedic facts, may well be harmful to some living people: criminals, corrupt politicians and avaricious businesspeople, just to name a few. Any additional broadcasting of the activities of these people will be harmful to them, their reputations, their court cases and their families - but that's hardly the point. The point of BLP is not to try to avoid doing harm to anyone, it's to avoid doing harm to living people if the facts are not extremely well supported by citations from the very best of reliable sources. When that happens, when impeachable sources -- not tabloids, not scandal sheets, not TMZ or E! -- report something, and those reports are corroborated by other equally reliable sources, then it's out of our hands. Not to include those facts is a distinct disservice to our readers -- the people we are supposed to be serving here -- and an abrogation of our responsibility as encyclopedists in the modern world. That those facts will have a harmful effect on a living person is regrettable, but the additional effect of our including them when unimpeachable sources are reporting them is minimal.

We are not a social services agency, here to make everyone feel better about themselves, we're here to write an encyclopedia in a neutral, straightforward, non-judgmental manner, with our information supported by citations from reliable sources. When we fulfill those requirements, we have fulfilled our obligations to our readers and to the subjects of our articles, to whom we owe nothing more than that: accuracy and neutrality. To say that we have another, overriding obligation, a blanket proscription to "do no harm" is a egregious misreading of the intent of the BLP policy, one that, if widely believed, would cripple our ability to do what it is we're here to do. Beyond My Ken (talk) 08:27, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
 In doing research on Edward Fitzgerald, we've discovered that he is a Democrat and that all of the above may have been written as a way of sticking it at Bob Filner's accuser because Filner was a politician of his party.

Some of his wittier ripostes 
"Essentially, editing Wikipedia is a frustrating experience because the rewards of working on a project that has such fantastic potential are constantly being overwhelmed by the feeling that one is swimming upstream against a current of vandals and unhelpful editors. Strangely, the vandals are easier to cope with than the editors who clearly don't have a clue about what's best for the encyclopedia, but stick to their positions like glue nonetheless. These are the kinds of folks who consider any policy or guideline to be akin to Holy Writ, to be defended to the last edit, without any particular consideration of whether a posited alternative might actually be an improvement. These editors come in two basic flavors, those who do what they do out of ignorance or stupidity, and those who pursue their editing with malicious glee, and go out of the way to butt heads with their opposition. This is the core of what I've come to think of as Wikipedia's "CIA" problem – that is, the unfortunately large number of Children, Idiots and Assholes who inhabit its precincts." (Date Unknown)

 .....I'm a smart guy, but I'm human, I fuck up. 22:15, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

 "The notion that POV pushing, paid editing or the editor's intent doesn't matter is posited on the very dangerous notion that Wikipedia is a perfect machine, catching all biased edits and invariably correcting them. This is obviously empirically untrue. A POV pusher makes as many edits as possible as often as possible, most get caught and negated, some get through, and the net result is a small amount of movement in the desired direction. Rinse and repeat, and the POV has successfully been implanted. As long as POV misconduct is not given as high a priority as behavioral misconduct, our NPOV policies are in danger of being subverted. If ArbCom confines itself to conduct without dealing with biased content, POV wars will be settled on the basis of who has the best control over their behaviorial impulses, as opposed to whose content contributions hew closest to NPOV. It's a real problem that's not being dealt with well at all." (AN:Breach of General Sanction by User:Triton Rocker 01:55, 8 August 2010 (UTC)) [Bold added by this author, because the hypocrisy was too much to take.]

How he treated a Vietnamese editor

This whole story was turned into a Wikipediocracy blog post but the short of it was that Trongphu, one of the Vietnamese Wiktionary sysops was blocked for two years on the English Wikipedia and his talkpage access was revoked. He even went to the English-language Wikipedia Administration boards to try to get unblocked.  At one point Trongphu asked Fitzgerald on his user talk thread:

What I don't understand is you don't even know me nor do I even know you. How can you hate me so much? I feel like there is a reason that I don't know? I think I made perfect sense but, if you thought that I was being nonsensical then it's your choice. (08:39, 5 January 2014 (UTC))

To which Beyond My Ken responded:

You’re a total, loser, pure and simple, and you’ve sullied my clean and empty talk page. I pity if you are one of those in charge. I think I’ll have to reconsider Eric Corbett’s position about shutting down the lesser Wikipedias. (date unknown)

We had to put that the date was "unknown" because Fitzgerald later yanked it down; it was probably the same day in January, 2014.

A Summation

If Wikipedia were a paid job, Ed Fitzgerald would have been fired two weeks in. The Wifione people quietly went about making a chain of for-profit, unaccredited Indian business schools look good. Meanwhile, Beyond My Ken was quietly puffing up his boss while also being as abrasive as Larry David without the grace of being comedic. He brings nothing to the table, in fact, he takes things away from the table; he undermined the factual value of the wiki's theater coverage, he committed paid editing, and he was awful to anybody who slightly bothered him. To keep this post from being any larger, we cut out how he and Hipocrite (Robert Djurdjevic) supported Mathsci during the "Race and Intelligence" mediation fiasco of 2010. That anyone could confuse him for a surgeon astounds me; he is theatrical to his core.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Short, Open Post to the Administration of Wikipediocracy's Messageboard

I've been hearing some things indirectly and I want to address them on a point-to-point basis.

1. There's a leak!! No there isn't. I've had the material on Ed Fitzgerald for months and I've now decided to use it. None of it is confidential information; in fact the Beyond My Ken = Ed Fitzgerald link was discussed openly here (the only problem was, most of you still thought he was the surgeon!) Your Sekret Treehouz admin forum is safe; I've never been "inside" it, nor am I wandering around the board under another handle.

2. Inside Wikipedia information is eternally good! Dead. Fucking.Wrong. You don't think like spies or journalists; information is only novel for only so long, so either use it now or watch as it becomes history. Ed Fitzgerald should have been exposed YEARS ago. You have guys like Dan Murphy and Greg Kohs; the Wikipediocracy blog should be exposing the paid editors, not dodging the issue because it makes people uncomfortable. When Encyclopaedia Dramatica is updating its Wikipedia articles and Lila Tretikov is giving various WMF incompetents their walking papers, Wikipediocracy should be doing a lot more. Finally, I know that there has been some ranting on a Facebook group, but I'm not joining that bullshit to be screamed at by Wikigoobers; they want to rant at me, they can come here and scream like a Japanese rubber monster.

More to come, in time.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Beyond My Ken Video, embedded

Uploaded here as proof that I have a copy of the video linked to in the last post. Ed Fitzgerald is on-camera for less than twenty seconds at the beginning, sitting in front of a Macintosh computer.

The Beyond My Ken saga will continue.....

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Paid Editing as a Hobby: the Beyond My Ken story

Last month I brought up (waay at the bottom) that Beyond My Ken was actually a stage manager named Ed Fitzgerald and instead of letting that hang, I've decided to prove my simple, one-line assertion.

Before we get into the heart of the matter, this is what Edward R. Fitzgerald looks like:

 This is a slightly-cropped screenshot from a video tour of the archives of David Gordon's Pick-Up Performance Company, where Fitzgerald has been working for slightly over twenty years; he claims that he has been working in theater since the age of 17 and he's 60 now. On the fateful day of  March 31, 2007, at 11:50PM he created his the first stub of the David Gordon article that he has "gnomed" up until January 24th of this year. But more on that later.

2007 was not the beginning of Ed Fitzgerald's career on Wikipedia, nor was Beyond My Ken his first handle. My sources say that he had his edit histories deleted prior to 2009, because he is buddy-buddy with Wikipedia insiders. According to this, one of his first edits was in 2005 to the Philip K. Dick article as Before My Ken. Other accounts include Ed Fitz, Ed Fitzgerald, Behind My Ken, Between My Ken and quite possibly Pickupcos, the account used to write the Valda Setterfield Wikipedia article. Valda Setterfield is David Gordon's wife.

Beyond writing articles about science-fiction authors and old films he likes, he also writes about his history as stage manager; he did a lot of work on the Da (play) article in 2008. The production he was a part of ran from May 1, 1978 to January 1, 1980 and it was his first as a production stage manager. Ed Fitzgerald also did work on The Tap Dance Kid (assistant stage manager, 1983-1985) and The Violet Hour (production stage manager, 2003) articles, which is fine because he was there and some of these plays are obscure. It's what he does for David Gordon's production company on Wikipedia that crosses over into pure conflict of interest.

So beyond writing an article on David Gordon that is actually longer than the one for George Balanchine (!), and one for his wife, and heavy lifting for the BLP of Ain Gordon (their son) in 2012, Fitzgerald wrote the large stub article for PUPCo itself in 2007. He also inserted references to Pick-Up Performance's 2004 production of Eugène Ionesco's The Chairs into the existing Wikipedia article, and created the article for Shlemiel the First, a 1994 musical which combined Issac Bashevis Singer's "Chelm" stories with klezmer music. He also modified references to David Gordon in the article on  Douglas Dunn so he is listed as "choreographer" alongside Dunn. He also did this to the New York School article, and he tacked on a list of winners (including David Gordon) to the Bessie Awards stub.

Let us be reminded what all this work is being done for; Pick-Up Performance Company is off Broadway, doing postmodern dance and music pieces. This is not the Bolshoi or Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet companies, where this sort of promotion (mostly in the press, we would hope) is part of the game. And I was being serious about the Balachine article, as this list will show:

David Gordon (choreographer), 49k bytes long (as of September 2014)
George Balachine, 35k bytes long
Martha Graham, 32k bytes long
Merce Cunningham, 29k bytes long
Isadora Duncan, 29k bytes long
Alvin Ailey, 23k bytes long

The numbers have shifted since then (the Alvin Ailey article is now up to 24k), but this warpage of reality will drift out into the rest of the Internet thanks to the article scrapers.

As with Wifione, I didn't do the legwork; this material was originally going to appear in a Wikipediocracy blog post, but it was pulled by William Burns at the last minute for a number of mealymouthed "reasons." **UPDATE** I can now reveal that the people who tracked Ed Fitzgerald down were Tarantino and Greg Kohs of the Wikipediocracy messageboard, though I did not get their work directly from them. All that you see here is not even a third of the material I have been shown about Beyond My Ken.

Above is a link to the video where we got the screenshot. I have also downloaded it into my computer. If the video vanishes, it will be uploaded to YouTube, RuTube, Dailymotion, and made into a fumetti comic in the shape of a Jack Chick tract.

We didn't get into it, but the man above (Dr. Edward Fitzgerald) is the British Wikipedian Beyond My Ken was hiding behind from 2008 onwards because they had accounts with similar names.

Comments from a New York Post article from 2013 ("Don't Trust Anything On Wikipedia" by Steve Cuozzo);  the responder "enwikibadscience" is/was a Wikipediocracy poster.