Friday, September 25, 2015

FLOP: Why Wikipedia Criticism Will Always Be A Waste Of Time

As promised, another guest post by E. A. Barbour on the state of Wikipedia criticism.

FLOP: Why Wikipedia Criticism Will Always Be A Waste Of Time

by E. A. Barbour

As I said in a previous post, I've spent four miserable years compiling a massive database about Wikipedia's history and showing why and how it went wrong. And now I have the miserable duty to admit and explain why this activity was a waste. It is clear by now, after more than ten years of growth, editwarring, abuse, lies, manipulation and outright criminal activity that one thing cannot be denied: Wikipedia is "special", and must be treated more as a religious reliquary than a mere website. Even its loudest critics also tend to be fans who love it deeply, and want to ensure its success. Some are also conflicted by a need to control certain content, for personal or professional reasons. Plus the distinct likelihood that professional media people rarely want to discuss Wikipedia scandals, because they depend on Wikipedia for their fact-checking. All of this history is populated with gigabytes of idiocy, tiresome argumentation, paranoia, monkey dancing, robotic masturbation, Heebs (and more Heebs), transsexuals, Eric Moeller's pale blob wideness, and even a few appearances by occasional people who were sincere and honest in their desire to see Wikipedia either be "cleaned up" or taken offline. All to no avail whatsoever. So, let's summarize this nonsense of "Wikipedia criticism" and be done with.

Wikipedia Review

Although plenty has been written (and censored and forgotten) about WR, between November 2005 and March 2012 it was the dominant website for criticism and open, honest discussion of Wikipedia problems. Yes, of course it was started by bigots (the now forgotten original sysop "Igor Alexander" was repeatedly accused of being an anti-semite, and former moderator Jeff "Blu Aardvark" Latham was provably a white supremacist from eastern Oregon). At first Wikipedia insiders could not shut up about this, and continued to harp on it long after "Igor" and Latham had left. Another major resident troll in the early days, Adrian "Blissyu2" Meredith, an obsessive conspiracy fan and Australian marsupial-creature, eventually also left.

During Wikipedia's massive growth phase (2005 to 2008), there was literally no place other than WR to openly discuss and critique Wikipedia operations. And the often-bizarre personalities who infested Wikipedia and the nascent Wikimedia Foundation, especially discussion in depth and with experienced editors. Any attempt to discuss serious problems on an "official" noticeboard, talkpage, or IRC channel would result in a swift bannination, smug personal attacks, and sometimes even led to  the careful reversion of every Wikipedia edit the critic had made--useful or not. Plus, WR was unique in that it tolerated the occasional "outing" of an anonymous Wikipedian. Despite many flaws, a very laissez-faire culture, and a good number of crackpot regulars and rubber vagina monsters, it was instrumental in exposing some of the worst abuses on English Wikipedia: the scary SlimVirgin, the William Connolley climate-change assmafia, bicycle-sex king Guy Chapman, Bela Lugosi cosplayer David Gerard, "Fat Heeb For Power Rangers" Ryulong, Gary "Hey guys I'm a Jew too" Weiss, "tool of Yahweh" Jayjg, the short-penised Israel Wikilobby, Will "Won't" Beback, and various other major comedy routines.

The "official" Wikipedia Review article is poorly written and has been constantly hacked at since its first appearance. The first version was written mostly by SlimVirgin, who made it as intentionally abusive and defamatory as possible. It has been deleted and restored at least six fucking times, some of which are not documented in Wikipedia's database. The latest attempt, 20 January 2012, was an abject failure and typical of the contempt Wikipedians have for any kind of criticism. Their rage at having their abuse questioned eventually peaked in one of the most asinine things any website has ever tried: the "BADSITES" arbitration. In which Wikipedia insiders arrogantly tried to convince each other that they had the right, and the power, to censor the entire Internet in any way they saw fit. Of course, they didn't. Of course, the discussion was heavily censored after the fact. Remember that this is coming from the website-clitoris that relentlessly screams it is "NOTCENSORED".

Unfortunately, people who should have known better eventually became the controllers of WR. By 2007 the main sysop was James "Somey" Somers, who claimed to be a former US government employee currently living in retirement in Des Moines. Somey continues to claim he has never edited Wikipedia, although he did spend years posting tiresome "satire" on the not-funny joke wiki Uncyclopedia. Daniel Brandt, who was already noted for his endless dispute with Wikipedia love-muffin Chip Berlet, was running a "Google Watch" website when he found that Wikipedia was full of power abuses; he soon had a "Wikipedia Watch" website and was quickly dubbed an Enemy Of The Wiki. You would have to ask him why he was motivated to go after WP. Few people in the world endured more abuse via Wikipedia biography than Brandt. Even one of the most notorious TS Wikipedians, Kelly Martin, showed up on WR to make accurate and damning comments on internal WP operations.

Most enigmatic of all is Steve McGeady, a retired former Intel executive and ex-coder who had been banned from Wikipedia for editing his own Wikipedia biography. He used the name "Gnetwerker" on WP, the name "Gomi" on WR, and "Greybeard" when he later helped start Wikipediocracy. Plus he allegedly owned a vanity website at (pseudo-Japanese for "master of garbage" or something like that). Obviously he loves the letter G, like any good Oscar the Grouch fan. As an independently wealthy VIP-type and a dedicated supporter of his alma mater, the pussy-liberal Reed College, plus the owner of his own home server farm, he would seem to be well-suited to run a protest website. Again, you'd have to ask him why he wants to criticize Wikipedia, although I suspect his motivation is very simple: he wants to get back in there and continue to glorify himself. And try to neutralize the bio of his old Intel friend Mike Hawash, who was prosecuted by the Feds for "providing material support for terrorists" (by donating money to Muslim support societies). Obviously Hawash was a target of the Israel Wikilobby. If you're thinking this is all extremely stupid and petty, fear not; it is. Erections were scarce all around.

Most people reading this know the story of WR's decline. They invited too many honest people (plus some outright cranks and clown-cars) who were banned from Wikipedia: some of the more intelligent ones included perpetual Gary Weiss editwar victim Judd Bagley, angry Hollywood producer Don Murphy (who objected to his WP biography and was mocked mercilessly for it on WP noticeboards), and that curiously furious right-wing Catholic Jeff "Ottava" Peters. Plus philosophy instructor (and my co-author) Ed "Peter Damian" Buckner, professional music teacher Paul "fieryangel" Wehage, and Andreas "Jayen466" Kolbe. All three of whom really should know better than to try to "fix" the unfixable.  Not to forget Tim "Proabviouac" Usher, who was later shown to be a spy for SlimVirgin. Plus a mixed bag of many others. Mixed in with considerable valid criticism and analysis, WR hosted incoherent rants moaning about Wikipedia's censorious, phony and paranoid culture. Plus "outings" that might or might not serve a useful purpose, plus plots to "destroy" the indestructible website, and even some displays of outright raving madness. Occasional Wikipedia True Believers logged in under phony names and shrieked at the regulars. In short, it mirrored Wikipedia itself with some accuracy. A few 4chan-style "lulz" were had, little else ensued. So its demise in early 2012 should not have been surprising.


Started by WR regulars Greg Kohs, one of the few honest paid WP editors and greatly despised in that little world, with Paul Wehage, Anthony DiPierro and Judd Bagley. It was a part of their "Internet Review Corporation", which apparently was intended to cover all aspects of Web abuse and corruption. Their website went live in February 2009 -- and lasted exactly one year. It was essentially a group blog which ran a few interesting and useful postings. Still, it became clear that the "serious" approach doesn't work when it comes to Wikipedia brigading and nut-buggery. The most important thing in this little pocket universe is to worship the Magic Wiki and the Magic Anus of Jimbooger Wales. (Remember those immortal and insipid words, "It was basically a valid concept". People still talk like that today, unfortunately.) And anything not plugged into that rigid paradigm was clearly a non-starter and a bore, to Wikipedians. And Akahele didn't have a forum for trolls to call each other names thereupon. So, after months of being almost totally ignored, they admitted defeat, shut down the "Internet Review Corporation" and shut off the website. All that can be seen today are a few backups. The last new post was on 25 February 2010, by 2011 the entire site was gone, and by early 2012 the URL had been seized by spammers. The last visible capture was in June 2010.


Again, most people reading this are aware of how WR collapsed. The probably-medicated young woman who was somehow in charge of the DNS registration, Sarah "Mistress Selina Kyle" Donovan, managed to beg the WP insiders into unbanning her. So she started to trash the WR database and erase its attached blog, to "gain their trust" or something. She was duly unbanned on WP, went on a rampage, and was quickly rebanned. Meanwhile the WR regulars became disgusted and started a new forum/blog. As before and as always, the seeds of its own destruction were built-in. Although Bill "Stanistani" Burns, a professional sysop, a Wikipedia editor in good standing, and a minor WR player, was made the sysop of Wikipediocracy (WO), the same personalities were otherwise embedded. Greg Kohs was responsible for the DNS, most of the same old farts (your humble narrator included) were in regular evidence, and hosting was provided -- by none other than Steve McGeady. I was made a moderator along with several ex-WR moderators and mucky-mucks, including John McConomy and Andreas Kolbe.

It started out well at first. The attached blog became a good adjunct, running a number of entries about Wikipedia atrocities. Some even attracted media attention; such as the "Qworty" story and the ongoing saga of "Wifione" (which Ed Buckner and myself authored). Both stories were stunning in their basic idiocy. Showing how "hosed" Wikipedia is, that's always easy. But inevitably, by 2014, WO went off into the weeds. Crazy we-must-SAVE-it types like "Kumioko" and "Kiefer Wolfowitz" showed up to bleat in their uniquely narcissistic way. WP insiders like "Mathsci" (RIP ha ha), "SqueakBox", "Kww" and "Spartaz" logged in primarily to splutter that they were "innocent" of any wrongdoing and that their critics were evil. All incredibly predictable. Despite not allowing well-known trolls like Ottava or Proabivouac into the forum, and Burns banning crackpots more frequently than WR ever did, it still came to resemble WR. And I won't even mention the spanking they administered to me in July of this year, except to note: I wrote many of the items on the WO wiki, and after my kicking Burns made most of the wiki articles disappear. Whether they were useful or not.

The main purpose, to get the news media to notice Wikipedia problems, inevitably took a back seat to squabbling and idiocy. I've got an absurdly long list of media mentions of Wikipediocracy, compiled by Kolbe originally. It's quite impressive. Sadly, journalists also seem to have short attention spans as well as a major blind spot when it comes to Jimboo's Crap Farm, so this list has only historical interest.


There were other websites intended for Wikipedia-related discussion. Very few of them, in fact, and every one of them failed horribly. And the reasons were much the same as above: they were run by Wikipedia fans and tended to quickly become shrieky troll cunthavens. Whether Wikipeople admit it or not, their "magicpedia" is far more like 4chan or a hacker forum than anything "serious". And so are associated websites and "communities". They live to piss on each other's heads. Unlike the above, these lesser bitchfests were usually heavily censored, thus strangling themselves in the crib. The whole subject is insulting and more people ought to feel embarrassed by their connection to these disasters, but needless to say, Wiki-fans are akin to 4channers and have short attention spans and short memories.

In February 2006, perpetual pest "Grace Note" tried to start a forum called "Wikipedia Report". It was far from an attempt to encourage free speech: he disseminated a "manifesto" which ranted at length that criticism of Jimboob and friends would not be tolerated, racism would not be tolerated, and "outing" of Wikipedians would not be tolerated. Essentially nothing that Wikipedians really enjoyed would be tolerated. He could not stop calling Wikipedia Review the "racist board" or the "Igor Nazi Board". Because he could also not stop fighting with other Wiki-Fans, it was stillborn.

Insiders often forget that the supremely arrogant WP administrator/bureaucrat/checkuser Steve "UninvitedCompany" Dunlop started his own private Wikipedia discussion forum in January 2008, called "Wikback". Like Grace Note's proposed forum, it was massively censored and utterly intolerant of anything but positive happy-talk. It lasted a few weeks and its URL was quickly seized by Japanese spammers. Because the geek had "nofollow" links on it, there are no existing archives of it anywhere. Thus, in classic Wikipedia fashion, it "never happened". Step right up and see the dancing freaks, eh? Dunlop eventually became inactive. More people could take the hint.

Auggie, the sysop of failed Wikipedia "fork", started a Proboards forum called "Wikipedia Review" in March 2013, oddly enough. Auggie was banned from WP (predictably) and thought he could "out-reason" unreasonable people. Although it is still online today, like Encyc it is essentially a dead and drifting vessel. He's the only person posting comments. Haw.

We can't do this without mentioning the extensive coverage The Register gave to Wikipedia criticism and scandals, starting all the way back in 2003 and continuing today. It was the ONLY news outlet of any kind that regularly ran Wikipedia items that weren't slobbering love letters to Jimbo's foreskin. The two primary Register writers responsible for the WP coverage, Andrew Orlowski and Cade Metz, were pilloried for it on Wikipedia. To this day the Wikipedia biography of Orlowski (prominent tech journalist) is badly written and useless. Metz is repeatedly insulted in old noticeboard comments but does not "deserve" an article.


No doubt Wikipedia is declining. Recent discussions of it in news outlets, on Reddit and in other places make that quite clear. The Gamergate scandal was very damaging for Wikipedia as its combative insiders were drawn into the pointless squabbling. Jimbarf continues to give speeches for $50k-100k a pop, to accept awards, and to bask in the rectum-rubs administered to him by his fellow "digerati", despite having little to do with his "great creation" any longer. And the criticism, while it continues, seems to have been more of a vomit factory than a useful movement. Disagree and snarl all you want, you're the Japanese rubber monster; I can PROVE my assertions. Can you? Further information is available upon (serious) request. Although I admittedly expect that no one will take me up on the offer. Because no one cares; Wikipedia won and everything else is shit. Have a nice day, sucker.

To conclude, have a joke:

What's the difference between KillerChihuahua and a refrigerator? A refrigerator doesn't fart when you pull the meat out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Infamous "Not Censored" IRC chat, January 2012

Below is a record of an IRC chat session between "natbrown", "Funfood", "Nickname1" and Wikipedia administrator Snowolf (Maurizio Lussetti). Lussetti is a "domain name broker" in Trieste, Italy, aka a domain-name squatter with over 200 domains. He has been on both English and Italian Wikipedias since 2004, though he claims he didn't start editing/patrolling until 2007. I have no idea who the rest of these people are, and there is a 'bot in the thread as well. The month this happened can also be filed under "allegedly." The clumsy grammar and bad spelling has been preserved.

[10:31] natbrown has joined #wikimedia-commons

[10:33] natbrown Hi, I found some very unpleasant photos[1]

[10:33] natbrown There is a video attached as well

[10:33] Funfood What is your problem with these files?

[10:34] natbrown There is a whole category[2] 

[10:34] Funfood there it belongs to, yes

[10:34] natbrown I am a woman. I find this very offencive. I don't want to see it.

[10:35] Funfood you don't need to open them, neither the files or the category

[10:35] natbrown Should this be in Wikipedia? Aren't there enough sites dedicated to these techniques?

[10:35] Nickname1 you'll get over it

[10:36] Funfood commons is not wikipedia, but there are, of course a lot of discussions about those files

[10:36] natbrown I found them by searching for "roll over"

[10:36] Funfood I for my part don't think that human body parts are disgusting somehow

[10:37] Funfood but your opinion may vary

[10:37] natbrown Very often I work with my granddaughter by my site. She is 8 now. Would you like your daughter or your mother to see those files?

[10:38] Funfood If they appear by accident on the screen, it is a good time to explain children something about the internet

[10:38] Funfood and my mother has surely seen a penis before;)

[10:39] natbrown It is pornography[3]

[10:39] natbrown There should be no pornography on Wikimedia. It isn't educational. 

[10:40] Funfood pornography

[10:40] AsimovBot [1][4] 

[10:40] Funfood the first lines are the important ones;)

[10:41] natbrown There is a page there about child pornography as well. Thank God no pictures!

[10:41] Funfood they would be deleted at once and the uploaders will have a hard time afterwards

[10:41] natbrown The children are exploited all around the world. 

[10:45] Funfood nudity

[10:45] AsimovBot [2][5]

[10:47] natbrown I was shocked to discover those files. I thought that Wikimedia had no videos of masturbation. What can I do?

[10:48] natbrown They are very offencive to any woman. I feel like someone has been mustubating in front of me.

[10:49] Funfood you can do what everybody can do: start a deletion request fpr the file. But you can be shure it will be rejected.

[10:50] natbrown I can't believe that you all have no those feelings. Are you all frigthen that if you lose those files peple wouldn't know where to find them?

[10:50] Funfood Sexual content does not mean it is bad

[10:51] == Snowolf_ [snowolf@wikimedia/Snowolf] has joined #wikimedia-commons 

[10:53] natbrown I will start a page on a facebook "Stop pornography on Wikipedia". The fact that it's only on wikimedia has no relevance. All files from wikimedia can be added with one click to Wikipedia. Lots of people donated to Wikipedia. Did they all know that there are such files there?

[10:54] Nickname1 okay have fun

[10:54] Funfood by creating this facebook page you can be sure that more people will come to commons just to see these files:)

[10:55] natbrown Do you really think that this is what the world need?

[10:57] Funfood I think that the world needs less censorship and more open minded people

[11:01] Snowolf natbrown: Wikipedia is not censored. See[6] for the English Wikipedia's Content Disclaimer, as an example. See also[7] for some idea of what is and isn't within the scope of Wikimedia Commons 

[11:01] natbrown[8] They say that Wikipedia is doing what they can to delete phorn. The video that is attached is porn.

[11:04] natbrown If I meet some man that I don't know they don't do those things in front of me. Why they should do it online? Why you should provide a space for it? Is it where the donations are going?

[11:07] Funfood so why just don't delete the whole internet? There's porn in it (I heard)

[11:07] Snowolf Oh the Young Turks; that is from over a year ago, and child pornography is taken seriously. But otherwise the projects are not censored.

[11:08] Funfood the file you linked has definitively educational content, even if it is sexual content

[11:10] natbrown Funfood: are you admin? For how many years are you on mediawiki?

[11:10] Snowolf Different things may be offensive to different people, in different countries. There is no worldwide sensitivity on things, and even if there was, who would have ot make the call. It just doesn't work that way, Wikimedia strives not to be censored as much as possible.

[11:10] Funfood no, I am no admin and I am here for just some months 

[11:11] natbrown Are there any admins here?

[11:11] Funfood but I don't know how this should influence my opinion

[11:11] Snowolf There are some people to which the existence of images depicting Prophet Muhammad is offensive, as you're probably aware; to others, sexually explicit images are a problem.

[11:13] Snowolf In the end, you end up making everybody unhappy. Now I am sorry that an image like that bothered you, each one of us has a different sensitivity, and there may be/is content on Wikimedia projects I might find objectionable too 

[11:14] Snowolf But we don't censor things. Could things be improved? Always. Is it easy? No, striving a balance between removing images of no education value (because Wikimedia Commons is not a free host for images akin to imageshack and the like) and censorship of useful images is not easy, but it is important to err on the side of caution. 

[11:15] Funfood well said 

[11:15] Snowolf Some user more involved than me in the Commons project could give you a better answer in any case, just trying to offer my perspective and understanding of it. 

[11:17] natbrown If you have been on this irc for some time, they you should know the feelings of other users of this channel. Does everyone think so? 

[11:18] Snowolf natbrown: I have been on irc for some years yes, but other users could tell you better than me the consensus onwiki, which is where it really matters. IRC is but a small spectrum of the opinions onwiki discussion can offer. I don't think it is ever the case that everybody thinks one way, once enough persons are involved 

[11:19] Snowolf This case is no different 

[11:19] natbrown Where do I find them? 

[11:19] Snowolf nadar: I will try and look for the discussion that happened 

[11:20] natbrown Thanks. 

[11:20] Snowolf natbrown: I believe the most recent proposal on this matter was the[9] 

[11:21] Snowolf the results of it are on[10] 

[11:21] Snowolf This was a Wikimedia-wide proposal 

[11:21] Snowolf But this was just a filter to hide such content from view 

[11:21] Funfood oh the link I gave was wrong, i meant this[11] 

[11:23] Snowolf natbrown: that page Funfood just linked details how Wikimedia Commons deals with nudity and sexually explicit images and offers links to both policies and two proposed guidelines that failed, where you can find the discussion 

[11:31] natbrown I know of the schools that allow children to go to Wikipedia, I don't think that they know of those files. They are very damaging to the kids. They don't need to see it. 

[11:33] Funfood in which way damaging? 

[11:37] Nickname1 because the human body is sinful and if they see pictures of it they'll go to hell

[11:38] Funfood Ah, heard of this concept 

[11:46] natbrown Is there anyone there who thinks the same as me? 

[11:47] natbrown Am I the only one who is horrified? 

[12:00] natbrown OK, it looks there is no one to answer:( I have opened the page[12] there is a photo of my granddaughter there. I am doing it for her. 

[12:01] natbrown I will copy and paste this conversation, so people know why I have opened the group. 

[12:02] natbrown!admin@commons 

[12:03] Snowolf You cannot copypaste this conversation without the permission of all involved 

[12:03] Snowolf Otherwise you would be in violation of copyright. 

[12:03] Snowolf Personally, I have no issues with what I said being reproduced. 

[12:04] natbrown I don't care, I feel like my soul is being torn apart. Do you know the feeling? 

[12:05] natbrown I do it and those who want can object it. I will answer them for what I have done. 

[12:07] natbrown I will delete ip addresses to keep people privacy. 

[12:08] Snowolf You are free to reproduce all that I've said, however you really shouldn't reproduce what other have said without their permission. It is automatically copyrighted in a good chunk of countries, including the United States 

[12:10] Snowolf In any case, you are now aware of the issue. Please try to keep in mind that each of us has a point of view, and sometimes we should take a step back and try to see everybody else's 

[12:10] nickname2 it's not really a copyright issue 

[12:10] Snowolf Sensibilities are really different in different parts of the world 

[12:10] nickname2 but rather a privacy issue 

[12:10] nickname2 even if the channel is public, the channels logs are not ought to be public 

[12:11] Snowolf nickname2: that's another matter, which stems from freenode and channel rules 

[12:11] Snowolf In any case, I feel I've tried to explain what I could:) 

[12:14] natbrown Can you refer me to the policy that I can't make this conversation public? 

[12:17] natbrown Funfood: Are you against of what being said to be reproduces publicly? 

[12:18] natbrown Snowolf: Do you want me to change your nickname? 

[12:19] Snowolf natbrown: as I stated before, I have no issues with what I said being reproduced at all. 

[12:19] natbrown Shall I leave you name as Snowolf: 

[12:20] Snowolf Sure:) 

[12:20] Snowolf[13] this is some detail on the issues of releasing logs, but in any case I would just ask Funfood about it 

[12:21] natbrown I can change it. I only want to explain the issue to other people. I don't need to have name. Fundood is not answering. 

[12:26] natbrown Snowolf: Thank you for allowing to publish the conversation. [12:27] Funfood I have no problems if you let my opinions there 

[12:31] natbrown Funfood: Thanks. I have to open the page on Facebook since I can't find anyone who supports my opinion here. I think that the matter is very important for general public.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Addendum: Who the Major Players of the LaRouche Edit War Were

Because I didn't want the last post to drag on, I cut out the backstory elements of the major players. If we talk about Wikipedia activity, we will relate only the barest details, because a lot of this is deserving of future longer articles.

Herschelkrustovsky (Daniel Platt)

Platt is an interesting figure, one of the few examples of "exiled political dissidents" we have on Wikipedia. As far as we know, he lives somewhere in Los Angeles County, where he has a business with a man named Peter Ruckert called "American Systems Publications", which Chip Berlet calls "[an] internet psywar shop." I believe they do LaRouche Youth Movement recruiting from that location. Platt has been involved with LaRouche since at least the 1980s; he was allegedly a donor to LaRouche's 1988 presidential bid. He also has done translation work for LaRouche's publications and wrote book reviews for Executive Intelligence Review, a magazine of LaRouche's mentioned in the last post.

Will Beback (William McWhinney)

Son of a well-known deceased psychiatrist, McWhinney is allegedly a computer operator with the Los Angeles Police Department, a high-level member of the LA Sierra Club until he quit in 2008, and gay. Allegedly never attended any gatherings of Wikipedia users.

McWhinney has a Wikipedia backstory so convoluted and long I will have to write about it in a future post, but I will say that he was opposed to Scientology, Lyndon LaRouche, Transcendental Meditation, and Daniel Brandt (for some reason.)

SlimVirgin (Linda Mack/Sarah McEwan)

If McWhinney's Wikipedia backstory is convoluted, everything about SlimVirgin is twisted in knots. We don't know which of her two names is a cover, or if one is a later married name, or a combination of a cover name, a married name, and her birth name. What we do know is that she is British-Canadian and involved with the investigation of Pan-Am Flight 103, the Lockerbie bombing. Prior to that she was studying philosophy at King's College in Cambridge. The story is that she knew somebody on the flight, then was hired (under the Linda Mack name) by the ABC-TV investigation of 1989-1991 which was run by Pierre Salinger. After pushing some theories, she supported the "Libyans did it" government case when two Libyans were indicted, while Salinger was more convinced that the Syrians were behind it, possibly paid by Iran as revenge for the USS Vincennes shooting down Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988. Sometime in 1991 the ABC offices were raided by Scotland Yard, which took videotapes and documents which few people in the office knew about; Salinger thought Mack was an MI6 agent who had tipped the Yard off and locked her out. She carried on the investigation as a freelancer, and either while as a freelancer or during her time with ABC showed up to a meeting of the victims' families wearing a hidden microphone in her coat; she was ejected from the meeting. She also later started a petition against the Allan Francovitch documentary The Maltese Double Cross: Lockerbie (1994) because it did not support the government case. Since 2002 she has been living in Swalwell, Alberta in Canada. Was she an agent, an "asset", or just a bad journalist?

Her Wikipedia history was just as convoluted; she originally used the handle SlimV in 2003; all of that was later deleted except for a user page, which claims she joined a year later, in November of 2004. As SlimVirgin her major fixations were Israel (extremely pro), animal rights, POV-pushing in certain BLPs, and slamming Lyndon LaRouche with Will Beback. She also worked with Cirt and Jayjg (allegedly Judah Gould). Wrote the Animal rights and the Holocaust article which cannot be touched in any meaningful way.


That's the problem of Wikipedia; every topic leads to four others, then twelve after that, and it continues in geometrical progression until the blog in which you are writing about all the screwups and scandals of Wikipedia becomes a form of Wikipedia itself, a Necronomicon of Web 2.0 bullshit.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Lyndon LaRouche Edit War, 2003-2007

What follows is yet another case where Wikipedia was willing to break its own rules to slam a group the administrators and editors despised. In doing so, they paved the way for all the edit wars that followed to the present day.

Lyndon LaRouche

It is impossible to find anything neutral online about LaRouche; the Encyclopedia Britannica has no article on him though they mention his standings in various presidential elections. Wikipedia has 45 pages on LaRouche, who last ran for election in 2004, and all of it is either negative or close to it. Why?

Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Jr. (b. 1922), a Quaker and non-combatant World War II veteran, joined the Socialist Workers Party (a Trotskyist organization with a long history) in 1948, then left the SWP in the mid-1960s, opting to go off and form his own organization, the National Caucus of Labor Committees, which produced New Solidarity magazine. In 1971 LaRouche began creating more magazines with sources from around the world (usually NCLC members); his critics claimed he was building an intelligence network a la the Scientology Guardian's Office/Office of Special Affairs, but using the magazines as fronts for intelligence gathering and outlets for the juiciest bits. In the summer of 1973, NCLC members began attacking other Left-wing groups, breaking up meetings in an action called "Operation Mop-up" because LaRouche had gone paranoid. After this point, LaRouche shifted to the Right, though he would mostly run for President as a Democrat (in 1976 he ran on his own U.S. Labor Party.) The U.S. Labor Party was also used to run candidates for a number of offices during the 1970s. In 1978, the members of Executive Intelligence Review (one of those magazines I was talking about) published the mother of all drug-conspiracy books, Dope, Inc., which accused the Queen of England of being the world's greatest heroin trafficker. I read that tome in a college library; I grew up reading UFO books and other esoterica, and I could not follow EIR's chain of reasoning. That the book was nearly 700 pages long and printed on the same grade of paper as a state voter's pamphlet didn't help things. LaRouche spent the '80s running his small empire from Leesburg, Virginia, publishing Fusion* through the now-defunct Fusion Energy Foundation, writing editorials and books. The Fusion Energy Foundation would net LaRouche a short prison stay in the early 1990s for mail fraud, and the magazine and foundation were dissolved. LaRouche was out of prison by 1995, after serving five years.

The most important thing that LaRouche did (at least for our narrative) was found the Worldwide LaRouche Youth Movement in 2000, a group of college-aged proselytizers selling literature on street corners, attending lectures by LaRouche or his second wife Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and arguing with college students in the quad, while traveling across the country (or Europe) in vans and living in poverty. The idea that young people would abandon college to pitch LaRouche was too much for certain editors at Wikipedia, but there were critics of LaRouche in print and online before Wikipedia.

The Prehistory of LaRouche Criticism

The first people to comment on LaRouche's swings were probably the anti-war and campus Left groups, but any documents from those groups to that effect have not made it online as far as I can tell. In the context of the LaRouche edit war, the two major critics are Dennis King, who wrote Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism (1989), and John Foster "Chip" Berlet, who is a journalist on far-right groups and senior analyst at Political Research Associates of Cambridge, MA. Pretty much both accuse LaRouche of running a cult of personality, of being an anti-Semite (while weirdly having Jewish staff members) and of being homophobic. Chip Berlet would involve himself in the Wikipedia edit war, while Dennis King also edited Lyndon LaRouche articles while running his seldom-updated Lyndon LaRouche Watch website (last posts date to 2014.)

The Edit War

Instead of writing paragraphs, we are going to use a timeline.

November 2003: An IP address expands the Lyndon LaRouche BLP ("biography of a living person") with material from a now-defunct CafeProgressive blog "Lyndon LaRouche is OK." Insertions reverted two hours later. The IP used was, which is in central Mexico.

May 2004: Herschelkrustofsky (Daniel Platt) shows up, begins editing on LaRouche and other political figures.

June 2004: The War begins when Adam_Carr (Dr. Adam Carr), an Australian political operative later accused of tacking on unflattering material to the BLPs of Australian politicians, rewrites the LaRouche BLP from scratch, using material from Dennis King's book. Editor Sam_Spade tried to get the two sides to reconcile, and was later driven off Wikipedia.

July 2004: The first Arbitration Committee case. Herschelkrustovsky vs. Adam_Carr and  
Homey (who later became AndyL and possibly John Kenney in real life.) Dan Platt was topic-banned from the LaRouche BLP, and any information from a source connected to LaRouche was considered "original research" and thus could be reverted out of existence. Homey account was deleted later.

November 2004: The plot thickens as SlimVirgin (Linda Mack/Sarah McEwan) begins editing LaRouche articles.

December 2004: Chip Berlet (as Cberlet) begins editing LaRouche articles.

February 2005: The second Arbcom case. This time it's SlimVirgin and Cberlet vs. Herschelkrustovsky. They accused Platt of using sockpuppets (Weed_Harper,, possibly C_Colden) and the charges stuck. Platt was convicted of sockpuppeting and put on "parole." The three accounts listed as sockpuppets were blocked.

December 2005: The bizarro Nobs01 Arbcom case, with Cberlet vs. Nobs01, Rangerdude, Cognition, Herschelkrustovsky, Sam_Spade. Chip Berlet claimed that he was being ganged up on. Cognition was banned outright, others were given blocks, Rangerdude quit. Nobs01is still on Wikipedia as of this writing.

May 2006: A one year ban is doled out to Herschelkrustovsky for Arbcom "parole violations."

June 2006: Will Beback (William McWhinney) pushed to have Daniel Platt's account deleted during the ban just to be a dick. No consensus is reached (though the "cabal" members voted to delete.)

November 2006: Dennis King begins editing LaRouche articles as Dking.

July 2007: Cberlet and Dking complain about pro-LaRouche editors in an arbitration request. Wikipedia now claims that all of them (NathanDW, Marvin_Diode, MaplePorter) were sockpuppets of Daniel Platt.

October 2007: The bloody end of Herschelkrustovsky. Adam_Carr had written an article titled Views of Lyndon LaRouche and the LaRouche movement which was defamitory of the subject matter. William McWhinney called for it to be fully protected, then called for Platt to be permanently banned (bringing up that he was a moderator at Wikipedia Review.) The goon squad agreed, and Platt was done.

Like a Frankenstein's Monster it still lurched on with a 2009 Mediation Cabal mediation that failed, and a 2011 Mediation Cabal mediation that ALSO failed. McWhinney was involved with both. Sometime after October 2007 Cberlet quit, and Dking still has an account, but it's abandoned.


All of this effort was expended over a man that never got a major party nomination and whose group is at most 500-2000 people. Only Wikipedia would create this; you would not see this sort of fighting over a LaRouche article in a "dictionary of American political parties and figures".....the writers would crank out a balanced article on the subject and move on to the next topic. Every controversial article on topics and figures which get the blood boiling should have been a quadruple-locked stub on Wikipedia to keep fights from happening.


* This is what Ivan Stang (Douglas St. Clare Smith) wrote about Fusion and LaRouche-ism is his classic book on mail-order kookiness, High Weirdness by Mail (1988):

If political groups are really cults, then this is the People's Temple of politics, with Jonestown around the bend. Fusion is a science magazine, sometimes concerned with unsung alternate-energy sources, always pro-nuke, and twisted subtly but definitely toward that strange mix of farthest-right and off-the-wall that LaRouche philosophy exudes. Like the goofiest senility-amplified crank theories, but on a big budget. SCARY to think where their money is coming from. Approach with caution; these guys can afford to use the kind of tactics the poorer hate groups fantasize about.

This blog passed 10,000 views two days ago! I thank all my readers from around the world!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Greasy World of Howard Keith Henson

This is one of those posts where you start it, look at what you read, then delete it and start it again. And again. And again....

Howard Keith Henson created the L5 Society, was involved in cryonics through the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, was involved in space law, memetics, protesting Scientology, etc. That's what Wikipedia will talk about. What they won't discuss (not even in a short "controversies" section) are the ugly things Henson did years before he was railroaded into a six-month jail sentence in 2007 for picketing Golden Era Productions (the "secret" Scientology headquarters) in Hemet, California in the late '90s.

The Accusation

From around 1974 to 1981 two of Henson's daughters state that they were molested by him and that he had also molested two of their childhood friends. The accusers are Valerie Aurora (she will not use her father's surname) and Gale Grant. According to Aurora, Howard K. Henson began molesting Gale at the age of six, and she writes about it in an attached Word document in horrifying detail. Valerie Aurora claims she has no memories of being molested, but "various doctors" have told her she has physical signs of molestation. According to her, "We are honestly not sure how many children Keith molested in total or if he stopped in 1981." Howard Keith Henson had two wives, Carolyn Meinel and Arel Lucas; Meinel divorced Henson in 1982 over his sex crimes, which came out through child therapy. Lucas (according to Valerie Aurora) knew about the molestations, married him anyway, and produced a child (Amber Henson), who at the time of the writing of the website (2007) did not believe her half-sisters. Arel Lucas' bizarro reason for marrying H. Keith Henson is as follows: "Our best clue as to why Arel married, supported, and defends Keith while knowing that he molested his previous daughters is a comment she made to Gale. Arel told Gale that it was natural for little girls to have sexual feelings for their fathers, and if Keith molested her, it's because Gale (6 years old at the time) wanted it." Logic from an alien world....

Neither wife wanted their ex or present husband jailed for fear he would be murdered in prison, so they did not drag the police into it, even though Henson had dug tunnels (!) underneath his and Meinel's house for reasons Valerie Aurora did not mention. However, in the affidavit for divorce drafted by Carolyn Meinel in 1982 under "Total Monthly Expenses" it says:

 $955 + MEDICAL
**$6,000 since May 1981 includes Gale's operation and four-day
hospital stay; Valerie and [redacted] for pulmonary problems and
psychological counseling for Gale and [redacted] as a result of
father's sexual molestation of them.

It was an open secret, if you could find the right document. Which is what the Scientologists did.

The Failed Propaganda Campaign

When Howard Keith Henson began his campaign, they struck back through the internet:

Keith Henson Child Molester Uses Internet to Foment Hatred. Like many bigots who attack other religious organizations or racial minorities, Henson has a shady history which includes sexual perversion and numerous violation of the law.

Henson has never been a Scientologist nor has he had any contact with Scientology other than hearing about it from a religious hate newsgroup on the Internet. Henson's behavior belies his true motivation, which is quite simply to deny Scientologists any rights of any kind which is what lies behind his criminal actions against members of the Church over the past two years.

.....For example, Keith Henson's first wife divorced him because he was I child molester who caused untold emotional damage to his underage daughters by sexually molesting them while married to his first wife. In an affidavit he filed with the Arizona Superior Court, Henson's former wife (while complaining about Henson being a deadbeat dad and the amount of funds she had to put out as a result) complained that Henson was so irresponsible that he had not even paid for the psychological counseling of his two daughters due to Henson's molestation of them. His wife alleged, " .$6,000 has been owed since May 1981 which includes Gale's operation and four-day hospital stay; Valerie and Virginia for pulmonary problems and psychological counseling for Gate and Wendy as a result of father's sexual molestation of them."

A friend of the Henson's also testified in the case that:
"Carolyn stated that Keith had sexually molested his children and that if he did not come back to Tucson for therapy he might be arrested. In all probability she felt there would be a divorce. Several meetings with Carolyn occurred over the next several weeks where she enumerated occasions of child molestation and at this time she said she had money problems since Keith was not giving her enough to care for the kids properly,"

Henson's behavior is nothing short of criminal and he should have been prosecuted for it.
Nobody believed a word of it, especially because they mixed it together with an attack on another Scientology critic, Grady Ward, where they made absurd claims that he was a pornographer. This sort of "fling anything at the wall and see what sticks" propaganda rarely works, and yet the Church is still using it, especially after the Going Clear documentary came out. The quasi-slander about Howard Keith Henson was allegedly released to the Nigerian government in 1998 as part of the slime-ing of a former business partner of Bob Minton (the now-deceased founder of the Lisa McPherson Trust who was an investment banker), a man named Jeff Schmidt who had worked with Minton doing debt-control for Nigeria. It didn't work, but it did leak onto the Internet, and it made the case of "Henson Persecuted by Scientology" bulletproof, which is why Valerie Aurora's "Keith Henson is a child molester" page is mostly unknown to the public.

The Final Seal of Approval: Wikipedia

And so we are back to where we started. In spite of founding the short-lived Ada Initiative, being a friend of the now ex-Wikimedia Foundation employee Sarah Stierch, and generally being as "free culture" as humanly possible, there is no mention of the sickening greasy sleaze, either on her stub-like BLP ("biography of a living person") nor on her estranged father's page. There were attempts in March 2013 and November 2013 to bring Valerie Aurora's BLP closer to reality, but the former insertion was ganked by Ryan Kaldari in a few hours, while the latter insertion only lasted ten minutes.

  (cur | prev) 23:28, 4 December 2013 Jehochman (talk | contribs) . . (7,003 bytes) (-47) . . (→External links: WP:BLP external links policy)
  (cur | prev) 23:27, 4 December 2013 Jehochman (talk | contribs) m . . (7,050 bytes) (0) . . (Changed protection level of Valerie Aurora: Violations of the biographies of living persons policy ([Edit=Allow only autoconfirmed users] (indefinite) [Move=Allow only autoconfirmed users] (indefinite)))
  (cur | prev) 17:05, 4 December 2013 Fluffernutter (talk | contribs) . . (7,050 bytes) (+49) . . (Adding {pp-semi-blp} (TW))
  (cur | prev) 17:05, 4 December 2013 Fluffernutter (talk | contribs) m . . (7,001 bytes) (0) . . (Protected Valerie Aurora: Violations of the biographies of living persons policy ([Edit=Allow only autoconfirmed users] (expires 17:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC))))
  (cur | prev) 17:04, 4 December 2013 Fluffernutter (talk | contribs) . . (7,001 bytes) (-628) . . (Reverted to revision 581282019 by SarahStierch (talk): BLP. (TW))
  (cur | prev) 03:42, 12 November 2013 SarahStierch (talk | contribs) . . (7,001 bytes) (-430) . . (Reverted good faith edits by *(talk): Reverting unexplained removal of content and changing of names/etc. . (TW))
      Yes, Sarah Stierch had locked the page so that changes were impossible to do for a while.

The final blow was the discovery that Howard Keith Henson was editing Wikipedia under the account Hkhenson since 2005, mostly editing articles on things he had done or things he was interested in, or the biographies of supporters, and Douglas Hofstadter. Hkhenson has never been blocked, kept away from editing his own BLP, or sanctioned in any way. It's like finding out that James "Whitey" Bulger was editing his own biography or a list of his crimes.


Finally, I have to re-affirm that I am not a Scientologist for the Reddit readership.

May I say that I feel sorry for Henson's children, whose lives were nearly ruined by this heartless, self-centered creep, along with his other molestation victims (you know they have to be out there.)