Monday, March 11, 2024

Quasi-Wikipedia: Larry Sanger's Twitter/X Account

I used to think that Larry Sanger was the more rational than Jimbo Wales, but then I got to read day after day of Sanger's Twitter account (@lsanger) and that view faded into nothingness. Let us see why.

Thanks to Elon Musk, Twitter (I'm not calling it X; the only "X" I respect has Exene Cervenka and Billy Zoom in it) has become ragingly antisemitic, and Sanger is getting closer and closer to falling into the bottomless hole of Jew-hating idiocy.

And here is more of it, he doesn't think that antisemitism is a growing problem even though it grew like wildfire online during the Obama and Trump years. The growth of the Nazi/crypto-Nazi milieu definitely emerged as a response to the market implosion of 2007-08 and the Bush-Obama unwillingness to find anybody on Wall Street culpable.

Larry Sanger is still a hard-core Libertarian, and he really like Javier Milei, President of Argentina, who if you didn't know is a screaming firebrand of Libertarian policies and ideas (he wants to peg Argentina's currency to the US dollar to revive the Argentine economy, demolish social agencies in Argentina, etc.) This picture of him is a meme that came from the NBC sitcom Parks and Rec, and yes, Milei's head is 'shopped in. 

As we said, Sanger is a Libertarian, so he hates the Federal Reserve. In fact he hates the Fed so badly, he made a poll about it, and his followers agree with him.

Did I mention that he's now a vaccine-denier? Well he is.

The Protestant Christian conception of God is a huge deal with Sanger, and I did not know how truly religious he was until I read his Twitter account. In fact, you could argue that the hard-core Protestantism is co-morbid with the Libertarianism and the anti-vaccine views, and that this is extremely common within European-descended people in the United States.

I find this one funny because he's battling "Satanists" in his responses but he's also using James Randi's term "woo" (derived from Randi doing The Twilight Zone theme on stage once with his mouth and saying "woo" instead of humming), which is now an atheist thing. I've noticed that a lot of Wikipedians seem to use the term for anything paranormal they don't like, it probably stuck in Larry's brain. Notice that this is a re-post of a 2020 tweet. 

Yes, he will re-tweet known far-Right figures like Chaya Raichik (the person behind the Libs of TikTok account). So that makes him a supporter of the sort of stochastic terrorism she creates whenever she finds something and re-posts it (bomb threats, death threats, partial responsibility for the death of Nex Benedict).


I'm sure I could dig in deeper, to find out when Larry Sanger started going further and further online-Right. I'm guessing that (like with many conservative figures) that the Obama years deeply unsettled him after the collapse of the Bush II administration into handwringing over the market implosion and the failure of the Iraq and Afghan wars to end victoriously. It's a sad story, one replicated in many households across America. Based on his time at Wikipedia and attempts to get better online encyclopedias off the ground, you would not think this is the sort of person Larry Sanger is, but what you have seen is only a fraction of his Twitter output.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Copypasted from the Archives: Other WMF Employees (just the quotes)

We have access to a sea of articles on Wikipedia and the WMF. Here are some tantalizing quotes from the article on Other WMF Employees, i.e., all the editors who got paid jobs with the WikiMedia Foundation before 2012 rolled around......and then things changed after Lila Tretikov left, but I have no notes on that.

Excepted from a Feb 2013 email exchange: 

 "If you could help by identifying the Wikipedia accounts of any ones I haven't mentioned, in case there are some really evil ones, that would be helpful.


"Other than the usual suspects, Andrew "Werdna" Garrett, and Aaron "Voice Of All" Schulz, no one else pops out as insiders." 

"It's funny to see Luke Welling in the "platform" section. He is a well-known expert on PHP programming, and wrote a popular book on it. What is he doing on the WMF staff page? Are they going "let's try to hire some famous programmers part-time as contractors, and pretend they "do something" for Wikipedia"? Luke should have Moeller's job. In fact, Moeller should be working UNDER Luke, because I have seen little evidence Moeller actually knows much about coding."

"All these "semi-prominent" coders on the payroll, and still no visual editor?" 

"A substantial number of the "developers" listed there are coding nerds with blogs. Another one is Mark "Mtraceur" Holmquist, an FSF member and rabid free-software evangelist. And "transhumanist". Bet he needs a bath."

"I think most of the code developers are contractors, not actual employees, whether their listing says so or not. And many of them are better-known for their free-software evangelism, not for editing Wikipedia. Plus, a large number don't live in the SF bay area, so I presume they are "telecommuting", something often done with contractors, not with full-time employees." 

"Even so, this list contains a substantial number of Wikipedia's worst trolls and most obsessed insiders." 

"David Schoonover just has to be this guy. Gave up editing WP in 2007. " 

"Chad Horohoe is administrator "^demon6 ", been editing since 2008, deletionist gnome, until he cut drastically back in 2010. Probably because they hired him." 

"Terry Chay is an insider at Freenode. One of those people who helps to protect the Wikipedia IRC channels. Oh yeah, they'd want him on the payroll."

"Roan Kattouw edited en-WP back in 2002-2006. I wonder if he's an administrator on nl-WP, under a phony name. Similar for Gabriel Wicke. Erik Zachte is a bigshot on nl-WP for certain, he has been there since it was started in 2002." 

"Andre Klapper is a German developer for the GNOME project, making him another "noted" free software figure."

 "Quite a few of these guys (nearly all of them are guys) have no obvious connection to Wikipedia, making me think they might be insiders or admins who work under unidentified sockpuppet accounts. They seem to be doing a good job of covering it up. If Wikipedia is so dedicated to "openness" and "transparency", why isn't any of this openly declared somewhere?"

Something from Vigilant

"The problem is that even trials of fairly small steps have been kiboshed by the Foundation even after getting community support following reams of discussion: Autoconfirmed article creation trial. An extraordinary episode: the community actually managing to agree something, and the Foundation killing it. This episode is one of the reasons I'm pessimistic: why should anyone in future make the considerable effort to get consensus for such ideas, if the Foundation won't even trial them? (I could have lived with them insisting on making their own evaluation of the trial.)"

"Because the foundation:" 

"* is not headed by competent managers." 

"* does not know how to run a tech organization." 

"* does not understand how to build an encyclopedia." 

"* is filled with deadwood who couldn't get real jobs in the outside world." 

"Run through the staff page at WMF and check out their LinkedIn pages."

Removed employees

"Look at the block log on the foundation wiki for a list of ex-wmf employees." 

• "Legal internship is a summer thing, and is explicitly career networking. The high apparent turnover rate, along with the rest of the discussions above, all fit with my belief that the main purpose of taking a job at the WMF is to use it to career-network your way into somewhere else. Nobody (at least not with any real talent) stays at the WMF for long." 

• "Matthew Roth, former global communications manager of the foundation, left in January 2014. His foundation and enwiki user pages still claim he is a wmf employee. He is now a senior community manager at Flickr."

 • "See also "Wikimedia comms unit in flux after departures" at PR Week." 

• "Leslie Carr, former senior operations engineer, also left the foundation in January 2014. Her enwiki19 and foundation user pages also claim she is currently a foundation employee. She now works for Cumulus Networks." 

• 3 October 2014: Terry Chay was "off-boarded" without warning or reason. "His homepage is suitably unprofessional and mentions that October 3rd was his last day. " Indeed, the arrival of Lila Tretikov appears to be producing change in the ranks. 

• The process accelerated in early 2015. Employees "off-boarded" in March and April included Howie Fung and Maryana Pinchuk, CTCO Gayle Karen Young, Steven Walling, and most remarkably Erik Möller. 

• A Wikipediocracy thread discusses many of these issues, and lists other insiders who have shown incompetence and dishonesty and are likely to be next on the chopping block. "Let me make this easy for Lila. People who still need to go (professional assholes who've generated unbelievable levels of ill will towards the WMF):"

• "Oliver Keyes" 

• "James Forrester" 

• "Dan Garry" 

• "Marc-Andre Pelletier" 

• "Ryan Kaldari" 

• "Philippe Beaudette" 

• "Sherry Snyder"

• "Erica Litrenta" 

• "Whoever the product manager, team lead and community liaison were for Media Viewer" 

• "Anyone with architectural input on Visual Editor" 

• "All of the Flow team" 

• "Anyone who posts a mascot photo on that page" 

• "Whoever runs IRC"

• May 2015: Andrew "Werdna (T28-C29-F30-R31-B32)" Garrett, one of the principal developers of Flow, is silently removed from the WMF employee roster. He was desysopped in June 2016 for inactivity. 

Quote from Dan Murphy: 

"Began editing when 14 (10 years ago), started at WMF as a part-time developer while at university ("liquid threads/flow" was one of his triumphs), was hired on full time only in January of this year, it seems. Was obsessed with the troll/vandal "Grawp" and wrote one of the first automated abuse filters in response, wrote a bunch of their early protection and BLOCKINATION! extensions, obsessive "vandal hunter" in his time (what do you expect from someone whose handle is borrowed from an online fantasy role playing game?). In short, the type specimen of the awkward adolescent male obsessed with computers and coding who essentially grew up on Wikipedia. The sort of person who has made Wikipedia the thoughtful, loving, and mature educational project we know and respect today." 

"Also lied about his true age on Wikipedia for a long time. He's no Essjay, but it's always interesting that lying by contributors to a supposed encyclopedia project is not considered an issue in wikiworld."

                                   An episode of a podcast on a subject as borked as the WMF.