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Wikipedia, Tumbleman ban investigation thread

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  • #16
    What a nightmare all of this is. And the best part is this is just what the fringe sector experiences; the political sector has the same treatment, but receive government support to hide their particular editors (consider how edits which depict Israel's UN-sanctionable actions get deleted.)

    Is there a Wikipedia equivalent to RICO/conspiracy charges? I know that occasionally political activists and intelligence agencies get busted and burned for social engineering on Wikipedia, so there must be some way to do it.

    It would be a mountainous effort, but I imagine you would have to do something akin to:
    • Cache the history of the tumbleman pages (using Wikipedia history export, then convert this to something like Git for easier local searching)
    • Check each revision (maybe script this) to composite a list of everyone involved
    • Cache the relevant talk pages about those users, what pages they primarily edit and their history of edits/sanction comments
    • Build a concept map to nagivate the research from the above


    What you need to do is check if the editors are connected to guerrilla skeptic groups or not, preferably through their on-site actions. If they have a history of violating WP:NPOV or covering for people who do, you can slap them with WP:NOTHERE. Its vitally important that the report which demonstrates this is itself neutral, because what is actually wanted is to expunge the activist administrators so the articles contain both the positive and negative references. You're not "defending" Sheldrake or any fringe topics, you're defending the encyclopedia's status on neutrality.

    That said, you still need one or more higher ranking admins to review the research report which explains gross violation of wikimedia rules and participation with a disinformation campaign. There's still going to exist editors who disagree with you, too, but those people are OK because they are doing it from their own personal beliefs and not out of activism.

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    • #17
      Thanks. You obviously have much more understanding of how Wikipedia works than I do. I think "Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia", while problematic, is actually a bit of a red herring. The current situation is one where open minded editors who are trying to restore neutrality to articles get banned for the most trivial of reasons, and there's an organized effort to get them banned. I'm confident many of the people behind this toxic climate are not members of Guerrilla Skepticism, even though they share a similar outlook. Let's look at the "Discussion about unblocking Science Apologist"
      Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard: Difference between revisions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      Keep in mind, one Admin had previously said this about Science Apologist:
      You have the largest block log I have ever seen; 24 blocks, not counting variations, changes and extensions. You were told that the last block, after a number of last chances, was forever.
      Just two months before the decision to remove his block, he had been using a sockpuppet to edit. And yet he got the block removed. His behavior remained atrocious, yet it didn't matter. Look at the comments from two administrators at the above link. One, "Kww", actually seemed to have admiration for him but felt he should remain blocked because:
      "If this were an ideal world, I would simply ban most of the editors that SA disagrees with, as that would eliminate both the edit warring and things like Wikipedia's excessively gullible point of view towards crystal worship, homeopathy, electric voice phenomena, vaccine hysteria, and similar topics. This isn't an ideal world though, and SA's contributions, while nearly invariably right, served to galvanize the forces intent on inserting these things into articles. … I've advocated banning all pseudoscience advocates from Wikipedia before, and continue to believe that's the best solution. Until we do that, though, SA's presence is counterproductive."
      Think about that. An administrator advocating for the banning of everyone he considers to be a "pseudoscience" advocate. Another administrator with a similar bias, Bishonen, says ScienceApologist should be allowed back, in part because:
      I'm getting really cynical about this project and its openness to "crystal worship, homeopathy, electric voice phenomena" etc.
      And a third editor, Mr. Stradivarius, offered ScienceApologist encouragement on his talk page and said:
      Have a think about what you can do right now to show people that you're serious, and you may well be unblocked sooner than you think. Best regards
      Anyway, at the start of the voting there were a number of people who opposed the unblock. And then a ton of people showed up to support the unblock. And so a guy who had "24 blocks, not counting variations, changes and extensions", and who had been using a sockpuppet to edit Wikipedia just two months earlier, was allowed back on. And it seems he's doing everything he can to cover his tracks this time, not to mention he's managed to get a lot of stuff involving his past activity on Wikipedia removed as a "courtesy". The whole thing is unreal.
      Last edited by Stevenson; October 27th, 2013, 06:03 AM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Stevenson View Post
        Think about that. An administrator advocating for the banning of everyone he considers to be a "pseudoscience" advocate.
        He also admitted that they would have to ban skepticism advocates too, otherwise it would do nothing but galvanize. I might not mind if they simply shut down the fringe sector, if they also shut down the anti-fringe sector and said "This is a place for things we have definitive knowledge of, this is not a place to advocate 'challenges' and it is not a place to talk about studies which are still in the hypothesis stages."

        I seem to remember back when I had several electronic encyclopedias which were offline publications, they tended to avoid fringe topics other than "its the belief of X, considered a fringe topic, and has much controversy" rather than kick the ball and take a side.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Stevenson View Post
          Anyway, at the start of the voting there were a number of people who opposed the unblock. And then a ton of people showed up to support the unblock.
          Not surprising. These kinds of people are much better at flash mobs, because there are no two interpretations of nihilism. Proponents often can't agree with which part of each other they agree with, or they're too busy living to care.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by JCearley View Post
            He also admitted that they would have to ban skepticism advocates too, otherwise it would do nothing but galvanize.
            Your statement suggests an even handedness with this administrator that doesn't exist. What he did was express admiration and sympathy for ScienceApologist and say it was a difficult decision to oppose the unblock but because ScienceApologist galvanized his opponents like no other, and these were the people the administrator did not want to see on Wikipedia, he should not be allowed back. Never mind ScienceApologist's continual breaking of the rules or all the other editors he ran off through his bullying and obnoxious behavior. Kww makes clear his preference:
            I've advocated banning all pseudoscience advocates from Wikipedia before, and continue to believe that's the best solution




            Originally posted by JCearley View Post
            I seem to remember back when I had several electronic encyclopedias which were offline publications, they tended to avoid fringe topics other than "its the belief of X, considered a fringe topic, and has much controversy" rather than kick the ball and take a side.
            I don't remember real encyclopedias having that level of obvious anti-psi bias. My recollection is the articles were much more neutral in tone.
            Last edited by Stevenson; October 27th, 2013, 10:29 AM.

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            • #21
              'I've advocated banning all pseudoscience advocates from Wikipedia before, and continue to believe that's the best solution' - kww

              Kww seeks the final solution.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Stevenson View Post
                I don't remember real encyclopedias having that level of obvious anti-psi bias. My recollection is the articles were much more neutral in tone.
                If you call avoidance of nebulous topics neutral, then yes.

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                • #23
                  Interesting, I noticed that 'Oh Boy Chicken Again' - the account that was accused of being a Tumbleman sockpuppet, has requested twice to have the ban lifted on the account and not one Wikipedia admin is even reviewing his request.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_t..._chicken_again

                  I bet any admin is afraid to touch that one! I wonder how long they are going to not simply review his unblock case - every account has the right of an unblock appeal and considering the account was banned indefinitely just like Tumbleman's, quite a large penalty.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by FSC909 View Post
                    Interesting, I noticed that 'Oh Boy Chicken Again' - the account that was accused of being a Tumbleman sockpuppet, has requested twice to have the ban lifted on the account and not one Wikipedia admin is even reviewing his request.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_t..._chicken_again

                    I bet any admin is afraid to touch that one! I wonder how long they are going to not simply review his unblock case - every account has the right of an unblock appeal and considering the account was banned indefinitely just like Tumbleman's, quite a large penalty.
                    I can't see why that guy got banned. Just because he was new to Wikipedia and seemed to be familiar with some of the policies and wasn't for burning Sheldrake at the stake he must be a sock of Tumbleman? Then who is "Dan Skeptic" a sock of? The double standard when it comes to who gets blocked and for what is ridiculous. Again, look at ScienceApologist. Had been blocked at least two dozen times and admits he was using a sock just two months before the block was lifted. He's one of the most closed-minded, hateful, and unpleasant editors you will encounter. His behavior has resulted in countless editors either leaving or being banned. And he's got an admin pushing for his return. It's disgusting. Either open minded editors just accept psi related topics on Wikipedia will always be garbage and allow these ignorant fanatics to mislead the public or they try and get organized to restore neutrality, cause if you try to edit these articles as an individual you don't stand a chance, the pseudoskeptics will eventually delete your hard work.

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                    • #25
                      a funny comment just popped up on Craig's blog - a online user called Fujako who was involved with a Tumbleman discussion where they were banned and linked to by the skeptics to get Tumbleman banned. They were trying to show that Tumbleman sock puppeted previously in 2005 as Fujako, and therefore it must mean he is sock puppeting on wikipedia almost 10 years later.

                      Interesting to see though that this is not the first time tumbleman has encountered this reaction.

                      Ye Olde Fujacko
                      October 27, 2013
                      1 0 Rate This


                      I am shocked and bemused. I havenít used the name Fujacko in nearly a decade, and suddenly Iím (sort of) internet famous!

                      However, even the folks at the Pondererís Guild knew I wasnít a sock puppet of Bubblefish. In fact, the very link you posted in your comment lists me as an ďaccomplice,Ē so yes indeed: do your research. Admittedly some of those guys did think I was in cahoots with Tumble (a certain Victor comes to mind), and I may have been overly enthusiastic about his OS012 idea, but there were plenty of occasions when he and I disagreed. Too bad all those wondrous threads have been deleted.

                      Furthermore, Tumbleman and Bubblefish werenít sock puppets but different usernames. Iíve never seen them appear in the same discussion posing as two different people, and as far as I know Tumbleman never denied having multiple accounts. Who hasnít changed usernames? I certainly have.

                      I never understood why Bubblefish was so hated. He had a lot of great ideas and was funny as hell. I really enjoyed watching him push closed-minded peopleís buttons. But he does seem to have a tendency to get into trouble. I hope he can redeem himself.

                      P.S. If you still think I am Bubblefish pretending to be someone else, you really need to get a life!

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by FSC909 View Post
                        Interesting to see though that this is not the first time tumbleman has encountered this reaction.
                        Well sockpuppeting is a great "guilty until proven guilty" charge. They don't have N-factor authentication, so there is virtually no way to actually prove your innocence.

                        Well send me an e-mail and I'll give you a response code: Obviously you could have just made that e-mail address to be anything and a response proves nothing.

                        Okay how about our IPs are different? Nope, obviously you just used Tor, an open proxy, open wifi, or some other connection.

                        Anything short of having to register government-issued IDs ahead of time or exchanging PGP keys which have been personally vetted by numerous other trusted admins, is not sufficient to clear a person of a sockpuppeting charge. Even if you somehow did that, it wouldn't exonorate the other person unless they also had a key registered and vetted. So the potential still exists for people who haven't gone through expensive hoops to get shafted by a claim which is not substantiated with evidence or due process.

                        From a purely academic note in social engineering, it would be a very effective tactic to have someone set up for being a troll and then clearing everyone who disagreed with your evidence as a sock puppet...

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