Tim Farley’s big black hat on Wikipedia (or how to lose the rational middle)

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Tim Farley is not my ideological opponent. Contrary to how he passionately prefers to frame these issues to his audience of a few hundred skeptics, a number of the people complaining against skeptic activism online are not believers or promoters of parapsychology or psi/esp or even Rupert Sheldrake. I’m not a parapsychology promoter and to be honest, do not really know much about the issue (other than what I’ve learned from editing Rupert Sheldrake’s article).

Tim Farley is of unique interest to WWHP primarily because of his behaviors, online strategies and tactics he endorses, promotes, designs or uses to promote his ideology on Wikipedia.

Tim Farley a man of interest, primarily he endorses public shaming, doxxing, outing and harassment.

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Back in December or maybe beginning of January I reached out to a few bloggers in the skeptic activist community, primarily in relationship to ‘Wikipedia, we have a problem.’ which disclosed my personal history dealing with outing, reputation distortion, and other nasty harassing techniques used by their particular branch of skepticism for editing an article on Wikipedia. Tim Farley was one of them. Tim was not really on my radar much before this. I just sent him a tweet because his blog posted about the Sheldrake article.

How Mr. Tim Farley responded to me back then is what put him on my scrutiny and more importantly how Tim Farley recently responded to WWHP I believe confirms my entire critique of his movement online.

By using extreme social or political tricks and techniques to advance their agendas – activism has extended itself into the world of collaborative harassment and black hat media strategies – and that is something I do not mind exposing, especially when it’s directed at me.

 

I like to expose deception too

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Over the years I have been hired by brands, agencies, celebrities, political groups for various projects and in a large number of them my responsibility was identifying the black hat players and establishing a network of credibility. Usually black hat players are just very clever people manipulating the arbitrage media marketplace for advertising dollars or SEO boosts, i.e. they do it for the cash. Buying and reselling internet traffic, boosting rankings, burying results, attacking competitors, etc etc.

I’ve also been a key consultant to turn to for a number of publications and journalists  around the problem of ‘black hat’ players online including the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter, the London Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, and even Douglas de Jager of Spider IO fame – which was recently purchased by Google for exposing massive fraud in the ad tech industry. I’ve got an eye for this sort of talent.

While black hat online tactics rely on deception (hence ‘black hat’) most of the time they are usually clever and sometimes they drive innovation just by keeping up with them. I could actually say that I’ve learned more about the internet from keeping up with the black hat players than any other study.

Right now, what has attracted my attention is agenda based ‘black hat’ editing on Wikipedia. Editors who know how to game Wikipedias admins and guidelines to force points of view into Wikipedia articles.

 

 

Activism is not a contribution to Wikipedia.

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Tim Farley recently published ‘When you’re not here to contribute to Wikipedia, your stats show it’ is an expose of how this particular activist movement uses mis framing and character distortion. He mentions in the blog that he finally, after many months just got the bug to blog about the ‘manufactorversy’ and non issue of harassment happening on Rupert Sheldrake’s article. He says it’s just taken him awhile because the issue is so complex and vast.

I say it’s because he is in damage control mode since he was exposed on Wikipedia  by ‘TheCapn’ in an Arbitration Request just a week before he posted his article. The Capn also is not a Sheldrake supporter. He is a wikipedian with no history of editing any fringe articles (unlike Farley’s list of editors) and who came in to help mediate the problem on Wikipedia last October. The Capn himself is a skeptic and an atheist and also not an ideological opponent of Tim Farley.

I’ll be blogging about that AR later, but the context here is that Tim Farley was exposed on Wikipedia including Farley’s direct promotion of off Wiki harassment. You can read The Capn’s AR (it’s quite good!) here.

Tim Farley (as krelnik) was careful to misdirect ‘TheCapn’ evidence in both the AR and his blog. In the AR he was saying that he was not responsible for outing me on Wikipedia, actually I was the one who outed myself. The Capn called him out on that deception:

@krelnik, I did not accuse you of outing a WP editor; Vzaak did that. (1, 2, 3) What you did do, however, was promote the outing and harassment of that editor off site. You’re mentioned here because though you may have posted only once to Sheldrake, you’ve been involved in the battleground mentality occurring there. Your one post to Sheldrake was regarding another WP editors book which references WP:BATTLE on the Sheldrake article. You’re involved enough to want to research/read that book on the issue – write a blog specifically about the Sheldrake article, act as a liaison between editors on the page and Jerry Coyne. You’re involved enough that only you and Jerry Coyne had the same link to Vzaak’s Sheldrake commentary which is not linked to anything except your site and the New Atlantic. If you were just a blogger this wouldn’t be an issue, but since you’re a blogger who posts extensively about encouraging battleground on an article you’ve also commented on, it’s unrealistic to claim ignorance here.

Finally, please note that WP editor did not deliberately reveal his actual name. The site you pointed to is a publication posted after being outed that reviewed the steps taken by certain WP editors to expose personal information about that editor on WP. That editor, who I have my own issues with, nevertheless had a right to privacy that they repeatedly asked others to respect. The consequences for editors so outed are being derided publicly on RationalWiki, with entire articles being created to demean an editor and then being referenced by krelnik. This behavior perpetuates a battle mentality off-WP.

 Of course Tim would prefer that no one read this site or my exposure, in his blog post he misdirects the reader by referring to this as  just ‘nonsense’ written by a bunch of fanatic obsessed irrational woo supporters who disrupt Wikipedia.

Tim Farley misdirects his readers  again when he says the charge was ‘dismissed’. The evidence against Tim Farley as well as the other skeptic editors was not dismissed, it was dismissed as an AR and the Capn was told to handle the problem in an AE (arbitration enforcement). Not one admin told the Capn that his charges of collaborative harassment were unsubstantiated. They just said he had to try it in another area of Wikipedia.

So Tim is in damage control mode. Usually when a brand is in damage control mode, that’s when they tend to make the most mistakes. Tim’s last blog post on the issue “If you’re not here to contribute to Wikipedia, your stats show it” is such a mistake.

Tim Farley, by framing editors on Wikipedia, such as myself and The Capn as ideological opponents, trolls and sock puppets ‘spewing nonsense’ and causing conflict – you’ve done nothing but show that your particular brand of skeptic activism has lost the rational middle.

And over the next few blog posts coming out over the next week or two, I am going to focus on and show how the methods Tim Farley and activists use to mis frame and redirect stats, data in his ‘not here to contribute’ article very cleverly draw attention to problems that do not exist while covering for very real problems that do.

Misdirection is an art – its no wonder why Tim Farley is employed by the master of misdirection James Randi and his band of merry skeptic activists. I guess I share a lot with them in common – I too enjoy exposing deception, fraud, misdirection, and mis framing. Especially when it’s used in collaborative editing environments and used against good people working towards the genuine ideals of collaborative editing.

 

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