My first five days on Wikipedia were greeted by editor Manul.
I was fortunate to arrive on Wikipedia in 2013 and meet a very experienced, and very clever, Wikipedia editor named ‘Manul’.
At the time, after a gentle review of a notorious ‘wiki war’ I was personally contacted about for advice, I believed Manul, along with another editor known as ‘Barney the Barney Barney’, were conducting editor suppression campaigns on Wikipedia. I believed it enough to go in and see for myself if what I suspected was true.
I believe these strategies, first employed by Manul but then extended to others, offer keen insights into how harassment and editor suppression on Wikipedia happens.
I’ve detailed events like this so if events like this have happened to you on Wikipedia, chances are you’re targeted for editor suppression and you can make sense to what is happening to you.
I originally met Manul on Rupert Sheldrake’s Wikipedia article in 2013.
I decided to participate in this wiki war with good intentions. I was investigating claims of editor suppression made by Rupert Sheldrake on the BBC and elsewhere.
At the time I noted Manul was operating as a ‘single purpose account’ who primarily signed on to solely edit Rupert Sheldrake’s article, and based on their editing history, this was at the time their sole intention on Wikipedia.
Manul was what I would call an ‘activist’ editor, specifically a ‘skeptic activist’, a member of a small sub niche community on the internet.
This particular editing community, I believe broadly, and I prove locally – actively engage in editor suppression tactics across multiple articles across alternative medicine and health, mind body topics like meditation, biographies of fringe scientists or counter culture figures, and pretty much all topics of interest related to organized skepticism.
This individual Manul began this campaign against me, along with a number of other Wikipedia editors, immediately upon our arrival to the biography page in question.
Within five days I was outed, harassed, and personally attacked on Wikipedia with clear and known intention to do harm to my reputation, so as to discourage me, and others, from editing on Wikipedia.
It was a bit more extreme than I was expecting, and I was shocked it was so easy to manipulate and get away with on Wikipedia.
This included exposing, disclosing, and distributing discovery of my real name and off wiki comments, in clear violation of Wikipedia’s own policy and slandering my name and seeding it to another group of people to intentionally rile up a ‘mob’ against me, an action that still continues some years later.
My edit history shows Manul taking these steps at the exact times I am building a consensus on Rupert Sheldrake’s article, engaged in professional and collaborative consensus building.
It shows that these steps to harass and block me from editing were deliberate attempts to game Wikipedia’s policies and process to control editing permissions on Wikipedia.
First, I was outed by editor Manul who declared me a ‘troll’.
To show how aspersions are abused on Wikipedia, I am going to show you how this claim was abused specifically by editor Manul and exploited as a form of editor suppression.
This is in reference to one event that occurred in the first 60 seconds of my activity on Rupert Sheldrake’s biography article on Wikipedia, when my real name was signed as my signature mistakenly.
And at first glance, it may indeed look like I published my name, because somehow, through my own wiki confusion I am sure – my full name Rome Viharo was included as my signature ‘Tumbleman’, which I used since 2006 on Wikipedia.
I guess I changed that years back, and did not realize it effected my signature on Wikipedia until I left a comment, which wasn’t until 2013 some eight years later.
As you can see – this was made at 8:02pm UTC 8/31/ 13
This was a formatting accident and it certainly was not voluntary.
I made that clear when 60 seconds later, I redacted my real name from the talk page.
If anyone was looking at the talk page after this – this is how it would have looked, just a comment without a signature.
After 60 seconds, my name is only available if someone was to search the edit history, not the talk page itself, for the attribution to my name.
This means it’s buried one layer deeper in Wikipedia, not easy for discovery.
Additionally, by chance and in my favor, three hours later the talk page was archived, and now hidden down one more layer on Wikipedia from discovery.
Now it’s not an easy thing to discover by any means.
It’s both archived, hidden inside of Wikipedia’s labyrinth, and ONLY available in the edit history.
Additionally, no one would know that my name, Rome Viharo – was Tumbleman if they happened to be reading the talk page.
Unless editors are hounding others through their edit histories, its not a discoverable item.
It’s just one name under one comment, nothing intrinsically links to two names Tumbleman with Rome Viharo.
This is all anyone would see.
Only Manul saw my deleted user name.
Wikipedia editor Manul, was the editor who archived the talk page three hours after I posted.
This action just makes my identity harder to discover, limiting my exposure to Manul.
What does Wikipedia editor Manul, formerly WP editor Vzaak, do after discovery of my name?
Do they ignore it, which would be common wiki etiquette?
No. They exploit it for editor suppression.
Manul publishes my real name on Wikipedia, despite me redacting it.
Manul re-posts and republishes my real name to my Tumbleman talk page and their own talk page, as well as the talk page on Rupert Sheldrake.
Now there are a number of problems with this as any responsible and experienced Wikipedian knows.
Wikipedia has community rules and guidelines against this. Searching through past editing histories, off site comments, outing, stalking, harassment and personal attacks are all forbidden on Wikipedia, and users can be sanctioned for taking these actions. Additionally, attempting to link offsite creative works from years previously to establish my state of mind and intentions on Wikipedia is something Wikipedia clearly forbids.
I believe I made honest, reasoned comments on the talk page for Rupert’s article. I was sincere.
I was very aware that what Manul was doing was wrong.
Other than mistakenly splitting comments my first few replies, I’m just a new editor to the page who happens to have an editorial disagreement about the framing of the subject and the sources used for them.
I was targeted for editor suppression within 24 hours, and within three days Manul was already attempting to build a case to suppress me as a ‘troll’, simply for making a formatting error on the talk page.
This happened within four days on Wikipedia, I didn’t even begin to edit the article.
I just knew I had to immediately confront this behavior as obviously non collaborative.
Editor suppression is clearly the first hurdle to overcome if your intention is to build a consensus in an article.
So I brought the issue up in what looked like me to be a dispute resolution forum on Wikipedia.
I immediately informed my intentions and formally addressed my presence.
I denied these charges of trolling long and confronted Manul for making them.
And in case anyone thinks Wikipedia editor Manul did not accept what I wrote at face value, they did.
Manul accepted and understood what I said.
They redacted the posts on me and my past history, and Manul/Vzaak even offered me an olive branch on my Wikipedia talk page.
Not only does this clearly show Manul/Vzaak and I resolving this together, it shows that I clarified to Manul that the link they shared from my past, a viral projected I created some 14 years ago has nothing to do with what I am doing on Wikipedia some eight years later.
Manul had no reason to plant this suspicion on Wikipedia about me.
As the evidence shows, they willfully did.
Manul cannot claim they did not know or they cannot claim they were only following Wikipedia policy.
Manul, and only Manul – is directly and intentionally responsible for the spreading of slander and harassment on Wikipedia which as effected my personal and professional life ever since.
This initial act Manul did on Wikipedia occurred six weeks before I was banned off of Wikipedia in the final conclusion to Manul’s slander campaign.
This happened four weeks before I made a request for a new consensus.
This was before I was harassed, libeled, mis framed and stalked by a small handful of agitated editors on Wikipedia arguing for the skeptical position on Rupert Sheldrake’s article.
Although Manul offered me an olive branch after I confronted them, this was only a misdirection.
Manul quietly began to build a small army of editors and targeted me with social propaganda, building consensus narratives about me being a troll, in bed with PR companies, conducing a massive world wide social media experiment, an autistic with a anti social personality disorder who was highly disruptive as an editor. These narratives were very deceptive, and neither reflected by words or my behaviors on Wikipedia.
When Manul exposed my real life identity on Wikipedia, they also exposed me to a few individuals with mental and emotional imbalances who are still harassing me for this three years later.
This one act Manul took, targeting me in a small, petty editorial squabble on Wikipedia became a life changing event.
After this first action against me on Wikipedia by Manul, I decided to take the matter very seriously.
I would spend those weeks researching the subject matter of the article in question, and research Wikipedia’s full suite of policies, pillars, and guidelines.
I was determined to build a rational consensus in a wiki war, and this environment became a perfect case study for me to test the principles of consensus building which are native to my platform, aiki.wiki and are consistent with The Five Pillars of Wikipedia.
To read about what happened in the Rupert Sheldrake wiki war, you can start here.