The world has surely done it this time.
The government of Turkey has completely blocked Wikipedia, labeling it as a “national security threat.”
Jimbo Wales, representing the “shining light” of Western ideals which, as we all know, are deeply embedded into the fabric and success of Wikipedia, is the lone knight, standing up to censorship and gladly taking the applause for suffering a battle wound or two with Wikipedia now blacklisted in both Turkey and China.
Wikipedia, through WikiMedia Foundation, Katherine Mahr and Jimbo Wales – presents itself as a beacon of truth, an eighth wonder of the world – a fierce Avenger/Wonder Woman standing up to the Ares/Hydra of world dictators, corrupt governments, spy agencies, evil corporations, PR agencies and even worse “paid editors”.
More recently – this lone knight of truth took on the problem of fake news, by announcing the creation of WikiTribune and wooing Reddit with his anti NSA and anti fake news rally cries in a series of AMAs.
Truth and information will prevail!
Jimbo Wales is a brand. That brand is synonymous with “freedom of information”. Its sexy and he knows it.
I must admit for many years I bought the gib of this man’s gab myself. Wales was a hero of mine. Precisely for ideals like this which he is quick to represent on the world stage.
I dig those ideals. And so do most rational reasonable people do when they go to edit Wikipedia and decide to make a contribution.
I believed in that ideal Jimbo Wales touts so much that in 2011 I used Wikipedia as a shining example for digital democracy in a TEDx talk I gave. In 2013 I intentionally investigated editor suppression happening in the hopes of actually making Wikipedia better by exposing abuses. I even intervened when certain notable parties wanted to do something more extreme, and encouraged them to work within Wikipedia’s policies collaboratively for resolution.
I was banned from Wikipedia for infinity, and this website is now blacklisted and blocked from link sharing on Wikipedia.
I’m not honking my horn over Wikipedia, We Have a Problem not being acceptable as a source or a reference – this is different. Literally, this website is considered too threatening to share amongst editors on their Wikipedia talk pages, or even being mentioned on Wikipedia amongst them. Wikipedia editors have been banned for mentioning, having knowledge of, or relationships with WWHP.
Please let that turkey roast a bit in the oven.
Some Wikipedia admins and editors are literally censoring a website that responsibly publishes a case study about Wikipedia editor suppression while simultaneously running an misinformation campaign against the author of the study (yours truly).
Making the matter more disturbingly ridiculous – Wikipedia admin Callenecc blocked this website on Wikipedia with a note on the deletion log that this is an “harassment website”.
Also, as noted and uncovered by “The Devil’s Advocate” on Wikipedia Review – not only did Callenec blacklist this website, but he did so completely undercover, with no discussion, no consensus building, no reference, not anything.
And he did this exactly when other Wikipedia editors were bringing “Wikipedia We Have a Problem” directly to Jimbo Wales’ attention on his talk page.
Shining Light of the world, indeed.
One of the purposes of this website was to be of assistance to other Wikipedia editors as well, going through the disturbing experience of editing Wikipedia as a minority voice and facing suppression, or as you would say in Turkey, censorship and collusion.
When I say that there is no recourse on Wikipedia for harassment, biased or agenda based editing gaming the system, I say that from three years of proving that through a series of intentional and specific actions to address and correct the problem.
Unbeknownst to many, I was the architect and engineer behind the scenes in a 2014 (via Askhrc) ArbComm case which reviewed problems with editor suppression and the lack of recourse for them (at least in the wiki war I was involved in). ArbComm punted, they literally did nothing.
So I took on another wiki war, won a consensus, and continued to publish studies about these abuses.
Again, nothing. I was banned again, with the article reverted – and a nasty uptick in online targeting and harassment.
Since 2014, Wikipedia We Have a Problem went softly viral within the Wikipedia community, and a few notable voices began to share this website on Wikipedia as a way to diffuse some of the abuse and frustration they were receiving.
Good. That was the point, to create a journal of what happens and what to expect so others could make sense of what was happening to them.
One of these notable voices was a Nobel Laurette Brian Josephson, another was a prominent “fringe” scientist and consciousness researcher Dean Radin. This was already building in addition to Deepak Chopra and Rupert Sheldrake, both of whom have promoted this website as part of their honest defense. And this trend continues into the alternative medicine global community, with WWHP even getting quoted recently in the Journal of Chinese Medicine.
Even WikiMedia Grant Labs project harassment lists this website as a resource for understanding harassment and abuse on Wikipedia. There is even independent third party corroboration for what I detail on this site from senior Wikipedia editors such as SlimVirgin.
Many in the Wikipedia community, including Jimbo Wales, are very quick to disregard complaints of abuse from these articles and biographies I worked on because they are about “cranks and charlatans”. Somehow human dignity is allowed to be thrown out the window, making it ok to suspend Wikipedia’s Five Pillars and community editing guidelines and suppress any minority voice that fails to adopt their POV.
I’ve been calling them out on these abuses for over three years, in the most responsible, patient, and gentle way I can.
Am I over exaggerating? Sadly, no.
For publishing Wikipedia, We Have a Problem, which criticizes Wikipedia’s largest editing community (skeptic editors) I was treated to Jimbo Wales surrogate and pal David Gerard’s RationalWiki, who viewed my exposure of skeptic editing abuses as a disruption to Wikipedia.
Like Erdogan’s “thugs” in Turkey suppressing information on Wikipedia, RationalWiki happily allowed the very same Wikipedia editors who I encountered on Wikipedia to write a hit piece on me, attempting to discredit me and this website as a “conspiracy theorist web crank” with a “victim complex” in a pretty over the top misinformation campaign.
It gets worser and worser.
Last year, this website was mentioned by Wikipedia editor SageRad on Jimbo Wales talk page, requesting commentary for him to explain why minority voices in larges swaths on Wikipedia (alternative medicine, biographies, fringe science, etc) were being abused without any recourse.
SageRad was then banned from Wikipedia and specifically was cited for mentioning Wikipedia We Have a Problem, a website that Wikipedia editor Jytdog flagwaved as a fringe publishing platform consisting of “conspiracy theories about skeptics taking over Wikipedia”.
This was after Wikipedia editor, historian and archivist Askhrc was sanctioned for having an editorial history with me on Wikipedia. His sanction specifically was issued based on the suspicion his association with WWHP created a concern of what he “might edit” in the future, despite a strong five year Wikipedia editing history with solid contributions and no disruptive editing.
Before this, even solid Wikipedia admin Liz faced an attempted rebuke by Wikipedia editor Manul when she was voted in as admin. Manul, a prominent skeptic editor who was featured extensively in this study, literally confronted Liz as “one of Manul’s harassers” because Liz supported me on Wikipedia and also politely stood up to Manul’s confrontation on her own talk page, which Manul instigated.
This is the shining light of Wikipedia in practical real world terms. It is built upon abusive behaviors inside of a toxic community. I am often not sure which is worse, the possibility they are aware of what they are doing, or the possibility they simply are not.
When Wikipedia’s ideals get challenged – it does not make Wikipedia better, it brings out the very worst in human psychology and interaction.
I hold Wikipedia, and WikiMedia foundation, at their word.
And so should everyone. And if we all do, we are all going to be disappointed when we encounter the real world practical Wikipedia while expecting the “shining light” Wikipedia sold to us in TED talks.
Jimbo Wales should be more forthcoming with the fact that there is literally, absolutely, zero recourse for problems stemming from biased or agenda based editing on controversial or sensitive topics.
The WikiMedia foundation needs to be more forthcoming about the abuses of WikiMedia software not just across Wikipedia, but a host of other online wikis all using the same software.
They should acknowledge WP’s own shortcomings, the role their platform and software plays in online misinformation and harassment – and gather a team to architect a solution for something he has played a role in.
But they don’t.
Wikipedia is a Turkey.
What if what happened in Turkey is simply an information power grab over reaction to the failure of the Wikipedia model to simply live up to it’s own standard of neutrality?
Turkey may have made the wrong choice for the right reasons. Wikipedia can be bullshit, and no one can stop it when it is. Like a friend mine used to say, “they’re both assholes.”
Turkey could be nothing more than the same thing Wikipedia itself does to its own minority voices, an over reaching human reaction to uncomfortable information and the desire to “look good” at the expense of suppressing others.
To me, Jimbo Wales is just another politician, creating more problems than they admit while seeking adoration for ignoring the same problems they claim to address.
Wikipedia, We Have a Problem is nothing more than an honest, genuine request to hold Wikipedia and WikiMedia foundation to their own principles, principles which I had to uphold on Wikipedia as an editor and faced abuse and harassment for having integrity with.
It’s easy to stand up to censorship and suppression when the entire world of sexy agrees with you – Jimbo Wales and WikiMedia foundation will truly impress me when they start standing up to minority voices even when it doesn’t make them look good.
Special Thanks: To The Wikipedia Review community and especially “The Devils Advocate” for his due diligence.