Bigots on RationalWiki, bigots on your Wikipedia

I think I’ve been a little too “politically correct” dealing with a toxic crop of editors I encountered on Wikipedia and RationalWiki that embrace a quirky online subculture known as “skeptic activism”.

I think I have incorrectly framed them on this website the whole time.

So please let me publish a retraction.

I did not encounter skeptics on Wikipedia – nor are there “bands of skeptic activists” on Wikipedia who wish to control articles on RationalWiki.

What I meant to say this entire time is that I encountered “bigots”.

I recently had two bizarre conversations with two different “skeptics” this past week. One is a series of private conversations with a RationalWiki editor,  and the other with someone on Twitter who brands himself as an “atheist” in his profile pic, and ready to “rumble” on any topic which captures his rich skeptical mind.

Both of them were trying to rationalize why there should be a RationalWiki article on me, and specifically why it should say I am a “promoter of pseudoscience” and a internet crank. They have “evidence” supposedly on RationalWiki.

I was advised by one of them that “The way out for you would be to admit you formerly supported Sheldrake and alternative medicine, but now consider them to be pseudo-science.”

Let’s deconstruct how utterly insane – and bigoted, this suggestion is.

Let’s also ignore the obvious disturbing nature that they are actually trying to get people to denounce their viewpoints or face shame and humiliation like some bizarre new skeptic online inquisition.

What this individual is referring to is my Wikipedia editing history, editing both Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra’s biographical articles. 

While these two individuals are indeed controversial and intentionally exceed scientific orthodoxy, my focus on Wikipedia was boring biographical facts.  Things not very controversial at all. Aspects of their lives that are historically recorded and part of their own dignity. Period.

As you can see here, for Rupert Sheldrake and here for Deepak Chopra – I informed the Wikipedia community before I even began my consensus building process on those articles that my intentions, edits, and arguments are all non ideological.

So as not to confuse my participation on Sheldrake’s wiki war as someone who was a protagonist, I specifically said:

“I am agnostic as to Sheldrake’s theories and admittedly have no qualifications one way or another to accept or refute them, I am intrigued by the reactions to them from both the scientific community as well as mainstream culture from an ideological perspective. ” in addition to saying “To any editor of the Sheldrake page who visits here, rest assured I have no ideological agenda, one way or another, regarding his theories and am not seeking to promote or condone them.”

To most rational people, that would be enough, as long as my actual edits or arguments were consistent with my expressed intentions.

On Wikipedia, that viewpoint was not extreme enough for some skeptics  bigots I encountered, who not only rejected my expressed position, went on a witch hunt to prove the opposite about me and assassinate my reputation.

Additionally, on Wikipedia, these same skeptic editors were misleading other Wikipedians by telling them that one Wikipedia policy, called WP:Fringe – over rules “Biography of a Living Person”.

This is exactly where I confronted them, where they met me and I met them.

Rather than just accepting the face value interpretations of my own words or editorial arguments –  a group of these editors began to target me as a “pro Sheldrake fan boy” troll secretly hiding an intention to disrupt Wikipedia with my “antics” so they could get me sanctioned from editing the article, a tactic used for editor suppression on Wikipedia which this website details heavily.

Two Wikipedia editors I encountered, Manul and Dan Skeptic, did not accept my face value claim of neutrality and were attempting to find “off Wikipedia” evidence of my “true intentions”  so they could find a way to sanction me.

That Wikipedia editors were digging into my “off wiki” life trying to find evidence they could use against me on Wikipedia, a violation of Wikipedia’s harassment policy – was to me evidence of my own professional and collaborative process on Wikipedia.

At one point Manul, frustrated in their previous attempts to suppress my participation said:  “He [The Tumbleman] walks a delicate line of always being able to claim he’s acting to the best of his ability, and so I’m unable to prove anything. This looks like a true pro who has honed his art for a decade.”

Manul then continued to spread “social propaganda” all designed to get the community on Wikipedia to become suspicious of what I wrote, who I was, and what editorial positions I supported on Wikipedia.  (Read more: A worrisome welcome to a wiki war)

This small collaborative of bigoted editors received challenges from a growing consensus that I was successful in building and clearly felt threatened by my presence.

A blogger named Craig Weiler began to write about “The Trial of the Tumbleman”, bringing attention on me for building a consensus on the article and pushing back against the skeptics.

Because of the high attention value at the time of Rupert Sheldrakes’ “wiki war” (covered by the BBC, BusinessWeek, The Atlantic just to name a few) the challenges that were presented to these editors became to them “threats” for their own existence on Wikipedia – and therefore they continued a campaign to literally assassinate my character, bizarre attempts to  prove I was troll in spite of my responsible, collaborative, and consensus building form.

Now, with their own actions getting attention on Wikipedia, these editors wanted to get back at me on RationalWiki, where they began to write about me on Rupert Sheldrake’s RationalWiki article, specifically mentioning my role editing his page (and exposing my anonymous editing account in doing so).

RationalWiki has spent the past four years trying to justify why they are targeting me, as if they are completely unaware they have been publishing a “character assassination” article about me primarily written by these same over zealous Wikipedia editors I encountered – using often unbelievably tortured logic which is I believe just a cover for their own bigotry and personal nastiness.

Why does RationalWiki do this?

I was told recently by one RationalWiki editor that; “The problem is you said morphic resonance [on Wikipedia] is not pseudo-science, when it is. ”

Really? Did I say that?

Is that really what the citation on RationalWiki says I say?

Check what I actually said directly on Wikipedia.

“There is no reasonable claim an editor can make regarding Morphic Resonance as Pseudoscience as the term is used and defined in science unless you are claiming it is PS because it is not falsifiable. That appears to me to be the only supportive claim an editor can make to hold Morphic Resonance under [[WP:FRINGE]]...Help me understand your thinking here, what reasons do you as an editor support Morphic Resonance being held to [[WP:FRINGE]] as pseudo science?

This citation that RW references is a discussion over a Wikipedia policy dispute – specifically arguments that skeptics were making that wanted to over ride Wikipedia’s very responsible “Biography of a Living Person” rule. The entire context of the discussion is not about Sheldrake’s “theory”, but whether it is appropriate to treat his biography the same way as a theory on Wikipedia.

Not only do I NOT say what they claim their citations “say” – but they fail to see how utterly disturbing it is to target someone on RationalWiki because of one quote they misinterpret in the first place.

And this is exactly where I was harassed, targeted, stalked, defamed, slandered – and with malicious intention I had an extreme attack on my reputation via a RationalWiki article composed on me so as to “prove” their point, that I must be some “lunatic charlatan, troll, pseudoscience crank” in real life.

This is where a skeptic is no longer a skeptic – they’re a bigot.

They are so blinded by their own worldview that they can not even understand nuances, obsessed with a “black and white” world where an editor must either be for, or against – a subject.

They are so blinded by their bigotry – that to this day it has grown into a tribalism on RationalWiki, where getting any of their editors to actually review with actual diligence their “citations” is usually met with disregard.

This is from one of the RationalWiki editors who has targeted me sent in a PM recently.

It angers you someone ‘Googles’ your name and they read you’re a pseudo-science supporter and crank. Your anger stems from the fact you don’t want to be known as this because you’re then discredited, not taken serious and laughed at (especially by scientists, academics and so-called rational skeptics), and so you present yourself instead as an “agnostic neutral” wiki editor, i.e. that you were just editing Sheldrake’s Wikipedia page -without- supporting his pseudo-scientific theories.

So they are very clear that their article is damaging to my reputation. And they “relish” in the fact that this is upsetting to me.

 

I went on to be told by this individual that:

People aren’t though going to stop calling you a crank or pseudo-science promoter when you support alternative medicine and defend Shelrake’s ideas.

If you came out in public and said Sheldrake’s ideas are not scientific and also posted you regard alternative medicine to be fraudulent and/or pseudo-science, then people would buy into the “agnostic neutral” editor you’re currently trying to sell and wouldn’t laugh at you while reading your Rationalwiki page. It really is that simple.

What am I to make of this? It’s crazy.

I am offended heavily that I am “deserving” of being publicly shamed and embarrassed because I don’t share the same vitriolic contempt of meditation, alternative medicine, and any other idea these bigots find abhorrent.

What’s more, their bigotry becomes apparent when they cannot simply accept that I am agnostic on the subject.

Additionally – they confuse my personal association with Rupert Sheldrake as an individual, with somehow “promoting pseudoscience” because I am simply helping someone with their very real Wikipedia problem.

And they spread this information around the internet – so much so I challenged a “skeptic” on Twitter.

Okay, where? Where is this evidence I promote pseudoscience?

Show me. Someone. Please.

On RationalWiki’s article on me – it states that “No such conspiracy of skeptics appears to exist” with zero citations at all. Who wrote that line on my article?

This website publishes a case study of abuses with actual citations back to Wikipedia where they actually occurred so obvious to any third party even real skeptics on RationalWiki have even acknowledged it.

To those wishing to damage control perceptions of their toxic and fanatical behaviors prefer to call this website a “conspiracy theory”, specifically those editors on Wikipedia which this website exposes.

Then on Twitter,  Joshua MacDonald, “true skeptic” and defender of RationalWiki editing offered even “more” proof I am a “pusher of pseudoscience”

Whenever someone on the internet mentions that TED talk via RationalWiki, I have to laugh.  These online users are obviously duped – they obviously never watched the talk and missed the joke.

Every citation on Wikipedia was cultivated by a RationalWiki editor who was also editing on Wikipedia. Every single citation on my RationalWiki article does not even reflect the “reality” that RationalWiki claims it does. As long as an article has “citations” – RationalWiki believes that somehow that magically makes the article “true”.

Every citation is intended to somehow offer proof that I have “views outside of the mainstream” and a “threat to Wikipedia” –  they are actually thinking I must be crazy to deny that I am a “pusher of pseudoscience” with their cited article.

What’s even more more crazy – RationalWiki’s own citations don’t even reflect how I do view the world at all, nor do their citations show anything other than I have had some associations with people they consider pseudoscientists.

I’m a pro science progressive and have been the majority of my life. I don’t attack RationalWiki because of anything ideological. I target RationalWiki because they are harmful bigots, and their own toxic culture has made it impervious for their own editors to see their own hatred and contempt of others with different world views than they.

UPDATE:

I’m going to continue to confront RationalWiki “bigots” where I encounter them, someone needs to do this.