All four individuals really have almost nothing in common, except for one itsy bitsy detail. It’s RationalWiki’s Saloon Bar, and the barkeep, senior Wikipedia editor David Gerard, is allowing, protecting, and encouraging editors with apparently sociopathic predatorial behaviors to target individuals via impersonations, gas-lighting, and clear harassment that serves the function of fundraising by RationalWiki’s Trent Toulouse.
Pretty creepy stuff, it’s not a joke with a punchline.
RationalWiki’s community “mission” can be personal, territorial, and often psychologically disturbing.
I can say this because this is what happened to me, originally in 2013. Within days of being targeted on Wikipedia by a small group of “skeptic editors” including Tim Farley and at least one of the notorious “Smith Brothers”, I found a RationalWiki “revenge” article created on me, entirely designed to paint me in a false light, a campaign to embarrass someone who was confrontational regarding their behaviors back on Wikipedia.
This treatment that I encountered was so bizarre and unexpected, at first I suspected I may be more of an extreme case, yet recently three other individuals have been targeted in the exact same fashion I have been.
Meet the Muslim.
The Muslim is Abd ul-Rahman Lomax, aka Dennis Lomax, a proponent of cold fusion and experienced Wikipedia editor who converted to Islam. Years back, Abd found himself banned from Wikipedia by the skeptic community, but still remains active on MediaWiki’s such as Wikiversity.
Recently, Abd noticed that Ben Steigman, a frequent target on the Smiths, was being impersonated by them on Wikiversity – and used his knowledge of MediaWiki software to expose how large and vast the Smiths “sock puppet” farm extends.
Abd had a check user tool run on the suspected account, and discovered over two hundred WikiMedia sockpuppets operated by the Smiths, and exposed this on Wikiversity.
Readers of Wikipedia, We Have a Problem should be able to guess what comes next.
The Smiths responded like they always do, with an attack article on Abd written on RationalWiki.
Abd has continued his research into these editors, whom he refers to as the “Anglopyramidologist wiki sock farm on his blog.
Meet the Atheist.
A few weeks before, Oliver and Darryl were focusing on another RationalWiki target, Emil Kirkegaard who publishes an open source scientific journal related to racial differences and, predictably, popular within the “alt-right” community – another obvious RationalWiki target.
As Emil’s work is neither the focus of this study nor my own personal interest, I will let his work speak for itself. I would never know about Emil at all, if not for visiting the RationalWiki saloon bar and noticing something suspicious, Emil joined RationalWiki to threaten a lawsuit over the publication of an article RationalWiki wrote on him, stating that RationalWiki had “24 hours to remove the post or face a lawsuit.”
Here is the twist; that was not even Emil who threatened to sue RationalWiki, it was again, one of the Smith brothers impersonating Emil on RationalWiki after they just wrote this article, hoping to stir up more tension and animosity within RationalWiki so other editors would “join the fun” in the creation of RationalWiki’s latest hit piece.
Now that they impersonated Emil making a legal threat to RationalWiki, they could ban Emil and now prevent him from coming to RationalWiki to defend himself or question the article, a strategy that in this case backfired with the publication of Wikipedia, We Have a Problem, where I have also been impersonated on RationalWiki for the same purposes.
Noticing that Emil Kirkegaard was being targeted in the same fashion I was, I noted the Smiths were impersonating another one of their targets Ben Steigman on Reddit, posting about Emil, as well as impersonating Ben back on RationalWiki, writing the original RationalWiki article about Emil.
Alerted to this, naturally, the real Emil created an official account, went to RationalWiki to confront the impersonation, and attempt a “reasonable” discussion with the community to resolve this obvious online targeting – all to no avail.
Emil soon discovered, like yours truly, that reasonable discussion is meaningless, and when confronted about the Smiths obvious disturbed tactics of impersonation and targeting, he found himself, like me and many others – banned for “doxxing” on RationalWiki.
Meet “The Fruitarian”
Back in 2014, an old online friend of mine Laird Shaw contacted me on Skype, and offered to help negotiate the deletion of my RationalWiki article within the community. Laird is a sweetheart and naturally, I accepted his request. He made a valiant effort but to no effect.
This year, however – Laird came to me asking for my help.
Laird Shaw is an admin of an online community interested in “psi” research, and recently one of RationalWiki’s core editor Leuders joined Laird’s forum, questioning him about his activities specifically asking him about me.
Here is the twist; It wasn’t really RationalWiki editor Leuders who contacted him but one of the “Smith Brothers” impersonating Leuders, something they did with me exactly a few years earlier on Wikia.
Why the Smiths impersonate Leuders is unknown, but consistent with how unbelievably crazy and bizarre this community operates, manipulating individuals on the internet into a “personal army”.
After Laird banned the Smiths for impersonating other users on this forum, the Smiths responded with a RationalWiki attack article on him, part of a continual pattern of Smith activity, including the creation of a WordPress site on Laird, as well as numerous ( see here, here, here, here, and here) Reddit posts.
Meet the futurist.
More recently, me, the “futurist” of this not very funny joke – found my own RationalWiki article rewritten again, again claiming I am a conspiracy theorist for publishing these abuses while also misrepresenting me professionally and attempting to link me to intelligent design and creationism via “teach the controversy”, all efforts to present me as a discredited quack and all of this completely misrepresents who I am.
Classic to RationalWiki misinformation, again my article intentionally deceives the reader, stating;
…”for which there exists no evidence”…
Senior Wikipedia and RationalWiki editors are very aware of Wikipedia, We Have a Problem – even other “skeptics” have confronted RationalWiki regarding how I was treated on Wikipedia. It is very clear that the RationalWiki editor who wrote that line in the article is intentionally lying, publishing misleading and false information on their platform.
David Gerard and the Smiths perhaps have sociopathic tendencies, just like any predator who is confronted by their targets.
When confronted, RationalWiki attacks the targets as crazy internet lunatics who are talking about “conspiracy theories”.
Gaslighting, RationalWiki style.
The Smith sockpuppet army recently attempted to “spin” these claims by writing another RationalWiki article called “The Smith Brothers Conspiracy Theory”, now deleted but preserved for eternity here.
Gaslighting is probably one of the more disturbing type of psychological behaviors that targets of harassment have to deal with and face, as we see all too painfully with the explosion of the #metoo online movement and the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein Hollywood scandal, where women’s claims of sexual harassment have been “gaslit” for years.
Not surprising, RationalWiki is facing claims of their own by female editors claiming to be harassed on the platform. As usual, the complaints of harassment are met with simply further harassment.
Does RationalWiki harass and target individuals for fundraising?
I always wondered why in the hell would any smart intelligent person allow this type of harassment to occur on their own platform. Using Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation may just be money.
RationalWiki just closed a round of fundraising on their site.
Trent Toulouse raises the specter of “lawsuits” filed as a method of raising money for the organization.
This year, we had a record breaking 33 lawsuit threats, 6 death threats, and 2 cease and desist letters. This is cause for celebration! …These lawsuits are coming from people who do real world harm… Because of YOUR content, YOUR effort and YOUR support we are often the ONLY source of critical information for thousands of people, ideas and products.
Apparently, RationalWiki is the scam and with the individuals in question – the ones doing the actual real-world harm.
The sheer amount of clear evidence, denied by RationalWiki only in their echo chamber – makes David Gerard, The RationalWiki Foundation, Trent Toulouse and the Smith Brothers ripe for quite a significant lawsuit, which any of their targets can initiate at any time.
Ensuring that this will eventually happen, David Gerard and Trent Toulouse continue to embolden The Smiths and their team of juvenile high school kids who continue to target and harass with confidence they are supported and protected to do so.