RationalWiki trustees’ David Gerard and psychology professor Trent Toulouse appear to be quite an ambitious confederacy. Both Wikipedia editors, active within the community – maintain RationalWiki as a platform to battle internet cranks, right-wing and conservative politics, and claim to analyze the “anti-science” movement. As if.
RationalWiki boasts a large number of media outlets that quote RationalWiki and according to their own website, they have more sites and platforms coming.
David Gerard also wants us now to take him seriously as a “journalist”, even asking for donations for his unique brand. David Gerard has now published a book “Attack of the 50ft Blockchain” which is written in the spirit of his own acerbic, non-resolving luddite criticisms regarding the blockchain and cryptocurrency movement. I’m sure he finds it brilliant.
“Journalism…” David quotes on his site, “…is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.”
Unfortunately, what he pro-scribes to journalism also describes RationalWiki’s harassment, trolling, intentional misinformation and slander. It also describes the quality of toxic marketing he does to promote and raise money for himself and RationalWiki.
Welcome to the RationalWiki media hustle, like Brietbart for the “bro-gressive” left, but worser.
Don’t let Gerard’s pro-science and progressive ideology fool you. RationalWiki is a troll farm of the worst type.
As a pro-science progressive, Southern California and Los Angeles native and activist myself – I can definitely say don’t let RationalWiki’s ideologies fool you. They are doing far more harm to the responsible communication of science and social politics than any “Russian troll farm” or conservative could dream of.
The reality is that RationalWiki’s attempt to try and cover up the harassment they’ve been exposed for on Wikipedia, We Have a Problem somewhat exposes how corrupt and irresponsible these individuals are when it comes to publishing, and just like “click bait” and political trolls – use reactions from political and cultural divisions to
viral toxic market their own platforms for attention and fundraising.
Fundraising specifically – Trent Toulouse is upfront about their metric for success being the number of “threats of lawsuits” coming from those who supposedly they expose. “Over 35 legal threats this year!” claims Trent Toulouse which he adds are “coming from people who do real-world harm” ending with a “thanks to you!”
Trent probably doesn’t want to tell his fundraisers that RationalWiki’s own editors are impersonating targets making some of those legal threats, or intentionally harass a target until a legal threat is the only thing they can do to protect themselves from online harassment.
It is obvious that Trent wants to tout those numbers, but he doesn’t want to tell you that a number of the individuals they target are hardly doing any “real-world harm” at all.
To give you an example of the level of “real world harm” their targets are doing, one target is simply a moderator of a discussion forum with about a dozen members that talk about near-death experiences.
Yet his only “notability” was moderating the forum, and he found that the world needs to be warned about him for his “pseudo-scientific” beliefs as if RationalWiki is now a database for ordinary internet citizens who are literally having the contents of their personal interests and beliefs flagged for the world to condemn.
What that RationalWiki article about that target doesn’t tell you is that target also previously banned that very same RW user for impersonating other RationalWiki editors on their discussion forum, and in practical reality, that article was written as payback for a personal grudge.
That is beyond draconian, it is just stupid. I hardly think that is what their donors think their funds are helping support, yet this is a repeating strategy employed by RationalWiki’s troll farm.
In my case, the “real world” harm that I did was edit two biographies on Wikipedia on two individuals they clearly don’t like Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra. The other “real world” harm I did was confront this group of editors back on Wikipedia for doxing and harassing me along with a few others – so they are raising money to fund them getting “payback” on their own critics.
When they targeted me originally back in 2013, they did not realize I intentionally focused on non-controversial biographical information and stayed away from anything ideological as apart of a broader case study into Wikipedia editor suppression, a fact they have been fumbling over for years now. For this, I am labeled a conspiracy theorist and promoter of pseudoscience, a term they abuse often and understand even less.
The RationalWiki donors probably don’t realize the legal threats are coming from those who discovered someone who edits RationalWiki has a personal grudge against them, and specifically RationalWiki editors bait these individuals on the internet, attempting to get a reaction from them (such as obvious slanders, impersonations, and general misinformation) that is then used against them on RationalWiki.
What Trent Toulouse doesn’t tell you is that their community of editors are literal “trolls”, a huge portion has only a high school diploma (according to their own survey), and inflame and engage in toxic online strategies that probably do far more harm to the communication of science and progressive politics than those they claim they target. In this case, RationalWiki is literally doing real-world harm with their platform, and somewhat misleading their donors.
Most of their community are low brow juveniles, and probably are too young to even be able to grasp to real-world results they are performing. Yet David Gerard is in his 40’s, and Trent Toulouse is actually a psychologist and teaches at a community college. A psychologist running a troll farm?
What’s going on here?
For a while, I assumed that David and Trent were simply unaware of how toxic their community was, primarily because one of their editors is so infamous on the internet that even notorious troll sites such as Encyclopedia Dramatic and KiwiFarms have banned him.
Surely, if they really knew what this individual was up to, they would block him and redact the articles he created, right?
On top of that, this same RationalWiki editor has been caught managing a massive troll farm on Wikipedia, close to two hundred “sock” accounts have been discovered and banned. This is a horrible example of an abuse of Wikipedia, and since David Gerard honks his own horn about his level of Wikipedia and WikiMedia experience, he should probably do something there, right?
Yet RationalWiki openly adopts this editor and gives him special editing permissions on their site, permissions not given to any standard RationalWiki editor. Not only that, they protect him and anyone attempting to expose his criminal behavior are slammed and banned on RationalWIki for “doxing”.
I can’t say for certain the exact motivations to what is going on here, but it extends into “creepy” with a dash of “Fargo” on top.
What does at least become clear over years is that these more sociopathic editors are used as “attack dogs”, both on Wikipedia and elsewhere on the web. Often in quite petty polemics, an imagined battleground that this peculiar group takes far too seriously. When an individual is targeted for “suppression” on Wikipedia, an attack dog is sent it to rile them up, and then use that reaction to get them sanctioned away from editing the article.
RationalWiki is applying that tactic on Wikipedia at scale on the web.
David Gerard, as a senior Wikipedia admin, is all too familiar with this tactic on Wikipedia. David Gerard has been criticized for this type of behavior from his own peers. He has also lost privilege within WikiMedia Foundation and Wikipedia, himself red flagged for abusing users private information.
Trent is a psychologist, so he likely knows he is manipulating this juvenile crowd while he reaps any praise for being an activist. Trent himself comes from a progressive activist family, his grandmother was called the Grand Dame in New Mexico for her stances on civil rights. That’s awesome, Trent’s grandmother was deeply motivated in treating everyone with dignity. I’m not sure how she would be reacting to how her grandson is interpreting her legacy in politics by creating such unnecessary and toxic division, targeting innocent people – for fundraising.
This is not responsible activism, this is a hustle, a cheap way to build a consensus using dirty social methods trying to pass them off as progressive.
I’ve been reporting for 4 years now how RationalWiki is leveraged for personal attack articles and how they willfully publish misinformation on their targets. What made my research so easy to do was focusing on how they did this to me.
My “attack” article was written on RationalWiki within a few days after I confronted this group of editors on Wikipedia after they doxxed and outed me on Wikipedia. RationalWiki’s article on me was clearly nothing more than a revenge article, promoted and manipulated by Tim Farley, the Smith brothers, and probably a few of the other Wikipedia editors covered on Wikipedia We Have a Problem.
What’s more, so desperate was this attempt to “revenge” me that they optimized my article on RationalWiki for a number one search result for my name (the number of times I am mentioned on that platform are unbelievable but intentional for this purpose), and all of these internal links create a very strong SEO article they link back to. This was engineered by Tim Farley, by his own admission.
I’m so confident in what I am claiming here that I will show you how to falsify it in case you don’t believe me.
Try to edit or add a source to my RationalWiki article. No one is allowed to edit or add sources to this revenge article on me, other than the same perpetrators who have been stalking me for years since encountering them on Wikipedia.
That is an intentional platform permission, given and allowed to my perpetrator by both David and Trent.
The article on me is a collection of a number of clear lies and deceptions, misinformation, and out of context quotes all attempting to “force” the perception of who I am into the “mission statement” of David and Trent’s RationalWiki. When the issue of libel or slander has been raised over the years, I would find myself simply banned for making “legal threats”.
One of the legal threats I did make was telling them I would have to report at least one of their editors to the police since his actions are clearly criminal under any interpretation of the law, which I eventually had to do (but to little effect, since he lives in the UK). Since most of their editors hide behind being anonymous – this was rather difficult for years until through collaboration with others who were also targeted we were able to discover the real world identity of one of our notorious stalkers.
No recourse for harassment
The practical reality is that for individuals like myself who are targeted on the internet unless you have at least $250,000.00 to cover legal, there is no much you can do about it.
All I have been doing for the past four years is an attempt to achieve some rational path of recourse on RationalWiki, only to be banned, trolled, impersonated, stalked around the web and threatened.
By blocking normal and responsible paths to recourse, RationalWiki creates an environment where legality and the law eventually become the only option.
More revelatory, RationalWiki is simply acting as the “attack” wing of a toxic Wikipedia community itself, bringing over to RationalWiki whatever Wikipedia’s own neutrality policy will not allow, ensuring their own superficial brand of “skepticism” becomes a dominant return feature in Google search.
Not a really good way to communicate the importance of science, guys.
Nothing could harm the education of science and progressive politics more than the progressive left creating their very own Breitbart-esque troll farm using the same persuasion used to misinform an audience as FOX News does.
By operating this way, RationalWiki is the one misinforming the world about science and progressivism.