First Trial: Sock Puppetting and editor suppression.

 

I was literally a few days away from making my case in what is called an  RfC regarding these editors behaviors, per the advice of Wikipedia editor Liz. I was never able to address their behaviors in the RfC because I was blocked, the first strike at direct editor suppression against my participation.

I was blocked from making my case with a charge of ‘sock puppeting’, and I found my account sanctioned.

I found myself blocked from any editing or any discussing with the exception of my talk page.

This I viewed as the fourth attempt at suppressing my participating, clearly abusing WP guidelines as a mallet to do it.

When these editors were able to get a charge of ‘sock puppeting’ against me in an AE hearing, I discovered that I was blocked from participating in that hearing, even to defend myself of their charges.

.

Was I Sock puppeting?

.

No.

This “myth” that has been created about me as a sock puppet mastermind is somewhat comical in nature. Especially since ‘Dan Skeptic’, one of the editors harassing me in the ‘request for a new consensus’, was actually operating a sock puppet farm of over fifty Wikipedia accounts, an editor discovered years later to be the notorious Oliver Smith.

You can read how Wikipedia views sock puppetry here .

To simplify it – sock puppetry is disrupting activity on a page by using multiple accounts to stage a false consensus or perform edits to a page that are unwarranted while operating another account at the same time.

“Sock Puppet!” is often a tactic to suppress editors – watch out for it.

Sock puppetry is a very easy case to make against someone and with very little evidence, it is often enforced with sanctions. A quick one week block. Wikipedia is easy to forgive for one offense – but as a tactic it keeps an editor away from editing for a week, tossing them out of a consensus.

Additionally, it gives editors practicing suppression a new form of targeting, destroying an anonymous editors’s credibility – and using a first sanction of “sock puppet” to later establish a harsher sanction, banning from Wikipedia indefinitely.

Read: Am I really a sockpuppet? How Wikipedia editors control editing permissions.

.

I’m Not Sockpuppeting

.

In my case, I was accused of sock puppetry on two accounts, user Kate Gombert and user Oh Boy Chicken Again.

I was innocent of these charges.

I do admit that I can see how one action I made, where I shared my account with my Wikipedia consultant, Kate Gombert (not her real name), may have created this impression.

So I  cleared up, and the admin did say that the records did support my story, and agreed to remove the block for sock puppeting. 

This is what all the evidence on Wikipedia up to this time shows, verifiable to any third party.

Additionally, the other user that I was accused of being, Oh Boy Chicken Again, was a completely disingenuous charge.

Oh Boy Chicken Again even come back on to clear it up, and even defended me in the hearing to ban me.

Additionally, the admin involved even noted that it was technically unlikely that I was this user.

Reaper Eternal, the admin involved, even said he was going to unblock me and clear me of sockpuppetry.

Yet Oh Boy Chicken Again was banned as a Tumbleman sock due to Manul’s insistence that I was a “honed internet pro who was trolling”, with Roxy the Dog piling similar charges on me.

This activity occurred after I informed editors on the page that I was going to take a few days break from editing, as honestly I needed to decompress and take a break.

The sheer illogic of their charge seemed ironic – they claimed I created an account while I informed them I was taking a break from editing. Why would I need to sock puppet in the first place? I already won consensus, and if I wanted to continue I easily could have just continued as The Tumbleman.

 

Actually, this explanation, as surprising as it sounds, does fit with the checkuser data available, and it is on that IP that he is Artículo bueno.svgTechnically indistinguishable from KateGompert (talk·contribs) and several other clearly unrelated (by behaviour) users. I can also say that were it not for those sandbox edits, I would have said Unrelated; the computers are completely different. Recent edits technically match what Tumbleman used to be, so he does appear to still have control of his account. Please change your password immediately to prevent this account from being compromised. Please let us know when you have done so, so this account can be unblocked. Thanks, and please don’t share your password with anybody, even a Wikipedia administrator. Reaper Eternal (talk) 17:49, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

 

Liz, an uninvolved editor, even offered a neutral view of the situation in the hearing.

As for Tumbleman, the evidence below seems completely non-conclusive and it could be used to argue against this account as a sock puppet as much as for it being a sock puppet. It defines “borderline” and appears to me to be punitive as this Editor has clearly irritated others over the course of discussing this article. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you go looking for socks in the Sheldrake debate (for the past month), you’ll find them and there will be much more convincing connections than in this exampleLizRead!Talk! 12:27, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

The suspicious sock puppet accounts Liz was referring to was “Dan Skeptic”, AKA Oliver Smith and his notorious socking behaviors.

I don’t just mention this to appreciate the irony, I mention this as further evidence of clear editor suppression.

In this environment, there were actually very clear and suspicious accounts editing, yet they were all apart of this ‘dark collaborative’ of skeptic editors. Oliver Smith was operating his sock puppet farm right along with and supporting Manul the entire time.

Yet Manul accepted these behaviors without issue, and forced them on editors with dissenting views – solely for the purpose of removing dissenting views from influence in a consensus.

.

Doesn’t matter that I’m cleared of socking, I’m blocked anyway and can’t edit.

As I was getting this cleared up with the admins and check users – who now seemed inclined to accept my story and unblock me – a new case was made against me for trolling, which is the second trial of the tumbleman.

You can jump to the second trial now.

You can also read the full exchange on my talk page while this was happening on Wikipedia.

Below are just more of the details of the first trial for historical record in this study.

Uninvolved editors offer support

Liz, a very vocal and experienced Wikipedia editor who picked up the issues happening on Sheldrakes’ talk page left a very supporting comment in the hearing

As for Tumbleman, the evidence below seems completely non-conclusive and it could be used to argue against this account as a sock puppet as much as for it being a sock puppet. It defines “borderline” and appears to me to be punitive as this Editor has clearly irritated others over the course of discussing this article. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you go looking for socks in the Sheldrake debate (for the past month), you’ll find them and there will be much more convincing connections than in this example. LizRead! Talk! 12:27, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Those other socks Liz is mentioning were finally busted two years after this happened and she is referring to the Goblin Face’s Skeptic sockpuppet army, which operated along with Manul, Barney and a host of other skeptic editors for years, supporting them and often doing their dirty work for them.

I was arguing on the Sheldrake Wikipedia page for two weeks, very successfully and many of my arguments were causing problems with a handful of the editors. Why would I need to sockpuppet on my own self imposed break from editing? It makes no sense.

If I was sockpuppeting, what need would I have to do so? I disclosed on Wikipedia that I was taking a break editing on Wikipedia. What leverage would it give me to just sign on with a new account while I was on my break to edit as someone else? It would serve no strategic purpose to do that. It’s not like I needed any help or support I already had majority consensus.

And what was disruptive about Oh Boy’s activity on the page anyway?  Did it create an illusion of a false consensus? Was there any editing? Was it abusive? He left one or two comments on the talk page.

As Liz mentioned, a user named Dan Skeptic had a very obvious sock account, and was disruptive, posting my personal information in talk. Why not go after that obvious sock? Additionally Manul herself created her account to edit Rupert’s article only, and was a SPI. This was never an issue to any admin or any editor – yet two comments left by Oh Boy Chicken Again were treated as if they were designed to tear down Wikipedia’s entire structure and they were pinned on me because that user did not capitalize the name Sheldrake or some similar behavioral anomaly Manul claims can be derived from one or two sentences someone writes.

Check user obviously cleared me of being Oh Boy Chicken Again. But next I was accused of being ‘Kate Gombert’ – who did leave one comment on the Sheldrake talk page. Kate was my paid wikipedia consultant.

Well, this brought up a ‘check user’ process on Wikipedia, where an admin can check the IP address of my account, and noted that my account ‘Tumbleman’ was on a dynamic IP that shared an account with a user Kate Gombert. Well this was awkward. Although user Kate Gombert was not me, I know who user Kate Gombert was, it was my consultant, and since I shared my password with her so she could do all of my sources in my sandbox, I could easily see how this could be viewed as a ‘sock’ account. This account did no editing on Sheldrake. Zero. She left one comment on talk, something to the effect of ‘nice job’ since she knew all the hard work I was putting into this activity.

I begged ‘kate gombert’ to join and clear this up. Since ‘Kate’ is a paid Wikipedia editor, she was terrified of being harassed and losing her Wikipedia account which was her livelihood, so she refused. I understood this as part of the environment and painfully accepted my fate because of it.

I explained this in my challenge to the block. I was given a

DECLINE REASON: Unfortunately, sharing your password means that this account is now compromised and cannot be unblocked. If two people have access to an account, we don’t know who is which. Any edits to your sandbox that you authorised should have been made by the other party on their account. Peridon (talk) 16:52, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

I was not aware sharing my account was qualify me for sockpuppetry, but I accepted this as a technicality rather than any evidence I was being disruptive. However, shortly thereafter, I received a comment on my page from the ‘Check User’ admin, which absolved me somewhat.

Actually, this explanation, as surprising as it sounds, does fit with the checkuser data available, and it is on that IP that he is  Technically indistinguishable from KateGompert (talk · contribs) and several other clearly unrelated (by behaviour) users. I can also say that were it not for those sandbox edits, I would have said  Unrelated; the computers are completely different. Recent edits technically match what Tumbleman used to be, so he does appear to still have control of his account. Please change your password immediately to prevent this account from being compromised. Please let us know when you have done so, so this account can be unblocked. Thanks, and please don’t share your password with anybody, even a Wikipedia administrator. Reaper Eternal (talk) 17:49, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Shortly thereafter, user Oh Boy Chicken Again came to my talk page and the sockpuppeting trial and posted

“I’m sorry I ever got involved in this. I am not Tumbleman. I’m outski.  Oh boy chicken again (talk) 00:19, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

So it appears the matter was easily resolved and I felt incredibly relieved. All I would need to do is change my password, let the admins know that I did, and I would be free and clear.

In the meantime, as these editors were piling up against me, posting just horribly misleading things about me, using every dirty trick in the playbook to damage my reputation on the board, I was sitting fuming, unable to defend myself, while Wikipedia editors abused me and admins simply did nothing. Additionally – they were now coming on to my TALK page and arguing with the admins or other users that were either clearing me or supporting me – informing them of numerous reasons why they should still suspect me. Before they were rude, now they were posting things that were just flat out libelous.

As that long list of links in the previous point may already indicate, Tumbleman is an antisocial individual on the Internet.
vzaak (talk) 20:50, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

My only outlet was my talk page, and I posted a section called ‘Tumbleman is being accused, and I won’t use the ‘L’ word, in a manner in which he cannot defend himself.

.

Using enforcement to silence an editor – not just me who sees it

.

Liz, an uninvolved editor who found the issue on a noticeboard who offered much support, jumped in and responded.

I don’t know what their angle is beyond trying to silence you on this particular article. The detail some Editors have devoted to this sock investigation is definitely over-kill and I am a bit stunned at the apparent time and energy spent on compiling “evidence” and the minute dissection of how you phrase things and spell words. Liz Read! Talk! 04:51, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

 .

Cleared of socking, then charged with trolling

.

I informed on the talk page that I intended to stay. I was so flabbergasted by the charge of trolling, I hardly assumed anyone would take that seriously. In the meantime, user IRWolfie- (talk) was posting further slanderous things about me in the Sockpuppeting hearing, and therefore I responded to his comments on my talk page – copying his user ID in my responses, as is common Wikipedia form – when you mention an editor, notify them.

When I did this, he came to my talk page and asked me to stop notifying him of activity on my page when I mentioned him. I informed him that I am messaging him because I am responding to comments he is making about me – and if he does not wish to be pinged every time I mention him, it’s probably not best for him to mention me either.

This was the infraction that somehow enabled a second hearing on me – this time far more serious, and this time for trolling.  But I assumed that since I was cleared of sockpuppetry, I would at least get my status back and would be able to defend myself, right?

..I’m inclined to give him (the tumbleman) the benefit of the doubt and unblock him, on the condition that there be no more account sharing and no more sockpuppetry, with the understanding that if I find either again, I will block you indefinitely…. Obviously, that is if and only if the arbitration enforcement decides you aren’t merely trolling, something I am strongly suspecting is the case. Reaper Eternal(talk) 02:23, 17 October 2013

READ THE NEXT CHAPTER: THE TRIAL OF THE TUMBLEMAN