- Why a FAQ, and who asked these questions?
- Why do you publish Wikipedia We Have a Problem, and why do you believe it is important?
- How is harassment different on Wikipedia instead of other platforms dealing with it, like Twitter?
- What happened to you on Wikipedia in these ‘wiki wars’?
- How long has this been going on?
- Surely Wikipedia, We Have a Problem is also published to protect your online reputation, something skeptic blogger Tim Farley claims is the only reason you do this.
- What brought you to investigating wiki wars on Wikipedia in the first place?
- How many have you been involved in?
- Are you ideologically driven to do this?
- Why does your case study focus on ‘skeptic activism’?
- Are you financially motivated?
- Did Deepak Chopra want you to write specific things in his article?
- What happened in Deepak Chopra’s wiki war?
- Was their independent third party corroboration to what you are claiming?
- Has publishing Wikipedia We Have a Problem helped in any way?
- You are referring to the Smith brothers, known RationalWiki and Wikipedia editors, correct?
- Can you share an example of this type of ‘misinformation’ tactic used by Oliver Smith and his accomplices?
- There are two sides to every story. RationalWiki lists you as sock puppeteer on Wikipedia, and according to Wikipedia you operated at least four confirmed editing accounts, which states that you were using ‘abusively’. Aren’t you somewhat guilty of what they are claiming?
- But you were banned on Wikipedia, why?
- But five Wikipedia admins supported their decision, why?
- Were you trolling Wikipedia?
- But Wikipedia lists you as a sock puppet, and have said that these four editing accounts are yours. What gives?
- So you admit to creating a new Wikipedia editing account after the previous one was banned?
- Isn’t that you breaking Wikipedia’s policy?
- Then why does RationalWiki, Tim Farley, or a host of other forums say you’re a notorious sock puppet?
- Tim Farley also claims you’re an internet troll, why?
- You say you were ‘outed’ on Wikipedia, yet on RationalWiki they claim it was you who outed yourself by exposing your name. Why do you say you were outed?
- You do admit your name was published as your signature at some point, right? How could you possibly do that as an accident, as RationalWiki claims?
- So once Manul discovered your real name on Wikipedia, what did they do?
- What was this ‘past history’ of yours that Manul and Oliver Smith was warning everyone about?
- What was so alarming about that project that Manul wanted to warn Wikipedia editors about you?
- RationalWiki claims that OS 0 1 2 makes claims that are contradicted by known physical laws, I guess they mean it’s pseudoscience?
- RationalWiki states that your website is a ‘conspiracy theory’ about skeptics being on Wikipedia.
- RationalWiki says you claim that the group Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia is responsible.
- RationalWiki says you were ‘promoting Rupert Sheldrake’s theories and arguing for pseudoscience, what is that about?
- The RationalWiki article states that you are a ‘defender’ of Rupert Sheldrake.
- Yet RationalWiki’s article states that in December of 2013, you were arguing that Morphic Resonance was not a pseudoscience on Wikipedia.
- But you did work with Deepak Chopra, right?
- But doesn’t that make you a ‘promoter of pseudoscience’, like they claim?
- You were also banned from editing on Wikipedia a second time on Deepak Chopra’s article, why?
- Tim Farley claims that you were ‘exposed’ as working for Deepak Chopra on Wikipedia, along with Ryan Castle. RationalWiki says you ‘disguised yourself’.
- Recently, two conversations have started on Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales talk page, with not one but two discussions titled ‘Wikipedia We Have a Problem’ referencing your site. This user was confronted by a Wikipedia editor Jytdog who claims that Wikipedia We Have a Problem is a fringe website, you have fringe viewpoints about skeptic activity on Wikipedia.
- Tim Farley claims on his blog that you haven’t really contributed much to Wikipedia, and therefore should not be complaining about it.
- It’s clear to see your case against Oliver Smith, but maybe it is not so clear your case against Tim Farley, why do you focus on him?
- Do you claim that Tim Farley is Wikipedia editor Manul?
- RationalWiki defends this article they’ve written on you is justified because they are just writing about your ‘shenanigans’, and that you have a ‘persecution complex’.
- So why is RationalWiki and a few of these Wikipedia editors so worked up about you? Your website is blacklisted on Wikipedia, and other Wikipedia editors have been sanctioned just for associating with you.
- In a few online forums, you mentioned exploring legal remedies, are you going to pursue any legal activity?
- Are you open to any other form of resolution on this issue?
Why a FAQ, and who asked these questions?
This website and yours truly has been a target of a pretty nasty misinformation campaign. This FAQ has been derived from three years of interactions with a number of Wikipedia editors who are featured in this study into editor suppression. I confront that sort of activity directly on this site, and report on what it is like to be targeted in a misinformation campaign. Primarily the FAQ was created so I could just link responses for easy linking and quick sharing around the web.
Why do you publish Wikipedia We Have a Problem, and why do you believe it is important?
Wikipedia claims it is an encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Wikipedia also has a number of very reasonable guidelines around things like editing with a neutral point of view and the interaction between editors being collaborative.
However, the reality is that various points of view can dominate Wikipedia articles through various forms of what I can only call editor suppression.
Since editor suppression runs contrary to Wikipedia’s editing guidelines, various tactics and forms of harassment are used to intimidate other viewpoints away from editing.
Specifically, these forms of harassment entail online strategies that are conducted to damage people’s reputation, first on Wikipedia in consensus building, and then in more extreme cases carry over on the internet onto other wikis.
The majority of these wikis, for example like RationalWiki, Encyclopedia Dramatica, Metapedia, Conservapedia, and Infogalatic – all use WikiMedia software.
WikiMedia software is somewhat outdated, and incredibly easy to abuse for spreading any form of misinformation and harassment.
So the flaws on Wikipedia are not just contained on the encyclopedia, these flaws are amplified by the many other instances of the same collective editing wiki platform, WikiMedia software.
I believe the problem is far broader and larger than this website publishes on or has evidence for. Part of this is because “Wiki Wars” have very little mainstream awareness, we just hear about “online trolls”, not the platform vulnerabilities they abuse. Considering how impactful online digital misinformation campaigns have been shown to be so effective since the 2016 election, it is important to understand how useful WikiMedia software is for these purposes.
I believe WikiMedia, and Jimbo Wales, have idealistic intentions, and I share those with them. However I am concerned WikiMedia is somewhat irresponsible about the problem, and not as forthcoming about the scope of it.
Part of the problem is the complexity of WikiMedia software. The abuse is so deeply adopted, integrated into the platform’s architecture, that the sheer complexity of it makes the human side of any abuse hard to see, hidden in layers buried out in the open of WikiMedia’s labyrinth.
So, I created a fully documented first person narrative of my experience, somewhat like a diary, of these events as they happen to me in real time (now this) while I look under the hood of what is happening behind the scenes on wiki wars that allows all of this to happen and where the vulnerabilities are.
How is harassment different on Wikipedia instead of other platforms dealing with it, like Twitter?
Mainly because harassment on Wikipedia is used to influence contextualization around knowledge and education, leveraging Google’s high page ranking for Wikipedia pages. There is a ‘prize’ attached at the end of it that is not there on other platforms.
Wikipedia is often a place where world views on various topics and individuals come to a battle, and the struggles on Wikipedia reflect a broader ideological struggle in society. I find this somewhat fascinating.
Contextualization is a big problem on the web everywhere else too, everything from ‘false news stories’ to ‘joe jobbing’ campaigns are used by any and all interest based groups.
On Wikipedia, these become ‘wiki wars’, a more complex and often even interesting conflict to control editing permissions on an article.
What happened to you on Wikipedia in these ‘wiki wars’?
Within the first five days of participating in the consensus process, I experienced various forms of outing and stalking, with extreme attempts to damage my reputation on Wikipedia. Petty claims like I am a sock puppet, troll, and ‘conspiracy theorist’ were first used to discredit me as an ‘internet crank’.
At first it was so over the top I didn’t think anyone would take it seriously. I thought it would be easy to work through the noticeboards and expose the abuse. I was wrong about that. Six weeks later I was banned indefinitely from Wikipedia, all from this narrative of me being spun around the community by these editors.
Then this harassment carried over into RationalWiki where these same Wikipedia editors also edit, and created a “hit piece” on me.
How long has this been going on?
Since October of 2013.
One of my harassers, Oliver Smith – has also archived his entire campaign against me on archive.is – and you can also view almost every single step they’ve take over the years here.
Surely Wikipedia, We Have a Problem is also published to protect your online reputation, something skeptic blogger Tim Farley claims is the only reason you do this.
Sure. I believe this group of individuals have stolen my narrative, and I do want it back.
But the one thing I am not doing is trying to ‘cover up’ something from my past that these Wikipedia editors on RationalWiki have ‘discovered’ about me.
I’ve not done anything online or offline to be ashamed of or embarrassed about, ever. Anyone who knows me personally or works with me also knows I work with a high degree of integrity, skill, and good intentions.
My battle is with a few individuals that do not just want to damage my reputation, they want to destroy my life, so it is a very serious issue.
On the personal side, currently I’m the founder and CEO of a tech start up, and I have to report to investors and other companies seeking partnerships. I have companies doing diligence on me all the time, and I’ve had to address this on more than one occasion in professional and personal settings. I’ve also had to pause progress on another platform because of this harassment.
I am also a single father, and my son can read these personal attacks against me online and it is hard to express how utterly complicated it is to be harassed on the internet like this and have to explain it to my own child.
So yes, I also publish this website as well to protect my professional reputation, which is under attack often by a small group of editors on Wikipedia and RationalWiki.
What brought you to investigating wiki wars on Wikipedia in the first place?
‘Wiki wars’ hold an interest to me because I am a designer of a collaborative consensus building platform called aiki.wiki. I have not yet launched this platform. So investigating how conflict breaks down in wiki wars is informative to me because I’ve designed solutions architecture for building a trusted online consensus especially where there are ideological clashes and questionable behaviors.
How many have you been involved in?
Are you ideologically driven to do this?
I am not ideologically driven on Wikipedia in terms of the subject matters I covered. Subjects like parapsychology or psi do not hold much or any interest to me. I’ve yet to read a book by Deepak Chopra. I do not have a notable voice in the subject matters I edited on nor am I seeking to have a voice in those arenas.
I am somewhat ideologically motivated around aiki.wiki, and my belief that responsible consensus building at a global scale is not only possible but affordable with digital technology.
I very much believe in collaborative co-operation and building a consensus around mutually beneficial terms to all sides in an negotiation. Additionally, all of my online and offline activities are consistent with this.
Why does your case study focus on ‘skeptic activism’?
I sort of stumbled into that, but it was a lucky stumble indeed. This ideological battle being played out on Wikipedia that I discovered is between skeptic organizations and adherents to a philosophical scientific orthodoxy on one side, and on the other side a rather broad category of ideologies and biographies from alternative medicine, various forms of consciousness research, many areas of fringe science, and of course ‘new age’ type viewpoints.
It’s actually a fascinating cultural battle. A good example of this ideological war are new age ‘celebrities’ such as Deepak Chopra playing out this drama in the mainstream with Richard Dawkins. So skeptic activism on Wikipedia is a very robust group of editors who are probably the biggest set of contributors on Wikipedia, this particular collaborative is very influential, and apparently with the support of Jimbo Wales.
At first I didn’t think this particular ideological ‘war’ was going to be that controversial or vitriolic comparatively, and for me it was an opportunity to participate from a first person viewpoint of a wiki war in what I assumed would be softer territory. I was wrong about that. I don’t recommend that anyone do what I did.
I also believe that we really need to keep what the ideological struggles on Wikipedia are as separate from the behavioral issues with harassment and irrational and non productive collaboration. We should not give a free pass to a group of editors for how they treat a dissenting voice just because we agree with the worldview they justify it from.
Are you financially motivated?
No. This is a volunteer project on my side and primarily self funded, with one exception where I received a grant from the Chopra Foundation to continue the work I was already doing in 2014 for around six months. During that time I acted as Deepak Chopra’s representative on his Wikipedia article, and from there he requested that I design a broader solution for the global alternative medicine and mind/body studies community specifically because of the Wikipedia issue.
Did Deepak Chopra want you to write specific things in his article?
No, not once did he ever request I put something flattering in his article, or to treat it like a marketing exercise.
Originally, he just wanted me to walk him through asking Wikipedia to delete his article.
Deepak has very reasonable concerns about his biography page. No matter what anyone thinks, dislikes, or likes about Deepak Chopra, what was happening on Wikipedia to him is incredibly irresponsible for Wikipedia and WikiMedia to allow.
Someone who is acting as his representative on that Wikipedia article is somewhat like an attorney in the sense they have to represent a client’s concerns, but also understand how those concerns need to be addressed in an objective manner in relationship to Wikipedia’s ‘rules’.
It is pretty obvious that certain agenda minded editors wished to turn Deepak’s biography into a social critique, supplying an unusually high degree of critical sources while limiting other sources that counter certain criticisms for the purposes of creating suspicions of Deepak Chopra.
For example, in Deepak’s case, these very same editors wanted to remove as many references or credits to Deepak that they believe counters their suspicious narrative of him. These editors will not allow Deepak Chopra to be listed as a licensed physician and medical doctor in his lead sentence, believing this makes him credible in a way that they do not believe he is. They then remove his bonafide professional credential as medical doctor with ‘New Age Guru‘, a term that carries its own layers of suspicion and flakiness.
Like Rupert’s Wikipedia article, Deepak Chopra’s article is entirely controlled by a group of Wikipedia editors who disparage against Deepak Chopra and more broadly alternative medicine and consciousness studies. So if any editor, no matter how reasonable, expressed that things like Deepak being a medical doctor should go in the lead sentence, they attempt to suppress that editor or suppress any consensus otherwise.
What happened in Deepak Chopra’s wiki war?
Deepak originally wanted to take a final, and who knows perhaps a legal route with WikiMedia foundation. He wanted his article deleted, not improved. Deepak felt just as hostile to Wikipedia as they did towards him.
I advised he take a different approach.
I encouraged Deepak Chopra to actually to work with the Wikipedia community and WikiMedia to resolve the issue, using Wikipedia’s own process.
I told him that if he gives Wikipedia a fair shot, and perhaps even try to collaborate with them, then it says something good about Wikipedia and him. He liked that idea. I would assume any responsible Wikipedia editor or admin and even WikiMedia would appreciate what I did there alone. I diffused a potentially ugly situation and empowered Wikipedia and WikiMedia to do the right thing in return.
He trusted me to work that process. And that is exactly what I did as SAS81.
And through that process I returned Deepak Chopra’s lead biographical section to a respectable neutral point of view, which is exactly what Wikipedia’s editing policies require it to be.
My full editing history as SAS81 perfectly highlights the full arc of what Wikipedia, We Have a Problem details.
Was their independent third party corroboration to what you are claiming?
Yes. One confirmation of this claim I make was an unusually highly respected editor in the Wikipedia community, Slim Virgin, actually being the editor to responsibly defend and make those arguments I initiated and have the page change accordingly.
After these page changed occurred, these skeptic editors tried to get me sanctioned away from Deepak Chopra’s article as a disruptive force. Slim Virgin herself defended me at this AE to remove SAS81 from Wikipedia, specifically citing that these skeptic editors were actually misrepresenting Wikipedia editing policies on Deepak’s page.
Since she is a highly respected editor on Wikipedia, the admin, seconds away from sanctioning me, conceded to Slim Virgin’s defensive argument.
Anyone can verify my claims and read ‘the trial to sanction SAS81’ directly as it is recorded on Wikipedia here.
Has publishing Wikipedia We Have a Problem helped in any way?
I have about three years of solid evidence that clearly shows, beyond any reasonable doubt, that editor suppression is a sincere and underreported issue on Wikipedia. More than that, I’ve three years of evidence that dives into the dark underbelly of some of these communities, and how they extend their ‘wiki wars’ through the weaponization of Google search.
A number of researchers, including some universities have used this website for their own work or educational purposes, so that is rewarding.
Another thing that has come to light has been the exposure of those editors on Wikipedia and RationalWiki doing this harassment.
What I want this to evolve to is greater awareness for Google directly. I think there should be considerable search downgrading for websites or platforms that harbor anonymous online users to abuse the value of a page ranking to harm people.
You are referring to the Smith brothers, known RationalWiki and Wikipedia editors, correct?
The discovery that the RationalWiki article on me was primarily written by one individual named Oliver D. Smith and/or his brother Daryl Smith was quite a breakthrough, it really cleared up lots of confusion.
Oliver and his brother are individuals whom have recently been exposed for conducting much of this disturbing online activity. They perform really twisted, sometimes disturbed online impersonations and harassment strategies on Wikipedia along with massive farms of editing accounts. He sent me email threats to do this to me on ‘500 forums’ around the internet unless I take this website down.
As Oliver would go to various forums, attempting to enlist each forum as his own ‘personal army’ in his campaign to utterly destroy my online reputation, he soon discovered that it was backfiring on him.
Encyclopedia Dramatica and kiwifarms caught on to him while he was attempting to use those forums to harass me, and then turned the tables on him by investigated him doing this to many others while directly confronting him on a number of occasions. Consider, these are forums that are absolutely notorious for their own questionable behavior and trolling, and Oliver’s behaviors were even disturbing to them.
Now that Oliver is banned from Wikipedia, KiwiFarms, and Encyclopedia Dramatica, we find that RationalWiki is the only platform that supports him as an editor and this is consistent with a poisoned editor culture endorsed by David Gerard and activists like Tim Farley.
Can you share an example of this type of ‘misinformation’ tactic used by Oliver Smith and his accomplices?
The intention behind all tactics is simply the practice of ruining someone’s reputation online through various forms of libel, contextual manipulation, and astroturfing. It can take many forms, but here is a more recent attempt at this. Oliver Smith does this at quite a wicked level, by impersonating viewpoints and even other online users to manipulate an online army against someone.
To give another example, Oliver Smith stalks me online through current and past social networks I’m on like Twitter or Instagram. He discovers a photograph I took while in India wearing a vintage Coca Cola tee shirt in my picture, which obviously has the ™Coke logo. Oliver Smith then uses that image of me as an actual reference, a form of evidence he claims establishes I am a ‘paranoid drug user who abuses cocaine’ in an article he created elsewhere about me.
The article headline that he created that states ‘Rome Viharo is a paranoid drug user’ can show up in a Google search, and even if people don’t click on the link, he has already spread misinformation and slander about me using Google page ranking to do it. Then he just repeats this method, sometimes every few weeks, sometimes once a month.
Then, he then goes around to discussion forums impersonating other individuals online, and starts a conversation in a new community about me being a paranoid drug user, using the link he created.
If he can rile the community to keep talking about it, or post it many times over and over in Reddit, it becomes apart of the biographical perception of who I am online, another reason not to trust the contents of this website. Now Oliver and the Smith clan hope that many Google search results for my name will quickly plant the seed that ‘Rome Viharo is a paranoid drug user internet troll who stalks Wikipedia editors’.
The entire time, his only established evidence is that my vintage ™Coke tee shirt is somehow a public confession of my use of cocaine and an admittance to an addiction.
Using fake encyclopedia’s like RationalWiki or mock encyclopedia’s like Encyclopedia Dramatica, or real one encyclopedia’s like Wikipedia, anyone with a devious mind like Oliver can abuse them using these type of tactics.
This type of tactic is not just used by Oliver Smith, Tim Farley and Manul on Wikipedia. We saw this phenomenon explode during the 2016 presidential election. Online campaigns by those that identify with alt right type communities, like gamergate, or pizzagate, as well as their counterparts, the ‘SJWs’ of RationalWiki – and any agenda minded individuals with a lack of common decency and rational sense irrespective of their ideologies do this online.
There are two sides to every story. RationalWiki lists you as sock puppeteer on Wikipedia, and according to Wikipedia you operated at least four confirmed editing accounts, which states that you were using ‘abusively’. Aren’t you somewhat guilty of what they are claiming?
No. They are conflating terms and choosing which ones suit their practice for misinformation.
Quite commonly, sock puppet is used as a weasel word to discredit someone in an online forum of any kind, and often it is thrown at anyone in an online social collaborative to lessen the credibility of their participation.
If you look at just about every claim of harassment on Wikipedia or any wiki war, everyone will be called a ‘sockpuppet’ at some point in the beginning because it is an easy sanction to score against someone with very little or no proof.
The term as originally used in online communities means using multiple accounts at the same time to participate in a discussion or collaboration in some manner and fake a consensus, like astro turfing somewhat.
I never did that.
As a matter of fact, being charged as a sockpuppet on Wikipedia happened right after this group of editors were trying to get me sanctioned as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ on Wikipedia, spreading ‘false stories’ about other editors which backfired on them. It was such a ridiculous charge and it turned on them, with the request being that I should make an accounting of their harassing behaviors and present them in an AE.
That’s right when I was then charged with being a sock puppet by these editors. You can see it for yourself here. They clearly wanted to halt my progress and were concerned tables would be turned on them so they threw this charge at me, after I told them I was taking a few days break from editing. I was then blocked on Wikipedia from defending myself, and of course from making a case in AE against them.
And even this charge of me being a sockpuppet did not work either. I was cleared of it. I was not banned initially on Wikipedia for sock puppeting as Tumbleman while editing Rupert Sheldrake’s Wikipedia article.
Another strawman. Oliver Smith, or someone almost identical, was harassing me and posting the typical misinformation about me and this website on /r/wikiinaction. r/wikiinaction had a number of posts from Wikipedia We Have a Problem that were quite popular there.
I created a throw away account to confront him as I didn’t want him to know my regular account. He then twisted that into saying I was sock puppeting on reddit. It’s silly.
But you were banned on Wikipedia, why?
The charge was they banned me for was ‘Not Contributing To Wikipedia’, or NOTHERE.
I was framed as someone who was a troll and autistic, with ‘views outside of the mainstream’, in bed with PR companies, and a “true pro” conducting a global social media experiment, making me a ‘thoroughly disruptive editor’.
There were five total attempts to harass me with some form of sanctioning while editing Rupert’s biography page, which anyone can read about in detail starting here.
This last attempt worked.
So I was hit with not one but two AE cases against me at the same time, and without the ability to even defend myself so anyone could say anything about me without recourse, and they did.
These were very disgusting social tactics this small collaborative of Wikipedia editors were using in a consensus process, they were clearly slanderous and abusive.
They just didn’t realize they were doing it to someone who was actually investigating harassment on Wikipedia, so it sort of spiraled out of their control into Wikipedia, We Have a Problem.
But five Wikipedia admins supported their decision, why?
Why would the admins support Manul’s case against me? I really can’t say I have a clear answer as to their intentions. It does appear that admins participate in editor suppression just like groups of editors, so perhaps they were in on it, or perhaps they were just manipulated.
Every single behavior they made against me and every charge they made against me is each and every single one a flagrant disregard for every Wikipedia policy I’ve ever read and studied. It was shocking.
There were a number of questionable things that came up at the time in this ‘Trial of the Tumbleman” as blogger Craig Weiler put it. My ‘trial’ lasted 24 hours, with one single admin making the decision to ban me indefinitely and for some reason not as a decision of the AE committee. It was a rushed decision.
There was not a community consensus as to the charges, and in my trial I did have the support of more than 50% of the other editors.
Even Liz, a very admired and fair handed Wikipedia admin supported me. Liz thought the whole thing was extremely questionable, even chilling, that admins would support it.
So while I cannot say why they did it, I can say that it is very very chilling that they did do it.
Were you trolling Wikipedia?
No, not in any sense of the word.
This is the elephant in the room that all of my online detractors really don’t want to address, which is somewhat comical considering they all claim to be skeptics.
My entire participation at that time is available online for anyone to see, I challenge anyone to find any evidence of me ‘trolling’ using my record on Wikipedia. It simply does not exist.
My behaviors and language, as recorded for prosperity on Wikipedia, shows intentionally professional and collaborative engagements, with support from many Wikipedia editors.
This was also very intentional, I wanted to clear and open record of my statements and behaviors for comparison for this very purpose.
This is why I published this case study, because my recorded intentions and behaviors were intentionally crystal clear and in alignment with Wikipedia policy, and so very easy to make a case against editor suppression occurring on Wikipedia against other behaviors that are contrasted by their inflammatory speech, personal attacks, and aggressive attempts to sanction me away from editing while I am winning the support of other editors and admins.
But Wikipedia lists you as a sock puppet, and have said that these four editing accounts are yours. What gives?
Since Wikipedia arbitrarily defines circumventing a ban also as sock puppeting, they list my other accounts as sock puppets, but its misleading to say I was sock puppeting Wikipedia. I never had two accounts operating on Wikipedia at the same time and never practiced deception in a consensus process, it’s against my own principles.
So you admit to creating a new Wikipedia editing account after the previous one was banned?
Yes. After I was banned from the Sheldrake article just mentioned, I found I could not honor that. I reached out to Wikimedia for support and there was not even a response from them. I emailed moderators asking them to lift it and all I got was a refusal unless I said I was sorry for being a troll.
So with no recourse from Wikimedia, or Wikipedia, for this harassment which was leveraged to censor me by banning me from Wikipedia, my only recourse apparently is jumping back in, and continue with responsible and strong consensus building, which I did on Deepak Chopra’s biography article with complete success.
Isn’t that you breaking Wikipedia’s policy?
Yes, by circumventing my ban, I am willfully breaking Wikipedia’s rule. I am likely to break that ban again.
If what happened to me happens to other editors, which it does, then I encourage all of them to break their bans as well and continue to perform responsible editing and consensus building for the good of Wikipedia.
There is no recourse for platform abuse and harassment on Wikipedia, therefore individuals have to take it into their own hands for their own protection.
Then why does RationalWiki, Tim Farley, or a host of other forums say you’re a notorious sock puppet?
It’s just them attempting to damage control the fallout from what I have exposed, and probably a form of juvenile payback. Add a disturbed mind like Oliver D. Smith and his brother to the mix, who are the ones going around to other forums creating threads called ‘Troll Rome Viharo’ and now the narrative about is a very messy thing because it looks like there is this ‘critical mass’ consensus about me being a troll/sockpuppet. But it’s just Oliver Smith astroturfing a fake consensus across multiple platforms.
It is all a house of cards, easy to knock down in principle but time consuming to do so.
Tim Farley also claims you’re an internet troll, why?
Because Tim Farley and Manul used and supported that claim about me on Wikipedia to get me sanctioned as Tumbleman and now Tim uses it to dismiss any credibility that this case study provides. It’s a word used to discredit someone in a consensus, like calling someone a sock puppet.
Since then, Tim Farley has tried to walk this back, claiming that he thinks I’m a troll because my written responses are too lengthy to read. I find that a rather small threshold for harassing editors on Wikipedia, imagine everything that has happened to me I deserve because I linger on words too long.
You say you were ‘outed’ on Wikipedia, yet on RationalWiki they claim it was you who outed yourself by exposing your name. Why do you say you were outed?
Wikipedia editor Manul specifically dug through my editing history, and discovered one instance where my signature was accidentally recorded as Rome Viharo but removed by me immediately within sixty seconds there after, clearly unintentional.
You do admit your name was published as your signature at some point, right? How could you possibly do that as an accident, as RationalWiki claims?
Simple, previous to me joining the Sheldrake wiki war on Wikipedia in 2013, I hadn’t had a discussion on Wikipedia since something like 2006. I guess sometime around then I recorded my real name in the back end of my user account. Since I did this without ever commenting, I never realized it changed my signature. Eight years later, I simply forgot I did that until I posted some eight years later.
So once Manul discovered your real name on Wikipedia, what did they do?
They posted my name and past history on the front page of Rupert Sheldrake Talk for everyone to see, warning editors that I was a troll and playing a joke on Wikipedia. This happened within a few days of my participation on the article, I was shocked. So not only was Manul outing me, but they were slandering and misrepresenting my intentions on Wikipedia, despite me posting very transparently about them.
What was this ‘past history’ of yours that Manul and Oliver Smith was warning everyone about?
A thirteen year old viral project I was a co designer of many years ago, called OS 0 1 2. It had nothing to do with Wikipedia. Manul was linking to a dead website from 2003 on internet archive to dig it up. It is pretty ridiculous that admins let Manul get away with that.
What was so alarming about that project that Manul wanted to warn Wikipedia editors about you?
I don’t think there is anything alarming about it.
It was an fully disclosed online performance and theatrical project performed in 2003, fourteen years ago.
I performed a character called Bubblefish on the internet.
The project was funny, and ‘Bubblefish’ would perform a show in a discussion forum goading individuals to have a rational discussion about going to war in Iraq and the existence of weapons of mass destruction, the whole ‘show’ evolved from online protests against the invasion of Iraq in late 2002 – early 2003.
That’s not the all of it. I have a wild background in viral marketing, writing, filmmaking, and online comedy years ago before I got involved with technology. I have a big sense of humor, so they are cherry picking things in my past history to paint a picture of me that is not accurate, to say the least. I have a recorded online history of this too. Back in the day, I teamed up with comedians and we would create funny internet hoaxes for a comedy show pilot on the internet for Turner’s SuperDelux Comedy Network, such as ‘Morgan Freeman Cigarette Commercial, or ‘Barack Obama in College Footage‘, and I even created a few online characters such as Le’ Basteured Fifi. My entire life before 2008 was creative writing and creative media with a focus on comedy and viral media.
Obviously, linking to any of this as either ‘pseudoscience’ or ‘trolling Wikipedia’ is out of left field.
However, Oliver D. Smith also appears to have a suffering mind, it may be possible that he cannot make distinctions between art and creativity and the real world, and in his mind this is what he really believes about me. It’s a paranoid picture of me on RationalWiki and on Wikipedia. I assume that if people are unable to distinguish art from real life, they are probably going to view many things with a very distorted lens.
RationalWiki claims that OS 0 1 2 makes claims that are contradicted by known physical laws, I guess they mean it’s pseudoscience?
If you look at the source used to establish on RationalWiki that OS 01 2 ‘breaks known physical laws’, their reference supporting that states OS 0 1 2 uses the word ‘exponential’ to describe the spreading of viral ideas or memes, it is breaking some ‘bound state’ of the physical universe or something something childish. It is not even a serious charge they are making, just trying to find any reason to justify their campaign to damage my reputation.
OS 0 1 2 was an creative essay about ‘memes’, written in 2003 by dozens of individuals online that is no longer on the internet. It is a very tongue in cheek essay and hardly makes any controversial ‘claims’ other than offer a blueprint for having a rational discussion on the internet in a ‘win win’ spirit.
I must say it is very strange to have past work analyzed by people with no creativity or sense of humor. Like most if not all creative works, the term ‘pseudoscience’ does not even apply to it. If it did, I’m not sure why anyone should care if it was.
However, these are Wikipedia editors and Oliver Smith’s editing we are talking about. The voice of RationalWiki is ‘snark’, and news sites like Breitbart also publish in this voice. At least with Breitbart, we know it is an opinion based website. RationalWiki tries to pretend their an online encyclopedia, and people coming in from search seeking information on topics are fooled into thinking that they are reading fact based articles. Similar to Breitbart, they also allow their platform to be written by online trolls and individuals who leverage their social status to harass other people by spreading misinformation.
RationalWiki states that your website is a ‘conspiracy theory’ about skeptics being on Wikipedia.
Well, obviously they are attempting to damage my reputation and credibility, hoping that if people believe I am a ‘conspiracy theorist’ it must mean nothing is true on Wikipedia, We Have a Problem. It is not a face value claim they are making against me there, another straw man.
But let’s take that claim they make at face value anyway and debunk it.
Skeptic organizations themselves brag about being on Wikipedia, and Tim Farley has actively encouraged skeptics to edit on Wikipedia. They even have a publicly disclosed group that actually calls themselves Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia . I’m not claiming ‘skeptics’ are editing Wikipedia, they are.
I make no other claims about skeptics on Wikipedia or even skepticism other than the Wikipedia editors I encountered are themselves self declared ‘skeptics’ some of whom actively engage in encouraging skeptics in general to edit on Wikipedia.
That is my only claim.
RationalWiki says you claim that the group Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia is responsible.
More straw men. I never once have made that claim, in fact – I actually claimed I did not think that group was specifically involved in the wiki wars that I participated in. I make it a point on WWHP to state that skepticism has nothing to do with these editors making asses of themselves. They could be the alt right or gamer gate or any other ideology.
As to what happened to me, the evidence is clear, it cannot be refuted that a band of Wikipedia editors did conspire to get me sanctioned off of Wikipedia and harassed me until it happened. You can read them ‘conspiring’ to get me sanctioned here, in their own words.
Obviously, anyone can see why these Wikipedia editors are so desperate to discredit this publication.
RationalWiki says you were ‘promoting Rupert Sheldrake’s theories and arguing for pseudoscience, what is that about?
It’s them misleading everyone directly and attributing to me viewpoints that are not mine to discredit me.
That is willful and intentional deception on their part to publish that when my own views and intentions were posted in public for everyone to read. I made it very clear on a number of occasions on Wikipedia that I was neither endorsing or refuting any of Sheldrake’s or Deepak’s ‘claims’.
The RationalWiki article states that you are a ‘defender’ of Rupert Sheldrake.
Defending an individual against abuse and harassment is obviously not the same thing as defending their ideologies. Yes, I will defend anyone if I think they are being exploited or harassed as individuals, especially when they use Wikipedia to do it. I believed Rupert was getting abused on Wikipedia, and I wanted to defend him as an individual and I would do that again. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in defending someone from abuse on the internet.
That’s different than me defending Rupert’s scientific ideas, however. I am not a scientist, how could I defend his scientific theories?
Same with Deepak Chopra. Just because those individuals publish controversial statements does not give any Wikipedia editor the right to abuse their biography pages, it just flies in the face of responsible editorializing. I don’t have to adhere, promote, or even endorse their world views to defend their biographies. Many Wikipedia editors can’t seem to make that simple distinction.
Yet RationalWiki’s article states that in December of 2013, you were arguing that Morphic Resonance was not a pseudoscience on Wikipedia.
This is another straw man. This was an editorial argument, not a philosophical or scientific one, regarding which Wikipedia guideline should rule Rupert’s biography page.
Skeptic editors were saying that a Wikipedia policy that governs science articles should also govern Rupert Sheldrake’s biography page, which was a ‘Biography of a Living Person’.
I was pointing out the clear flaws in that argument using the sources that the skeptics provided, which were often conflicting from my point of view, since what they were suggesting violates Wikipedia guidelines around a ‘Biography of a Living Person.’
That was the extent of my argument. Again, RationalWiki intentionally misleads the reader to what happened because the very same editors who write that article on me on RationalWiki are the same editors I encountered on Wikipedia.
But you did work with Deepak Chopra, right?
Correct, for about six months. Deepak Chopra approached me to work with him, however, specifically on his Wikipedia problem and not because of anything else. He originally contacted me via Twitter after it was published.
I was able to bring resolution to his Wikipedia article in around 30 to 40 days.
I created the original architecture for ISHAR, a digital library for Deepak Chopra and The Chopra Foundation. This was designed to address the Wikipedia problem specifically, and after all was done the Chopra Foundation did not want to take on the Wikipedia issue. I haven’t spoken to Deepak Chopra since.
But doesn’t that make you a ‘promoter of pseudoscience’, like they claim?
Why would it? It was a research library. I designed architecture for an online library that is collaborative and builds a shared data base. It is nothing more than the aiki atheneum. It could house any subject matter, even auto mechanics.
ISHAR would have become a database of all academic and scientific study of alternative medicines and various mind/body practices from Yoga to martial arts. My design was the house. And ISHAR is not even using my design architecture anyway. What is the controversy again?
The term pseudoscience does not even apply here. It makes no sense, unless you just want to discredit and embarrass someone.
You were also banned from editing on Wikipedia a second time on Deepak Chopra’s article, why?
Because a few of my ‘stalkers’ were digging and digging and discovered that SAS81, my editing account for Chopra, was me Rome Viharo, who was also banned as Tumbleman on Sheldrake’s article.
Tim Farley claims that you were ‘exposed’ as working for Deepak Chopra on Wikipedia, along with Ryan Castle. RationalWiki says you ‘disguised yourself’.
It’s very disingenuous for Tim Farley to claim that we were ‘exposed’ because I fully disclosed on Wikipedia that I was working for Deepak Chopra and was acting as his representative on the article, which is his right on Wikipedia. I exposed myself, as well as Ryan Castle, to the entire communities. That is Tim Farley doing a misinformation ‘spin’ to cover the fact that skeptic editors had Ryan Castle, as well as myself, removed from Deepak’s article because again, they practice editor suppression. Neither of us even did any edits on the actual article and we were not removed because we were ‘exposed’ as working for Deepak Chopra.
In terms of ‘disguising myself’ these are weasel words that Oliver Smith and RationalWiki editors use to create suspicions where none are warranted, everyone is anonymous on Wikipedia.
Being anonymous on Wikipedia is actually encouraged specifically so people can avoid things like harassment.
To suggest that keeping my anonymity on Wikipedia is akin to ‘disguising’ myself on Wikipedia is obviously somewhat of a schizoid point of view of how Wikipedia and the broader web works.
If I am disguising myself, so are 99% of all editors on Wikipedia and I encourage them to keep disguising themselves.
Recently, two conversations have started on Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales talk page, with not one but two discussions titled ‘Wikipedia We Have a Problem’ referencing your site. This user was confronted by a Wikipedia editor Jytdog who claims that Wikipedia We Have a Problem is a fringe website, you have fringe viewpoints about skeptic activity on Wikipedia.
Jytdog is a Wikipedia editor with a strong history of editing articles related to skeptic interests. I encountered him while editing as SAS81 in Deepak Chopra’s wiki war. I’m not sure what fringe views he is accusing me of having, I’ve never advocated for any ideological viewpoints on Wikipedia or in my professional life. I’m not involved with alternative medicine or any fringe research. I don’t make any claims about skeptics taking over Wikipedia. I can only assume that he is sensitive to the publication of this website and he along with Manul have been instrumental against banning or sanctioning users whom mention or have associated with me or this website. You may notice that Jytdog also sanctioned that editor who mentioned this publication in an Arb Enforcement hearing, and used them mentioning this publication as one of the reasons they should be sanctioned.
To be honest, I find the fact that this publication causes so much disruption at Wikipedia amongst these editors that they blacklist and suppress even discussion of Wikipedia, We have a Problem is actually quite an honor, I must be doing something good.
Tim Farley claims on his blog that you haven’t really contributed much to Wikipedia, and therefore should not be complaining about it.
Both Oliver and Tim make this argument, that somehow, because I had a light editing history, that I have no right to expose experienced Wikipedia editors who seek to perform editor suppression via harassment. I’m not even sure what kind of argument that is, no one’s editing history gives them permission to harass other editors, and to suggest that is the case is very odd.
It’s clear to see your case against Oliver Smith, but maybe it is not so clear your case against Tim Farley, why do you focus on him?
Tim put himself on my radar, I was not aware the extent of his involvement until I reached out to him just assuming he was a blogger who posted about Sheldrake’s wiki war. I reached out to him questioning his article since he was blogging x but the reality that I experienced was y, I was confused how he came to his conclusions on his blog. His response to me was calling me a troll and telling Susan Gerbic not to interact with me, and encouraging her to use the RationalWiki article created by Oliver Smith about me online.
Next I discovered Tim Farley was really just performing misinformation campaigns on his blog about these events, for example he created arbitrary data sets to create the illusion that the ‘skeptic editors’ were the only real editors with genuine contributions, while the other editors challenging them were not real Wikipedia editors.
Do you claim that Tim Farley is Wikipedia editor Manul?
No, not directly. With the exception of Oliver Smith, it is not my intention to “out” editors on Wikipedia. So while I have my suspicions, I can’t say for certain. There is plenty of circumstantial evidence that links them, and for sure they at least are apart of one community that co-ordinates. All I know is that Tim Farley, Manul, and Oliver Smith all use very similar tactics to suppress editors and defame reputations online. It doesn’t matter if that is three individuals, or only two.
RationalWiki defends this article they’ve written on you is justified because they are just writing about your ‘shenanigans’, and that you have a ‘persecution complex’.
Please appreciate the irony, RationalWiki’s entire mission is to expose quacks and frauds in medicine and science, yet they are allowing a young kid with a disturbed mind to independently publish his own psychological diagnosis on an individual without one bit of scientific evidence or source of any kind so they can establish that I am a quack. The individual who actually wrote that section on RationalWiki is the same individual who goes around the internet creating headlines that I am a paranoid drug user creationist who is also a fornicator. So Oliver Smith stalks, hounds and writes articles on RationalWiki about individuals he targets, offers his own psychological evaluations – and Fuzzy Cat Potato and David Gerard defend and support his editing on my article.
Clearly, they are hiding behind the credibility of science education and using that platform to misinform and spread misinformation about individuals they find problems with, even instigating them just to get that evidence.
So why is RationalWiki and a few of these Wikipedia editors so worked up about you? Your website is blacklisted on Wikipedia, and other Wikipedia editors have been sanctioned just for associating with you.
Other than refusing to honor my ban for reasons I’ve stated already, I’ve not done anything inappropriate on Wikipedia at all. Zero. Zip. Nada. All anyone has ever had to do is check my actual edit and participation histories on Wikipedia.
It’s been amazing actually to see how crazy human nature can be in these environments, this small handful of editors on Wikipedia have created this somewhat legendary status around me as trolling Wikipedia and being a fringe advocate, and apparently no one has ever even bothered to check the actual evidence. It’s like it is a giant elephant in the room with the appreciation of the irony that this is happening to a culture of individuals who claim to be evidenced based skeptics. So they sort of have created this group think narrative about me being some sort of bizarre sock puppet mastermind to justify why they’ve put so much energy into harassing someone.
I still challenge any skeptic organization or any Wikipedia admin out there to find anything I’ve done on Wikipedia since this all started to justify what they claim about me.
In a few online forums, you mentioned exploring legal remedies, are you going to pursue any legal activity?
I’m not sure which approach I am going to take, as all of them are very expensive and very very time consuming. I have a number of options. In the case of Oliver Smith, he does live in the UK, so as a US citizen it is challenging for me, but I am aware of a few opportunities in the UK to notify the police of what he is doing. However, the threshold for holding online publishers responsible has shifted greatly since the Gawker case with Hulk Hogan. If I don’t go after RationalWiki, I’m sure someone else will and I look forward to that organization facing retribution for their abuses however it happens.
Are you open to any other form of resolution on this issue?
Yes! Of course I would be open to other forms of resolution, although based on their performance over the past three years, I am not expecting an apology or retraction anytime soon.