This case study focuses on contentious consensus building on social media platforms specifically wikis, and primarily focuses on Wikipedia with a few exceptions.
This study broadly focuses on consensus building with individuals or groups of individuals with particular psychological types, individuals who practice deception or manipulation in an online consensus, individuals who attempt to “bully” an online consensus, and individuals who attempt to control all the permissions in a consensus building process.
This event travels across three of the main controversies on Wikipedia; Biographies of a Living Person (BLP), Fringe subjects (WP: Fringe), and Paid/Agenda Editing. This case study presents both first-person narrative and evidence detailing “harassment”, as defined by the Wikipedia community editing guidelines, which is referred to in this study as editor suppression, as a community strategy to control editing permissions on Wikipedia. Additionally, it details how an agenda group can control an article on Wikipedia, and influence perception of a topic via various MediaWiki platforms.
This study focused on two well-publicized and well-known wiki wars occurring on Wikipedia, the biographical articles about Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra, and I worked directly with these subjects through the entire process.
To show the distinctions between genuine editing and editor suppression, this case study solely focused on editing biographical, non-controversial information about the subjects, and neither engaged in nor initiated any editing or discussion into their “theories” or claims.
Employed, tested, and piloted was a methodology of collaborative consensus building designed to be employed in contentious environments for the purposes of achieving a resolution, expressed as a Wikipedia article. More will be published on this methodology and platform (aiki wiki) when time permits.
This study continually grows in scope primarily because of one component of my methodology; I document and respond directly to each instance of targeting or harassment I have received over four years while I attempt to find recourse for a resolution.
I did not predict that I would be a target of harassment when I began this study. Nor did I realize it would ever extend into the darker depths of “wiki” communities that it did, and never in my wildest dreams did I believe it would continue to give me a unique insight and deeper understanding of the psychologies that lurk under the surface of the internet for the past four years since it began.
Therefore, this study is still a work in progress, apologies in advance for any incompleteness or in many cases – too much.
Introduction: What is a wiki war?
Part One: Collaborative consensus building in a contentious editing environment.
Biography of a Living Person; Rupert Sheldrake
Editing accounts: Tumbleman
- A worrisome welcome to a wiki war.
- The Battle Begins.
- Enter “The Tumbleman”
- Request for a new consensus, denied
- The First Trial of the Tumbleman: Sock Puppet
- The Second Trial of the Tumbleman: Troll
Biography of a Living Person; Deepak Chopra
Editing account: SAS81
- Wikipedia, please delete my article. (pt 1)
- How to catch a skeptic. (pt 2)
- A gathering consensus. (pt 3, not yet published)
- How to win a wiki war, ISHAR (pt 4, not yet published)
- Deepak Chopra’s article reflects a wider problem.
Case study commentary
- Will a definition of online harassment please stand up?
- How to Ban a POV You Don’t Like, in 9 Easy Steps. (with video!)
- Follow the White Rabbit, indeed: WikiWars, QAnon style.
- Come play the Wikipedia BLP-Palooza!
- Am I a Sock Puppet?
- Investigating Dicks, the Wikipedia Noir chronicles. (Fun Stuff)
Part Two: “Wiki war craft”: Editor suppression, stalking, targeting, character assassination, impersonations, email threats, and blackmail.
What Rome is claiming didn’t happen. And if it did, it wasn’t that bad. And if it was, that’s not a big deal. And if it is, that’s not my fault. And if it was, I didn’t mean it. And if I did…Rome Viharo deserved it.
The psychological stages of an harasser’s defense.
Meet the Wikipedia sockpuppet army. (Manul/Vzaak, Atlantid, Goblin Face, Dan Skeptic, etc)
- Oliver D. Smith, MediaWiki poster boy. (Sept 2018)
- True Tales from Weird Wikipedia: Incident at the Fringe Theory Noticeboard (April 2018)
- The Smith’s Dark Entanglement: Full Three year report (Oct 2013 – April 2017)
- Impersonations on Wikipedia, Tim Farley, and flag waving on Reddit, again.
- Flag Waving, watch out for it.
- Wikipedia editor shenanigans (may 4th 2015)
- How Manul/Vzaak greeted me on Wikipedia (2015)
- Vzaak changes their Wikipedia account to Manul (April 2015)
- Manul’s troll pals stalk me on Reddit, defending Manul (May 2015)
- Manul tries to bully Wikipedia admin Liz (June 2015)
- Vzaak/Manul’s misinformation, debunked (2013)
- What will Goblin Face do next?
- Email threatens to increase harassment if I don’t stop publishing Wikipedia, We Have a Problem
- Skeptic sock puppet army gets busted on Wikipedia, finally.
- “We’ll never stop!” claims Wikipedia/RationalWiki editors, claim they are paid by “prominent skeptic”
Meet the troll farm; RationalWiki
- RationalWiki trolls have stolen my narrative, and I want it back (updated: 2017)
- The Attack of David Gerard’s 50ft troll farm, and the RationalWiki hustle. (2018)
- RationalWiki is gaslighting, lying, covering up cross platform harassment. (2018)
- Targeted on RationalWiki, can we talk about this? (December 2013)
- Sh*t RationalWiki says (May 2015)
- RationalWiki editor FuzzyCat Potato initiates “rational discussion”(April 2015)
- RationalWiki censors essay criticizing RationalWiki (April 2015)
- Revisiting RationalWiki (April 2015) and RationalWiki revisited
- RationalWiki’s tangled rationalizations for harassment (May 2015)
- Magical thinking on RationalWiki (November 2015)
- RationalWiki’s Drinking Games (June 2017)
- “This whole mess needs to be cleaned up!” (June 2017)
- So an atheist, a Muslim, a fruitarian and a futurist walk into a saloon… (Nov 2017)
Meet Wikipedia troll farm engineers, Tim Farley and David Gerard
- The Attack of David Gerard’s 50ft troll farm, and the RationalWiki hustle (2018)
- Come play the Wikipedia BLP-Palooza! (2018)
- True Tales from Weird Wikipedia: The incident at the FTN
- Tim Farley does not want skeptics linking to Wikipedia We Have a Problem (Jan 2014)
- An open letter to Tim Farley regarding him faking his data sets on Wikipedia (May 2014)
- Tim Farley’s big black hat on Wikipedia (April 2014)
- Tim Farley asks “Why do people edit Wikipedia?” does not mention activism. (June 2014)
- Tim Farley, be honest about activism on Wikipedia (June 2014)
- Tim Farley, if this dirty trick is coming next, don’t (updated 2016, published 2015)
- Skeptic activists now using Google AdWords to promote Wikipedia editing, Susan Gerbic admits to socking on Facebook (may 2016)
- Impersonations on Wikipedia, Tim Farley claims WWHP is “harassment” (2017)
- David Gerard versus the blockchain, a peek into an emerging wiki war (2017