Saturday, July 22, 2017

Copy of "Wikipedia's Bastard Children: Metapedia and RationalWiki"

Because the MediaWiki software is free and the articles on Wikipedia aren't under copyright, it is very easy to do your own version of "the free encyclopedia."  The irony is that en.Wikipedia itself was full of retyped Encylopaedia Britannica articles early on.

When You Want Your Facts Nazified, Metapedia is Your Nazi Info Source

Metapedia is literally as the line above describes it, a Nazi version of Wikipedia. Originally a Swedish-language wiki created by Anders Lagerström of Linköping, Sweden, Metapedia grew to having 15 versions in various European languages. Anders Lagerström himself was a member of the Svenska Motståndsrörelsen (Swedish Resistance Movement), a neo-Nazi group founded in 1997 that later grew into a multi-national "Nordic Resistance Movement" covering Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. That wasn't good enough for Anders; he formed his own group Nordiska förbundet (The Nordic Association) in 2004 and ran a website called Nordisk.nu that seems to be a zombie as of 2017. Before forming this group, in 2002 Lagerström started up a publishing firm, Nordic Publishing, selling white power music and books; this is a long-running strategy first seen with American Nazi groups in the 1980s. It should be said that Lagerström follows in the grand tradition of neo-Nazis/skinheads/white nationalists by having a long history with the law: he was convicted of assaulting a police officer with tear gas in 1999, he was nailed on an illegal weapons charge in 2000. The thing that marked the beginning of the end for Nordiska förbundet was a 2008 break-in/assault where he and five NA members attacked a former member at his house, stole things, and beat the man up. Their reason was that the fellow had walked off with an encrypted list of 10,000 Nordic Publishing customers, possibly they were afraid he would go to the press. Most of the attackers only served a few months, some were tried in absentia, Lagerström served three months. The Nordic Association closed down in 2010, allegedly because the Nordisk.nu website was being used for hacking. The Swedish magazine Expo claims that Nordic Publishing became Arktos Media, which means that Jason Reza Jorjani, the gentleman philosopher of the Alt-Right movement, is being published by the same people behind Metapedia.

In the middle of all this, Lagerström founded Metapedia in 2006, becoming Aurvandil. One of the major members is Upplysning ("Enlightenment") who probably is either Kimmo Alm or his brother Jonni (who was, maybe still is, a member of Svenska Motståndsrörelsen); if it is the former, then Upplysning is not only a violent neo-Nazi and internet spammer, he is also into child porn. There are a number of former members, many who wound up later creating Rightpedia, the "competition": site founder Hu1 (aka Vajna, Antifinnugor, Muki987, Fiala1, eleonora46, and snuki146) who is actually Eleonóra Dubiczki of Pilisszántó, Hungary and was on Wikipedia before joining Metapedia; Mussert (real name unknown; his handle is a reference to Anton Mussert, the Dutch quisling leader of the Dutch Nazi Party, and heavy supporter of the German Nazi police state in occupied Holland, 1940-45) who was Galileo on Metapedia and one of the first people Dubiczki invited to Rightpedia; Mikemikev (Michael Coombs) who has articles about him on Encyclopedia Dramatica and Kiwi Farms Lolcow Wiki; and A Wyatt Man, aka BjornStronginthearm (his Stormfront handle and a Terry Pratchett reference) who is also ED member KimboSlice. One of the most notable members of Metapedia is Gregory Lauder-Frost of the Traditional Britain Group, a Tory's Tory who was promoted to sysop as Cicero and then given the boot a year later by Aurvandil because he could not stop getting into arguments over Poland; not a variant of Wikipedia's insane "is it Freistaat Danzig or Gdansk?" dispute but rather a man's inflexible belief in German Nazi propaganda that Poland somehow started World War II. Michaeldsuarez has proof that last sentence is incorrect, and that Aurvandil deleted Lauder-Frost's articles that were mentioned by Encyclopedia Dramatica, changed all editor names to "Pepe" (as in Pepe the Frog), then gave Cicero the new handle Matt58, in a sloppy editing of history that would make Winston Smith cringe. We should also mention Basileus, who had a long sockpuppeted history on Wikipedia before appearing on Metapedia only to slowly drive those people crazy as well. It did not end well. Finally, there should be some mention of Atlantid (Oliver D. Smith), who is Mikemikev's enemy and fellow inmate at the Lolcow Wiki.

The Horror Show That is Metapedia

Let's be honest; the worldview of Metapedia is repellent. Take for example the Holocaustianity article, in which Anne Frank is labeled "the blessed virgin", the creation of Israel is "the resurrection" and there is a long quote at the bottom from the now-defrocked Bishop Richard N. Williamson, who is a Holocaust-denier. Denial of the Holocaust is a big deal for Metapedia, which is why they have a stub article for Carlos W. Porter, who thinks the entire event was faked by the Soviets. They have 53 pages of similar "Holocaust revisionists", many of them stubs without pictures, but all of them have links to sites that have their writings in .pdf or on simple html sites. None of them believe the same thing; some minimize the numbers, some blame chaotic conditions in the camps at the end of the war for all the corpses the Red Army found in Poland. None of them believe that the SS camp guards used carbon monoxide from diesel motors, and later the pest-exterminating agent "Zyklon-B" (Cyclone-B, the commercial name for the crystallized hydrogen cyanide used in the fake washrooms near the crematoriums). Metapedia does not believe in the Einsatzgruppen as a murder-squad SS army; they are anti-partisan troops only. Metapedia cannot deny the Wannsee Conference, but it has doubts that the document produced by conference, the Wannsee Protocol, is really a mandate for genocide.

When Metapedia isn't a defense of the Nazis, it's a keen supporter of old-timey race science. They have a page on "Dysgenics", aka "racial degeneracy" which, like a lot of the pages inside Metapedia, was originally a Wikipedia article that was made Nazi. Race and intelligence has an article on Metapedia, as does Wikipedia; Metapedia leans heavily on the data, will not discuss any controversies. It would be fascinating to find out if the Metapedians started out with an earlier version of the Wikipedia article (which we know was fought over like mad), or if they built their own counter-article by scratch. And that's something that should never be forgotten: many of the articles on the site seem to have come from Wikipedia and then were re-written offline. Look at their "Race and crime" article; it's a long article (possibly filled with bogus statistics), then compare it to the Wikipedia version. Wikipedia is so touchy on the subject they broke it into four articles; one for the concept, one for the US, one for the UK, and one for Brazil (which is part of the "Social apartheid in Brazil" article). Meanwhile if you try to look up Metapedia's article on Black people, the article is called "Sub-Saharan Africans", lacks any photographs of African-Americans, Africans, Afro-Brazilians, etc., and is full of scare quotes and treats the article subject like a menace. It is probably the most purely racist article on the website beyond their idiotic famous Jews list (aka "Persons of Jewry").

The Endpoint

The point of Metapedia is to make Nazi ideology acceptable again, full stop. That has been a long-running project of far-Right groups for decades (Reason magazine used to publish Holocaust-deniers in the 1970s, because Charles Koch's personal guru to 1980 was Robert LeFevre, who was neck-deep in that world). The difference now is the Internet; instead of buying books from the Institute for Historical Review or the Noontide Press, you can download .pdfs for free. At the end of March, 2017, Metapedia vanished for a week and it reappeared with no statement as to why it had gone. Why the site disappeared is still unknown; what can be guessed is that Metapedia will exist as long as the Wiki model is still viable.

"RationalWiki is a genetic-egalitarian race denialism propaganda website that is run by Ontario resident Trent Toulouse. RationalWiki is a wiki founded by secular humanists in response to Conservapedia. They regard Richard Dawkins as their messiah. It is based on MediaWiki, like Metapedia. The wiki has around 4200 English pages middle of May 2010. The information is inaccurate and sparse. The wiki begs for donations. The site is extremely anti-Christian and anti-Conservative and promotes sodomy and gun restriction."
"Trent Toulouse has promoted like-minded people on the wiki to the rank of bureaucrat, and let themenforce the site’s propaganda and promote other like-minded people to bureaucrat, whereas Trent Toulouse himself does not directly enforce the propaganda. That serves to make Trent Toulouse appear blameless; the same tactic is used by Wikipedia owner Jimbo Wales. Trent Toulouse's primary surrogate is the user “Human”; Human has done much of the bureaucratizing that Trent did not want his name attached to."
Quotes taken from Metapedia's article on RationalWiki as it appeared in 2012-2013.

                                                 Upplysning (image from ED)

                                                    Hu1 (image from ED)

                                                     Atlantid (image from ED)

                                                    Cicero (image from ED)


RationalWiki, not Really what It Claims to Be

RationalWiki poses as this rationalist/secular humanist/skeptics encyclopedia out there to "fight the good fight" against cults, paranormal claims, and lifestyles while promoting science. The truth is, it's a home away from home for Wikipedians and a place for co-founder David Gerard to get his lulz out, among other things.

RationalWiki was begun in the economic meltdown of 2007, founded by Wikipedian Trent Toulouse (Tmtoulouse) and David "Assisted Living Dracula*" Gerard. Their earliest target was Conservapedia, which members of RationalWiki vandalized repeatedly. Conservapedia (founded 2006) was/is this American conservative variation of Wikipedia, begun by Andrew Schlafly (son of longtime, now-dead, Republican activist Phyllis Schlafly) in the Bush II years as this right-wing "antidote" to the alleged liberalism of actual Wikipedia.....and thus two Wiki-knockoffs locked horns, with RationalWiki flooding Conservapedia with fake conservative users who vandalized the site and Conservapedia squealing like a stuck pig about it. RationalWiki also slammed Moonie Wikipedian and Conservapedia honcho Ed Poor, just because. Certainly "Andy" Schlafly deserves some criticism for running Conservapedia with as much of an iron hand as Upplysinig did Metapedia (IP range blocks, drop-of-the-hat bans, etc.), but it's bizarre that another Wiki took it upon themselves to "discipline by vandalism" the site into whatever "normalcy" the RationalWikians found acceptable. Meanwhile since 2014 there has been a complaint on the Ripoff Report website on the RationalMedia Foundation that owns and runs RationalWiki.

What They Do for Fun

Members blocking each other seems to be where some people get their kicks, as the block log clearly shows. They also are extremely friendly with Susan Gerbic's Guerilla Skeptics group (who fought with people over deceased UFO skeptic Phillip Klass' Wikipedia biography in 2013). Really though, they like writing snarky articles on people they don't like, such as Rupert Sheldrake (notice at the bottom of the RationalWiki article the piece is part of the categories "shysters", "batshit crazy", "woo-meisters", and "pseudoscience.") It states literally what the skeptics groups on Wikipedia would like to say about Sheldrake in the BLP they fought over for years, but cannot because it would break the rules of "Wikipedia POV." Of course by mentioning Sheldrake, I have to mention Rome Viharo, who tried to keep the edits of the Sheldrake BLP reasonable and was slandered by RationalWiki for his trouble. Viharo has a site dealing with his issues with RationalWiki, Tim Farley (Vzaak, Manul), and the rest....I feel I can't write about Viharo because he was/is involved in both versions of the Wikipedia Sucks! messageboard. The links speak for themselves.

Ryulong

Because David "Low-Rent Nosferatu" Gerard loves drama and lulz, he gave sysop powers to noted Wikipedia loon Ryulong (Michael Cohen) in late December of 2014 and he only lasted there a few  months, trying to push an anti-Gamer Gate line while being generally annoying. And so we got this on the "Chicken Coop" (RationalWiki version of a noticeboard):

Two days ago, Nutty reopped Exiled. Ryulong removed Exiled's sysop. Nutty removed Ryulong's sysop. Neither of these removals was the result of a discussion on the Chicken Coop. As such, I reopped Exiled and reopped Ryulong. Ryulong has brought this up on numerous pages and mentioned a previous Chicken Coop incident. If we are going to discuss anything in this matter, we should discuss it here, rather than on 50 pages. αδελφός ΓυζζγςατΡοτατο (talk/stalk) 15:59, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
Deop all 3 and call it a day? 141.134.75.236 (talk) 16:14, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
Or don't. Since all three currently have sysop status, just leave things as they hang. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:19, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
Pretty obviously people randomly removing sysop status because they personally think it's a good idea is a bad way of going about things. If somebody is abusing their sysop status then this is the place to talk about it. --Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 17:11, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
FWIW - The opping of EE struck me as a terrible idea - he's not only a bloody worthless waste of space as a contributor (and a good example of the principle that if you just got kicked off Wikipedia, you won't do any better on RW without changing your ways - really, Caligula in Category:Engineer woo? Wasn't woeful categorisation what he got kicked for?), but also has posted copyvios that then needed removing. Though I don't see any in his blather this week. The key point is that EE lacks the minimal judgement needed not to actually piss all over the carpet, all the time going "what? what? what's the problem? you're so MEAN" and if you were looking for an example of a poor newbie harassed by cantankerous old guard, he's sorta not a great one - David Gerard (talk) 17:38, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
I am no particular fan of EE but I'm at a loss to see where he's misused his sysop status. And if that's not the offence he is accused of I don't see the point of removing it.
In any event it would need to be a community decision.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 17:46, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't care. People are being inconsistent, few have any idea what they're talking about, and this kind of shit is always more about personalities than merits, but do whatever you want. Nutty Roux (talk) 18:03, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
I want aware of process to actually know that this was necessary but CensoredScribe is a mess that should not be trusted on any MediaWiki software site with anything beyond reading ability. outside of my action, his bit has been on and off since registration. IRS not even like he was banned from Wikipedia for personality issues or whatever is rumbling there for me. He got banned because he wouldnt stop making bad content decisions when they were discovered and violated his ban on doing anything regarding categories, which he is wont to do here as well.—Ryūlóng (琉竜) 18:57, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
I largely concur, but at least almost nothing you can do in MediaWiki is irreversible (which is why sysop is actually not a big deal) - David Gerard (talk) 19:00, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
[plain old editor hat] I move we all calm down and back away slowly and have more Christmas drink and it'll be as resolved as anything ever is in a wiki full of argumentative skeptics all convinced of their own perspicacity and everyone else's stupidity - David Gerard (talk) 19:00, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
I second David's motion. αδελφός ΓυζζγςατΡοτατο (talk/stalk) 19:07, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
I third the motion. I may personally dislike Ryulong; however he has done nothing here to warrant having sysops privileges removed, beyond vengefully removing mine which I've never done to anyone. Ryulong may have committed the capital crime of not capitalizing their O's and using apostrophes correctly, but I do that when stressed by the thought of every post being my last as well.
I ask that this matter be dropped and no ones sysops privileges removed; but if that is too much to ask, than before anyone is tried, may they at least be given warning that a decision is pending, so that they may present their case before a certain time. It will take some time for me to compile a list of my best edits here to refute the less than 10 examples that are cited against me. I have more than 10 good edits, just to science articles.
Inconsistency is correct. I understand I make a lot of edits, but I find it hard to believe you would the majority of them objectionable; this is cherry picking a few bad cherries in a field of hundreds. Also, I'm not an expert on Roman history, however that Caligula article sort of made it sound like he was an engineer who thought he was a god. I would be more than happy just to leave any additions to engineering woo up as a discussion on the respective talk pages, as I've done with UFO; just inform me now what is a personalized banish-able offense for me, and I will avoid it ahead of time.
You never even bother to just ask me politely to discuss categorizations. Nor does anyone bother to demonstrate what is and isn't copyright violations like Drmies did for me the two times I did that as Cassandra Truth. It seems to be like a DNA test done with words, where as little as 6 shared words between the reference cited and the summation of that text constitutes copyright violation. What is the number exactly and if you have a concrete number why isn't it stated somewhere on the site? Try not using a single word from the reference, and see if that's possible and not just completely unrelated to the source at that point; a single drop of plagiarized words like and, the or the article name, poisons the entire well.
We are all in the same boat; the one that isn't Noah's ark. Shiver me timbers! Exiled Encyclopedist (talk) 22:38, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
Just an aside, you're not at all obligated to write verbose edit summaries for every edit, you know. Not that there's anything wrong with it, though the effort could be spent on more worthwhile things. 141.134.75.236 (talk) 23:16, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
Worthwhile things like taking a few seconds to consider whether adding links to Watergate whenever a -gate topic pops up is really such a splendid idea. >.> 141.134.75.236 (talk) 01:36, 29 December 2014 (UTC)


Now the reader knows why there is very little mention of Ryulong's time on RationalWiki.

The Great RationalWiki Break-In of 2017

Just to prove that they don't know what the hell they are doing, there was a massive data breach on a server.....which they announced in June, 2017 but the breach had taken place in February. Did I mention that Gerard is going to shortly e-publish a critical book on cryptocurrencies entitled Attack of the 50-foot Blockchain? Well he is.

What They Think of Us

One of their throwaway accounts posted  the following stub article, which was yanked and kept on their user page.


Wikipedia Sucks is a forum/blog that focuses on cyberstalking and harassing Wikipedia admin and users. Many of its members are former users of Wikipedia either banned for trolling or having their edits reverted and are hence disgruntled, alongside a medley of internet kooks, pseudo-scientists and conspiracy theorists. The forum supports a tin-foil hat conspiracy theory there are "organised skeptics" who control Wikipedia and the forum owner ("Strelnikov") has criticized scepticism.[1]
Wikipedia Sucks also targets Rationalwiki editors.

Links


skeptics-superthread

It's amazing how they got the link to the blog wrong, while the link to the old board is correct.






                          * Where I got that nickname from. Long live Aqua Teen Hunger Force!







Friday, March 24, 2017

The Soon-to-Be-Defunct Website of Kensington Video

After closing once, sitting gutted for a year, the last third of the original Kensington Video store space was reopened as "Kensigton Video and Vidajuice" combining the bulk of the DVD stock of the video store organized in giant bookshelves along one wall. After a year of operation, the Hanfords have decided to close the store again.
____________________________________________________________________________

Kensington Video




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About

In 1984, the Hanford family added a video store to the front area of their Hallmark gift shop. The video rental space measured a mere 15 by 19 feet. Rich and Winnie, the parents, were planning on retiring, but their son, Guy, approached them with the concept of opening a video rental store at the height of the video rental business. They agreed, and the Kensington Video store opened with approximately 200 VHS and Beta titles.
As the success of the store grew, the video store overtook the gift shop and eventually occupied the entire 3,500 square foot space. The success of the mom and pop store can be attributed to several components. First of all, Winnie, the godmother of movie picks, great customer service, a knowledgeable staff, and an incredible selection of movies. Through the years, Beta disappeared, then VHS became scarce as DVDs and Blu-Rays soon dominated the market.
70,000 titles later, the Kensington Video became a well-known name in San Diego.
After 32 years, the video store owners decided to retire; however, Winnie and Guy still had the business pumping through their veins, and it took only a few months to decide upon a return of the video business.
The iconic old-fashioned video store would break all of its former rules in regards to technology and finally enter the 21st century with an amazing website, full-featured searchable database, and an electronic checkout system. The video store would occupy a smaller space to be shared with a new family business, Vidajuice, a fruit juice and smoothie bar conceived by Guy’s nephew, Marc Sisneros, and partnered with parents, Willie and Pam, and Uncle Guy.
The venue of the video store is a true film destination for movie lovers, juice and smoothie connoisseurs, and burgeoning student filmmakers. We hope that you will come by and enjoy the new and improved Kensington Video and refresh yourself with a Vidajuice.
(619) 269-6998 4067 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA kenvideo@cox.net

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Copy of "Andrew William Morrow has returned to YouTube...."

This guy is one of those creepers that comes lurching out of the swamp to look through the windows at "th' purty goils", except A.W. Morrow does this through the Internet.....and now the creeper is back on Google's biggest profit black hole, YouTube.

Amorrow on YouTube


Above is his first video, posted on New Year's Eve; he talks about Alison Cassidy and Rebecca Watson in vague terms in this creepy flat yet sing-song voice, like a movie pedophile enticing a child. Viewers should be warned that he takes off his shirt (the thumbnail photo is him in the middle of taking off his long-sleeve dress shirt) to show off some tattoos, says he is going to conduct "brinksmanship" to get a Wikipedia BLP by 2019. At the end of the video he addresses Alison Cassidy directly, wants a meeting, even one moderated by a lawyer. Complete delusions of grandeur.


Next video is thirty minutes long; rambles about Catholicism, Mormon missionaries he met at a McDonalds, going after Ayn Rand, advising Jimbo Wales to go to church, mentions Fred Bauder, mentions "Wiki-Luv", Aaron Swartz and his suicide, "going to church because they're nice guys" even though he has no real faith that the Bible is true, Alison Cassidy mentioned, Rebecca Watson mentioned, threatens to out where Watson lives. And all this is in the first five minutes! Claims he will hunt down Sydney "Redshirt" Poore....he's doing all of this because he wants to be unbanned on Wikipedia, thinks that if he can scare Cassidy and Poore into relenting from "search and destroy on AWM (meaning imagined endless sockhunts for Amorrow)" that he can go back. He gives out his social security number "because he has LifeLock and insurance". Rebecca Watson is called "honeybunny" and is told she isn't a child anymore. Claims he has tattoos of daughter's and ex-wife's names and titles on separate shoulders. Explains that he has these names permanently written on him as ID "in case I wash up on the shores of Japan or something." Daughter won't talk to him because he is "a weirdo." Claims both ex-wife and daughter are in medicine. Rants about a female chemical engineering teacher at "RPI" which might be Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a private science and engineering college in New York state where he got a Bachelors of Science in the early 1980s. We are now thirteen minutes in. Uses the RPI rant to tell Jimbo that Wikipedia needs to foster a "boy scout-girl scout" tradition of editing excellence. Talks about eating restraining orders. Reveals that he stalked a girl at the age of thirteen, blames his (self-diagnosed?) autism.....

And that's where I gave up, after nineteen minutes. Pretty much he is telling all the people that he had restraining orders or issues with that he hasn't jumped into the void of real life and forgetting all the online horseshit that he was involved in, that he's returned to be the creepy stalker weirdo that Encyclopaedia Dramatica wrote about years ago. And yes, both videos look like they were filmed in a creepy back closet inside Morrow's probably creepy-looking house.

The Background

Andrew William Morrow (Amorrow, LegalEagle2, Amorrow2 [on ED]) was banned from Wikipedia, from Wikipedia Review, from Facebook, from Encyclopaedia Dramatica (list not chronological). He has served short stints of jail time repeatedly since 2007 for assaulting his now ex-wife (whom he had battered when they were married in the 1990s - his first jail stretch was in the Clinton years), then a probation violation in 2008, six months in 2011 for stalking the chief of police in Mountain View, CA, and a 2013 stint for stalking and harassing the police again. Proving the ineptitude of Facebook security, we have been told that Amorrow still has an account on the website, because he is using it to keep creepo tabs on various female CEOs in Silicon Valley.

What Now?

He will keep this crap up forever because he is an intelligent person, but not a wise one; his obsessions with women as objects are dangerous and his expanding-contracting delusions of grandeur might result in some sort of kamikaze run to make Rebecca Watson like him. He reminds me of a number of assassins; both John Warnock Hinckley Jr. (the failed killer of President Ronald Reagan) and Mark David Chapman (the man who gunned down John Lennon) stick out because both men were living in their own partial fantasy worlds; Hinckley was trapped inside the 1976 film Taxi Driver, allegedly wanted to impress Jodie Foster. Chapman had a series of fantasies both revolving around the novel Catcher in the Rye and Chapman's own God-fantasy of being the all-powerful king to a nation of tiny people. It would be best that A.W. Morrow lose his American citizenship, be granted a Swiss one, and never leave a Swiss mental hospital. He needs to be kept away from the Internet at all costs. Facebook and YouTube need to cut him off - now.

Aftermath

This is all part of some crazy plan that is growing on the Internet day-by-day, because Andrew Morrow is a narcissist bisexual who loathes his own bisexuality. He has released another ranty video talking about his immortality and the President of the US and Wikipedia. At least this time he turned the lights on to his creeper lair. He now has a creepier "bounty list" on a webpage I can't link to because it has personal details of "the target's" life; he will pay people to somehow get used tampons, snip hairs off Alison Cassidy's head, other super-creepo requests which prove that he is too far gone to be allowed to live in the same area as her. Rebecca Watson needs to be warned before Amorrow starts sending her sticks coated in raccoon blood and ranty "love" letters with ASCII drawings. People need to save those videos before Google yanks them; they are now documents in a future sanity hearing.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Copy of "How to Get Thrown Out of a Wikipedia Conference in Three Easy Steps"



How to Get Thrown Out of a Wikipedia Conference in Three Easy Steps
by Strelnikov
The setup was very simple: register under a fake name, take photos and video claiming to be this person (who is a journalist), conduct fake interviews, stay as long as I can, then send the information (photos, videos, notes) back to the guy who requested that I play Secret Squirrel in the first place, and the whole thing is done.

No such luck.

It began simply; I had gotten involved with a message board of ex-Wikipedians (Wikipediocracy) because the allowed discussion of non-Wikipedia online nonsense, and I had gone through a rough time with Reddit, so I brought that up. Unfortunately what I didn’t really know about Wikipedia was that it is an “online dramah” factory, and the people over at the Wikipediocracy message board were the sort of private email poison pen types who took to disliking people pretty quick and making certain they can ban or harass off anybody they didn’t take a shine to. I wasn’t liked for having a life outside of talking about Wikipedia, for taking about things in the “off topics” subforum, etc. My leaving Wikipediocracy was annoying, and in reprisal I started a blog titled Wikipedia Sucks! (And So Do It’s Critics.) I had made friends with Eric Barbour* on Wikipediocracy, he had written a book with Professor Edward Buckner and had this massive treasure trove of Wiki style articles in a private Wikipedia of all the miscreants and he would send me info and leads and I would turn that, plus some minor research angles done by myself, into articles for the blog. After two and a half years, I had cranked out 80-or-so articles on Wiki-pedophiles, ban warriors, sockpuppeters, Jimmy Wales’ goofy attempts to capitalize on Wikipedia, the paid-editor problem**, the war they had over Scientology articles, the smaller war they had on Lyndon LaRouche articles and a LaRouche supporter editor, etc. I had guest writers hammer away at their own targets, and I went off occasionally to deal with Reddit or Tumblr Nazis (yes, Nazis on Tumblr are a thing) and I ironically found out that more people are interested in Tumblr craziness than Wikipedia nonsense, which makes sense because Wikipedia has lost a large part of its pre-Great Recession luster; a lot of the edits are now done by programs called ‘bots, many of the old-timers from the golden period of 2003-2006 have ditched “the Project”, the newer people are constricted by the binding-but-not-binding reams of online “WikiLaw” and unwritten custom.
            
Mr. Barbour had clued me into the then-forthcoming Wikiconference North America, to be held inside the San Diego public library. Unfortunately, after I had left Wikipediocracy’s message board and  started blogging the work of Buckner and Barbour, one of the spookier/ultra-paranoid members, whom we only know as “tarantino” (no capitals) decided that this writer having a blog and being involved with a message board named after the blog (I didn’t set up the forum) was juust a little too much to take, and the scum outed me – my real name, my Wikipediocracy handle, my blog handle, one of my email addresses. The sysop, a San Diegan named William Burns (Wikipedia handle “StaniStani”; WO handle “Zoloft”) did nothing to stop the “leak”, even though I was no longer a member, or in contact with his group. Thus I had the problem of showing up to this conference….but as whom?  I kicked around being Greg Eichelberger, a former editor when I worked at The East County Californian, the El Cajon-based successor of the venerable Daily Californian. The only trick was that Eichelberger was hip-deep in the Mormon hinterlands and would have no reason to drive or fly 3,000 - 4,000 miles to a Wikipedia conference in a county he was sick of. And so I came to Joe Naiman, presently a writer at ECC, which was the worst mistake I could EVER make.
             
Joe Naiman and I had worked at Steve Saint’s East County Community Newspapers chain in the mid-90s; Saint thought that Joe was good at covering water district board meetings and Santee little league baseball games, but he found Joe’s attempts at doing restaurant reviews comical because he focused more on the silverware and wall decor then the actual food. I think Naiman is an extremely hard worker (he writes for three or four small news publications), but blinkered; he lives with his brother and yet gets around by public transportation and bumming rides even though his sibling has a car! Not that he can drive it; the guy doesn’t have a driver’s license! The good thing was that Naiman and I resemble each other (if you have bad vision and are looking at an ID photo of either of us without your glasses); Caucasian, dark hair, dark eyes, he has a beard but I don’t (and I could explain away any differences by saying I had shaved it off). I both left answering machine messages and an email outlining the plan with Naiman, but he never wrote back. I decided to continue the ruse anyway; I set up a fake email account, and Eric Barbour’s girlfriend sent Eventbrite the $25 to cover the full event.

Saturday, October 8.  I could have showed up at the Balboa Park meet they had on Friday, but I was busy. Instead I showed up at the library after lunch that day, only to find after I had parked in the basement that the front patio was empty of people wearing Wikiconference lanyards. I tried to take a long shot photo, sans flash, of a Wikipedia speech in a ground-floor conference room by the bookstore but the lighting conditions (high contrast) made the photo a blur. After that, I walked across the courtyard to the amphitheater where a large Woman in Grey was signing in a thin black lady who was wearing “conference semi-formal” clothes: dark jacket, black slacks, white shirt – which was interesting because it was a hot weekend and I was sweating wearing a sportcoat and slacks. When it came to my turn I told the Woman in Grey that I was Joe Naiman, she fumbled around on the table, “fooling around” with the tablet she was using for recordkeeping. She handed over an envelope with the name Joe Naiman – inside were some stickers, a black lanyard, and a plastic nametag to hang off the lanyard. She then told me that a person needed to speak with me. Very quickly the rotund figure of James Alexander appeared wearing jeans and a red-white-blue tartan shirt.  Unfortunately the “hidden” pen-camera I had in the front jacket pocket hadn’t come on when I mashed the RECORD-STOP button so I have no recording of our conversation, but it went something like this:

Him: We know you are J---e C----e and not Joe Naiman, please show your ID.
Me: I am Joe Naiman, and I don’t drive! [True for Naiman, not for me.] There’s been a mistake!
Him: We have a letter for J---e C-----e [white envelope with the name in ballpoint pen], here is a copy of what is in the envelope [holds out crumpled sheet saying I was banned and other key things I didn’t completely read].
Me: I’m not J---e C----e!
Him: [Back to the line of questioning like a good cop.]
Me:  [More denials of my name.]
….And on it went for at least five minutes. All the while a street-looking guy tried to defend me, with Alexander ignoring him completely. Man’s name is Paul Rollins and he’s allegedly on Facebook. His photo is on my blog.

Pretty much Alexander (in the strongest possible unspoken way) did not want me to go into the library, but I told him I was going in anyway and thus the Great Chase began…. . Wikiconference North America had a small number of Redshirts, docents/unarmed security guards/general flunkies each wearing black pants and the red Wikiconference t-shirts. I saw three Redshirts: the Filipino (?) guy whose name I never got [It was Andrew Lih - S.], the older blonde Sydney Poore (“FloNight” on Wikipedia; she hails from Kentucky), and the brunette Rosie Stephenson-Goodnight. They chased me from floor to floor, trying to get me into a corner where they could “force” me to get into a down elevator and out of the building.Along the way I noticed some of the Wikiconference attendees: the boyish Caucasian man with Downs Syndrome happily flipping through a smartphone, his lanyard signature unreadable; the wandering gangs of rail-thin Indian startup hipsters, all wearing the same dark t-shirts, jeans, and beards; the greybeards who seemed aloof from all of it. Finally I went to the top and went into the Wangenheim “Room” where I ran into Paul S. Wilson, aka “Paulscrawl” prepping for his presentation that day. I kept on saying that I was Joe Naiman and that there had been a mistake. He was completely baffed by the response of the organizers to keep me from attending the conference. After a short conversation he excused himself to return to his presentation prep. I decided to sit down at a table across from the Wangenheim collection and shoot photos with the camera sitting on top of my backpack. Nobody cared because it was a mixed crowd of civilians and Wikipedians. I got to see Karen Ingraffea (“Fluffernutter”) in the flesh, and the event organizer Kirill Lokshin hit the roof with the two female Redshirts after the Filipino Redshirt [Andrew Lih] left (he called them on his cell phone.) Lokshin said nothing, just gave me that “you’re ruining things, please get the hell out” look Eastern Europeans seem to have gotten down to an art form. When one of the Redshirts asked for ID, I took out their plastic badge with Naiman’s name on it, and Syndey Poore grimaced. I switched sides and took more photos, then left the floor.
             
Every time I moved floors they followed me, Mz. Poore constantly pleaded “Sir, please follow us to the lobby.” I ignored her, kept on trying to find more vantage points inside the building to take photos of Wikipedians. It didn’t work very well. Also I was on a time deadline; I only had about two hours before I had to start paying for parking, so I was running around like a madman. Remember that this was a public library I was being chased around in; it was a space they didn’t own in a town they didn’t have an office in – it is my town and my taxes paid for the library! At one point I misplaced the camera and had to run two floors up to get it back. It was a hot sweaty grind running and taking photos.
           
Finally I figured that I had done what I could so I let them escort me to the lobby in an elevator filled with Wikipedians suffering halitosis. On the ground floor Poore and Stephenson-Goodnight told me to wait….and Kirill Lokshin stormed up with James Alexander in tow. Kirill tried to “forehead press” me by taking his head and trying to press it against my forehead so he could menacingly state into my eyes and close range***, but I was wearing a baseball cap and he mashed his forehead into the brim. I was sarcastic the whole time while Lokshin was furious, and Alexander dour-faced.  I can’t remember what I said, but they wanted me to LEAVE IMMEDIATELY and claimed they were “close to calling the police” even though there was a security guard less than 100 feet away and Sydney Poole was still there. After a lot of back and forth that I wish I had on tape they literally walked me to the metal detector like some Scientologists throwing and undercover reporter out of a special event; Lokshin and Alexander mad-dog stared at me until I was out the door. As Poole stalked away I yelled “The money will run out! The VCs [venture capitalists] and the fanatics will stop giving you people the money!” Sydney gave me this smug smile and walked away; Lokshin and Alexander had already faded into the crowd.
             
While walking to the garage from the outside there was this short man wearing both suspenders and a belt, bringing to mind that line by Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West “…the man can’t trust his own pants!” He was talking to this tall, tall guy dressed in black – of course that short guy was William “Monty” Burns. I shook his hand and said “I send greetings from the Man in Hell. I am not him.” Then I walked off, leaving him perplexed.
             
I called up Barbour and read the letter, a letter drafted by James Alexander which bans me from any editing of Wikipedia websites foreign or domestic, bans me from using the Wikimedia Foundation’s computers, and bans me from attending any Wiki-meetings in (implied) perpetuity. No mention of Wikipedia Sucks!, no long list of crimes, no claims that I was this handle or that sockpuppet – which makes perfect sense, because I never edited Wikipedia once. On Monday I called Joe Naiman and he was in, which is a rarity. I asked him if he had told Wikipedia that I was coming and he said “You went?” Pretty much he was obsessed that I was going to do something that would ruin his reputation, said “I don’t do undercover work – you do the undercover work” among other whinges and dodges. I sarcastically responded “thank you for nothing” and hung up.
             
Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation have been around since 2001 – they have had fifteen years to get their act together concerning awful members, conferences, and dealing with a hostile press. I don’t think they have actually had to deal with somebody like me at a conference: a person whom they denied entrance and yet hung around taking photos for an intolerable 90 minutes or less. Looking back on it, I think I would have been better off just showing up as myself, not trying to enter the conference, taking photos on the sly, and playing dumb if they asked. That they made such a massive deal about me does not say good things about the Wikimedia Foundation; I did not disrupt their speeches, interrogate their guests, or play the showboating activist – all I did was take pictures.


*  This is the Eric Barbour of Metasonix, the rack-mounted tube distortion and tube synthesizer company. he got sucked into the wooly world of Wiki-criticism dealing with the idiot kids editing articles on radio tubes (British readers call them “valves”) and other technical subjects Barbour knew something about (he has a degree in Electrical Engineering). He does not suffer fools gladly, unless they are buying his equipment. In bulk.
** One of the many “crimes” on Wikipedia is to edit articles, usually articles on corporations or the biographies of famous/”notable” people, for pay as a ghostwriter. Wikipedia critic Greg Kohs has admitted to doing such editing, while people like Edward R. Fitzgerald have tweaked articles to the breaking point in order to promote their bosses (in Fitzgerald’s case it was off-Broadway dancer/choreographer David Gordon of the Pick-Up Performance Company, which employs Ed Fitzgerald as a stage manager.) Things that would be thrown out of a real encyclopedia for crossing lines of notability are included in Wikipedia under the insane concept that it isn’t a paper encyclopedia. More serious is the issue of Wiki-pedophiles hanging around the website trying to “groom” 10-year-old-boys and using the image subsite “Commons” for exchanging child pornography, but the WMF and Wikipedia have been desperately burying that sordid activity.
*** I wish that stupid pen camera had worked well. I should have turned the other camera over to video mode, and just let the chips fall where they may.