Saturday, May 30, 2009

The five V's of a Wikipedia brutal warrior

Though not all of Wikipedia's brutal warriors will exhibit these traits in equal proportions, they are very certain markers:

VICIOUSNESS Massive deletions, reverts, or tagging, across multiple articles, in a matter of minutes. As Machiavelli said in The Prince, when you're going to commit a bunch of evil deeds, do them as quickly as possible.
VINDICTIVENESS Point out the viciousness of a brutal warrior and you'll get retribution dressed up as your alleged failure to obey Wikipedia's policies. Criticizing a brutal warrior is "trolling," because brutal warriors see themselves as the personification of Wikipedia.
VARIETY Brutal warriors edit a wide variety of articles, because they have expertise in only one subject: wiki-war. Very few doctors, scientists, lawyers, artists, etc., edit Wikipedia, and they usually know well enough to limit themselves to topics they actually know something about.
VOTING Brutal warriors vote on everything there is to vote on in Wikipedia: articles for deletion, adminship nominations, block requests, etc. Often, those votes vastly outnumber article edits. To become an admin on Wikipedia, the support of brutal warriors is essential. That goes a hundredfold for ArbCom.
VENEER To cover up their viciousness and vindictiveness, brutal warriors maintain an appearance of civility. You will very rarely see a brutal warrior using profanity, and when they do use profanity, it is not directed at someone. For example, they might say, "that book is #@$&!" but they will never say "you're an ^@$#*!"

But of course this is a very shallow look at the psychopathology of Wikipedia's brutal warriors.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Brutal Wikipedia Warrior of the Week: Ctjf83

This week I'm late because of Memorial Day.

This week's Brutal Wikipedia Warrior of the Week is User:Ctjf83, a supposedly gay user. But make no mistake, he's no limp-wristed pushover, but one of Wikipedia's fiercest, most brutal warriors. His current mission is to break the spirit of User:BrianGriffin-FG. BrianGriffin-FG has a passion for Family Guy and actually thinks Wikipedia can become a true reference work (instead of just giving the appearance of such). Ctjf83's mind games are working, and in April, BrianGriffin-FG let out an outburst which prompted Ctjf83 to issue a WP:CIVIL warning. On the face of it, the warning appears well-meaning, especially to those unaware of the sophistication of the mind games Ctjf83 has played on BrianGriffin-FG. BrianGriffin-FG will either quit Wikipedia on his own or let out such an outburst of uncivil words towards his relentless tormentor that he will be banned from Wikipedia. If such an outburst happens, it will seem completely unjustified and unreasonable, and that's precisely the evil genius of many of Wikipedia's most brutal warriors.

Ctjf83 aspires to be an admin, and he's been getting some "coaching" towards that goal. But it's just another game: there is no doubt Ctjf83 will eventually become an admin and score much greater victories over his most hated enemies. The stalled nominations are just theatrical grandstanding, and that bit of theater is as gay as Ctjf83 gets. See the courage actual gay people have to be who they are offline! Fakers like Ctjf83 are disgusting.

Possible Ctjf83 sockpuppets include SatyrTN, Red Pen of Doom, and Grsz11, who's been blocked and unblocked a few times. However, the similarity of that last username to Ctjf83's main account casts some doubt on the sock theory, because brutal warriors are generally smart enough to make the usernames of their socks so different no one suspects a connection. Or maybe Ctjf83 intends to pin Grsz11 as someone else's sock in the future once he can get no more use out of that account (for example, the next time it gets blocked).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wikipedia Brutal Warrior of the Week: AKMask

This week we have a brutal but also a very sly, smooth warrior, AKMask, who generally signs off as just "M" (shady indeed). Potential sockpuppets include UsaSatsui, Phoenix-wiki, Doug, Scott5114. He seems perfectly reasonable if you're just skimming his contributions. But it's concerning all his activity on the Administrator's noticeboard. Also note how easily he accuses others of being uncivil. Everyone else has "civility issues." Not him. When it comes to deletion debates, he prefers to let his socks do the talking, but he has voted in a few debates where his desired outcome was hardly in doubt, just to throw off suspicion. Also, anyone who is proud to have a photo of himself with Jimbo Wales is probably up to no good.

Monday, May 18, 2009

How to pervert Wikipedia's policies

As mentioned in the previous post, every single one of Wikipedia's policies can be perverted through selective enforcement, playing off against other policies, falsification of computer logs, and sometimes just plain ignoring what the policy actually says. But you can pervert the policies only if you're a member of Wikipedia's ruling class.

Here's a look at some of the most popular pervertible policies:

* WP:3RR Members of Wikipedia's ruling class can revert as many times as they want, making each revert slightly different. Reverts by non-members, regardless of how many differences there are between the current and previous reverts, is the same revert. A non-member who violates this policy may be blocked. A member of the ruling class who violates this policy can have the article protected, and locked to his last revert.
* WP:CIVIL Any criticism of Wikipedia's ruling class is uncivil. But members of Wikipedia's ruling class can insult anyone not in the ruling class and it's perfectly civil.
* WP:CONS If there is concensus in Wikipedia's ruling class, that's all that counts. Concensus among non-members of the ruling class, even if they're more numerous than the ruling class, is irrelevant. Concensus outside the ruling class can quashed through the application of WP:3RR, WP:CIVIL, or WP:SOCK.
* WP:DELETE This is perhaps the most sacred of Wikipedia's policies. In the past there was voting to delete articles, with each user having one vote. But now it's supposed to be a tallying and weighing of reasons, not of voters. But the fact is that it's still a matter of tallying voters, but the vote of a member of the ruling class counts for double, triple, maximum if need be. Furthermore, the members of the ruling class can have their sockpuppets agree with them, but making sure to put in one sock that disagrees. But those outside the ruling class who dare disagree with them on a deletion debate run the risk of being exposed as sockpuppets themselves, and then their votes then count for nothing, regardless of whatever reasons they may bring to the table. Given how riddled Wikipedia is with falsehoods and omissions, the exalted, sacred status of the deletion process is utterly ridiculous. Deletion debates are not marketplaces of ideas, but instead showcases for Wikipedia duckspeak and doubletalk. A lot of idiotic-sounding WP:ACRONYMs are tossed around as if they were policies (and to be fair, a few policies such as the ones mentioned here also get trotted out). Also, a lot of votes are just "Delete per nom" (meaning the user who nominated the article for deletion). Those votes count when they come from a member of the ruling class. But if it comes from a non-member, suddenly that non-member is reminded that it's not about voting.
* WP:IGNORE This one is just precious. "If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it." Supposedly it's neither "a trump card nor a carte blanche." It is if you're a member of Wikipedia's ruling class! Anyone else who ignores Wikipedia's rules will be dealt with. Ignorance of the rules is no excuse for violating them.
* WP:NOR On the face of it, no original research on Wikipedia sounds like a good idea. But who is the arbiter of "original research"? You guessed it. Wikipedia's ruling class. If you present one scholarly citation, you will be accused of being the author of that paper. And if you then present multiple citations by multiple different authors, you will have violated WP:3RR. Don't dare appeal to the common sense of the ruling class, much less suggest that they lack it; that's a violation of WP:CIVIL. Expertise in any field is a liability. Wikipedia can't attract top-notch experts to contribute to it, so, being a bunch of sour grapes, they punish any near top-notch expert who dares contribute according to his expertise.
* WP:NOT This one details things that Wikipedia is not meant to be. Ideally, Wikipedia is not anything other than an encyclopedia, although one lacking the limitations of standard encyclopedias like Britannica. But in reality, Wikipedia is not anything its ruling class doesn't want it to be. If its ruling class doesn't want it to be a complete reference on, say, MacGyver, but does want it to be a complete reference on Brideshead Revisited, then by golly, it will be a complete reference to all things Brideshead but have less information on MacGyver than
* WP:NPA Supposedly, no one should make personal attacks on other users. Criticism should be of the content, not the contributor. Well, when a member of the ruling class reverts an edit by a non-member, calling it "utterly worthless junk," or "total cruft," or "vandalism," it's a little hard not to take it personally. But don't dare criticize a member of the ruling class for this: anything said to a member of the ruling class that is slightly less than respectful counts as a personal attack against said member of the ruling class.
* WP:OWN Supposedly, no one owns any Wikipedia articles, which is why Wikipedia articles don't have bylines at the end (the way reliable encyclopedias do), much less at the beginning like newspaper articles. The truth is that each article is owned by Wikipedia's ruling class. If the ruling class doesn't like how an article is being edited, they can "protect" it in order to enforce their ownership of it.
* WP:PROTECT When there's concensus outside the ruling class about article content, an article is "protected" so as to enforce the concensus of the ruling class.
* WP:SOCK Only one person in the world is dumb enough to disagree with the ruling class. Any other users who disagree with the ruling class must be sockpuppets. Supposedly very few users have "CheckUser" power, and even they only see IP addresses in "hash" form. But in truth, they have full view of the IP addresses and can falsify them at will, and they can also falsify edit dates and times. Don't forget that Wikipedia is the source that smeared John Seigenthaler, they have no compunction about smearing you. However, they know well enough to use this one as a last resort. At the same time, several members of Wikipedia's ruling class have sockpuppets they use to make their opinions look like the concensus of the Wikipedia "community."
* WP:VANDAL This is the tool to deal with newbies. Any edit made by someone new to Wikipedia is vandalism. If a newbie is not discouraged by being labeled a vandal, it's time to move on to other policies to discredit them. Members of the ruling class are wising up to the fact that they really can't use this one against the more established users, because the "community" will see clearly that it is a misapplication of the policy. But never fear, there's plenty of other policies to use against those users who haven't been discouraged by the initial rough treatment of newbies.
* WP:VERIFY This one establishes a hierarchy of reliable sources, with blogs at the bottom and peer-reviewed journals at the top. Fair enough. But with the ruling class, anything is possible: they can decree a particular peer-reviewed journal is not a reliable source, and that a particular blog is! The reliability of sources is directly correlated to how close the Wikipedia user is to the ruling class: any source brought forward by a member of the ruling class is reliable, while any source brought forth by a newbie is worthless.

Note that WP:TRIVIA is not actually an official policy. But the way the ruling class invokes it, it is treated as such.

Here are some policies that are routinely ignored, under the authority WP:IGNORE gives the ruling class:

* WP:HARASS You can't harass anyone else on Wikipedia. Unless you're a member of the ruling class, in which case you can harass any non-member by perverting any policy. Whatever they do in a misguided attempt to abide by "concensus," they have violated some other rule. It's a can't-win scenario for anyone outside the ruling class, and one of the most effective methods of harassment on Wikipedia.
* WP:IMPROVE "Wikipedia is a work in progress" and "try to fix problems: preserve information." Forget about it. A wikiruler can tag an article then delete any content he disapproves of the very next second. The tag is just for the sake of appearances.
* WP:LIBEL Did I mention how Wikipedia smeared John Seigenthaler? If they know your name, they can smear you. People wealthy enough to hire publicists can appeal to Jimbo Wales and the libel will get "officed" out. But what about poor people famous enough to smear on Wikipedia? Mother Theresa would be powerless to do anything about a wikismear.

The take-home message is: Wikipedia is about stroking the egos of its ruling class. If any usable reference material is created in the process, that's by accident and not by design.

Inaugural blog post

This blog will chronicle the most brutal warriors on the English-language version of Wikipedia. Think Wikipedia is a democratic encyclopedia anyone may edit? Think Wikipedia is a factually true and complete reference? Think again. What Wikipedia really is, despite all protestations to the contrary, is a battleground. A ruling class has emerged, and that ruling class will stop at nothing to remain the ruling class. The founder of Wikipedia, Jimbo Wales, is OK with this, and pretends to allow the democratic process to take place without input from him. In fact, the reason he does not meddle is that he wants to be a spectator on the gladiatorial arena. That Wikipedia turned out to be a reference so many people accept blindly was just a bonus.

How does the fighting take place? It's intellectual and psychological (e.g., mind games) rather than physical. Rules and policies have evolved, which the wiki ruling class has consistently shaped to maintain its dominance. Every single policy, even those that sound perfectly fair on the face of it, are routinely perverted through selective enforcement, playing off against other policies, falsification of computer logs, and sometimes just plain ignoring what the policy actually says.

Each Tuesday, this blog will name the Wikipedia Brutal Warrior of the Week. Every fourth Wednesday, the Brutal Warrior of the Month. And every fifty-second Thursday, the Brutal Warrior of the Year. To nominate a Brutal Warrior, just reply to a blog post. But refer to them by user name only, not their real names, even if you know them. We're talking about people who are most likely too physically weak to defend themselves in a physical conflict. I won't be held responsible for some brutal Wikipedia warrior getting beat up offline.

A little bit about me: I've edited Wikipedia ten or twelve times from three different IP addresses, all from the same ISP, without registering for a user name. Each time I wrote something true, and backed it up with something from Google Books, Google News, or Google Scholar. Each time my edit was reverted and I was branded a vandal. I have a couple of friends who have user names on Wikipedia. They're not treated much better. Aside from a canned welcome message, they get all the same accusations of vandalism, and on to add insult to injury, accusations of sockpuppetry. If you can't get into Wikipedia's ruling class, your edits are worthless, regardless of any scholarly or professional expertise you may have on the topics you edit on. I don't edit Wikipedia anymore, and I don't recommend that you do either.

But do look at talk pages and edit histories. You will see perfectly good and true information deleted just because it offended someone on Wikipedia's ruling class. You will see all kinds of idiocy on talk pages.