Mark Bernstein’s unhinged attempts to prove myself and the rest of #GamerGate right have finally reached their denouement when he spent all day hounding the female Wikipedians of the Year, accusing the Arbitration Committee of conspiring with GamerGate.
Today, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales named two women as “Wikipedians of the Year” (archive here). Regrettably these women, Emily Temple-Wood and Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, were immediately attacked by notorious bigot Mark Bernstein, who demanded on Twitter (archive here), “what did the Wikipedians of the year do to stop right-wing threats and extortion at Wikipedia?”
Mark Bernstein, the self styled ‘Chief Scientist’ of his company Eastgate Systems (and also pretty much the only scientist of the tiny company), has a long history of using Wikipedia to promote his own views and prejudices. He is currently serving a 6-week Wikipedia block (archive here) and and indefinite topic ban from ‘any gender-related dispute or controversy […] broadly construed’ (archive here) due to ‘a pattern’ of misconduct and insensitive remarks in this area.
In my article, Improper of last year I exposed Bernstein as having made numerous edits to articles about his own company and its products contrary to Wikipedia policy on conflict of interest.
In this case, the female subjects of Mark Bernstein’s attack could not be more inappropriate and ironic. Whilst Bernstein claims to support feminists, as in his lengthy and regrettable article, Infamous, his targets in this incident, women of achievement, could not have greater credentials in the fight against harassment.
To quote the Huffington Post, “Student Emily Temple-Wood Writes A New ‘Women In Science’ Wikipedia Entry Every Time She’s Harassed” (archive here). Unlike many self-styled social justice warriors, Temple-Wood largely eschews Wikipedia’s drama boards and actually writes articles.
Similarly, Stephenson-Goodknight has contributed to over 3,000 content articles and was a founder of the Wikipedia Teahouse, an induction programme for new members.
Mark Bernstein’s behaviour has always been … eccentric, even before his recent formal topic ban from #GamerGate and indeed, any gender related controversy on Wikipedia (archive here). As far as I can understand his latest rant, he has been escalated beyond complaining that criticising individuals to their employers or about their employment is ‘harassment’. Bernstein now describes it as ‘extortion’, the US equivalent of the UK crime of Blackmail contrary to s21 Theft Act 1978.
Based on his various ramblings on Wikipedia (archive here) and elsewhere, Mark thinks that controversial Wikipedia arbitrator Gamaliel asked to be banned form enforcement related to the GamerGate article and related matters in order to signal GamerGate to leave him alone.
By chance, Gamaliel was a person mentioned in a draft article about the unjust ban of editor The Devil’s Advocate (TDA) from Wikipedia some months ago. I sent it for comment to everyone mentioned in accordance with ethical practice, but then postponed it due to the arbitration case. For background on TDA’s ban, there is an excellent article by Allum Bokhari here on Breitbart.
The Witchfinder has noted the controversy over Rational Wiki (RW) and its highly tendentious articles about #GamerGate. Your author feels it is time they felt some scrutiny in return.
Earlier this year, Milo Yiannopoulos wrote scathingly of Rational Wiki (archive here), “RationalWiki entry for GamerGate says I’m guilty of “ethical violations.” The proof offered is… a link to Tumblr.”
In a recent article I revealed that after being wrongly accused of sock-puppetry and backstabbing colleagues by Richard Symonds, a staffer at Wikimedia UK, British MP Grant Shapps had served a disclosure request under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). Shapps has had a response, of sorts. It makes grim reading.
The great thing about data protection requests? They are not litigation correspondence, they are not subject to the implied undertaking / CPR 31.22 and they do not usually engage a duty of confidentiality. Other parties may not ordinarily impose a duty of confidence on documents disclosed under a statutory duty. So we can start by sharing this little gem –
According to Wikimedia UK Symonds has deleted his email to the Guardian ‘in the normal course of business’. This is a very concerning statement. Most organisations have clear data retention policies. Does Wikimedia have no such policy or does it not follow it? Does it really manage personal data so poorly? Another concern is that most organisations have email backups. Does Wikimedia or its provider not back up its email server? That is a serious governance concern.
The Witchfinder considers some longstanding questions about Wikipedia administrator Gamaliel. Who is he? What is his job?
Recently, after publishing an article exposing the Paedophiles of Wikipedia, I was banned from editing Wikipedia at the behest of Mark Bernstein fan and administrator Gamaliel (the purported reasons are in my previous article). I was initially tempted to do a profile.
I have discovered that Gamaliel is an overweight, 42 year old library technician working at an education institution in the US. I will not say what state. The scope of his ambition appears to be to help readers with their inquiries. I have also discovered many aggrieved parties lacking the inquisition’s resources who have been unable to determine Gamaliel’s real world identity beyond a name. For example, here and here.
After seeking the advice of friends and struggling between the right choice and the other thing, I have decided not to give Gamaliel’s location, name or real world employer. Or to publish recent pictures. Doxxing is wrong and with moral fibre provided by some kind friends I have summoned the strength to retain the high ground. No job at Gawker for the Witchfinder.
I even did an ethics edit to clarify that a different administrator, acting at Gamaliel’s behest, did the actual block.
Ultimately your author has decided that we as Wikipedia’s critics need to hold the higher moral ground.
A while back I created a sub-reddit called the Great Work. I proposed we work with Wikipedia in good faith. Earlier today I opened an arbitration request about Mark Bernstein’s desire to refer to GamerGate as ‘terrorism’. I got blocked. This, in their own words, is why (archive here) –
“So far, Vordak’s contribution to Wikipedia has been to leave a series of messages which demand that editors and administrators take his preferred actions or face negative media scrutiny, promote his blog via [[User talk:Jimbo Wales]] and Reddit (which has long been a brigading station for Wikipedia edits in this topic area), prominently mention the subject of his complaint in a long blog post about pedophilia while claiming he had absolutely no intention of linking him to such a thing, and running a contest “for the best satirical animated GIF connecting Wikipedia and Paedophilia.” At the conclusion of this matter I will be blocking Vordak as WP:NOTHERE unless he is blocked by the Committee or I am advised by a member of the Committee not to take this action. Gamaliel 17:11, 18 July 2015 (UTC)”
It is true that I said in emails and posts that (for example) if paedophilia is not dealt with then there would be negative media scrutiny. It is also true that I engaged in ‘satire’. At least I have been blocked for something I have done. Gamaliel went on –
“For the record, I support any ethically-sound journalistic, legal, and on-wiki efforts to expose any harmful actions by pedophiles. I do not support prominently mentioning completely unrelated parties in allegedly journalistic efforts that are supposedly about pedophilia but really about your personal agenda, as I find that ethically repugnant.”
This is plainly mendacious. There can be no on-wiki attempts whatsoever to expose paedophiles because the Wikipedia Child Protection policy mandates an immediate, permanent ban for doing any such thing. Gamaliel has been an administrator of Wikipedia since before the policy existed – he knows what it says.
“[…] You should raise your concerns only by email; questions or accusations directed against a particular editor in project space may result in a block for the editor who posted them […]”
I see no reason to appeal. I do not wish to donate my time to Wikipedia.
A while back I said that we should try to engage openly and in good faith with Wikipedia. This has clearly failed. Good faith remains – but no longer with any accommodation for Wikipedia’s unreasonable policies. I am now free to name Wikipedia editors where there is public interest and / or to take legal action if I wish.
[Ethics Update 19/07/2015]
I have seen comment that in fact it was administrator Floquenbeam who blocked my account and I have been insufficiently clear. Whilst this is noted he was only following on from Gamaliel’s intent and shaving off a couple of days so whilst I am happy to clarify it makes little difference. Gamaliel is of interest because he is protecting Mark Bernstein and other administrators follow his lead.
The Witchfinder reveals how Wikipedia’s lax policies and laxer enforcement, from the project’s beginning to the present day, create opportunities for paedophiles, their apologists and other sinister denizens of the internet. Questionable characters, even one admitted contact offender, have been allowed to hold administrator roles. Matthew Hopkins News calls on Jimmy Wales to show leadership on the issue or risk being tarnished himself.
Modern users of Wikipedia may be unfamiliar with its murky history, for example the appalling and enlightening 2006 ArbCom case entitled, “Pedophilia userbox wheel war” (Archive here). What is a ‘wheel war’?
Just a quick note. A few days ago we announced /r/TheGGGreatWork/ . This is intended to give us a more positive relationship with Wikipedia.
The problems between /r/KotakuInAction/, #GamerGate supporters and Wikipedia have been significant. On one side there is a legitimate complaint about the Wikipedia GamerGate article. On the other there are complaints about relatively clumsy socking and editing attempts.
After I announced /r/TheGGGreatWork/ . I was pleased to see a visit from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, as well as a couple of Wikipedia administrators, such as Jehochman. Far from demanding we close the subreddit, Mr Wales requested two fairly modest text amendments which we agreed to.
Having done so, we seem to be in compliance with the rules and it looks like the project is good to go with the knowledge of Wikipedia brass. Bear in mind, Jimmy Wales shares one thing with GamerGate which is that the same people are unfairly accusing him as us. The most contentious editor of Wikipedia on this topic is Mark Bernstein, having tried to link GamerGate to the Charleston shootings. However, he has also gone for Jimmy Wales and trashed the whole of ArbCom.
Wales has been thoughtful and sought to engage with us. He could have said, “The GamerGate Controversy Article is a Scholarly Masterpiece of Impartiality.” Instead he has repeatedly suggested we, or even other Wikipedia members, re-write the article. He could have said, “Ban the evil GamerGators”. Instead he came to talk to us.
Two days ago he said, “Carrite, as an experienced Wikipedian, you might be well-placed to try to do that rewrite, probably starting in your own userspace. I, for one, would be very interested to read and compare the two versions.–Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:24, 22 June 2015 (UTC)”
I for one think we should engage. I would repeat my invitation to KiA members to join /r/TheGGGreatWork/. It also looks like some of our opponents may be trying to brigade and downvote the main thread whilst the subreddit is still small, which in itself points to the potential of this project.
The Witchfinder exposes the way in which shoddy left-wing journalism has lent credibility to and empowered troublesome Wikipedia users such as Mark Bernstein, as well as a suggestion as to what ethics campaigners can do about it.
Title music – The Escape – (c) – Machinimasound (Commercial license purchased)