The Witchfinder has received an unedifying response from the Guardian, and comments –
(preamble removed for brevity and to remove non-public information – my quotes in Green)
“[…] However, I believe at the heart of your complaints are two substantial allegations:1) You say Ramesh only spoke to Richard Symonds and not other Wikipedia administrators
2) You believe the Guardian story may have been technically untrue when it went up because it went up 15 minutes before the Wikipedia page confirming the story.You are mistaken on both counts. Ramesh has followed the career of Grant Shapps for some time and has written many stories about him. He noticed that many of these stories – examining Shapp’s business career for instance – were never to be found on his Wikipedia page. He thought that was unusual and noted that there many comments to that effect. He made his own study of the editing pattern on Shapp’s Wikipedia page and his suspicions grew. He legitimately took those suspicions to a Wikipedia administrator and a press officer for Wikimedia on April 2.That Wikipedia administrator was too busy to investigate and Richard Symonds, a senior investigator, contacted him and said he would take a look. Ramesh gave his analysis with supporting evidence to Symonds.
In addition Symonds was able to access CheckUser data. There was none for the earlier edits because, as you know it expires within 90 days, but as I understand it there was for later edits. Symonds could not release that CheckUser information because it would have been a breach of privacy. However, by April 17 Symonds had completed his investigation and was able to confirm in an email reproduced below that he believed this was a case of sock puppetry by Shapps or someone on his behalf. The Guardian story was correct when it went up and the use of the words “Wikipidia’s administrators” came from the email confirming the results of the Symonds investigation.
Whatever happened subsequently the Guardian’s 21 April story was absolutely correct and legitimately gathered therefore there has been no breach of the Guardian’s editorial code. I have gone a great deal further than I would normally have done in giving you the background to this story but your allegations were very serious. I can go no further.Best wishesChris ElliottReaders’ editor […]”
Wikipedia’s administrators believe that the account Contribsx is a “sockpuppet” of Grant Shapps’ previous accounts on Wikipedia. A sockpuppet is a second user account created for an improper purpose, such as to mislead other editors, disrupt discussions, distort consensus or avoid sanctions. The administrators believe, based on the evidence they have, that the account is either run by Shapps directly or being run by someone else – an assistant or a PR agency – but under his clear direction.
A spokesperson from Wikimedia UK, the UK charity which supports Wikipedia, said “We would welcome any MPs who choose to become editors, and are happy to provide training sessions to anyone who wants to learn. However, the Wikipedia project is founded on trust, and anyone who tries to deceive our volunteers and readers in order to further their own ends should think very carefully about the morality of what they’re doing. Eventually, the public will find out.”