The Witchfinder notes some inconsistencies in Wikipedia Administrator Shii‘s statements about his age, and some details about his editing history. Your Inquisitor asks – How old is Shii really? And who is he? This is a brief skit about Shii – there is another much longer exposé about other Wikipedians to come in due course.


Ashi Baka’s age here in this edit made on 10/10/2002 is inconsistent with his later claim to be 17 in 2006. Click for full size.

The BBC3 television show, ‘Monkey Dust’ was a dark, cartoon, comedy sketch show featuring a recurring ensemble cast of characters. One of them, a sinister looking, elderly man known as ‘chatroom pervert’, was an incompetent predator who attempted to meet children online by posing as a 12 year old boy called Benji.

The chatroom pervert regularly failed due to obvious bodges such as (for example) correcting a child’s grammar or by revealing he could not possibly be the age he claimed (by remarking he had been in London during WW2). When dealing with questionable characters online my mind often turns to this sketch and its black, observational comedy.

In my article, ‘Paedophiles of Wikipedia‘ I set out the murky history of the Pedophilia userbox wheel war (links to the ArbCom case in that article) in which a group of users fought to have badges (called userboxes) for paedophiles to identify themselves on Wikipedia just as Conservatives, Liberals or Christians did. One of the users who voted to keep them was an administrator called Ashibaka. As reported in my previous article he remained an administrator – ArbCom did not remove him – only sanctioned him with a temporary loss of privileges.

Ashibaka later changed his user name to Shii. When I tracked Shii down and questioned him for my previous article he responded to my questions by email claiming to have been, “17 years old in 2006”. He also said,

““[…] My reason for voting “keep” was not because I agreed pedophilia was a sexual orientation, nor because I supported pedophilia. It was because I was, at the time, a free speech extremist and believed people should be allowed to define themselves in any way they wanted […]””

Shii had made numerous edits to the Lolicon article. I have been contacted by supporters claiming Shii is misunderstood – that he was merely an immature 4chan user and anime fan – not a person with an interest in pedophilia. It was said that Shii had been completely open about his age. Your author decided to investigate.

Shii has made a number of claims about his age. He joined Wikipedia in 2002 per the oldest section of his contribution history (archive here). On 10/10/2002 he edited his user page to change his stated age from 14 to 15 (archive here). Shall we count, readers? If Shii was 15 on or before 10/10/2002 then – by 10/10/2003 he was 16, by 10/10/2004 he was 17, by 10/10/2005 he was 18 and he was 18 then 19 in 2006.

If Shii’s claim to be 15 on 10/10/2002 is true then his claim he was 17 in 2006 cannot also be true. People rarely forget their age during controversial periods of their lives.

If Shii was really 14 to 15 in 2002 he had a very mature written style. The following are comments he made in edit summaries that year, “Cleaning up for our puzzled progeny” (archive here), “grammar error, strange request” (archive here) and “This sentence is devoid of content” (archive here). I especially liked the grammar correction – 14/15 year old Shii wrote like an English teacher.

Shii’s editing interests did include 4chan and anime, for example he added to the section on the character Pedobear in the 4chan article (archive here) and the stand alone article on Pedobear (archive here).

However Shii’s interests extended much further. Shii personally created the article ‘Advocacy of Pedophilia’ (archive here) (a redirect to the main article on pedophilia) and made several contributions to the articles, ‘Gary Glitter’ (a UK celebrity infamous for being convicted of paedophile sex offences) and ‘Pedophile movement’, per his contribution history (archive here).

Shii became an administrator on 30/01/2006 after succeeding at RFA under his original name, ‘Ashibaka’ (archive here). He acknowledged his new position that day. At that time Shii had demonstrated his familiarity with Wikipedia deletion procedure and must have known that administrators had the power to delete content beyond the viewing of ordinary users.

That is why your author is so concerned by Shii’s disquieting contribution to the ‘Child erotica’ article (archive here) … and just how many creepily, euphemistically named articles about this stuff does Wikipedia have?

Six days after achieving the sought after goal of adminship, on 06/02/2006, Shii was confronted by a user concern about the ‘Child erotica’ article. The user said,

“The history page still contains at least one old version of this page which contained links to child pornography. [History reference redacted] This should be deleted.”

By way of explanation, ordinarily when content is removed from Wikipedia it remains in the history and may be restored or viewed by anyone. However, administrators can ‘delete’ material, which means only other administrators can see or restore it. There is a privileged group called ‘Oversight‘ who can delete material so that even administrators cannot access it.

The user is complaining that there were links to illegal child pornography in the history and that it should be deleted by an administrator like Shii. Instead, Shii responds as follows –

“It’s in the history where few non-editors will see it, so it’s no big deal.”

Your author has not attempted to find or to follow the links – he cannot legally do so in Britain. However, if we believe Shii’s comment he deliberately left illegal child pornography in a publicly accessible part of Wikipedia rather than deleting it.

We can safely look at the text only revision log for the page. This clearly shows that there were never any deletions or oversights between the creation of the page, ‘Child erotica’ and Shii’s response to the complaint on 06/02/2006. [1] (archive here), [2] (archive here).

So, just to recap, Shii –

  • voted to keep userboxes for Paedophiles on Wikipedia per my previous article
  • admits he had a ‘fake’ email address giving a female gender
  • gave an incorrect age on at least one occasion
  • edited numerous articles about paedophilia
  • allowed links to what is said to be illegal child pornography to remain on Wikipedia. For 9 years

Aside from that, he is totally upstanding and above board.

I put these allegations to Shii and received no response, despite the fact he responded last week for my previous article. Shii has not denied any of these allegations or offered an explanation regarding the inconsistent accounts of his age.

Perhaps Shii is who he says he is – a young man who joined Wikipedia at the age of 14 and whose interests happened to be anime, Card Captor and the paedophile movement. Perhaps he just had a very mature written style for his age. Perhaps as he claims he has grown up since and recognised he was taking free speech too far. Perhaps his getting his age wrong was an innocent mistake.

The Witchfinder feels that Shii would benefit from revealing his real world identity. Your author would of course be reluctant to ‘out’ a Wikipedia editor (except when the public interest requires) it but instead invites Shii to do the decent thing. Until then your Inquisitor repeats his call for Shii to be desysoped and blocked.

I put these allegations to Jimmy Wales, the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikipedia Functionaries list. I suggested that they remove the material. Shockingly, even when I sent the evidence that there are probably links to child pornography on Wikipedia I received only an automated response and the material has not been removed. I took a further set of archives of the article history shortly before publication time – [1] (archive here) and [2] (archive here).

The irony of this astonishes me – the opponents of #GamerGate on Wikipedia spend enormous amounts of time falsely accusing 8chan of being a haven for paedophiles and child pornography. HELLO WIKIPEDIA GUYS! There is some stuff for you to worry about a lot closer!

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