After the case of misconduct by Wikipedia Arbitrator Gamaliel went to ArbCom (archive here), leading to his admonishment and resignation, the Witchfinder parked this article out of pity. Gamaliel was nothing more than a ruined librarian with no success in his life other than his now ended time in office on Wikipedia. Then Gamaliel contacted journalist David Auerbach’s employer in an effort to silence him.
Now, in light of this fresh wrongdoing the Witchfinder reveals the sickening truth about paedophile sadists, Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales’ company Wikia.com – along with ArbCom and the Wikimedia Foundations’ inaction when warned of paedophile activity and images of nude children on the Wiki. The most serious allegation is that, after removing a community that was being used for paedophile sadism, in a case Jimmy Wales was personally seized of, Wikia handed back their database including over a hundred depraved images of children.
[Note – this article does not link to any illegal material and no illegal material was downloaded in its preparation. You can follow any link here safely. However, please be careful with related pages especially on Wikipedia.]
A Gallery of Underage Boys
Wikipedia has an article entitled, ‘Boy’. I cannot link from here. I cannot even visit the page. Why? Because a whistle-blower tells me that it contains a nude image of young boys and so viewing the page without reasonable excuse could constitute an offence in the UK or US. It is said that those with an unhealthy interest in children have slipped an image of naked (with visible genitals), roughly 8 year old boys skinny dipping into the middle of the page.
We can safely visit the article talk page archive (a mostly text discussion of the article contents) (external archive here). The talk page, as opposed to the main article page, contains only adult nudity (NSFW but 40 and 34 years old so not at risk of being illegal). It also contains extensive documentation of complaints about paedophile material being inserted.
At one point, according to the text log, there was an entire gallery of nude boys although even the Wikipedians thought that too far. One user complained as follows, “the gallery is plainly pedophilically prurient”. It appears from the talk page complaints that there is presently still some child nudity on the main article page and users based in other jurisdictions have tried, and failed, to have it removed.
Looks like my whistle-blower is telling the truth. In the UK such images would most likely fall under level 1 on the SAP scale or level 2 on the COPINE scale.
At the time I first drafted this article in 2015, Wikipedia policy, WP:CHILDPROTECT stated that such matters should be reported to the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) via the email list or to the WMF legal reports address. On 22/07/2015 I reported what I had been told copying in a British MP who had asked to be kept informed of these matters so they can be documented for the proper authorities. As well as ArbCom and WMF legal I copied in Jimmy Wales and the WMF press team. I have received no reply except an automated acknowledgement.
Later the policy was amended so reports are only made to the legal email address. However, the policy also says that any administrator can take action against users who act inappropriately.
We can safely look at the page edit log for the ‘Boy’ article, which contains no pictures (archive here), but shows what edits other users have made to the page. Looks like the image has not been removed. ArbCom took no action.
In my previous article, ‘Paedophiles of Wikipedia‘ I revealed how Wikipedia has frequently failed to take action against paedophiles. I linked to witness statements in which Wikipedia administrators defended paedophilia and in one case admitted to sex with underage girls. In ‘Imposter?‘ I revealed how an administrator had, after being informed of a publicly accessible link to illegal material, left it there for 9 years.
Users may have seen the controversy over the ‘Virgin Killer’ images, in which it is said, as reported in the Guardian (worksafe) (archive here) a Wikipedia page for 1976 album ‘Virgin Killer’ featured a photo of an underage girl. According to the Guardian, she was naked – bare breasted with her vagina covered only by a strategic lens crack. I am told the plainly sexualised image is still there.
The UK anti-child-porn watchdog at the time, the ‘Internet Watch Foundation’ (IWF) provided details of the website to a UK service called ‘Cleanfeed’, which blocks illegal websites for users of major ISPs with a ‘not found’ error. Their view after discussion with police was that the image is illegal in the UK.
Wikipedia, which has long been known to harbour vocal members of the paedophile rights movement, responded with outrage – mobilising the anti-censorship lobby to try to reverse the decision. Step forward David Gerard, WMUK official spokesman at the time, who appeared on BBC Radio 4 in December 2008 to attack the IWF and oppose the blocking of the pictures. Link to impartial transcript on Wikipedia (archive here).
The IWF eventually removed the block on the basis that it was counter productive and causing more people to view the image.
Just how is it that there are so many paedophiles on Wikipedia? The answer appears to be a deliberate failure to act that flows from the very top. I previously reported on the 2006 ArbCom case entitled, ‘Pedophilia userbox wheel war’ (Archive here). The essence of the case was that pro-paedophile administrators of the site wanted to create user badges for paedophiles similar to those used on the site for Conservatives, Democrats, Socialists, Christians, Muslims or other groups. Anti-paedophilia administrators fought them.
In the bizarre resulting case, as ‘Paedophiles of Wikipedia’ set out, Jimmy Wales personally intervened and removed administrative privileges from some users. Whilst the proposed ‘Pedophile’ badges were stopped, administrators who had defended paedophilia or admitted to it themselves were not removed from their position.
One of the users not disciplined by ArbCom nor by Wales was FreakOfNurture (archive here), who formally submitted a witness statement stating that he was a paedophile who had sex with underage girls. That witness statement is linked and archived from my previous article. FreakOfNurture was an administrator at the time and was allowed to remain so. Jimmy Wales was seized of the matter, he knew, and he did nothing. FreakOfNurture remained an administrator of the site for years until lapsing for inactivity.
Wikipedia now has a policy of banning any self-announced paedophiles on site, but even when I sent my article to ArbCom and Jimmy Wales in 2015, nothing was done about the FreakOfNurture account. The policy is clearly not being enforced.
Erik Möller was the Director of the Wikimedia Foundation from 2008 until 2015. Almost from his first day he was embroiled in public controversy over paedophilia. He created the encyclopaedia’s article on ‘Child Sexuality’ and authored a German language article whose title loosely translates as, “Children are Pornography’. Although it is not alleged that Möller is personally a paedophile, he was covered in Gawker and elsewhere for remarks that appeared to defend paedophilia in some circumstances. He is covered more fully in my previous article, which also links to some of the Gawker posts.
Forget level 1 on the COPINE scale, now let us turn to a despicable chapter in which Wikia turned it up to 10. Wikia? A private company, founded by Jimmy Wales (creator of Wikipedia) and Angela Beesley of the Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board in October 2004. The site allows anyone to create a wiki. The company runs advertisements on user created wikis and thereby obtains its revenue.
Let us speak of drawings of children, made for the pleasure of adults, being beaten until they are red-raw and sobbing. We shall condemn nude photographs of boys, girls and literal, naked babies. Yes – I speak of Wikia and Jimmy Wales’ hidden shame – the so-called ‘Spanking Art Wiki’.
In 2005 users of Wikia created the ‘Spanking Art Wiki’. Initially the site was pretty anodyne. Nude and clothed adults spanking one another barely even registers as pornography on the internet.
Unfortunately, as time went on a darkness came to the Wiki. Deviants lurk on the internet under every stone and in every dark corner and it was inevitable that before long they would come to the Spanking Art Wiki. At first, pictures simply had a greater emphasis on the suffering of adult spanking recipients – shading into BDSM.
Then came the images of children. Some were legal and fully clothed, such as the photograph of a group of boy scouts above (which was taken from Wikimedia Commons). The ‘spanking’ fetishists had to imagine what they would do to the children.
Gradually it worsened. There were drawings of boys being beaten red raw, screaming and in floods of tears. Photographs of real 8 (or so) year old little girls bent over with their knickers down. Naked little girls lined up for ‘inspection’. At first, this malignant, festering, paedophile sadist depravity went unnoticed.
The matter came to public notice when one of the milder photographs was brought directly to Jimmy Wales’ attention on his talk page on Wikipedia. Although Wikipedia and Wikia are separate organisations, at that time Wikia was relatively new and it would often be discussed on Wales’ page. Users opened a section entitled, ‘Boy Scouts are for spanking?’ (archive here).
The image of concern was the header of the article, which in itself is relatively low key. The main problem was that the caption of the article on the Spanking Wiki said this, “[…] Because of the connotations of discipline that comes with scouting, some adult spankophiles like to roleplay/ageplay a boy or girl scout (similar to playing schoolboys). […]”. In short, the picture was explicitly intended to be used to allow users of the so-called, ‘Spanking Wiki’ to role-play as underage children in a sexual, sado-masochistic context. Put another way, to role-play paedophile BDSM and masturbate.
The fully clothed boy-scouts picture was just the tip of the iceberg. The ‘Nudity’ page of the Spanking Art Wiki was full of naked photographs of children, including full frontal nudity. The page had a separate section for ‘Kids’. The page was archived in 2007, but the responsible folks at web.archive.org have removed all the pictures, which is great for journalists and researchers as you can see the descriptions and context without viewing or downloading illegal images. Here it is (archive.is archive here).
Members of the site Wikipedia Review created a dossier and proposed an advertising boycott campaign.
The titles are pretty bad. The first in the list is, ‘A nude baby’. It is gone now, but remember in its heyday the context of this site was ‘spanking’. When children (or, apparently, babies) were included the context was hitting them. Another page, Schoolgirl (archive.is archive here), included a photo captioned, “A schoolgirl in the process of getting spanked“.
A whistleblower has anonymously provided pixelated images of some of the drawings linked to or featured on the site to give a flavour. The one below is a poor quality drawing of a child being beaten whilst screaming and sobbing. Apparently Spanking Art Wiki users found this erotic. The pixilation for the sake of decency has faded the, well, blood red from a portion of the image. The site included photographs of real children and readers may assume that any photographs were thematically consistent.
Initially, it looked like Wikia’s executives might do the right thing. Two days after the discussion was opened on his talk page, on 24/01/2008 Jimmy Wales personally deleted the boy scout image from the Spanking Art Wiki, with the note, “(Deletion log); 09:45 . . Jimbo Wales (Talk | contribs) (deleted “Image:ScoutFun.png”: Sorry, but no.) “.
Revelations continued as Wikipedia scrutiny sites searched avidly through the Spanking Art Wiki and found photographs and drawings like those described above. Before long, the decision was taken to close the site. A statement by then Wikia CEO Gil Penchina explaining was made on 29/01/2008. The statement is still on Wikia and it is also archived here –
“Let me start with an apology.
This has been a difficult decision for us at Wikia. We support communities, but in order to do so, we also need to respect the advertisers who pay our bills and the viewers who visit our sites. We believe there is a place for the community, but unfortunately not on Wikia. This was not a hasty decision, although recent complaints have pushed it forward faster than I would have liked.
The first thing to say, is that the content is safe. We have a full copy of the database and will make it available at any time for the community. We will help transfer this information to a new host and are willing to provide free technical support if needed to get the wiki restarted. We are very aware of the spirit of the GFDL and the open source movement and support it. This is YOUR content, and we will ensure it is safe and available for you. That is our first priority as a steward of your work.
The wiki’s topic, while innocent in it’s founders intent, was easy for a new visitor to mis-interpret and get upset about. Spankart was very agreeable to working on these content problems and at no time do we believe the community violated any laws. However it became clear to us that it wouldn’t be possible to clear all the content that was causing disquiet, while still keeping to the topic and goals of the wiki. There would always be the potential for controversial content, especially on a topic where eroticism and childhood experience are so inextricably tied. Given that we were already losing money supporting the project, we reached a tipping point.”
So the official statement for Wikia when shutting down this vile site was to apologise and to reassure them that, yes, they could have their stuff back. Wikia promised to return the database to the community … and they kept that promise.
The Spanking Art Wiki did not die that day. Some of its less creepy owners made an attempt to revive it on another host. The project did not succeed, but their inaugural post was archived both here on web.archive.org and here on archive.is. A new host offered to pick up the Spanking Art Wiki provided they had a policy of strictly no photographs of minors and nothing like a pseudo-photograph. This meant that a number of pictures returned by Wikia had to be deleted –
“[…] On 27 January 2008, Anime OTK made an offer to host our wiki. […]
Our new hosts Stoner and Ai required an extension of the wiki’s image use policies to be more or less the same as the current image use policies on Anime OTK: strictly no photos of any minors at all, and no nonphotographic images which are anywhere near to being considered indecent pseudo-photographs of a child. The exact wording of these policies was negotiated between Spankart and Ai, and about 100 more images were deleted before the official relaunch of the wiki […]”
The use of the word, ‘more’ in this context is important. That is a hundred, ‘more’ images of children that Wikia had returned and not deleted. As a minimum, to qualify for the later deletion they had to be “near to being considered indecent pseudo-photographs of a child”.
If this was an isolated incident one might think it a little slipshod of Wales and Wikia. It is not an isolated incident. To this day Wikipedia hosts naked images of children. Wales and ArbCom continue to fail to ban admitted paedophile accounts, instead banning whistleblowers contrary to their own written procedures.
Banning Whistleblowers, Protecting Paedophiles and Commercial Shills
In July 2015, I wrote ‘Paedophiles of Wikipedia’ and ‘Imposter?’. I alleged that an administrator had knowingly left a revision containing links to illegal material on Wikipedia for 9 years. In one of the few examples of Wikipedia acting on concerns, the revision complained of was removed at some point after my article but the administrator concerned has not been punished.
“Editors who attempt to use Wikipedia to pursue or facilitate inappropriate adult–child relationships, who advocate inappropriate adult–child relationships on- or off-wiki (e.g. by expressing the view that inappropriate relationships are not harmful to children), or who identify themselves as pedophiles, will be blocked indefinitely”
I also exposed serious conflict of interest (CoI) editing. Whilst he is not alleged to be a paedophile, a controversial editor called Mark Bernstein runs a company called Eastgate Systems and he had edited articles about topics in which he had a direct financial interest, as I set out in my article, ‘Improper’.
The conflict of interest rules on Wikipedia are pretty clear. As I said, there is even an easy read version –
“Do not edit articles about yourself, your family or friends, your organization, your clients, or your competitors.”
Bernstein had made upwards of 26 edits ranging from the trivial to the serious. References to his small company, Eastgate Systems, had found their way into major articles such as Hypertext. When they were removed he asked a friend to, ‘drop by’ (archive here) the article, although subsequently administrator Jehochman warned him off (archive here).
I had not had an account on Wikipedia before, but I joined for the purpose of trying to address some of the more obvious conduct issues. Before long I felt that a particular administrator was harassing me. I complained to ArbCom, asking what the policy was for an ordinary editor to complain of harassment by an administrator. My complaint was ignored, except that Abitrator Doug Weller leaked the contents of one of my emails on Jimmy Wales’ talk page (archive here).
Bernstein has a long disciplinary history on Wikipedia but administrators, including a person known as ‘Gamaliel’ had been reluctant to act. Whilst some say Bernstein is being targeted by ‘GamerGate’, his editing of articles where he has an interest predates Gamergate by about 7 years.
When I tried to raise Mark Bernstein’s conduct at ArbCom I was blocked from editing Wikipedia. This was initially proposed by Gamaliel, although actually later carried out by Floquenbeam. Gamaliel explicitly said that the reasons were because of my whistleblowing and exposure of paedophilia and criticism of Mark Bernstein.
Reasons included my use of satire, “running a contest “for the best satirical animated GIF connecting Wikipedia and Paedophilia””. Gamaliel had also read my article, ‘Paedophiles of Wikipedia’, which he took issue with because in passing I also mentioned Mark Bernstein’s (CoI) editing. Gamaliel alleged that I was trying to link Bernstein to paedophilia, despite my expressly saying the reverse.
The Wikipedia rules on paedophilia are very clear. Users, “who identify themselves as pedophiles, will be blocked indefinitely”. Gamaliel should have blocked FreakOfNurture immediately upon reading the article. Instead he only proposed blocking me.
The Devil’s Advocate and Gamaliel
Recently, a user called, The Devil’s Advocate (TDA) was banned from Wikipedia by ArbCom for ‘harassment’ (archive here). It later emerged that he had tried to report CoI editing. The allegation, evidence, deliberation and proceedings were held wholly in private. The committee policy in force expressly requires that where allegations are heard in private the accused be given an opportunity to respond. Policy here, (archive here) –
“In exceptional circumstances, typically where significant privacy, harassment or legal issues are involved, the Committee may hold a hearing in private. The parties will be notified of the private hearing and be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them before a decision is made.“
When TDA complained that he had not been given an opportunity to respond, I initially did not believe him. ArbCom has many flaws but it has always been pedantic about following its byzantine policies. Astonishingly however, ArbCom members Gamaliel and Drmies have admitted what they have done. Gamaliel’s comment is here, archive here –
“[…] What possible purpose would it serve to let harassers know which of their victims complained to the Committee? What do you expect us to do? […]”
Given that Gamaliel thinks that, “satirical animated GIF’s” are intimidation, your author suggests that his views on ‘harassment’ should be taken with a pinch of salt.
If harassment allegations are so important and confidential why were the allegations I made never processed and contents, including my ‘chilling’ threat to talk to my MP leaked by a member of the ArbCom on Jimmy Wales’ talk page?
TDA told Breitbart, as he told me, that he had heard nothing of any ban prior to reporting suspected CoI editing by email and in private to ArbCom. He fears that he is being targeted as a Whistleblower. Given my own experiences the evidence drives me to believe him. Even if TDA did breach the ‘harassment’ policy, ArbCom happily ignores their procedures when it suits them. In fact, ArbCom has failed to act on allegations that an Administrator said he had sex with children, or to remove naked children from Wikipedia.
Gamaliel is listed as recused from the decision to ban TDA, but TDA alleges Gamaliel blocked his access to send private emails via Wikipedia. TDA also feels Gamaliel has been at the forefront of criticising him, telling me by email, “[…] He has been the most active arbitrator defending the ban publicly” […]”. Certainly, Gamaliel has given a lengthy statement, which seems inappropriate as he says he is recused.
Clearly, the members of ArbCom are abusing its processes and have wilfully allowed naked, sexualised images of children to remain published on Wikipedia. They have allowed obvious CoI editing to go unpunished. They have treated whistle-blowers and complainants unjustly. The WMF board has done nothing and this cannot continue.
Gamaliel – Trying to Get Journalists Sacked or Just to Silence Them?
As your inquisitor said above, this article had been parked out of pity for the ruined and humiliated Gamaliel. What motivated your author to resurrect it? The main motivation was a series of sinister tweets sent by ‘Gamaliel’ to Slate.com journalist David Auerbach.
Gamaliel’s friend Mark Bernstein had written extensively on the topic of the Arbitration case and described the media inquiry that preceded this article as ‘Extortion’, and a Wikipedian called Rhoark had even tried to raise an ArbCom case about it.
The Silence of the Arbitrators
The sheer malignance of Wikipedia warfare wearies me. Although there are many injustices there your author felt for a while that perhaps someone else should deal with it. A few weeks ago, supported by an administrator, your author sought to have his block from editing Wikipedia reconsidered.
After discussion with this neutral administrator I said that if I was unblocked, I would write no further posts criticising Wikipedia, abide by WP:OUTING and WP:NLT. The Administrator agreed that he would post the request to the Administrator’s noticebord WP:ANI. Before doing so I was advised by a former Arbitrator who also supports my request to ask Floquenbeam, the administrator who blocked me, to reconsider.
The latter move was a mistake. So keen is Floquenbeam (himself an arbitrator who resigned after swearing at editors in his talkpage) on my ban that he went to ArbCom with it. ArbCom took a secret decision to require any appeal of mine to go to the committee. I only learned of this when the neutral administrator confirmed it.
Floquenbeam’s actions disturbed me. I had never really interacted with Floquenbeam, never criticised his actions. In real life, Floquenbeam is a married family man who cares diligently for his disabled children – I would have expected him to take a different view on these issues. Perhaps he will warrant further scrutiny in due course.
Anyway, I put my appeal to ArbCom, in good faith making the same offers as above. That appeal was sent in early June and has yet to receive a response. The neutral administrator told me it was a, “decent appeal” and politely pressed Arbcom to reply. They sent him a brief message, and he told me that,
“They said they prefer appeal discussions to be strictly between Arbcom and the appellant, so they want you to email them asking about the status.”
I sent in a brief email to ArbCom, which was read. I received only silence on response. It is this vindictiveness which underpins all of Jimmy Wales’ and the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee’s dealings with critics and whistleblowers.
They could have said, “No because [X]”, or “You need to do [Y]” or even “More time needs to pass to allow things to cool down”. They said nothing.
Consequences for Inaction
In the United Kingdom, if you are a teacher or lecturer and you allow naked, sexualised images of children to be published on a website, allow paedophiles to remain in your institution in direct violation of policy, and retaliate against whistleblowers the most likely outcome is that you will be struck off for life.
With that in mind, I along with other public spirited and concerned publications have formed the following views –
- Naked children such as in the ‘Boy’ or ‘Virgin Killer’ articles are unacceptable on Wikipedia
- Victimising whistleblowers is unacceptable
- ArbCom and Jimmy Wales have deliberately failed to act regarding specific instances of admitted paedophiles and child nudity
- Jimmy Wales should be removed from the WMF
- ArbCom has not followed its own rules in respect of whistleblowers
- As long as ArbCom is engaging in the conduct above, there is an overwhelming interest that they not be allowed to hide behind online anonymity
- There is a public interest in reporting any member of ArbCom who works with young or vulnerable people to their employer(s) and to their regulator(s) (where applicable) and to press for them to be banned for life
Your author has decided to name Gamaliel. Last year I concluded that there was no public interest in unmasking Gamaliel. He was a mere administrator and there is a convention that only in exceptional circumstances is a low ranking person in a large organisation named. Recent events have caused me to review that decision and I have concluded that it is in the public interest now to name Gamaliel and reveal his occupation and employer –
1. Gamaliel is no longer junior. He held an international, policy-setting, elected position on the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee.
2. Gamaliel read my article ‘Paedophiles of Wikipedia’ and breached policy by not banning an admitted paedophile.
3. Gamaliel works in an educational institution as an assistant professor and a librarian and is in a position of trust.
4. Gamaliel has made potentially ruinous allegations against users of Wikipedia like The Devil’s Advocate and afforded them no opportunity to respond – indeed this blog treated Gamaliel and Jimmy Wales better and allowed them the opportunity to comment in advance.
5. When I put this article on hold out of pity for Gamaliel, his acolytes claimed contacting his employers was, ‘extortion’ … before doing far worse to David Auerbach.
Gamaliel is Robert Manuel Fernandez, Assistant Professor, Reference / Instructional Librarian at Saint Leo University, Florida. His public details are here (archive here). The University President is Dr William J Lennox Jr (archive here).
I asked Dr Lennox whether he condoned Mr Fernandez’ decision not to ban user FreakOfNurture, who admitted to sex with children, nor (along with other members of ArbCom) to remove naked images of children from the site. I asked how a reputable educational institution could continue to employ someone like Fernandez. I received no reply.
I asked The Devil’s Advocate for his views and he said,
“I am a strong supporter of free speech and feel images should not be removed merely out of disgust or offense, but due to actual harm or invasion of privacy in compliance with the laws to which Wikipedia is subjected. That said there are appropriate and inappropriate places for such imagery on Wikipedia as well as appropriate and inappropriate uses for such imagery on Wikipedia and certain individuals who show a particular interest in posting that imagery should rightly be regarded with suspicion. While I don’t think the circumstances mentioned in this piece mean Wales or Fernandez should not work with children, their general conduct and approach to many of the issues on Wikipedia suggest they should not be entrusted with the kind of power and influence they have on the site.
As to my own situation, the reason I was critical of Gamaliel as an admin is a tendency for him to abuse his position on matters where he had vested political interests and was active in the dispute. His decision to block my e-mail access on Wikipedia after he recused on my ban seems to be a continuation of that behavior. Should my ban be about the report I sent to the Committee then it suggests they put protecting corrupt admins over the site’s defamation policies as the clear defamation issues I raised to the Committee about some of this admin’s edits have gone unaddressed. Wikipedia’s conflict of interest policy also notes that undisclosed editing may violate FTC regulations, so the Committee have created a great deal of legal exposure for themselves with their actions against me in addition to violating their own policies.”
All of these allegations were put to ArbCom and Jimmy Wales and have never been denied. Most were put with the original version of this article in April, well before publication. ArbCom were also given opportunity to comment on the most recent events involving David Auerbach and my own case.