Rational Wiki #1 – David Gerard and the Paedophiles of Wikipedia

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.

David_Gerard - Parodised

David Gerard, a model of reason and sanity. This parody looks better than the original (which had scary, cold, dead eyes) and also falls under s30A Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

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.”

NeroTweet

Milo Yiannopoulos mocks RationalWiki’s hilariously hypocritical article.

Yiannopoulous had a legitimate gripe. RW was started as a sceptical, rationalist wiki. As a fan of such authors as Eliezer Yudkowsky of HPMOR I have no problem with this. However over the years RW has drifted more and more into a less serious snarky site. Unfortunately its members do not seem to understand that publishing allegations about real world individuals requires care and due process, both in ethical and legal terms.

Recently, RW has published multiple articles about #GamerGate, including a main article and a timeline. The user mostly responsible, Ryulong, was apparently eventually ‘vandalbinned’, and RW moderators invited aggrieved parties to go along and politely explain any perceived errors with the articles.

RW’s “Timeline of Gamergate” (not linked) accused me of harassment in its entry for 29/08/2015, based on a deleted post from GamerGhazi. The allegation now has no sources mentioning me. I raised this and other issues politely on the talk page.

Within minutes I was permabanned without warning or discussion. The reason for this, opined moderators at their forum (the aptly named chicken coop), was that I had engaged in ‘smearing’ users on Wikipedia as paedophiles and ‘harassment’ of people (archive here). One ‘sysop’ (administrator) even took my failure to sockpuppet as evidence of bad faith (archive here).

Dealing first with the ‘smearing’ allegation, let us take a trip down memory lane to my article, “Paedophiles of Wikipedia”. I accused some Wikipedia editors of being paedophiles. As the article recounts, this was because some Wikipedia editors and administrators had filed formal witness statements admitting to being paedophiles, including one contact sex offender and claiming to be oppressed. This is not even a chatroom – these are formal witness statements.

For example, Administrator FreakOfNurture said, “[…] From time to time, I have admitted via a public IRC channel, to having had sexual intercourse with teenage girls below the age of consent […]”. Scandalously, FreakOfNurture was not banned at the time, although Jimmy Wales personally sanctioned some others involved in the dispute. There is a link to the evidence page here (archive here). Before I published that article I put the allegations to Wikipedia and those accused and received no denial. No defamation proceedings have been commenced.

I also accused an editor and recent Arbitration Committee candidate Mark Bernstein of significant amounts of conflict of interest editing (CoI). To avoid ambiguity Mark Bernstein is not accused of being a paedophile but per my article the evidence of his CoI editing is pretty clear. Bernstein eventually received ‘advice’ from a Wikipedia administrator about his conduct, which was ridiculously lenient in light of the stated rules. In the recent ArbCom elections, Bernstein was in the bottom 3 of 28 candidates and actually had a negative overall voting tally of -268. Results here (archive here).

Turning to harassment, the specific allegation referred to on RW as their source has been deleted. More generally, it should be remembered that the only allegation of harassment against me ever actually investigated led to a police apology, management action against an officer (the most lenient type of sanction) and coincided with the resignation of my accuser as I documented in my article here. I actually rate the police for this, they have so far played it straight down the line. I would not bring this up again but to refute the allegations made by Gerard and his pals at RW.

So the two allegations against me raised by the administrators at RW are demonstrably false. More sinisterly, they are wilfully and mendaciously sanctioning me for exposing paedophiles. Rather than respond in public, I emailed the founder David Gerard, who is also a serving moderator and trustee, to complain.

Gerard is a controversial figure himself. He was abruptly removed as an administrator of the Wikimedia Foundation UK site without warning (archive here). Although they removed him summarily, they did apologise, saying, “I apologize, though, for the hasty implementation of this decision! I didn’t intend to express any disrespect or distrust.”

Gerard also had his CheckUser and Oversight flags revoked on Wikipedia. According to the Register, after legal threats, a deal was brokered – Wikipedia removed their critical ruling explaining their decision on advice from their lawyer (who conceded it might appear procedurally and in some respects factually unfair) but in return Gerard agreed to resign the user rights. A full Register article is here (archive here).

Gerard had posted on the RW Coop expressly supporting my ban in his official capacity. Clearly, in this case, Gerard’s behaviour remains true to form. On receipt of my email complaint and text to his mobile, he did not reply but posted the email on the coop page. Clearly, RW has no intention of dealing with concerns confidentially or in good faith.

In short, whilst there is no evidence to accuse Gerard of being a paedophile, he is clearly supporting false allegations that I was, ‘smearing’ admitted paedophiles. To that limited extent he is supporting admitted child sex abusers. Furthermore, he was sent the link to my article with the police letter and he has had an opportunity to check the ‘evidence’ in the RW article I complained of. The only reasonable explanation that I can see is malice. Even US law does not protect malicious or reckless allegations (although Gerard lives in the UK, as far as I can tell).

Whilst your author is morally opposed to doxing (releasing personal details) I do consider it legitimate to unmask those who hide behind false names online whilst engaging in wrongdoing. The issue is moot in this case however because Gerard puts his email, real world name and phone number on his RationalWiki page (archive here). Gerard invites people to contact him about Rational Wiki via these details, so feel free to get in touch. As Gerard shares his details please use them responsibly and be courteous and respectful. Being ‘courteous’ does not prohibit being robust.

I would never expose anyone’s address and phone-number (Gerard has released them himself), however I consider that the identities and names of the other members of the Rational Wiki moderator team are the subject of legitimate journalism and intend to do a series on the site. For example, as he is the originator of the ban Gooniepunk is also of legitimate interest. Gooniepunk’s college may be less impressed with him when they learn of his unjust online conduct. It is unfortunate that his exams are next week, but it is his choice of timing not mine.

Finally, I note that for all his bluster, David Gerard lives in the UK. Gerard is a current trustee, administrator, host and moderator of RW and also the founder. He has personally put his weight behind the allegations against me. Unlike the last person I threatened with defamation proceedings he cannot say he did not identify me – my name is used on the site. Gerard cannot say someone else posted the allegation – he officially put his weight behind it with his own post. He cannot say he was acting at the direction of a committee – he is on the committee and indeed holds pretty much every conceivable position on the site.

As a matter of interest it appears Gerard is also a data controller. I see no reason why a claim in defamation or under the Data Protection Act 1998 should not succeed. Having tried a relatively informal complaint email, I shall, if necessary, explore this with Mr Gerard in due course by way of a formal letter of claim.

A draft of this article was sent to Mr Gerard. The allegations against him remain unchanged although I have tidied the article, corrected typos and fleshed out some sections relating to other people. Mr Gerard has not responded nor denied any of the asserted facts. Gerard was offered an extension of the deadline if he had any concerns. It was explained that UK law requires libel claimants to mitigate losses (See Mawdsley v Guardian Newspapers Ltd [2002] EWHC 1780 (QB)). Being offered the facts before publication (and an extension to take advice), a subject has the opportunity to 100% mitigate losses. Mr Gerard is a press officer and is familiar with his rights.

I note that the tracking software reports that not only did Gerard receive and open my email shortly after it was sent yesterday evening, he has in fact read it 36 times at the time of finalising this article. The timestamps suggest he has been considering it all night.

TrackingDG

According to the MHN tracking software, David Gerard has been reading the draft article he was sent, a lot. Time stamps include 1.59am, 3.46am and 7.03am GMT so it looks like he has been diligently reading it all night.

User comments are invited below.

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One thought on “Rational Wiki #1 – David Gerard and the Paedophiles of Wikipedia

  1. Last month, David Gerard and Michael “Ryulong” Cohen used their sysop tools and made threats in order to defend the notorious anti-Gamergate paedophile, Nick “Sarah” Nyberg.

    A user called Tallulah wanted to edit a section about Nyberg on the ‘List of Gamergate claims’ because the existing entry completely whitewashed Nyberg. She made one edit on November 17th and a second on the 19th. One edit summary read: (You don’t have to be a gator to think Nyberg’s chatlogs are effing creepy.)

    “Ryulong” Cohen used the RevDel tool to hide her edits, saying as his reason: (Potentially libelous information: don’t fucking cite Breitbart’s hitpieces)

    Tallulah then went to the talk page of the article and expressed her concerns, stating that she “simply cannot swallow the notion that [Nyberg] was never sincere in her defence of paedophilia. Her posts were simply too specific and sustained for too long for that to be a convincing defence.”

    She copy and pasted the edit she had been trying to make in her talk page comment, changing what Cohen had wrote (http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_Gamergate_claims&diff=prev&oldid=1528097) from “And Gamergate got their “”ethical”” journalist Milo Yiannopoulos to publish their lies and myths about her for Breitbart. The worst she had ever done was make tasteless jokes ten years ago to friends in a chatroom,” to “In the process they found a number of appalling posts that she made in the past, in which she defended pedophilia and white nationalism and made indecent comments about a preadolescent cousin. Tabloid journalist Milo Yiannopoulos published an article on this at Breitbart.”

    A few other RW users commented and agreed with Tallulah. Cohen’s response was: “We do not need to give the exact context of the nature of what Gamergate dug up that Ms. Nyberg said other than any particular accusations they’ve flung at her (zoophilia, pedophilia). That’s why I removed it and deleted the revisions.”

    Cohen’s reply: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:List_of_Gamergate_claims&diff=next&oldid=1571681

    Soon after, Gerard made a comment saying he personally concurred with Cohen, and as a member of the RMF Board he was claiming Tallulah’s changes would violate the RationalWiki Biographies of Living Persons policy.

    Tallulah’s commentary: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:List_of_Gamergate_claims&diff=prev&oldid=1571531 (https://archive.is/lUwk1)

    Cohen made a comment, upset that Tallulah had linked to Breitbart: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:List_of_Gamergate_claims&diff=next&oldid=1571783

    After that, Gerard wiped the discussion and threatened Tallulah:

    NOTE: You realise last time the RMF Board literally had to block someone from RW for six months, it was for repeated “just discussing” of pedophilia claims on a talk page. Please don’t do that, particularly at the behest of a JAQing gator. It’s probably a terrible idea – David Gerard (talk) 23:11, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

    Gerard then blocked Tallulah for 3 months: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Log/block&page=User%3ATallulah

    His reason: (Unfunny vandalism: repeated JAQing of pedophilia accusations about a living person on talk pages )

    Gerard erases the discussion: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:List_of_Gamergate_claims&diff=next&oldid=1571786

    The discussion as it is now: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Talk:List_of_Gamergate_claims#Sarah_Nyberg.27s_.22tasteless_jokes.22 (https://archive.is/xnNsE#selection-967.1-967.34)

    Gerard also RevDel’d the discussion: 23:13, 19 November 2015 David Gerard (Talk | contribs) changed visibility of 8 revisions on page Talk:List of Gamergate claims: content hidden and edit summary hidden (Potentially libelous information: repeated JAQing by a gator of pedophilia accusations about a living person)

    http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ALog&type=delete&user=&page=Talk%3AList+of+Gamergate+claims&year=&month=-1&tagfilter=

    Before Gerard’s involvement, Gooniepunk had been fighting with Cohen over whether Tallulah’s edits deserved to be revision deleted or not.

    http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Log/delete&page=List_of_Gamergate_claims

    04:25, 19 November 2015 Gooniepunk (Talk | contribs) changed visibility of a revision on page List of Gamergate claims: content unhidden (Nothing worth revision deleting.)

    22:37, 19 November 2015 Ryulong (Talk | contribs) changed visibility of 6 revisions on page List of Gamergate claims: content hidden (Inappropriate comment or personal information: It’s libeling someone)

    22:42, 19 November 2015 Gooniepunk (Talk | contribs) changed visibility of 6 revisions on page List of Gamergate claims: content unhidden (That whole section is about somebody being libeled. Quit lying about a rev change you don’t like)

    22:44, 19 November 2015 Ryulong (Talk | contribs) changed visibility of 6 revisions on page List of Gamergate claims: content hidden (Expounding on details in a Breitbart hit piece is libel Gooniepunk)

    22:46, 19 November 2015 Gooniepunk (Talk | contribs) changed visibility of 6 revisions on page List of Gamergate claims: content unhidden (Yes, and we’re sourcing it as an example of the bullshit, you lying sack of useless shit)

    22:48, 19 November 2015 Ryulong (Talk | contribs) changed visibility of 6 revisions on page List of Gamergate claims: content hidden (Potentially libelous information: There is no fucking reason to give that much detail on the false allegations against her)

    Mona had been trying to stop Cohen when he was fighting with Gooniepunk by blocking him and removing his sysop status. Cohen began getting upset on his talk page and continued to defend Nyberg.

    “How is giving context to any of the completely bullshit claims against a person victimized by a hate mob not libelous?”

    You know who’s the real asshole? You two for thinking that allowing context to libelous claims concerning pedophilia isn’t libelous.—Ryulong (talk) 23:05, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

    Gerard supported Cohen:

    JAQing as to pedophilia claims on a talk page is literally what got someone utterly banned from RW for by board vote. It would be ridiculous to ever have to do such a thing again – David Gerard (talk) 23:16, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

    Mona defended Tallulah’s changes, saying she has a law degree and practiced defamation law and there was no libel.

    Gerard replied:

    Mostly the problem is there’s “this case is ridiculous” and there’s “but even though it’s ludicrous bullshit it still costs money to make it go away”. The RMF has an annual budget of $7000. If you’re personally good for the cost and can actually demonstrate that to the board … then I can’t speak for anyone else, but I expect we’d still say no – David Gerard (talk) 23:33, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

    It went on after that, with Cohen continuing to argue for the exclusion of the facts.

    And just because she goes “Yeah, those are my chat logs” doesn’t mean there’s any point to providing context to something that is libelous at best.—Ryulong (talk) 01:55, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

    Just because the chat logs are legitimate doesn’t mean there’s any point in giving context to their contents, particularly when they’re used to attack someone and solely used on RationalWiki to weasel in those accusations.—Ryulong (talk) 02:00, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

    The discussion at Cohen’s talk page: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Ryulong&oldid=1574269#Mona

    Gerard chastised Mona for desysopping Cohen (someone who Gerard has a history of defending) and supported Cohen’s actions per ‘BLP.’ http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:-Mona-&diff=prev&oldid=1571769

    Mona went to Gerard’s talk page to complain that he had once again taken Cohen’s side, and he once again hid behind ‘BLP’: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:David_Gerard&oldid=1574939#I_knew_you.27d_do_this

    Other RW users questioned Gerard if these actions were on behalf of the RMF board, but he never replied.

    Are you acting on behalf of the RMF, and if so, do you plan to consult the rest of the board about these (phantasmic) legal issues? WalkerWalkerWalker 01:05, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

    Since Gerard had suddenly gone silent, PacWalker unblocked Tallulah and undid some of the RevDels on the talk page. PacWalker found some other frivolous RevDels made by Cohen and undid those as well. Cohen complained to PacWalker and demanded to know if PacWalker was going to undo all of his RevDels, so PacWalker began combing through them, finding a massive amount of improper deletions.

    PacWalker talk page: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=Thread:User_talk:PacWalker/Revisions&lqt_oldid=16144

    Did you seriously go back and restore every revision I’ve deleted? —Ryulong (talk)‎02:01, 20 November 2015

    I doubt it. I didn’t check what all you have, though. WalkerWalkerWalker‎02:04, 20 November 2015

    That said, I probably should take a comb through that too. WalkerWalkerWalker‎02:09, 20 November 2015

    Are you fucking kidding me? —Ryulong (talk)‎02:20, 20 November 2015

    None of those are revdel worthy “Paravant” Talk & Contribs‎02:26, 20 November 2015

    That doesn’t mean he should be undoing fucking everything and flooding my watchlist with notifications.

    Also this threaded format you’ve instituted sucks balls. —Ryulong (talk)‎03:11, 20 November 2015

    “None of those are revdel worthy” and yet that means we shouldn’t be undoing them? the fuck kind of logic is that Ryulong? “Paravant” Talk & Contribs‎03:12, 20 November 2015

    Cohen’s abuse of RevDel resulted in a Chicken coop case. Cohen angrily gave up his sysop in response.

    Fine. I’m relinquishing sysop and I don’t give a fuck if I never get it back. Just don’t get angry at me when some Gamergate braintrust starts shitting up the pages and I can’t fix it.—Ryulong (talk) 03:27, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

    The coop: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=RationalWiki:Chicken_coop&diff=prev&oldid=1572016#Ryulong_.23_2451

    Why was Cohen so intent on keeping these facts out of the article? He’s buddies with Nyberg, presumably having befriended one another due to their involvement against Gamergate: https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&q=from%3Asrhbutts%20to%3Aryulong%20since%3A2012-01-01%20until%3A2015-12-20&src=typd

    Days before this Nyberg-paedo incident, there was some uproar over RW user Shouniaisha for saying he was a “(self-diagnosed) pedophile and a hebephile” on his user page. Shouniaisha assured them he had “loli and shota hentai” to sate him as well as “virtuous pedophile support groups” to talk to during his “trying times”. This conversation was “memory holed” by a RW moderator and removed.

    Saloon bar: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=RationalWiki:Saloon_bar&oldid=1570066#Vile_paedo_scum_on_Rationalwiki
    (https://archive.is/2rv2G#selection-7133.1-7133.33)

    Shouniaisha’s talk page: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/User_talk:Shouniaisha#So

    This was brought up on Gerard’s talk page, with some users saying it would be grounds for an immediate ban if it was on Wikipedia. Gooniepunk clarified that it wasn’t banned on RationalWiki, and they have only ever banned people for “openly promoting” paedophilia. He continued, saying they in fact used to have a user who was a convicted paedophile (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/User:Conservapederast), and they let him stay because he wasn’t promoting it.

    (EC) It’s not expressly banned here. Really, truly, we’ve only banned people here for openly promoting pedophilia. IIRC, we used to have a regular editor here who had been convicted of pedophilia, but we tolerated them out of the fact they didn’t use RW as a means of promoting such things. Gooniepunk (talk) 11:42, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

    Gerard said that “bitter” experiences with declared paedophiles on Wikipedia had shown them it was “never, ever worth the trouble” but he took no action against Shouniaisha.

    In that case, various bitter experience made it clear that they were never, ever worth the trouble. I expect the same will play out here, eventually – David Gerard (talk) 20:52, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

    The discussion: http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:David_Gerard&oldid=1586739#You_might_want_to_look_at_this

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