It is a myth that sex offenders (incuding paedophiles) have a high re-offending rate. In fact they have the lowest and sex offender registers have done little to change matters. The real offenders are an insidious hard core who lurk online, genuinely think that they are oppressed and work to normalise and legitimise their proclivities. Disturbingly the moderators of troubled website Rationalwiki (RW), David Gerard, Gabriel Holl and ‘FuzzyCatPotato’ have now allowed an ‘out’ self-defined paedophile going by ‘Shouniaisha’ as a user.
As set out below, there is no ‘doxing’ here. Whilst your author believes that ethical journalists can unmask subjects in the public interest, in this case personal information revealed about Mr Holl was publicly shared online by him on Rationalwiki (archive here)
Upon receiving a draft of this article, Holl resigned, saying of Rationalwiki that he will, “leave that shithole to rot”. He also claimed the #GamerGate supporters sent him ‘death threats’, but declined to provide evidence.
The UK re-offending figures since 2000 show rates of re-offending for a variety of crimes up until 2012. As ever, the rate for sexual offences has hovered around 13-15% and was completely unimproved by the introduction of the sex offenders register by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (it went up slightly).
The reasons for this are simple. Most offenders are young men who make one mistake, perhaps whilst drunk. They suffer horrible punishment, stigma and ruin. They never do it again. The same applies to female offenders. The figures for criminal damage (28-30%), robbery (37%-44%) on the other hand are much higher. Why no burglars’ register? The sex offenders register even includes children of 10 (archive here).
More so than with other crimes, a lot of sex crime is perpetrated by a hard core of offenders. Putting children and other low risk offenders on the sex offenders’ register and having them supervised by caseworkers diverts resources away from the truly dangerous, like depraved offender Craig Sweeney who abducted a 3-year-old after being released for a previous sex attack on another child.
The truly dangerous sex offenders are the insidious recidivists who honestly think they are oppressed. For decades they have sought to legalise paedophilia. In the 1970’s it was via the agency of PIE – the nightmarish Paedophile Information Exchange that even deceived and infiltrated well known human rights organisation, the NCCL (now Liberty) (archive here). These terrifying online forces still exist today, as was exemplified by their attempt to secure recognition on Wikipedia. Presently there are disturbing activities beginning on Rationalwiki.
Rationalwiki began as a parody of Conservapedia. It debunked woo, and as it happens I really like some of their articles, such as their page on Freeman-on-the-land. They also criticised #GamerGate and they are entitled to their views, subject to accuracy.
The problem, as I have covered before, is that they have moved from a parody of one site into wider commentary and onto nasty but amateurish attacks on individuals. They have repeatedly criticised individuals with nothing more than Tumblr posts, tweets or in one case a deleted Ghazi post as sources.
Rationalwiki’s defence of Sarah Nyberg is a good example. Nyberg was exposed by Breitbart as having claimed to be a paedophile and defended white nationalism (archive here) in a series of vivid chat logs. Nyberg talked extensively about an alleged sexual attraction to children as young as 6 and made a number of racist remarks, including that she was only attracted to the ‘white half’ of a mixed race little girl. Nyberg also said on one occasion that, “Child Porn is healthier than pot. […] a healthier america looks at child porn.”
After the exposé Nyberg responded in an article for Medium.com (archive here) that the logs, whilst real, were tasteless and unwise jokes made in her youth. She did not claim that they were fake or cut and paste out of context. So, even if we believe her, Rationalwiki’s claim that,
“The evidence used against her is gleaned from nearly 10-year-old IRC chatlogs obtained from when Gamergaters hacked her personal websites wherein, and here’s the kicker, she is explicitly expressing disgust with having found pedophilic roleplaying on LiveJournal that she was not engaging in herself”
is simply untrue. Their statement is a vicious slur on Milo Yiannopoulos and Breitbart. Even Nyberg does not run with that line, per her own apologia in Medium. Her version of events is she was not taken out of context, she was engaging in a long standing joke or ‘edging’ campaign in which she pretended to be a paedophile.
A more serious concern is the Rationalwiki policy decision to allow an ‘out’ paedophile to use the site. Shouniaisha describes himself (archive here) in the following terms “I’m a (self-diagnosed) pedophile and a hebephile“. Those terms are precise. Whilst the general public understands, ‘paedophilia’ to mean attraction to anyone underage, Shouniaisha is using the technical meaning.
Hebephilia means attraction to pubescent (11-14) year old children. Paedophilia in its precise context means, even younger. Shouniaisha’s comment demonstrates research and a deep knowledge of his subject matter. The user has clearly thought about his preferences for some time and decided he wants to have sex with under-11s.
Your author believes that paedophiles who have not committed a crime should be allowed to confess it, identify themselves and get psychiatric help without criminal sanction. Where I have a problem is the attempt to destigmatise a condition defined by the desire to rape children. Rationalwiki is not a therapy site or a clinic and Shouniaisha should not be allowed to use it as a source of acceptance.
After his statement, Shouniaisha was reported to moderators of the site by several individuals and a user pinged all the moderators (archive here) as well as opening a formal case (archive here) on their equivalent of ArbCom (called the Chicken Coop).
The consensus, and the advice given to Shouniaisha by recent former moderator Paravant is that (archive here) – “So long as you don’t go round advocating for the repeal of child sex laws and arguing that child sex is perfectly OK, I see no reason you’ll be blocked just for your attraction”.
Of course this statement is somewhat … incomplete. To be clear I am not alleging any moderator of Rationalwiki is a paedophile. However, as my previous article dealt with, Rationalwiki moderator, host and trustee David Gerard defended sexualised naked pictures of an underage girl on Wikipedia. Gerard has also been involved in other, non-sexual controversies – my previous article deals with Gerard himself being removed as a Wikipedia CheckUser.
Whilst previous articles dealt with Rationalwiki’s David Gerard, in this one, we deal with Gooniepunk (Gabriel Aaron Holl). Gabriel is an administrator (Sysop) and Moderator (similar to Bureaucrat or ArbCom member) of Rationalwiki and therefore equally responsible for acts and omissions of the moderator team.
Born in 1985 Holl lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota – a respectable neighbourhood whose residents are mostly unaware of Holl’s online activities, his sheltering of online pedophiles or his avowed neo-paganism. Holl’s ambitions at one time, by his own admission, included becoming a priest of his neo-pagan ‘coven’.
Holl has a number of aliases on Rationalwiki including variations on the theme of Gooniepunk such as Gooniepunk2005, Gooniepunk2010 etcetera.
My own interaction with Gooniepunk begins with my joining Rationalwiki to raise accuracy concerns. Gooniepunk immediately banned me citing, ‘harassment’ of users on Wikipedia. In summary, the alleged ‘harassment’ is my article Paedophiles of Wikipedia in which I revealed a number of Wikipedians (including administrators) had come out as paedophiles. No one, even Wikipedia’s legal team, has denied the facts I asserted. One administrator of Wikipedia had even admitted to having sex with children. The accused users had submitted witness statements to the Wikipedia arbitration committee stating they were paedophiles and seeking an end to perceived oppression.
Manifestly, this behaviour is not harassment – so why is Gooniepunk so afraid? Why is a site that allows openly declared paedophiles who like under 11-year-olds so scared of having a blogger / journalist join that they have to be banned “on sight”?
The answer is obvious. Rationalwiki’s leadership team are out of their depth. The site may have been set up with noble intent but they have lost their way. The site is now plagued by defamatory allegations and infested with enablers and even the odd paedophile.
The moderation team have made the bitter mistake of thinking that what happens online is consequence free. Their attacks on others invite legitimate scrutiny of their own identities and agendas yet they howl and whine when they become the subject of comment.
Rationalwiki is in trouble. It needs to correct itself and quickly or risk become a millstone around the necks of all its contributors. The inappropriate attitudes to paedophilia demonstrated by the moderators need to be corrected and quickly lest they permanently darken the their reputations.
For his part, Gabriel Holl is a bully used to hiding behind an internet platform and harassing others with vicious, malicious lies but playing the victim when called out. Unlike Rationalwiki I gave Holl the opportunity to answer the allegations pre-publication. I had the following questions for him, and he responded as follows –
“1. Did you ever achieve your ambition of becoming a coven leader?”
“I do not know exactly what you’re referring to, but it may be regarding to my previous time as a Wiccan. I no longer am such, so the answer to the question is no, due to a change in beliefs. It’s similar to going to school to be a Catholic priest, and then leaving school because you left the church.”
“2. Why have you not banned Shouniaisha from your website?”
“See answer to #3”
“3. Why are you allowing Shouniaisha to normalise and thereby promote paedophilia on your site?”
“We are not. They have admitted to pedophilic thoughts, but not actions. Nor have they advocated pedophilia on the site, nor do they seem to be proud of their having pedophilic thoughts. As such, we HAVE banned people and created filters against those on the site who DO actively advocate pedophilia, and if this user decides to do so, then I will have no problem banning them. In the meantime, I am a social libertarian and as long as somebody’s actions are not advocating harm upon others *in this case, children), then I leave them be by inclination.”
“4. Do you feel it ethical to post disputed allegations online using Tumblr as a source?”
“I’m assuming this is regarding Gamergate, something I honestly have no interest in anything to do with that shit. However, if it can be proven to me beyond heresay that the Tumblr-backed allegation is wrong, I will look into it whether I like it or not. This courtesy is still extended to you as well. However, your threatening actions on Wikipedia, which I am intimately familiar with, make you persona non grata on RW proper so far as I’m concerned.”
I contacted other sources for more information about Mr Holl’s despicable online behaviour. They pointed out that, contrary to the claims that Shouniaisha was not promoting paedophilia, he had in fact started a talk page for ‘Online pedophile activism‘ (archive here), linking to a defunct paedophile website. Shouniaisha claims that it included ‘resources regarding both boys and girls’ and said he would share archives.
Clearly, Shouniaisha is in fact linking to and providing information about, pro-paedophilia activism on Rationalwiki. Assertions by Rationalwiki moderators that he is not allowed to do so are simply untrue.
Shortly after receiving the initial draft article, Gabriel Holl (Gooniepunk) announced his resignation as a Rationalwiki moderator (archive here) –
“Here [sic] ye, here [sic] ye!! On conclusion of the current moderator election, I will be stepping down as moderator. This is not a decision I made lightly, but the number of death threats emailed to me by those wonderful Gamergate-involved, hot-pocket consuming, socially-challenged jackasses has brought pause and reflection upon myself and my punkhouse. I have zero interest in video games (note: I found RW in 2008 when I was living homeless in a park across the street from my college). Furthermore, while it is now clear to me that Ryulong’s assessment of Gamergators was subtle and rose-colored compared to mine, I don’t care enough about Gators to fight them and continue to want to put minimal skin in the GG game. As such, while it violates 100% my old-guard inclinations of social libertarianism on RationalWiki, I place my faith and endorsement behind any moderator candidate seeking either to mothball and erase that section of RW ir, contrapositively, behind any moderator candidate opposing turning RW into another playground for pro-GGers.”
He also claimed in an email to be unable to read my draft article. I therefore sent Holl a second email, with the text of the article embedded in the body and asked him to produce evidence of any death threats. Holl replied as follows –
“The death threats in question have been submitted to the police, who have given me strict orders not to share them with anybody else, including the other moderators of RationalWiki, as they are currently part of an ongoing criminal complaint. While I don’t take them exactly seriously (the information you all have on me is very dated, including my address and employer being 6 years obsolete, partially since I’m very lazy about updating things and used my former LinkedIn for all of a damn week), I submitted them to the MPD anyways, just in case anything else comes of them. As such, no sharing of the death threats made will occur, but the cowards sending them while hiding behind sites such as Mailinator need only know that there is an ongoing investigation, and knocking it off before we find out who you are is the only legal advice I’ll ever genuinely give.”
I checked out the site Holl mentions, ‘Mailinator’ but as far as I can tell the site does not allow the sending of emails only receipt. It could be used to register accounts and make posts on the RW site, but even revision deleted posts would be visible to the other moderators. When asked about this, Holl said –
“[Cut to remove lengthy rant referring to address information] […] I used Mailinator as an example because I was told not to give the specifics of the disposable e-mail being used. This was on police advice, not my own. 5) If Shouniasha did, in fact, link to pedo sites, then why has nobody brought this to my attention?
In any case, I am afraid that at this time, I’ll be withholding further comment, as the last thing I need is more giving a fuck about RationalWiki, which if I haven’t made it clear, I no longer give a goddamn about and plan to leave that shithole to rot. Further, I do not want to risk my real current address being discovered.”
Holl did not produce any death threats. Chillingly, Holl failed to correct the spelling of, “Here [sic] ye” even when I pointed it out to him.
I contacted the MPD to inquire as to whether they had received any complaints about death threats. A spokesperson replied per the email below. As a good citizen I have provided the officers at MPD with details of Holl and Shouniaisha and a link to this article.
As Gabriel Holl has resigned your author has decided that at this time there is no public interest in seeking to contact others such as his employer or college.
Rational Wiki is governed by its moderators, its administrators and the so-called Rational Media Foundation. As long as they see fit to allow paedophiles to openly act on their site and link to pro-paedophile material, their real life identities and occupations will be of clear and genuine public interest. This turn of events is saddening to those who remember that in the past Rational Wiki both had and enforced a clear zero tolerance policy.
For my part I think society does need to have a mature conversation about paedophilia. We should stop putting 10 year olds to adult trial, stop registering low-grade one-off offenders for decades and instead focus the law and the register on serious adult criminals. Hard-core offenders and activists who seek to promote or normalise paedophilia should be institutionalised for life. Those who do not reoffend should be given a genuine second chance.
NOTE – I did not visit any of the questionable websites linked to from Rational Wiki. Nothing in the preparation of this article required the viewing of any illegal websites or material. Readers are advised to be cautious in viewing sites linked from Rational Wiki.
Thanks also to the /r/KotakuInAction moderators for reviewing this article prior to publication.