Wikipedia censorship of MAP related topics
- 1 Timeline of events
- 2 List of notable editors
- 3 Contemporary commentary
- 4 References
Whilst much of the material now removed from Wikipedia appears to be legitimate, sourced content from a neutral or contrarian perspective, previous bans on a small number self-identifying pedophile editors (in late 2006 and early 2007) exacerbated perceptions of any editing that may be considered similar in style. Users who "may bring the project into disrepute" were blocked "per directive" by the arbitration committee - a select group of site administrators who converse in private.
In practise, it is common for anti-pedophile administrators to simply block editors who they dislike (or deem to be pedophiles), with the full knowledge that ArbCom will not oppose their actions. For example, the Administrator seicer re-affirmed an appealed block on 12 February 2009 by simply stating that he did not like the editor involved. This is not exceptional behavior among Wikimedia administrators, even to this day.
Timeline of events
The censorship of MAP-related information from Wikipedia has a long history, which can be broken down into roughly three distinct eras. For the first part of its life, from 2001 to the "Pedo Wars" of the late 00s, Wikipedia took a pragmatic approach to editors who self-identified as MAPs or displayed sympathies. At this point, the publicity risks were considerably lower, and the need for a growing base of quality content was first priority. This was the era before organized 2nd-wave MAP activism, so examples of dissent were limited to productive editors who had made controversial statements.
The first MAP activists to edit Wikipedia (2004 onward) didn't attempt to hide the fact. Users such as Rookiee (the host of Pedologues), Zanthalon (AP) and Clayboy were blocked because of the publicity risk they posed to the project. One controversy involved a "userbox/template" which identified an editor as a Pedophile on their user page - leading to arguments among Wikipedians over freedom of speech and the temporary banning of admins who opposed the template. This would be considered a near-impossibility nowadays. The crucial period of this 2nd era, started with an uptick in the level of anonymous editing in 2007. This was a period in which numerous edit wars raged, information was removed due to the perceived motivation or bad faith of editors, and the associated publicity risks. This was the "witch hunt" we refer to as the "Pedo Wars", and our narrative of that period continues after the short commentary below.
Wikipedia's inherent weakness
One inherent weakness of collaborative online information resources such as Wikipedia is their vulnerability to special interest groups and their lobbying efforts. On average, it is likely that moderate editors (those with no partisan leanings), will have less natural interest in a subject, less knowledge on it, and are less likely to care about saving their edits from hostile actors. This rule applies particularly to hot-button topics, meaning unlikely consensus has to be found on emotive, polarizing topics such as CSA. Negative bias can also creep in to some articles such as "Pro-pedophile activism", since any perception of "objectivity" towards topics that elicit visceral reactions might lead to self-censorship. At the time pro-MAP activists first appeared on Wikipedia, there was a politically-correct, "victimological", psychiatry-led bias throughout most of the "Pedophilia Article Watch" suite of articles. This was due to a general unwillingness of specialist editors to cite a range of sources, particularly outside of medicine. There was also a marked naivety among high-ranking non-specialist editors, towards lobbyist imposters posing as CSA specialists - usually to pedal grifts such as repressed memory.
It was at this time, around late 2006/early 2007, that pro-MAP activists responded to the previous blocks en-masse by creating anonymous accounts and attempting to alter editorial consensus. Favored edits introduced citations refuting the pathological theory of Pedophilia, and cited examples of CSA research contesting the narrative of universal harm (material such as Rind et al). This sparked a number of edit-wars and confrontations, attracting both administrators and anti-pedophile activists to the articles and their discussion pages. At this point, some high level Wikipedians personally contacted some of the more influential activist editors, attempting to explain the publicity risks of rampant, polarized special interest editing. This was of course a just warning, albeit against exactly the type of editing Wikipedia had tolerated for many years from victimological, therapeutic-interventionist and traumatology-led editors posing as disinterested specialists. It was for this reason, the appeals fell on deaf ears. The reaction that followed, towards "inclusionist" pro-MAP editing patterns - was sometimes indiscriminate, leading to arbitrary accusations of sockpuppetry and "pro-pedophile disruption" - an often stated rationale for blocking. As this "witch-hunt" reaction snowballed, accounts were often blocked regardless of activist affiliation, for editing patterns no more outlandish than citations of peer-reviewed research on related articles. It is also believed that highly abusive (i.e. "simultaneous") sock-puppetry was used on multiple occasions by anti-MAP activists in order to skirt around the "three revert rule" and to fabricate editor consensus. Many pro-MAP activists fought on, creating new identities after their initial bans - some getting through 10 or more identities before giving up. According to one editor, it was a running joke to compare the number of edits they got to before being banned, with 150 the marque of a skillful activist editor. In one particularly egregious incident, Administrator Dominic Byrd-McDevitt claimed that he had forensic evidence to link two accounts and justify a block by east718. We knew immediately, this was incorrect (see Louisa Petit-Ladoumegue in the list below), as both users were on our list of activists, but had never met one another. If McDevitt did indeed fabricate this evidence, we also know he lied to other sysops to cover himself.
Richard Weiss controversy
The pinnacle of the Pedo-Wars controversy and a major turning point, was the politically-influenced decision to retain the services of the British-born, renowned anti-pedophile edit warrior, Richard Weiss (Squeakbox) and his sockpuppets. This remains to this day, one of the all-time most blatant abuses of administrative privilege on the encyclopedia - if it is to be held that Jimbo Wales was not behind the decision.
Through various suspected sock puppet reports, it was established that accounts were being used throughout Pedophilia Article Watch to fabricate consensus and escape the three-revert-rule. These edits, particularly by the account Pol64, always reverted to the initial edits of Weiss, an avowed fighter of "pedophile disruption" known for previous sock puppetry and attempts to silence other editors by labeling them pedophiles. Interestingly, these edits also contained grammatical/typographical errors that uncannily resembled those made by Weiss. It was noted by investigating editors, that Pol64 would typically compile a list of edits that appended perfectly on to the end of Weiss' earlier session, and vice versa. These concerns were initially ignored due to Weiss' use of geographically unrelated proxy IPs to evade detection. This inspired the user Dyskolos to compile an exhaustive list of timed edit sessions, effectively proving that Richard Weiss was regularly and frantically switching between his main account and Pol64. Indeed, as the detailed list revealed, Weiss was barely leaving enough time between these puppeteering vacations to afford himself a simple tea break. The report, was nevertheless dismissed out of hand, confirming that Wikipedia would now not be willing to punish even the most obvious examples of abuse, if it were deemed to be countering the "pedophile point of view". One editor familiar with these exchanges recalls seeing at least one admin's comments expressing skepticism towards Weiss' activities being "rolled back", strongly suggesting the involvement of oversight from ArbCom or above.
It is a comic irony, that in a belated 2010 investigation into pedophile-related editing activity on Wikipedia, Fox News implied that Weiss (Squeakbox) had posted on BoyChat soliciting votes against the deletion of Marthijn Uittenbogaard's article. Of course, a BoyChat user had ironically used Weiss' screen name to troll him on BC, and prevent his own Wikipedian identity from being revealed.
2008: Adult-Child Sex - the last stand
Having effectively lost the war over editing privileges, there was one last significant attempt by MAP-aligned or amenable Wikipedians to incorporate value-neutral information on CSA. This was the Adult-child sex article - the concept being to create a new article as opposed to altering an existing one. Amazingly, this article (which we took over, and edit to this day) survived one deletion vote handsomely, and hung on for a few months until new anti-MAP activist editors appeared to be called in to the vote. Editors on, or roughly aligned to our activist network continued to be active all the way through 2008, but were eventually swamped by further blocks, article protections and the appearance of special interest editors such as James Cantor.
A return to the old normal
The Pedophilia Article Watch is now incredibly quiet after the cessation of MAP activist editing, and MAPs are frequently warned against editing Wikipedia without taking precautions such as computer security and checking their edit pattern. The events of 2007 are frequently used as a precedent to suppress "tendentious" editing, and most articles are now policed and sanitized as a matter of course. One positive outcome, is that due in part to the events of 2007, regular Wikipedia editors are now far more aware of the special interest editing patterns that led to the poisoning of many psychology, psychiatry and sexology related topics in the preceding era. In this sense, we are now able to link to a number of less contentious Wikipedia articles that are unlikely to fall foul of advocacy editing, and thus reduced the burden on our own content producers.
List of notable editors
All of the following editors were involved in the 2007/8 controversy. Some notables from <2006 and 2009> have been excluded.
Editors with the black dot are known to have been sockpuppets.
- Richard Weiss☻ - (at the time, SqueakBox). Multiple abusive simultaneous sock puppeteer with his own section in this article.
- AbuseTruth☻ aka ResearchEditor☻ (3000 edits, special interest, multiple socks, Leadership Council?)
- AWeidman☻ aka DPeterson☻ (Dr Arthur Becker Weidman, Anti-ped Attachment Therapist who eventually got a lifetime block in 07 for ban evasion. Associated with Phillip John Eide on wiki)
- East718, El_C (Pedophobic Admins)
- Jack-A-Roe (Highly tendentious special interest editor and Civil POV pusher)
- Fred Bauder (Admin who was hugely influential in policing pedophilia and enacting blocks)
- PetraSchelm (Typical Jack/PhDarts style victimological agenda-pusher, possible $$ grift)
- Phdarts☻ aka HeadleyDown☻ (Similar to the above, one was reincarnation of the other)
- SeattleJoe (vile character who started threatening editors with police action, for editing)
- Will Beback (William McWhinney, disingenuous admin who supported harsh and excessive permanent blocks of other editors, whilst expressing no corresponding objection to them in normal editing)
- XavierVE - of Perverted Justice.
All of these editors were banned, and got only limited support from established Wikipedians such as Springeragh and Homologeo. Editors with the black dot are known to have been sockpuppets, although some are not linked explicitly for their security. The usual form of sockpuppetry was creation of a new account after banning. Simultaneous abuse was rare among this group. Wikisposure did their own research at the time, and got some of it right.
- VigilancePrime (Disgraceful block of a productive editor)
- Barry Jameson☻ (171 edits)
- Catherine N.X. (Activist who helped the logic section of out Debate Guide)
- BLueRibbon☻ (BL Activist, one of our contributors early on)
- Silent War
- Digital Emotion☻ (123 edits - profiled on Wikisposure)
- Enrico Dirac☻ aka Hermitian☻ (Often seen, likely connected accounts, reasonable editing style)
- GroomingVictim☻ (176 Edits)
- Jillium☻ (our former Web Admin/Producer of research lists) ran Tryckfelsnisse☻ and Paroxysm☻.
- Jim Burton☻ (Highly successful MAP-aligned editor, almost 1000 edits, defended right of editors to self-identify as pedophiles, and described them as ideal editors of articles related to themselves on a provocative userpage)
- Karla Lindstrom☻ (46 edits) was a sock of Dyskolos☻ and Samantha Pignez☻ (Daniel Lievre☻ - our cofounder who had operated over 10 accounts by 2008 and ran a private email list).
- Louisa Petit-Ladoumegue☻ (This alleged sock puppet of Voice of Britain☻ was actually Samantha Pignez/Lievre instead. We know both individuals who operated these accounts! Administrative abuse by East718. This is where they were caught lying)
- Voice of Britain☻
- Jovin Lambton☻ (Almost 1000 edits)
- Roman Czyborra (Czyborra.com - a Unix Administrator from Berlin, Germany, who threatened to sue Wikimedia)
- Strichmann☻ (66 edits and sources provided for Adult-child sex in co-operation with the below, which seemingly outraged Admins)
- TlatoSMD (High quality editor with 2000+ edits - sparred with Jack-A-Roe, calling him out as a pusher. Banned incorrectly as "single purpose")
- Foresticpig☻ (over 1000)
- Tyciol (one of our former editors)
- MikeD78☻ (around 500 edits)
- Bow Ty☻
What does this all mean?
From looking at logs and known/likely socks and reincarnation of banned editors, it looks like each side had between 3 and 4 highly biased activist editors on PAW at any one time, through most of 2007 and part of 2008. These editors would contribute roughly half of the counting edits during that time.
Anonymous Wikipedia Admin (via perma-banned ex-editor, Karla Lindstrom - probably Daniel Lievre):
- "I don't believe that Wikipedia is going to have a paedophile related article that is neutral in the proper sense of the word now or in the forseeable future. It appears to be an editorial decision that the subject matter is too sensitive, and the risk of appearing to condone (that is, not to condemn but appear impartial) the practice is one that the Foundation, Board, etc. are not prepared to take."
Anonymous (probably former editor, Enrico Dirac):
- "It seems to me that characterizing criticism of the plethora of biased and misleading Wikipedia articles on sex and kids as "editors claiming adult/child sex is not harmful to children" just mirrors the tactics used by those pushing the CSA moral panic in regular society. Publish a paper debunking bogus numbers on the incidence of child porn and child abuse, propose a population-based peer-reviewed study which might produce an unpopular result, or suggest a change in the extremely value-laden terminology presently used in the CSA field, and no matter what your academic reputation, the usual Dr Lauras and Judith Reismans and "family values" organizations of the world will bombard the media with claims that "so-and-so says sexual abuse isn't harmful" and "so-and-so is pro-pedophile" and "so-and-so wants to legalize adult/child sex." This is always tremendously successful, and the resulting noise completely obscures any attempt to discuss the research on its merits.
- Given that tremendously sucessful political strategies generally manage to get adopted in new venues, it's hardly a huge surprise that Wikipedia now has its own little cadre of True Believers, beating their little sex abuse drum, and running around shouting "pro-pedophile activism" every time they see something which violates the party line on the topic. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to notice that what currently passes for NPOV* in some of these articles reads like a press release from some conservative religious pressure group.
- Sexual abuse is certainly a bad thing, but the type of hypervigilance that leads to sex abuse witch hunts like Wenatchee and the daycare scandals of the 1980's, which put scores of people in prison based on fabricated evidence, is also a bad thing.
- I can't ever remember anyone getting banned from Wikipedia for turning a sex abuse article into a hateful pejorative-laden rant. But I've seen a lot of people banned after their edits annoyed the current Kiddie Sex Cabal that has arrogated to themselves the right to make sure that all such articles on Wikipedia contain the approved amount of anti-pedophile innuendo and vitriol. Some are banned with vague references to Pro-Pedophile POV, whatever that is. Others just disappear at the hands of Arbcom after secret proceedings. Entire articles which have been worked on by hundreds of editors, and which certainly represent community consensus, just arbitrarily disappear if someone high up decides they don't have enough anti-pedophile innuendo in them. This isn't an open and transparent process, where actions may be reviewed and commented upon. It is a fiat process in which talk pages get protected, and replaced by Wikipedia's version of what Wikipedia alleges transpired.
- Now Wikipedia is a privately owned resource, with complete and total control over what it publishes. Oh, there's a lot of handwaving about consensus, and how it's actually run by the editors, and editorials making fun of anyone who suggests a Cabal exists. But in point of fact, Wikipedia has a certain political tone, and although anyone is free to contribute, it is a hierarchy of plebian editors, admins, Arbcom members, with Jimbo Wales at the top, and each level learns what the level above it wants, and exerts veto power over the levels below it.
- NPOV is in reality the official Wikipedia POV, and the official Wikipedia POV on Child Sexual Abuse is fully supportive of the current hysteria and moral panic, and cares not a whit about what the actual facts are, and will always favor innacurate "mainstream perspective" over the truth. Wikiality and Truthiness aren't just amusing words on late night TV. They are an accurate description of what is produced by the Wikipedia process"
*The term "NPOV" (Neutral Point Of View) refers to a Wikipedia policy whereby encyclopaedia content must be nonpartisan, even in relation to moderate or centrist points of view.
- Surjection perma-banned LegitSock 86Sedan for factual edits that did no more than make two longstanding controversial articles consistent with one another, accusing "advocacy of illegal activity".
- Goode - It would be useful to have the later pages of this, see what she went into
- Pedo userbox war