the wikipedia review

It’s only a website… it’s only a website…

What Wordbomb Wants

with 39 comments

This week, one of Wikipedia’s most bitter and drawn-out disputes came to a head. The dispute (chronicled in The Register) centers around the assertion by representatives of that financial journalist Gary Weiss had been editing Wikipedia to impose his point of view on a series of articles relevant to the company. Weiss had become notorious around the Internet for his public feud with Overstock and its CEO Patrick Byrne, ridiculing their campaign against the controversial traders’ practice of Naked Short Selling.

In 2006, Judd Bagley, an ally of Overstock’s Patrick Byrne having interviewing the CEO for a personal project, began editing Wikipedia to counter what was perceived to be a skewed representation of Naked Short Selling and He was swiftly dispatched by influential Wikipedia administrators.

Shortly after, Bagley became Overstock’s Director of Communications, and embarked on an aggressive campaign to publicize the dispute on various websites, aiming to expose the administrators he held responsible for protecting Weiss. Using the moniker “Wordbomb”, Bagley presented evidence suggesting that not only was Gary Weiss editing Wikipedia using the name “User:Mantanmoreland“, but that he was operating other accounts to manipulate consensus and protect his interests in the dispute.

Wikipedia responded to Bagley’s campaign in typical schoolyard fashion. The dispute was escalated by a small clique of powerful Wikipedians who seemed less interested in the truth of Bagley’s assertions, and more concerned with attacking perceived threats to the status quo at Wikipedia. With the approval of Jimbo Wales, administrators sided with “Mantanmoreland” / Gary Weiss, and anointed Bagley / Wordbomb an “Enemy Of The Wiki” who needed to be silenced — a “stalker” and a “harasser” for publicizing the details of the person who had been editing relevant articles on Wikipedia, and the people who had been stopping him from doing the same.

For nearly two years, Bagley’s name was invoked to inspire paranoia in the Hive and to keep questioning editors in line. It became a textbook case for analysts of the intense group-think Wikipedia has become notorious for.

Bagley was repeatedly disparaged by a cabal of out-of-control administrators such as Guy Chapman, who denounced Bagley as “lunatic” and “evil” when it suited. He was told to “fuck off” by UK Wikimedia representative David Gerard who banned an area of Utah to prevent Bagley raising his issues. Wikipedia Arbitrator Fred Bauder claimed that Bagley’s blog showed “moral depravity” for challenging the Wiki-elite. Administrator Phil Sandifer dismissed Bagley as a “fuckhead” while boasting that he himself had become a “powerful and trusted administrator on the 9th biggest website in the world.”

Other editors who raised Overstock’s quite legitimate complaints were banned as proxies of Judd Bagley. Paranoia had taken such a hold that editors with productive records from all over the US, and as far afield as Europe and Asia found themselves accused of being Bagley. When the editor Cla68 questioned the issue of Gary Weiss editing Wikipedia, he was swiftly blocked by administrator Durova on the orders of Jimbo Wales who wrote, “Durova and Guy have my full support here. No nonsense, zero tolerance, shoot on sight. No kidding, this has gone on long enough”.

This week, a study undertaken by concerned administrators into the editing patterns of “Mantanmoreland” came to fruition. Despite the “Mantanmoreland” account ceasing edits on Overstock / Naked Short Selling articles in September 2007, the study revealed evidence beyond reasonable doubt that the same person had been operating several accounts to “control” articles. Thus affirming Bagley’s claims.

More worryingly for good faith Wikipedians was the revelation that Jimbo Wales, alongside leading administrators, had considered that this person was almost certainly Gary Weiss in a private discussion as long ago as September 2007 (the same month the “Mantamoreland” account quit editing the relevant articles) . Meaning that behind the scenes, they were admitting that Bagley was probably right all along, yet in public were vilifying or blocking anyone who publicly stated so.

Below is a reproduction of a post made by “Wordbomb” / Judd Bagley to the Wikipedia Review forum this week. The post was added while arguments between good faith Wikipedians demanding fairness versus elite Wiki-administrators protecting Gary Weiss raged over several sites.


Wordbomb: Business management wonks have a saying: “Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results it’s getting; whether good or bad.”

That may sound simplistic, but — business management types will tell you — failing to recognize it impedes countless dysfunctional organizations from becoming functional organizations.

From 35,000 feet, Wikipedia, as the 8th most popular website on earth, is a stellar success. And to the extent that traffic is a true indicator of success, it could not easily be more successful.

However, as we all know, zoom in a bit and you’ll find that its success has come despite some deeply-rooted dysfunction that runs counter to Wikipedia’s de facto mission of making the whole of human knowledge available to the world.

If it’s true that every organization is designed to get the results it’s getting, then there’s something inherent to Wikipedia as an entity that should make the abuses we’ve all experienced no great surprise. Indeed, given the nature of the organization, these abuses are inevitable. And, if history is any indication, the problem will not solve itself.

There’s got to be an intervention.

It’s tempting to want to make the outcome of this process as simple as sending Gary Weiss away, or restricting him from touching the four articles he WP:OWNs, or banning some or all of his accounts, etc., but that’s all artificial. After all, he’ll be back, or others who share his opinions will show up, and the next thing you know, there’s a pile of “Mantanmoreland” socks stacked as high as the pile of alleged WordBomb socks and (if you’ll pardon the cliche) we’ll have become the thing we sought to destroy.

What WordBomb wants (and I’m certain many others want) is to take a real step toward solving the problem by understanding what is it about Wikipedia that made it possible, nay inevitable, for the 8th most popular website on the earth to be used as a literal weapon against me and others.

At the risk of comparing these relatively minuscule atrocities to the real things as seen in South Africa or Rwanda, etc., What WordBomb wants is a truth and reconciliation effort to take place, in which everybody (myself included) takes ownership of their part in this madness.

Under those circumstances, I find it very hard to believe that Gary Weiss will stick around, meaning that problem, at least, will be solved in a very natural way.

So that’s what WordBomb wants: for everybody to put it all out there in a (non-ArbCom) setting separate from the present Mantanmoreland/Samiharris/Gary Weiss inquest, where we can all look one another in the eye and own up to our words and deeds, and see if there might just be something that can be learned, and — with some luck — this sort of thing made less likely to happen again.

That’s what WordBomb wants (even though I don’t intend to be part of Wikipedia when it’s done).

However, because it’s the opposite of what David Gerard, Guy Chapman, Fred Bauder, FloNight, Morven, MONGO, Crum375, George William Herbert, Jayjg, SlimVirgin, Hu12, Jpgordon, Jimbo Wales, and Gary Weiss want, I might be forced to lower my expectations. A lot.

Is what WordBomb wants even worth considering?


Relevant links


Written by The Review

February 15th, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

39 Responses to 'What Wordbomb Wants'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'What Wordbomb Wants'.

  1. I previously wrote an editorial blog analyzing the Bagley/Weiss Kerfuffle here…


    15 Feb 08 at 2:42 pm

  2. Luv the Avatar!

    Stayin’ alive —
    Stayin’ alive …

    Jon Awbrey

    18 Feb 08 at 8:30 pm

  3. Jimbo has an op-ed in the Washington Post this morning.

    It’s entertaining, considering.

    Major Disarray

    20 Feb 08 at 7:13 am

  4. And he is getting torn up in the comments.

    A new generation of WRs, waiting to be born, borrowing from M. Scott Peck, if that does not violate the NPOV.

    Major Disarray

    20 Feb 08 at 8:38 am

  5. On Wikipedia nowadays, “NPOV” stands for “No Possibility Of Veracity”.


    21 Feb 08 at 10:59 am

  6. Your next post should be a top 10 group with the benefits and cons of every one

    Gary Arctic

    25 Feb 10 at 11:16 am

  7. [...] notice by the way that Judd Bagley hasn’t been dragged in. I’m guessing it’s because his research was meticulous to [...]

  8. Hey very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find a lot of useful information here in the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  9. That is the correct weblog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You notice so much its virtually exhausting to argue with you (not that I truly would want…HaHa). You undoubtedly put a brand new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, just great!

  10. auko ng timeline

    Minna Hutchings

    3 May 13 at 9:23 pm

  11. We have noticed that credit restoration activity ought to be conducted with techniques. If not, you could possibly come across yourself endangering your rank. In order to realize your aspirations in fixing your credit rating you should confirm that from this moment in time you pay all of one’s monthly dues promptly in advance of their planned date. It is significant on the grounds that by not accomplishing that, all other steps that you can decide to try to improve your credit positioning will not be effective. Many thanks for expressing your ideas.

    Jann Klinekole

    6 May 13 at 5:02 am

  12. Fantastic site. A lot of useful information here. I am sending it to a few buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you in your sweat!

  13. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i
    was just wondering if you get a lot of spam responses?
    If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.


    7 May 13 at 8:37 am

  14. I feel similar web page owners will have to take into account this unique blog site as a model. Extremely clean and uncomplicated design and style, coupled with superb content and articles! You are experienced with regard to this particular area :)

    more resources

    9 May 13 at 11:09 am

  15. Hey – nice blog, simply wanting around some blogs, appears a reasonably nice platform You Are using. I’m at present using Drupal for a few of my websites however seeking to change one in all them over to a platform very much the identical to yours as a trial run. Something particularly you’d recommend about it?

    Heidy Borowik

    12 May 13 at 5:33 am

  16. Wow, marvelous blog layout! How lengthy have you been running a blog for? you made running a blog look easy. The full look of your web site is excellent, let alone the content material!

  17. I believe similar online business lovers ought to give consideration to this excellent online site as an example. Extremely clean and convenient style, and moreover awesome article content! You’re a professional within this important topic :)

  18. I have been surfing on-line greater than 3 hours nowadays, yet I by no means found any interesting article like yours. It¡¦s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

    whiskey gift

    16 May 13 at 6:57 am

  19. Aw, this was a very nice post. In concept I would like to put in writing like this additionally ?taking time and precise effort to make an excellent article?however what can I say?I procrastinate alot and on no account appear to get something done.

    Maxie Desouza

    17 May 13 at 4:02 pm

  20. Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe this site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the advice!

    Penis Enlargement

    18 May 13 at 5:49 pm

  21. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you need to publish more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people do not speak about such topics. To the next! All the best!!


    18 May 13 at 6:02 pm

  22. I got what you mean , appreciate it for posting .Woh I am pleased to find this website through google. “Spare no expense to make everything as economical as possible.” by Samuel Goldwyn.

    Phone Retro

    20 May 13 at 2:44 am

  23. Thank you, I have just been looking for information approximately this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive in regards to the source?

  24. I truly wanted to jot down a small remark in order to say thanks to you for all the nice guides you are sharing at this site. My extensive internet lookup has at the end of the day been paid with high-quality suggestions to share with my friends and classmates. I would admit that many of us readers actually are truly endowed to live in a fantastic site with so many wonderful individuals with very helpful strategies. I feel quite fortunate to have encountered your webpages and look forward to many more fun moments reading here. Thank you once again for a lot of things.

    Elden Carattini

    23 May 13 at 10:26 am

  25. {Thanks for the marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back from now on. I want to encourage that you continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!|I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content for you personally? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome weblog!|My partner and I stumbled over here by a different website and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking at your web page again.|I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work and coverage! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.|Hey I am so glad I found your site, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Google for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a marvelous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the great job.|Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and in depth information you present. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Fantastic read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.|Hey there! I’ve been reading your site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the excellent job!

    Floy Ravetti

    30 May 13 at 3:34 am

  26. shemale movies porn amy daly i…

    shemale movies porn amy daly irresistible transsexual jerking off on…

  27. Simply wanna input that you have a very nice website , I the pattern it really stands out.


    5 Jun 13 at 4:49 pm

  28. Greetings! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog looks weird when browsing from my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin
    that might be able to resolve this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share.
    With thanks!

  29. Hey! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to look it over. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Exceptional blog and fantastic style and design.

    Cami Bagen

    16 Jun 13 at 8:21 am

  30. you are really a good webmaster. The site loading speed is incredible. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a great job on this topic!

    Belia Fleegle

    17 Jun 13 at 8:02 am

  31. Hello There. I found your weblog using msn. That is a really neatly written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

    Eli Meunier

    17 Jun 13 at 8:59 pm

  32. : Qu’est-ce qu’une mutuelle chien ? Si les êtres humains ont tous besoin d’être guérit suite aux différents aléas de la vie les chiens aussi peuvent être des victimes de certaines maladies ou d’accidents d’où la nécessité d’une couverture chien ayant comme objectif de protéger nos compagnons fidèles en cas des aléas et vous protégez aussi des débours engendrés par les soins de santé du chien puisqu’elle vous permet d’être remboursé sur chaque Euro versé pour la santé de votre chien.Ce type de couverture est très important à avoir même si votre compagnon n’a jamais rencontré des problèmes très sérieux au niveau de sa santé cela n’empêche pas dans tous les cas puisque personne ne sait ce qui pourra arriver demain. Et quoi de plus malheureux de ne pas avoir les moyens de guérir votre chien parce que tout simplement vous n’aurez pas le pouvoir de lui offrir les soins nécessaires pour qu’il soit en très bonne forme. Si vous voulez protéger votre fidèle animal. Vous devrez alors avoir une mutuelle chien dès son adoption dans votre famille cela va vous mettre alaise à chaque fois qu’il tombe malade.

    mutuelle chien

    18 Jun 13 at 10:37 pm

  33. Attractive element of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to say that I get in fact loved account your weblog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing for your feeds and even I success you get entry to persistently rapidly.

    Ai Reginal

    19 Jun 13 at 4:26 pm

  34. Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

    Karleen Toledano

    19 Jun 13 at 7:23 pm

  35. I must express some appreciation to this writer just for rescuing me from this type of circumstance. As a result of surfing around throughout the online world and finding notions that were not productive, I believed my life was done. Being alive without the strategies to the problems you’ve solved through this site is a serious case, as well as the ones which may have adversely damaged my career if I had not encountered your web blog. Your primary ability and kindness in dealing with all the pieces was vital. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not come across such a stuff like this. I’m able to at this point look forward to my future. Thanks a lot so much for your expert and sensible guide. I will not think twice to refer your web blog to any individual who requires support on this subject.

    Ardath Hinshaw

    21 Jun 13 at 11:49 pm

  36. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I might also like to say that video games have been ever before evolving. Today’s technology and inventions have made it easier to create reasonable and enjoyable games. All these entertainment video games were not really sensible when the actual concept was first of all being experimented with. Just like other forms of technological know-how, video games too have had to grow by means of many ages. This itself is testimony to the fast growth of video games.

    Bennett Ehn

    27 Jun 13 at 1:57 am

  37. Hi, I do believe this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it ;) I will return yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.

  38. Hey do you guys need a sweet Black Hat SEO Tool Upload File service? Check out my website and upload files 500mb or less and use them for up to 1 month!

  39. Hi there, I discovered your web site via Google at the same
    time as looking for a comparable topic, your web site came
    up, it seems to be good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hi there, just became alert to your weblog via Google,
    and located that it’s really informative. I’m going to watch
    out for brussels. I’ll be grateful should you continue this in future.
    A lot of other folks can be benefited out of your writing.


Leave a Reply