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Wikipedia Review _ Editors _ Who is Essjay?

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Wed 26th July 2006, 4:35pm

Who is Essjay? I would love to ID this guy. I think he's notable enough for his own biography.

He says that his username derives from his initials, S.J. That would suggest that his first and middle name, or first and surname, start with S and J. But it hasn't helped my search.

He's between 30 and 45, and teaches theology to undergrads and grads. He's a tenured professor. He says that he teaches at a private university in the northeastern U.S., but I have my doubts about this also.

He says he has these degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (B.A.), Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.), Doctorate of Philosophy in Theology (Ph.D.), Doctorate in Canon Law (JCD)

I've searched on his degrees, and I've looked at religion-department faculty lists in the northeast by using http://www.religiousworlds.com/study/northamerica.html. No clues.

He keeps to himself, and has been a Wikipedian only since February, 2005. Previous email addresses are essjay-wiki AT hotmail.com and essjay AT pacbell.net (some doubt about the latter).

He specializes in Roman Catholicism, but is a liberal non-Catholic. He's an elder in the Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination. He's probably had essays on social issues published in obscure, liberal religious publications within the past ten years.

He is gay, and his live-in partner is a lawyer named Robbie (username Robbie31). Essjay owns and operates http://countervandalism.org/wiki/VCN but the service provider registered the domain for him and I don't see any clues there.

He and his partner have a cat named Mia and a lab retriever named Ami. Years ago, Essjay was a cantor at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, Kentucky.

He keeps to himself. The recent New Yorker article mentions him. He had a wikiaddiction to the tune of 14 hours a day, and sometimes he brings his laptop to class so that he can play Wikipedia while his students are taking a quiz. He will not be going to Wikimania, and he told the reporter that he has never met another Wikipedian.

If I could get even an IP address for Essjay or Robbie31, it would narrow the search to perhaps several universities instead of dozens. That would be a big help.

Essjay is probably more powerful than SlimVirgin, because he doesn't piss off too many people, and he appears to have some technical chops that come in handy for vandal-fighting through the use of bots. But I think he needs to be outed -- he spends too much time on Wikipedia and I'm sure it's bad for his health and warps his mind.

Can anyone help?

Posted by: Somey Wed 26th July 2006, 8:33pm

Interesting -- earlier today he desysopped almost everyone on the Counter-vandalism wiki:

http://countervandalism.org/wiki/Special:Log/rights

So now there's just him, Firefox, and BookofJude. Perhaps he's finally discovered an effective way to curtail abuse?

Posted by: Poetlister Thu 27th July 2006, 9:45am

I personally have nothing but praise for Essjay. He was very helpful to me over the [[Seamus Heaney]] edit war. I still think that if I'd gone back to him rather than Jayjg over the List of Jewish jurists, it would have been better all round.

Posted by: Sceptre Thu 27th July 2006, 12:37pm

QUOTE(Somey @ Wed 26th July 2006, 9:33pm) *

Interesting -- earlier today he desysopped almost everyone on the Counter-vandalism wiki:

http://countervandalism.org/wiki/Special:Log/rights

So now there's just him, Firefox, and BookofJude. Perhaps he's finally discovered an effective way to curtail abuse?


Or rather, he reassigned permissions for users.

I agree with Poetlister, I can't find any fault with Essjay.

Posted by: Somey Thu 27th July 2006, 6:39pm

I don't see much of anything wrong with him either, but I do have to say that something still doesn't add up. He really does spend a huge amount of time on Wikipedia, to the extent that it's difficult to believe that he even has a job at all, much less a tenured professorship somewhere.

Believe it or not, I've known quite a few tenured professors, and while they generally don't work quite as hard as the ones who are still on tenure-track, the idea that one of them could be that heavily addicted to Wikipedia and still do everything the job normally entails really does strain credibility a little bit.

Maybe he never sleeps?

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Thu 27th July 2006, 10:51pm

If I was incompetent, and in charge of propaganda for an incompetent intelligence agency, I'd hire SlimVirgin to sling my spin on Wikipedia.

If I was competent, and in charge of propaganda for a competent intelligence agency, I'd form a small, tight committee to sign up under a single username, and avoid alienating everyone. (Essjay says, "I avoid controversy onsite whenever possible.")

Since his first Wikipedia edit in February, 2005, Essjay has climbed through the ranks. Everyone loves him. Currently he is:

administrator, en-wikipedia
administrator, wikiquote
administrator, meta-wiki
administrator, wikimedia commons
checkuser (he runs a "large percentage" of these)
oversight
bot approval group
handles user renaming requests
bureaucrat
official Freenode group contact
owns and operates Vandalism Control Network
chairman of Mediation Committee
election official, Board of Trustees 2006 election
17,000 edits

His user page pushes all the right buttons: he's gay, he's liberal, and he also has a deep respect for Roman Catholic ritual and tradition. There is nothing to object to, that isn't counterbalanced by something else. He is Wikipedia's EveryManWoman.

My guess is that Essjay could shut down someone like SlimVirgin if he approached it intelligently. That's what separates successful operatives from amateurs in spookdom. Essjay is a sleeper and a mole at the same time. He can just laugh off the SlimVirgins and the Kelly_Martins, because with a few strokes of the keyboard, they're history. But he has bigger plans, so there is no need to worry about people like Gerard, Sidaway, SlimVirgin, or Kelly.

The problem I have with this whole thing is that it doesn't compute. He's so busy on Wikipedia that he makes SlimVirgin look lazy. His user page is full of detail, but absolutely nothing can be verified externally so far. He's cloaked up to his eyebrows whenever he's online. He never screws up and shows an IP address. He does not get people mad enough to start wondering who he is. He has never even mentioned my name, as far as I know.

Essjay is too slick to be true. I say he's a competent, professional spook who manages several employees to help him out on Wikipedia. Jimbo probably doesn't even know who he is.

Posted by: Somey Fri 28th July 2006, 3:41am

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Thu 27th July 2006, 5:51pm) *
Essjay is too slick to be true. I say he's a competent, professional spook who manages several employees to help him out on Wikipedia. Jimbo probably doesn't even know who he is.

I have to say, the comedic potential of this is almost beyond any kind of conceivable measurement!

Still, I have to admit, in my various researches on Wikipedia user/admin behavior over the last few months, there have been instances, especially with Mormons and one or two other sectarian religious organizations, that I've gotten the distinct impression that I was looking at the work of a committee - people who'd go from semi-rational, well-written arguments one day to childish, grammatically-embarrassing sniping the next. I generally prefer to ascribe this to psychological reasons, but that's only because I'm me, i.e., not someone with an intelligence-agency background.

But for the less conspiracy-minded, I think you have to grant that there are lots of other possibilities, other than that he's exactly what he says he is - the dude could have inherited a lot of money, or scored big in the stock market, or won the lottery, or whatever... then quit his job in order to blow the rest of his life on Wikipedia, which you have to admit is much easier than traveling the world or getting involved in some worthwhile cause or other. He might even be physically incapacitated in some way, unable to travel or go hang out with other people or even play golf, which is what I generally do, when I have time.

I guess there are lots of reasons why an intelligence agency might want to obtain power on Wikipedia, though, especially since it can involve the ability to see people's IP addresses. I wonder how many tax dollars that would cost? And assuming it's American intelligence, would it really make the US safer from, let's say, terrorism than something like, I dunno, capturing Osama bin Laden?

Posted by: MARMOTFACE Mon 21st August 2006, 7:38pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Wed 26th July 2006, 5:35pm) *


If I could get even an IP address for Essgay or Robbie31, it would narrow the search to perhaps several universities instead of dozens. That would be a big help.





Beg and thou shalt receive.

Posted by: Somey Mon 21st August 2006, 7:51pm

QUOTE(MARMOTFACE @ Mon 21st August 2006, 2:38pm) *
Beg and thou shalt receive.

O great MARMOTFACE, we beseech thee in thy everlasting glory to take pity on these faithless wretches, underserving of thy great beneficence, and bestow upon us the knowledge (and specifically the IP address) we seek, whereby in return we shall forever refrain from making fun of thy username, and never again respond dismissively to thy pithy one-sentence reply-postings which, in expectation of these bestowals, shall be surely proven then to be the greatest of all wisdom?

(I took a college-level course in begging, so I figured I'd give it a shot!)

Posted by: IronDuke Mon 21st August 2006, 9:05pm

You know, as he was obviously interviewed for the Atlantic Monthly piece, and the above-mentioned academic credentials were listed there, I'm going to wager that they are real. Unlike Wikipedia, the Atlantic Monthly employs actual fact-checkers, and has a standard of journalistic ethics. However, you could always write Marshall Poe and enquire about his methods of verifying what he was told.

Posted by: Backfire Sun 27th August 2006, 2:23pm

Hmm. S.J. Could this be a Jesuit reference instead of his initials?

Doctorate of Canon Law is another giveaway, and his specializing in Roman Catholocism.

There are 11 Jesuit colleges and universities in the Northeast: http://www.ajcunet.edu/tier.aspx?bid=55

This might help narrow it down

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sun 27th August 2006, 9:41pm

From someone's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jondel/Archive2:

QUOTE
Jondel: Thanks for the note on my Talk page...Although I have great respect for them, no, I am not a Jesuit, as I'm not a priest. I'm a Catholic scholar at a secular university in the U.S. "Essjay" is the spelled-out form of my initials, S.J. (no, not "Society of Jesus") as well as my patron saint, Saint Justin. It was a nickname I picked up in graduate school. Thanks for the interest. --Essjay 04:18, May 9, 2005 (UTC)

He says "secular university," which precludes Jesuit institutions.

The exchange below is funny. It's from the #wikimedia channel on freenode. Brion is Brion Vibber, Wikimedia Foundation's lead developer. They're talking about the upcoming election for a new trustee to replace Angela. Candidates have to be at least 18 years old under Florida law, and the candidate has to identify themselves to at least one election official.
QUOTE
2006-08-11 02:30 < brion> hrm
2006-08-11 02:30 < brion> "Candidates will be required to identify themselves fully to Essjay, Aphaia, Datrio, or another designated individual"
2006-08-11 02:30 < brion> isn't Essjay one of those who refuses to identify him/herself?
2006-08-11 02:44 < cimon> brion: somebody should run, and find out how he could identify himself fully to Essjay...


Posted by: karmafist Mon 28th August 2006, 2:18pm

Daniel, i'd slightly disagree with you on Essjay.

You're right in the fact that when he's on, he's a force to be reckoned with, but when he's not, he's a wreck.


He had a big hissy fit in late 2005 where he deleted everything he made for Esperanza and did some other strange things because he wanted to leave Wikipedia forever and eventually was brought back after a big sympathy orgy.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Mon 28th August 2006, 3:57pm

It's possible that he has made up all of his biographical details. He's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Essjay/Wikiholism to be a full-time professor, maintain a relationship with Robbie, and eat and sleep too. His checkuser skills do not impress me (block them all, you might even hit someone), and his entire http://countervandalism.org/wiki/VCN is probably next to worthless.

Yes, his hissy fit at the end of November was rather immature. I think we know why Essjay stays away from controversy -- it's because he can't handle it.

Wouldn't it be fun if Essjay and SlimVirgin started attacking each other? SlimVirgin would eat him alive, even though she's a vegetarian. But then Essjay would call up Jimmy, and Jimmy would remind Essjay that they're making all the world's information available to all the world's people, and why not just send a couple more laptops to African children and forget about SlimVirgin?

Posted by: karmafist Mon 28th August 2006, 6:30pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Mon 28th August 2006, 11:57am) *



Yes, his hissy fit at the end of November was rather immature. I think we know why Essjay stays away from controversy -- it's because he can't handle it.


I'd disagree, he stays away from being in the limelight of controversy, he can't handle it when he's in someone's focus, but I don't think that's the case when he's an outside bulwark to the controversy.

Nobody can get as high up in Wikipedia as Essjay has without putting in frequent insights into dispute ridden situations.


QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Mon 28th August 2006, 11:57am) *

Wouldn't it be fun if Essjay and SlimVirgin started attacking each other? SlimVirgin would eat him alive, even though she's a vegetarian. But then Essjay would call up Jimmy, and Jimmy would remind Essjay that they're making all the world's information available to all the world's people, and why not just send a couple more laptops to African children and forget about SlimVirgin?


lol. I can see him now. "Everyone, let's gather some 'genuine human feeling', ok?"

Posted by: Somey Thu 11th January 2007, 3:48pm

Apparently the mystery may have been solved for us - Essjay has been hired by Wikia Corporation. There's even a photo:

http://www.wikia.com/wiki/User:Essjay

I always thought he'd look a little less monochromatic than that, though.

Posted by: Poetlister Thu 11th January 2007, 4:43pm

I think that we should always ignore skin colour, or lack of it; it's what's inside that matters. I have often been described as white when in fact I'm pink.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Thu 11th January 2007, 5:12pm

I'm not convinced that the mystery is solved. I just did some clicking around, and Ryan Jordan, tenured professor of theology at a private university in the eastern U.S., with a Doctorate of Philosophy in Theology (Ph.D.) and a Doctorate in Canon Law (JCD), an expert on Roman Catholicism, with the initials S.J. (where is the "S" in Ryan Jordan?), has a zero footprint in the search engines. The only connection is that Essjay says he used to be a cantor at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, Kentucky, and now this Ryan Jordan is back living near Louisville.

I'd say that unless and until there is confirmation from Gil Penchina, CEO of Wikia, that this is the real identity of this new Wikia staffer, we have to assume that this is just more smoke.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Thu 11th January 2007, 6:03pm

I thought SJ meant Society of Jesus, that is, the Jesuits.

Shades of the Eliminati !!!

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: Somey Thu 11th January 2007, 7:01pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Thu 11th January 2007, 11:12am) *
...Ryan Jordan, tenured professor of theology at a private university in the eastern U.S., with a Doctorate of Philosophy in Theology (Ph.D.) and a Doctorate in Canon Law (JCD), an expert on Roman Catholicism, with the initials S.J. (where is the "S" in Ryan Jordan?), has a zero footprint in the search engines.

Interesting... I guess I wouldn't put it past him/them to hire Essjay under an assumed name. Makes perfect sense, in a way. But it's hard to imagine Essjay handing over his account to a completely different person - it has to be the same guy, even if that isn't his real name.

One possibility is that Essjay is on a one- or two-year sabbatical from whatever University he's tenured at, and this is basically a temp job for him. If that's the case, he wouldn't want that University to know that he had another job - that's usually considered a no-no for an Associate or Full Professor. IOW, he's probably supposed to be writing a book or working on a documentary or chairing some sort of prestigious international academic organization, something like that. That would certainly explain his not wanting to use his real name, and their willingness to go along with it.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Thu 11th January 2007, 7:48pm

This http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Essjay is worth quoting, before it gets modified. Please humor me and click and verify -- it could disappear faster than you can say "phantom administrator."

QUOTE
"Essjay" is the spelled-out form of my initials, S.J.; it is an old nickname I picked up. Others sometimes confuse me with Sj, but we are not the same person!
...
I get a lot of requests for personal information about me; however, in these days of internet stalking, anonymity has become more and more important. Here are some details I'm willing to share:

Alias: Justin Stewart

Me: I am male, past 30 but not yet 40, gay and in a long-term relationship with my partner, Robbie, an attorney. We live in the Northeastern United States.

Career: I teach theology at a university in the eastern United States. My area of expertise is Roman Catholicism, though I rarely contribute to theology articles anymore.

I am not Catholic, a priest, or a Jesuit; my interest in Catholicism is purely academic. I am a member of the Christian Church, and serve as an Elder.

This information used to be on his main Wikipedia user page. Now it's gone from there. The most recent trace is in this http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Essjay&oldid=89625160 from November 23. Notice above the big box on the bottom, where it says "User:Essjay/Personal" in red. This means that he had already deleted the subdirectory, but forgot to fix the main page reference as of this date, which is red because it points to a nonexistent page. This page still exists at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Essjay/Personal

I believe that Essjay was a fraud from the beginning. It's a bad sign that Wikia CEO Gil Penchina is allowing this sort of bullshit to get infiltrated into Wikia. Seems to me that when you're talking $14 million in venture funding ($4 million start-up and another $10 million from Amazon), that you should have real people who are really verifiable on your staff.

Posted by: nobs Thu 11th January 2007, 8:20pm

What is the point of all this? Essjay could be a committe.

Posted by: Somey Thu 11th January 2007, 8:34pm

True - he could be a whole religion, nationality, or even ethnicity unto himself. But as for whether or not Wikia should hire him, I've always assumed that web-based companies hire people under assumed names all the time. That would be especially true of Wikia - anonymity is so essential to their success, they probably encourage it!

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Thu 11th January 2007, 8:40pm

QUOTE(nobs @ Thu 11th January 2007, 2:20pm) *

What is the point of all this? Essjay could be a committe.

All we know for sure is that Essjay is not Nobs. Essjay knows how to spell.

Posted by: nobs Fri 12th January 2007, 2:36am

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Thu 11th January 2007, 1:40pm) *
QUOTE(nobs @ Thu 11th January 2007, 2:20pm) *
What is the point of all this? Essjay could be a committe.
All we know for sure is that Essjay is not Nobs. Essjay knows how to spell.
Pardon my Franklish. Essjay could be a comité.

Posted by: Somey Fri 12th January 2007, 5:39am

QUOTE(nobs @ Thu 11th January 2007, 8:36pm) *
Pardon my Franklish. Essjay could be a comité.

Or even a termite!

Or, perhaps he's concomitant with the commisariat of the complementary Communist commercial comb-over conspiracy...

Anyway, let's put this whole issue of how to spell the word "committee" aside for a moment. The question now is whether or not Essjay is, or was, or ever was, a Professor of Theology, or for that matter, even a teaching assistant in Theology or any other religious studies-like program. While this is of only marginal importance, and mostly of interest to people on WP who were led to believe that he was an authority on the subject, it would at least indicate that Essjay had been, at best, disingenuous in representing himself within the WP community. (Not that such things are unusual!)

He doesn't look older than 27 in the photo, maybe 30 tops, but it might be an old photo. And there's no reason not to believe that he really is/was a religion professor, except for the fact that nobody named "Ryan Jordan" can be found on sites like ratemyprofessors.com (which in itself is a subject I'd like to discuss one of these days), teaching in a religion department in an East Coast college or university. There's one who teaches History at UC San Diego, but I doubt that's him.

Still, by all accounts he's a reasonably decent sort, and there's probably no need to make a big deal out of it... It is rather curious, though!

Posted by: a view from the hive Fri 12th January 2007, 7:32am

QUOTE(Somey @ Thu 11th January 2007, 9:39pm) *

QUOTE(nobs @ Thu 11th January 2007, 8:36pm) *
Pardon my Franklish. Essjay could be a comité.

Or even a termite!

Or, perhaps he's concomitant with the commisariat of the complementary Communist commercial comb-over conspiracy...

Anyway, let's put this whole issue of how to spell the word "committee" aside for a moment. The question now is whether or not Essjay is, or was, or ever was, a Professor of Theology, or for that matter, even a teaching assistant in Theology or any other religious studies-like program. While this is of only marginal importance, and mostly of interest to people on WP who were led to believe that he was an authority on the subject, it would at least indicate that Essjay had been, at best, disingenuous in representing himself within the WP community. (Not that such things are unusual!)

He doesn't look older than 27 in the photo, maybe 30 tops, but it might be an old photo. And there's no reason not to believe that he really is/was a religion professor, except for the fact that nobody named "Ryan Jordan" can be found on sites like ratemyprofessors.com (which in itself is a subject I'd like to discuss one of these days), teaching in a religion department in an East Coast college or university. There's one who teaches History at UC San Diego, but I doubt that's him.

Still, by all accounts he's a reasonably decent sort, and there's probably no need to make a big deal out of it... It is rather curious, though!


Ok, ok, why wants to start RateMyProfessors-Watch. Lots and lots of anon people there and there is a LOT more false information. Wikipedia pales in comparsion to the false information posted on that site.

Posted by: everyking Fri 12th January 2007, 8:57am

QUOTE(Somey @ Fri 12th January 2007, 6:39am) *

QUOTE(nobs @ Thu 11th January 2007, 8:36pm) *
Pardon my Franklish. Essjay could be a comité.

Or even a termite!

Or, perhaps he's concomitant with the commisariat of the complementary Communist commercial comb-over conspiracy...

Anyway, let's put this whole issue of how to spell the word "committee" aside for a moment. The question now is whether or not Essjay is, or was, or ever was, a Professor of Theology, or for that matter, even a teaching assistant in Theology or any other religious studies-like program. While this is of only marginal importance, and mostly of interest to people on WP who were led to believe that he was an authority on the subject, it would at least indicate that Essjay had been, at best, disingenuous in representing himself within the WP community. (Not that such things are unusual!)

He doesn't look older than 27 in the photo, maybe 30 tops, but it might be an old photo. And there's no reason not to believe that he really is/was a religion professor, except for the fact that nobody named "Ryan Jordan" can be found on sites like ratemyprofessors.com (which in itself is a subject I'd like to discuss one of these days), teaching in a religion department in an East Coast college or university. There's one who teaches History at UC San Diego, but I doubt that's him.

Still, by all accounts he's a reasonably decent sort, and there's probably no need to make a big deal out of it... It is rather curious, though!


My very brief account is that he isn't a reasonably decent sort at all.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Fri 12th January 2007, 12:47pm

I still think that the Limonata and the Ordure are behind all this.

Jonny cool.gif

PS. Yes, I know how to spell their real names. I just don't want them tracking me down with their dark satanic search engines.

Posted by: Poetlister Fri 12th January 2007, 12:50pm

QUOTE(everyking @ Fri 12th January 2007, 8:57am) *

My very brief account is that he isn't a reasonably decent sort at all.

He welcomed me when I first started on WP and was most helpful when I first had a real problem. I still wonder what would have happened had I gone to him rather than Jayjg over a subsequent problem.

Posted by: gomi Fri 12th January 2007, 6:14pm

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Fri 12th January 2007, 4:47am) *

I still think that the Limonata and the Ordure are behind all this.

Ach, yuv got too much Orangina in yer Iron Bru.

Posted by: everyking Sat 13th January 2007, 9:07am

QUOTE(Poetlister @ Fri 12th January 2007, 1:50pm) *

QUOTE(everyking @ Fri 12th January 2007, 8:57am) *

My very brief account is that he isn't a reasonably decent sort at all.

He welcomed me when I first started on WP and was most helpful when I first had a real problem. I still wonder what would have happened had I gone to him rather than Jayjg over a subsequent problem.


Maybe my impression of him isn't a fair one--my experience with him is limited to one unfortunate instance when he quite abusively blocked me.

Posted by: Nathan Mon 15th January 2007, 2:21am

I always thought I was a bit pale, myself.

Since Essjay outed himself as Ryan Jordan, we can guess that's either:
a) an assumed name
b) or he lied about Essjay meaning the initials S.J. (unless his name is really S. Ryan Jordan or Ryan S. Jordan, the S has to be there somewhere)

Anyway...

I'm wondering how one can be both gay and a Catholic (when the Catholic Church has such a negative stance on gays). Isn't that a contradiction in terms? Anyway, this isn't the place for such lines of discussion.

I have nothing but praise for Essjay (and I rarely say that about anyone on Wikipedia) because any interactions I've had with him have been either positive or neutral.

QUOTE(Poetlister @ Thu 11th January 2007, 11:43am) *

I think that we should always ignore skin colour, or lack of it; it's what's inside that matters. I have often been described as white when in fact I'm pink.

Posted by: everyking Tue 16th January 2007, 8:02am

QUOTE(Nathan @ Mon 15th January 2007, 3:21am) *

I always thought I was a bit pale, myself.

Since Essjay outed himself as Ryan Jordan, we can guess that's either:
a) an assumed name
cool.gif or he lied about Essjay meaning the initials S.J. (unless his name is really S. Ryan Jordan or Ryan S. Jordan, the S has to be there somewhere)

Anyway...

I'm wondering how one can be both gay and a Catholic (when the Catholic Church has such a negative stance on gays). Isn't that a contradiction in terms? Anyway, this isn't the place for such lines of discussion.

I have nothing but praise for Essjay (and I rarely say that about anyone on Wikipedia) because any interactions I've had with him have been either positive or neutral.

QUOTE(Poetlister @ Thu 11th January 2007, 11:43am) *

I think that we should always ignore skin colour, or lack of it; it's what's inside that matters. I have often been described as white when in fact I'm pink.



No, read what Daniel quotes from him above: "I am not Catholic, a priest, or a Jesuit; my interest in Catholicism is purely academic."

Posted by: Nathan Tue 16th January 2007, 6:22pm

Ah, missed that, sorry. It happens.

I suppose I can agree with it myself; I have a passing interest in religion but I'm completely non-religious.

Posted by: Somey Fri 19th January 2007, 7:52pm

There have been some additions to Essjay's http://www.wikia.com/wiki/User:Essjay recently. Here's the stuff about Essjay himself:

QUOTE
For those who may be interested, I'm a 24 year old guy from Kentucky; I grew up in Kentucky, and studied philosophy and religion at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky as well as the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. I currently live outside Louisville with my cat Mia.

Before coming to Wikia, I was an account manager with a Fortune 20 company, where I worked on a ten person team that managed roughly $500,000,000 in annual sales. Prior to that, I was a paralegal for five years: I spent two years working for a local firm, nearly a year with a firm in Louisville that represented doctors in medical licensure matters, and a three month special position with a United States Bankruptcy Trustee. From there, I went freelance, and spent nearly two years handling special projects for several firms.

Is he just laughing at us all at this point?

So we're supposed to believe that a 24-year-old studied philosophy and religion at three separate institutions, and then worked for five years as a paralegal - which in itself requires at least a year of specialized training - and then got a sales job with a Fortune "20" company? Even if the sales job lasted only a few weeks, c'mon - when did he graduate from High School, at age 13?

Not much question now - this is completely bogus. Daniel Brandt is right - this whole Essjay thing is a huge lie, and they may even be doing it to amuse themselves at Brandt's expense, or ours. Admittedly I do feel a bit foolish for believing it at first - hey, maybe "AGF" should only apply to honest people? - but anyone who buys this crap at this point is basically wacked.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sat 20th January 2007, 5:40pm

You're forgetting that he once claimed on his user page that he held the following degrees:

* Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (B.A.)
* Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.)
* Doctorate of Philosophy in Theology (Ph.D.)
* Doctorate in Canon Law (JCD)

The New Yorker, famous for its fact-checking, was completely snookered:

QUOTE
KNOW IT ALL: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?

by Stacy Schiff

The New Yorker, Issue of 2006-07-31, Posted 2006-07-24

...

One regular on the site is a user known as Essjay, who holds a Ph.D. in theology and a degree in canon law and has written or contributed to sixteen thousand entries. A tenured professor of religion at a private university, Essjay made his first edit in February, 2005. Initially, he contributed to articles in his field -- on the penitential rite, transubstantiation, the papal tiara. Soon he was spending fourteen hours a day on the site, though he was careful to keep his online life a secret from his colleagues and friends. (To his knowledge, he has never met another Wikipedian, and he will not be attending Wikimania, the second international gathering of the encyclopedia's contributors, which will take place in early August in Boston.)

...

Essjay is serving a second term as chair of the mediation committee. He is also an admin, a bureaucrat, and a checkuser, which means that he is one of fourteen Wikipedians authorized to trace I.P. addresses in cases of suspected abuse. He often takes his laptop to class, so that he can be available to Wikipedians while giving a quiz, and he keeps an eye on twenty I.R.C. chat channels, where users often trade gossip about abuses they have witnessed.

...

Essjay says that he routinely receives death threats. "There are people who take Wikipedia way too seriously," he told me. (Wikipedians have acknowledged Essjay's labors by awarding him numerous barnstars -- five-pointed stars, which the community has adopted as a symbol of praise -- including several Random Acts of Kindness Barnstars and the Tireless Contributor Barnstar.)

...

Wales recently established an "oversight" function, by which some admins (Essjay among them) can purge text from the system, so that even the history page bears no record of its ever having been there. Wales says that this measure is rarely used, and only in order to remove slanderous or private information, such as a telephone number.


Ryan Jordan's "friends" on Facebook include Angela Beesley, James Forrester, Shanel Kalicharan, Gil Penchina, Jimmy Wales, and Kat Walsh. I cannot tell how long each has been on his friends list. Those are just the names I recognize. There are some names from this list of friends who live near him in Kentucky, which might be useful for anyone investigating if he really exists.

I might write to The New Yorker and complain about their fact-checking, and ask for a retraction and investigation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stacy_Schiff, the author of the piece in The New Yorker, is a "Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who lives in New York City. She is a graduate of Phillips Academy and Williams College. She was a Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster until 1990 whose essays and articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review and The Times Literary Supplement. Schiff has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities."

Maybe some enterprising admin on this board can contact Ms. Schiff, and ask how she got snookered by Wikipedia. Then he could post her reply on this board.

If we can put some meat on this story, it might make an interesting page on wikipedia-watch.org. The significance here is that it not only serves as a critique of Wikipedia (which Jimmy and Angela wouldn't mind throwing to the dogs at this point), but also of Wikia (which they love dearly because there's big bucks involved).

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sat 20th January 2007, 11:54pm

Dear Ms. Stacy Schiff:

The purpose of this email is to inquire about a serious error of fact in your article about Wikipedia in The New Yorker that ran in the July 31, 2006 issue.

In this article, you identify Essjay as someone "who holds a Ph.D. in theology and a degree in canon law," and who is "a tenured professor of religion at a private university."

I have spent about ten hours in recent months trying to determine Essjay's real name, and have been unable to find any information that correlates with the clues he has offered about himself at various times and in various places on Wikipedia. It is true that he once claimed a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (B.A.), a Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.), a Doctorate of Philosophy in Theology (Ph.D.), and a Doctorate in Canon Law (JCD) on his Wikipedia user page.

Recently, however, he has been named as a community manager for Wikia, Inc., and has offered personal information that is entirely at odds with the information he once offered on Wikipedia. He now says he is 24 years old, and while he says he took philosophy and religion courses at three places in Kentucky, he may not have a degree. His professional experience has nothing to do with this interest, and in itself is suspicious for a person of only 24 years.

He is a fraud. It's possible that he doesn't exist as a single person, but is a collection of top administrators. Your statements about him in your article should be corrected for the record, because they imply that Wikipedia is administered by responsible and authoritative people. This is simply not true.

I would like to know who recommended you to Essjay, how was he represented to you, who made these representations, and what steps you and The New Yorker took to verify his statements and his identity.

Since Essjay has recently deleted some personal information from his Wikipedia user page, I fear the same thing could happen with the new information provided by him. Therefore, I have made a screen shot of his user page on wikia.com, which I placed on my site at http://www.wikipedia-watch.org/gifs/wmessjay.png (see "About Me" towards the bottom of that screen shot).

A portion of his previous Wikipedia personal information is still available on his user page at wikimedia.org, a screen shot of which is at http://www.wikipedia-watch.org/gifs/mtessjay.png

You probably know that Jimmy Wales has a picture of you on his photo site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimbo_wales/109885558/ You also know by now that your article in The New Yorker resulted in your own flattering biography in Wikipedia, which was started on July 24, the same day your article was posted online. It has to be asked: Was there any quid pro quo involved between certain top Wikipedians and your article in The New Yorker?

Thank you,
Daniel Brandt
www.wikipedia-watch.org

Posted by: anon1234 Sun 21st January 2007, 12:14am

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Sat 20th January 2007, 11:54pm) *

Dear Ms. Stacy Schiff:

The purpose of this email is to inquire about a serious error of fact in your article about Wikipedia in The New Yorker that ran in the July 31, 2006 issue.


Awesome! Burn! I would have held back on the personal insults because it might preclude a response. I would write another if I were you to their general letters section, tone it down a bit and it might end up in an issue of the New Yorker, which would be great to see.

Posted by: Nathan Sun 21st January 2007, 12:37am

I could'n't have done better myself, and Wikitruth says I'm a "clever wordsmith"..hah!

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sun 21st January 2007, 6:20am

Look at the bottom of http://www.wikipedia-watch.org/gifs/usermess.png, where I ask Essjay to explain himself. It lasted 28 minutes until Shanel reverted it. Note that Shanel is also on his Facebook "friends" list, and she became a steward last month.

Now I'm taking bets on how long it will be until Essjay comes along and wipes out the history diff.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Sun 21st January 2007, 1:54pm

Yeah, I keep wondering how long it will take the establishment media to get over it with the G Wiz Biz and get down to doing some real investigative journalism. Then again, who needs a second Pulitzer?

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sun 21st January 2007, 2:19pm

The two emails I found for Stacy Schiff both bounced. One was schiff AT observer.com and the other was schiff AT nytimes.com. I sent a copy to a media-inquiry email address listed in the "contacts" box at The New Yorker. That one went through, and will most likely end up in the trash.

When Ms. Schiff was writing the article, she talked to Seigenthaler, and he told me that he gave her my number. But she never called me. I wouldn't have known anything about Essjay at that point anyway, although I would have talked to her about Wikipedia. The fact that she didn't even try to call me proves that she didn't do much research, and wasn't particularly interested in presenting Wikipedia objectively.

In terms of contact information, all I could find out about Stacy Schiff from clicking around is that she lives in New York City with her husband and children. If anyone can find better contact information, please let me know.

Posted by: anon1234 Sun 21st January 2007, 6:11pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Sun 21st January 2007, 2:19pm) *

The two emails I found for Stacy Schiff both bounced. One was schiff AT observer.com and the other was schiff AT nytimes.com. I sent a copy to a media-inquiry email address listed in the "contacts" box at The New Yorker. That one went through, and will most likely end up in the trash.

When Ms. Schiff was writing the article, she talked to Seigenthaler, and he told me that he gave her my number. But she never called me. I wouldn't have known anything about Essjay at that point anyway, although I would have talked to her about Wikipedia. The fact that she didn't even try to call me proves that she didn't do much research, and wasn't particularly interested in presenting Wikipedia objectively.

In terms of contact information, all I could find out about Stacy Schiff from clicking around is that she lives in New York City with her husband and children. If anyone can find better contact information, please let me know.


Just sent a polite email to the observer general inquiries box asking for her new contact information. Your inquiry to the New Yorker, if worded properly should get a lot of traction.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Fri 26th January 2007, 5:58pm

QUOTE(anon1234 @ Sun 21st January 2007, 12:11pm) *

Your inquiry to the New Yorker, if worded properly should get a lot of traction.

I'm not having much luck pursuing this. I sent a fax to the general fax number at The New Yorker on letterhead, informing them that a serious error was published, and requesting contact info for Stacy Schiff. I also mentioned that a copy of my bounced email to Ms. Schiff was sent to mediarequests AT newyorker.com. If anyone read the fax, they should have been able to retrieve it from that department. My fax was sent on January 21. No response yet.

I sent an email to Carol Wentworth, the PR person for Wikia, Inc. I asked her to forward a copy to Gil Penchina. My email asked whether the information provided by Ryan Jordan on his Wikia user page has been verified by Wikia. I pointed out that The New Yorker published bogus credentials for Essjay based on his Wikipedia user page. I got an autobot response from Ms. Wentworth informing me that she is out of the office and will not return until January 23. Now it's three days since she returned, and still no response.

Today I added Essjay to http://www.wikipedia-watch.org/hive2.html#309

I think I've given Wikia and Essjay an opportunity to respond, and by now it is responsible and proper for me to create a special Essjay page on Wikipedia-Watch. As for The New Yorker, I suspect their position will be, if ever they feel the need to present their position, that since the name "Essjay" was itself a pseudonym, it is not necessary to correct phony credentials attached to a phony name. However, I think it should be pursued further with The New Yorker and Stacy Schiff, simply so that they will be less inclined to drink Wikipedia's Kool-Aid in the future.

Posted by: Alex Fri 26th January 2007, 6:16pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Fri 26th January 2007, 5:58pm) *

Today I added Essjay to http://www.wikipedia-watch.org/hive2.html#309

I think I've given Wikia and Essjay an opportunity to respond, and by now it is responsible and proper for me to create a special Essjay page on Wikipedia-Watch. As for The New Yorker, I suspect their position will be, if ever they feel the need to present their position, that since the name "Essjay" was itself a pseudonym, it is not necessary to correct phony credentials attached to a phony name. However, I think it should be pursued further with The New Yorker and Stacy Schiff, simply so that they will be less inclined to drink Wikipedia's Kool-Aid in the future.

What I found odd is that on Essjay's user page he stated he is older than 30 and younger than 45... Which is true? 24 as on Wikia, or the vague 30-45 on Wikipedia? Who knows.

Posted by: anon1234 Fri 26th January 2007, 6:28pm

QUOTE(Alex @ Fri 26th January 2007, 6:16pm) *

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Fri 26th January 2007, 5:58pm) *

Today I added Essjay to http://www.wikipedia-watch.org/hive2.html#309

I think I've given Wikia and Essjay an opportunity to respond, and by now it is responsible and proper for me to create a special Essjay page on Wikipedia-Watch. As for The New Yorker, I suspect their position will be, if ever they feel the need to present their position, that since the name "Essjay" was itself a pseudonym, it is not necessary to correct phony credentials attached to a phony name. However, I think it should be pursued further with The New Yorker and Stacy Schiff, simply so that they will be less inclined to drink Wikipedia's Kool-Aid in the future.

What I found odd is that on Essjay's user page he stated he is older than 30 and younger than 45... Which is true? 24 as on Wikia, or the vague 30-45 on Wikipedia? Who knows.


This is someone one needs to follow up on. A webpage would be good. But also getting blogosphere coverage or DIGG coverage would also be useful. Here is an idea. Why not submit it to DIGG and tell the rest of the forum when you do so we can vote on it.

Posted by: Somey Fri 26th January 2007, 6:47pm

QUOTE(anon1234 @ Fri 26th January 2007, 12:28pm) *
This is someone one needs to follow up on. A webpage would be good. But also getting blogosphere coverage or DIGG coverage would also be useful. Here is an idea. Why not submit it to DIGG and tell the rest of the forum when you do so we can vote on it.

Okay... but is he a big enough target to warrant that much scrutiny, though? I mean, there's obviously something fishy going on, but if you apply Occam's Razor to the situation, I'd say it's probably more likely that he's 24 (and being dishonest on his "Wikiresume") than that he's pushing 40 and just left a tenured faculty job to work for Wikia, apparently from his house.

The question is whether or not anyone outside of Wikiland is likely to care all that much, given that most of them won't realize how high-ranking Essjay is, or how that's even all that relevant. I'd imagine a lot of media people just assume that Wikipedia users are dishonest about their supposed qualifications as a matter of course... The fact that Essjay managed to schnooker a writer for the New Yorker is significant, but one might have to find someone who's actively hostile to the New Yorker and give them a full run-down before a story actually gets written.

Posted by: anon1234 Fri 26th January 2007, 7:32pm

QUOTE(Somey @ Fri 26th January 2007, 6:47pm) *

QUOTE(anon1234 @ Fri 26th January 2007, 12:28pm) *
This is someone one needs to follow up on. A webpage would be good. But also getting blogosphere coverage or DIGG coverage would also be useful. Here is an idea. Why not submit it to DIGG and tell the rest of the forum when you do so we can vote on it.

Okay... but is he a big enough target to warrant that much scrutiny, though? I mean, there's obviously something fishy going on, but if you apply Occam's Razor to the situation, I'd say it's probably more likely that he's 24 (and being dishonest on his "Wikiresume") than that he's pushing 40 and just left a tenured faculty job to work for Wikia, apparently from his house.

The question is whether or not anyone outside of Wikiland is likely to care all that much, given that most of them won't realize how high-ranking Essjay is, or how that's even all that relevant. I'd imagine a lot of media people just assume that Wikipedia users are dishonest about their supposed qualifications as a matter of course... The fact that Essjay managed to schnooker a writer for the New Yorker is significant, but one might have to find someone who's actively hostile to the New Yorker and give them a full run-down before a story actually gets written.


The webpage on Essjay should detail how he is in the inner circle and the way the processes work on Wikipedia. But it shouldn't be that hard to show he is in the inner circle to fairly new outsiders if one has a few pictures with number of users in each circle. It can be seen as an instructive lesson into the structure of the Wikipedian inner circle -- which no publication has yet covered. Thus you can sell it based on that new angle it offers to readers. That the inner circle of Wikipedia is contains at least one major fabricator in the spirit of Jason Blair -- which further brings into question the truthfulness of everything Wikipedia does. The world is ready for a major expose into the dark side of Wikipedia and this may be the route in for major media if done appropriately.

Posted by: guy Fri 26th January 2007, 8:00pm

QUOTE(Alex @ Fri 26th January 2007, 6:16pm) *

What I found odd is that on Essjay's user page he stated he is older than 30 and younger than 45... Which is true? 24 as on Wikia, or the vague 30-45 on Wikipedia? Who knows.

Welcome Alex.

Well, if you're making up everything else, why not your age?

Posted by: Alex Fri 26th January 2007, 8:16pm

QUOTE(guy @ Fri 26th January 2007, 8:00pm) *

QUOTE(Alex @ Fri 26th January 2007, 6:16pm) *

What I found odd is that on Essjay's user page he stated he is older than 30 and younger than 45... Which is true? 24 as on Wikia, or the vague 30-45 on Wikipedia? Who knows.

Welcome Alex.

Well, if you're making up everything else, why not your age?

Good point. I don't think he's making everything up though.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Fri 26th January 2007, 8:33pm

QUOTE(Alex @ Fri 26th January 2007, 2:16pm) *

I don't think he's making everything up though.

Quite true. The fact that he has a cat named Mia is on the Wikia user page, and I remember seeing it on one of his old Wikipedia user pages also. (I wonder if Essjay's cat would get along with SlimVirgin's poodle?)

Posted by: a view from the hive Sat 27th January 2007, 3:58am

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Fri 26th January 2007, 12:33pm) *

QUOTE(Alex @ Fri 26th January 2007, 2:16pm) *

I don't think he's making everything up though.

Quite true. The fact that he has a cat named Mia is on the Wikia user page, and I remember seeing it on one of his old Wikipedia user pages also. (I wonder if Essjay's cat would get along with SlimVirgin's poodle?)


Well, the cat's cute...... lots and lots of pet pics on Wiki, I swear there are more pet pics than human pictures there.

Posted by: Somey Sat 27th January 2007, 6:35pm

Personally, I think he really just owns a hamster named "Osgood," and he's trying to make fools of us all!

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Tue 6th February 2007, 10:57am

Essjay has officially outed himself on Wikipedia, the same as he did on Wikia. Here's the new subsection on his Wikipedia user page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Essjay/Me

On his main user page where this subsection now appears, look directly above that. There he brags that "I was mentioned several times in an article about Wikipedia in The New Yorker." As we all know by now, this is the same article where he sports two PhDs and holds a tenured faculty position at a private university -- credentials that have enhanced his Wikipedia status since he started as an editor.

Now that takes guts. Essjay outs himself on Wikipedia, at the same time that he cites an authoritative source saying that he isn't really who he says he is. I hope he never messes with my biography -- obviously he's no more qualified to edit biographies of living persons than Chip Berlet and SlimVirgin are.

I'm assuming that Essjay is a living person -- we still cannot be sure that he's real. He pretends he is because he now states that he has had "dinner with Sannse and Angela, and breakfast with Jimbo Wales." Well, that's a start, but at this point it's not nearly as authoritative as The New Yorker, which is known for its careful fact-checking. At a minimum, we need notorized statements from these three, and images of these statements belong on his user page. We cannot take Essjay's word for this.

Or, he could just apologize for lying to Wikipedia and Stacy Schiff of The New Yorker, and to all of the readers of that esteemed publication.

Posted by: Alex Tue 6th February 2007, 3:07pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Tue 6th February 2007, 10:57am) *

Essjay has officially outed himself on Wikipedia, the same as he did on Wikia. Here's the new subsection on his Wikipedia user page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Essjay/Me

On his main user page where this subsection now appears, look directly above that. There he brags that "I was mentioned several times in an article about Wikipedia in The New Yorker." As we all know by now, this is the same article where he sports two PhDs and holds a tenured faculty position at a private university -- credentials that have enhanced his Wikipedia status since he started as an editor.

Now that takes guts. Essjay outs himself on Wikipedia, at the same time that he cites an authoritative source saying that he isn't really who he says he is. I hope he never messes with my biography -- obviously he's no more qualified to edit biographies of living persons than Chip Berlet and SlimVirgin are.

I'm assuming that Essjay is a living person -- we still cannot be sure that he's real. He pretends he is because he now states that he has had "dinner with Sannse and Angela, and breakfast with Jimbo Wales." Well, that's a start, but at this point it's not nearly as authoritative as The New Yorker, which is known for its careful fact-checking. At a minimum, we need notorized statements from these three, and images of these statements belong on his user page. We cannot take Essjay's word for this.

Or, he could just apologize for lying to Wikipedia and Stacy Schiff of The New Yorker, and to all of the readers of that esteemed publication.

Perhaps he made up the stuff to throw off vandals and trolls... and he's only had to reveal his identity because he joined Wikia. I'm sure there's an explanation for it all.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Tue 6th February 2007, 3:22pm

QUOTE(Alex @ Tue 6th February 2007, 10:07am) *

Perhaps he made up the stuff to throw off vandals and trolls ... and he's only had to reveal his identity because he joined Wikia. I'm sure there's an explanation for it all.


In the old days we used to just say that (1) our dog (2) our little brother/sister ate our book report.

Thanks to the amazing advances in modern technology, kids today can say that the trolls trashed it.

Better living through alchemy ...

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: Somey Tue 6th February 2007, 5:24pm

QUOTE(Alex @ Tue 6th February 2007, 9:07am) *
Perhaps he made up the stuff to throw off vandals and trolls...

These "vandals and trolls" - I take it they're called that because they generally have greater respect than most people for advanced degrees, and for the sort of professionalism one would expect from a tenured college professor? And they therefore are less likely to dispute editorial decisions made by such a person than the average Wikipedian, even if those decisions might be otherwise questionable?

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Wed 7th February 2007, 9:13pm

Essjay has elaborated a bit on his deception over the past few days. He says the disinformation was to keep "stalkers and psychopaths" off of his trail (not "vandals and trolls"). He's proud that he was successful. His friends are now congratulating him because he is even more "cool" than they thought! And Essjay is delighted that now that he's outed, he gets to have dinner with, and hang out with, the cabal in real life, all of whom naturally approve of his deception.

QUOTE
Actually, I did six hours of interviews with the reporter, and two with a fact checker, but I was really surprised that they were willing to do an interview with someone who they couldn't confirm; I can only assume that it is proof I was doing a good job playing the part. Essjay (Talk) 05:25, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Take that, The New Yorker! Essjay and all of Wikipedia says, "You're a bunch of idiots! We fooled you into drinking our Kool-Aid!"

Well, now, maybe it's time for The New Yorker to do another article about Wikipedia.

Reference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Essjay/Archives/52 (scroll down to "Profiles don't mesh...")

And this one:
QUOTE
One nice thing about being "out" is that now I get to hang out with the rest of the cabal in real life; I had dinner tonight with Jimbo, Angela, Datrio, and Michael Davis. All I can say is, I love my job! Essjay (Talk) 05:25, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

At least I got people reading about Essjay on http://slashdot.org/articles/07/02/07/1442229.shtml, moderated up to a 5!

Posted by: Somey Wed 7th February 2007, 10:23pm

My God, what utter bullshit!

QUOTE
The stalkers picked up on it immediately (but couldn't believe that a 24 year old had fooled them), but nobody here seemed to notice, which I didn't find particularly odd, since I expected that everybody here knew what was going on.

What stalkers? Since when is Essjay - sorry, "Ryan Jordan" - being stalked? And by whom? And who does he think was "fooled"? Certainly not us - we've been saying there's something fishy about this guy for months.

Here's what I think happened here: Some nobody working a go-nowhere job, with no academic qualifications to speak of, shows up one day on Wikipedia. He wants to be treated with respect he doesn't deserve, so he lies, and claims to be a college professor. Tenured, no less! This, on a site that's well-known for being disrespectful towards academics and experts in general - apparently they not only disrespect them as users, they disrespect them as people, too. Enough to treat their accomplishments and titles as just silly little strings of worthless characters that apparently any 22-year-old in a go-nowhere sales job can lay claim to without fear of consequences. After all, "WP:AGF", right?

So he spends practically every waking hour on WP, working his way up the ladder to just about the very tippy top! And when anybody claims that WP doesn't like experts and academics, they just say "oh, but what about Essjay?" And nobody questions him, because they're dazzled by the Ph.D., and the honor of working with such an "esteemed expert" in Roman Catholicism, or whatever it is he's into. Nobody on WP seems to notice that a "tenured professor" is spending 16 hours a day editing WP, fiddling with templates, closing AfD's and RfA's, and other little chores that a typical college professor would probably find completely beneath them. Noooo!

Of course, we here at Wikipedia Review notice it, particularly Daniel, since he's good at critical thinking, and once it's pointed out it quickly becomes obvious that something weird is happening. But when we raise the question of what the hell is going on, we're accused of what? "Stalking"? Being a "hate site"?

And after all this, he gets a lovely paying job where presumably he gets to sit at home all day, chat with his friends, and do what he's already addicted to doing anyway - namely, mess around endlessly on WP. Nice work if you can get it! And now they're patting him on the back, saying "way to go, Essjay! You sure showed them, huh!"

Why is this not a huge scandal? Why is the media giving this guy a free pass? He's a total fraud, for shit's sake!

Posted by: gomi Wed 7th February 2007, 10:25pm

Some journalist needs to write about "The Essjay Hoax". Essjay should be ashamed, but instead he's proud of himself, calling it "disinformation".

Forget stalkers, vandals, and trolls, this guy claimed to have a Bachelor's, Master's, and two PhD's and be a professor of Theology, when in fact he may not have a college degree at all. He now claims -- at the age of 24 -- to have been working (full-time?) for 5 years, which puts him at 19 at the beginning of that process. Given his startling lack of humility otherwise, if he had a BA/BS, I figure he'd be trumpeting it.

The New Yorker, the Atlantic, and how many others were taken in by this? Not to mention the myraids he bamboozeled, directly or indirectly, on religion articles he's edited on Wikipedia. Essjay is a poster-child for everything that is wrong about anonymous and pseudonymous encycopedia-writing -- no editor can be trusted.

In academic circles, what Essjay did -- essentially fabricating a resume -- is academic (n.b. not legal) fraud, and the guy would never get a paragraph, much less a paper published again in his life.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Wed 7th February 2007, 11:09pm

Occasionally I read about some CEO of some corporation who resigns after it comes to light that he faked a degree on his resume. That's the Real World.

On Wikipedia, you rise like rocket to the top by faking your credentials, and then you get a paying job at Wikia. You may have to "out" yourself because venture capitalists don't like to be fooled, but then everyone starts slapping you on the back, saying, "Way to go, Essjay. You sure showed those Real Life idiots how to generate disinformation! Now then, let's get back to bringing all of the world's information to all of the world's people!"

This bragging that's happening on Essjay's talk page is starting to make me ill. If Gil Penchina had a backbone, he'd refuse to hire Essjay even at the cost of Jimbo's wrath. And where is Angela? Why is she putting up with this crap? I thought she asserted her independence a bit at the end of her trusteeship, and had earned a bit of respect from us. So much for that theory.

Posted by: nobs Thu 8th February 2007, 1:15am

QUOTE(gomi @ Wed 7th February 2007, 3:25pm) *

at the age of 24 -- to have been working (full-time?) for 5 years, which puts him at 19
How long does it take to become a paralegal at a Community College? 6 months? two years? (let's ask the Chipster, former VP of the NLG ain't even a lawyer, just a fellow paralegal...).

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Thu 8th February 2007, 1:20am

Hmmm. I sent a fax to Stacy Schiff's literary agent asking for contact information, because I want to give Ms. Schiff a chance to comment before I put up a new web page about Essjay. As you may recall, The New Yorker failed to respond to my fax and email.

Go to Amazon.com, search for "Stacy Schiff" and then search inside her latest book (2005, 2006 paperback) about Ben Franklin, and search for the word "agent." In the back of the book in the acknowledgements, it says, "Lois Wallace remains the most attentive, and the most amusing, of agents."

Then google Lois Wallace and you find the Wallace Literary Agency in NYC, with contact information. If I don't end up communicating with Ms. Schiff by this time next week, I'll conclude that she's hiding from me.

What I don't understand is how Essjay can have six hours of interviews with Ms. Schiff. Was it by telephone? Did he do it from Kentucky? What was the area code? Did he do it by email? What was the originiating IP in the headers? Was it Gmail with no originating IP? What the hell is going on?

I also want the name of the fact checker at The New Yorker, and the name of the person who recommended Essjay to her. At this point we should not assume that Ms. Schiff and the fact checker are innocent parties. We need more information. Essjay says he fooled them, but who believes anything Essjay says these days?

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Thu 8th February 2007, 5:15am

Essjay's recent comments about his Grand Deception are conveniently on one user-talk archive page. He archives so frequently that it's hard to find stuff. I'm helping him out - I've http://www.wikipedia-watch.org/essjay.html for posterity.

Posted by: Somey Thu 8th February 2007, 7:57am

The first thing you see on Essjay's user page is the Latin phrase "stamus contra malum," which roughly translates to "we stand against evil."

Personally, I think lying, fraud, and chicanery are evil. Refusing to publicly admit that you've done something wrong might not be evil, but refusing to accept the possibility that you've done something wrong usually is. It suggests that you believe your own moral code - assuming you even have one to begin with - is somehow above that of the rest of society, or that conventional morality simply doesn't apply to you. That isn't the sign of a "cool guy," or "someone who pwns." That's usually the sign of a narcissist, or perhaps even a sociopath. And sociopaths, generally speaking, are evil - that's practically the whole point of being a sociopath!

The thing is, getting a Ph.D. is hard work. Getting a tenure-track job at a decent school is even harder, and actually getting tenure is even harder than that. Publish or perish! Bring in the big grant money! Take on more advisees! Never be late for class! For shit's sake, keep those student-eval ratings up! It's a weeding-out process, lots of people fail at it, and the ones who succeed tend to be very bright, energetic people - not fools, and not charlatans.

But that's what passes for "merit" and "trustworthiness" on Wikipedia, isn't it?

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Thu 8th February 2007, 10:25am

QUOTE
Perhaps my skepticism with the 150 emails I get each day comes from two years and 10,000 checkuser's worth of death threats (~10 a week), torture monologues (~5 a week), and legal threats (~40-50 week), added on top of the remainder that are only generally belligerent and filled with personal attacks. With the myriad of venues available to blocked users, including contacting the blocking admin, unblock-en-l, editing thier talk page, emailing the Arbitration Committee or Jimbo (who unsurprisingly gets several thousand emails each day; I don't think I saw him ever stop going through emails today), I feel I'm justified in answering clearly on my talk page and archiving the emails. Essjay (Talk) 03:02, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

He's still making stuff up. I don't believe these numbers for a second. He sees himself as getting crucified on his keyboard for the sins of the world's Wikipedia-haters. Any sane person who got the email he describes would quickly arrive at the conclusion that Wikipedia is a cesspool, and would have split long ago. He's more than a sociopath, but the words escape me right now.

Posted by: guy Thu 8th February 2007, 10:43am

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Thu 8th February 2007, 10:25am) *

QUOTE
10,000 checkuser's worth of death threats (~10 a week)

He's still making stuff up. I don't believe these numbers for a second.

Nor should you. 10,000 at 10 a week is 1,000 weeks or nearly 20 years. Even if 10 a week is on the low side, say it's 14 a week, that's over 700 weeks or nearly 14 years.


Posted by: anon1234 Thu 8th February 2007, 5:57pm

QUOTE(guy @ Thu 8th February 2007, 10:43am) *

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Thu 8th February 2007, 10:25am) *

QUOTE
10,000 checkuser's worth of death threats (~10 a week)

He's still making stuff up. I don't believe these numbers for a second.

Nor should you. 10,000 at 10 a week is 1,000 weeks or nearly 20 years. Even if 10 a week is on the low side, say it's 14 a week, that's over 700 weeks or nearly 14 years.


I think we have a pathological truth falsifier here. It's funny, and so appropriate. We should have a "List of Essjay Lies" page that highlights then better than the current one, although it can reference the full sources.

Posted by: Nathan Thu 8th February 2007, 6:06pm

I'm in the process of writing something myself, though it won't be near as good as what a journalist could do.

I'd invite Daniel to write it but I'm just a small-time blog, not a newspaper or anything like that.

If anyone wants to help me write a blog entry so that you can Digg it, feel free. I have something typed up already but it's not that great.

Posted by: nobs Thu 8th February 2007, 6:24pm

Essjay said,

QUOTE
I've been pretty upfront about using disinformation...
QUOTE
One nice thing about being "out" is that now I get to hang out with the rest of the cabal in real life; I had dinner tonight with Jimbo, Angela, Datrio, and Michael Davis. All I can say is, I love my job!
Jimbo, Angela, Datrio, Michael Davis, and Essjay should learn from the examples of Dee Dee Myers and Ari Fleischer; when caught using disinformation, the White House Press Corps adopts an attitude, "Why should we believe anything you say?" In the interests of thier own careers, rather than serving the disinformation schemes of their bosses, they quietly resign to salvage their own credibility.

Posted by: Somey Thu 8th February 2007, 7:58pm

And since when was he ever "upfront about using disinformation"? It's not like his user page said "I'm a Ph.D. tenured professor of theology, but not really!" ...did it? Of course not.

If anything, his recent writings and behavior suggest that he was just hoping nobody would notice the glaring inconsistencies. Even I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt - all he had to do was come up with something plausible. Instead, he gives us this insulting BS (and does he even have one of those?) about how he had to do it because "trolls" were "stalking" him.

I'm willing to believe that he sometimes gets angry e-mails, and who knows, maybe even death threats once in a while... But AFAIK he claimed to be a tenured professor well before he became an admin, and long before anyone would have even cared if he existed, at least as far as WP was concerned. He really should just stop lying - he's just making things worse, both for himself and for the rest of the WP community.

Posted by: Alex Thu 8th February 2007, 10:01pm

It's sad to see all of this. I had a lot of respect for Essjay, and still do... but why lie about himself Surely the best thing would be to just not say anything... he could have said on his user page "Hi, I'm Ryan, I'm 24 and I live in the east United States." That's about as much as most people give away, and is completely unidentifiable. I'm just so terribly confused about why he did it... was he anticipating death threats and stalking?

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Thu 8th February 2007, 10:53pm

I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this. Essjay may be delusional. As long as Jimbo, Angela, Datrio, and Michael Davis have met him over dinner, and he still keeps his job at Wikia, Inc., then we have to assume that their assessment is that Essjay is healthy and capable. Until we find out that he has left Wikipedia, or has lost his job at Wikia, I think we are justified in criticizing him. If he's a high-level Wikipedia admin, he's fair game.

But if evidence continues to mount that he needs help, or that Jimbo et.al. are losing confidence in him, then I think the moderators of this board should consider killing this entire thread. Even if this happens, however, I plan to keep the material on him that presently exists on wikipedia-watch.org, just for the record. But I wouldn't add a special page on Essjay like I'm inclined to do at this moment.

If and when I talk to Stacy Schiff, my first question will be whether she had six hours of interviews with him like Essjay claims (plus two hours with a fact checker). I now suspect it was more like 30 minutes, with no fact checker at all.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Thu 8th February 2007, 11:00pm

Once again, focussing on individuals brings us to an impasse.

The systematic lesson that we ought to be deriving is this:

Wikipedia systematically maintains a medium where we can't tell the delinquents from the delusionals.

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: nobs Thu 8th February 2007, 11:09pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Thu 8th February 2007, 3:53pm) *

I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this. Essjay may be delusional. As long as Jimbo, Angela, Datrio, and Michael Davis have met him over dinner, and he still keeps his job at Wikia, Inc., then we have to assume that their assessment is that Essjay is healthy and capable....
In all fairness, I'm not familiar with the intimate details of this whole subject, nor have read the New Yorker article. But let's assume momentarily that having dinner "with Jimbo, Angela, Datrio, and Michael Davis", and self confessing to disinformation and loving his job, primea facia doesn't bode well for his bosses. The Donald Segretti of Wikipedia?

Posted by: Poetlister Thu 8th February 2007, 11:21pm

QUOTE(nobs @ Thu 8th February 2007, 11:09pm) *

But let's assume momentarily that having dinner "with Jimbo, Angela, Datrio, and Michael Davis", and self confessing to disinformation and loving his job, primea facia doesn't bode well for his bosses.

Do we have a source passing WP:RS that he did have such a dinner? Or if he did, that he wasn't just the waiter? tongue.gif

Posted by: Somey Thu 8th February 2007, 11:46pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Thu 8th February 2007, 4:53pm) *
But if evidence continues to mount that he needs help, or that Jimbo et.al. are losing confidence in him, then I think the moderators of this board should consider killing this entire thread...

I can hardly see Mr. Jordan as a depressive personality, though - on the contrary, he seems quite sure of himself, and he's clearly an intelligent person, even if he might lack maturity or a working moral compass. And if he had paranoid tendencies that might lead to some sort of lashing-out, given the level of criticism he's getting on this thread - assuming he ever actually reads it - then that seems more likely to express itself as fear of the consequences of what he's done, rather than blatant exaggerations of the danger he's supposedly in at the hands of anonymous cyberstalkers.

That's not to say it's impossible that he has a paranoid fear of stalkers, or that this could eventually lead to some sort of breakdown, but he just doesn't give me that impression. Admittedly, he does seem to be something of a perfectionist, which is sometimes a sign of a depressive personality. But I might be mistaking a generally meticulous nature for perfectionism, and besides, he doesn't seem to have the procrastination thing that usually goes along with it. Frankly, one look at his hugely extensive and elaborate user page is enough to convince me that he's no shrinking violet!

Much more likely that he's a relentless and highly confident self-promoter who's been trained - possibly since childhood - to show little or no respect for the truth, and to use falsehoods to get ahead. By whatever means necessary and all that sort of thing. (Perfect for Wikipedia, I might add!)

We'll see how it goes, but it's probably going to take some sort of grand mal episode to convince me that he's a real danger to himself and others because of what's being written about him here... dry.gif

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Fri 9th February 2007, 12:21am

QUOTE(Somey @ Thu 8th February 2007, 5:46pm) *

I can hardly see Mr. Jordan as a depressive personality, though - on the contrary, he seems quite sure of himself, and he's clearly an intelligent person, even if he might lack maturity or a working moral compass.

Definitely not depressed. Much more manic. Maybe he's bipolar, and we're just not seeing the depressed part online. He's the biggest egomaniac on Wikipedia outside of Jimbo, and Jimbo hides it much better than Essjay. Read Essjay's user page from top to bottom. You'll start puking.

I associate "delusional" much more with manic behavior, based on knowing someone who schizoided out during the 1970s and was having a great time going around being totallly delusional and never sleeping. He required constant babysitting, because he might accidently set the house on fire with "those far-out candles." He carefully cleaned the chrome on my 1955 Toastmaster toaster one day and made it look new. This went on for weeks until we got him to take the Thorazine that was prescribed.

Once he looked at a cat on the other side of the room and said, "That cat should be over here," pointing to a different corner of the room. The cat immediately got up and went to that corner. Freaked the hell out of me.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Fri 9th February 2007, 2:28am

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Thu 8th February 2007, 7:21pm) *

I associate "delusional" much more with manic behavior, based on knowing someone who schizoided out during the 1970s and was having a great time going around being totallly delusional and never sleeping. He required constant babysitting, because he might accidently set the house on fire with "those far-out candles". He carefully cleaned the chrome on my 1955 Toastmaster toaster one day and made it look new. This went on for weeks until we got him to take the Thorazine that was prescribed.

Once he looked at a cat on the other side of the room and said, "That cat should be over here", pointing to a different corner of the room. The cat immediately got up and went to that corner. Freaked the hell out of me.


But I'm much better now ...

Jonny Katzenjammer cool.gif

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sat 10th February 2007, 12:44pm

QUOTE
Fr. Bill Fichteman
Cathedral of the Assumption
Louisville, Kentucky

Dear Fr. Bill Fichteman:

I am trying to confirm the identity of one Ryan Jordan, who lives just outside of Louisville. He says that "Fr. Bill is a friend of mine, and I was a cantor there" (referring to the Cathedral of the Assumption). I think he is referring to you, but might be referring to Fr. Bill Hammer.

The current information I have on Mr. Jordan is this:

"For those who may be interested, I'm a 24 year old guy from Kentucky; I grew up in Kentucky, and studied philosophy and religion at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky as well as the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. I currently live outside Louisville with my cat Mia. Before coming to Wikia, I was an account manager with a Fortune 20 company, where I worked on a ten person team that managed roughly $500,000,000 in annual sales. Prior to that, I was a paralegal for five years: I spent two years working for a local firm, nearly a year with a firm in Louisville that represented doctors in medical licensure matters, and a three month special position with a United States Bankruptcy Trustee. From there, I went freelance, and spent nearly two years handling special projects for several firms."

The reason it is necessary to confirm this information is because Mr. Jordan last month revealed that he is the real person behind the user name of "Essjay." Essjay began editing Wikipedia in February 2005, and since then has risen to the level of a top administrator. He was interviewed for an article in The New Yorker that appeared in the July 31, 2006 issue.

The problem is that until last month he claimed that he was a tenured faculty member at a private Eastern university, and that he had a doctorate in theology as well as a doctorate in canon law. Now he says that this was all disinformation. Some of his comments about this deception are available at: http://www.wikipedia-watch.org/essjay.html

The New Yorker is concerned about the fact that they published false information, and they are interested in looking into the matter. Since I don't have contact information for Mr. Jordan, I am asking you to confirm the new facts about Mr. Jordan. The occasion for his revised biography is that last month he accepted a job at Wikia, Inc., the for-profit spinoff of Wikipedia. Apparently it was necessary to reveal his true identity to his employers. This was not a requirement for his Wikipedia work, which was all-volunteer.

Thank you,
Daniel Brandt

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sat 17th February 2007, 6:36pm

Update: nothing much to report.

No response from the priest. I presume that Ryan Jordan got off with a dozen Hail Marys. I did include a nice blowup of his alleged photo at the bottom of the fax to the priest, just in case his name isn't Ryan Jordan. But then, that may not be his picture either. If that's true, it would mean that Jimbo and Angela and Gil all established his real identity and then said, "Good boy, Essjay, The New Yorker bought it completely, even though your claims were outlandish. Now you should create another phony identity, and tone it down a bit. Your history should remain unbelievable, but just don't make it unbelievable in the direction of claiming expertise or authority that you don't possess. That's where it gets potentially difficult for Wikipedia."

The literary agent for Stacy Schiff said that they no longer represent her, but they would forward my email to her. I have to assume that Stacy is hiding from me, because I haven't heard from her. She is a guest columnist at The New York Times and writes pure drivel, in my opinion. My expectations that she should be upset at Essjay because she sees herself as a real reporter have been substantially reduced.

I got a response from a deputy editor at The New Yorker a week ago. She apologized for the lack of response to last month's email and fax, and said she would look into the matter. I've heard nothing since then.

There was some argument on Essjay's talk page on Wikipedia (now archived) over this. Essjay took a hard line, citing the need to protect his family from psychopaths and stalkers. I think there are a handful of admins who object to the fact that he endangered the reputation of Wikipedia by lying to The New Yorker, but apparently the people at Wikipedia who matter (i.e., the ones who allegedly had dinner with Essjay) don't really care much one way or the other.

Posted by: anon1234 Sat 17th February 2007, 7:30pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Sat 17th February 2007, 6:36pm) *

Update: nothing much to report.


To the contrary, it sounds like you are making great progress. Congratulations.

First off: Publications such as the New Yorker are naturally slow to respond to serious matters such as this one. They are cautious and rightfully so. Some patience may be necessary.

Second: I expect it is in Stacy's interest to pin the blame on Essjay's deception than to take the hit on her reputation, thus I would be careful and give her enough slack to do that. If you come down too hard on Stacy she may just withdraw until this blows over rather than putting the blame on Essjay where it belongs.

Posted by: Elara Sun 18th February 2007, 5:06am

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Sat 17th February 2007, 12:36pm) *

There was some argument on Essjay's talk page on Wikipedia (now archived) over this. Essjay took a hard line, citing the need to protect his family from psychopaths and stalkers. I think there are a handful of admins who object to the fact that he endangered the reputation of Wikipedia by lying to The New Yorker, but apparently the people at Wikipedia who matter (i.e., the ones who allegedly had dinner with Essjay) don't really care much one way or the other.


This surprises you?

I would seriously ask a question (mostly because I'm too lazy to find the answer myself) about when all this misrepresentation started. If this ... misinformation has been the standard line since Essjay started editing, before he was either an admin or important, then I have to question his real motives.

Has he done anything controversial enough to get stalked? If he was in fear of psychopaths butchering his family over EDITS to a pile of Pokemon articles, sports stats, and garage bands, I question his sanity.

Is he living in an area with strong antigay bias? Was he not in the clear? Did he come out of the closet, or was worried what his church might thing? If he in a safe and secure environment from both loonies on wiki or people who object to his orientations, I question his veracity.


I do not assume people lie in good faith, so all that remains is my replacement for AGF, which is "Assume No Active Malice". What did he GAIN by misrepresnting himself?

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sun 18th February 2007, 5:36am

Based on what I know, which is little, I recommend all three. You should question his real motives, his sanity, and his veracity. About par for Wikipedia's top admins.

Posted by: Somey Sun 18th February 2007, 5:35pm

QUOTE(Elara @ Sat 17th February 2007, 11:06pm) *
I would seriously ask a question (mostly because I'm too lazy to find the answer myself) about when all this misrepresentation started. If this ... misinformation has been the standard line since Essjay started editing, before he was either an admin or important, then I have to question his real motives.

They've since deleted the more recent transcluded subpage on which he was keeping the phony bio information, but the original one is actually still there - and shows that he was claiming to be a college professor well before he was made an admin. He went from n00b to admin very quickly, of course.

They'll probably delete this sooner or later, but Essjay's first edit was on Feb. 8, 2005, and he began claiming to be a college professor on or before May 10, 2005:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Essjay/History1&oldid=21137993

His RfA began July 13, 2005 - only two months later - and he was adminned on July 20 with near-unanimous support. There actually wasn't a lot of mention of Essjay's putative academic credentials among the support voters, but in the comments section (and somewhat early on in the voting), AnonIP User:67.141.64.1 signing himself as "nd" wrote this on his RfA, praising "Dr. Essjay" for his Catholic scholarship:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia%3ARequests_for_adminship%2FEssjay&diff=19090368&oldid=19089436

That IP currently geolocates to an Alltel server in Meadville, PA, home of Allegheny College, which is about 400 miles from Louisville, give or take. However, this IP's very first edit on Wikipedia, and the only one prior to making that comment on his RfA, was a one-word change to the article on the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, changing the term "baptismal pool" to "baptismal font."

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cathedral_of_the_Assumption_in_Louisville&diff=prev&oldid=18965217

Essjay reverted that edit three weeks later.

Posted by: Unrepentant Vandal Thu 22nd February 2007, 3:41pm

I had a bit of time to waste earlier today, so just for fun: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Essjay&diff=prev&oldid=110044603

Posted by: Somey Thu 22nd February 2007, 4:12pm

Waaah! You're gonna get us all in big trouble!

What we really should do is find as many articles about famous Catholic theologians as we can, and then add sections to them describing how, throughout their long careers, they somehow managed to avoid the enormous temptation to falsify their resumés. laugh.gif

Posted by: guy Thu 22nd February 2007, 5:00pm

Great - start with Cardinal Martini. (Yes, he really exists!)

Posted by: Unrepentant Vandal Thu 22nd February 2007, 5:16pm

QUOTE(Somey @ Thu 22nd February 2007, 4:12pm) *

Waaah! You're gonna get us all in big trouble!

What we really should do is find as many articles about famous Catholic theologians as we can, and then add sections to them describing how, throughout their long careers, they somehow managed to avoid the enormous temptation to falsify their resumés. laugh.gif


I like this idea. I should be able to spare a bit of time on Saturday afternoon. Any further plans, please PM me, as I don't want to alert them before hand.

Posted by: Somey Thu 22nd February 2007, 5:23pm

QUOTE(Unrepentant Vandal @ Thu 22nd February 2007, 11:16am) *
Any further plans, please PM me, as I don't want to alert them before hand.

But we already did! sad.gif

I'm starting to wonder if we should really be giving you ideas! Still, I guess it can't hurt to alter the biographies of religious scholars to indicate that the complete legitimacy of their scholarly credentials. Who could argue with that, right?

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Thu 22nd February 2007, 5:56pm

QUOTE(Somey @ Thu 22nd February 2007, 11:23am) *

I guess it can't hurt to alter the biographies of religious scholars to indicate that the complete legitimacy of their scholarly credentials. Who could argue with that, right?

Indeed, now that Bishop Essjay has muddied the waters of Wikipedia on this topic, I think we have an obligation to all religious scholars to do exactly this. It's sort of a disclaimer - "We're all screwed up here at Wikipedia, and we can't help ourselves, so we think people should know that you are exactly who you claim to be."

Posted by: Somey Fri 23rd February 2007, 10:45pm

Sneakin' One in Under the Radar Dept.:

Check it out, folks:

http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2007-February/063809.html

Seems Jimbo felt that the hubbub over this latest attempted deletion of the Brandt article would make for a good opportunity to appoint Essjay to the ArbCom, along with User:Mackensen.

He's a clever one, I'll have to admit! laugh.gif

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sat 24th February 2007, 12:21am

I guess it's Archbishop Essjay now, not just Bishop Essjay.

Posted by: Unrepentant Vandal Sat 24th February 2007, 12:29am

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Sat 24th February 2007, 12:21am) *

I guess it's Archbishop Essjay now, not just Bishop Essjay.


Should we start taking bets now on when he becomes Pope?

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Mon 26th February 2007, 4:57pm

> Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 08:53:50 -0500
> Subject: For Daniel Brandt
>
> Dear Mr. Brandt,
>
> I want to thank you for alerting us to the issues with Essjay's profile and
> sharing his bio, user's page, etc., with us. We are running an editor's
> note laying out for our readers what happened; it is in our March 5
> issue, which comes out today (The Mail, page 10). Thanks again.
>
> Sincerely,
> Pam McCarthy
>
> Deputy Editor
> The New Yorker


The March 5 issue is posted, but I cannot find The Mail. If anyone has a link, please post it. Maybe they don't publish "The Mail" online? In that case, please key in the whole thing if you see it and are not as lazy as me.

Posted by: anon1234 Mon 26th February 2007, 5:53pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Mon 26th February 2007, 4:57pm) *

> Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 08:53:50 -0500
> Subject: For Daniel Brandt
> I want to thank you for alerting us to the issues with Essjay's profile and
> sharing his bio, user's page, etc., with us. We are running an editor's
> note laying out for our readers what happened; it is in our March 5
> issue, which comes out today (The Mail, page 10). Thanks again.

The March 5 issue is posted, but I cannot find The Mail. If anyone has a link, please post it. Maybe they don't publish "The Mail" online? In that case, please key in the whole thing if you see it and are not as lazy as me.


I told you, you just had to be patient with them! :-) I let my New Yorker subscription lapse a couple years ago, but I'll check out a few local stores today to see if I can find a copy to buy and type in.

UPDATE: No luck. I was told that it would not be available in my area until this Thursday. I'll purchase one Thursday if no one here finds a copy sooner.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Mon 26th February 2007, 9:46pm

QUOTE
Dear Ms. McCarthy:

Thank you for your email. I haven't seen "The Mail" yet, but I presume
that The New Yorker's explanation of what happened qualifies as a
correction of fact.

If so, it should be appended to the original article at
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060731fa_fact

This original article is indexed in Google, Yahoo, and Live.com (MSN).
It is unethical for a print publication to continue propagating
errors of fact on the web, and then bury the corrections elsewhere.

Regards,
Daniel Brandt


Posted by: coriaceous Tue 27th February 2007, 5:43am

I remember coming across a thing which referred to an IP address, signed by essjay. It was Glendale Community College, in California, back in the last millennium.

Posted by: a view from the hive Tue 27th February 2007, 8:09am

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Sat 17th February 2007, 10:36am) *

Update: nothing much to report.

No response from the priest. I presume that Ryan Jordan got off with a dozen Hail Marys. I did include a nice blowup of his alleged photo at the bottom of the fax to the priest, just in case his name isn't Ryan Jordan. But then, that may not be his picture either. If that's true, it would mean that Jimbo and Angela and Gil all established his real identity and then said, "Good boy, Essjay, The New Yorker bought it completely, even though your claims were outlandish. Now you should create another phony identity, and tone it down a bit. Your history should remain unbelievable, but just don't make it unbelievable in the direction of claiming expertise or authority that you don't possess. That's where it gets potentially difficult for Wikipedia."

The literary agent for Stacy Schiff said that they no longer represent her, but they would forward my email to her. I have to assume that Stacy is hiding from me, because I haven't heard from her. She is a guest columnist at The New York Times and writes pure drivel, in my opinion. My expectations that she should be upset at Essjay because she sees herself as a real reporter have been substantially reduced.

I got a response from a deputy editor at The New Yorker a week ago. She apologized for the lack of response to last month's email and fax, and said she would look into the matter. I've heard nothing since then.

There was some argument on Essjay's talk page on Wikipedia (now archived) over this. Essjay took a hard line, citing the need to protect his family from psychopaths and stalkers. I think there are a handful of admins who object to the fact that he endangered the reputation of Wikipedia by lying to The New Yorker, but apparently the people at Wikipedia who matter (i.e., the ones who allegedly had dinner with Essjay) don't really care much one way or the other.


Well, you can see partially the desire for personal info not to be posted somewhere. A fair number of the vandals / hardcore trolls would just love to harass Wiki administrators in the real world for banning them (ironically the bans were helping to prevent the vandals/trolls some from posting false info to one highly contested yet now deleted (sort of) article)

Posted by: Jonny Cache Tue 27th February 2007, 3:20pm

QUOTE(a view from the hive @ Tue 27th February 2007, 3:09am) *

Well, you can see partially the desire for personal info not to be posted somewhere. A fair number of the vandals / hardcore trolls would just love to harass Wiki administrators in the real world for banning them (ironically the bans were helping to prevent the vandals/trolls some from posting false info to one highly contested yet now deleted (sort of) article)


Yet another case of Vandal-Admin-Troll Symbiosis:Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: taiwopanfob Tue 27th February 2007, 3:55pm

QUOTE(a view from the hive @ Tue 27th February 2007, 8:09am) *
Well, you can see partially the desire for personal info not to be posted somewhere. [ ... blah blah blah ... ]


You misrepresent the situation. Even within the confines of the "logic" at Wikipedia, Essjay had the option of remaining silent on who he is. Instead, he lied. What else has he lied about? Why trust this person with a sysop bit at all? Why appoint the guy to ArbCom? Or is that the place where all liars are sent nowadays? If I start lying, will I get a tranche at ArbCom? "For service above and beyond the call of His Majesty ..."?

Posted by: a view from the hive Tue 27th February 2007, 6:27pm

QUOTE(taiwopanfob @ Tue 27th February 2007, 7:55am) *

QUOTE(a view from the hive @ Tue 27th February 2007, 8:09am) *
Well, you can see partially the desire for personal info not to be posted somewhere. [ ... blah blah blah ... ]


You misrepresent the situation. Even within the confines of the "logic" at Wikipedia, Essjay had the option of remaining silent on who he is. Instead, he lied. What else has he lied about? Why trust this person with a sysop bit at all? Why appoint the guy to ArbCom? Or is that the place where all liars are sent nowadays? If I start lying, will I get a tranche at ArbCom? "For service above and beyond the call of His Majesty ..."?


I wouldn't know about arbcom. I won't touch arbcom w/ a 50 ft long stick, it's way to nuts for me.

As for lying on Wikipedia. Some people do it. I just really watch what I do on WP. I'll admit, I do focus on my image for personal PR purposes and hold some information, however, I don't post misinformaton (I don't want to have a bad google reputation / have those who are not happy w/ some of the vandalblocks stalking me....)

Posted by: Somey Tue 27th February 2007, 6:43pm

QUOTE(a view from the hive @ Tue 27th February 2007, 12:27pm) *
As for lying on Wikipedia. Some people do it...

Essjay isn't just "some people," though - he's one of the highest-ranking administrators on the whole website, maybe the highest! For just an ordinary editor to lie about their academic credentials is one thing, but for someone who's that highly-placed to do it, and then claim he was forced into it by supposed "death threats" from so-called "stalkers" and "trolls" - even though he posted the false claims many weeks before he was opped - and all without providing any real evidence for that claim whatsoever (AFAIK), well... let's just say that's another thing entirely.

It's just that this is emblematic of everything that's wrong with Wikipedia, on multiple levels. Sure, it's ultimately just one guy, but it's the sort of story the media should be all over like bees on honey. Maybe it's because everybody likes Stacy Schiff personally and doesn't want her treated as if she were some sort of Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair-like pariah, but facts are facts, and she should have checked 'em.

Posted by: gomi Tue 27th February 2007, 7:33pm

QUOTE(a view from the hive @ Tue 27th February 2007, 12:09am) *

Well, you can see partially the desire for personal info not to be posted somewhere. A fair number of the vandals / hardcore trolls would just love to harass Wiki administrators in the real world for banning them (ironically the bans were helping to prevent the vandals/trolls some from posting false info to one highly contested yet now deleted (sort of) article)

Let me think ... there is a phrase we use for an enforcement force that is completely anonymous, accountable only to itself, and can choose to punish or forgive parts of the populace more-or-less at will ....

Oh, yes, it's called Secret Police.

Our real-life police force seems to go around wearing clearly identifying name badges and such, and in the real world we get to face our accusers. No one seems to be too worried about "trolls" out here. This "avoiding trolls and vandals" pablum is completely absurd. Essjay meant to mislead, and did so, in effect defrauding many.

Posted by: a view from the hive Tue 27th February 2007, 8:05pm

QUOTE(gomi @ Tue 27th February 2007, 11:33am) *

QUOTE(a view from the hive @ Tue 27th February 2007, 12:09am) *

Well, you can see partially the desire for personal info not to be posted somewhere. A fair number of the vandals / hardcore trolls would just love to harass Wiki administrators in the real world for banning them (ironically the bans were helping to prevent the vandals/trolls some from posting false info to one highly contested yet now deleted (sort of) article)

Let me think ... there is a phrase we use for an enforcement force that is completely anonymous, accountable only to itself, and can choose to punish or forgive parts of the populace more-or-less at will ....

Oh, yes, it's called Secret Police.

Our real-life police force seems to go around wearing clearly identifying name badges and such, and in the real world we get to face our accusers. No one seems to be too worried about "trolls" out here. This "avoiding trolls and vandals" pablum is completely absurd. Essjay meant to mislead, and did so, in effect defrauding many.


The sole occupation of our real world police is to well, police. and they're paid to do it.

Better to most no information at all than disinformation, but as long as a WP admin does not harass anyone, there is no legal requirment whatsoever to post a real world identity.

Plenty of political reasons not too either, whistleblower legislation isn't that effective...

Posted by: Somey Tue 27th February 2007, 9:36pm

QUOTE(a view from the hive @ Tue 27th February 2007, 2:05pm) *
Better to most no information at all than disinformation...

Uh-oh... Don't tell me you're anti-Uncyclopedia, too...! ohmy.gif

QUOTE
...but as long as a WP admin does not harass anyone, there is no legal requirment whatsoever to post a real world identity.

Legal requirements have nothing to do with it. If I want to "harass" someone anonmyously online, I'm not under any legal requirement to identify myself in any case. If I'm committing a crime, then sure, that would make me a criminal - but the burden of identification still falls on the accuser, at least initially. That's what's so incredibly sucky about it.

Besides, you haven't really defined "harassment," at least not correctly. "Harassment" is when some nutcase comes to your office and screams at you from the sidewalk. "Harassment" is when you get six phone calls a day from your ex-girlfriend, screaming the whole time... "Harassment" is when someone follows you home from work and then throws garbage on your front lawn. And to be frank, "online harassment" - the kind that actually has a chance of producing a restraining order, or even less likely, monetary damages - means mail-bombing, direct threats delivered directly, impersonation, attempts to hack accounts and passwords that you can actually prove...

Just having your name and age listed on a website where you don't want it is nothing compared to what real victims of harassment have to go through, often on a daily basis. By calling it "harassment" in this case, you're cheapening the term, trying to make it seem like what those people deal with is as easily dismissable as having your name listed on some website. To me, that's totally immoral, and every time I see people doing it, it just makes me more determined to do something about it.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Tue 27th February 2007, 9:37pm

Nicholas Carr quotes the editor's note from The New Yorker. I haven't seen The New Yorker yet, but expect to soon. The elipses in Carr's quote need to be filled in. At least this gives you a slight preview:

http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2007/02/never_trust_an.php

QUOTE
Essjay was recommended to Ms. Schiff as a source by a member of Wikipedia's management team because of his respected position within the Wikipedia community. He was willing to describe his work as a Wikipedia administrator but would not identify himself other than by confirming the biographical details that appeared on his user page ... Essjay now says that his real name is Ryan Jordan, that he is twenty-four and holds no advanced degrees, and that he has never taught. He was recently hired by Wikia - a for-profit company affiliated with Wikipedia - as a "community manager"; he continues to hold his Wikipedia positions. He did not answer a message we sent to him; Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikia and of Wikipedia, said of Essjay's invented persona, "I regard it as a pseudonym and I don't really have a problem with it."

I think we have to push hard to get this appended to Stacy Schiff's piece. Any writer who drinks Jimbo's Kool-Aid deserves a footnote to that effect. By the way, The New Yorker's fact checker on the piece was Ms. Jessica Rosenberg, born in 1982, Harvard class of 2004. She's the daughter of Drew Gilpin Faust, the new president of Harvard. Ms. Rosenberg is a former co-president of the Radcliffe Union of Students.

Posted by: a view from the hive Tue 27th February 2007, 11:42pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Tue 27th February 2007, 1:37pm) *

Nicholas Carr quotes the editor's note from The New Yorker. I haven't seen The New Yorker yet, but expect to soon. The elipses in Carr's quote need to be filled in. At least this gives you a slight preview:

http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2007/02/never_trust_an.php
QUOTE
Essjay was recommended to Ms. Schiff as a source by a member of Wikipedia's management team because of his respected position within the Wikipedia community. He was willing to describe his work as a Wikipedia administrator but would not identify himself other than by confirming the biographical details that appeared on his user page ... Essjay now says that his real name is Ryan Jordan, that he is twenty-four and holds no advanced degrees, and that he has never taught. He was recently hired by Wikia - a for-profit company affiliated with Wikipedia - as a "community manager"; he continues to hold his Wikipedia positions. He did not answer a message we sent to him; Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikia and of Wikipedia, said of Essjay's invented persona, "I regard it as a pseudonym and I don't really have a problem with it."

I think we have to push hard to get this appended to Stacy Schiff's piece. Any writer who drinks Jimbo's Kool-Aid deserves a footnote to that effect. By the way, The New Yorker's fact checker on the piece was Ms. Jessica Rosenberg, born in 1982, Harvard class of 2004. She's the daughter of Drew Gilpin Faust, the new president of Harvard. Ms. Rosenberg is a former co-president of the Radcliffe Union of Students.


I would have to give the benefit of the doubt to the NYer here. I really doubt they go and check that sort of thing on a routine basis, its a pretty straightforward fact.

Besides, didn't the article say "he says he is a" or something to that effect. That more or less brings in the benefit of the doubt factor... right there...

Posted by: Somey Wed 28th February 2007, 2:26am

QUOTE(a view from the hive @ Tue 27th February 2007, 5:42pm) *
Besides, didn't the article say "he says he is a" or something to that effect. That more or less brings in the benefit of the doubt factor... right there...

Sorry, Mr. View.... The relevant text of the article was posted http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=2778&view=findpost&p=21036, but that was three pages ago, so here it is again:

QUOTE
One regular on the site is a user known as Essjay, who holds a Ph.D. in theology and a degree in canon law and has written or contributed to sixteen thousand entries. A tenured professor of religion at a private university, Essjay made his first edit in February, 2005. Initially, he contributed to articles in his field—on the penitential rite, transubstantiation, the papal tiara. Soon he was spending fourteen hours a day on the site, though he was careful to keep his online life a secret from his colleagues and friends.

No benefit of the doubt there, I'm afraid! OTOH, you might be thinking of the bit a little later on...
QUOTE
Essjay says that he routinely receives death threats. “There are people who take Wikipedia way too seriously,” he told me.

So at least that part is somewhat equivocal.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Wed 28th February 2007, 3:08pm

The New Yorker has http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060731fa_fact:

QUOTE
EDITORS’ NOTE:
The July 31, 2006, piece on Wikipedia, “Know It All,” by Stacy Schiff, contained an interview with a Wikipedia site administrator and contributor called Essjay, whose responsibilities included handling disagreements about the accuracy of the site’s articles and taking action against users who violate site policy. He was described in the piece as “a tenured professor of religion at a private university” with “a Ph.D. in theology and a degree in canon law.”

Essjay was recommended to Ms. Schiff as a source by a member of Wikipedia’s management team because of his respected position within the Wikipedia community. He was willing to describe his work as a Wikipedia administrator but would not identify himself other than by confirming the biographical details that appeared on his user page. At the time of publication, neither we nor Wikipedia knew Essjay’s real name. Essjay’s entire Wikipedia life was conducted with only a user name; anonymity is common for Wikipedia administrators and contributors, and he says that he feared personal retribution from those he had ruled against online. Essjay now says that his real name is Ryan Jordan, that he is twenty-four and holds no advanced degrees, and that he has never taught. He was recently hired by Wikia—a for-profit company affiliated with Wikipedia—as a “community manager”; he continues to hold his Wikipedia positions. He did not answer a message we sent to him; Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikia and of Wikipedia, said of Essjay’s invented persona, “I regard it as a pseudonym and I don’t really have a problem with it.”

With that, I think The New Yorker has acted responsibly and I appreciate their attention to this matter. Stacy Schiff, the fact checker, and the magazine are all off of my radar. Now then, back to Essjay Ryan Jordan (now that The New Yorker has permanently outed him, he'll have to get used to his real name - we all hope that's his real name!)...

Posted by: Truth Man Wed 28th February 2007, 4:24pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Wed 28th February 2007, 10:08am) *
...With that, I think The New Yorker has acted responsibly and I appreciate their attention to this matter. Stacy Schiff, the fact checker, and the magazine are all off of my radar. Now then, back to Essjay Ryan Jordan (now that The New Yorker has permanently outed him, he'll have to get used to his real name - we all hope that's his real name!)...

Makes sense that they did that, they need to cover their ass and not look like they are licking up for seconds from Wikipedia. Though the article itself still rubs off as that.

Posted by: Somey Wed 28th February 2007, 4:53pm

Y'know, it's too bad Spy Magazine isn't still around - they used to print Letters to the Editor of the New Yorker, because the New Yorker itself wouldn't print them. Of course, the letters were actually sent to Spy, and they would also respond to the letters, which was the whole point of the gag, really.

I'd suggest we do something like that here on WR, but I doubt there's all that much readership crossover between us and the New Yorker.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Wed 28th February 2007, 9:48pm

QUOTE(Somey @ Wed 28th February 2007, 11:53am) *

Y'know, it's too bad Spy Magazine isn't still around -- they used to print Letters to the Editor of the New Yorker, because the New Yorker itself wouldn't print them. Of course, the letters were actually sent to Spy, and they would also respond to the letters, which was the whole point of the gag, really.

I'd suggest we do something like that here on WR, but I doubt there's all that much readership crossover between us and the New Yorker.


We should try to get better cartoons.

I can do a reasonable facsimile of Itchy & Scratchy.

Also, Immanuel Kant.

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Wed 28th February 2007, 10:00pm

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Wed 28th February 2007, 3:48pm) *

We should try to get better cartoons.

Essjay at the computer in his Archbishop hat, glancing down and saying to his cat:
"On Wikipedia, no one knows you're a 24-year-old with no credentials."

Posted by: anon1234 Thu 1st March 2007, 5:15am

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Wed 28th February 2007, 10:00pm) *

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Wed 28th February 2007, 3:48pm) *

We should try to get better cartoons.

Essjay at the computer in his Archbishop hat, glancing down and saying to his cat:
"On Wikipedia, no one knows you're a 24-year-old with no credentials."


Great coverage of the issue on major blogs:

http://valleywag.com/tech/corrections/wikipedia-expert-fabricates-his-own-bio-240464.php (Valleywag)
http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2007/02/new-yorker-butchered-facts-in-wikipedia-ode.php (Radar Online)
http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/2007/02/28/wikipedia-oops/ (Freakonomics)

Less popular blog mentions:
http://www.rexblog.com/2007/02/28/16618/
http://krusekronicle.typepad.com/kruse_kronicle/
http://www.regrettheerror.com/2007/03/
http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2007/02/28/wikipedia-source-for-new-yorker-a-fraud

The correction is also now available at http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060731fa_fact

I am starting to get a feeling this will get more traction in the mainstream that I initially anticipated... this minor "correction" has legs.

Posted by: Nathan Thu 1st March 2007, 5:42am

I was going to write something (still have it in draft) but other blogs did a better job.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Thu 1st March 2007, 5:54am

QUOTE(anon1234 @ Wed 28th February 2007, 11:15pm) *

I am starting to get a feeling this will get more traction in the mainstream that I initially anticipated... this minor "correction" has legs.

Quite possibly. It would have remained just a correction, but for Jimbo's glib comment that he has no problem with it. This was very "unencyclopedic" of him. And the fact that this involves a false and flagrant claim of academic credentials, at the precise time that Wikipedia in academia is a hot issue, certainly helps. Anyone who remembers the hell they endured in grad school, and looks at Essay acquiring two PhDs with a few keystrokes, and Jimbo signing off on it, has to start wondering...

Posted by: coriaceous Thu 1st March 2007, 6:36am

There is a bit I came across, where Essjay indicated that a certain IP address was owned by, as I remember, Glendale Community College. Maybe someone else will find it. I've notice that deleted articles tend to delete personal edits (what they did to the 1911 project was obscene; I did nearly a thousand annotations to that very bad macine-read text).

What I noticed was the architectural nature of his personal page. Is this Hitler's Reichs Chancellory?

Posted by: anon1234 Thu 1st March 2007, 7:13am

Wouldn't it be hilarious if this story was picked up by The Colbert Report?

Posted by: Truth Man Thu 1st March 2007, 12:06pm

QUOTE(anon1234 @ Thu 1st March 2007, 2:13am) *

Wouldn't it be hilarious if this story was picked up by The Colbert Report?

No, because very few people actually know about Essjay outside of Wiki-circles.

Posted by: JohnA Thu 1st March 2007, 3:09pm

Essjay's lies have been http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/01/1313251

The first response takes my breath away:

QUOTE
For me this is just more proof that it doesn't matter what degrees you have under your belt, it's what you DO that matters. This guy is obviously intelligent and motivated. He has helped to produce one of the best information sites in the world. If he wants to have an alter web identity, more power to him. Just leave him alone.


blink.gif

Posted by: Jonny Cache Thu 1st March 2007, 3:48pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Tue 27th February 2007, 4:37pm) *

Nicholas Carr quotes the editor's note from The New Yorker. I haven't seen The New Yorker yet, but expect to soon. The ellipses in Carr's quote need to be filled in. At least this gives you a slight preview:

QUOTE

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikia and of Wikipedia, said of Essjay's invented persona, "I regard it as a pseudonym and I don't really have a problem with it".

http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2007/02/never_trust_an.php



One day — maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow … read my ellipses — Jimbo will be saying of Wikipedia, "I regard it as a pseudo-pedia and I don't really have a problem with it".

And then the moment of Truth And Reconciliation (TAR) will have arrived.

Pins And Needles (PAN) ...

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: anon1234 Thu 1st March 2007, 4:10pm

A lengthy response from Essjay:

QUOTE
I would like to clear up an oversight on my part. I was, until this morning, under the impression that in my initial post on this subject (in response to a question from Dev920 made some weeks ago) I had made an apology for anyone who felt they were hurt by my decision to use misinformation. In speaking to various different people, including Jimbo, I did make it known that I was sorry that anyone felt hurt by my actions, and I believed I had done so in my initial statement. On re-reading that, I find I did not; it was a rather lengthy statement I had been thinking about for some time, and I seem to have left out a rather critical element of it. So, I rectify that now, with further apologies that it was not included originally, as I pointed people back to that statement in the belief it was complete.

I *am* sorry if anyone in the Wikipedia community has been hurt by my decision to use disinformation to protect myself. I'm not sorry that I protected myself; I believed, and continue to believe, that I was right to protect myself, in light of the problems encountered on the internet in these trying times. I have spoken to all of my close friends here about this, and have heard resoundingly that they understand my position, and they support me. Jimbo and many others in Wikipedia's hierarchy have made thier support known as well. I'm also sorry the New Yorker chose to print what they did about me; there seems to be a belief that I knew they were going to print it, and that is not the case. I spoke with Stacy Shiff for over eight hours; in that time, she asked me about a variety of subjects related to Wikipedia and I have her much to write on. (Those who know me will know I am rarely ever brief in my comments.) That she chose to focus on two rather trivial reverts to Justin Timberlake and what my userpage said came as a complete surprise to me; it was, quite honestly, my impression that it was well known that I was not who I claimed to be, and that in the absence of any confirmation, no respectible publication would print it. I did not have an advance copy of the article, and indeed, didn't even get the complimentary print copy that others were given when it was published; I asked Stacy to send it to the Foundation for thier use instead. Further, she made several offers to compensate me for my time, and my response was that if she truly felt the need to do so, she should donate to the Foundation instead.

For two years, I have poured my life into making this site a better place. That many people feel hurt by my decision pains me greatly, and to them I am genuinely sorry. To the stalkers, the trolls, and the vandals, I am not sorry; they are abusive, hateful people, and they have done far worse things than those whole of the Wikipeida Community, myself included, have ever thought about doing. Now, I am going back to what I have always done: Making Wikipedia a better place. (In the immediate present, I'm going to bed, as I've been up for quite a long time.) Tonight, I will be back to my normal routine: Blocking vandals, closing RFAs, tending to the mailing lists, etc. I have no intention of going anywhere, because to do so would be to let the vandals, trolls, and stalkers win.

I have no doubt that others will continue to debate this matter; I have no intention to say anything further, as I have made my statement complete. If anyone needs me, look where the work of keeping the encyclopedia running is being done, and you'll probably find me there. Essjay (Talk) 16:06, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Essjay&diff=prev&oldid=111847534

Posted by: Jonny Cache Thu 1st March 2007, 5:20pm

QUOTE(anon1234 @ Thu 1st March 2007, 11:10am) *

A lengthy response from Essjay:

QUOTE

<yada yada yada ...>



Moral Of the Story (MOTS):

If ya can't stand the heat,
quit yer bitchin' ...


Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: Jonny Cache Thu 1st March 2007, 5:40pm

QUOTE(JohnA @ Thu 1st March 2007, 10:09am) *

Essjay's lies have been http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/01/1313251.

The first response takes my breath away:

QUOTE

For me this is just more proof that it doesn't matter what degrees you have under your belt, it's what you DO that matters. This guy is obviously intelligent and motivated. He has helped to produce one of the best information sites in the world. If he wants to have an alter web identity, more power to him. Just leave him alone.


blink.gif


Not too surprising really. The Self-Love Of The Hive (SLOTH) demands that hordes of eyeless WikiPupae will now grope their narcoleptic way toward the Wiki-Wounded-Worker drone and pour out a dumbshow of support by excreting soothing juices on the afflicted fragment of their collective narcissism.

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: anon1234 Thu 1st March 2007, 6:03pm

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Thu 1st March 2007, 5:40pm) *

Not too surprising really. The Self-Love Of The Hive (SLOTH) demands that hordes of eyeless WikiPupae will now grope their narcoleptic way toward the Wiki-Wounded-Worker drone and pour out a dumbshow of support by excreting soothing juices on the afflicted fragment of their collective narcissism.


A few minor supports is nothing. This is bigger than just something that can be fixed with the usually closing of ranks. This story has legs in the wider world since it resonates with the core issue so many people have with Wikipedia. It is becoming easier and easier to shoot holes through Wikipedia's credibility, its like shooting fish in a barrel.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Thu 1st March 2007, 6:25pm

QUOTE(anon1234 @ Thu 1st March 2007, 1:03pm) *

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Thu 1st March 2007, 5:40pm) *

Not too surprising really. The Self-Love Of The Hive (SLOTH) demands that hordes of eyeless WikiPupae will now grope their narcoleptic way toward the Wiki-Wounded-Worker drone and pour out a dumbshow of support by excreting soothing juices on the afflicted fragment of their collective narcissism.


A few minor supports is nothing. This is bigger than just something that can be fixed with the usually closing of ranks. This story has legs in the wider world since it resonates with the core issue so many people have with Wikipedia. It is becoming easier and easier to shoot holes through Wikipedia's credibility, its like shooting fish in a barrel.


Sure, that all goes without saying. Pretty soon, Ryan Jordan will become "notable" enough to write mainstream articles about, far more than Brandt or folks like that, and then we'll see some fun fur fly when the Hive tries to justify covering his behind by not covering his real bio.

But my point was really how totally oblivious the witless wonders of Wikipedia are when it comes to reflecting on how the real world sees them. I mean, can you imagine Connie Chung or Dan Rather issuing a statement like the one that Essjay just e-mitted? -- I mean, and expecting anybody to buy it? Speaking of barrels, far bigger fish have been canned for far less.

Jonny Cachefish cool.gif

Posted by: Somey Thu 1st March 2007, 7:56pm

In the spirit of Essjay's recent apology to Wikipedia, I too would like to make an apology for the way I've unintentionally misled the Wikipedia Review community for the past several months.

It was patently obvious to me that when I joined this forum that I would, within the space of a few weeks, be promoted to the staff group due to the existing administrators having become too busy with their personal lives to deal with the enormous workload involved in protecting the site against massive and constant attacks by Vandals, Huns, Visigoths, and Mongols. I therefore took steps to protect myself from these people, by calling myself "Somey," claiming to be located in the Central Iowa region, suggesting that I was a college graduate, IT consultant, and former federal worker, and also mentioning somewhere or other that I had some professional experience as a proofreader and copy editor. Naturally, I simply assumed that no one in their right mind could possibly take these ridiculous claims at face value.

As everyone who isn't profoundly retarded now knows, my real name is actually Mister Whiskers, and I'm a professional pet hamster. I have no idea where my small habitat is located, but it's comfortable enough for my purposes, and ever since I got high-speed internet service, I really don't mind being confined for roughly 23 hours a day - allowed out only when the little girl who feeds me wishes to get in some "quality time." (She's turning into quite a cutie, by the way!)

Needless to say, those who would wish physical harm upon me, as well as harm upon Wikipedia Review in general, were completely stymied by this clever subterfuge. Despite the fact that I receive death threats roughly every five minutes from anonymous sources, and am subject to a withering barrage of sniper and mortar fire whenever I leave the protection of my habitat, I'm convinced that my use of a "pseudonym" is the sole reason why I haven't already been assassinated... or worse!

Naturally, I had no idea whatsoever that the silly, obviously-false details of my pseudonymous identity would be repeated by members of the press, who, after all, are not required by law to provide any information whatsoever about the people they quote extensively in their articles. After my last marathon interview session, I simply assumed that any quotes from me would be correctly attributed to "some guy," which is of course what all my friends call me. Frankly, I don't believe I should be held responsible for the kind of irresponsible journalism shown by these people in repeating the ludicrous claims I made, for my own protection, on various public forums, user pages, "talk" pages, sworn affidavits, and other non-notable places.

In conclusion, although I humbly apologize to anyone here on Wikipedia Review who might have been so utterly gullible (I still can't believe anyone bought it!) as to have believed my outlandish claims, though this was never my intent, I will absolutely not apologize to the vast armies of vicious barbarians, Ninja assassins, Mafia hit-men, diabolical supervillains, chainsaw-wielding madmen, giant horned demons, alien invaders, and other Wikipedians who continue to threaten my life and the lives of my family (wherever they ended up - I lost track after I left the pet shop). Instead, I will continue my work here at Wikipedia Review, exposing their lies and iniquities as long as I remain physically capable of getting on the little tread-wheel which opens the door to the plastic tube that leads into the box where the computer is.

Thanks, everyone!

Posted by: Jonny Cache Thu 1st March 2007, 8:18pm

T I M E ! ! !


( Tears In My Eyes ... )


Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: The Joy Thu 1st March 2007, 8:20pm

Actually, Somey, I'm rather impressed that a pet hamster can type so well and type such long posts!

Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive! All the guy had to do was say nothing of his personal life and say "none of your business" to those demanding information about him.

Alas, the deed is done and he'll have to deal with the fact that some will never trust him wholeheartedly for a long time to come.

Posted by: thekohser Thu 1st March 2007, 8:24pm

QUOTE(Somey @ Thu 1st March 2007, 2:56pm) *

In the spirit of Essjay's recent apology to Wikipedia, I too would like to make an apology for the way I've unintentionally misled the Wikipedia Review community for the past several months.

...stuff deleted...

Thanks, everyone!


Somey has always been, and still is, a fantastic editor and trusted member of the community. He apologized to me and to the community for any harm caused. Trolls are claiming that he "bragged" about it: this is bullshit. (Who would ever brag about living in Iowa?) He has been thoughtful and contrite about the entire matter and I consider it settled.

Disrespectfully,

Whimbo Jales

Posted by: JohnA Thu 1st March 2007, 8:37pm

This comment on Nicholas Carr's blog:

QUOTE
I am one of the people who Essjay lied to on a regular basis. I found him to be, in general, insightful. However, I cannot forgive that he lied to me, or his lies to the Wikipedia community and the public. It is a disgrace that Jimbo's response to being informed of Essjay's lies was to promote him, and his choice to do so sends a clear message about Wikipedia.

Wikipedia's credibility as an information source is bad enough without having to deal with having documented fraudsters as leading contributors.

Posted by: Kelly Martin


blink.gif

Posted by: gomi Thu 1st March 2007, 8:59pm

QUOTE(The Joy @ Thu 1st March 2007, 12:20pm) *

Actually, Somey, I'm rather impressed that a pet hamster can type so well and type such long posts!

Presumably using a technique pioneered by http://www.donmarquis.com/archy/, and believe me, I pound my head on the keyboard from time to time reading Wikipedia as well.

Of perhaps more import, doesn't even Essjay's apology contain a lie? He has previously http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Essjay&diff=prev&oldid=105988059. I have been fact-checked before ... they actually ask you about what was in the article, so this "no advance copy" stuff is BS -- he outright lied to the reporter andthe fact-checker. This was no error of omission.

On top of that, the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Essjay/Letter on his page shows him using his bogus credentials to intimidate a bona fide professor -- a fraud perpetrated in no way to protect his safety.

He should be run out on a rail.

Posted by: the fieryangel Thu 1st March 2007, 9:06pm

To me, the main problem here is not about who lied to whom and why. We all know that they lie about lots of stuff, so that's nothing new.

What is new and interesting here is what was lied about.

Wikipedia is supposed to anti-establishment, in that the contributions of a fifth grader are supposed to be seens as being as valid and as valuable as those of an University professor. It's the equality of the digital age and it's about everybody being somehow equal and important.

Well, why does this guy lie about being a University professor and having a PHD? Does this mean that somehow these things have some sort of hidden value that the PTB don't want to really accept, but somehow covet? And are they trying to play some sort of social-status game by pretending that some of their higher-ups have these qualifications?

If that's the case, then they're going to be for a bucket of cold water in the face.

Let me explain: I do research (on musical subjects) in places where the usual ticket of admission is having a tenured University post and a PhD. I have neither of those, but I've done other things which gets me in these doors (I could probably also use this stuff to get a PhD some day, but I'd last about five minutes in Academia before I would say something stupid and they'd fire me, so I figure it'd be a waste of everybody's time....). Once you're in the door, everybody assumes that you're part of the club and you're "one of us". I'm extremely careful about being very frank about who I am and what I'm doing, saying quite bluntly that I'm NOT a University professor and I don't have a PhD. I then explain that I do X, Y and Z so they don't call the police and have me arrested for being some sort of con artist.

There are others in the same position that I'm in. Some of them try to cheat and pretend that, yes, they're "one of the gang". But everybody always finds out the truth...and these days, much more quickly that you can imagine. The academics have a kind of respect for people like me, but they do not tolerate those who pretend to be "one of them". And the first chance they see somebody making a copy of something they shouldn't/examining a manuscript that shouldn't be out/publishing something that they shouldn't have had/saying things in public that they shouldn't be saying, they nail 'em. And it ain't pretty....

So, I think that Wikipedia just bought stock in a growth industry....If I wrote for the Journal of Higher Education, I might be interested in exploring this further for an article there.....

Posted by: Jonny Cache Thu 1st March 2007, 9:42pm

QUOTE(the fieryangel @ Thu 1st March 2007, 4:06pm) *

To me, the main problem here is not about who lied to whom and why. We all know that they lie about lots of stuff, so that's nothing new.

What is new and interesting here is what was lied about.

Wikipedia is supposed to anti-establishment, in that the contributions of a fifth grader are supposed to be seens as being as valid and as valuable as those of an University professor. It's the equality of the digital age and it's about everybody being somehow equal and important.


But this is just what con artists always promise -- a quick and essjay way around all those bothersome rules and exigencies of reality that all yer out-of-the-know suckers of the world have to play by and work at -- and biting that bit, hook, line, and sinker, is what makes the mark the biggest sucker of them all. Now, it's essjay to see how children and adolescents might fall for that, which is precisely why Jimbo prefers them to educated and experienced adults.

Nothing new here, much less digital about it ...

Well, there is one digit that comes to mind ...

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: the fieryangel Thu 1st March 2007, 9:47pm

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Thu 1st March 2007, 10:42pm) *

Nothing new here, much less digital about it ...

Well, there is one digit that comes to mind ...

Jonny cool.gif


Welp, I'm sorta getting interested with something I found http://www.wikitruth.info/index.php?title=EssjaySpecifically, this:

QUOTE
The Money Trail

This has not been as widely reported, but the Wikimedia foundation made a $5,000 donation to a collection of IRC servers used heavily by Wikipedian editors and administrators, Freenode. A reference is on this page, although the link to the actual message no longer works. Freenode is run by several people, who do not include Essjay, but there are a number of highly-placed administrators of the Freenode network... including Essjay. Not bad for a tax-free donation!


Anybody have any ideas about what this might mean, other than something's rotten in Denmark??

Posted by: Somey Thu 1st March 2007, 9:59pm

QUOTE(the fieryangel @ Thu 1st March 2007, 3:06pm) *
So, I think that Wikipedia just bought stock in a growth industry....If I wrote for the Journal of Higher Education, I might be interested in exploring this further for an article there.....

I'll say! Now that this is starting to finally hit the fan (where it belongs, IMO), I suspect this situation will give us enough lies, distortions, and hypocrisies to last us for months. (And it's not like we didn't have enough to begin with!)

Just in the last two days, there's been a huge amount of activity - mostly on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jimbo_Wales#The_New_Yorker_quotes_you, but now starting on WikiEN-L and elsewhere, with people finally starting to come to grips with what's going on. And I guess I can't resist quoting Dave Gerard's typical treatment of the facts:

QUOTE
I was most amused to see Daniel Brandt ranting about it, considering that avoiding Brandt's blatant stalking and harassment of editors was one of the main reasons for Essjay doing it.

Never mind that it isn't "stalking" or "harassment" at all, not even close, and that such a claim is clearly libelous. He's actually claiming that Essjay started deceiving the WP community at least six months before anyone at Wikipedia had any dealing with Brandt whatsoever! Sure, he isn't the only one doing that, but still... Good ol' Dave! Always reliable! laugh.gif

I've also seen things like User:JzG referring to Essjay's deception as "a bit of Walter Mittyism"; User:Betacommand claiming that "plain and simple Essjay was attempting to protect his physical person," as if being a tenured professor with two Ph.D.'s somehow lends you greater protection than being, say, a 23-year-old paralegal (I would think just the opposite!); various (false) claims that most, if not all, of the AnonIP's contributing to the discussion are actually Daniel Brandt, along with openly libelous statements about him; utterly priceless bits from someone calling himself "ChipClip" such as, "if the New Yorker is stupid enough to believe everything everyone tells them, that's their problem," and "get over your moral snobbiness"; and of course, User:Pschemp's comment in response to User:Makemi's point that Essjay could have chosen a non-expert fake identity if all he wanted to do was "protect himself" from "stalkers":
QUOTE( @ 20:46, 1 March 2007 (UTC))
Ok, seriously, you need to prove that allegation. He has explicitly stated he did that to protect his identity. Find me an example of him using that to leverage on wiki debates.

Which, of course, was followed by several examples of that very thing!

Last but not least, I, too, am seeing a lot of this sort of thing:
QUOTE(User:ObiterDicta @ 21:51, 28 February 2007 (UTC))
But unless he tried to persuade people of his views with respect to articles on religion (and I didn't check and don't know one way or the other) why would this necessarily matter?

As has been mentioned already, these people don't even bother to check Essjay's long history of contribs relating to the Catholic Church - they just come right out and say what they think Jimbo wants to hear.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Thu 1st March 2007, 10:08pm

I think we can let the mainsteam media run with this now. Those of us who've been listening to the Big Lie for way too long can hardly even remember how steamed they will be -- which is, of course, why the Big Lie always works better than the Feeble Fib.

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Fri 2nd March 2007, 3:16am

Our work here is finished; the http://www.cydeweys.com/blog/index.php/2007/03/01/how-to-deal-with-liars-on-wikipedia/ has spoken:
"I cannot forgive Essjay for what he was done. He has permanently lost my trust as well as the trust of many others."
-Cyde Weys, March 1, 2007


FORUM Image

Pack up this thread and move along; there's nothing to see here folks. One used Doctorate of Canon Law goes to Cyde, who looks quite believable in Essjay's oversized hat.

Posted by: Nathan Fri 2nd March 2007, 3:41am

I linked to Kelly Martin's post in my blog (I would never link to anything written by Cyde, even if I agreed with it - I won't give the bastard the satisfaction).

Posted by: Somey Fri 2nd March 2007, 3:54am

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Thu 1st March 2007, 9:16pm) *
One used Doctorate of Canon Law goes to Cyde, who looks quite believable in Essjay's oversized hat.

Well, this is good. "About a month ago" it "became known" to him, and he "didn’t say anything publicly about it at the time in deference to [his] sources’ requests"? When did Essjay post his Wikia user page, January 7th? And when did I notice it and post about it in this very thread, January 11th? And when did I write that "something still doesn't add up," also in this thread - July 27, 2006?

And I couldn't help noticing that he didn't post that until Kelly Martin had already gone public with her own view of the situation - probably just so that he could link to it!

Also, note that he didn't write "what he has done," he actually wrote "I cannot forgive Essjay for what he was done." So that could be interpreted as meaning that he could forgive him for what he did, but can't forgive him for getting caught. dry.gif

You probably mentioned this just because you know I like to bash him, didn't you? I dunno... lately it's been too much like shooting fish in a barrel. I'm starting to get more interested in this User:JoshuaZ dude - apparently he's a senior at Yale, in addition to being a hyper-officious little twit... Maybe he'll be more of a challenge!

QUOTE(Nathan @ Thu 1st March 2007, 9:41pm) *
I linked to Kelly Martin's post in my blog...

Not that there's anything wrong with that... smile.gif

Maybe one of us should start another thread (or resurrect an existing one) so we can finally decide if we like Kelly or not now... I've completely forgotten where we left off with that...

Posted by: Nathan Fri 2nd March 2007, 4:09am

About whether or not I like Kelly Martin, I don't think I'm even sure anymore.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Fri 2nd March 2007, 4:42am

I now have increasing respect for Kelly, based on her blog and such. That's something I didn't have a year ago. She has both technical skills and a serious interest in the social sciences. That instantly distinguishes her from about 90 percent of other Wikipedians. Her de-cabalization seems to be complete. I just took her off of hive2. She hasn't been an admin for a while now, but I had kept her on there as a "former admin" because I had some doubts about how cozy she was with the hive's cabal.

Posted by: anon1234 Fri 2nd March 2007, 5:34am

I was waiting for this:
Ryan Jordan (Wikipedia)
I don't think it has a chance of making it through its current AfD, Wikipedia prefers not to document its darkside, but also there are few sources at this point. I did notice they have documented this in the higher traffic Criticisms_of_Wikipedia#New_Yorker_article_Essjay_issue article, which is the proper place for this type of stuff.

Also there is this "Community Discussion" on Essjay:
Wikipedia:Community_noticeboard#Essjay-The_New_Yorker_community_discussion

(I'm still tracking the media coverage via updating this http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?act=ST&f=5&t=2778&st=120#entry23865)

Posted by: Nathan Fri 2nd March 2007, 5:54am

Oi. "NathanR" makes me look like some AOL'er. (no, i'm never happy)

Posted by: LamontStormstar Fri 2nd March 2007, 6:08am

Hmmm what of most of the admins on wikipedia who claim to be old, actually are young, just like Essjay.

There's been other such cases of false identities among wikipedia admins, before. Not with age, though.

What if SlimVirgin really is in her 20s? That would be interesting.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Fri 2nd March 2007, 6:26am

QUOTE(anon1234 @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 12:34am) *

I was waiting for this:

Ryan Jordan (Wikipedia)

I don't think it has a chance of making it through its current AfD, Wikipedia prefers not to document its darkside, but also there are few sources at this point. I did notice they have documented this in the higher traffic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticisms_of_Wikipedia#New_Yorker_article_Essjay_issue article, which is the proper place for this type of stuff.

Also there is this "Community Discussion" on Essjay:
Wikipedia:Community_noticeboard#Essjay-The_New_Yorker_community_discussion

(I'm still tracking the media coverage via updating this past post)


I notice that one of the people voting to delete mentions "Daniel Brandt-style issues". What's that about? Has Ryan Jordan requested that the article about him be deleted? How would they verify that whoever requests its deletion is really the subject of the article? The mind boggles.

Maybe your dynamic post should be clipped out and pinned for the time being?

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: Somey Fri 2nd March 2007, 7:21am

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 12:26am) *
Maybe your dynamic post should be clipped out and pinned for the time being?

Not a bad idea, I suppose... Like ya say, we can't pin individual posts, but I can split it into its own thread and pin that. If I don't hear any major objections...?

I noticed this attempt at a chronology on WikiEN-L just now, from User:Gwern:
QUOTE
On an interesting side note, it apparently wasn't until 21 January that anyone noticed - that was when an anon user brought it up on http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Essjay&oldid=102161036.

Given the anonymity, the name provided as a sig, and the linked website, I think we can conclude it was in fact Daniel Brandt who first noticed it...

Not to take too much credit or anything, but I, Mr. Somey, was the first one here to notice Essjay's new Wikia user page, in http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=2778&view=findpost&p=20392 on Jan. 11. (IMO, Brandt generally had no real reason to be monitoring Wikia's staff pages at that point in time.) Even then, I wasn't inclined to make a huge deal over it - that came later, when he'd made it clear that he was going to try and use that incredibly hackneyed "vandals made me do it" excuse.

I'll let you in on a little secret, though: I wouldn't have noticed Essjay's Wikia page if it hadn't been for the summary for this edit on Uncyclopedia:

http://uncyclopedia.org/index.php?title=User:Essjay&diff=prev&oldid=1424688

That was Jan. 6, but I didn't see it until Jan. 8, and didn't bother to check it out until the 11th. There hadn't been any announcement on Uncyclopedia about Essjay being made a staff user, and I also knew the only way he could've been given that "bit" would have been as a Wikia employee - a la User:Sannse, who of course is another Wikia employee.

Oh well... If it hadn't been me, someone would have noticed it soon enough, I suspect. Nevertheless - and I'm sorry to burst the WP folks' big bouncy bubbles - but Brandt had practically given up on the idea of identifying Essjay at that point. If Essjay had joined the Wikia staff under another user name, this whole thing might never have happened - and I probably never will understand why he didn't do that, knowing the the risk he was taking. He must have honestly thought it didn't matter.

And as for me, I'm flying totally under their radar, aren't I? They don't know me from Wikipedia itself, so it's like I don't even exist for them!

Posted by: Jonny Cache Fri 2nd March 2007, 1:30pm

QUOTE(Somey @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 2:21am) *

I noticed this attempt at a chronology on WikiEN-L just now, from User:Gwern:

QUOTE

On an interesting side note, it apparently wasn't until 21 January that anyone noticed — that was when an anon user brought it up on http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Essjay&oldid=102161036.

Given the anonymity, the name provided as a sig, and the linked website, I think we can conclude it was in fact Daniel Brandt who first noticed it ...



Typical Wikiparanoia — "All our enemas are one" — I think it must involve a bit of wikiwistful thinking on their parts. Which is, of course, their one and only criterion of truth.

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: Jonny Cache Fri 2nd March 2007, 3:00pm

QUOTE(Somey @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 2:21am) *

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 12:26am) *

Maybe your dynamic post should be clipped out and pinned for the time being?


Not a bad idea, I suppose. Like ya say, we can't pin individual posts, but I can split it into its own thread and pin that. If I don't hear any major objections...?


While yer @ it, ya might as well add this one to the list:I always wanted to run a t-test on these guys ...

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: FCYTravis Fri 2nd March 2007, 3:54pm

If Essjay doesn't resign every position, or have them stripped from him, I suspect you'll see an exodus. For me, it will be the proverbial straw. There's absolutely no way that I can continue to contribute to a group which accepts - no, CELEBRATES - lies, fabrications and deceit. As a journalist, it's just anathema to what I believe in - it's the unforgivable sin. From a practical standpoint, who on Earth is going to donate to an "encyclopedia" which is "administrated" and "arbitrated" by such people?

It disgusts me that so many people are defending him. But somehow, it doesn't really surprise me. If the "community" is so blinded to reality that they're willing to accept an admitted and unrepentant liar, fraud and fabulist in positions of trust and authority, then the inmates have truly begun to run the asylum.

Posted by: the fieryangel Fri 2nd March 2007, 4:03pm

QUOTE(FCYTravis @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 4:54pm) *

It disgusts me that so many people are defending him. But somehow, it doesn't really surprise me. If the "community" is so blinded to reality that they're willing to accept an admitted and unrepentant liar, fraud and fabulist in positions of trust and authority, then the inmates have truly begun to run the asylum.


I'd give you a standing ovation if this wasn't on the web! Welcome to the club, FCYTravis!

Do you understand now why many of us have had "issues" with this place for a long time?

As far as people giving them money, I've always wondered how they were able to get foundation support of this kind of shellgame....So, maybe it's all smooze and cocktails with Jimmy that does the trick?

And hats off to Somey for being our own resident supersleuth! (or was it the hamster again?)

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Fri 2nd March 2007, 5:01pm

QUOTE(Somey @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 1:21am) *

Not to take too much credit or anything, but I, Mr. Somey, was the first one here to notice Essjay's new Wikia user page, in http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=2778&view=findpost&p=20392 on Jan. 11. (IMO, Brandt generally had no real reason to be monitoring Wikia's staff pages at that point in time.) Even then, I wasn't inclined to make a huge deal over it - that came later, when he'd made it clear that he was going to try and use that incredibly hackneyed "vandals made me do it" excuse.

Somey is right. I had put my Essjay clicking on hold because after about ten hours of it in preceding months, I couldn't get anywhere at all. I was deeply suspicious, however, that anyone with two PhDs would leave zero trace in all the faculty lists I checked. When Somey pointed out that there was a new user page on Wikia, it hit me like a 2 x 4 when I read the new bio for Essjay.

I also knew enough about The New Yorker to instantly realize that this was something that should interest them. It is embarrassing for them, and for Stacy Schiff too. In a situation like this, one's first instinct is to pretend it's not happening, and sure enough, it took a few weeks to get a response from TNY. I never did hear from Stacy Schiff, even though I ended up with good contact information for her. (I merely emailed her, and didn't try to telephone.)

The second instinct is that if we don't handle this properly now, it will get worse and worse. The New Yorker went with their second instinct. That's because they're smart. They 'fessed up and cut their losses. In fact, we have to give them the benefit of the doubt. They probably never had that first instinct at all - at least not where it counts, at the deputy editor level. My early efforts to contact them probably got lost on the wrong desk somewhere.

Essjay isn't too smart. He doesn't live in the real world. It's hard to develop smarts when you live only on Wikipedia.

Posted by: badlydrawnjeff Fri 2nd March 2007, 5:17pm

QUOTE(FCYTravis @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 3:54pm) *

If Essjay doesn't resign every position, or have them stripped from him, I suspect you'll see an exodus. For me, it will be the proverbial straw. There's absolutely no way that I can continue to contribute to a group which accepts - no, CELEBRATES - lies, fabrications and deceit. As a journalist, it's just anathema to what I believe in - it's the unforgivable sin. From a practical standpoint, who on Earth is going to donate to an "encyclopedia" which is "administrated" and "arbitrated" by such people?

It disgusts me that so many people are defending him. But somehow, it doesn't really surprise me. If the "community" is so blinded to reality that they're willing to accept an admitted and unrepentant liar, fraud and fabulist in positions of trust and authority, then the inmates have truly begun to run the asylum.

Travis, you've hit upon something rather true. I'm with you on this as well, because I've been waffling as to whether I want to go back or not. I can handle working with a community that's contrary to what I think is best because I have something to offer. I can turn a blind eye to some abuses if ArbCom continues to show they're serious about removing the worst offenders. If the community is unable to police itself, however, when it comes to something like this...

Posted by: gomi Fri 2nd March 2007, 7:13pm

QUOTE(FCYTravis @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 7:54am) *

... If the "community" is so blinded to reality that they're willing to accept an admitted and unrepentant liar, fraud and fabulist in positions of trust and authority, then the inmates have truly begun to run the asylum.

Mr. Travis - Welcome, and if this incident has made the scales fall from your eyes, then it has had at least a small salutory effect. Take a moment, however, to consider that the entire Wikipedia admin function is corrupt, or corrupting. Essjay, to some degree, is a product of his envronment. When becoming an admin, a bureaucrat, oversighter, checkuser, ArbComist, etc is the highest aspiration of your normal wiki-ist, then something is broken with the system. Admins weild too much power in Wikipedia, and it corrupts them, in large and small ways.

Yes, be upset at Essjay for calling into question the ethics of all Wikipedia admins. But (despite her post-facto maturing) be upset at Kelly Martin for her extreme arrogance while in power, or at Tony Sidaway for his use of admin tools in furthering his own aims. Wikipedia has, in bouts of extreme fever, rid itself of these, but many, many more lurk. Read the pages here, and see that SlimVirgin uses her admin position and threats of its use to control the POV of numerous articles, see that Jayjg regularly uses checkuser out-of-process to target people who oppose him or Slim. And if those admins were gone, others would fill their shoes.

There may be patches on the problem, like limiting admin tenure to 1 year, but these probably cause other problems. The fundamental problem is that because of the scale of Wikipedia there are no effective checks and balances on admin functions. Take the lowly "unblock request", for example. An admin blocks a user, and watchlists the user's talk page. When an unblock request goes up, she IMs or emails a sympathetic admin, explains her point of view, and the unblock is denied. If a further unblock is posted, that's "talk page abuse" and the talk page is protected. Case closed, and you've created a sockpuppet or vandal. This happens all the time.

So Essjay's humiliation may remove one liar, cheat, and power-hungry youth from the equation, but you're left with many, many others. No expert will work in an environment where the non-experts rule by fiat. No writer will work where the editors are completely in charge. And no competent encyclopedia contributor will long contribute to Wikipedia in its current state, Essjay or no.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Fri 2nd March 2007, 7:26pm

QUOTE(gomi @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 2:13pm) *

QUOTE(FCYTravis @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 7:54am) *

If the "community" is so blinded to reality that they're willing to accept an admitted and unrepentant liar, fraud and fabulist in positions of trust and authority, then the inmates have truly begun to run the asylum.


Mr. Travis — Welcome, and if this incident has made the scales fall from your eyes, then it has had at least a small salutory effect. Take a moment, however, to consider that the entire Wikipedia admin function is corrupt, or corrupting. Essjay, to some degree, is a product of his envronment. When becoming an admin, a bureaucrat, oversighter, checkuser, ArbComist, etc is the highest aspiration of your normal wiki-ist, then something is broken with the system. Admins weild too much power in Wikipedia, and it corrupts them, in large and small ways.

Yes, be upset at Essjay for calling into question the ethics of all Wikipedia admins. But (despite her post-facto maturing) be upset at Kelly Martin for her extreme arrogance while in power, or at Tony Sidaway for his use of admin tools in furthering his own aims. Wikipedia has, in bouts of extreme fever, rid itself of these, but many, many more lurk. Read the pages here, and see that SlimVirgin uses her admin position and threats of its use to control the POV of numerous articles, see that Jayjg regularly uses checkuser out-of-process to target people who oppose him or Slim. And if those admins were gone, others would fill their shoes.

There may be patches on the problem, like limiting admin tenure to 1 year, but these probably cause other problems. The fundamental problem is that because of the scale of Wikipedia there are no effective checks and balances on admin functions. Take the lowly "unblock request", for example. An admin blocks a user, and watchlists the user's talk page. When an unblock request goes up, she IMs or emails a sympathetic admin, explains her point of view, and the unblock is denied. If a further unblock is posted, that's "talk page abuse" and the talk page is protected. Case closed, and you've created a sockpuppet or vandal. This happens all the time.

So Essjay's humiliation may remove one liar, cheat, and power-hungry youth from the equation, but you're left with many, many others. No expert will work in an environment where the non-experts rule by fiat. No writer will work where the editors are completely in charge. And no competent encyclopedia contributor will long contribute to Wikipedia in its current state, Essjay or no.

This essay merits the highly-prized, rarely-awarded recognition pinned below —

QUOTE

Per Angusta Ad Augusta In A Nut'sHell
Star Of Arete

``````````````Z.................

With Imprisoned Lightning Rocker

wink.gif



Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: gomi Fri 2nd March 2007, 7:38pm

FORUM Image You ... like me? You really like me! (sob)

Posted by: gomi Fri 2nd March 2007, 7:52pm

Breaking news. It looks like the Wikipedia user http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Robbie31, who self-identified as "Essjay's partner", and who http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Requests_for_bureaucratship/Essjay&diff=prev&oldid=45607167, may in fact be a sock of Essjay. It shows http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Essjay&diff=prev&oldid=81895111 of the schizophrenia that so many lies might bring on. The data is too old for a checkuser, but if SlimVirgin were adjuticating it, she would say "Sockpuppet or meatpuppet of Essjay, see User:Contributions".

Posted by: No one of consequence Fri 2nd March 2007, 8:19pm

QUOTE(gomi @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 7:52pm) *

Breaking news. It looks like the Wikipedia user http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Robbie31, who self-identified as "Essjay's partner", and who http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Requests_for_bureaucratship/Essjay&diff=prev&oldid=45607167, may in fact be a sock of Essjay.


It's only breaking news to the dozens of people who have shown up to the debate never having heard of Essjay before. Robbie is not a prolific editor but he has posted some. One time Essjay was laid up with the flu or dental work or something, and accidentally left his status light on "In." Robbie posted and asked for someone watching to fix it. Robbie also said in the RfB "I'm Essjay's partner" so it's not like it was a secret to the RfB voters or the bureaucrat who closed it.

QUOTE(FCYTravis @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 3:54pm) *

If Essjay doesn't resign every position, or have them stripped from him, I suspect you'll see an exodus.


Don't let the door hit you...etc.

I wonder how many people will leave if Essjay is hounded out?

Posted by: taiwopanfob Fri 2nd March 2007, 8:38pm

QUOTE(No one of consequence @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 8:19pm) *

I wonder how many people will leave if Essjay is hounded out?


Well, that's a question, eh? If Essjay remains installed at ArbCom, wielding a sysop and bureaucrat bit and the trainwreck continues unabated, you stand to lose people with a sense of justice and propriety, knowledge of the outside world and how it works. And of course the media and everyone else will laugh their assess off at your collective expense. If, however, Essjay is forced up the wiki-gallows, you lose other people who clearly have a less than useful brain - even, you must admit, within WikiLogic - and project management looks like they are on the ball, some microscopic credibility viewed from the outside is restored. Heck maybe even the media will talk to you again!

Do you want quality or quantity? Is Wikipedia an encyclopedia or a blog? Decisions, decisions. Will Jimbo ever make a good one?

Posted by: FCYTravis Fri 2nd March 2007, 8:49pm

QUOTE(No one of consequence @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 12:19pm) *

I wonder how many people will leave if Essjay is hounded out?

So you're suggesting that someone whose entire Wikicareer is based on lies, frauds and fabrications should be accepted, even celebrated?

In that case, as I said, the project is no longer of any use. It will have become more interested in personalities and "community" than the task of building a useful, factual and comprehensive encyclopedia.

Which is more important - a fraudster, or the project's credibility? Pick one.

Posted by: the fieryangel Fri 2nd March 2007, 9:01pm

QUOTE

Travis, you've hit upon something rather true. I'm with you on this as well, because I've been waffling as to whether I want to go back or not. I can handle working with a community that's contrary to what I think is best because I have something to offer. I can turn a blind eye to some abuses if ArbCom continues to show they're serious about removing the worst offenders. If the community is unable to police itself, however, when it comes to something like this...


If I might butt in here, Mr. BadlydrawnJeff (Might I just call you Jeff?), I have to say that the problem not with this specific situation, but with the whole tamale.

Here's the truth:

Wikipedia is built on a lie. It's not meant to be what it pretends to be, which is the "sum of all human knowledge, available to all".

The truth is this:

Wikipedia is a cult. It's got a central charismatic leader whose will is not to be questioned. It's got scores of slaves willing to do the grunt work if it means that they might get a smile and "hello" from Jimbo at Wikimania. It's certainly got the financial issues.

It's a cult.

What is the central issue with cults? Why are they bad?

Because only the people who are in the inner circle know about the lies and profit from it.

When are you people finally going to realize that there is no salvaging this? There has never been a way to really make this into what it pretends to be, because it's completely not at all what it appears?

Posted by: The Joy Fri 2nd March 2007, 9:14pm

How long will it be before Jimbo comes and tries to silence the masses over the Essjay scandal? What will happen then? Jimbo will not tolerate such dissension in the ranks, will he?

To be honest, I thought this would all be swept under the rug and anyone that brought it up would be silenced. However, it seems that large segments of the community want Essjay out or severely punished for his deceit.

Whatever happens, I foresee an exodus of long-term established users. This is getting very ugly.

Posted by: gomi Fri 2nd March 2007, 9:30pm

QUOTE(The Joy @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 1:14pm) *

How long will it be before Jimbo comes and tries to silence the masses over the Essjay scandal?

Jimbo may be an asshole but he's not completely stupid. He will not (indeed, could not) silence the masses without shutting down the site. If he does anything, he will step in and impose some drawn-out, hopelessly bureaucratic process to examine the situation in such dull and boring detail that, when complete, no one will know or care about the outcome -- i.e. ArbCom.

Bear in mind that he has appointed all the ArbCom members, and presumably communicates with them by email. So anything that goes to ArbCom is going to be hopelessly corrupted by his ex parte communications. I regret spilling the WR:BEANS here, but if this does go to ArbCom, and ArbCom lets Essjay off the hook (as would seem likely), it will simply further indict the entire star-chamber ArbCom process.

Posted by: badlydrawnjeff Fri 2nd March 2007, 9:46pm

QUOTE(the fieryangel @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 9:01pm) *

When are you people finally going to realize that there is no salvaging this? There has never been a way to really make this into what it pretends to be, because it's completely not at all what it appears?


Call me Jeff, really.

And, honestly, I'm not as down about the greater idea than most. I think that an inordinate number of people in leadership positions should not be, and I think the community as a whole is rather schitzophrenic, but when you cut through the bullshit, you have a great piece of work that can be something even more.

How will it cross that plateau? Damned if I know, realistically speaking. But it doesn't mean you just throw up your hands and say "this isn't salvagable."

Posted by: JohnA Fri 2nd March 2007, 9:48pm

Am I the only one who thinks a book should be written about Wikipedia?

Posted by: Gracenotes Fri 2nd March 2007, 9:56pm

QUOTE(JohnA @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 4:48pm) *

Am I the only one who thinks a book should be written about Wikipedia?

Just don't call it "Main Page". The disambiguation would be a mess smile.gif

Posted by: Jonny Cache Fri 2nd March 2007, 9:58pm

QUOTE(badlydrawnjeff @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 4:46pm) *

How will it cross that plateau? Damned if I know, realistically speaking. But it doesn't mean you just throw up your hands and say "this isn't salvagable".


Every individual makes his or her own decision about that. But a very large number of people, and counting, can tell you the day when they had finally given Wikipedia their last, best, good faith try, and after that point decided that it was no longer something to be taken seriously anymore. Salvagable? Hell, even, the Titanic was salvagable. But I don't think under the steam of the original crew.

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: the fieryangel Fri 2nd March 2007, 10:15pm

QUOTE(badlydrawnjeff @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 10:46pm) *

And, honestly, I'm not as down about the greater idea than most. I think that an inordinate number of people in leadership positions should not be, and I think the community as a whole is rather schitzophrenic, but when you cut through the bullshit, you have a great piece of work that can be something even more.


I'm afraid I'd have to disagree with you there, Jeff. Wikipedia is a lie. It's not doing anything that hasn't been done before....and better...by others.

Lots of people have collected knowledge over the years. Some of them write books. Others write encyclopedias. Others make recordings or films or pieces of art or poems or whatever.

The main premise of Wikipedia is that everything that these people have done before belongs to everyone and that you can just pick it up and use it.

And in the real world, this idea is false. People work their entire lives and, no, they are not happy when people just decide that "knowledge just wants to be free" and that you can print their article/photo/poem/whatever. These things are their property. Clearly, given the discussion concering "fair use" and the like, Wikipedia is just figuring out that this is a problem. It's about time.

The other main premise of Wikipedia is that everyone's contributions are equal and that experience doesn't matter.

The fact is that people are not equal and experience does matter....and people who have both the knowledge and the doctorates and/or the experience to back it up just ain't gonna buy this line. "Essjay" has finally given them the ammo they need to blow this whole thing out of the sky. I predict attacks from all sides of academia concerning this. You don't just "pretend" to have a doctorate and expect to get away with it.

You people keep drinking the kool-aid and expect that "the project will just come out of this stronger than ever".

"The Project" is "the problem" It's a lie. There is no salvaging this.

Posted by: guy Fri 2nd March 2007, 10:37pm

QUOTE(gomi @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 7:52pm) *

voted for him in his RfB

The closing bureaucrat ought to have discounted the vote, seeing that it was only his third posting. In the Ryulong case, Raoul654 discounted a vote from someone who had made I think 12 edits. (All right, he was desperate to justify his highly controversial decision.)

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Fri 2nd March 2007, 10:42pm

There is no learning curve at Wikipedia. It's flat. Or worse, it heads down. Here's an example: an http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Daniel_Brandt_(13th_nomination) was forced early, and it's going to result in KEEP, probably because this AfD is already polluted with a discussion page behind it that is horribly biased in favor of a finding of notability. It's as if you walked into a voting booth and there were pictures of one candidate receiving a medal as a war hero, and the other candidate with a pathetic expression, looking out from a jail cell because he was a conscientious objector.

Someone should kill that AfD and block the people responsible for the debacle, or I'm going to get pissed off.

Does anyone here fail to understand why I get motivated to uncover people like Essjay?

Posted by: gomi Fri 2nd March 2007, 11:38pm

QUOTE(guy @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 2:37pm) *
QUOTE(gomi @ Fri 2nd March 2007, 7:52pm) *
voted for him in his RfB
The closing bureaucrat ought to have discounted the vote
True, but I thought that using a sock to vote was prima facie grounds for a perma-ban.

Posted by: GlassBeadGame Sat 3rd March 2007, 2:33am

QUOTE(anon1234 @ Thu 1st March 2007, 11:10am) *
.

I *am* sorry if anyone in the Wikipedia community has been hurt by my decision to use disinformation to protect myself. I'm not sorry that I protected myself;



So he's sorry not for what he did but for how I feel. We'll I guess "mistakes were made." You would think that an esteemed archbishop would understand more about being a moral agent.

Posted by: a view from the hive Sat 3rd March 2007, 7:08am

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Jimbo_Wales&diff=112270687&oldid=112270647

Jimmy speaks.......

QUOTE

I have blanked my entire talk page to make sure this statement gets adequate attention. Hopefully someone more clueful than me :-) can archive things properly.

I have been for several days in a remote part of India with little or no Internet access. I only learned this morning that EssJay used his false credentials in content disputes. I understood this to be primarily the matter of a pseudonymous identity (something very mild and completely understandable given the personal dangers possible on the Internet) and not a matter of violation of people's trust. I want to make it perfectly clear that my past support of EssJay in this matter was fully based on a lack of knowledge about what has been going on. Even now, I have not been able to check diffs, etc.

I have asked EssJay to resign his positions of trust within the community. In terms of the full parameters of what happens next, I advise (as usual) that we take a calm, loving, and reasonable approach. From the moment this whole thing became known, EssJay has been contrite and apologetic. People who characterize him as being "proud" of it or "bragging" are badly mistaken.

On a personal level, EssJay has apologized to me, and I have accepted his apology on a personal level, and I think this is the right thing to do. If anyone else feels that they need or want a personal apology, please ask him for it. And if you find it to be sincere, then I hope you will accept it too, but each person must make their own judgments. Despite my personal forgiveness, I hope that he will accept my resignation request, because forgiveness or not, these positions are not appropriate for him now.

I still have limited net access... for a couple of hours here I will be online, and then I am offline until I am in Japan tomorrow morning. I beleive I will have a fast and stable Internet connection at that time, and I will deal with this further at that time.

Wikipedia is built on (among other things) twin pillars of trust and tolerance. The integrity of the project depends on the core community being passionate about quality and integrity, so that we can trust each other. The harmony of our work depends on human understanding and forgiveness of errors.

Posted by: Nathan Sat 3rd March 2007, 7:13am

I'm not one to agree with Jimbo but I'd say that's fair.

Now if only he would make other decisions just as fairly.

Posted by: Alkivar Sat 3rd March 2007, 9:12am

Lets see if Essjay goes without a fight...

You'll also note Jimbo mentions nothing about Essjay's job over at Wikia...

Hopefully Jimbo wants him gone from there as well...

Posted by: gomi Sat 3rd March 2007, 9:31am

QUOTE(Alkivar @ Sat 3rd March 2007, 1:12am) *
You'll also note Jimbo mentions nothing about Essjay's job over at Wikia... Hopefully Jimbo wants him gone from there as well...

I doubt that very much. Jimbo is acting to quell the damage to Wikipedia and his own reputation. Once it is over, he will rehabilitate Essjay.

On the other hand, I was wrong about him throwing it to ArbCom ....

Posted by: everyking Sat 3rd March 2007, 10:33am

To me, that looked like Jimbo just trying to save his own skin. And sadly, it looks like people (Wikipedians at least) are more or less willing to let him off the hook. I was hoping perhaps this might be the occasion when the mindless faith in Jimbo stuff might really start to die.

Posted by: Poetlister Sat 3rd March 2007, 1:38pm

Nobody's mentioned the RfC on Essjay yet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Essjay

I particularly note the contribution from someone who - you might think - has a vaguely appropriate name:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Essjay#Outside_finding_of_fact_by_User:Hipocrite

If there's one person who's an expert on this sort of thing, surely it's Kelly Martin:

http://nonbovine-ruminations.blogspot.com/2007/03/why-jimmy-wales-must-dismiss-ryan.html

http://nonbovine-ruminations.blogspot.com/2007/03/larry-sanger-proven-right-about.html

Posted by: JohnA Sat 3rd March 2007, 5:10pm

Meanwhile on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Essjay, history is rewritten before our eyes.

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sat 3rd March 2007, 7:27pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Fuzheado is Andrew Lih. He is currently researching a book about Wikipedia and its community, and is a regular host of the Wikipedia Weekly podcast.

Fuzheado is saying on #wikipedia IRC channel that Stacy Schiff has denied this statement by Essjay: "Further, she made several offers to compensate me for my time, and my response was that if she truly felt the need to do so, she should donate to the Foundation instead."

The denial was in an email from Ms. Schiff.

This is a great movie. Pass the popcorn please!

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sat 3rd March 2007, 7:42pm

There is a lot of detail about Essjay's San Francisco trip and meetings/dinners with the cabal at http://blog.essjay.org/ He sounds like a kid in the Big City Candy Store for the first time. It's kind of sad, considering all that's happened since then. Pass the kleenex box please!

If anyone is interested in confirming whether the pic of Ryan Jordan is really him, it shouldn't be too hard. He gives specifics about two media-type people he met (Feb. 6 entry).

NOTE added later: His domain is now parked. The blog page was several entries about his trip, just one page. I captured it earlier today. Researchers can email me for a copy at the address in the box at the bottom of the home page at Wikipedia-Watch.org.

Posted by: Somey Sun 4th March 2007, 1:00am

QUOTE(Alkivar @ Sat 3rd March 2007, 3:12am) *
You'll also note Jimbo mentions nothing about Essjay's job over at Wikia...

Hopefully Jimbo wants him gone from there as well...

I guess I have to (respectfully!) disagree with that, actually. I might be in the minority here, and maybe y'all wouldn't expect this coming from me, but I think it would be a real shame if he got fired from Wikia - his job there doesn't involve editing articles about religion or anything else, he knows everything there is to know about MediaWiki and wiki communities, and he's a courteous, friendly guy for the most part. (Though he did once unfairly indef-block my own personal favorite WP editor, User:Sbharris... dry.gif )

I have to assume that the Wikia people all hate me now for my (albeit limited) role in this incident - I'm sure they hated me long before this, actually - but if this episode means that Mr. Jordan drops out of Wikipedia and spends more time helping out folks and cleaning stuff up on smaller, more socially-useful sites like Uncyclopedia, Memory Alpha and other Wikia projects, I see that as a really positive thing. In fact, it's probably the best possible outcome of all!

I'm also uncomfortable with the idea of calling for people to resign, or be fired, from their (paying) jobs in general. There's really no reason to put someone out on the street who's capable, talented, friendly, and knowledgeable - and frankly, given that he works for Wikia anyway, so what if he's dishonest?

Posted by: LamontStormstar Sun 4th March 2007, 1:30am

QUOTE(Poetlister @ Sat 3rd March 2007, 6:38am) *

If there's one person who's an expert on this sort of thing, surely it's Kelly Martin:

http://nonbovine-ruminations.blogspot.com/2007/03/why-jimmy-wales-must-dismiss-ryan.html

http://nonbovine-ruminations.blogspot.com/2007/03/larry-sanger-proven-right-about.html



Kelly has completely ragged on Essjay despite Kelly lying about a part of Kelly's own identity.

Posted by: anon1234 Sun 4th March 2007, 2:19am

Apparently it is possible to contact Stacy. This is significant I would think: http://www.andrewlih.com/blog/2007/03/03/essjays-third-transgression/

Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sun 4th March 2007, 2:27am

Andrew Lih has now http://www.andrewlih.com/blog/2007/03/03/essjays-third-transgression/. If Schiff is telling the truth (and I have to believe that she isn't stupid enough to do what Essjay said she did), then Gil Penchino should fire Essjay. How can you possibly have any confidence in an employee like Essjay? You'd have to watch him every second, and keep him from dealing with anyone in the Real World.

What? Are you saying that Gil doesn't have the authority to fire Essjay without Jimbo's approval, and Jimbo won't give it? Then Gil should start looking for a position at a Real World company.

It's also time for Angela to speak up about this.

NOTE: anon1234 (above) posted while I was composing, and I didn't see it until after I saved.

Posted by: Nathan Sun 4th March 2007, 3:43am

Essjay retired. See [[User_talk:Essjay]].

I agree with the opinion posted that he should not do something as cowardly as leave, and instead do the needful and stay to regain Wikipedia's trust.

Leaving when things get tough is the coward's way out and it's also the easy way out.

So what is an obsessed 24-year old Wikipedia addict going to do now? wink.gif

Posted by: a view from the hive Sun 4th March 2007, 3:43am

QUOTE

My comments here will be short and to the point: I'm no longer taking part here. I have received an astounding amount of support, especially by email, but it's time to go. I tried to walk away in August, and managed to do so for quite a while, but I eventually came back, because of the many requests I received urging me to return. Many of you have written to ask me to not leave, to not give up what I have here, but I'm afraid it's time to make a clean break.

I ask that the first steward to see this message please remove my various flags from this wiki, as well as from Meta, Commons, and Wikiquote, and remove the bot flags from my bots, which of course will no longer be running. My tools will be taken down shortly. I had planned to delete my user-space myself, but I don't want anyone to think I was going on a rampage, so instead, I ask that one or more administrators who are friends please delete the 288 pages that form my userspace (leaving only my userpage and this talk page).

I've enjoyed my time here, and done much good work; my time, however, is over, and leaving is the best thing for me and for Wikipedia. I walk away happy to be free to go about other things. I hope others will refocus the energy they have spent the past few days in defending and denouncing me to make something here at Wikipedia better.

With love to all who have been my friends here, Essjay (Talk) 03:17, 4 March 2007 (UTC)


Posted by: GlassBeadGame Sun 4th March 2007, 5:52am

I don't get it. The one generosity the WP community has extended Essjay is that no one is even suggesting he should be banned or to interfere with his work as an <i>editor</i>. This despite evidence that he ham-handed his fake credentials in edit disputes. Now notwithstanding the WP mantra about how important it is to edit articles, he doesn't want to further engage the project if he can't do so with Admin, Bureaucrat , User Check, Secret Agent powers. This would make it appear the social network aspects were more important to him than the encyclopedia.

Posted by: The Joy Sun 4th March 2007, 6:20am

I honestly didn't think he'd leave. He still had friends. He still has friends. He could've just went with a basic account and, over time, regained the trust of the community, a feat many on the Wiki felt was possible.

Now instead, he's leaving. Understandable, of course given the current climate. But he's left behind a very raw and hurt community. Where's the fence-mending?

Kelly Martin, on Essjay's talkpage, suggests this is a Meatball Goodbye in an attempt to win sympathy for when he returns.

I'm somewhat inclined to agree with Ms. Martin.

Somehow, this all reminds me of Richard Nixon. He had it all, but then he blew it. Big time.

If it sounds like I sympathize with him, I do to an extent. He shouldn't have done it, but he did and he should've expected a reprimand or sanction. I believe in forgiveness and I believe in time he will be.

However, he must take the steps necessary to heal the community and atone for his sins. The ball's in Essjay's court and it's his decision whether to run with it


Posted by: The Joy Sun 4th March 2007, 6:38am

Update:

He has quit or been fired from Wikia Inc (don't know which).

http://www.wikia.com/wiki/User:Essjay

http://nonbovine-ruminations.blogspot.com/2007/03/essjay-quits.html

Posted by: Somey Sun 4th March 2007, 6:54am

That's too bad, really... Maybe they'll rehire him under a different user name - like I wrote a few posts above this one, it would be a shame for all those Wikia users to lose someone with all that experience on MediaWiki, assuming he still even wants to do it now. This time he should pick a name with a bit more personality to it, like "Teekay"!

And you just know that in three weeks' time, they'll be saying this whole thing was our fault... rolleyes.gif

QUOTE
Somehow, this all reminds me of Richard Nixon. He had it all, but then he blew it. Big time.

Thing about Nixon, though, was that he always had that sweaty area between his nose and his upper lip, whenever he was under pressure. Essjay never had that.

Posted by: everyking Sun 4th March 2007, 6:59am

I don't believe he could ever really get past it if he stayed. He is better off starting a new account, which he may very well have already done. Everybody should keep an eye out for someone going up for RfA claiming some implausibly lofty level of education or job experience in the next few months. Seriously, I don't think the guy can stop lying. He lied right up until the very end, and when his old lie failed him he grasped for new lies. He's got to call every nickel a quarter.

Posted by: gomi Sun 4th March 2007, 8:11am

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Sat 3rd March 2007, 9:52pm) *

I don't get it. The one generosity the WP community has extended Essjay is that no one is even suggesting he should be banned or to interfere with his work as an <i>editor</i>. This despite evidence that he ham-handed his fake credentials in edit disputes. Now notwithstanding the WP mantra about how important it is to edit articles, he doesn't want to further engage the project if he can't do so with Admin, Bureaucrat , User Check, Secret Agent powers. This would make it appear the social network aspects were more important to him than the encyclopedia.
This isn't about the wiki-community, or editing articles, or anything else. He embarrassed Jimbo. That is the long, short, beginning and end of it. If Jimbo would have come to his aid, he would have eventually been rehabilitated. But he became a liability, and Jimbo cut him loose.

The cult of wiki-personality does not admit to practicality over process, and when Jimbo says "out", everyone says "how soon"? Even Essjay's departure is symptomatic of what is wrong about the place.

Now if we could just box Cyde, SlimVirgin and Jayjg into a similar corner .... Wikipedia wouldn't be cured of the disease, but the symptoms would be much less severe.

p.s. - Anyone notice how Slime and Jayjg had nothing to say about L'affaire SJ?

Posted by: everyking Sun 4th March 2007, 9:33am

QUOTE(gomi @ Sun 4th March 2007, 9:11am) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Sat 3rd March 2007, 9:52pm) *

I don't get it. The one generosity the WP community has extended Essjay is that no one is even suggesting he should be banned or to interfere with his work as an <i>editor</i>. This despite evidence that he ham-handed his fake credentials in edit disputes. Now notwithstanding the WP mantra about how important it is to edit articles, he doesn't want to further engage the project if he can't do so with Admin, Bureaucrat , User Check, Secret Agent powers. This would make it appear the social network aspects were more important to him than the encyclopedia.
This isn't about the wiki-community, or editing articles, or anything else. He embarrassed Jimbo. That is the long, short, beginning and end of it. If Jimbo would have come to his aid, he would have eventually been rehabilitated. But he became a liability, and Jimbo cut him loose.

The cult of wiki-personality does not admit to practicality over process, and when Jimbo says "out", everyone says "how soon"? Even Essjay's departure is symptomatic of what is wrong about the place.

Now if we could just box Cyde, SlimVirgin and Jayjg into a similar corner .... Wikipedia wouldn't be cured of the disease, but the symptoms would be much less severe.

p.s. - Anyone notice how Slime and Jayjg had nothing to say about L'affaire SJ?


I don't believe Jimbo could have rehabilitated Essjay no matter what. The outrage was overwhelming. When Jimbo initially tried to defend Essjay, it backfired completely, and that's something new: people did not accept Jimbo's nonsense, and they were holding him partially accountable for the situation. His words actually fueled the fire. Just imagine what would have happened if he had returned from his Indian sojourn with continued endorsement of Essjay. It would have blown the community apart.

Posted by: the fieryangel Sun 4th March 2007, 10:10am

QUOTE(everyking @ Sun 4th March 2007, 10:33am) *

I don't believe Jimbo could have rehabilitated Essjay no matter what. The outrage was overwhelming. When Jimbo initially tried to defend Essjay, it backfired completely, and that's something new: people did not accept Jimbo's nonsense, and they were holding him partially accountable for the situation. His words actually fueled the fire. Just imagine what would have happened if he had returned from his Indian sojourn with continued endorsement of Essjay. It would have blown the community apart.


I think that Jimbo probably could have saved Essjay...if he had been around. The problem was that he was off someplace playing Jimbo/God to adoring fans in India and preparing for a month of WikiWorship in Japan. If he had been there and had his usual connections to thing, I think that this would have ended in an entirely different manner.

The only thing that changed was that Jimbo wasn't around to pull strings behind the scenes to do damage control. And whatever Plan B they had set up didn't work. I wonder if Jimbo's going to be traveling less in the future....or at least only to places where you can easily use cellphones and Wifi....

Let this be a lesson to anybody who's still on the WikiKoolAid. When you start becoming a problem for the God/King, you're going to get cut lose, no matter how much he likes you and regardless of whether or not he was "in" on the "joke" beforehand.

I'm willing to bet the Jimbo knew all about this.....and that this was some sort of private joke between him and Essjay...and probably most of the other Wikia employees.


Posted by: Daniel Brandt Sun 4th March 2007, 11:22am

I tried twice to ask Wikia.com if they have verified Ryan Jordan's personal information on his Wikia.com user page. I was stonewalled both times. The first email was to Carol Wentworth, their PR agent, on Jan 22. The second was to Gil Penchina, Angela Beesley, and Wentworth on Feb 19. The only response was an "out of office" reply from Wentworth both times. It looks to me like the insiders knew they were sitting on a powder keg, and instructed Ms. Wentworth to ignore me. When a deputy editor at The New Yorker responded to my inquiry on February 9, she said that this was the first time that they had heard that there was a problem with Essjay.

Put this all together, and you have a case study of how a corporation should not do public relations. If you're going to hire a PR agent, you have to give them some freedom to do their job when someone like me says that there's this smoking gun that seems interesting. You don't tell them to ignore me. Instead, you at least pretend that you're letting the PR person do some damage control.

If you're really serious about running a good company, you'd call up The New Yorker yourself and confess that one of your employees, whose ass got immediately fired, managed to scam everyone. That's what should have happened within a few days of Jan 22. If they'd been reading this board, they would have gone into action even sooner.

My advice to any venture capitalist is to stay away from Wikia, Inc. They're a bad investment.

Posted by: Olivier Besancenot Sun 4th March 2007, 2:28pm

I was just http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ALog&type=block&user=Doc+glasgow&page=User%3ARuy+Lopez for "personal attacks" due to a comment I left on EssJay's talk page. The comment I left was -

QUOTE
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Essjay&diff=prev&oldid=112542327

I know within the bubble of Wikiality ("I don't really have a problem with it." - porn magnate and Randroid Jimbo Wales) no one has a problem with a fantastic liar to you being on ArbCom, but I guess some of that...*real*-ity and outside world crept in and now you have been thrown overboard. Wikipedia's descent continues.

I expect this comment will be deleted by some cultish cabal'er. I'm counting the minutes!

So I guess pointing out the fact that EssJay is a liar is a "personal attack" which you can be banned to, rather than simply a statement of fact, which it is.

Anyhow, I would very much like to thank Daniel Brandt in his exposure of this and for all his work in bringing to light what is going on on Wikipedia.

As I've stated before - I think this work in exposing Wikipedia is important, and I'm grateful to his and everyone's work on this. I also think it is important to have alternatives, even multiple alternatives to Wikipedia, particularly in areas such as biographies, historical articles and political articles, since I think this is where Wikipedia really is the pits. I feel Wikipedia is a great idea by Larry Sanger which Jimbo Wales ruined, and the baby (Sanger's idea) should not be thrown out with the bathwater. Perhaps Citizendium, or Demopedia or Dkosopedia or one of these Wikipedia competitors or niche sites will take off. Wikipedia's weak point is not it's mathematical and scientific articles, some of which honestly are quite good, they are with the horrible biographical, historical and political articles. I think Wikipedia's first successful competitor will focus on these areas in a more honest, unbiased (or differently biased) way, with perhaps better community self-administration without the cabal nonsense.

Posted by: Doc glasgow Sun 4th March 2007, 3:19pm

QUOTE(Olivier Besancenot @ Sun 4th March 2007, 3:28pm) *
I was just http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ALog&type=block&user=Doc+glasgow&page=User%3ARuy+Lopez for "personal attacks" due to a comment I left on EssJay's talk page. The comment I left was - (snip)


Well as the 'cultish cabal'er' that blocked you, I have only one question. Why is it that when people are blocked for an inability to conduct a civil rational debate, they run here and try to pass themselves off as heroic martyrs to free-speech?

I've had a lot of disagreements with folk that post here, but even I don't thing they are stupid or bloody-minded enough to confuse inarticulate incivility with nobility of cause.

Posted by: LamontStormstar Sun 4th March 2007, 4:00pm

QUOTE(Olivier Besancenot @ Sun 4th March 2007, 7:28am) *

As I've stated before - I think this work in exposing Wikipedia is important, and I'm grateful to his and everyone's work on this. I also think it is important to have alternatives, even multiple alternatives to Wikipedia, particularly in areas such as biographies, historical articles and political articles, since I think this is where Wikipedia really is the pits. I feel Wikipedia is a great idea by Larry Sanger which Jimbo Wales ruined, and the baby (Sanger's idea) should not be thrown out with the bathwater. Perhaps Citizendium, or Demopedia or Dkosopedia or one of these Wikipedia competitors or niche sites will take off. Wikipedia's weak point is not it's mathematical and scientific articles, some of which honestly are quite good, they are with the horrible biographical, historical and political articles. I think Wikipedia's first successful competitor will focus on these areas in a more honest, unbiased (or differently biased) way, with perhaps better community self-administration without the cabal nonsense.


Wikipedia has to go with free labor in most of the high-level people running the place. They have only a few people actually paid--I think one IT person, one programmer (out of dozens of free developers), and one lawyer.

And they don't do much in the way of background screening, which is especially difficult if you don't meet face to face (even for face to face, there are all these illegal immigrants in the USA who committ identity theft to make fake idenities anyway). I think even when elected to arbcom, background checks are lacking.


Posted by: anon1234 Sun 4th March 2007, 4:56pm

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Sun 4th March 2007, 11:22am) *

I tried twice to ask Wikia.com if they have verified Ryan Jordan's personal information on his Wikia.com user page. I was stonewalled both times. The first email was to Carol Wentworth, their PR agent, on Jan 22. The second was to Gil Penchina, Angela Beesley, and Wentworth on Feb 19. The only response was an "out of office" reply from Wentworth both times. It looks to me like the insiders knew they were sitting on a powder keg, and instructed Ms. Wentworth to ignore me. When a deputy editor at The New Yorker responded to my inquiry on February 9, she said that this was the first time that they had heard that there was a problem with Essjay.

Put this all together, and you have a case study of how a corporation should not do public relations. If you're going to hire a PR agent, you have to give them some freedom to do their job when someone like me says that there's this smoking gun that seems interesting. You don't tell them to ignore me. Instead, you at least pretend that you're letting the PR person do some damage control.

If you're really serious about running a good company, you'd call up The New Yorker yourself and confess that one of your employees, whose ass got immediately fired, managed to scam everyone. That's what should have happened within a few days of Jan 22. If they'd been reading this board, they would have gone into action even sooner.

My advice to any venture capitalist is to stay away from Wikia, Inc. They're a bad investment.


Daniel! This is important. You need to put together a press release documenting the sequence of events and citing the New Yorker and Jimbo's statements and send it off to AP, Reuters, NYT, WP, WSJ and LAT. Use the upside down pyramid news story format. Write it as if it were a proper news story that they could almost cut and paste. Don't make it all about you, but make sure you mention yourself accurately in the story. It should be no more than 3/4 of a page single spaced. Give the background you just explained above. Include your phone number for an interview. This is the next step and its ready to go. You might as well issue the press release as if it were from your "Wikipedia Watch" group.

Posted by: Somey Sun 4th March 2007, 5:16pm

QUOTE(Olivier Besancenot @ Sun 4th March 2007, 3:28pm) *
I was just http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ALog&type=block&user=Doc+glasgow&page=User%3ARuy+Lopez for "personal attacks" due to a comment I left on EssJay's talk page....

So that's who you are on Wikipedia! I always wondered who that was. I think you were the last person who tried to write an article about us there, weren't you? Thanks for trying... smile.gif

QUOTE(Doc glasgow @ Sun 4th March 2007, 9:19am) *

Well as the 'cultish cabal'er' that blocked you, I have only one question. Why is it that when people are blocked for an inability to conduct a civil rational debate, they run here and try to pass themselves off as heroic martyrs to free-speech?

Well, that's a fair question. I think lots of people just get emotional when they get blocked, which makes them feel like they have to vent some steam, preferably in a sympathetic forum - and Wikipedia doesn't operate a forum of its own for people who have just been blocked, so... presto bingo! They come here.

The real question is, why do people feel the need to vent in public at all when they've just been involved in a dispute of some kind, and been (in their estimation, at least) mistreated because of it? I think it's one of the more invidious aspects of the "new cyberculture" - people who, as recently as the early 1990's, would have simply left the house, taken a walk, and played with the cats for a few hours after such an argument now feel compelled to stay online, defend their cyber-reputations, and in some cases actually ramp up the hostility.

I'm not sure what Wikipedia can do about it, other than what they're doing now, which is nothing... To some extent I think we're providing them with a very valuable service here by being the "port of last resort" for people in that position. And in almost all cases, the people in question calm down within a couple of days, and (assuming they stick around) they generally have good points to make about what's wrong with the system.

Anyway, Doc, I want to personally thank you for all you've done lately to help out with the Brandt situation, and maybe I few others recently that I shouldn't mention... Despite what Olivier says, you seem to be one of the most principled admins they've got over there, and that still counts for a lot with me. I think it would be a shame if you left WP, but it's not like I wouldn't understand why!

Posted by: Alkivar Sun 4th March 2007, 8:16pm

QUOTE(Nathan @ Sat 3rd March 2007, 10:43pm) *

Essjay retired. See [[User_talk:Essjay]].

I agree with the opinion posted that he should not do something as cowardly as leave, and instead do the needful and stay to regain Wikipedia's trust.

Leaving when things get tough is the coward's way out and it's also the easy way out.

So what is an obsessed 24-year old Wikipedia addict going to do now? wink.gif


create a sockpuppet and grow it using yet another bogus set of credentials (albeit not so overreaching) until it too has a position of authority....

Its ok to be cynical now right?

Posted by: Jonny Cache Sun 4th March 2007, 8:28pm

QUOTE(Alkivar @ Sun 4th March 2007, 3:16pm) *

QUOTE(Nathan @ Sat 3rd March 2007, 10:43pm) *

So what is an obsessed 24-year old Wikipedia addict going to do now? wink.gif


Create a sockpuppet and grow it using yet another bogus set of credentials (albeit not so overreaching) until it too has a position of authority ...

It's ok to be cynical now right?


What makes you think he doesn't have 7 or 8 of them already incubating in the vats?

(You have a lot to learn about being cynical ...)

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: gomi Sun 4th March 2007, 11:15pm

QUOTE(Doc glasgow @ Sun 4th March 2007, 7:19am) *
QUOTE(Olivier Besancenot @ Sun 4th March 2007, 3:28pm) *
I was just http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ALog&type=block&user=Doc+glasgow&page=User%3ARuy+Lopez for "personal attacks" due to a comment I left on EssJay's talk page.
Well as the 'cultish cabal'er' that blocked you, I have only one question. Why is it that when people are blocked for an inability to conduct a civil rational debate, they run here and try to pass themselves off as heroic martyrs to free-speech?

I've had a lot of disagreements with folk that post here, but even I don't thing they are stupid or bloody-minded enough to confuse inarticulate incivility with nobility of cause.

Well, I guess I'm one of those that disagree with you here, Doc. Wikipedia tries to have it both ways: be an "encyclopedia anyone can edit", but insisting on these vague notions of AGF, NPA, and NPOV. If you are going to invite into your reference work any teenager, zealot, bigot, and high-school dropout who has a computer and only enough brain cells to hit the <Enter> key, then you are going to get postings you don't like. You're going to get flat-earthers, segregationists, religious zealots, and every other kind of nutcase you can imagine, and you're also going to get people who may be none of the above, but whose idea of "telling the truth" may upset those of more refined or delicate constitutions.

In most liberal society, we make the judgement that the best antidote to bad (or hateful) speech is more speech, not less. Wikipedia gets this wrong. The definition of a "personal attack" is so vague and shifting that it serves as one of those laws that everyone, at one point or another, breaks, making iits selective enforcement a mechanism to purge those you don't like.

This selective enforcement (and interpretation) reinforces the role of power in Wikipedia. If SlimVirgin launches a "personal attack" (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard/Incidents&diff=prev&oldid=69533243) on Kim van der Linde, for example, it is explained away, oversighted, or just plain ignored. But if a normal, or perhaps sub-normal (inexperienced) editor makes an equally strong statement ("Essjay is a liar"), then it's a personal attack, and if there is an admin around with an interest in defending the topic, his turf, or some generalized-but-unstated Wiki ethos, down comes the block-hammer.

Mr. Besancenot will survive his 48-hour block without ill effect, no doubt. However, a subset of admins seem to only have an "indefinite" setting on their block button, which is often applied to anyone who seriously disagrees with them on their favortite topics. Others, lke Jayjg, routinely fish with Checkuser to ban everything he doesn't like ("it's a Tor proxy!", "vandalism-only account!", "reincarnation of blocked user"). These people, like Essjay, contribute to making Wikipedia a laughing-stock. Admins like you, Mr. Glasgow, serve to perpetuate that status quo. Whether that makes you part of the problem or merely a bystander I do not know, but I won't be taking any advice on civility from you or any other Wikipedia admin until you clean house.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Mon 5th March 2007, 2:56am

The worst offenses against accuracy, balance, civility, and diversity on Wikipedia continue to be perpetrated by the Activist Subcabal, and the rest of the Administrative Apparatus (read "tools") are just so many weenies who fail to stop it.

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: Somey Mon 5th March 2007, 6:52am

Speaking of the activist subcabal, this might a good opportunity to point out that the only reason User:Mantanmoreland isn't an admin now is because a guy going by the name "Wordbomb," along with his (apparently) massive army of sock puppets, made a convincing case that Mantanmoreland was, in fact, Gary Weiss - a Jewish blogger and author from New York who's one of the leading proponents of "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Naked_short_selling&diff=next&oldid=110503712" in the stock market.

This user continues to assert that he studies "or has studied" at a Jesuit school, says he's "an MBA candidate at a large Eastern university," and continues to make this claim on his user page:

QUOTE(User:Mantanmoreland @ WP)
I am a "lapsed" Roman Catholic, but have an active interest in other religions and was, at one time, actively interested in reviving my Jewish heritage. I am of partially Jewish descent, and am proud of it.

Why does he make this claim? Many of us here believe we've established that he does it to support his personal POV-pushing campaign against Martin_Luther, ensuring that WP continues to highlight Luther's alleged anti-semitism as if he was the very progenitor of the Nazis, all so that he'll have the continued support of User:SlimVirgin and the rest of the "cabal" in protecting his own personally-owned biography!

And just how brazen is this guy? You'd think that under these circumstances he'd want to lay low for a while, but nooooo - just take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Jimbo_Wales&diff=prev&oldid=112578966 - it's like Weiss is laughing in hysterics at the rest of Wikipedia, doing stuff that's much worse than what Essjay ever did (Essjay never, to my knowledge, used his position to bash leading figures of anyone else's religion).

He's been at it for a year now, and nobody stops him. But it's exactly the same thing - only worse! The only difference between this guy and Ryan Jordan is that Weiss isn't as nice a guy, and hasn't been hired by Wikia recently.

Posted by: gomi Mon 5th March 2007, 7:00am

SlimeVirgin and her pet poodle Jayjg come out of L'affaire Essjay more powerful than before. Don't look for Gary Weiss/Mantanmoreland, Cbertlet/Chip Berlet, or her other toadies to go away soon.

Posted by: Dudley Tue 6th March 2007, 2:27am

QUOTE(gomi @ Mon 5th March 2007, 7:00am) *

SlimeVirgin and her pet poodle Jayjg come out of L'affaire Essjay more powerful than before. Don't look for Gary Weiss/Mantanmoreland, Cbertlet/Chip Berlet, or her other toadies to go away soon.


I just wanted to point out that the Weiss=Mantanmoreland equation is anything but a given, in my opinion is 100% bogus, and also that it is the line that is being pushed in a sophisticated, well-funded corporate smear campaign being pursued by an company called Overstock.com.

There is more discussion on this ad nauseum in http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=7175

Posted by: Somey Tue 6th March 2007, 3:25am

QUOTE(Dudley @ Mon 5th March 2007, 8:27pm) *
I just wanted to point out that the Weiss=Mantanmoreland equation is anything but a given, in my opinion is 100% bogus, and also that it is the line that is being pushed in a sophisticated, well-funded corporate smear campaign...

That's much better! We'll make a proper forum member of you yet! smile.gif

Posted by: Joseph100 Wed 7th March 2007, 3:18pm

"...SlimeVirgin and her pet poodle Jayjg come out of L'affaire Essjay more powerful than before. Don't look for Gary Weiss/Mantanmoreland, Cbertlet/Chip Berlet, or her other toadies to go away soon...."

This fact above is the reason why more stinking Turd, like Essjay, have to be dug out of the cesspool of Wikipedia and thrown onto the sidewalk in the bright sunlight of day for all the world to see and to know what Wikipedia is all about.

The Bluewater Internet must be shown the lies and hypocrisy and distortions as well as the pain and suffering its "encyclopedic biographies" do to real people.

The wonks ( administrators and the like) need to realize that Wikipedia is not a sovereign country which there are consequences for illegal and/or immoral behaviors.

I would like to thank those responsible for digging out a real big hunk of a bull crap, like Essjay, and dumping it on the sidewalk for all to see what kind person Wikipedia holds up on a pedestal.

It sure would be most gratifying if some of these Nastier Turds, in that Orwellian cesspool, like Gamaliel, Jayjg, or JzG could be discredited and shown the kind of despicable human beings they are.

Thank you.

Posted by: Kathryn Cramer Thu 8th March 2007, 1:42pm

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Sun 4th March 2007, 3:28pm) *

QUOTE(Alkivar @ Sun 4th March 2007, 3:16pm) *

QUOTE(Nathan @ Sat 3rd March 2007, 10:43pm) *

So what is an obsessed 24-year old Wikipedia addict going to do now? wink.gif


Create a sockpuppet and grow it using yet another bogus set of credentials (albeit not so overreaching) until it too has a position of authority ...

It's ok to be cynical now right?


What makes you think he doesn't have 7 or 8 of them already incubating in the vats?

(You have a lot to learn about being cynical ...)

Jonny cool.gif


Thing to do if you are an outed con-artist: Get cybersex on ten different dating sites under twenty different names. Apply for grants. Invent more personae. Liberate money from churches. File law suits against your accuser using lawyers you never pay. Live on someone else's credit card. Found a charity. Get a dog with a medical probelm and then go on the Internet to raise money for his medical bills. Our Boy has a rich, full life ahead of him and only limited ideas of how to solve his problems, apparently.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Thu 8th March 2007, 2:18pm

QUOTE(Kathryn Cramer @ Thu 8th March 2007, 8:42am) *

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Sun 4th March 2007, 3:28pm) *

QUOTE(Alkivar @ Sun 4th March 2007, 3:16pm) *

QUOTE(Nathan @ Sat 3rd March 2007, 10:43pm) *

So what is an obsessed 24-year old Wikipedia addict going to do now? wink.gif


Create a sockpuppet and grow it using yet another bogus set of credentials (albeit not so overreaching) until it too has a position of authority ...

It's ok to be cynical now right?


What makes you think he doesn't have 7 or 8 of them already incubating in the vats?

(You have a lot to learn about being cynical ...)

Jonny cool.gif

Thing to do if you are an outed con-artist: Get cybersex on ten different dating sites under twenty different names. Apply for grants. Invent more personae. Liberate money from churches. File law suits against your accuser using lawyers you never pay. Live on someone else's credit card. Found a charity. Get a dog with a medical probelm and then go on the Internet to raise money for his medical bills. Our Boy has a rich, full life ahead of him and only limited ideas of how to solve his problems, apparently.


¤ Sigh ¤ — when will they ever learn ...

The thing is, we still don't know anything about the presumptive person in question — real name, age, sex, grants granted, lawsuits pending, cat or dog owner, etc. — except various statements that have come out of the horse's mouth or some other Wikipedia orficial like Jimbo Wales, not exactly multiple, independent, reliable soures. They even exploited that lack of knowledge as one of the reasons to change the article Ryan Jordan (Wikipedia) to Essjay scandal and then downgrade it to Essjay controversy, and that was just the last time I looked. We all know that they will put up an AFD in a fortnight of so, and eventually bury a token abstract of the whole sad business in some Out Of Our Way article or meta page like WP:OOPS.

Really, I'm thinking of starting a workshop on Cynicism 101 — oh wait — that's kind of what Wikipedia already is.

Nevermind ...

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: blissyu2 Fri 9th March 2007, 5:05am

All I can say is well done Daniel Brandt. This is clearly something serious and important and good that Daniel Brandt has done, using (at least partially) the outlet of Wikipedia Review, and he deserves a thorough pat on the back for this, as does everyone who has helped through their posting on this thread. This has now been recognised in the media, and has forced Jimbo to fire him.

Yet, sadly, Wikipedia continues to ban people like Daniel Brandt for doing the right thing, while encouraging lying, manipulative people to distort articles and provide untruths, like Essjay has been proven to have done.

It reflects on Wikipedia as a whole that they have, in effect, backed the wrong side.

Posted by: Nathan Fri 9th March 2007, 5:14am

I agree. Excellent work. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Posted by: Yanksox Fri 9th March 2007, 5:35am

QUOTE(blissyu2 @ Fri 9th March 2007, 5:05am) *

All I can say is well done Daniel Brandt. This is clearly something serious and important and good that Daniel Brandt has done, using (at least partially) the outlet of Wikipedia Review, and he deserves a thorough pat on the back for this, as does everyone who has helped through their posting on this thread. This has now been recognised in the media, and has forced Jimbo to fire him.

Yet, sadly, Wikipedia continues to ban people like Daniel Brandt for doing the right thing, while encouraging lying, manipulative people to distort articles and provide untruths, like Essjay has been proven to have done.

It reflects on Wikipedia as a whole that they have, in effect, backed the wrong side.


I will say, that I was shocked with the national attention that this got. In a perfect world, it wouldn't get any because it's just a plain old website. The only issue is that alot of people fall into the trap of thinking that it is human knowledge when it is just what some people think human knowledge is.

Wikipedia needs something to keep it honest and no allow itself to be run by someone living out a fantasy by pulling the ploy of possessing tow PhDs. Daniel Brandt is a man that can hold anything accountable.

Posted by: blissyu2 Mon 24th September 2007, 3:33pm

I only just now read this entire thread. Such a pity that I was without internet access (or a computer mostly) from July 2006 - July 2007, or thereabouts (I made the above post from an internet cafe, which I visited for 1 hour per month over that time). I am a little sad that I missed this entire thread while it was "happening".

And the thing is that this thread was an example of the real benefits of what Wikipedia Review can do. This thread was started in July 2006, yet the scandal "broke" in March 2007. We tried to expose things, and tried more, and then eventually got there. And still it wasn't in the media. We kept trying and trying until finally someone got it.

Now, sure, Wikipedia Review gets it wrong sometimes. Sometimes in our fishing expeditions we get it wrong. I for one wouldn't have approved of going after Essjay of all people, who was a member of Wikipedia Review and most of us thought was a pretty darn nice person (with the possible exception of his actions with regards to Amorrow, where he refused to give us details as to what his crime was, and then turned around and blamed us for "harbouring" him). But the thing is that we do often get it right. We got it right with various things later exposed by the Wikiscanner. We got it right with this. We got it right with SlimVirgin. We got it right with lots of different things.

It is good to get some recognition for this achievement. It is sad that Wikipedia still regards us an attack site in spite of this, and refuses to recognise this valuable research.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Mon 24th September 2007, 4:47pm

QUOTE(blissyu2 @ Mon 24th September 2007, 11:33am) *

It is sad that Wikipedia still regards us an attack site in spite of this, and refuses to recognise this valuable research.


Get a clue, Bliss, the way that Wikipedia recognis/zes the Review's valuable research is by labeling it a WP:BADSITE.

Sic Simper Wikipedia —

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: Piperdown Tue 25th September 2007, 1:49am

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Mon 24th September 2007, 4:47pm) *

QUOTE(blissyu2 @ Mon 24th September 2007, 11:33am) *

It is sad that Wikipedia still regards us an attack site in spite of this, and refuses to recognise this valuable research.


Get a clue, Bliss, the way that Wikipedia recognis/zes the Review's valuable research is by labeling it a WP:BADSITE.

Sic Simper Wikipedia —

Jonny cool.gif


It's been 6 months, right? Any bets on who Mr Jordan is now in the wikimasquerade?

Posted by: Nya Tue 25th September 2007, 2:38am

QUOTE(Piperdown @ Mon 24th September 2007, 9:49pm) *


It's been 6 months, right? Any bets on who Mr Jordan is now in the wikimasquerade?


I've been wondering that on and off since he "retired", since I find it hard to believe that a 15+ hours a day editor could have quit just like that. I suppose he always could have shifted over to Wikiquote or something, but I always had the impression that Wikipedia was his first love. At the very least, I doubt he took the HighInBC/H/1==2 route. If he's back, he started from the ground up.

Posted by: Jonny Cache Tue 25th September 2007, 2:48am

QUOTE(Nya @ Mon 24th September 2007, 10:38pm) *

QUOTE(Piperdown @ Mon 24th September 2007, 9:49pm) *

It's been 6 months, right? Any bets on who Mr Jordan is now in the wikimasquerade?


I've been wondering that on and off since he "retired", since I find it hard to believe that a 15+ hours a day editor could have quit just like that. I suppose he always could have shifted over to Wikiquote or something, but I always had the impression that Wikipedia was his first love. At the very least, I doubt he took the HighInBC/H/1==2 route. If he's back, he started from the ground up.


What a rube!

I think it's far more likely that he maintained a veritable host of wikipupae already warming up in the incubator.

Jonny cool.gif

Posted by: Joseph100 Tue 25th September 2007, 5:58am

QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Mon 24th September 2007, 8:48pm) *

QUOTE(Nya @ Mon 24th September 2007, 10:38pm) *

QUOTE(Piperdown @ Mon 24th September 2007, 9:49pm) *

It's been 6 months, right? Any bets on who Mr Jordan is now in the wikimasquerade?


I've been wondering that on and off since he "retired", since I find it hard to believe that a 15+ hours a day editor could have quit just like that. I suppose he always could have shifted over to Wikiquote or something, but I always had the impression that Wikipedia was his first love. At the very least, I doubt he took the HighInBC/H/1==2 route. If he's back, he started from the ground up.


What a rube!

I think it's far more likely that he maintained a veritable host of wikipupae already warming up in the incubator.

Jonny cool.gif

Tis you, who is in league with with thou evil SOX. Thou art stand accused of the villainous high crime of "SOCKISM" by thee congregation of the Holy Jimbo Wales. Complaint hath been made unto thee by ole consecrated admin arthou a SOILED SOX.

Upon notice, ye ole admin, with wisdom on loan from the LORD JIM him self, shall consider evidence, which Thine may not see, as such holy words of lord Jim and his priests only can viewed by only the
consecrated. You are guilty as a SOX

As the priests light the match and thow said match on the well oiledhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faggot_(wood) and repent so the flames of banning thou not sent ye to hell but to the bosom of the Holy Wales.

Posted by: Somey Tue 25th September 2007, 6:35am

Hey, using the "Darko" skin, available only to members, the white-colored text used for the word "faggots" literally looks like it's leaping out of the sea of red text on the dark steel-blue background, creating a cool 3-D effect!

Yet another reason to register an account, eh?

Posted by: everyking Tue 25th September 2007, 7:02am

QUOTE(Nya @ Tue 25th September 2007, 3:38am) *

QUOTE(Piperdown @ Mon 24th September 2007, 9:49pm) *


It's been 6 months, right? Any bets on who Mr Jordan is now in the wikimasquerade?


I've been wondering that on and off since he "retired", since I find it hard to believe that a 15+ hours a day editor could have quit just like that. I suppose he always could have shifted over to Wikiquote or something, but I always had the impression that Wikipedia was his first love. At the very least, I doubt he took the HighInBC/H/1==2 route. If he's back, he started from the ground up.


Essjay was really all about power. He didn't work on content, except a little during his early phase, when he was shoving his weight around with his made-up credentials and his copy of "Catholicism for Dummies". He spent his WP time on admin stuff. As a newbie, with no adminship, with none of his fraudulently acquired respect, how attractive would WP be, especially after the beating he took from everyone? He couldn't have taken the HighInBC or Gallimh route; someone would have noticed, even if there was somebody crazy enough to enable that in the first place. I used to think he'd start over, but now I tend to doubt it.

Posted by: Nya Thu 27th September 2007, 2:05am

QUOTE(everyking @ Tue 25th September 2007, 3:02am) *

Essjay was really all about power. He didn't work on content, except a little during his early phase, when he was shoving his weight around with his made-up credentials and his copy of "Catholicism for Dummies". He spent his WP time on admin stuff. As a newbie, with no adminship, with none of his fraudulently acquired respect, how attractive would WP be, especially after the beating he took from everyone? He couldn't have taken the HighInBC or Gallimh route; someone would have noticed, even if there was somebody crazy enough to enable that in the first place. I used to think he'd start over, but now I tend to doubt it.


Very true. It's really not that hard to get an account adminned though - all it takes is a few months of vandal fighting with only occasional content contribution. I would be surprised if Essjay didn't know that.

Posted by: BobbyBombastic Thu 27th September 2007, 4:44am

If I were Essjay I would be cursing the day I ever heard of wikipedia. Would you come back under a new name if you were him? I know that is not a good way to judge what another person would do in any given situation, but it is interesting to think about. But then again, I don't fully appreciate the wiki-addiction that people describe because I have never experienced it myself. I can only assume that it is like any other addiction though and it would be hard for someone like him to give up on the social networking aspect of it that he seemed to enjoy the most, in my opinion.

Someone creative should do a "Where are they now" thread with some of the more notable Wikipedian departures.

Posted by: Nathan Thu 27th September 2007, 4:51am

I remember being afflicted with that exact addiction, once upon a time.

These days, I have better things to do, like beat the hell out of WordPress.

Posted by: BobbyBombastic Thu 27th September 2007, 4:58am

QUOTE(Nathan @ Thu 27th September 2007, 12:51am) *

I remember being afflicted with that exact addiction, once upon a time.

These days, I have better things to do, like beat the hell out of WordPress.

That's much healthier, I think! But in all seriousness (like a lot of people I guess) I've had my share of addictions, most of which I have kicked without much thought, except cigarette smoking. Still working on that one. I'd actually like to read more about the wiki addiction that people describe. Why they are/were addicted, how they became addicted, etc. That would be interesting to me.

Posted by: Nathan Thu 27th September 2007, 5:08am

I used to smoke also, many moons ago. It was something I used to do when I was either bored or stressed out. Apart from that, my brain was unable to form the addiction (lucky me) so I ended up quitting "cold turkey".

Getting back on topic...

I don't think Essjay would be lurking anywhere on Wikipedia. If you've noticed, he had a very specific style of editing.

Posted by: blissyu2 Thu 27th September 2007, 12:31pm

By the way, when this post was first made, it said "Who is Essjay?" subtitle "Probably he's Ryan Jordan". The subtitle has recently been changed to "Easy: He's Ryan Jordan", which I think changes the whole context of this investigation. Given that it took a year to prove, I think that suggesting that it was "Easy" is somewhat misleading. Can it go back to what it originally said?

Posted by: guy Thu 27th September 2007, 3:57pm

QUOTE(blissyu2 @ Thu 27th September 2007, 1:31pm) *

Given that it took a year to prove, I think that suggesting that it was "Easy" is somewhat misleading. Can it go back to what it originally said?

I'll change it, but now it's an easy question to answer and it might be misleading to sugges tthat it isn't.