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> The "pro-Israeli" canvassing ring leak (annexed), The failure of WP enforcement
Sololol
post Thu 12th May 2011, 5:26pm
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I'd have preferred this all to have been dealt with quietly, sparing any embarrassment, but that didn't happen. I can't remain silent so here we are.*
There may be a more a viscous section of Wikipedia than I-P area but I've no idea what it is. Veterans will acknowledge that it's a bloodthirsty zone filled with endless bickering over tiny details, constant sockpuppet harassment and general nastiness (it's also a great place to explore the finer points of sophistry). The specter of a pro-Israeli emailing list has been raised numerous times but no one could offer more than circumstantial evidence. Until now.

This may come as no surprise to our jaded audience but it's a great surprise to those fresh-faced young editors who bought the party line of "There is no cabal!", namely me. My hope was that Wikipedia's enforcement mavens would take over once they were made aware of the situation. That was a few months ago. I'd received these files from an anonymous email address after running afoul of the puppet masters (here, Jan/Feb-ish). While I can't verify how they were obtained (leak/hack/etc.) I can verify their authenticity. Real names and contact info not otherwise available have been blanked so you'll have to take my word for it (or someone else's as they don't seem to be a huge secret).

We (myself, two editors not involved in the topic area, a retired CU and two other folks) researched the group and sent our findings to Arbcom, to no avail.

The files in question, the only thing remotely interesting in this post.
The members, most of whom will come as no surprise to familiar editors (this is not exhaustive, it covers most of the editors in the emails released here but not all of them in the files nor, I suspect, all of them involved):
-Nocal100: aka Isarig, long term editor turned prolific puppetmaster
-breein1007
-Mbz1
-Shuki
-Stellarkid aka Djudem/Concheet from the 2008 CAMERA group, the other great puppetmaster
-Jiujitsuguy
-brewcrewer
-Broccoli
-a peripheral glimpse of Jayjg who, despite his reputation, acts quite honorably
So that's one CAMERA fellow, one of the original CAMERA members, and one who even made his own canvassing group (a fourth member is peripherally involved in another group that made headlines for a similar tactic). Hmmm.

HOW IS YOU KNOW THEY ARE REAL?!
The email addresses match according to various editors who've had contact with them. The on-wiki activity matches (compare this file with this edit and look at these sources provided by the banned puppet master inserted by an editor never before involved on the page, continuing the argument for the sockpuppet).
Oh, and Mbz1 admitted it.

YOU ARE BREAKING TEH LAW/INVADIN MAH PRIVACIES!
No dice, champ. I was neither the initial obtainer nor revealer. Talk to my lawyer.

Why bother bringing this up if no one will do anything to stop it?
Because people deserve to know what they face before investing their time. If you edit in a contentious place be aware that these groups exist and weigh the possibility of wasted, frustrating hours versus doing something else. The group itself isn't too surprising. The interesting bit is Wikipedia's complete failure to shut it down after notification of its existence or at least get rid of the most culpable offenders. If you want to, say, create an encyclopedia you'd do well to get rid of a toxic ring of ultra-nationalist sock puppeteers. So let this be a warning to you, oh newbie editors. The trail points to group operating in the same manner since about 2009 and it's all been reported before. Mbz1 and Broccoli cooperating on DYK? Brewcrewer working with NoCal socks? All were reported and dismissed. There's plenty of other hints at collusion which I'll leave you to dredge up yourself, it's all anti-Arab/Likudnik content, DYK pumping (best way to get visibility for pet causes) and sockpuppet harassment. There's more material but I've rambled long enough for an initial post.

TL/DR: Whiny new guy realizes there are cabals, is shocked by WP's failure to take even token preventive actions.

*In order to save time and focus on the topic, I hereby plead nolo contendere to anything remotely plausible I'm accused of doing (short of anything illegal) including whatever I was banned for, renounce my right to appeal, and accept our Lord Jimbo as my savior. This should be not be mistaken as the truth, just a time saving measure.

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It's the blimp, Frank
post Thu 12th May 2011, 6:05pm
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Good post. Given the corruption at Wikipedia, Name and Shame is probably the best we can do.
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thekohser
post Thu 12th May 2011, 8:06pm
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QUOTE(It's the blimp, Frank @ Thu 12th May 2011, 2:05pm) *

Good post.


I was thinking just the opposite. I am left with little more clue about what the author is trying to convey than if he had just shown me a "wordle" graphic of the words he had typed.
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gomi
post Thu 12th May 2011, 8:34pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Thu 12th May 2011, 1:06pm) *
QUOTE(It's the blimp, Frank @ Thu 12th May 2011, 2:05pm) *
Good post.
I was thinking just the opposite. I am left with little more clue about what the author is trying to convey than if he had just shown me a "wordle" graphic of the words he had typed.

Well, while we might have hoped for more specific explication in the post here, the emails linked to are pretty damning, if sadly predictable -- yet another group using an email list to game the (insanely constructed and horribly broken) Wikipedia system. In this case, they were doing so in the promotion of a particular pro-Israeli point of view, but we can be sure there are similar lists, better hidden, for many other partisan causes.
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powercorrupts
post Thu 12th May 2011, 9:02pm
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Look at the Runtshit sockfarm, now on over 1,300 - and all to hound one guy called Rance. That comes for being a Jew with the guts to be seriously critical - it's not always that easy for them, and WP of course is pretty much designed to always favour the bad guy. Being inherently abuse-friendly was the obvious 'challenge' facing Wikipedia from the outset, but far from doing much to counter it, Wikimedia essentially denies it is really the case. And yet it is full of systems that favour natural abusers.

Zionists behave badly because bad behaviour is central to their ideal.

Also there is this at ED. Is it me, or is ED new and improved?

This post has been edited by powercorrupts: Thu 12th May 2011, 9:19pm
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radek
post Thu 12th May 2011, 9:14pm
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QUOTE(gomi @ Thu 12th May 2011, 3:34pm) *

QUOTE(thekohser @ Thu 12th May 2011, 1:06pm) *
QUOTE(It's the blimp, Frank @ Thu 12th May 2011, 2:05pm) *
Good post.
I was thinking just the opposite. I am left with little more clue about what the author is trying to convey than if he had just shown me a "wordle" graphic of the words he had typed.

Well, while we might have hoped for more specific explication in the post here, the emails linked to are pretty damning, if sadly predictable -- yet another group using an email list to game the (insanely constructed and horribly broken) Wikipedia system. In this case, they were doing so in the promotion of a particular pro-Israeli point of view, but we can be sure there are similar lists, better hidden, for many other partisan causes.


I'm not going to read this, because reading other people's private emails without their permission is a shitty thing to do, no matter what is allegedly in them (barring some serious things that have potential impact on RL of folks) and however they were obtained. Can someone specifically indicate though - with paraphrasing - what these "big crimes" they are supposed to be guilty off actually were? I mean, aside from sitting around and bitching about Wikipedia and Wikipedia editors together which is what I'm guessing this mostly consists of. I'm also going to venture a guess that the reason ArbCom's not doing anything about it is because the whole thing is not as nefarious as it is being made out to be.

And yeah, this whole practice of running around the internet and stealing people's private emails just to score some points in these ideological battles is a far worse, ethically speaking, phenomenon, then these goofy little lists themselves.

(of course I would say all this, right? On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if presently I was the only Wikipedia editor left NOT on some secret mailing list)
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Tarc
post Thu 12th May 2011, 9:22pm
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QUOTE(powercorrupts @ Thu 12th May 2011, 5:02pm) *
Also there is this at ED. Is it me, or is ED new and improved?


Thankfully it was preserved before becoming an icanhascheezburger wannabe. That reminds me that I need to create a new account at some point, too.

As for the latest, one can only hope that some admins with balls will pick this up and actually do something. The CAMERA affair was cracked at AN/I,not from waiting for ArbCom to get off its ass.

QUOTE(radek @ Thu 12th May 2011, 5:14pm) *

Can someone specifically indicate though - with paraphrasing - what these "big crimes" they are supposed to be guilty off actually were?


Mbz1 creates puff-piece articles of pro-Israeli propaganda, submits them to the "Did You Know?" forum, then solicits wiki-buddies to go there and vote in favor of adding said articles to the front page. She even provides the complete "here's what you need to cut n paste" line for a positive vote. They believe all that oppose them at DYK are antisemites and look for ways to undermine their opinions.


This post has been edited by Tarc: Thu 12th May 2011, 9:28pm
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Sololol
post Thu 12th May 2011, 9:26pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Thu 12th May 2011, 4:06pm) *

QUOTE(It's the blimp, Frank @ Thu 12th May 2011, 2:05pm) *

Good post.


I was thinking just the opposite. I am left with little more clue about what the author is trying to convey than if he had just shown me a "wordle" graphic of the words he had typed.

It was more to just get it out there. People familiar with the topic area and the editors will understand it, people unfamiliar with it probably won't but I'll explain what I can to specific queries.

Basically, there's a group of hyper-aggressive Kahanist types in the Israel-Palestine editing area. Suspicions were raised: are they a canvassing group? Yes. A holdover from the first CAMERA group? Partially. They go for the generic POV-pushing group tactics of using sockpuppets to guard their editors, harass opposition, vote-stack, etc. What you're looking at is the group of unbanned editors communicating with the puppetmasters/canvassing. Some of it's trivial and some of it looks insta-ban worthy.

The group doesn't really matter, it's the lack of response when it came to light. It also raises the question of how the topic area got so bad that otherwise reasonable people (I assume) decided to start a group devoted to trolling a website. And kept at it for years.
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Sololol
post Thu 12th May 2011, 9:36pm
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QUOTE(radek @ Thu 12th May 2011, 5:14pm) *

And yeah, this whole practice of running around the internet and stealing people's private emails just to score some points in these ideological battles is a far worse, ethically speaking, phenomenon, then these goofy little lists themselves.

(of course I would say all this, right? On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if presently I was the only Wikipedia editor left NOT on some secret mailing list)

Reverse the problem: if you were given them and knew the group was wasting hundreds of volunteer hours, what would you do? What if they spent most of their efforts pushing quasi-racist material to the frontpage of Wikipedia? What if the people who are supposed to deal with these things never even bothered to respond? I quit. I've no points to score. This isn't "revenge": there will be no fall out for the group, we already know this. Even if there were they'd just come back as socks; admins don't have the tools to deal with long-term, organized POV-pushing.
I can't tell you if they were a leak from a group member (less ethically challenged maybe?) or a hack. Mbz1 claims she was hacked but she's also claimed they were faked and is essentially a serial liar.

If they were obtained by hacking it raises the question of just how crazy people will go towards achieving their ends. You don't have a very kind community if people are willing to break laws to get at each other. This is actually an excellent warning that your community has slid out of control.

As to how nefarious it is, I don't think there's anything nefarious about canvassing groups, just immature and obnoxious. There's more evidence you won't see but that's the nature of the beast.

This post has been edited by Sololol: Thu 12th May 2011, 9:46pm
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radek
post Thu 12th May 2011, 9:40pm
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QUOTE

Reverse the problem: if you had them and knew the group was wasting hundreds of volunteer hours, what would you do? What if they spent most of their efforts pushing quasi-racist material to the frontpage of Wikipedia? What if the people who are supposed to deal with these things never even bothered to respond?


At most send it to ArbCom and let them deal with it. If they do nothing, respect that, rather than putting it up on a public forum.
(at best this is a bit like dealing with enemy traitors - you might use them, but you almost never respect them)

QUOTE
If they were obtained by hacking it raises the question of just how crazy people will go towards achieving their ends. You don't have a very kind community if people are willing to break laws to get at each other.


Well, I most certainly agree with that.
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Milton Roe
post Thu 12th May 2011, 11:09pm
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QUOTE(Sololol @ Thu 12th May 2011, 2:26pm) *

Basically, there's a group of hyper-aggressive Kahanist types in the Israel-Palestine editing area. Suspicions were raised: are they a canvassing group? Yes. A holdover from the first CAMERA group? Partially. They go for the generic POV-pushing group tactics of using sockpuppets to guard their editors, harass opposition, vote-stack, etc. What you're looking at is the group of unbanned editors communicating with the puppetmasters/canvassing. Some of it's trivial and some of it looks insta-ban worthy.

The group doesn't really matter, it's the lack of response when it came to light. It also raises the question of how the topic area got so bad that otherwise reasonable people (I assume) decided to start a group devoted to trolling a website. And kept at it for years.

I think yoiu know the answer to that. They played the antisemitism card so well that nobody could really do much about it. If you claimed a bunch of Jews plus sympathizers were controlling various areas of Wikipedia to push a Zionist POV, plus protect each other's leftist backs, you got labeled a skinhead. That was your price for noticing the obvious.

ED is gone, but a lot of the "Wikipedia Jews" article there was written in 2006, and supportive evidence over the years as it came in. Some bits are left. See if you recognize any of it.

http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1458947/pg1

QUOTE
The Wikipedia Jews (TOW✡), led by Scheißjüdin‎, are an existential reality of Wikipedia. They don't like being called The Wikipedia Jews. They don't want to admit that they're Wikipedia Jews. Some of them aren't Jews. Yet they are Wikipedia Jews. As poster jackwelsh from The Wikipedia Review eloquently put it:

“What should their clique be called, if not the "Wikipedia Jews"?„

This is a cabal whose existence Wikipedia doesn't want to admit. Their own cabal page contains no mention of them[1]. The Wikipedia Jews are basically abusive people, the kind of people who feel like reverting all your edits in your face and then blocking you. In essence, they're bureaucratic fucks, fucking up the Web with Wikipedia garbage that gets copied by spam scrapers all around the Web with their Web fuckery, thanks to the idiotic Stallmanesque so-called "copyleft" license they use, a license with Jimbo Wales's "child in Africa" in mind, an imbecilic excuse to fuck up the Web and IRC all day long with spam, spam and even more spam.

Among the most famous Wikipedia Jews are Scheißjüdin‎, Jewjig, Isarig, L'Aquatique, Humus sapiens, Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg, Zeq and Mantanmoreland, who also has his own TOW article. SlimVirgin is a disgruntled PETA fan who is obsessed with Jews (even though she is a shiksa!) and the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Jayjg is the most famous Zionist on Wikipedia. Humus and Moshe are the henchmen to SlimVirgin and Jayjg's Joker- and Riddler-type evil genius. Whenever the leaders need help, the henchmen magically appear along with others. It is a complete and vicious lie that the actions of this posse are coordinated by email, irc or instant messaging.

There is, in fact, an unconscious mindlink bonding SlimVirgin, Jayjg and all their cohorts. When one feels pain, the others feel pain. When one feels "damn it, I wish I've already reverted that bastard three times", the others feel the pain and lend a reverting hand. Even with their contradictory views of Jewry, these users act in tandem to fuck up the Web and spread their view that Jews are the most important stuff on the planet, ignoring the fact that not everyone's a Wikipedia Jew. Mantanmoreland AKA Gary Weiss is a minor journalist who had a major meltdown when his article came up for deletion.


All of this is not really about Jewishness, of course. It has no connection to Jewishness per se, except as it exemplifies the propensity of one group to here advance its own agenda, by playing the "persecuted minority card" far longer than it has any realistic justification for. If it weren't for that, nobody would give a damn. Or perhaps only real skinheads would, if there really are any who can actually read (much less help write an encyclopedia).

And I think we all have some kind of feeling for how bad this can get. If there was some kind of Irish Catholic cabal on Wikipedia controlling all the articles on Northern Ireland, supporting each other's RfA's, and blocking identified Irish Protestants or anybody in the outgroup, just for the hell of it, I think we'd have problem with that. Or the reverse. In fact, we've actually seen some of this on the "Troubles" wars on WP, and nobody had much patience for it. But the Israel/Palastine thing makes it all look a hiccup by comparison.

It's time WP quit putting up with all this. The stuff with SlimVirgin, Mantanmoreland, Baxter/Poet, and many of the great WikiWars have all had a huge subtext of Jew vs. Not-a-Jew. And even Jew vs. Not-Politically-Correct-Jew. Personally, I'm pretty sick of it. If you can't leave your ethnicity at the door when editing politics articles, you should probably topic-ban yourself. And if some other editor's ethnicity makes a difference in whether you support their RfAs and blocks against other editors, you're just as racist as you accuse your enemies of being. Go away! I wish you'd go march in a political protest someplace, and stay away from Wikipedia.
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Sololol
post Thu 12th May 2011, 11:14pm
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QUOTE(radek @ Thu 12th May 2011, 5:40pm) *
QUOTE
Reverse the problem: if you had them and knew the group was wasting hundreds of volunteer hours, what would you do? What if they spent most of their efforts pushing quasi-racist material to the frontpage of Wikipedia? What if the people who are supposed to deal with these things never even bothered to respond?
At most send it to ArbCom and let them deal with it. If they do nothing, respect that, rather than putting it up on a public forum.
(at best this is a bit like dealing with enemy traitors - you might use them, but you almost never respect them)

That would be all well and good if we'd gotten a response along the lines of "We see what you are saying and we disagree." Or even "We are concerned about how this was obtained and would like to see the original email." Or even "We don't care. Piss off." As far as I know, there was no response.
At all.

Perhaps they should warn editors that there are political groups carrying along there various petty conflicts on Wiki, or warn people that someone is hacking into email accounts. Or that editing Wikipedia could confront you with difficult moral dilemmas you'd not expected to have drop into your inbox. I'm not here because this is fun.
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Cla68
post Thu 12th May 2011, 11:31pm
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Sololol, thank you for posting this. I've encountered a couple of those editors and the experience was not very pleasant. If the emails are real, then they probably should be invited to find a new hobby.
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SB_Johnny
post Thu 12th May 2011, 11:42pm
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Not meaning to dopeslap people who weren't expecting one, but wasn't there a rather public effort in Israel about recruiting editors to promote a "Zionist, Neutral Point of View"?

It seems to me that it would be more surprising to find that there wasn't a mailing list. Birds of a feather tend to have those nowadays. tongue.gif rolleyes.gif
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Malik Shabazz
post Fri 13th May 2011, 4:25am
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QUOTE(powercorrupts @ Thu 12th May 2011, 5:02pm) *

Zionists behave badly because bad behaviour is central to their ideal.

You're tarring a very large and diverse group of people with that brush. ermm.gif
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Cla68
post Fri 13th May 2011, 4:31am
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QUOTE(Malik Shabazz @ Fri 13th May 2011, 4:25am) *

QUOTE(powercorrupts @ Thu 12th May 2011, 5:02pm) *

Zionists behave badly because bad behaviour is central to their ideal.

You're tarring a very large and diverse group of people with that brush. ermm.gif


Yes, it has been said in this forum, and I think it's true, that most Israelis or Jewish people would be embarrassed by the way editors like those mentioned at the top of this thread behave in Wikipedia.

This post has been edited by Cla68: Fri 13th May 2011, 4:31am
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powercorrupts
post Fri 13th May 2011, 9:13am
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QUOTE(Cla68 @ Fri 13th May 2011, 5:31am) *

QUOTE(Malik Shabazz @ Fri 13th May 2011, 4:25am) *

QUOTE(powercorrupts @ Thu 12th May 2011, 5:02pm) *

Zionists behave badly because bad behaviour is central to their ideal.

You're tarring a very large and diverse group of people with that brush. ermm.gif


Yes, it has been said in this forum, and I think it's true, that most Israelis or Jewish people would be embarrassed by the way editors like those mentioned at the top of this thread behave in Wikipedia.


Cla68 (and Malik too) - this is really important.

In the context of my comment (and you should really look at nothing else when refering to it) - can you see that you yourself are effectively equating 'Jewish people' with 'Zionists' here yourself?

That's how easy it is to do - in just two steps, and even though my comment is up there to see. The Wikipedia lot could run rings around you Cla68 - making all kinds of people (and articles) appear potentially 'anti-Semitic'. WP Zionists in 'good standing' like Slim Virgin and David Shankbone are alwasy there to confuse the distinctions too.

I never even said that every Zionist behaved badly - the conclusive point I made was that the ideal of Zionism leads to unethical behaviour. But don't forget that many Jews, such as people like Rance - and most Israeli presidents too in that officially-secular country - are not religious people at all. Why should they be? It is a effectively a culture too, and a very strong one.

So Jewish people should not in any way be automatically labelled as Zionists.

The treatment of Palestinians is enough for me to critice Zionism, but it is not the only way to do so: but the Palestinian's plight was enough for my above comment. IMO, modern Israel was a defensive war-like nation from its creation in 1947 onwards, and will always have to be until it radically changes, eventually back into one pluralistic nation, like it used to be for centuries..

Yes, as it happens, I would also go as far as to say the whole idea of Zionism is a 'bad' one, as no ethnic group (and Jewishness is a strong hybrid of religion, culture and ethnicity) should in my opinion have a divine right to religiously own any area of our planet at the written exclusion of others. Whether the idea of 'retuning home' involves believing that God himself will create a new Israel, or that it can be taken as a spoil of war.

But I can only ultimately speak for myself, as can any person - Jewish people included.

This post has been edited by powercorrupts: Fri 13th May 2011, 9:26am
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carbuncle
post Fri 13th May 2011, 11:25am
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QUOTE(SB_Johnny @ Thu 12th May 2011, 11:42pm) *

Not meaning to dopeslap people who weren't expecting one, but wasn't there a rather public effort in Israel about recruiting editors to promote a "Zionist, Neutral Point of View"?

It seems to me that it would be more surprising to find that there wasn't a mailing list. Birds of a feather tend to have those nowadays. tongue.gif rolleyes.gif

It would be surprising indeed, since the state of Israel has quite an organized (and not at all secret) PR campaign. (Does the name David Saranga ring a bell?) And there is no shortage of "citizen journalist"-type campaigns. I have no doubt that the same goes for the opposing viewpoint, although I suspect that the pro-Israel faction has the advantage as far as cohesiveness, funding, and organization is concerned. Anyone who wanders into that mess thinking WP is an encyclopedia anyone can edit is in for a shock.

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Kelly Martin
post Fri 13th May 2011, 11:50am
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Rinse, launder, repeat.

While the details are, perhaps, vaguely interesting, this is just a recurrence of the standard Wikitheme. The problem with this particular issue is that anyone who suggests that this sort of thing is in any way problematic runs the risk of being called an anti-Semite, which is right up there with being called a child sex fiend. So smart people just don't talk about it: the price isn't worth the benefit.
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Herschelkrustofsky
post Fri 13th May 2011, 2:59pm
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QUOTE(powercorrupts @ Fri 13th May 2011, 2:13am) *

QUOTE(Cla68 @ Fri 13th May 2011, 5:31am) *

QUOTE(Malik Shabazz @ Fri 13th May 2011, 4:25am) *

QUOTE(powercorrupts @ Thu 12th May 2011, 5:02pm) *

Zionists behave badly because bad behaviour is central to their ideal.

You're tarring a very large and diverse group of people with that brush. ermm.gif


Yes, it has been said in this forum, and I think it's true, that most Israelis or Jewish people would be embarrassed by the way editors like those mentioned at the top of this thread behave in Wikipedia.


Cla68 (and Malik too) - this is really important.

In the context of my comment (and you should really look at nothing else when refering to it) - can you see that you yourself are effectively equating 'Jewish people' with 'Zionists' here yourself?


This controversy is further complicated by the fact that there is diversity among the Zionists themselves. Some of the leaders of Labor Zionism were genuine intellectuals, and were not committed to some sort of racist Lebensraum policy toward the Palestinians. The followers of Ze'ev Jabotinsky on the other hand, the so-called Revisionist Zionism, were simply fascists.
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