The encyclopedia that anyone can manage. Being given a little clue as to the accounts involved, I see just how well the community and Jimbo understand "due process." Biggleswiki (T-C-L-K-R-D)
checkuser block by WilliamH. No explanation. Reg 23 November 2010.
I find this
hilarious. Troll account, offensive username, warned for revert warring, then blocked for username similarity (to Biggles, obviously). Al Capone cited for jaywalking.Ejbsnow (T-C-L-K-R-D)
blocked by WilliamH. Reg 27 October 2011Charlesstewart99 (T-C-L-K-R-D)
blocked by WilliamH. Reg 21 September 2011Diginerd84 (T-C-L-K-R-D)
blocked by WilliamH. Reg 1 July 2009, last edit 24 November 2011Pipsster (T-C-L-K-R-D)
blocked by WilliamH. Reg 17 October 2011Smythej (T-C-L-K-R-D)
blocked by WilliamH. Reg 1 June 2011, last edit 25 October 2011GBSewnlim (T-C-L-K-R-D)
blocked by WilliamH. This and above blocked December 6. Reg 25 October 2011Techboy1900 (T-C-L-K-R-D)
Reg 6 December 2011. Checkuser block by Keegan, 7 December 2011.Illyhawaii (T-C-L-K-R-D)
No undeleted contributions. Reg 30 June 2011. Blocked by Keegan, 7 December 2011.Slaine1 (T-C-L-K-R-D)
Reg 9 September 2008. 3 contributions to Bell Pottinger
. All socks now attributed to Slaine1, see Category:Wikipedia sockpuppets of Slaine1Prguruguru (T-C-L-K-R-D)
(? see list.
) Reg 3 October 2011 (However, now blocked as "checkuser block" by William H., December 8.)
In the other direction, a Bell Pottinger spokesperson said "We have never added something that is a lie ..." It's probable that, for this to be true, we have to gloss it as "we have never added something to Wikipedia mainspace that is a lie," because ... [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Biggleswiki this is probably fraudulent representation].It finally showed up on AN/I
, (permanent link).
Wikipedia is a sitting duck for manipulation, by even single users, all it takes is patience. Multiple users (i.e., a faction, or the employees of a company) if acting with any sophistication, can rule the place. And they do.
Remember Raul654 and his essay on Civil POV pushers? His attitude and approach demonstrated successful Wikipedia factionalism. The lack of genuine due deliberative process makes Wikipedia continuously vulnerable, most easily when some point of view attracts a majority of knee-jerk responses, but also whenever admin and other activity flies below the radar, and, should it be detected, there are enough supporters to shoot down any response. The "community" is mostly asleep, and dislikes being disturbed.
Bell Pottinger simply wasn't careful enough. Or are we seeing only a small fraction of what they did?
The only sock "detected" from 2008 made only three edits that stand, to the article on Bell Pottinger itself. All other detections were apparently from recent edits, within the checkuser window. Given that Slaine1 was editing in 2008, and Biggleswiki in 2010, there are probably other accounts. I don't know if any
of these are true socks. They may or may not be "meat puppets," they might be individual employees acting on their own. Prguruguru could easily be another person, at the parent company (Pelham Bell Pottinger), or simply someone knowledgeable and interested, but I assume that checkuser led to the company.
Or some account activity might be coordinated. If the latter, then ... only the tip of the iceberg has been sighted. They already have a huge list of articles to be reviewed at Talk:Bell Pottinger Group/Affected articles
It is obvious to anyone who has studied and considered the matter that sock puppetry can be utterly indetectable, even if there is only one user involved. If there is a company, all the company has to do is prohibit editing from the company computers and IP, and then each "agent" uses their own outside access. If the company wants on-site editing, they just obtain independent internet access. The cost of that would be trivial, by comparison with the value of employee time. My guess, though, is that employees would love to work from home. And there you go. Each one develops their own identity and edit history, and can't be checkusered as socks. Someone would need to coordinate, to avoid undue article overlaps, and almost all employees would be prohibited from editing the company article.
We are simply seeing a clumsy PR firm. My guess is that there are hundreds of firms, at least, which are not so clumsy. Wikipedians are not only trying to lock the barn door after the horse escaped, they haven't even locked the door. And they can't, not with the structure they saddled themselves with, years ago.
The Wikipedians are very satisfied that nobody has been detected who had gained the special trust of the community. It is a practical certainty that such exist, if not from Bell Pottinger, then from others with a COI. It's trivial to gain admin privileges, if that's your goal. It takes a little work.
At least one sock was detected and demonstrated, as reported by The Independent
as having edited their user page while logged out, which revealed their IP, which was registered to Bell Pottinger. Damn! Don't you hate auto-logout? But if precautions were being followed, this would have had no effect at all, because the IP would not have been traceable to Bell Pottinger, except maybe through a court-ordered investigation that could dig into ISP records, etc.
The fact is that there is a high probability, as well, that the articles, over which the community is now panicking, are better than average, if they were truly being edited by professionals. Wikipedia has never addressed the problem of COI editing in a sane way. COI editors are, almost by definition, more knowledgeable than "neutral" editors. The theory is that COI editors can operate openly, but the fact is that, if they disclose their Conflict of Interest, they will be attacked, and the community hasn't protected them.
Anyone else notice the problem with the page listing "affected articles?" It's in Talk mainspace , where it clearly doesn't belong. It's not about the article! It's about the rest of the project as it might
have been affected by some COI editing.