Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
This is part of a series of posts on Wikipedia: The Battle for Rupert Sheldrake’s biography, The Skeptics Problem, Adult Supervision Required (not incl.), The Trial of Tumbleman Rupert Sheldrake’s Own Post: Wikipedia Under Threat, Reality Sandwich: How the Skeptic Ideologues Control Wikipedia
In my last post I talked about the banning of Tumbleman. While I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, I knew that the skeptics were systematically working a plan. Fortunately, there is a Wikipedia article on how to ban a point of view you don’t like. Wikipediocracy acknowledged the article with this comment:
Editor’s note: this essay appeared originally at Wikipedia, where it is accompanied by an elaborate disclaimer which assures the reader that the essay is intended to be humorous and that “It is not, has never been, nor will ever be, a Wikipedia policy or guideline. Rather, it illustrates standards or conduct that are generally not accepted by the Wikipedia community.” Me, I’m not so sure.
I agree with that editor. This seems like a blueprint to me since the article describes exactly what happened. I’ve posted links to show how closely the banning of Tumbleman follows this template:
Pro Tip: For best results, before you start, put a template that says you have a PhD or that you attended an exclusive university on your User page.
Do your best to bait, prod, and aggravate somebody on the opposing side of an ideological war from yourself into acting uncivil out of frustration with you. If you have friends, get together with them to gang up on your opponents and get them angry and desperate.
When the opponent finally does something that can be construed as a violation of policy, get a friendly admin to block him/her.
When the blocked editor uses the means still available to him/her, such as his/her talk page and the e-mail feature, to complain about the unfairness of the block, get your admin friend to bind and gag the editor by removing talk page posting and e-mailing privileges for “trolling” and “harassment”.
With the editor forcibly silenced and thus unable to speak in his/her defense, hold a
lynch mobban discussion on WP:AN/I, with your friends once again ganging up. This works best when the blocked user lacks friends to gang up on his/her behalf; if that happens, you’d really have drama, but if there aren’t any, you’ll just get an open-and-shut case where you and your friends say “Burn the witch!”“Ban him/her already!”, and a handful of people who like to see a good lynchingbanning and hang out on that forum for that purpose weigh in too.
Now that an editor representing the POV you oppose is banned, make the banned editor into a bogeyman responsible for all that is wrong with Wikipedia, claiming that everything that editor believes in is
Communisma “fringe belief” or a “harassment meme”, and that no tactic is too extreme to counter this grave threat. They should block all IP addresses in Upper Slobbovia if that’s where they think the banned editor is editing from!
If anybody else shows up with similar opinions on any subject to the banned editor, try to accuse him/her of being a
comradesockpuppet. If that won’t stick, call him/her a meatpuppet and claim that he/she is proxying for the banned editor, and that everything they edit needs to be reverted on sight.
If they call this treatment unfair,
blacklistban them too.
The larger the body count from the serial banning of advocates of this particular POV gets, the easier it will be to summarily ban anybody new who shows up; just cite the “serial harassment” allegedly committed by people allegedly associated with the new editor.
Award barnstars to everyone who jumped on the dogpile!!!
I have no doubt that every administrator on Wikipedia is aware of this How-To list. It’s right out in the open where everyone can see it, yet they seem to turn a blind eye when this happens. Certainly the administrator on the Rupert Sheldrake page should have been able to see this strategy in action. It was blatantly obvious that something was going on even to a complete novice like me. This strategy, which is incredibly damaging to Wikipedia is allowed to flourish. My sources tell me that some of the skeptics on Sheldrake’s page have banned many, many editors.
They certainly got to work at it right away. Even as I was just getting my feet wet, (October 2nd) they were already scheming against me. (here.)
Hi Barney. I’m a skeptic and have been following the Rupert Sheldrake stuff on the internet for some various months, I noticed the talkpage and noticed some woo-meisters are trying to add in various fringe theories. One of these users is Craig Weiler a known psi-believer. He’s all over the internet stirring this controversy up and he has a lot of nasty comments against wikipedia. Please see here;
 and  as you can see he’s asking other psi-believers to help him out add fringe stuff into Sheldrake’s wiki. I believe this is going to end in trouble and suggest this user should be banned. Perhaps you could pass this onto an admin. Thanks. Dan Dan skeptic (talk) 06:14, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
That’s Susan Gerbic, organizer of the Guerrilla Skeptics. That’s the organization that all of them absolutely insist isn’t involved with Sheldrake’s article and here they are requesting her assistance.
It’s pretty clear that this group of editors is spending an inordinate amount of time and energy worrying about other editors and figuring out how to take action against them. All of their discussions about the Sheldrake article between themselves are concerned with Wikipedia guidelines, not the actual contents of the article. They also consistently demonstrated a complete contempt for all the editors who disagreed with them.
So on the one hand there has been a group of editors (those supporting a neutral point of view on Sheldrake) concentrating on the Sheldrake article, and on the other hand a different group of skeptical editors concentrating on opposing (Neutral to Sheldrake) the other editors. And in all of their conversations with each other, never consider once the possibility of working together with the other group to create a better article. quite the opposite.
In the idealized version of Wikipedia, people of all different viewpoints come together to hash out their differences and create balanced articles. In reality, groups of ideologues game the system and force out anyone they disagree with. It’s pretty awful.
How damaging is it? According to this research paper by Phillip Ortega, Wikipedia lost 50,000 editors in 2009. It’s easy to see why: they’re being either actively chased off or quitting out of sheer disgust and/or frustration. Facing off against a single troll is hard enough, but on Wikipedia a single editor might find themselves going up against as many as a half dozen of them, all working together.
Very few sane people will put up with that for very long. I know. I haven’t been on Wikipedia for many days now because I don’t see the point of it. I have better things to do than face off against ideologues in their own garden.