Follow-Up On The Weenie Wiki Editor

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Quite a bit has happened since Fat Head was tagged for deletion yesterday. Let me start with the most important development: Sceptic from Britain (later known as MatthewManchester1994 and then as Vanisheduser3334743743i43i434), the editor who was obviously targeting low-carb advocates  — and pretty much anyone who disputes the lipid hypothesis – is apparently gone now.

Let’s review some examples of what made this editor so … uh … special. In addition to targeting Dr. Uffe Ravnskov and Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt for deletion (which hasn’t yet happened and may not) he targeted Dr. Richard Feinman for deletion:

The same week, he targeted Dana Carpender for deletion – which happened:

She was deleted because … uh … why, exactly? Unreliable information? As if it’s difficult to determine whether or not she is indeed a real person who has written several popular books.

The same week, our weenie wiki editor also targeted Jimmy Moore for deletion – which happened:

Not notable. Yes, a guy with several best-selling books – a fact easily confirmed, and which someone else in the thread did confirm. Ah, but he’s a “fringe proponent of low-carb dieting.” This editor of course decided anyone associated with low-carb dieting is “fringe.”

For another example, I pulled some text from a discussion on Tim Noakes. Sceptic from Britain kept arguing that any article critical of Noakes was relevant, while any article supportive was not relevant. Another editor suggested removing an article that recounted the accusations against Noakes but didn’t mention he was acquitted twice of all charges. Here’s our buddy Sceptic from Britain replying:

Based on your editing history you are here on Wikipedia to peddle LCHF quackery. There is no reason to remove that source from the article. The medical community does not agree with Noakes’ crazy dieting ideas. [[User:Skeptic from Britain|Skeptic from Britain]] ([[User talk:Skeptic from Britain|talk]]) 00:22, 14 December 2018 (UTC)

LCHF quackery … yes, this is the kind of objective editor who should be deciding what goes and what stays in Wikipedia.

A few days after I wrote a post about how the weenie wiki editor had targeted Kendrick, he tagged Fat Head for deletion – after changing his handle to MatthewManchester1994. We could hardly ask for clearer evidence that his editorial decisions were based on his personal bias.

Then he changed his handle again. Then he apparently quit altogether. I pulled this directly from a Wikipedia page:

Unfortunately regarding the Malcolm Kendrick thing I was doxxed by some of his associates such as Tom Naughton, Jimmy Moore etc and these people including Kendrick have posted my real life name etc on various social media platforms and low-carb websites. Jimmy Wales spoke to some of these people via twitter but they ended up insulting him. They are not to be reasoned with! I will leave them to their irrational conspiracy theories. I will be leaving Wikipedia. I have requested a courtesy blanking of my username. MatthewManchester1994 (talk) 00:01, 20 December 2018 (UTC)

He’s not only biased, he has a problem with the truth. Go check my posts. I never mentioned his name. Malcolm Kendrick also never called him by name, only by initials. Yes, someone in comments linked to an Instagram profile and claimed the profile was for Sceptic From Britain, but I replied by asking how he knew (never got an answer) and never mentioned the name myself.

Posting his real name on various social media platforms? I did no such thing. Neither did Kendrick.

EDIT: I received an email from the person identified in the comment.  He’s actually a fan of Fat Head and of low-carb diets.  He is not Sceptic From Britain and was apparently targeted himself as some form of cyber revenge.  The comment has been removed.  I also heard from someone claiming to be the actual Sceptic From Britain, who also said the name in the comments was incorrect. 

I then heard from yet another person naming still someone else as Sceptic From Britain.  There’s clearly some cyber-wars stuff going on here, with one or more people trying to use blogs like this one as weapons.  Based on that, I’m removing other sections of this post.  Whatever real-person names may have seen in comments earlier, kindly forget them.

I’ve been tweeting about this whole issue for a couple of days, which drew the attention of Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. His first several replies were long explanations of Wikipedia policies, the apparent message being that nothing was wrong, no violations of policy, no biases in tagging for deletion, move along, folks, nothing here to see. That ticked me off, because the editor’s bias could hardly be more obvious.  That’s why in my previous post, I said Wales was making a fool of himself on Twitter defending this nonsense.

I need to take back the insult now, apologize to Wales, and give credit where credit is due. In a couple of Twitter exchanges, I pointed that Fat Head was targeted for deletion right after I wrote about Kendrick. I asked if he truly believed this editor was making objective decisions, which seemed highly unlikely.

He replied that he didn’t know what Fat Head is and was unaware of it being targeted for deletion. He then sent me a private message asking for more information. I sent links demonstrating who the editor had targeted, how he’d changed his handle twice in a matter of days while continuing the targeting, etc.

Wales responded that such behavior was against policy and could lead to an editor being banned.  He said he’d look into the matter.

So while it took some time for him to be convinced there was an actual problem, he apparently did look into it and take action. In the discussion page for the proposed deletion of Fat Head, a user with the handle Jimbo Wales wrote this [bold emphasis mine]:

Strong keep – As others have noted, WP:IDONTLIKEIT is not a valid reason for deletion. It is worth noting that the proposer is a serial name changer and POV pusher who has now apparently left the project. A quick research of the film reveals that in addition to the sources that User:Strikerforce rightly says are enough to ‘barely’ pass notability, I found an article at Motley Fool and this one at Vulture. It is not a major film to be sure, but there seems to be no reason for deletion other than the POV pushing of the proposer.

Problem recognized, identified and solved. Apparently, anyway. I haven’t seen a final decision on deletion, but I suspect Jimbo Wales has some influence.

So if I was wrong about the guy, I’m happy to be wrong.

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38 thoughts on “Follow-Up On The Weenie Wiki Editor

  1. Andre

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    -Mahatma Gandhi

    Looks like we’re well in stage 3!

    Reply
    1. JillOz

      Gandhi never said that.

      “But a speech by union leader Nicholas Klein in 1914 provides a closer version of the misattributed quote:

      And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.”
      https://books.google.com.au/books?id=QrcpAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA53&dq=%22First+they+ignore+you%22&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22First%20they%20ignore%20you%22&f=false

      Via https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/first-they-ignore-you/

      Yes I’m aware there are problems with snopes.com. This is not one of them.

      Reply
  2. juliep

    Wow Tom, way to kick butt! Hope this pushy loser stays gone. Hope all these notables get reinstated too. Out of control! So disturbing.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      We’ll see what happens next. I honestly don’t care if I’m on Wikipedia or not, but the clear bias was disturbing.

      Reply
      1. JillOz

        Wikipedia is good general refernce, but certainly has a lot of problems like the one you ahve endured. That’s why it’s not foolproof and certainly not the last word on anything, depending on the footnotes.

        I had a friend who, if something was not on Wikipedia, it didn’t count for him. Its presence on Wiki meant it was credible. I couldn’t believe it. When I recommended he read Wheat Belly he said he wasn’t going to read ‘witchcraft”.

        I just love how Weenie editor guy disparages primary sources and wants secondary sources! Usually the other way round!
        He uses the word “notable” like a weapon, doesn’t he?

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I believe he chose “notable” as a weapon because there’s no clear definition. It means whatever he wants it to mean.

          Reply
    1. Abd ul-Rahman Lomax

      First of all, some seem to think that having an article on Kendrick is a good thing. In fact, the pseudoskeptical faction can use the article to hand every criticism they can find on. One is not necessarily better off with an article. It can become quite a nuisance.

      However, what will happen is that reliable source (newspapers are considered reliable source, as an example) will appear, independent of the subject, covering Kendrick himself, forming the basis for an article. Simple being a published author is not enough. When there is enough reliable source (sources such as Wales cited about the movie), the article can come back. The motives of Skeptic from Britain were actually irrelevant, but created much confusion. “Fringe” or whatever he claimed was irrelevant, and the deletion decision ignored that. But Skeptic from Britain was a troll, and his goal was to create upset, and he did it with his last edit, setting up the accusations as to his (fake) identity.

      Wikipedia is vulnerable to organized factions, and it mostly shows up in article tone and balance. If the pseudoskeptical faction is active, there will be a preference toward critical sources of anything they consider fringe, quackery, or pseudoscientific, and equally strong sources that could create contrary impressions will be rejected. To combat this takes skill and patience. Wikipedia is incredibly inefficient, that’s part of the problem.

      It is possible to overcome this, but is an incredible amount of work. I was a principal in two Arbitration Committee cases, my position was confirmed in both cases, but it was many weeks of work for what should have been obvious and in the end, as I had been warned, it was “wiki-suicide.” Win an arbitration case against an administrator, their friends, also administrators, come after you, and they may hold a grudge for years.

      Reply
  3. Dianne

    Just for the heck of it, I checked Wikipedia pages for Morgan Spurlock and Super Size Me, and both are present, fairly lengthy, and not slated for deletion.

    Reply
  4. Lori Miller

    So a crybully is upset because he can’t anonymously insult public figures anymore and now wants to be shown courtesy; a possible vegan calls low-carb a “fringe” practice. It doesn’t get any more ironic than that.

    Reply
  5. Nurse Dave

    Oh, I dunno…had this silliness been allowed to go on for a bit longer, “Banned on Wikipedia” might’ve acquired the same marketing cachet as “Banned in Boston” used to have. Could’ve helped you sell more copies of “Fat Head”.
    “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

    Reply
  6. Barry Pearson

    I’m trying to prevent the Uffe Ravnskov page being deleted.
    I’ve posted on his “delete page” why I think pages should be retained, not deleted.
    My reasoning would also apply to FatHead or biographies, etc.
    I am a 9+ year Wikipedia editor under my own name. (I use my own name everywhere).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Barry_Pearson
    I would appreciate any help, here or in Wikipedia or via my Twitter account @BarryCPearson
    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  7. Tom Welsh

    So if one can get through to Jimmy Wales, issues like this can be fixed. But they should not arise in the first place.

    I am reminded quite strongly of two parallel situations.

    1. Recent articles about the jungle of regulations established by Amazon. Apparently merchants have found thremselves banned because rivals put up fake reviews in their favour – making it look as if the merchants themselves were responsible. Another nice trick is to buy someone’s product, set fire to it, take pictures, then post them claiming it caught fire spontaneously. Seems to the best way to fix such problems – if you can pull it off – is a “Jeff bomb” (an email directly to Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person).

    2. Vladimir Putin has done wonders for Russia since taking over as president in 2000. GDP, average income, pensions, availability of food and other products, and life expectancy have all shot upwards. But the Russian political system is still very prone to corruption and inefficiency. Mr Putin does his best to serve as a court of last appeal by encouraging citizens to contact him directly – and, when he does intervene, he does so very positively and powerfully.

    Trouble is, appealing to the top boss isn’t something most people can do. A system should work well without the need for constant interventions.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I guess any good system that comes along, some sneaky bastards will figure out how to game it. Going straight to the top shouldn’t be required. It also wasn’t my plan. I figured if Fat Head gets delete, oh well, no big deal. I wrote the posts here, tweeted them, and soon after Jimmy Wales was chiming in. So it got his attention.

      Reply
      1. chris c

        His employees, not so much. I got a reply to my complaint from an alleged Michael Beattie telling me enthusiastically how Wikipedia was *supposed* to work while missing the point of my complaint – that they were not doing what they claimed and that a small number of zealots with an agenda were allowed to delete and edit and prevent others from doing so. Incidentally while they are bleating on about “notability” these censors are not notable at all, just notorious. One may have gone (for now) but the others remain.

        Back in the day, on diabetes newsgroups and forums, Dana Carpender was one of the most recommended cookbook authors. This may amuse

        https://www.carbwarscookbooks.com/so-close/

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          That’s what originally happened in my back-and-forth tweets with Jimmy Wales: long explanations of Wikipedia’s policies with the apparent message that all was well. But he did eventually take action, so credit where credit is due.

          Reply
          1. chris c

            Well he looks like he took action, he banned someone who had already left. The other two “editors” EEng and alexbrn are still going strong and I expect the one who left will return shortly with a new identity. Just happens I know someone who attempted to edit something she has knowledge of and her edit was immediately reversed. Someone else I know from Twitter reported exactly the same thing. The zealots are still defending their turf against reality.

            They failed in their mission, there is one less pheasant and a whole lot less bacons and Brussels sprouts in the world. They’re in me instead. Season’s greetings!

            Reply
  8. Pat

    I wrote to info at their foundation address. They have been asking Canadian users for funding, so I made the point that why should I fund something that is so erratic and irresponsible in its editing? I referred them to the December 20 edition of your blog for details. I hope lots of us wrote in.

    I wanted to comment on the others but got redirected when I tried to comment. Really, if an editor is biased, comments are useless anyway.

    Reply
  9. Elenor

    Infogalactic, Infogalactic, Infogalactic!

    STOP supporting our enemies! The more you use or reference — or god forbid support! — them, the longer this goes on! Dump them and go elsewhere!

    Reply
  10. PeteM

    Thanks for this excellent summary, perfectly in accordance with my analysis. I subscribe to Malcolm Kendrick’s blog and found out from his post what was happening – and was horrified to see editors who knew little about him using “snake-oil salesman” and similar as a description, and to make it worse threatening a Kendrick supporter who pointed out the risk of libel rather than getting the editor to retract his libellous statement! Once I had studied their Notability guidelines I knew he would be deleted, and I think this is a good thing in view of the idiotic responses his blog has received as a result of this fuss. I was never going to donate to Wikipedia again but in the light of Jimmy’s response i probably will now. I had to smile when I saw a couple of responses after Jimbo Wales “Strong Keep” still having the temerity to disagree – perhaps they do not read very carefully (or know who they work for)…
    Keep up the good work!
    Pete

    Reply
    1. chris c

      The current Idiot In Charge reveals his strategy on Malcolm’s blog

      “I am a very experienced Wikipedia editor. I have edited the low-carbohydrate article on Wikipedia recently. There is NO long-term scientific evidence this fad diet has any health benefits.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-carbohydrate_diet

      I have had low-carb cranks BANNED if they come anywhere near this article. Amanda ZZ and her sock-puppets were BANNED.

      The skeptics will always run Wikipedia. We have science on our side. If any crank defenders of low-carb turn up, I will revert and get them banned. I will not tolerate quackery. Skeptic from Britain and Jytdog may have left Wikipedia temporarily but there are many any of us pro-science skeptics left.

      Alexbrn.”

      I wonder if Jimmy Wales would agree if enough people told him?

      Reply
      1. Tom Naughton Post author

        There are no long-term scientific studies supporting low-fat either, so I still think this is a bunch of disciples of The Church of the Holy Plant-Based Diet at work.

        Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Congratulations on attempting to turn people to veganism by shutting down debate and discussion instead of through persuasion. You must be very proud.

      By the way, do yourself a favor sometime and read Eric Hoffer’s book “The True Believer.” He had people like you in mind when he wrote it.

      Reply
    2. Benjamin David Steele

      You realize many vegans and vegetarians have turned to diets that are varieties of low-carb, high-fat, and keto.

      Dr. Terry Wahls is a doctor who reversed her symptoms of multiple sclerosis by following a low-carb paleo diet, including lots of vegetables but also nutrient-dense animal foods (e.g., organ meats). Nina Teicholz was also a vegetarian who wrote one of the most influential books on fats as part of a healthy diet.

      I’ve seen dozens of low-carb, keto, and paleo cookbooks that are targeted at vegetarians and others seeking a healthy plant-based diet. This includes Dr. Will Cole’s Ketotarian and Dena Harris’ The Paleo Vegetarian Diet.

      Why are you attacking other vegans and vegetarians for reasons of ignorant ideological dogma? Why not put health before politicized beliefs? Why not allow others to make decisions for themselves based on facts rather than being a troll trying to silence those who know more than you?

      Reply

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