Let’s start with Wikipedia’s meatpuppet policy: “While Wikipedia assumes good faith, especially for new users, recruiting new editors to influence decisions on Wikipedia is prohibited.”
Now, when was the last time you saw that enforced? Never, right? At least a hundred meatpuppets showed up to vote against Lightbreather’s grant proposal on meta, and no one lifted a finger. No one cares if you are organizing a mob action on RMR, 4chan, or 8chan. In fact, deleting references to your Reddit Men’s Rights or WkiInAction user name is ridiculously easy to get oversighted on enwiki, even if you posted it yourself.
Now, fast forward to the death threat against Gamaliel.
This Bernstein guy risked his topic ban to post this, and is now blocked for his trouble. The arbitrators have hidden it, of course. But WP:DENY has not exactly been working against coordinated off site attacks, has it. And Bernstein himself is now collecting death threats, in this case a whole Reddit post “game”, although this one didn’t go very far, as it was deemed “low effort”.
In the meantime, the Redditors have expended some effort on Gamaliel. And are the little darlings concerned about whether he has broken one of the Wikipedia rulz? Of course not, they are all about tactics. Is Gamaliel gone? disabled? discredited?
And of course there is the expected sexualized language: the b-word, references to prostitutes and genitalia, and few added Mexican twists, since Gamaliel has a Hispanic surname.
So the arbitration committee is at least willing to defend a fellow admin? Nah, they don’t protect the decent ones. And this time the sharks are circling closer and closer to the arbcom boat. Looks like the arbs are getting ready to toss one overboard, in hopes that they will be able to escape in the general feeding frenzy, once there is blood in the water. And the one who goes overboard, this time at least–because I guarantee there *will* be a next time– will be the one who got the least votes in the last election. The Spanish surname is just a bonus.
But wait, there are accusations. Gamaliel must have done something?
Who cares. Arbcom never looks at the diffs, they only care about the size of the posse. But maybe they should. BLP and all that. Gamaliel is a known person. And he DID document his Gamergate stuff pretty thoroughly–they can’t make a believable case for “aspersions”.
Okay, I haven’t looked at the diffs myself yet, but just peeking at the diffs for the edit warring accusation, I can see it’s pretty bogus. According to the 3RR rule, you get to revert three times within 24 hours. The fourth is considered edit warring, although a lot of users stop at 2, because they know a lot of admins are too stupid to understand the rule, or won’t bother to look it up. In Gamaliel’s case, there have only been diffs presented for 3 reverts. And nothing else, no slow reverts, waiting for just over 24 hours, etc, and no rationale for bending the definition. You can bet if this was Eric Corbett, instead of someone who defends the principle of women editing Wikipedia, there would be an uproar and a gnashing of teeth that could be heard all the way to the Isle of Mann. I should probably look at the rest of the diffs, these arbitrators never seem to understand editing– they tend to just do programmer stuff, like templates and socks.
Shall we end with a rant? Bernstein’s final statement, before his wiki-seppuku, was pretty good:
Extortion played a prominent role in this case. The committee is also aware of a variety of threats and invective that have been published on-wiki and off with the announced intent of securing specific on-wiki objectives. Some of these these threats have already succeeded in attaining some of their aims. Once again, we have an arbitration case planned off-wiki, the fruit of an extended campaign, demanding results which ArbCom has compliantly delivered. It is remarkable that the proposed decision makes no mention of harassment or extortion, save to excoriate the victim for calling attention to the harassment. Nor does it express any concern for Wikipedia’s victims.
Does the committee have in mind a solution to the problem of extortion on Wikipedia? If it does, many would like to assist. If not, I believe that urgent regulatory or legislative remedies must be sought.
… I am delighted to hear you say that the committee is doing their utmost to help the victims of harassment; whether their utmost can be distinguished from “nothing at all” has not yet been demonstrated. The committee has certainly done a good deal to encourage harassment by reliably doing the harasser’s bidding in case after case while rarely showing even token concern for their targets.
Yep. If this was an actual case…intimating witnesses, tampering with the jury…it would be a mistrial.