[WikiEN-l] Correction to New Yorker Article

Gwern Branwen gwern0 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 2 06:33:28 UTC 2007

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Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2007 01:33:28 -0500
In-Reply-To: <52a8cf060703011842s2dca0df1qa405e56dda90650 at mail.gmail.com> (Rob
	Smith's message of "Thu, 1 Mar 2007 19:42:58 -0700")
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"Rob Smith" <nobs03 at gmail.com> writes:

> On 3/1/07, George Herbert <george.herbert at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 3/1/07, Newyorkbrad (Wikipedia) <newyorkbrad at gmail.com> 
>> > >
>> > > anything you do related to Wikipedia may now
>> > > get viewed by a potentially hostile press and outside 
>> > >
>> >
>> >
>> > it's dinged us somewhat in the
>> press, based on the blogosphere at least.
> Actually this matter has been brewing for some time. Amazing it 
took this
> long to bring attention to it.

True. It could've been discovered as far back as 7 January, if I 
may recount the timeline of events. It was 7 February that Essjay 
posted this: 

On an interesting side note, it apparently wasn't until 21 January 
that anyone noticed - that was when an anon user brought it up on 
[[User talk:Essjay]] 
Given the anonymity, the name provided as a sig, and the linked 
website, I think we can conclude it was in fact Daniel Brandt who 
first noticed it 

It is also interesting to note that Essjay never replied as 
[[User:Shanel]] quite quickly reverted it. (A lapse of judgement? 
I suppose so, in the same way Yanksox had a lapse of judgement 
deleting [[Daniel Brandt]]).

As it happened, I watch User talk:Essjay, and I saw Brandt's 
comment, which worried me. I believe I discussed it on #wikipedia, 
but there was little interest and so there the matter laid until 
much later, 1 February, when [[User:Dev920]] apparently 
independently noticed the discrepancy and left a note on the talk 
Essjay's reply was the first confirmation and first appearance of 
the stalker defense 
Dev went away satisfied (interesting that Essjay's reply to Dev's 
reply says that Essjay had been expecting these questions for some 
time), and the conversation was archived, and there matters laid 
(again) until later, in 5 February when [[User:Thatcher131]], 
invoking Star Trek, brought up the archived conversation 

This was shortly followed by a message from an anon 
<http://www.whois-search.com/whois/>, who quoted from 
the now infamous _New Yorker_ article and expressed skepticism 
I do not know whether this was Brandt following up his earlier 
message - a whois traces back to Palo Alto's "City of Palo Alto, 
Department of Information Resources", and I believe Brandt is 
supposed to be using SBC IP ranges from San Antonio, although that 
is not conclusive.

It was at this point that the merde began to hit the fan (for the 
general section of the history, see 

Another SBC IP <http://www.whois-search.com/whois/> 
chimed in 
note his claim that Brandt was already actively spreading the 
news. A *fourth* IP 
<http://www.whois-search.com/whois/> edited the 
[[User:Musical Linguist]] then censored the two IP's post, 
apparently assuming they were from Brandt 
Another aside: [[User:Stevietheman]] posted an odd message 
referring to a Slashdot article 
<http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/07/1442229>; if you read 
the discussion, a prominent, moderated +5 comment by "Everyman" 
(apparently well known as a pseudonym for Brandt) basically lays 
out the issue. 

By this point, you may be wondering just when things really start 
happening. The first discussion that attracts any sort of 
widespread attention was started by [[User:Purples]], two or three 
days later on 10 February 
Purples's post started a discussion that included [[User:Peter M 
Dodge]], myself ([[User:Gwern]]), yet *another* SBC IP 
[[User:Thatcher131]] again, [[User:Armedblowfish]], 
[[User:Cbrown1023]], [[User:User:Grace Note]], [[User:Majorly]], 
and well a lot of people. 13 and 12 February saw the majority of 
posts on the topic and I believe brought it to the attention of 
the wider community, eventually leading to the Signpost article, 
community portal discussion, and the main Slashdot article.

I hope this chronology of events is helpful in showing that this 
was in fact a slowly brewing PR crisis, however suddenly it may 
seem to some to have arisen.

Inquiring minds want to know.

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