[WikiEN-l] Samiharris looks like a sock, and everyone suspected

George Herbert george.herbert at gmail.com
Wed Feb 13 11:05:57 UTC 2008

On Feb 13, 2008 2:41 AM, Cool Hand Luke
<failure.to.communicate at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Feb 13, 2008 4:20 AM, George Herbert <george.herbert at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > I still disagree with the consensus that's developing that Sammi and
> > Mantan are necessarily the same person.  I've never seen an actual
> > sock IDed that had that range of overlap and yet was consistently able
> > to keep other edit patterns outside the overlap range separate.
> >
> >
> And I've never seen two separate editors who edit during the same time of
> day not once edit simultaneously over a year and other 1400 edits each.  The
> depth of evidence is really quite good.
> Look, it doesn't even matter what the identity is.  What's outrageous is how
> inquiries into these account's behavior has been suppressed by users who
> suspected a COI all along.  If you suspected it, you should have encouraged
> an investigation just to make sure everything was above board.  Instead,
> users like Moven continue to Wikilawyer against it.  This is outrageous.

We're going to have to agree to disagree on the quality of the
evidence.  There's always been suggestive evidence that they're
connected - but also suggestive evidence that they aren't.  Your
interpretation of the analysis you've done is suggestive, but I still
object to insufficiently rigorous math and statistics and dataset
sizes for comparison.  Your evidence isn't qualitatively changing the
situation, just quantitatively.  A large mound of low-grade goo isn't
better structural material than a small mound of it.

Again - Even assuming the worst case, that these two accounts are the
same person, and that person is Gary Weiss - the COI issues that would
raise have never been persuasive to me.  They just don't seem to edit
in a problematic manner in general, only on controversial topics.

Encouraging an investigation of everyone we suspect of something on
Wikipedia, to avoid any COI issues, is tantamount to blowing the
pseudonymity and user real ID protections we have and most people hold
rather dear out of the water.  We *do* block people for that.  And we
probably should.

If you intend to challenge the generally pseudonymous operating mode,
feel free to start with yourself, by letting us all know who you are
and where you work.  Then, we have a few million other users to
convince to similarly identify themselves, some core policies on user
privacy to junk and rewrite, and eventually around 2035 we can get
back to working on the encyclopedia.

I personally am perfectly fine with people using real names on
Wikipedia, and I think it will improve the project.  As you may note,
I have used my real name online for ... oh dear lord, it's 20 years
now.  Other than the infrequent "edited without remembering to log in"
from IP addresses that are publically registered to a company I admit
freely to owning, I don't do any IP or sock edits, and am happy to
have anyone who doubts that take a look at me.  I have nothing to hide
other than the fact that I am sadly overly heterosexual for a San
Francisco Bay Area resident.  Well, had nothing to hide.


Forcibly outing people who fall into disfavor with our critics,
however, seems like a short road to destroying the project.  A large
number of editors and admins I otherwise respect have happily run to
do Bagley's bidding on this one, and that's highly disturbing.  If
we're going to enforce all the policies equally, then a number of
people have met the policy definition of "acting as proxy of banned
user" in this, in addition to attempts to reveal the real-life
identity of a Wikipedia user in public.

-george william herbert
george.herbert at gmail.com

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