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

Cool Hand Luke failure.to.communicate at gmail.com
Wed Feb 13 19:43:09 UTC 2008

> Having said that! Focusing on the actual evidence here - I'm not a
> mathematician or an expert in statistical analysis, and few of the
> folks working on this analytical project are either. However, it is
> clear to me that the sample suffers from a number of mathematical
> problems - mostly relating to its size and selection, and the
> significance attached to the results. If you want to make a
> comprehensive declaration based on this type of analysis, you need a
> much more robust set of data to work with and a much more serious
> approach to mining it for significant data points.
> Nathan
As far as I know, no one has ever thought to do what I've done here. The
SevenOfDiamonds case was happy just to list similar traits and plot a
similar graph of editing patterns between the users.  That wasn't enough for
me: I wanted to know how meaningful similar editing patterns and traits
are.  So I did surveys with data as random as I could, and no one else is
even remotely similar.  You would have that count against the data.  GWH
protested that I didn't include enough similarly situated (ie, presumably
New Yorker) editors.  So I grabbed some of them too, and still nothing is as
close as these two.  It seems that some editors would not be satisfied until
every last Wikipedian is compared.

That simply isn't necessary.  Their editing patterns match well, and are
rare (probably less than 1-in-21 based on what I've looked at so far, and
that's while I'm trying to find users who will match). Many of their editing
traits are shared by almost no other accounts (1-in-10 or less for at least
a half dozen or so traits). If these variables are even somewhat
independent, they multiply together into very long odds.

And the interleaving is really compelling based on the editing style. GWH
protested that my sample users don't resemble their editing patterns well
enough (as indeed no accounts do), but by comparing an editor who makes a
significant proportion of their edits while Mantanmoreland doesn't edit, I
would have expected to find LESS intersections, not more. These users never
edited at the same time as each other, and this is at least eyebrow-raising.

All of these things together are damning--and that's without even keeping
our eye on the ball--that these users shared POV, that Samiharris started
editing Wiess within one day of Mantanmoreland quit, and that Mantanmoreland
knew his edits would be monitored, so had a motive to spin a sock for
possible COI abuse.


Cool Hand Luke

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