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Lesson #4: How to abuse people for speaking out, or The Scarlet Letter - Parker Peters
parkerpeters
Lesson #4: How to abuse people for speaking out, or The Scarlet Letter
While I was out, medicated, I really didn't have much chance to look at what was going on in Wikipedia. I've thankfully recovered enough to make a post, and what do I discover? Another series of abusive behavior, this time involving one The Epopt, who is a well-known user and member of the Arbitration Committee.

Sean Barrett, aka The_Epopt, aka Sean@Epoptic.com, also felt it was so necessary that his part in this little problem not be exposed that he chose to block notification of this article's creation from Wikipedia's mailing list. Such is the power of Wikipedia's "elites" to hide their misdeeds, they accumulate power wherever they can for this precise purpose.

The web site "Epoptic.com" has the wonderful message "Go Away" in big block letters.

Tucows was nice enough to have more info on him, but I won't reveal that. Yet.

The Epopt is such a good and civil user, apparently, that he sent a message that was viewable by all members of the wikien-l mailing list that stated "Get lost, you pathetic little wanker" to someone he himself had abused. Aren't Wikipedians just such civil people?

Discussion on this was blocked first by Asterion, but later by Theresa Knott.

The guts of the matter are that User:RunedChozo, curiously blocked by Epopt's lieutenant-at-arms Steel359 (the same one who originally blocked RunedChozo, who instituted the infinite block, and who was the one leaving insulting comments before that, was apparently angered over RunedChozo's contribution of multiple comments to another essay on Wikipedia's problems, an article that had been slashdotted.

A user later came along by the name of TruthBeholder. You'll note his name from the Theresa Knott post above, as well as the abusive administrator behavior related to the user's talk page. The user apparently followed some links to wikipedia from the Slashdot discussion, and was rightly outraged about the way wikipedia administrators cover up their misdeeds.

TruthBeholder is, of course, now indefinitely blocked. Discussion of administrator behavior on RunedChozo's case and the abuse targeted at RunedChozo is, of course, dissuaded by fiat.

The message? Here is how Wikipedia administrators work when they want to cover something up. Theresa Knott, Grandmasterka, and a few others are very good at it, mostly because they constantly scan the WP:ANI and other project pages to look for people to abuse.

1. - "Scarlet Letter" harassment.
Find any tag you can put on a user's pages - the more insulting the better - and insist that it be put on their pages. If you've got admin rights, lock their userpage down so they can't remove it themselves. Make sure that you inform your toadies via the back channels, so that the "Scarlet Letter" can be brought up whenever you need to argue against something they've said - after all, why try to actually bring well-thought conversation or logical points when you can just kill the messenger.

The goal of Scarlet Letter Harassment is to make it impossible for someone that the abusive users are targeting to work within Wikipedia even if they want to. Once someone is tagged by a "Scarlet Letter" item, everything they do is suspect: normal edits, normal suggestions, instead of being taken seriously, are treated with disgust, contempt, and ridicule because of what's been forced onto their pages. If they speak out against someone abusing them? "Oh look, a scarlet letter on their page, they are obviously guilty" - it becomes a method of control and a justification for all sorts of abusive, insulting behavior.

And it goes directly against the idea that Wikipedia's mechanisms are not supposed to be punitive in nature, but then again, Wikipedia threw that idea out long ago: the new method by which blocking and administrator tools are used is to browbeat and attack people until they know better than to ever cross an administrator's path again.

The new Modus Operandi of administrator blocks:
#1 - Block once for anything
#2 - If blocking again, no matter how minor a reason, slap on an extra 3 days. Claim it's "because the first block didn't work."
#3 - Double up the block if the user so much as posts an unblock request, to punish them for daring to question the judgement of an administrator.
#4 - Go to Infinite. Why? Because you're an administrator. Nobody's going to question an administrator, you're all-powerful.

2 - Pretext, pretext, pretext.
One of the notes left about RunedChozo claims that he was "being a jerk to Itaqallah (one of the more mild-mannered editors on Wikipedia)"; in the first place, Itaqallah and RunedChozo were both at fault and mutually antagonistic to each other, and to call Itaqallah a "mild-mannered" editor is an outright lie; Itaqallah's been involved in numerous edit wars, and I've debunked both his and his friend Tariqabjotu's "good faith" numerous times in other emails published in the wiken-l archives. Particularly damning is their behavior from back in december.

The goal of pretext is to create "something" that in some way could be construed to be a blockable offense, and then use it to beat the person you're targeting over the head.

3 - Block and terminate.
Steel359 shows us how to do this quite succinctly: not only does he block RunedChozo for infinite duration (21:21, 14 February 2007 Steel359 (Talk | contribs) blocked "RunedChozo (contribs)" (anon. only, account creation blocked) with an expiry time of indefinite) but he's the one who locks down the talk page as well as removes the unblock request for a block he himself created.

4 - Hide your deeds.
In this case, it's Itaqallah doing some of the dirty work making sockpuppet accusations with no basis (again see Scarlet Letter, the goal is to block anyone from investigating malfeasance), it's JKelly removing secondary comments.

The goal? To hide the evidence of administrator malfeasance, especially when it's an administrator like Steel359 who's connected to an abusive (see above) admin who somehow got into the Arbcom.

5 - Rub salt into the wounds

For instance, Asterion leaves an insulting message telling RunedChozo he's blocked and can use the unblock template when Steel359 (remember, the same abuser who made insulting comments to RunedChozo and blocked him the first time) has already abusively locked the page and deliberately remove the unblock template multiple times.

Well, that pretty much charts the way that administrators are currently going about their abuse on wikipedia. Expect the note on how wikipedia easily turns "consensus" into "groupthink" - as well as how fine the line is between them - sometime soon.

And enjoy your weekend. Unless you're an abusive wikipedia administrator or one of the liars and criminals from C Bean Trucking, in which case I hope that you have a run-in with each other and get to experience what I get to: two months unable to walk at all and at least six of painful rehab.
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