Troll-testing Wikiwatch

An often polarised discussion about the Assange case in Sweden is ongoing since several months. The non-polarising voices such as this one are generally hard to find.

One of the more persistent anti-Assange Twitter accounts, @Wikiwatcher, belongs to the wikiwatch.org.uk website. On its About-page, the site states:

We firmly believe that discussion should take place with the real facts, rather than false information, and we are gathering resources here to help people get easy access to the actual facts.

This sounds like a moderate, noble and reasonable approach, exactly what is beneficial in this heated environment. And indeed, some of the facts put forward by the pro-Assange camp are inaccurate, e.g. the (by now rarely repeated) claim that no attempt was made by the prosecution to arrange a second questioning during Assange’s five-week stay in Sweden (yes, there was one sms). Though these inaccuracies don’t exactly dilute the overall image of the case having been hijacked due to Assange’s publishing activity, they are important and must be fixed. As usual, no simple black-and-white explanation will fit; as usual, a debate is desirable.

Now @Wikiwatcher has sent two tweets yesterday, both containing images that quote rixstep.com. The quoted text is: “rape the shit out of them”, which, taken out of context, may cast a damning light on Assange supporters. These are the two images.

In both tweets, @Wikiwatcher fails to provide a direct link to the page in question, thereby making it hard for readers to make up their own mind. Anyone caring to read the original text will realise that the article is not suggesting to “rape the shit out of” anybody, it just paraphrases, in Rixstep’s terms, what Eva Lundgren and alike assume about men’s intentions (see e.g. here, more screencaps and the corresponding URLs below). Lundgren’s opinions are indeed bizarre, shared by many within the ROKS organisation, but certainly not shared by all feminists, see here, here or here.

Sure, Rixstep’s writings are riddled with polemics, which on the one hand makes them quite an enjoyable read, but on the other hand may understandably alienate the more sensitive characters. However, this is a matter of style and taste, and once you put that aside, the writings are well researched and factual.

From wikiwatch.org.uk/review/review-guidelines/:

6. Where another source is analysed, has it been represented fairly? Are the quotes in context? Do they make clarifications anywhere else?

XKCD - Duty Calls

Given the grossly deceiving misquotation, I somehow felt obliged to reply. Take it as a little experiment: if they are committed to their own review guidelines and if their intention of promoting “real facts, rather than false information” is genuine, one should expect a correction on their part.

Since the @Wikiwatcher account persistently replied (as in Twitter) to its own tweets instead of to mine (which he clearly referred to), the record of our exchange, as it appears on Twitter, is distorted. To correct this, here is a timeline of our two “discussions” as they would have appeared if my part wasn’t cropped by @Wikiwatcher’s intentional(?) web-dyslexia:

_______________________________________
(1)

_______________________________________
(2)

Yep, @Wikiwatcher ignores my remark on missing context, instead resorts to general statements, such as “His body of work shows his nature. Easily seen” or “The totality of his vile commentary about women”. Being asked for a specific passage supporting the claim of “Misogyny”, @Wikiwatcher provides a link to  a webpage on justice4assange.com that quotes Marcello Ferrada-Noli (who, just as Rixstep, criticises a specific form of feminism—no misogyny found), despite our discussion being solely about Rixstep.

Skimming the @Wikiwatcher Twitter feed and website, it becomes obvious that much of the campaign is built upon repeating this “rape the shit out of them”-quote like a mantra, always carefully stripped from context, always stressing that the WikiLeaks Twitter feed linked to that evil page, always joined by warnings like Warning: some pictures quote official Wikileaks and Assange supporter sites. Abusive language and trigger warnings.” or “Warning! Extreme and graphic violence.

A screenshot of wikiwatch.org.uk/rixstep
(click images for larger versions):


Yeah, solemnly proclaiming “the text speaks for itself” when it actually does not, easily seen in comparison with the uncut version from rixstep.com.

So of course, @Wikiwatcher had no choice but being evasive in the above conversation. Admitting this kind of deliberate fraud would have harmed the entire campaign too much.

Just as with the notorious @PGPBOARD (who provides hosting for wikiwatch.org.uk), @objectiviser (wikiwatch admin), @SandraEckersley and a handful of others, there is just no possibility of a sane discussion with @Wikiwatcher. They’re just trolls, not to be fed, the core of them most likely paid ones anyway. Knowing that most people don’t google or follow links in order to check veracity of statements, they’ll continue to spread lies and bank on triggering some pub talk detrimental to Assange and WikiLeaks. Smear and distract, rinse, repeat. Politics 2012.

Update 2012-09-22, AM: After a tedious attempt to nail @Wikiwatcher down to this grossly and dishonestly distorted quotation, I finally received the following response:

This pretty much proves the ridiculous Wikiwatch-empire is nothing but a paid PR-job which fails without this single out-of-context quote. They cannot possibly admit the scam, as this would let their real intent shine through their disguise of commitment to facts, genuine concern and openness towards debate. They maintain the position of “not agreeing” with me on my point, despite there being nothing to agree or disagree—it’s a simple matter of correctly understanding English language.

Update 2012-09-22, PM: In the meantime, a funny little website was added: wikiwatch.org.uk/criticism/, dedicated to “noting” criticism, featuring my point regarding the out-of-context quote. My favorite sentence there: “Comments on closed issues will be deleted”. As usual, it fails to answer my point.

Obviously in preparation for the next move, a “Twitter blocking policy” was set up (http://www.wikiwatch.org.uk/twitter-blocking-policy/), One of the listed reasons for blocking is apparently tailored for me:

High volume of tweets that clog up our timeline after we have asked to close the discussion and stated our reasons for disagreeing.

Feeling not really deterred by this policy, I continued pointing out the relevancy of this by now infamous preceding paragraph and insisting on the overdue answer. A couple of tweets later (not exactly “high volume”), I was pleased to receive final confirmation regarding the validity of my criticism, I was blocked.

As long as they maintain that misquotation, I am, as said, convinced they have no genuine intent. While I acknowledge that they provide and twist some true facts (that are also available elsewhere) among the scam on their website, I’m not willing to give it a glance, given their malicious intent. It’s just part of their disguise.

And a lie, Mr. Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths.

Deep Throat in “The X-Files”

I was also blocked by @objectiviser, an account operated by the same person as @Wikiwatcher (at the time).

Update 2012-10-02, PM:
Trying to contact the remaining contributors listed on wikiwatch.org.uk/contact/  gave the following results.

  • @wikihype reacted friendly in the first place. After the promised update didn’t occur within the next two days I started a second inquiry. @wikihype didn’t seem interested in correcting the falsehood anymore, stating the issue is already addressed by noting my criticism on wikiwatch.org.uk/criticism/.
  • @ingeniarius08 blocked me immediately after asking.
  • @RevMagdalen did not react to my two tweets.

Don’t know since when, but I’m also blocked by @braingarbage, another account spreading smear and slander re Assange and WikiLeaks. Other pleasantries by wikiwatch supporters include:

Stating Christine Assange (@AssangeC), Julian’s mother, is a “beneficiary of Wikileaks donor funding” (then denying that claim) and failing to provide proof.

Being unsure whether they’re a collective or not, blocking a person for pointing to that (minor) inconsistency.

Along with more childish and irrelevant junk such as repeatedly portraying Christine Assange as an “acid head” or similar ([1] [2] [3] [4]), calling WikiLeaks’ legal advisor Jennifer Robinson (@suigenerisjen) a “crumpet” and “babe” (quite hypocrite considering their pretended concern with women’s rights) and stating Assange’s case “has been waged by a drug dealer” despite there being no evidence to support that claim.

Update 2012-10-04, AM:
After a third attempt, I received a reply from @revmagdalen. The unfolding conversation followed the by now familiar pattern: First unsuspecting innocence, whereupon the issue meticulously needs to be explained for the n’th time. Once that is done, replies get increasingly off-topic. Efforts to put the conversation back on track yield silence. For anyone interested, the full conversation is here and here.

Update 2012-10-15, AM:
After a couple of conversations with @SandraEckersley (see here, here and here), she finally blocked me.

@PGPBOARD, who provides hosting for wikiwatch, also blocked me after I pointed out the “mistake” (conversations are here and here).

Update 2012-10-22, PM:
This following tweet might help understanding the odd behaviour documented above (links added).

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9 thoughts on “Troll-testing Wikiwatch

  1. A couple of days ago, I had this discussion with @Wikiwatcher

     Huge public outcry towards #slutwalklondon & @againstrape for their tacit support of rape trial avoidance over Julian #Assange. Shame ladies

    Where? MT“@Wikiwatcher: Huge public outcry towards #slutwalklondon & @againstrape for tacit support of rape trial avoidance over #Assange.”

    @dawkinsassange @AgainstRape ON Twitter. Swamped.

    LIAR!! RT“@Wikiwatcher: @AgainstRape ON Twitter. Swamped.”
    #slutwalklondon 3 @ today, incl. yours. @againstRape 1 @ today. Yours. #Assange

    The lies are so blatant that it appears that the account is pure troll.

  2. Thank you for this good work, I hope I am not digressing here but this is what I have come accross in braingarbage’s blog:

    http[:]//braingarbagedystopie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/is-braingarbage-secret-scientology.html
    http[:]//braingarbagedystopie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/blocked-by-wikileaks.html
    http[:]//braingarbagedystopie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/censoring-critical-viewpoints-in.html
    http[:]//braingarbagedystopie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/rape-shield-law.html
    http[:]//www.blogger.com/profile/09444184443280530445

    Pure smear and an orchestrated effort to spread lies and misinform.

    Objectiviser it mentioned frequently.

    • Thanks Emmy, this is strange stuff, indeed. I didn’t read all of it, just two points for now.
      (1) Those writings mistake blocking for censorship.
      Blocking of misbehaving accounts (which is IMHO what happened in the cases braingarbage complains about) is just a way to avoid wasting time.
      Blocking of valid criticism is neither censorship (criticism is not removed from the record if one party blocks it), it just indicates the blocking party wants to avoid debate, for whatever reason.
      (2) “Troll” as the new “B/N-word” — I agree that my choice of heading for this post does not indicate a neutral assume-good-faith point of view, but this heading was chosen after having had conversations that IMHO prove wikiwatch’s non-genuine intent.

      • Braingarbage is also a hypocrite. If you look back in the timelines, she blocked x7o after he pushed a reasonable disagreement with her. She was pushing some guilt by association fallacy, and he pointed that out, and she just screamed “STOP BULLYING ME” and blocked him.

        Logic is so below the belt, man.

  3. Good work, it’s obvious that the quote is a (disparaging) paraphrase. But the wikiwatchers will use anything to badmouth WikiLeaks. The smug reaction to anyone criticising them tell a lot…

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