“Part I” is very presumptuous. I might never write part II. Ah well, I press onwards in hope.
I’m going to take my text from Climategate: the corruption of Wikipedia and see what we can learn about wiki’s workings from the way people misunderstand it. I should warn you that blog is mostly recycled Solomon.
Before I go on (well actually I wrote this *after* I went on, but I came back up here, that is one of the marvels of modern tech) I’ll point out that the LS/JD article is riddled with amateur errors that a moments time from someone competent at wiki could have fixed. This is genuine modern journalism at it’s very worst.
* ”All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles.” This is either technically true, or wrong, depending on how you interpret “re-wrote”. If you use an edit counter you can discover that I have, to date, edited 5,474 unique articles, so it has gone up by a few since LS wrote (actually I wouldn’t swear that total didn’t include talk space, but never mind). But that raw number is nearly meaningless, because it includes articles such as Aesop, where I reverted vandalism, Berkhamstead Castle, where I added a picture, I removed the S word from the CRA , and… I’m sure you get the picture. I can’t quite make it up to Z, but I did remember the XAP2. If you want to know how many articles where I’ve valiantly kept at bay the forces of wacko-dom, you need something more intelligent than an edit counter or a Delingpole.
* “When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand”. If you’re an admin (as I was for a while, before I got de-sysopped, full story sometime) you get the power to delete articles. However, all such deletions show up and all other admins have the power to recreate deleted articles. So going around deleting articles I didn’t like on climate grounds would not have worked – people would have said “hey, you have a [[WP:COI]] you can’t do that. And indeed, although the edit counter will faithfully tell you “Pages deleted: 510″, you need to look at http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Log/delete&user=William+M.+Connolley to see what I actually did. Most of the pages you see there are redlinks – which is to say, they are links to pages that don’t exist, because (surprise) I deleted them. But any admin that disagreed could restore any of them. Most of the pages I deleted were just simple deletions – they were totally uncontroversial and obvious (I was never much of a one for frequenting [[WP:AFD]] where people have long and tedious arguments about whether individual pokemon cards are more notable than Polish politicians. One of my controversial deletes was [[Antisemitic incidents during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict]] which I deleted with “edit warring disaster area. where are all the people who voted keep?” but sadly it got re-created (the comment, oh you wiki-virgins, is a reference to the discussion at AFD/DR; don’t lets go there). I’m not at all sure I deleted *any* controversial GW-type pages, but if I did I’m sure the Dark Side will bitch at me and I’ll update this.
* “When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions.” – one of the other privs of admin-hood is blocking people. Sadly, however, the COI guidelines stop you blocking people you’re in dispute with (ahem); if you do it, another admin will unblock them (incidentally, you can unblock yourself, but you’re not allowed to; see my block log). So where do the 2,000 (2029, to be precise) come from? Well, I used to do a lot of work at [[WP:AN3]] which is a project-space page where people could be reported for breaking the “3 revert rule” (viz: revert a page more than 3 times in 24 hours and you’re blocked, sonny, usually for 24h in the first instance; [[WP:3RR]] for details). You can see (the last 500) of my block’s at here (I was especially pleased with “2009-09-12T13:49:44 William M. Connolley (talk | contribs) blocked Dak (talk | contribs) (account creation blocked) with an expiry time of 24 hours (edit warring at Fisting)” and rather hoped that would be my last admin action, but sadly I couldn’t resist, and my last was “Redking7 (talk | contribs) (account creation blocked) with an expiry time of indefinite (SPA RoC/Taiwan edit warring)”. As you can see from the list, there is a vast amount of edit warring at wiki; as you’ll see, (almost) none of the blocks are for GW (indeed the only one ctrl-f finds for me from that list is “2009-06-07T21:55:28 William M. Connolley (talk | contribs) blocked 188.8.131.52 (talk) (anon. only, account creation blocked, autoblock disabled) with an expiry time of 12 hours (tripe on Talk:Global warming)”).
* “Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings” – I’ve not a clue what this means.
* “Connolley has supposedly been defrocked as a Wikipedia administrator… If this is true, it doesn’t seem to have made much difference to his creative input on the Wikipedia’s entries”. Again, it is possible to check. Juliancolton is shown to be an admin. I’m not (I am a humble rollbacker; another once-admin-only priv is a little button that allows you to revert junk edits quickly; since this is no great power moderately trusted edits can have it too, free of charge). But the main error here is confusing admin and editor status, and it is an enormous error. The admin bit is popularly and laughably called the “mop and bucket”; admins get to patrol wiki and wipe out the cling-ons, so to speak. But this has no affect whatsoever on their ability to *edit* pages (except for the minor matter of editing protected pages, but lts not go there either today).
Well, there you go, that is about all you can learn from JD. I’ve not bothered comment here on his misc errors about me –
[Teensy update: well there is a bizarre coincidence. I mention Aesop and A, href="http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Aesop&diff=335898002&oldid=332715076">some anon wazzock vandalises it -W]