Deepak Chopra vs Wikipedia

484356_513411482057123_169470915_n Slightly not-the-usual fare, but H mentioned it and its wiki, and following - or failing to follow - the trail was moderately amusing, so here we go. Deepak Chopra is an Indian American author and public speaker.[4][5] He is an alternative medicine advocate and a promoter of popular forms of spirituality, but more importantly is the winner of an 1998 IgNoble prize for his unique interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness. [REFERENCE: Deepak Chopra's books "Quantum Healing," "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind," etc.] Or as wiki puts it,

The ideas he promotes are criticized by scientists and medical professionals[14] who say that his treatments rely on the placebo effect,[8] that he misuses terms and ideas from quantum physics (quantum mysticism), and that he provides people with false hope which obscures the possibility of effective medical treatment.[15] The medical and scientific communities' opinion of him ranges from dismissive to damning; criticism includes statements that his approach could lure sick people away from effective treatments.[14]

Not unnaturally, he'd rather wiki didn't put it that way; and with an income one ~8M$/yr (he "charges $25,000 per lecture performance, where he spouts a few platitudes and gives spiritual advice while warning against the ill effects of materialism") he'll find people to speak for him. And so we find the Huffpo finding space for Wikipedia and Deepak Chopra: Open-Source Character Assassination by "Ryan Castle", of whom more anon. Curiously, that piece doesn't mention Wikipedia, A New Perspective on an Old Problem by DC, also at Huffpo.

I won't trouble you with what's in those Huffpo articles, because they aren't interesting - they're the kind of things you'd expect AW to write about wiki's articles on GW, or on himself; there's even the traditional list of "eminent" "experts" who agree. More amusing is to try to backtrack down the wiki-trail.

Unexpectedly, DC himself offers a clue, because he says "Websites such as 'Wikipedia, we have a problem' offer..." and on that site I find How Wikipedia Editor Manul Outed My Identity, Stalked And Hounded Me On Wikipedia. Its written by "Rome Viharo" who tells us that he was "outed" when he posted this edit which is signed by "[[User:Tumbleman|Rome Viharo]]". Tumbleman / Rome Vihario has an odd editing history; first appearing before 2006, but making no edits after 2009-06-08T20:04:36 until that aforementioned edit at 2013-08-31T20:02:26 to the Sheldrake (say no more) talk page; which is then followed in a very short space of time by lots of other edits to the Sheldrake talk page. Unwisely, RV tells me he has a RationalWiki page and that makes the situation somewhat clearer. T/RV was blocked for a week for socking starting 2013-10-13T20:23:46, and then indeffed at 2013-10-17T13:22:37 for being a general waste of time / troll.

Now, back to "Ryan Castle". Wiki has no such editor, and yet "Ryan Castle" claims "long experience as a Wikipedia editor". The obvious suspicion is that "Ryan Castle" is the same as RV [Update: a person who I have no reason not to believe is RV has posted a long comment, in part of which he says he and RC are different people]. I suggested this on wiki but didn't get a bite. If you can do better than my semi-autistic ability to recognise faces, tell me if this, RC looks like this, TEDx. The Huffpo bio, presumably self-provided, of RC says "Ryan Caste is the founder and executive director of ISHAR". But RV says "I can also confirm that I hired Ryan Castle to be an archivist for the ISHAR project" (in a post that deals in part with how RV was kicked out from being CEO of ISHAR). Its not clear how those two fit together, unless we're looking at a Stalinist-style airbrushing.

[Update: assuming we believe the RV in the comments, then "Ryan Castle" is [[User:Askahrc]] who signs as "The Cap'n". And given that an early version of his talk page signs himself Ryan, that seems rather likely.]

More like this

Busted links in the 'this looks like this TEDx' thingie.

Oye does this story get stranger every year that transpires. I wonder why the writer of this article didn't just reach out and ask me directly. So to clarify a few things the author here misrepresents to his readers.

[Why hello, and welcome. Now read on... -W]

1. I can assure you I and Ryan Castle are not the same people.

[That may well be true. I'll add a note to my post pointing out that you deny it. But (optionally) can you offer any reason why I should believe it, other than your word? -W]

2. I publish a website called 'Wikipedia We Have a Problem' - which details very accurately, with references to verifiable to any independent third party, the account of what happened on Rupert Sheldrake's biography page on Wikipedia. I am very transparent about everything. The author of this article isn't very forthcoming about the context of my participation.

[I don't know what you mean by that. I've linked to your website; what more do you want? -W]

3. Both Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra, along with many others reached out to me for help regarding their Wikipedia problem. Regardless of what ever they have done, or whatever anyone thinks of their work, to deny that there were not any editorial concerns about biographical facts on those articles, independent of their subject matter, is grossly misinformed or perhaps being a bit deceptive.

[Again, what do you mean? We all know that DC doesn't like his wiki page - he has written about it. We all know that people have fought about it in the past, ditto. The question is not who is denying that *someone* doesn't like it, because no-one is. The question is where the weight of opinion is as to what the state of the article should be. That's where you and I disagree -W]

4. My interest in the problem on Wikipedia is independent of the biographies or content of those biographies. I'm a developer and inventor in media and technology. I've been researching and developing collaborative consensus systems online for over a decade. I'm not a PR agent for either of them nor was that agenda.

5. There are significant problems on Wikipedia with any controversial subject matter. I was very naive to assume that Rupert Sheldrake's biography would be a benign topic for me to build a consensus in a wiki war. I've been directly and overtly harassed online since being outed on Wikipedia - and have since taken up this issue in my spare time.

[People are very ready to say "There are significant problems on Wikipedia with any controversial subject matter". But actually its not true. Having your pet subject represented in what you consider a bad light is not the same thing; like I say, the GW denialists all hate the Global Warming page, because its accurate -w]

6. Considering that Rational Wiki created and published an article on me designed to shame and embarrass me as retribution for editing on Wikipedia - I find it offensive that the author of this article would cite it as a 'true account' of what happened.

[I found the RW article very informative -W]

7. Deepak Chopra in 2014 asked me to develop a solution's architecture for an online archive around academic literature regarding mind/body subject matter - and that project is now ISHAR. There were significant disagreements between myself and the interests of the Chopra Foundation regarding ISHAR and they went in one direction and I another. I have not been involved with the ISHAR project since November of 2014 and have no personal or professional relationship with Deepak Chopra or Ryan Castle.

8. Since harassed and banned on Wikipedia by agenda based editing 'pods', I've continued to participate on Wikipedia and i am transparent about circumventing Wikipedia's ban. I've made it a point to showcase that each account that is banned is not doing any disruptive editing and actually working towards responsible consensus building.

[Really? I'm surprised. But if you're so transparent, be so kind as to name your accounts -W]

9. My last account on Wikipedia was SAS81. This article fails to mention that in 2014, SAS81 resolved successfully Deepak Chopra's Wikiwar, and the skeptic editor 'pods' on his article were rebuked by experienced Wikipedia editors and admins who agreed with my rational assessments of the problems in the articles.

[I think you're not presenting a full view, as your next point rather suggests -W]

10. When it was uncovered that SAS81 was me - that account was banned on Wikipedia and Deepak's article returned to it's previous state.

11. I knew Ryan Castle because of my involvement with Rupert Sheldrake's Wikipedia article where he contributed as the CAPN. I did reach out to him when ISHAR formed and thought he would be a good hire for the project.

[Ah, fascinating. I saw that username in passing, now I'll need to look it up again -W]

12. No longer involved with them.

By Rome Viharo (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

hi W - I'm not sure this is the best medium for the exchange, but I appreciate your willingness to respond.

Here are my responses to your points. Since this is a little sloppy, let me know if you have a better suggestion for a forum.

1. To be fair, it's not my concern if you personally want to believe i am Ryan Castle. Both of us are found on Facebook, you could reach out and ask either of us directly if you want to. I'm just suggesting it's not responsible for you to plant that suspicion to your audience.

3. What I 'mean' is that my work on Wikipedia as an editor were over biographical facts of both individuals, specifically their academic bonafides which skeptic editors did not want included in the article. None of it was about the 'science' of their ideas or books. All of my arguments were editorial, none of them were about the truth veracity of the subject matter (morphic resonance, ayurveda, etc etc). This is verifiable. If you or anyone suggests that there were not genuine editorial issues with how both articles were being contextualized to something other than a neutral view is either misinformed or dishonest.

4. You state that it is not true that there are problems on controversial Wikipedia articles. Perhaps you are not familiar with the full landscape on Wikipedia. Any controversial subject matter on Wikipedia at one time or another has had an instance of some sort of agenda based editing. If you are denying that then you are in disagreement not just with myself, but a number of other independent third party journalists, bloggers, and Wikipedians.

[I didn't say that; try reading what you originally asserted and what I replied with. What I will say is that in almost all cases, wiki deals with controversial subjects significantly better than most other sources; GW and DC are examples where it does well -W]

5. If you found the Rational Wiki article that was written about me informative as to both my character, work and career - you're in for a big disappointment. Additionally, since easy to discover facts about me on the internet were intentionally left out of the article while the voice of the article itself is clearly personal, your admission here is really only to your discredit and I ask you to responsibly revisit the subject matter if you are going to write about it responsively.

[Again, try reading what I wrote. I found it informative; about what happened on-wiki in particular -W]

8. All accounts I have used on Wikipedia I already do list on Wikipedia, We Have a Problem. Additionally everything I publish on that side is verifiable by any independent third party through fact checking back to Wikipedia where everything was recorded.

[Really? I can find… which lists some. It says "I have broken my ban four times. Philosophy Fellow, Halfman Halfthing, No more scary monsters, and SAS81..." Is that the full list? I had read "I’ve continued to participate on Wikipedia" to mean present-tense. Are you saying you're not editing wiki any more? -W]

9. While you just 'say' I am not presenting a full view - I don't find that claim very meaningful as you have provided no analysis of the facts which are all verifiable on my website and on Wikipedia. Additionally, I am presenting an 'accurate' view of what happened specifically on those Wikipedia articles, with evidence.

I think it is important we separate the behaviors of what happened, and still happens on Wikipedia, with the subject matter. I've made it a point over and over on my site to say that my report is not an indictment on either skepticism or the skepticism movement. I think you have quite the wrong idea about me but hey - you're reading Rational Wiki so perhaps now you understand why this has been so personally upsetting. I certainly hope you do not believe that I deserve it, like the authors of Rational Wiki do.

By Rome Viharo (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

8. This page accurately lists ALL of my Wikipedia editing accounts as I mentioned.…

You would be correct to assume that SAS81 was my last editing account used on Wikipedia. I have not edited on Wikipedia since although have advised a few parties. I haven't time to work on this the past 6 months but plan on reinvigorating this issue next year.

I hope you join me in speaking out against online harassment and join me in responsible and collaborative consensus building online.

[I don't see any signs of it, in your case -W]


By Rome Viharo (not verified) on 06 Nov 2015 #permalink

I hope you join me in speaking out against online harassment and join me in responsible and collaborative consensus building online.
I'm no expert at wikipedia and haven't been following this closely. However, this does seem to be an example of someone who is doing something that others disagree with, and is being criticised as a result. They then define the criticism as harassment, and - as a result - suggest that their goal is to build consensus, which - I assume - is code for "everyone should eventually agree with me". It seems that it's not only in the climate change debate that this kind of thing happens.

By ...and Then Th… (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

They then define the criticism as harassment, and – as a result – suggest that their goal is to build consensus, which – I assume – is code for “everyone should eventually agree with me”.

This. So much this.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

NPOV is a commitment not to be taken lightly. It will stick in the craw at the beginning. It is not nausea, it is weakness leaving the mind.

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

This is all a bad fantasy, yes?

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink

...and Then There's Physics
To JulianFost, poster #8, and W
[Iwhich – I assume – is code for “everyone should eventually agree with me”. It seems that it’s not only in the climate change debate that this kind of thing happens.]

You're assumption is incorrect.

1. I already won consensus on both articles as records show, my complaint is not what was formed on the articles but the events and behaviors of what I experienced for actually obtaining consensus.

2. If you, or W, or anyone for that matter believes that what happened to me for editing an article on Wikipedia, such as outing, public shaming, online stalking and character distortion is something I deserve - then the true shame is on you.

3. If you believe that I do deserve this somehow, then you can point directly to any post I made o n Wikipedia you feel justified it. I hardly think you will find one.

By Rome Viharo (not verified) on 07 Nov 2015 #permalink


It is quite disappointing indeed that you claim you did not see any evidence of harassment in my case.

Since you appear to be an intelligent man and I assume a responsible publisher,that means you must have checked the clear evidence I presented.

This means that, if I take you words at face value, that you believe

1. Editors passing around my personal history and identity, in contrast to WP guidelines and my direct request is acceptable behavior on Wikipedia.

2. That editors on Wikipedia can libel individuals and verbally abuse them on talk pages while they cannot even respond is also acceptable behavior on Wikipedia.

3. That the creation of urls meant to harass an editor, such as'' is acceptable behavior.

[Creating that URL is childish and silly behaviour. It would not be acceptable on-wiki. But its not on-wiki; and the connection to wiki is not at all clear -W]

4, That it is acceptable behavior to create articles on individuals who edit on Wikipedia as payback.

5. That off wiki activities going back over 8 years is acceptable to use against an editor on Wikipedia to seek their banning.

Since you therefore think all of this, and much more that has occurred, is accetable - then I guess instead of you joining me in speaking out against this type of behavior, I shall be speaking out against you for endorsing it.

[Fabricati diem -W]

[Note: I poked around your… page. You complain "And then posts it to Sheldrake Talk page for full view to the entire community, title section and all." But that is less than honest, because you fail to point out that he removed it soon after. You also don't provide any explanation for creating drivel articles that others needed to clean away -W]

By Rome Viharo (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

I stopped contributing regularly to Wikipedia many years ago because someone who didn't like me started reversing all my edits and I couldn't figure out how to contact an administrator to intervene. It didn't matter whether my edits were to add references, fix spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors, or to make other improvements, this individual continued to reverse my changes.

When I asked some others about it, the typical response was that that's how Wikipedia works. So, I decided to focus my energies on other efforts, like my own web site projects (where third parties can't undo my hard work) and RationalWiki (which does a much better job at making skepticism and critical thinking a higher priority).

I like the concept of Wikipedia, but I dislike the unhelpful attitude that I received when I encountered problems with my contributions being arbitrarily undone.

[That isn't how wiki is supposed to work, nor indeed how it does work in general. What was your username? Presumably, not -W]

By Randolf Richardson (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

Randolf - Wikipedia has fairly strict rules on what is allowed as a source. The Lumber Cartel (TINLC) is/was many wonderful things but not a source for factual information having editorial oversight and control.

It can be frustrating to put in something that is obviously true and then have someone else delete it simply because it lacks a reference. But Wikipedia's policy on sourcing is more than anything else what makes it useful. Otherwise flat earthers, climate change "skeptics," ant-vaxxers and other misguided souls would be free to add whatever they want.

By Raymond Arritt (not verified) on 08 Nov 2015 #permalink

Anecdote on DC: a good friend of mine managed a large corporate bookstore and said DC was the most egotistical jerk of an author he encountered, which is saying something. DC belittled bookstore staff privately and publicly during his book talk.

Quite the spiritual leader.

By Brian Schmidt (not verified) on 09 Nov 2015 #permalink

W -

"[Note: I poked around your… page. You complain “And then posts it to Sheldrake Talk page for full view to the entire community, title section and all.” But that is less than honest, because you fail to point out that he removed it soon after."]

Huh? Less than honest? Everything that happened and you hold on to that? Sir - you obviously contain some sort of neurological bias in viewing this issue. First off, if failing to disclose events in a story makes one dishonest, one only needs to cite how you're treating this issue on your very own blog!

Additionally - you're NOT acknowledging the context.

1. Editor Manul was the first to post my identity on Wikipedia and pass it around to other editors. These editors then stalked me on Wikipedia, as the diffs in my study show - and which WP guidelines ALL of them were breaking in doing so.

2.'Dan Skeptic' who you are mentioning, was apart of a huge sockpuppeting army created by 'goblin face', a skeptic wikipedian and has since been kicked off of Wikipedia. Yes he posted my identity to the whole community, DID NOT GET BANNED, and Manul, not Dan sceptic, removed the page, after the damage was already done. How am I less than honest again? Because I didn't mention that it was removed? of course it was removed! that's wikipedia policy to remove it. Does that mean no damage was caused? Does such an action show good faith editing?

3. For you to state that it is 'not clear' that what happened to me was related to Wikipedia is just you allowing your own bias to color your view. Facts of the timeline of events are

a.) I had my identity outed my first four days on Wikipedia, before the event you mention above
b.) I won majority consensus on Sheldrake article, which means I had more support than skeptic editors had for theirs.
c.) as that consensus was building, there were a few attempts to ban me away from the article by these skeptic editors. First i was accused of spreading 'conspiracy theories' which failed.. then I was accused of sockpuppetry. when that FAILED, I was accused of trolling Wikipedia, blocked for life. I was not even allowed to defend myself in my the two hearings to ban me! Then these very same editors piled on my talk page, a page I could not even respond to, calling me names and within that same time frame, a rational wiki article was created on me and urls were created using my name. Not related? Really? Just a fluke eh?

If you're so convinced, try actually LOOKING at my editing history and talk page participation on Wikipedia, and simply link to the section you feel shows I was trolling, sockpuppeting, or what ever it is they threw at me and how what happened to me I deserve.

I don't think you're honest - and considering this is a science publication, its really disappointing to see you avoid the reality you really dont want to acknowledge, that skeptic organizations did some pretty crazy things on wikipedia. If you think that's an ideological statement, you're blinded by your own bias. For you not to condemn that and worse, for you to blog about it irresponsibly so you can get a few thumbs up from your disgruntled readers is kinda disappointing.

> [You also don’t provide any explanation for creating drivel articles that others needed to clean away -W]"

what the hell are you talking about 'creating drivel articles'??? what articles?

[Errm, its a hyperlink. Would it be more helpful if I wrote it out in full? You seem to have a history of pushing the drivel. Pretending not to know what I mean is not very convincing -W]

Are you talking about 2006 when I did try to create an article and didnt know how WP worked? are you that desperate to find some evidence to make me wrong that that's the best you have? why should I have to explain events 10 years old that I already acknowledge, on my site - that I was not aware of how Wikipedia worked then.

You're treating this issue like a political operative, not an empirical and honest thinker. You're just trying to find a few things to make me wrong in your article, because, hey - Im must be wrong because I edited biographical facts about two people you don't like.

Kinda reminds of of trying to argue with a global warming denier...oh the irony.

By Rome Viharo (not verified) on 15 Nov 2015 #permalink

Apparently - W, you're quite infamous for being a wiki bully yourself.…

So no wonder you feel what happened to me is ok, because you don't really believe in the founding principles of Wikipedia, you don't believe in collaborative editing, unless everyone agrees with you.

So glad you're on my radar now. Agenda based editors, you being one - are the biggest threat to Wikipedia, regardless if what they edit on wikipedia is true, or not.

[If you wish to believe, or throw in your lot, with the denialists, then you're lost. See this for example. Or, if you prefer, see -W]

By Rome Viharo (not verified) on 15 Nov 2015 #permalink

Rome Viharo is a troll who has been banned from: Wikipedia, Reddit and Rationalwiki. He's since been stalking and harassing the Wikipedia admin and other editors that banned him. He talks of "slander", but it is only ever him who has smeared and attacked people - to the extent he is now posting libel about people on his website, e.g. his source of information about Dan Skeptic is from Mikemikev - a neo-Nazi/white supremacist troll (who like Rome Viharo has been banned from multiple sites). So Viharo's will use information to attack people on his site, even if such info is given to him by neo-nazis. About say's it all about this guy. Rome is a nasty piece of work.

"Yes he posted my identity to the whole community, DID NOT GET BANNED, and Manul, not Dan sceptic, removed the page, after the damage was already done."

This is not true Rome. On your banned Wikipedia account Tumbleman, YOU posted your own real name. It has nothing to do with Dan skeptic or Manul who are both innocent.

Here is your edit that everyone can see, it has not been removed like you claim:…

This front page edit uses horribly biased definition of authors own work to define it re: - "and is responsible for "mysterious telepathy-type interconnections between organisms". To use a bias definition of an authors notable work is misleading.[[User:Tumbleman|Rome Viharo]] ([[User talk:Tumbleman|talk]]) 20:02, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

Basically you are nothing more than a liar Rome and why you are still talking about this everyday from events that happened over two years ago is beyond me.

This wacko troll doesn't deserve all this attention.

You should give a credit for the artwork you used.

The martyrdom of the Theban Legion, by Jean Bourdichon, from
The Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany (Les Grandes Heures d'Anne de Bretagne in French) by Jean Bourdichon between 1503 and 1508.…

[Usually I do, in the flickr comment. I see I forgot this time. It is via Discarding Images: -W]