January 30, 2015

Clown Cars

It appears we have reached the part of our program where hilarity ensues.

It seems that Wikipedia has a little house magazine, The Signpost, which it publishes on the Wiki. A new issue came out yesterday, with two editorials from Wikipedia administrators on the Gamergate decision.

A few minutes after the magazine was published, Protonk was suddenly blocked and topic-banned from pages related to Gamergate (and gender-related pages, and pages about people involved in gender issues).

The ban certainly appears to be the reward for writing the critical article. though I have a bit of experience in publishing and I can’t imagine what pressures would lead an editor to take immediate retribution against the author of an article he’d published minutes before

Ostensibly, the block involved an issue about a living person in the Gamergate controversy, but it’s an issue so small that even an expert would find it hard to discern. The matter hinges, believe it or not, on whether a jilted ex-boyfriend’s rambling blog post actually intended to call his beloved a prostitute, when he may merely have called her a slut in that blog post with the whole prostitution thing coming a little later.

You can’t make this stuff up.

It’s interesting, though, that with Wikipedia condoning all these discussions about the sex lives of women in computing, the ban hammer falls on this detail about what a man said about his former girlfriend: after all, talking about that doesn’t help drive women out of computing, and so that’s completely out of bounds.

Update: The block was imposed by “H.J. Mitchell,” who is responsible for reportage on the Arbitration Committee but not co-editor-in-chief, and then modified rather than created by the co-editor-in-chief. The obscurity of the pertinent logs and the unusual masthead of The Signpost confused me; I apologize for the error.