Every major outlet that covered and promoted Crash Override Network has been contacted about the CON leaks exposing the organization for having engaged in harassment and doxing. The authors of those pieces have been reached out to, but the outlets themselves have neither acknowledged nor responded to any requests for comment or updates regarding the Crash Override Network leaks that occurred at the end of August. I’ve personally tried reaching out to some, but have been blocked on Twitter or received no response via e-mail.
Nevertheless, Wikipedia’s administrator, MastCell, has locked the Crash Override Network Wikipedia page after removing the mention about their illicit involvement with harassment, sabotage, doxing and targeted abuse, all of which were documented in the leaked chat logs. The reason? Not enough reliable coverage from mainstream media.
Other users, like MjolnirPants, who identifies as a “male feminist” according to his user profile, have begun to filibuster — alongside Mastcell — the Crash Override Network article with sophistry and equivocation centered around Ashe Schow and the Washington Examiner. Evidently, they’re attempting to discount the inclusion of the mention of the leaked chat logs because they question Ian Miles Cheong’s credibility, and believe Schow is just an “opinion writer”.
According to Mastcell, on September 13th, 2016, it’s stated on Wikipedia’s Talk page…
“First of all, contentious material touching on living people needs exceptionally strong sourcing. Lacking such sourcing, the material should not appear, and it is in fact a serious violation of policy to keep re-inserting poorly sourced material attacking living people. Secondly, the burden of proof is on those wishing to include the contentious material, meaning that it should not appear in the article unless/until there is a clear consensus that it is relevant and properly sourced.
“In accordance with WP:BLP, and with my responsibility as an administrator to enforce it, I’ve removed the material from the article pending further discussion here and/or at WP:RS/N (as linked above). Further violations of WP:BLP are likely to result in sanctions against individual editors, particularly since this topic area is subject to discretionary sanctions and editors should be working harder to comply with policy, rather than skirting it”
So in laymen terms, Mastcell is saying that the chat logs – even speaking in a matter of fact tone about them – is too contentious to add to the article without “exceptionally strong sourcing”. Except, that isn’t in the BLP section of Wikipedia’s rule set at all. As a matter of fact, it explicitly states…
“Wikipedia articles concerning living persons may include material—where relevant, properly weighted, and reliably sourced—about controversies or disputes in which the article subject has been involved. “
It doesn’t require “exceptionally strong sourcing”, simply “reliably sourced” material. In this case, Mastcell seems to be pushing the goalpost.
Mastcell also tries to put the onus on the reliability of the Washington Examiner, stating that Ashe Schow and the site itself is not reliable enough in order to include the mention about the CON leaks, this is despite the fact that previously the Washington Examiner has been considered reliable by Wikipedia, even being one of the main citations in a Wikipedia article about Conservative media outlet The Federalist.
User James J. Lambden retorted that 17 total Wikipedia editors, eight registered accounts and nine IPs, have all voted in favor of using the Washington Examiner as a source. Only one editor balked up a storm at the sources, PeterTheFourth, while Fangrim was labeled as “questionable”.
Despite the overwhelming consensus to include the information, MjolnirPants objects after doing original research, searching out comments by Randi Lee Harper on Twitter, where he mentions on the talk page…
“Even if we accept the [Washington Examiner] piece as reliable, that’s only a single reliable source. A disgruntled former members of a group is as likely to be an unreliable as a reliable primary source. With no way to verify the chat logs, we don’t know that they are accurate themselves. Furthermore, a current member of the group have indicated that the logs have been edited, and are “not CO logs”, whatever that means.”
But is a “disgruntled former member” so much more unreliable as a source than a close associate of a source promoting the organization? I’m talking about former Gamasutra managing news editor and Guardian contributor, Leigh Alexander, who has the very first citation on Crash Override Network’s Wikipedia page.
Alexander’s own Wikipedia profile even highlights a couple of connections to Quinn beyond the citation and mention of Zoe in the Guardian piece.
If the article is supposed to be neutral, why is undue weight being given to those close to Quinn, while reports about chat logs that contained actual comments from Quinn – and reported on by an actual former member of the organization where the chat logs came from – being dismissed? This is especially troubling given that Quinn herself admitted to sabotaging a $400,000 game jam in the chat logs, and Harper and others within the logs acknowledged doxing those associated with #GamerGate. Are we now to ignore the words from the very people that the Wikipedia page is about?
There’s a troubling trend on the talk page of Crash Override Network where facts aren’t being weighed fairly and there’s a lot of equivocation to justify the positives and ignore the negatives about the organization, even when the weight of the sources are either the same or stacked against those giving positive feedback on the organization, such as the citation for Destructoid. This makes one question: how is Washington Examiner less reliable than Destructoid in the eyes of Wikipedia?
Well, keep in mind that in the previous article here on One Angry Gamer about Wikipedia’s politics regarding reliable sources, they consider Jim Sterling reliable on occasion but not TechRaptor. Why? Because Jim Sterling has been quoted by other Wikipedia reliable sources. Thus, it completes the circle.
So Destructroid is a reliable source for Crash Override Network’s Wiki entry, but so far the irrefutable chat logs covered by a former member of the group and a national media outlet like the Washington Examiner are not. Well, that’s according to PeterTheFourth, who has consistently been modifying the Crash Override Network page to remove any mention of the chat logs, according to the revision history on Wikipedia.
Interestingly enough, PeterTheFourth was spotted making comments and carousing on the anti-#GamerGate sub-Reddit called Gamer Ghazi, as spotted by Twitter user Nuckable.
— Super Nucktendo 🌐 (@nuckable) September 12, 2016
Peter was also involved with ridiculing other supposed “Pro-#GG” editors on a now defunct website called Sealions of Wikipedia. PeterTheFourth was joined by other Wikipedia editors such as Mark Bernstein, Tarc and Ryulong, as they condemned #GamerGate while also — at the time — editing the article to fit their narrative. Archives of the Sealions of Wikipedia reveal Peter and the others in the comment sections, which were pointed out by an anonymous critic of Wikipedia, who feared being doxed for highlighting the information.
According to Wikipedia’s own rules regarding BLPs (biographies of living persons) – which is the term that Mastcell cited as the reason for the removal of the mention of the chat logs on the CON Wikipedia article – it states…
“More generally, editors who have a strongly negative or positive view of the subject of an article should be especially careful to edit that article neutrally, if they choose to edit it at all.”
Given PeterTheFourth’s involvement with a known adversary to #GamerGate and given his protective nature toward Zoe Quinn and Crash Override Network, this alone violates the spirit of Wikipedia’s policy regarding editors working on biographies of living persons.
By MastCell’s own adherence to the rules, shouldn’t someone with too close a connection to the material step away to avoid overstepping a BLP violation? Threatening sanctions on editors for simply adding in the facts seems counterproductive, especially in the face of allowing an editor with vested interests to maintain editing a page where the facts are purposefully being scrubbed.
That’s not to mention that one of the editors that PeterTheFourth was working with diligently on the #GamerGate article, Ryulong, was found to have been in cahoots with members from Crash Override Network, making edits at their behest. Ryulong was also being funded by the very same Gamer Ghazi.
Of course, the page is in a stalemate at the moment because the filibustering over the reliable source claim hovering over Ashe Schow and Washington Examiner is preventing the claim from being added, despite the fact that they have a Destructoid link in there praising the organization. One question I have is: if Destructoid reported on the Crash Override Network leaks, would that then warrant inclusion in the article?
MastCell and PeterTheFourth have repeatedly mentioned that they’re waiting on other “mainstream” websites to report on the leaks, to which none have done so beyond Heat Street and Washington Examiner.
One user simply takes time to point out in the off-topic section that the bureaucratic politicking is showing Wikipedia’s hand even more-so than some of the biased articles on the site, where they write…
“Hello, Internet. I see some of you have taken interest in this article. I just wanted to let you all know that yes, an admin with a historical record of POV pushing has scrubbed and locked this page. Yes that same admin is now AWOL. Yes, the dissenting opinion of 1 or 2 editors was enough to override two primary sources verifying the a primary document and a dozen editors agreeing with it’s relevance. Yes, Wikipedia definitely deserves it reputation for political hackery.”
Pleas to have Jimmy Wales, the owner of Wikipedia, to step in and at least ensure that the facts are displayed in an honest manner have fallen on ears that result in smarmy responses and snickering.
— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) September 12, 2016
More obviously, editors who are not showing partisanship to politics (one way or the other) have blatantly made it clear that adding in a section in the Wiki article explaining that Crash override Network members have engaged in harassment, doxing and abuse would destroy the current narrative being peddled in the media. That’s not to mention that such an admission would result in the #GamerGate Wikipedia page needing serious reconsideration regarding the media’s claims made therein.