Emails show journalist rigged Wikipedia's naked shorts
Overstock's Byrne vindicated amidst economic meltdown
Jimmy Wales and the SlimVirgin
Weiss created the Mantanmoreland account in January 2006, and for more than two years, the account drove Wikipedia's rather-one-sided treatment of naked shorting. Though Bagley went to extreme lengths trying to expose Weiss, the Mantanmoreland account received heavy protection from the site's inner circle, including Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales and an uber-administrator known only as SlimVirgin.
It's unclear why. Some argue that Wikipedia circled the wagons simply because Judd Bagley was so persistent in questioning the site's integrity. "I'd say to a point that the reason why Mantanmoreland got such protection was the extreme measures [Bagley] took to 'out' Mantanmoreland as Weiss," says David Yellope, a longtime admin who was instrumental in eventually banning the account.
"Now, admittedly, we - being Wikipedia as a whole - should have listened to Judd in the first place, but there was a long time where Judd's behavior was counter-productive."
And then there's the most bizarre twist in this tale of bizarre twists: The woman behind the SlimVirgin account - once Mantanmoreland's biggest defender - has a history with Patrick Byrne. The Register has also reviewed emails in which SlimVirgin indicates that she was a student alongside Byrne's at King's College, Cambridge in the late 80s.
According to Byrne, there was some unresolved tension between the two. "I don’t know if she liked me or if she hated me, but there were some strong emotions involved," Byrne says. He gives his side of their 20-year-old story here. SlimVirgin did not respond to requests for comment.
(as she appears on
her Wikipedia page)
But even Jimmy Wales and SlimVirgin have backed down from the naked shorting issue in recent months, when Mantanmoreland's extreme sockpuppeting was exposed by the Wikipedia community at large - and multiple accounts were linked to Weiss.
"There was significant evidence that tied these accounts to a real-life identity," David Yellope has told us. "When a well-known financial writer was in India for his wedding, two accounts in question started editing on India time."
In late May, these accounts were banned from the site.
Why would someone go to such great lengths to control a few Wikipedia pages? That too is unclear. But according to Wikipedia's edit history, Weiss may have edited the site from inside the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.
In December 2006, Mantanmoreland created a Wikipedia article on University Parish of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village. Over the next four months, no other hand touched the article - save a lone edit from the IP address 188.8.131.52 - the address of the DTCC.
Weiss also says he has no connection to the DTCC. And the DTCC says it has no connection to Weiss. "Gary Weiss has never worked for the DTCC. Gary Weiss has never been in our offices," company spokesman Stuart Goldstein told us. "For my own peace of mind - being the communications director of the company who talks to the press - I have shown the [Wikipedia edit history] to a couple of our own IT people and they said that it was not conclusive."
The DTCC oversees stock settlement on Wall Street. In other words, it - more than any other operation - is in a position to observe abusive naked shorting schemes. ®
Update: Originally, this story said that Wikipedia admin SlimVigin had indicated she was a "classmate" of Patrick Byrne. It has been updated to say she indicated "she was a student alongside" Byrne at Cambridge.