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Wikipedia self-flagellates over vanishing 'farmsex'

The missing Zoophilia edits

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Updated After the international brouhaha over Wikipedia's sudden appearance on Britain's anti-child-porn blacklist, things have returned to normal at "the free encyclopedia anyone can edit." The site's cult-like inner circle is threatening to eat itself after an über-admin vaporized some Zoophilia chatter laid down by a member of the Wikiland Supreme Court.

Yes, Wikiland has a Supreme Court. In Orwellian fashion, it's known as the ArbCom, short for Arbitration Committee. And one of its reigning members is an anonymous cult general who insists on calling himself FT2.

In December 2007, when this mysterious Wikifiddler stood for election to the ArbCom, a concerned contributor pointed out that FT2's first known edits to Wikipedia appeared on the article dedicated to Zoophilia. According to this concerned contributor - Edward Buckner, a former philosophy don at the University of Bristol - one of the edits looked like this:

In [[pornography]], zoosexuality is occasionally referred to as "farmsex" or or [sic] "dogsex". The comment is "added 'dogsex' to 'farmsex,' being the two terms commonly used in pornography."

And another began like this:

Separate from those whose interest is curiosity, pornography, or sexual novelty, are those for whom zoophilia might be called a lifestyle. A common reported starting age is at [[puberty]], around 9 - 11, and this seems consistent for both males and females. Those who discover an interest at an older age often trace it back to nascent form during this period or earlier.

But after Buckner complained to site adminstrators about FT2's Wikihabits, the edits mysteriously vanished. Wikipedia is designed to maintain a record of every edit every made on its pages, but a chosen few have the power to "oversight" - i.e. remove words forever. Officially, this Wikipower should only be used to remove potentially libelous content and "non-public personal information," such as private email addresses and phone numbers. Oversighting for other reasons is a Wikisin.

But when Buckner complained about the missing Zoophilia edits, admins promptly exiled him from Wikiland. "When I complained about the edits, they blocked me and said I would only be unblocked if I supplied them with the edits," Buckner tells us. "But I couldn't. They'd been oversighted."

A year on, this Catch-22-like tale has somehow resurfaced, and Wikiland is once again embroiled in the sort of onlne controversy you won't find in our world.

Wikifiddlers with access to the oversight logs tell us the logs were indeed oversighted - by none other than David Gerard, the Wikipedia UK press officer/Goth who led the charge against the site's Internet Watch Foundation anti-child-porn blacklisting. Jimmy Wales has given Gerard a talking to, according to comments the Wikipedia co-founder recently made on the site. But the Wikihordes are still calling for an online flogging.

David Gerard and FT2 did not respond to requests for comment. All we can say is this: The next time you visit Wikipedia, take a moment to remember their tale. ®

Update

Shortly after this article was published, FT2 left a comment claiming he was never contacted by the reporter for his side of the story. FT2's claims notwithstanding, the reporter emailed FT2, days before the story ran using an address FT2 has used in the past.

Here's FT2's response to the story:

For the record.

Cade Metz has at no time contacted me for comment, before, or during. Any statement that a comment was requested or not returned, is unfounded. A search today in my email folder (including spam filter) shows no email related to this topic.

Had Cade Metz contacted me, he would have been pointed to the accurate information on this matter, instead of a rehash of matters that he well knows from his diligent research are untruths and half-truths initially compiled by a banned user for defamatory purposes. He would have found that the users who checked these claims in detail (ie those who did not have a prior ban, or grudge), by far in the majority endorsed their quality. He would have found that far from out of line, they were deemed appropriate editing on difficult topics where Wikipedia needs such editors, and he would have found Wikipedia'sDirector of Featured Articles was in collaboration with myself in 2006 based on his endorsement that this topic might be improved to the "top 1%" standard necessary for "Featured Article" status.

All of this was open to cade. He asked none of it.

FT2

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