Feeds

Sockpuppeting British politico resigns from Wikisupremecourt

Do as I Wikisay not as I Wikido

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More than two years after the notorious Essjay Scandal, Wikipedia's ruling body still has a weakness for sockpuppetry.

A Labour councillor for London's City of Westminster resigned from Wikipedia's supreme court at the weekend, after admitting he gained election to the site's ruling body using a false name.

David Boothroyd - councillor for Westminster's Westbourne ward - was elected to Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee in December 2007 under the name Sam Blacketer and has edited the overly-egalitarian online encyclopedia under at least three other names.

After his identity was questioned on a Wikiobsessed shadow site known as Wikipedia Review, Boothroyd stepped down from Wikipedia's ruling body, pointing out that he had publicly announced an intention to resign earlier this year.

The eighth most popular site on the web, Wikipedia bills itself as the "free encyclopedia anyone can edit." Editing from multiple accounts is officially verboten on the grounds that it would allow editors to promote self-serving content on what is ostensibly a "neutral" source of information. But so often, such sockpuppeting is facilitated by the site's steadfast devotion to anonymous editing and a belief that administrators should "assume good faith."

When standing for election to the Arbitration Committee - known in Orwellian fashion as the ArbCom - Boothroyd's platform included the notion that "editors should be encouraged to register accounts, and then ideally to stick to one account."

On a private email list used by the Arbitration Committee, Boothroyd acknowledged his real identity and admitted to using a second Wikipedia account under the names Fys and Dbiv. He has also used a third account under his own name.

We contacted Boothroyd via email and the web, but he has yet to respond to our questions.

Elected by the Wikipedia community at large, the Arbitration Committee resolves site disputes and serves as the final word on site policy. In the wake of Boothroyd's resignation, the community is discussing whether it should review the 18 months of Wikicourtcases in which Boothroyd cast a vote.

According to Boothroyd's Wikipedia biography - which has been purged from the site - he also works as the head of research at Indigo Public Affairs, "a company specialising in urban regeneration schemes and lobbying for planning consent." He's the author of Politico's Guide to The History of British Political Parties, published in 2001. And he maintains a site that details United Kingdom Election Results.

Prior to serving on the Westminster City Council, he worked for two Labour MPs: John Battle, MP for Leeds West, and Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham.

Under the name Sam Blacketer, Labour solider David Boothroyd edited one particular article more than any other: the article on Conservative Party leader David Cameron. On May 15, Boothroyd changed the photo on the David Cameron entry, preferring one "not carrying saintly overtones." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.