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." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.