Editgate cyberwar continues:The same Occupy Melbourne Wikipedia page edits redone, but now from Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland?


A peaceful protest outside Melbourne City Council on 21 10 2012 to mark the one year anniversary of the brutal city square eviction, and the political death of  MCC Mayor Robert Doyle.

I guess this story has either, not got big enough yet, and a random bystander has accidentally stepped into the fray, OR a proxy war.

We did predict the redacting would be outsourced, and here it is.

We did predict the redacting would be outsourced, and here it is.

Hard to be certain at this stage but I got to admit the name  ‘Nutter’ is ironic if you assume that they had prior knowledge of the controversy surrounding the event.

Editor identified using handle ‘Zhou Fang’ claiming to be using the IP confession in comments section.

Apologies to David we suspected you were a possibly a network admin rather than the user.

Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, your Wikipedia days may be numbered.

Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, your Wikipedia days may be numbered.

Do not forget.

Honestly who are these people, and what do they think they know about Occupy Melbourne from the other side of the world? Sure, there is a Melbourne in Scotland , but  I’m pretty sure the Wikipedia page makes it clear this one is in Australia.

Posted on February 20, 2013, in Actions & protests, Australia, BioSS, Editgate cyber war, History, Law & Government, Media, Melbourne, Photo, Politics, Robert Doyle, Scotland, UK, Victoria. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Clearly Doyle has outsourced the matter. Scotland seems far enough away not to implicate him, but it’s only a phonecall away, isn’t it? Maybe Scotland Yard should get on to this incident.

  2. I made the edits myself in my coffee break purely as a private individual. David Nutter is our head of IT and is completely uninvolved. I have a wikipedia login and am a longtime editor, but editted anonymously on purpose specifically to squelch conspiracy theories. I guess that failed? Honestly guys, don’t you find it faintly oppressive to try to police wikipedia editorship in this way? It’s an encyclopedia that *anyone can edit*, and if you want to maintain a list of enemies, it seems daft.

    I don’t know anything about Occupy Melbourne. That’s the *whole point* – on whose authority should I trust in this matter? I do know about wikipedia policy on citations and original research, and as the consensus on that talkpage shows, those edits, whatever their source, match wikipedia guidelines. If you want to emphasize Occupy’s peacefulness, then find some good sources.

    Now quit this creepiness before the article gains a section about Occupy’s conflict with wikipedia codes of practice.

  3. Well by hiding behind the IP address managed by David Nutter you have involved him. If you are so confident about the legitimacy of your actions, why do you hide behind the anonymous IP when you could have identified yourself from the beginning? I imagine David Nutter will want to have words about with you about that.

    Yes you don’t know anything about Occupy Melbourne, and you could have followed the links of the media story here including the online ‘The Age’ article in this comments section, (and in Boing Boing comments where you have also posted) where by an MCC insider admits the protest was peaceful and that Robert Doyle had stated publicly that he wanted the protest gone. Now that you have been educated on that facts, I suggest you undo your edits.

    You should know by now you have waded into a growing controversy involving politicians and high level court cases on the other side of the world. Parts to the Wikipedia page may be considered to be
    *evidence* in the court cases, people tampering with evidence is generally frowned on. Do the smart thing and extricate yourself ASAP, anything else would be sheer hubris.

    It would be so easy to turn this into:
    Zhou Fang instigates 21st century book burning at Scottish research institute.

    How is that going to look?

    Research institutes are for smart people, don’t alienate yourself.

  4. “but editted anonymously on purpose specifically to squelch conspiracy theories.” Doing something anonymously just increases conspiracy theories, so I’m glad you revealed yourself. But why involve yourself in something that is between two other parties? Your life must be very boring, or else you have an agenda?

    Also. Occupy Melbourne is not policing Wikipedia edits, the discovery of the edits was made purely by accident . The edits are not factual, but are aimed at showing the Melbourne City Council in a better light. The edits are biased. The protest was peaceful, that is not an opinion, it is a fact. There were no attacks on police or the general public, no windows smashed, no cars set on fire. The protest involved people in tents and signs, talking to the public. If that isn’t peaceful, I don’t know what is. People have a right to assembly in public spaces, this is not communist China.

    While Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, it is usually preferable that the editor has a knowledge and understanding of the subject matter and has no secret agenda.

    At this stage we do not care about the edits anymore, because the story has broken anyway and there will be a variety of opinions on them. Our point was to reveal Melbourne City Council hypocrisy and this has succeeded.

  5. Your username as you make this comment is ‘occupymelbournenet’. I presume that is not your real name. I personally have disclosed mine. You honestly know a crapload more about me than I’m really comfortable with, but I suppose that is unavoidable. You do realise due to the ease of getting an email and so making a throwaway wikipedia account that way, one is in fact a lot more exposed as an anonymous user of wikipedia, than one hiding behind the shield of an username?

    I have posted a simple explanation of my edit on the talk page of that wikipedia article. I suggest you read it. And the multiple wikipedia policies listed in the top right corner of that article.

    The options open to you are very simple:

    1. You can accept my argument. In which case, if you wish to affirm the truth of those statements that I have removed, you may re-add them provided you attach, inline, to each of them a specific citation (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verifiability) backing up that particular fact. Or you can change the language of those texts to make clear that this is an assertion Occupy Melbourne is making, and trust in the discriminating reader that they believe you and not MCC. (An additional issue is the tone of the removed lines. Wording like ‘absurdity’ are generally considered excessively emotive.) That too is fine. Do this, and the MCC’s goons can try to delete them a billion times and I and countless wikipedia editors will revert their censorship *every time*. Or you can just leave the edits as is, and trust that readers who think it’s safe to assume protestors are peaceful

    2. You can contest my argument. There are well worn ways in wikipedia to do this. Editing the talk page is a start. If you make a convincing argument, then great! If you want to proceed by a more formal means, there exists methods for you to request arbitration from senior people in the wikipedia community.

    3. You can continue to throw a fit. On the first level, let me say that this is unlikely to produce results. I am a stubborn arsehole. There are also other people who agree with me, so you can’t get rid of the opposition that way.

    In addition, I think your threats here (and they sound a lot like threats, to me) reflect badly on Occupy Melbourne. The thing is, my edits to wikipedia are also *my speech*. If you choose to escalate this, you are turning the might of your organisation on the censoring of an individual. I have strong doubts about the interest of the world’s eyes on Zhou Fang, random scientist, having an opinion on wikipedia editorial policy. A headline of ‘Occupy Melbourne instigates suppression of dissent in a totally different country’ will, however, look very bad for you.

    I implore you quite simply to work within wikipedia’s system here. You can help wikipedia to create a well sourced, and therefore believable article. If you argue that there is strong backing for your version of events, then you need only provide it to the article.

  6. “But why involve yourself in something that is between two other parties? Your life must be very boring, or else you have an agenda?”

    Because there is a third party, which is wikipedia itself. Wikipedia is not a battleground, or a soapbox. It is, IMHO, an attempt to unite the world by building consensus. And the way this is done is by being as neutral as possible, to present opinion (however justified) as opinion, and fact as fact, to show precisely where individual statements come from. OM doesn’t own its wikipedia page, no more than Doyle owns his own.

    And yeah, I edit wikipedia during my lunch break. I enjoy it. I feel it helps me make a difference.

    “While Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, it is usually preferable that the editor has a knowledge and understanding of the subject matter and has no secret agenda.”

    Well, I have no secret agenda. But more importantly, IMO it’s wrong to look for one. One’s wikipedia edits speak for itself. Otherwise, would you think it’d be right to bar you guys from editting articles about MCC or Doyle, since you guys plainly have an agenda – or more precisely a position. Surely not.

    As to personal knowledge? Actually writing articles from personal knowledge is frowned upon on wikipedia. Ideally articles should be attributed to sources from outside of wikipedia, and the writer is merely the conduit for them. Some understanding in technical articles is helpful in interpreting the words. Why? Because anyone can claim to have personal expertise and knowledge. If the offending edits in this case were made by Doyle himself, he can surely claim to be immensely knowledgeable about OM.

  7. Clean up your own mess, son.

    You have been given free speech here too, and you are using it to make yourself look (and the institute you work for) stupid.

    Free speech is great, it gives voice to the clever and allows the fool to mock himself.

    There is evidence here in link to support the claims that Occupy Melbourne was peaceful and that Melbourne City Council actively opposed the protest. These claims even come from local government insiders.

    Check the links.

  8. So you are a statistician?
    What are the odds that this will end well for you?

    Lets look at the circumstances:
    Taking on a activist media website, an anonymous source on the other side of the world.
    You have identified yourself to an anonymous opponent.
    The arguments you stand on are poor, contradict each other and in some places based on incorrect evidence.
    You have embroiled your employers in the controversy, which they have nothing positive to gain from.
    You are risking your job and reputation as a rational man of facts.
    You are risking backlash from everyone else who happens to share the name ‘Zhou Fang’ for making them look bad.

    I’m giving you many chances to withdraw, and you refuse.

    I’m trying to let a scientist, get back to what they are supposed to be doing, ‘science’ rather than become media cannon fodder.
    You should find out what ’50 cent army’ means, because if you play this wrong, that might be your only career option.

    I strongly suggest you get a good book on game theory and realize you are in a really bad position, and you are literally at your opponents mercy.

    You are currently being shown mercy even though what you are doing is highly inflammatory.

  9. So Wikipedia want people to write on topics they do not understand? That seems really pointless. Also, while Doyle had some knowledge regarding OM he is obviously biased. I repeat again, we don’t really care anymore about what is written in the Wikipedia article, the whole point was to reveal to what lenghts politicians go to cover their asses. History is written by victors , not the people. At least up until recently. You have shown which side you are on by supporting MCC over struggling activists. You should be proud of yourself, the 1% love people like you and will reward you accordingly only to dispose of you when you are no longer useful.

  10. Mercy? I don’t seek your mercy. I seek your understanding of the wikipedia project. I seek your fundamental decency as a human being to be able to understand and tolerate someone else disagreeing with you, and to engage with that criticism through rational debate, instead of threats.

    You do your membership a great disservice, if you try to strong arm someone on the other side of the world – someone who would previously have agreed with a lot of your goals – with threats to their jobs and livelihood for simply expressing an opinion you disagree with. Is this really what OM represents? Is this what OM’s members are agreed on?

    Perhaps I might be risking my job here. I revealed my identity in this place *believing* that you were decent enough not to make this the case. I hope that my boss etc would support me though – I would have thought that you’d respect the rights of individuals to do stuff they want during their lunch breaks. Would your membership support you for taking on, not the 1%, but a single individual? As a single random person my powers are obviously limited, but if you take action against me then I will obviously get as many people to know about this as possible. Then we’ll see what the public think of your apparent hypocrisy. I’m sure Doyle and his cronies would *love* this current discussion to hit the press.

    I will never back down from my principles in the face of threats. Not from government. And not from you. I have nothing more to say.

  11. Firstly:
    Accept the facts.
    I disagree with you because you are wrong, are ignoring the facts, and not being reasonable. previously agreed with us? You sided with the MCC and deleted ‘peacefully’ from the OM Wikipedia page.

    What threats? You were asked to see reason and remove your incorrect edits.
    This is a media page, and you have foolishly become part of the story.

    You, by your own actions, put yourself at risk in the following ways:

    Hiding behind your employers IP address.
    Implicated your employers in your political beliefs.
    Refusing to admit you were wrong.
    You admitted you know nothing about Occupy Melbourne but thought you know better.
    Describing yourself as a ‘Stubborn arsehole’.
    Ignoring evidence and acting hypocritically.
    Using your own name in online debates.
    Making so much of your personal details available on the internet.
    Being complicit in your statements.
    Making yourself look like an idiot.

    Most of the membership would see you as a troll, a tool of the 1%.
    Trolls don’t get much sympathy.

    You drew attention to yourself, no one is going to be able prevent the repercussions you have created for yourself. No-one forced you to be involved, you chose that yourself.

    You were given many opportunities to climb down from your position. All it would have taken would have been push the ‘undo edit’ on Wikipedia and a brief “Sorry, I didn’t know the facts” somewhere.
    It would have taken two minutes to do, and you would have been out of the story, nothing more than a footnote.
    But no, your ego seems to be getting in the way ( again?), you made you own bed, now you have to lie in it.

    If I was your employer you would be sacked for this. Misusing company resources to bring bad publicity to the company. What your employer chooses to do is completely up to them, but as a statistician you should know the odds are poor.
    Good luck with the DSS.

  12. Zhou Fang, we don’t really care if this hits the press. If we were worried about your comments, we would have the choice not to post them. People can make up their own minds about this, no problem. Your intital post was already in poor form, you told us to give proper sources to Wikipedia, while you yourself used no such thing and decided on a whim to re-instate the MCC edits,even though by your own admission you knew nothing about Occupy Melbourne and the events of October/November 2011.

    Just because something is listed in Wikipedia as not “factual” , does not mean it’s the truth, all it means that someone has used it as an excuse for their edits. That was the whole point of our discovery. Again, it would be better if you had not gotten involved, as you don’t know any of the facts.

    Additionally, there is no proof that you are not a hired troll,especially since you are apparently losing sleep over this. Hmm.

  13. I don’t care about this appearing in the press. The situation is no different to me writing letters to the editor in national newspapers, which I have actually done. I am free to give interviews any time. I am simply relaying the rules and regulations of wikipedia articles that everything in an article has to be referenced (there is no rule that items require a reference to be *removed*, that would be silly).

    I’m saying about the possibility you people taking actions against me, my employers, or my friends and family. Do not do this.

  14. Zhou, you said you had nothing more to say, I was really hoping that you would keep that promise. Sadly you could not.
    Around here we eat small time fascists for breakfast.

    You are acting outside Wikipedia’s guidelines by making contradictory edits with no supporting evidence.

    The edits you made are highly offensive to the spirit and memory of Occupy Melbourne.

    You are a cowardly, clumsy troll.
    You tried to hide behind behind your employers IP address, and that didn’t work.
    You tried to hide behind Wikipedia’s edit guidelines, that didn’t work either.

    You have 12 hours from the posting of this comment to undo your edits.

    There will be no further warnings.

  15. https://www.bioss.ac.uk/people/zfang.html

    Biomathematics & Statistics Scotland
    JCMB, The King’s Buildings,
    EDINBURGH, EH9 3JZ, Scotland, UK.

    Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4897
    Fax: +44 (0)131 650 4901

    So whats the likelyhood of someone ringing up and the person on the other end of the phone has no idea about this wikipedia stuff?

  16. Deadline approaches in T minus 4 hours

  17. I’m a longtime Wikipedia editor.

    I was also beaten and tear-gassed multiple times during Occupy Oakland (and other bay area) protests. I was present on the night of October 25th, and during many subsequent instances of police violence targeted at Occupy protests in the bay area.

    I find it highly disturbing that instead of even attempting to engage in good faith with an editor on a site dedicated to the collaborative production of knowledge using consensus-based governance, you would instead choose to threaten them. In doing so, you make a parody out of the ideals you claim to stand for.

    • Zhou ended his opening comment with this:

      Now quit this creepiness before the article gains a section about Occupy’s conflict with Wikipedia codes of practice.

      Does that sound like acting in good faith?
      He was making threats of further defamation to the memory Of Occupy Melbourne from the beginning.

      He deliberately chose to ignore evidence that would have cleared up the controversy, but at the cost of admitting he was wrong. So it became about his ego not about the facts.

      We did ask that he undo his edits, we gave him a source to cite.

      As of today most to the Occupy Melbourne Wikipedia page is being gutted with out reference, by Amadscientist, a senior Wikipedia editor who is in the Wikipedia dispute resolution team.

      Go to Wikipedia to sort this out? NPOV (neutral point of view) looks like the real parody right now.

  18. It also needs to be said that after the original story broke, no member of occupymelbourne.net tried to restore the edits that were alledged to have been performed by Melbourne City Council, they were restored independently by another Wikipedia editor. We are not Wikipedia editors ourselves. The story was taken up in Melbourne newspaper the Age, where Melbourne City councillers supported Occupy Melbourne’s assertion that the protest was peaceful (dozens of sources for this), one for example a young girl being cut out of her tent by council workers. And also Doyle stated publicly that he wanted the protest gone, repeatedly. This is also in The Age article. The edits were performed by Melbourne City Council to whitewash Doyle and their own actions and to re-write history (although they are denying it, of course) Enter a young still green behind the ears “editor” who decides to jump in without any knowledge or understanding of the topic and is happy to leave his private details all over the internet (which really shows how naive he is). Also, personally, I would distance myself from direct democracy and consensus based descision making, two of the reasons that made the Occupy Movement ineffective , as the lowest common denominator takes over, this affair being a good example, yet again.

    Unfortunately this is turning into is a power play between a recognized world wide website (Wikipedia, whom we support financially) and a relatively unknown activist website. This is not what we wanted and it’s starting to make Wikipedia look bad, as they seem to breaking their own rules now. (where , for example, are Zhou Fangs sources for making the edits? When they were originally made by MCC, MCC clearly lied and The Age article testifies to that.) Zhou Fang should not have gotten involved in something he does not understand fully, but instead he pretty much threatens us in his first post, using his status as Wikipedia editor as leverage, esentially saying “I’m an important editor for a worldwide website, and you are nobodies, so do what I say, or I’m gonna make you look bad on Wikipedia”

    It’s true, we are pretty much nobodies, but we also have no reputation to lose. I am confident that the management of Wikipedia will sort out this mess, once they understand all the facts.

  19. Occupy Melbourne, used direct democracy,(by holding general assemblies and facilitating equitable access to processes such as voting etc) to ascertain the collective will of those participating.

    From the outset,(using the direct democracy process) the Occupy Melbourne community established and clearly communicated that participation was non violent and peaceful.

    I haven’t read the wiki page, but I guess I’d be surprised if this wasn’t something included in the description of the Occupy Melbourne collective, or to see evidence that contradicted that OM was a non violent movement..

    ^^ This explains the use of descriptors such as ‘peaceful’ protesters and as it represents the political voice,(of those who participated in arriving at the OM collective position on non violence) then editing the content, to convey the Occupy Melbourne community,(at minimum) in a light that is inaccurate, to me seems to have a malicious intent..

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