Conservapedia:FBI Incident

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The Powers That Be at ultraconservative Christian fundamentalist blog Conservapedia have made frequent paranoid and grandiose claims about 'vandalism' [1] on their site. They have repeatedly threatened editors with legal repercussions and threats to report users to their schools or employers. Some of their claims have been farcical, some extremely serious—in particular, the (claimed but unsubstantiated) reporting of two users to the most powerful policing authority in the United States: the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On July 13, 2007, they claimed that a user named 'Stevecarson' edited Conservapedia using an automatic 'bot' software package[2]. The next day Conservapedia's owner, Andy Schlafly, claimed that this vandal had been reported to the Cincinnati office of the FBI and was being prosecuted, he discussed his conversation with the FBI officer on the Conservapedia sysop-only forum[2], and the group continued to discuss the involvement of the FBI as time passed and how they should handle the situation[3][4]. Even senior sysops wondered how the FBI investigation was going[5]. Shortly thereafter, Schlafly claimed that another user with the name ' Jayjay' had been reported to the FBI for very similar editing [6]. The materials supposedly submitted in both cases were the IP address of the user and the changelogs of Conservapedia.

A Freedom of Information Act submission made to the FBI, however, revealed that no complaint was ever made.[3]

One of the most extraordinary aspects of this episode is the lengths to which CP admins are covering it up, deleting any mention of it and blocking the people involved - a list appears at the end of this article.

Contents

[edit] Legal Briefing on the Case

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

[edit] Origin of The Site

  1. Conservapedia, the purportedly vandalised website, is a non-commercial, non-governmental, non-infrastructural, not-for-profit, personal 'educational' website. As of January 2009, Alexa, an internet traffic ranking site, ranks Conservapedia as being viewed by 0.0025% of all Alexa software users. [7]. It is clearly a site appealing to a minuscule number of internet users.
  2. It was created and is owned and operated by Mr. Schlafly to assist in the compiling of information for his homeschool education business, which has about 120 pupils [8].
  3. It was created to teach his students about new technologies and to encourage his students and other internet users to compile and collaboratively edit information appealing to a particular, rather narrow, political and social viewpoint.

[edit] Technology Background to the Site

  1. The MediaWiki software which was used to create the site is a popular open source software kit which was created expressly and exclusively for the purpose of enabling simple collaborative document creation on the internet.
  2. It is possible to securely limit editor entry to a Wiki site by any number of methods (new accounts only by invitation, delayed approval, IP address zone exclusion, and many more). Implementation of any of these methods alone or together securely restricts the set of users who may create or modify data to only those the site owner wishes to allow.
  3. Mr. Schlafly chose not to establish any such methods, hence the Conservapedia website is an 'open' Wiki.
  4. Accordingly, any person with an internet connection may create an account (for free) and immediately begin to create, modify and delete any unlocked page on the website, without legal warning or caution.

[edit] Common Usage Patterns at the Site

  1. It is routine for sysops, established users and new editors to create and modify pages at the Site.
  2. As a public space containing (sometimes very) controversial viewpoints, there is frequent debate among sysops, established users and new editors as to content and tone of articles at the Site.
  3. Frequently, this debate results in page locking, editing, deletion, vandalism and account blocking, with much controversy following.

[edit] The Alleged Crimes

  1. The alleged criminal acts are that user Stevecarson created a new account and ran software which repeatedly modified articles on the site automatically, achieving many more changes in a three minute window than humanly possible. Eighty articles were modified [9], with certain words being substituted for other words, for example, the word 'Christianity' being replaced with the words 'Ethnic Identity'. Examples of the edits: [10]; [11]. Subsequently another editor Jayjay edited 230 articles in a very similar fashion [12]

[edit] The Effects of the Incident

  1. When the alleged vandalism was noted, the users' editorial capabilities were immediately removed and they were blocked from accessing the Site.[13], [14].
  2. All information modified was easily restored by Sysops within a few minutes [15], [16], as the Wiki software automatically stores the previous version of the document.
  3. No financial loss was apparently reported.
  4. No damage, permanent or temporary to any facilities was apparently reported.
  5. No data modified was essential to any person, organisation or governmental body, either in a permanent archival sense, or in a time-dependent sense.
  6. It is accepted that a few minutes of inconvenience for the volunteer sysops was caused by the reversions.

[edit] Findings of Fact

Following a review of the above facts, the FBI may follow this logic:

  1. The website is a personal 'blog'.
  2. No physical or virtual property damage, financial loss, or loss of private information has occurred.
  3. Not only had the owners made no attempt to secure the data at the Site, but in fact modification of the data was encouraged.
  4. Nothing more than minor inconvenience was caused to the owners and operators.
  5. No law has been broken.
  6. The FBI views the reporting of this trivial case to the Bureau as a nuisance, and pursuit of it as timewasting.
  7. The FBI will not be pursuing this case on behalf of Mr. Schalfly.

[edit] The History of the Events, copied From ASchlafly's Discussion Page

[edit] Major Vandalism [17]

(This seems to be the first appearance of the incident)

Just thought I would report a strange incident. A user vandalized over 80 pages in three minutes. Bohdan 00:57, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Probably another liberal enemy of conservative principles. He needs to listen to the classic rock song entitled, "I fought the law, and the law won." He needs to listen to it 80 times, in fact.
Your quick work counts towards our team totals, Bohdan! Thanks and Godspeed.--Aschlafly 01:11, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
The people at the other place are using bots. Fox 04:46, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

(At least Aschlafly is somewhat aware of a great Clash (cover) song.)

[edit] Prosecuting Vandals [18]

User:Stevecarson, IP address 208.102.255.xxx (we have all the digits), ISP Fuse Internet Access of Cincinnati Bell Telephone, has been reported for his attempt to vandalize this site last night. Prosecuting vandalism on the internet is a priority of this site and of the Department of Justice. It's unfortunate that public schools don't teach that vandalism is wrong, but the court system does still teach that. He can hire an attorney and try to explain his conduct to a judge. I doubt he'll find much sympathy.--Aschlafly 10:32, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

Follow-up: the above instance of vandalism has been reported by phone directly to the FBI office in Cincinnati, which handles internet crime. At the request of the FBI, we then sent the electronic record of the vandalism and the IP address to the officers for their investigation and potential prosecution. Yes, it is wrong and a crime to vandalize websites, and our criminal justice system does not care whether you learned that in school or not.--Aschlafly 10:51, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

Honestly, that was probably a waste of both your time and the FBI's. I have a sneaking suspicion that they have bigger things on their minds than chasing down some internet punk. I will be *very* surprised if anything actually comes of this.--Porthos 11:24, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Well, Porthos, I suggest you visit a local federal courtroom one morning and watch the line-up of cases brought before the judge, and the prison sentences imposed. I suspect you will also be "very surprised" by what you see. Ignorance and lack of experience lead to surprise about many things.--Aschlafly 12:02, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Andy - the FBI have FAR more important things to be doing. You have a ludicrouly inflated sense of importance (not atypical of most CP'ians) if you genuinely believe that the nation's Federal Bureau of Investigations will be all "Yessir! Right on it!" over a complaint that a minority interest blog has attracted a rash of argumentative postings. Really.
And frankly, I'll be right at the front of the line to complain to my Representatives if the FBI DOES give you the time of day, what with the nation on Orange alert. Have you thought about the fact that now, because of your angry complaint, some FBI official is now going to actually HAVE TO process it? A call or two will have to be made, some thought given to it, a process applied, some forms filled - each act in every way representing a distraction from vital work for your country. If an al-Qaeda plot slips by as a result of your distraction, you will have blood on your hands.
Take a look at yourself - don't you think you've actually now REALLY gone too far? Your feverish delusions have now stooped to wasting the time of the proud servicemen and women of an august force. You should grow up a little and act more responsibly. Wumps 12:45, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
So, you are going to complain about the FBI investigating a crime? I will be the first to complain to my representative about you waisting your representatives time. Bohdan 12:51, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
No matter your bluster Bohdan, you know what I'm talking about. This is not the FBI's website, where vandalism could be national security issue. Nor is it the IBM website, where vandalism could represent a commercial threat. This, in fact, is a wiki, a technology purposely designed to not only allow but encourage members of the public to write. You do not have a legal leg to stand on if you leave all the doors of your house open and complain to the FBI that burglers rearranged your furniture and stole the TV. Even contacting the good folk of the FBI is timewasting. They have terrorists to catch. Wumps 12:59, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Are you aware that the FBI has a separate division that is dedicated only to fighting internet crime? Bohdan 13:01, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
"Wumps", let me guess. You're a liberal, right? You may be hearing this for the first time, then. Vandalism is wrong, and it's a crime. The FBI investigates crimes, the DOJ prosecutes them, and the Bureau of Prisons houses the defendants after they are convicted. No kidding. I know, you didn't learn that in public school. Well, let this site be an education for you and others.--Aschlafly 12:56, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
No, Andy, I'm not a liberal. I'm an American. And yes, Bohdan, I did know there's an internet unit at the FBI. I believe child pornography, identity theft, financial fraud, international and commercial espionage are all crimes pursued by the department. I don't see any crime anywhere about annoying blog postings being a crime. Wumps 13:11, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Wumps, you're clueless, and I'm confident you are a liberal. We're not fooled by you here. Only a tiny percentage of the FBI and DOJ's efforts go towards catching terrorists. And, by the way, someone who burglarizes an open house is going to jail for just as long as if the house were locked. There are entire divisions of the FBI devoted to internet crime, including vandalizing websites, as Bohdan pointed out.
One more point, Wumps: "burglers" is spelled "burglars".--Aschlafly 13:13, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Well, I gotta admit, you got me there Andy!  :-) Actually, I'm not clueless, though my spelling could certainly do with some work. But seriously now, please specifiy exactly what crime is being committed- the actual code of law - when a wiki experiences a disagreeable posting? And no, someone who burglarizes an open house is not going to jail, especially since the house has big signs all over the nations highway saying "Open House here! Come write at www.conservapedia.com!"
You don't seem to get it. You might well have a legal leg to stand on if you were not a wiki. But by definition a wiki is an open invitation to write and edit. By your standards, since I'm writing something you're disagreeing with right now, I am currently committing a crime. And I don't think for a moment you believe that's the case. Wumps 13:19, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
A Wiki is a (fairly-) open invitation to write and edit. But not to vandalise, which is the case in question. Philip J. Rayment 07:49, 14 July 2007 (EDT)
I got a better idea. You write an article on Internet Crime, starting with website vandalism.
Sometimes the best way to learn about something is when you have to teach it to someone else. --Talk 13:30, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Not to pry, but should someone check first to make sure that this kind of report isn't considered a nuisance and is not itself prosecuted?SumsUp 22:09, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
No offense, but you should probably check to make sure your post here wasn't considered a nuisance that can be prosecuted. Bohdan 22:10, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Excuse me???SumsUp 22:13, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
By prosecuted I mean blockable. Bohdan 22:15, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
I'll take your non-responsiveness to mean that you did not consider it, and that you are kind of mean to boot.SumsUp 22:16, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

Yes, the FBI will investigate crimes of this nature. They have to do it, it's an obligation. Scorpio 00:01, 14 July 2007 (EDT)

There seems to be a little confusion here... The issue isn't that some moron came along and changed a page maliciously - it is that someone designed a software tool specifically and solely with the aim of targeting and damaging the content of this site and then utilised it to do so. That is not mere vandalism, I think you'll find. Also, the "open house" analogy is ridiculous. If I visit a museum, it has a huge welcome sign on the door; I may even pay a fee, entitling me to enter that museum. I am not excused in law from then smashing an exhibit... cp:Image:User Fox.png Fox (talk|contribs) 08:19, 14 July 2007 (EDT)
I agree and I think it is necessary. --Joaquín Martínez, talk 08:38, 14 July 2007 (EDT)

(The discussion continued as follows. However, as the discussion came a little close to the bone, sysop TK deleted the following section of the thread from Andy's Talk Page [19], reproduced here:)

Not a bad idea Ed, however I doubt that website vandalism is an appropriate beginning to an article on Internet crime. I would suggest Child pornography is the obvious elephant in the room. As I say, 'vandalising' a Wiki is not a crime. Vandalising a locked-down site could be. Wumps 13:33, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

Exactly! If you want to learn, don't read, write a book! Far more effective! --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 13:34, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
I had a look at some of Stevecarson's henious acts of vandalism. That is truely a dangerous twisted mind at work from which society needs protecting. I wish the FBI well and pray for a speedy apprehension of this felon. When he is finally behind bars I will then know that I can once again sleep safe an sound. Thank you Aschlafly for helping make the world a safer place. Please keep us posted on the case. I await the trial with anticipation. BritishConservative 14:41, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
You're welcome. Now if you only you could find someone to teach you how to spell heinous and truly, then you'd almost be ready to graduate from elementary school!--Aschlafly 16:01, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
The problem isn't so much to do with knowing how to spell heinous (I missed a d in and too) but one of typos, the old fingers flying over the keyboard aren't as nimble as they used to be. What that has to do with elementary school I will probably never fathom. By the way, have the FBI got back to you with an update on the progress of their investigation? BritishConservative 16:29, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Robert Morris was a graduate student in computer science at Cornell University who released his cute little worm (legally similar to the bot used by the vandal last night) on the internet on Nov. 2, 1988. In 1990, Morris was convicted of violating 18 USC § 1030. He appealed, and his conviction was affirmed in U.S. v. Morris, 928 F.2d 504 (2d Cir. 1991). He petitioned the Supreme Court but it had better things to do, and denied cert. in 502 U.S. 817 (1991). I'd guess Morris spent more than $100,000 unsuccessfully on legal fees in trying to justify his "work".--Aschlafly 16:01, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Andy, internet technologies have come a long way since the Dark Ages of 1988, that case bears no relevance to your complaint of vandalism, and 18 USC § 1030 cannot help you. Collaborative editing tools such as Wikis didn't exist then. If you wish to avoid vandalism, and prosecute those who do so to your blog, you will have to move away from being a Wiki, or close entry to only those you have vetted. You cannot complain about rowdy guests having invited them in. Wumps 16:09, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Wumps can't even spell "burglar" but watch how he pretends to be an expert on criminal law. Liberals are highly skilled at acting like they know something. I doubt Wumps has ever even attended a criminal proceeding.--Aschlafly 16:28, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
Andy - you've never made a typo? I notice your Internet Crime article contribution contains one right now. Wumps 16:31, 13 July 2007 (EDT)
As a Liberal Wumps is bound to have attended a criminal proceeding - as the accused! BritishConservative 16:33, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

Ho ho, BritCon. Anyway, yes, I'm going to be banned again for 90/10, but I just wanted to point out that having been invited to create the article, the article is of course locked, Andy's typos and all. Please do keep us informed of the progress of the case. I assume it will be part of the public record soon as it has now been filed, I must check up on it. I will gladly apologise and admit I was wrong when you have that evildoer Stevecarson in court. Wumps

(When the above section was removed, the discussion continued, beginning with BritishConservative noticing the removal).

Something seems to have gone missing. Should I inform the FBI? BritishConservative 08:40, 14 July 2007 (EDT)

Is it malicious vandalism? Was it done by a bot designed to vandalise? No to both questions, so I suggest that you go back to writing and/or improving articles. Philip J. Rayment 09:04, 14 July 2007 (EDT)

I see you have two cases filed with the FBI. Do you have representation? LegalWhizz 15:44, 16 July 2007 (EDT)

[edit] Vandalism and the FBI [20]

Hi, I love your encyclopedia and have gotten much useful information out of it. I was just wondering if you would be so kind as to provide me with the exact law governing vandalism on open edit wiki's such as this one, I'm doing a computer assignment and haven't been able to find much information on it. Since you've been using it to prevent liberal vandalism would you be able to tell me it. Thanks, and keep up the good work Spooster 22:46, 14 July 2007 (EDT)


Check out Internet Crime. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 00:12, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

[edit] The 'Jayjay' Incident

(Copied from Fox's Talk page)

[edit] Vandal [21]

I can't believe it!! It took me a while to catch on...at first I thought it was a good editor who was interested in doing edits...but then I looked carefully and noticed that he wasn't fixing them, he was messing them up. My question is how was he doing it so quickly? DeborahB. 19:07, 14 July 2007 (EDT)

It wasnt a person - it was a bot. Fox (talk|contribs) 19:08, 14 July 2007 (EDT)
What?!?!? That's crazy! I wondering how it was going to fast! But I have ask...what's a bot? :) lol...it sounds bad :) And about putting all my rollbacks on my contest page...that's what I thought, but I just wanted to make sure. Thanks for the response! DeborahB. 19:37, 14 July 2007 (EDT)
Bot is short for robot; its a software program designed to access the pages and alter set words for something else - "is" to "was", "conservative" to "liberal" etc. It can go as fast as the CP server feeds it pages :/ Fox (talk|contribs) 19:45, 14 July 2007 (EDT)

[edit] FBI [22]

User:Jayjay, using IP address 24.123.175.xx (we have the full number), is being reported next to the FBI. Cincinnati Bell will easily be able to trace that IP. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 19:13, 14 July 2007 (EDT)

[edit] FBI defence [23]

Hi - a solicitor friend of mine told me about these cases you're filing with the FBI. I'd be very interested in helping you defend the case - would you be interested? I'm based in the UK, but am American, and have a lot of experience defending people against the rather harsh treatment normally meted out by the FBI in these types of situations. I can work pro-bono, and would be interested to hear your case DrJoshWeinstein 18:19, 16 July 2007 (EDT)

So your solicitor friend would be a middleman, right? Bohdan

Sorry? Are you referring to my asking the owner of this site about legal representation - that has been my only contribution here on Conservapedia? I'm not sure what you mean? DrJoshWeinstein 18:04, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

I'm revisiting you herre today to check up on the status of your FBI investigations, but I see you've archived that thread. No matter - I would simply like to again offer my professional services to you in this matter. I am a solicitor well versed in defending individuals against the FBI, and am very familiar with cases such as yours, as I've made it my speciality over the past 15 years or so. I notice your wiki references the Gravois Mills case [24] - this is a very similar case to your own, and I have spoken with the pastor involved in that case. Despite being a different area of the law, the FBI does indeed view vandalism of physical property the same as vandalism of online property. I understand that you may appreciate discretion, and I will observe that. Please contact me off list if you are interested. DrJoshWeinstein 18:26, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

  • Where would you be contacted, Dr. Weinstein? Your IP Address, 85.92.130.117, is located in the Netherlands. You must have a very impressive practice! --Sysop-TK --Talk 2 Me 18:35, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

Yes, I am indeed located in the Netherlands - I'm taking a vacation with family in Utrecht, since you asked! You may contact me via my email address off this thread if you wish. DrJoshWeinstein 18:41, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

Wow, and you're posting at nearly 1am on a Sunday morning there while on vacation with your family!!!! Good "doctor", perhaps Wikipedia would be a better home for an "expert" like you. You seem far too "clever".
By the way, good "doctor", "solicitors" don't practice law here in the cp:United States. Godspeed.--Aschlafly 18:56, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

Uhm....yes, it is indeed 1am on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, but what's so strange about being up after midnight with a nice glass of wine by my side and my wife and I playing backgammon? As to 'solicitor', yes, you've spotted that I am a UK-based solicitor - 'lawyer' in American terminology. I also practice law in the US, by the way, and I'm sorry, I should have pointed that out sooner. I have an office in Washington DC. BjornBenny 19:00, 28 July 2007 (EDT)

[edit] Copied from Conservapedia: About Talk Page

[edit] FBI investigation [25]

Could we please have an update on this? People are curious as to the status of the investigation. Are you allowed to talk about it at this time?--Philarates 12:51, 30 July 2007 (EDT)

And which people are curious about it at this time? Karajou 13:05, 30 July 2007 (EDT)
Investigations are not launched on a newspaper front page. They are, by their nature, clandestine, unless a point is reached when an indictment will be served. I hope this was edifying. Learn together 13:03, 30 July 2007 (EDT)

No harm in asking a simple question. In response to Karajou, these people here [26],and here [27], and here [28], and here [29]would like to know. BTW, Learn together, how do you know there will be an indictment? The FBI may well determine this is not worth their time or trouble. Andy made it public that he reported username stevecarson to the FBI, so what is the harm in asking? --Philaretes] 15:12, 30 July 2007 (EDT)

You are concerned about trolls (or a troll) asking questions? Interesting. Hopefully you will take this opportunity to quickly learn FBI protocol. If they had started an investigation, they would hardly copy Andy with what they are doing. They will choose to act based upon their timetables and workload. Andy has informed them of a law being broken. That is the proper procedure to follow. In the event that law is broken again, they would be more likely to expedite the case. Andy has already set that foundation. We won't know, nor do we necessarily care, what is being done at this moment. We'll leave that to you. Learn together 18:03, 30 July 2007 (EDT)
As has been previously established, the clandestine nature of investigation means we simply don't know. DanH 15:14, 30 July 2007 (EDT)

DanH, that is true, assuming that the FBI is conducting an investigation. However, why did Conservapedia ban the editors who asked the questions about the investigation? I understand the one who titled his "embarrasing question" as he was a troll, but the others I think, were not.--Philaretes 15:19, 30 July 2007 (EDT)

[edit] And Finally, The Cover-up: When Asked a Difficult Question, Revert, Threaten and Ban

It is extraordinary to note the lengths to which Conservapedia management is going in their efforts to cover this incident up and to suppress discussion. Subsequent to Mr. Schlafly's claimed FBI filings, one user after another (it was 3 when this article started, and is now up to 13 incidents and numerous pre-emptive strikes) has asked how the investigation is progressing. Some have pointed out that asking the FBI to prosecute someone who vandalized an open wiki is not only a ridiculous attempt to distract law enforcement officials from far more serious problems, but is possibly also the criminal offense of 'time wasting,' given that there has clearly been no crime committed.

Every question has been met with a broad sequence of reverts and blocks. The powers that be at CP are extremely touchy about this embarrassing issue, and are engaging in their usual conservative deceit — lie, deny, stonewall, cover up, lie, deny, stonewall, ban, rinse, repeat. One CP sysop indicated that asking about the case constitutes an actual "obstruction of justice", another reverted a posting with the comment "FBI is NOYB".

The cases are:

  • User Spooster, question at [30] (apparently archived before it could be reverted), block at [31].
  • User JackTheRealMcCoy, revert at [32], block at [33].
  • User Libby, revert at [34], block at [35].
  • User Eddiec, revert at [36], block at [37].
  • After his block expired, user Eddiec asked again, revert at [38], and gets told to stop asking here [39]and then banned AND deleted.
  • User DrJoshWeinstein, discussion (not reverted) at [40], block at [41].
  • User SumsUp, warned at [42], reverted at [43], block at [44].
  • User Philaretes, reverts at [45] and (on his own talk page!) [46], block at [47]. Eight minutes after the block he gets his final warning and a remarkable threat.After his ban, Philaretes responds to Karajou. [48]. Somehow, I think he will be banned. Philaretes restores comments to his talk page and adds a message for the sysops [49]
  • User Order, revert at [50], threat at [51], using the picturesque phrase "they're gonna give you the stick", blocks at [52] for this exchange of messages [53].
  • User EdDeTour, revert at [54], block at [55].
  • User Supervisor (This one is clearly just needling the nice people at CP), revert at [56], block at [57].
  • User TNM (admittedly tasteless), revert at [58], block at [59].
  • User CaptainMike, revert at [60], block at [61].
  • User SchoolDebater mentions it in passing in another thread on Conservative's Talk page [62], but is reverted [63] and blocked [64] by Andy in seconds, calling it "all senseless talk!".
  • User GRossi asks about the FBI [65], a math question that was refused an answer, and Andy's brother's apparent sexuality. Reverted [66], and blocked [67], with the message "don't mess with Andy." because he will ******* cut you!

NOTE

A couple of weeks later, the flurry of activity had died down to only sporadic incidents. But CP is still very sensitive about it. At the time of writing older echos of the incident are still reverbarating at Conservapedia talk:Privacy policy. UPDATE: That page has since been "burned" by the CP powers that be. Hardly surprising.

It seems likely that this web page may itself be contributing to the phenomenon that it documents. People may be taunting Conservapedia just to see their efforts mentioned here. Therefore, barring extraordinary developments, we will not be posting further incidents here.

[edit] The unwritten Commandment

A user suggested not mentioning the FBI should be a Commandment. This was duly deleted and the user blocked, with "SubHuman troll" being used as the reason. A further user asked why. Deletion followed and the user was blocked. A third user made a similar suggestion, this was deleted and the user blocked, the reason given was mentioning FBI. With CP's characteristic inconsistency, the blocker who mentioned the FBI in the block comment was not himself blocked.

It's almost like Fawlty Towers.. "Don't mention the war!"

[edit] Closure

The evidence of absence.

By mid-2010, the whole FBI incident had been relegated to history. However, an enterprising blogger, going by the handle of "History Punk" took matters into his own hands. In a posting on his blog, Historiographic Anarchy on 31 July, 2010, he chastised Rationalwiki for not following through on the FBI incident. He also revealed that he had submitted a request for information on the alleged case reported by Schlafly to the FBI, in terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).[3]

He posted the reply from the FBI[4], in which they stated that they were "unable to identify responsive main file records," which is jargon-talk for "we have no record of a complaint being made." Which is what everybody suspected all along.

It should be noted that History Punk's identity and letter are unverified. But anyone else could send a similar FOIA request to verify, and probably should.

It's quite possible that Schlafly has lied to his fellow administrators, informing them that an FBI investigation is underway, whereas the evidence shows that most likely nothing was done. Evidence that some administrators believe that the FBI investigation is ongoing can been seen from Karajou's comments to the sysops' discussion group:

Another thing we have to be aware of is the fact that certain RW trolls are stating we are bluffing when it comes to the FBI, et al. There's a major investment in time and money in Conservapedia, and one side wants to kill it off. So when it comes to law enforcement, no bluffing allowed. [5]
Our physical presence over in RW has several effects: 1. It could undermine whatever law enfforcement investigations currently going on; the FBI could see that we're just two groups of squabbling kids and leave it at that.[6]

So in the final analysis you could say that Stevecarson fought the law ... and won!

[edit] Footnotes

  1. The term 'vandalism' is probably an inappropriate charge — on a wiki, one can't really vandalize in the usual sense of the word. On RationalWiki, we often use the term 'wandalism' (short for "wiki vandalism") to describe this type of activity.
  2. Contributions: [1]img
  3. 3.0 3.1 Historiographic Anarchy: Conservapedia Never Even Called the FBI
  4. An on-line copy of the letter received from the FBI
  5. TZB 410/19a0f837d938b791.html
  6. TZB 280/cc906d0c4ef44104.html

[edit] See also

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