| Someone is wrong on|
| Style over substance|
Rome Viharo (User:RomeViharo) is an infamous internet troll, conspiracy theorist and pseudoscience promoter who owns the fake news website Wikipedia We Have A Problem that publishes falsehoods, wild allegations and tin-foil hat conspiracy theories about Wikipedia and RationalWiki.
Viharo created his website in response to his ban from both Wikipedia and RationalWiki; he claims a group of skeptics stalked, doxed and "harassed" him, for which there exists no evidence. Prior to his antics on these wikis, Viharo trolled online message-boards and forums that also resulted in bans. His various usernames include Bubblefish, PillyM, WWHP, Tumbleman,
23canaries (suspended on Reddit) and hoofish.
He uses an extreme balance fallacy in nearly all his arguments, as a way to promote pseudoscience. In Viharo's bizarre Poe view, people should be "agnostic about everything", in other words geography classes should not teach the world is spherical over a flat earth.
OS 012/AL 012/Aiki Wiki
“”It looks as if someone took a philosophy text book, cut it into lots of tiny little pieces, and then stuck them back together at random."
|—snoozeofreason, Bad Science Forum|
All ideas conflict or have the potential for conflict. ALL IDEAS ARE TRUE(1), FALSE(2), and/or MYSTERY(0). ALL the time. In ALL environments.
While this isn't necessarily a stupid idea, it was and is entirely unclear how (or if) Viharo planned to actually implement this idea. It also reads a lot like the labels on "Dr." Bronner's Soap.
That didn't stop Viharo from trying to spread this self-described "OS 012 meme" "virally". In practice, that meant picking fights with other users on forums and trying to convince people their views were simultaneously right, wrong, and neutral. Apparently this "meme" was quite successful, because Viharo claimed that "[t]he exact number of online users spreading [OS 012] is impossible to determine, however online records suggest a figure no less than 50,000." Despite his boasts, he was not above asking for money to spread the idea. Which, we're probably supposed to think, is right, wrong, and neutral all at once.
Viharo called OS 012 the "global dialectic for personal interaction on the Internet" and claimed that it "resolves all conflict and war" as well as "increase thier [sic] own intelligence". Indeed, it was "a highly effective dialectic, completly [sic] undefeated". Unsurprisingly, some of Viharo's claims went so far as to clash with known physical laws.
In 2014, Viharo re-branded OS 012 as AL 012, supposedly symbolizing its mysterious algorithmic property. Sometime later, he again re-branded it as Aiki Wiki, a "platform for online collaborative consensus building and publishing". In this regard, Aiki Wiki appears to take a different approach than a traditional wiki (like this one): while most wikis are focused on publishing some particular body of information, and develop some consensus-building process to facilitate that goal, it appears that Aiki Wiki would start with a consensus-building procedure and publish what comes of that procedure.
In 2011, Viharo and business partner Maf Lewis delivered a talk at TEDx that discussed whether the popular search engine Google is sentient. Although the talk was publicized as a "proposal that Google has a form of consciousness", Viharo states he is neither promoting nor denying that Google is conscious, but discussing whether accepting philosopher Daniel Dennett's ideas would mean Google is conscious. This is not an absurd idea in itself, but Viharo didn't stop there.
Viharo also discussed the idea that social media could be revolutionary. While most of us agree that social media has had a big impact, Viharo went a bit farther than most, saying "we will eventually see social media replace government as we know it today", and that Egypt could be the first civilization to do this, arguing that "in principle, a few of their citizens, a few of their students could jump online using something like Google Labs and Wikipedia". One might observe that as of 2013, fewer than half of Egyptians used the Internet, and in 2011 not even two fifths did; so the replacing of government with social media would have amounted to some serious disenfranchisement.
In order to promote interest in his TEDx talk, Viharo pursued a marketing strategy of deliberately angering people on internet forums. In 2013, Viharo created a blog about Google Consciousness to attempt to further spread the idea.
Viharo has since classed the talk as a "creative work", which apparently means that none of his statements in the talk can be taken seriously.
The "wiki wars"
Viharo stated that he was "a known 'defender of Rupert Sheldrake' in his TED and Wikipedia controversies" but that was "different [from] ... 'promoting' [Rupert Sheldrake's] views, or even defending his views". However, in September 2013, Viharo (then operating on Wikipedia as "Tumbleman") questioned whether Rupert Sheldrake's "morphic resonance" is pseudoscience:
“”There is no reasonable claim an editor can make regarding Morphic Resonance as Pseudoscience as the term is used and defined in science unless you are claiming it is P[seudo]S[cience] because it is not falsifiable. That appears to me to be the only supportive claim an editor can make to hold Morphic Resonance under WP:FRINGE. That's the exact same issue with String Theory, and under the terms, string theory is pseudoscience.
Although claiming not personally to support Sheldrake's theories, Viharo has posted that Sheldrake's critique of "the scientific materialistic philosophy" and his other ideas are "worth spreading". Despite this, according to Viharo this doesn't qualify as promoting or defending Sheldrake's views.Do You Believe That?
In what could be termed a classic case of flogging a dead horse, a video posted by Viharo on YouTube in January 2015 portrays his Aiki Wiki platform facilitating all the revisions to the Rupert Sheldrake Wikipedia article that Viharo unsuccessfully argued for during his incarnation as "Tumbleman".
The "skeptical conspiracy" and GSOW
In 2013, Viharo joined Wikipedia and attempted to edit articles. When his edits were rejected, Viharo adopted Sheldrake's claims that a conspiracy of "ideologue" skeptics were targeting him for abuse. In an interview with parapsychology advocate Alex Tsakiris, Viharo said there was "definitely a conspiracy" of skeptics who were personally targeting him. He characterized the struggle as "a war of ideas", and compared it to "Americans and Nazis" fighting against each other in World War II.
Viharo posts about Wikipedia's claimed abuses on his blog, Wikipedia We Have A Problem. Although he blamed Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (the group Sheldrake claims is conspiring against him) when first posting as "Tumbleman", Viharo has since retracted his claim that the group caused the incident; however, he still considers the skeptics on Sheldrake's page to be a "group" of skeptics.
However, no such conspiracy of skeptics appears to exist.
Viharo now dedicates a lot of his time obsessing over the Wikipedia editors involved in banning his sockpuppets. A section on his website "Editors and Admins Involved" lists 10 editors, who find themselves doxed with ad hominem and rumours posted about them. Viharo has also requested personal info about the editors on the Skeptiko forum.
Viharo now brands these efforts as "case studies" into Wikipedia.
For example, Viharo claims that he thought he was editing anonymously on Wikipedia (because he was using the username "Tumbleman") but "was outed" by another user "within three days of arrive [sic] on Sheldrake's article". However, in his first edit on the talkpage of Rupert Sheldrake's article, he linked to his userpage as "Rome Viharo", though he removed his name a minute later. While Viharo claims this was accidental, it's difficult to "accidentally" edit Preferences, edit the signature field, add one's real name, and save changes.[citation NOT needed]
Wikipedia We Have A Problem
“”Rome Viharo has built an entire website around the controversy, containing another thirty five thousand words (largely nonsense).
“”It is clear to me, if only from his extreme verbosity, that this guy (Rome Viharo) is just a troll trying to soak up as much of everyone's time as possible. Every comment elicits a gigantic reply from him, no issue is too small for him to write thousands of words on it.
Viharo, originally editing as "Tumbleman" was permanently blocked from Wikipedia in October 2013 for disruption and sockpuppetry. He was banned from RationalWiki in January 2014. Disgruntled, he created the website Wikipedia We Have A Problem, to protest against his bans and spread a paranoid conspiracy theory that a group of skeptics were responsible for cyberbullying him and getting him kicked off these wikis. No evidence for the conspiracy theory appears to exist, nor was Viharo harassed. He was banned on Wikipedia for disrupting, trolling and causing a flame war on the Rupert Sheldrake article, as well as using multiple accounts; for similar shenanigans on RationalWiki.
In November 2013, a user named "David1234" created the Rome Viharo RationalWiki entry after Viharo's name was briefly mentioned on Rupert Sheldrake's RW article. Viharo to this day on his website claims the article was created by a RationalWiki sysop, who he claims was an editor involved in his ban from Wikipedia a month prior. No evidence is presented for the allegation. Viharo also claims, without evidence, that the skeptic Tim Farley was involved in editing his RW article; Farley denies having any involvement, yet Viharo persists to accuse Farley as having made edits on his RationalWiki article. Farley responded in January 2018:
“”[Rome Viharo] claimed an RW article was "constructed by" me, but the edit history of that article clearly shows I've never touched it.
Viharo's obsession with trying to connect RationalWiki editors to his Wikipedia ban, is because he has a delusion that the same group of skeptics have harassed him on both wikis.
|The Attack of David Gerard’s 50ft troll farm and the RationalWiki hustle by Rome Viharo||Rebuttal|
|As a pro-science progressive, Southern California and Los Angeles native and activist myself – I can definitely say don’t let RationalWiki’s ideologies fool you.||Rome Viharo isn't pro-science at all, but a promoter of pseudoscience. He was formerly director of Deepak Chopra's ISHAR— a quantum-woo and alternative medicine digital library. Viharo himself has expressed support for acupuncture and Qi and is associated with the pseudoscientific Quantum Health Research Institute. In 2013, Viharo was banned from Wikipedia for starting a flame war by trying to re-write Rupert Sheldrake's article against consensus, and has personally promoted Sheldrake's pseudoscientific theories and rants against skepticism, for example writing they are "worth spreading".|
|They are doing far more harm to the responsible communication of science and social politics than any “Russian troll farm” or conservative could dream of.||Nonsense. RationalWiki's main purpose is analysing and refuting pseudoscience, as well as documenting crank ideas. Viharo, however, is doing harm to science since he promotes pseudoscience and associates with notorious pseudoscientists, i.e. Chopra.|
|The reality is that RationalWiki’s attempt to try and cover up the harassment they’ve been exposed for on Wikipedia, We Have a Problem somewhat exposes how corrupt and irresponsible these individuals are when it comes to publishing, and just like “click bait” and political trolls – use reactions from political and cultural divisions to viral toxic market their own platforms for attention and fundraising.||There is no evidence for harassment on RationalWiki; at least Viharo hasn't exposed any. Viharo dislikes RationalWiki because it documents his rather toxic internet history (including forums/wikis he's trolled that have banned him) and pseudoscientific views.|
|RationalWiki’s own editors are impersonating targets making some of those legal threats, or intentionally harass a target until a legal threat is the only thing they can do to protect themselves from online harassment.||No evidence presented for this wild and seemingly false allegation.|
|To give you an example of the level of “real world harm” their targets are doing, one target is simply a moderator of a discussion forum with about a dozen members that talk about near-death experiences. Yet his only “notability” was moderating the forum, and he found that the world needs to be warned about him for his “pseudo-scientific” beliefs as if RationalWiki is now a database for ordinary internet citizens who are literally having the contents of their personal interests and beliefs flagged for the world to condemn.||Laird Shaw is a blatant pseudoscientist and crank who administrates a pseudoscience forum— PsienceQuest. So his RW article is appropriate; several RationalWiki sysops decided to keep the article after Laird himself posted a complaint (see here). Shaw is very far from "ordinary" as Viharo inaccurately describes him; he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychosis which might explain why he believes in so many crazy and irrational things (such as demonic possession, psychokinesis and mediumship with spirits) because he cannot distinguish his own psychotic delusions from the real world.|
|What that RationalWiki article about that target doesn’t tell you is that target also previously banned that very same RW user for impersonating other RationalWiki editors on their discussion forum, and in practical reality, that article was written as payback for a personal grudge.||An edit on Laird Shaw's article at one point mentioned fake accounts (impersonations) on the forum he administrates, but was removed for being off-topic. Viharo tries to pin most, or all these fake accounts onto a RationalWiki sysop, who denies making them. As usual, Viharo fails to substantiate his allegations. Note that Viharo cites Shaw as evidence, while Shaw, cites Viharo — which isn't proof, but circular reasoning. There's also no evidence Shaw's RW article was created because of a grudge.|
|In my case, the “real world” harm that I did was edit two biographies on Wikipedia on two individuals they clearly don’t like Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra.||Viharo has admitted he was paid by Deepak Chopra to edit the Wikipedia article on a sockpuppet, specifically by removing sources that criticize Chopra's quantum-woo; so there is the fact Viharo engages in deception when promoting pseudoscience. Viharo's sockpuppet was first named "ChopraMedia", after ISHAR, later renamed to "SAS81".|
|The other “real world” harm I did was confront this group of editors back on Wikipedia for doxing and harassing me along with a few others – so they are raising money to fund them getting “payback” on their own critics.||A transparent lie. No one else on Wikipedia doxed Rome Viharo since he wrote his real name on his "Tumbleman" account. So if anyone doxed him, it was himself. There's no evidence Viharo was harassed on Wikipedia; this is total fabrication, but something Viharo repeats over and over like a broken record, for sympathy appeal.|
“”My stint with Deepak Chopra only lasted around 5 months, yet this blip in my professional career is highlighted as a feature of my biography on Rational Wiki to create more suspicion of me to an audience already suspicious of Deepak Chopra. For Rational Wiki, its important to frame me as someone who promotes literature their audience finds suspicious, and according to them, it’s okay to warn the world about my associations with Deepak Chopra so the reader questions my integrity.
|—Rome Viharo, questioning why being a woo-pusher could affect your general credibility|
In 2014, Viharo created Deepak Chopra's Integrative Studies Historical Archive and Repository and became its director of operations. In an interview with the Huffington Post, he explained ISHAR's origins:
“”ISHAR emerged from trying to find solutions to deal with the large amounts of misleading information on the internet, especially information promoted by skeptic activist organizations.
|—Rome Viharo on the "problem" of misleading skepticism|
On this article's talk page and elsewhere, Viharo has defended his decision to help Chopra by insisting that he does not support Chopra's ideas, that merely helping Chopra with the technical stuff is not an endorsement, that he was just doing his job, and that building a platform designed to be Chopra's "Woo-pedia" wasn't helping Chopra promote anything. However, on Wikipedia, Viharo used a sockpuppet account ("ChopraMedia", later renamed to "SAS81") to attempt to get other users to remove skeptical sources from Chopra's Wikipedia article. He was then discovered and permabanned, because he was using a new account to evade a previous ban. He nonetheless insists he "won the wiki war" (emphasis in original), a wording which should tell you something about his goals: not to build a reliable encyclopedia, but forcefully push his boss's ideas — an activity he was allegedly paid by Chopra himself to do;
“”One of those people who contacted me was Deepak Chopra, who gave me a small grant to continue my research into wiki wars on Wikipedia, using Deepak Chopra’s Wikipedia article as my next study into consensus building.
|—Rome Viharo's management speak description of "edit warring for cash"|
Viharo later claimed on his website that he was fired from his director position at ISHAR by the president of the Chopra Foundation, and ISHAR's website confirms that he no longer holds that post.
“”Who woulda thunk the Rational Wiki community could be so much fun? One wonders why they failed to include a picture of a kitten with a swastika on it’s [sic] forehead or a starving kid in africa [sic] and jokes to his malnourishment.
|—Rome Viharo, not mad|
In a minor climax of his long-standing desire to stab at RationalWiki for the heinous crime of simply documenting his many shenaningans, on the 8th of June 2016, Viharo claimed via Twitter that "This year I'm going to be initiating legal recourses" against RationalWiki, (per his M.O.) alleging — you guessed it — "harassment and slander". And just to set the record straight that we're in the wrong to count him among our top kek cranks of the internet, he made sure to point out that "The internet is waking up".
Viharo now believes that "Rationalwiki is publishing misinformation to damage control their involvement".
“” I was harassed, libeled, outed, shamed, and within 5 weeks banned indefinitely off of Wikipedia.
|—Rome Viharo despite banned himself from Reddit for the same thing|
Viharo has used Reddit to dox RationalWiki users, while also creating sockpuppets to attack himself as part of his victim complex, trying to pin them onto a RationalWiki sysop. This backfired when Reddit permanently suspended his account 23canaries in December 2017 and also deleted various sockpuppets he was using.
- "Following all this are descriptions of his trolling adventures, which are, as one might expect, kind to forums which fell for his shit, and nasty to those which saw him for the troll he is and banned him." - An administrator of a forum who banned Viharo for trolling (archived copy)
- Badscience.net Forum. Re: Google Consciousness WTF?? is this real? First post as PillyM: Hey bad science, this is doing my head in. I watched a TED talk that talks about Google becoming conscious...and it seems like BS, but I can't tell. Is this real? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGF9NbPFfRo | Later post as PillyM: "by the way, PLEASE continue to post to this thread and help me viral market the TED talk I gave on Google Consciousness, thanks! I can't believe HOW MANY views came from this forum! i think if i keep doing the ol tit for tat with you guys here, I could get another 1k views on the vid. Come on ya ol stuffy grumps - give your pal Bubblefish, Tumbleman a roll will ya? come at me with something GOOD and make sure it's funny." | Later post as PillyM: "lol, this thread is far from a debate. I honestly admitted I am trolling in the lion's den :)"
- Internationalskeptics.com (formerly JREF). TED: Google Consciousness. Posting as "Bubblefish" in 2011 (before the account was renamed "WWHP"): "the 'marketing' I am doing is more in the discussion,not the title. I am completely open about how I do this - see - i know that this community and a few characters on this thread will continue to post ad hom and attack ol fun loving bubblefish, and will find any excuse to make him wrong on just about anything - and since I enjoy turning win lose into a mutual win win, i use these attacks to keep the thread bumped to the top of the page for weeks, thus attracting attention to the very talk I am promoting."
- Viharo posting as "Bubblefish" on the James Randi Forum, July 2005: "OS 0 1 2, Global Dialectic for the Internet. hello. Nice to see a section to share links. I am new here, and my interests here are regarding a possible challenge to Randi and Co regarding 'Qi', as i am working with a Theoritical Physicist formally from Cal Tech who can manipulate 'Qi' and can also explain it through a hypothesis he put together using QM to explain this mysterious concept. So! A challenge is forthcoming, and as soon as I get the time, i will introduce more of this topic. But until then, I thought perhaps some of you would enjoy my favorite link on the net, and a perspective that I adopt rather effeciently. http://www.highintelligence.com"
- On Hacker News."
- I’m an agnostic from the Robert Anton Wilson – I am not just agnostic about religion, I am agnostic about everything
- Google Consciousness WTF?? is this real, Bad Science
- OS 012 BASIC, as of 26 October 2013.
- Viharo even kept a log of his activity
- Viharo trolling as "Tumbleman" introduces himself to a forum: "This dialectic is unique, in that is quantifies the irrational, and the feelings, art, and humor, object and subject, into her axiom and proposition. THis confuses many at first, most likely including you...you will soon see how silly some of your ideas have been...Just a warning...I am always winning in every discussion that I have. I am completly undefeated."
- About OS 012 "This project needs intellectual and financial resource, if you are interested in this, please contact OS012 AT zeitghostmedia.com"
- Viharo's huge "Global Dialectic for Internet Communication" tract
- Viharo as "Bubblefish" spamming "creativity.net"
- See Bekenstein bound at the other wiki; compare with claims that "Simply, ideas, memes, media and words replicate. Exponentially." Exponential growth is unbounded; the actual possible information density of any given region is not, and since information cannot propagate superluminally, an expanding region is not a solution to this dilemma, but merely a means to push it back.
- Google Consciousness Youtube
- About Viharo's TEDx presentation
- http://tedxtalks.ted.com "In this talk, Social Media strategists and developers Rome Viharo and Maf Lewis reveal the likelihood that Google's search algorithm may already be sentient, what it means, and what it represents as a metaphor for collective problem solving."
- "Drawing on their experience as pioneering social media strategists, Rome Viharo and Maf Lewis have created a new phenomenon with their proposal that Google has a form of consciousness." Overview : Google Consciousness
- Overview By Rome Viharo for Google Consciousness: "Let’s first define what we mean by ‘Google Consciousness’. Do we mean that Google’s servers are potentially sentient? No, that is not what we are saying (but we are neither refuting that possibility, it’s just not what we are suggesting)".
- Essay:Rome Viharo revisits Rational Wiki, a critique
- Viharo as Tumbleman.
- https://archive.is/pMWOz Viharo as Viharo
- Aiki Wiki: Teaser
- Rome Viharo, Wikipedia, We Have a Problem Skeptiko.com
- Front page (archival copy)
- Viharo first referred to GSoW as "GSM"here, here, and here.
- Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia or just Wikipedia Skepticism?: "No matter what group it was or if it was just a ‘kismet of skepticacopia’ who they were or what group is the superficial component of the problem. It’s like confusing a 7th day adventist who knocks at my door with a Jehovah Witness, mistaken or not I still had to get out of my chair and listen to a sermon."
- Electric Universe 2014 Conference "SURPRISE SPEAKER — “ANONYMOUS” - ‘Wikipedia we have a problem’ is the story of ‘The Tumbleman’ – a Wikipedia editor who attempted to edit an article on Wikipedia to a more neutral point of view and received harassment and personal attacks from ‘activist editors’ in the skeptic activist movement, finding himself banned indefinitely from Wikipedia instead." www.thunderbolts.info. September 10, 2013
- If it did, supposedly, we'd be part of it.
- Editors and Admins Involved, Wikipedia We Have a Problem
- Case studies
- Harassment Case: Harassment from Wikipedia and Rational Wiki editors
- Do some people just deserve it?
- Rational Wiki, Wikipedia editor comparison (archived copy)
- archived copy
- Wikipedia: Tumbleman.
- Wikipedia: Tumbleman Sockpuppet Investigations.
- Tim Farley on Twitter, 15 Jan 2018.
- Let’s Raise ISHAR!. Huffington Post. 15 Sep 2014.
- Quantum Health Research Institute: Staff.
- TED Community, Rome Viharo: "Yes, absolutely it is an idea worth spreading. It's clear this discussion needs to happen as this is a valid philosophical dialogue and Sheldrake is able to frame it quite objectively."
- Rome Viharo's Twitter feed: December 2013
- Maureen Seaberg Let's Raise ISHAR! Huffington Post
- Interestingly, this was not his first foray into such definitely not promotional activity; he was also responsible for editing a 2006 "documentary" arguing for the existence of qi.
- Request for renaming; revision showing changed username.
- A sample of Viharo's argumentation "For every scientist out there that you can find a quote of that is unfavorable to Dr. Chopra, I can find another one that is favorable." Another sample "That's not an unsupported claim, that is integrative medicine." All SAS81's posts to Talk:Deepak Chopra
- Wikipedia, ISHAR update
- Sockpuppet investigations page; block noted at bottom
- Own confession to four different socks used to evade ban, though he refuses to call them socks
- Update: The ISHAR project
- Rationalwiki is publishing misinformation to damage control their involvement
- Reddit: 23canaries (archive.is).