2011-11-15 04:53:29On Socks and Puppetry: the Moderator's Conundrum
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Given a number of various & sundry items, like:

  • the ongoing discussion of revamping the SkS Moderation
  • possible changes to the Comments Policy
  • several banned users sneaking back in under different avatars and resuming the ways (Gilles, Eric the Red, Ken Lambert, etc),

I think this is the appropriate time to open up a dialogue on Internet Sock Puppets.  By this I mean the practice of some of holding multiple identities on the same blogs.  By multiple identities I mean for the purposes of spamming/trolling.  And by the same blogs I mean SkS.  One example is that of banned users changing their avatar names & resuming their activities which got them banned in the first place (examples noted above).

Another example, which is the focal point of this post, is that of users who actively formulate a second SkS identity concurrent with that of their first.  An example of that is the current situation with apiratelooksat50 and Sasquatch.  Both identities were formed back in January of 2011, apiratelooksat50 first followed by Sasquatch about two weeks later (ironically, back-to-back with one of his apiratelooksat50 comments on the same thread post here).

Since apiratelooksat50 first offerred up multiple clues and hints as to his real identity, and then even mentioned his name in one of his comments talking about his publication record, I can offer up some more information than usual in this case:

Name:  Mike Whaley

Occupation #1: teaches environmental science to high school kids

Occupation #2: runs an environmental risk assessment company

I've documented his SkS browsing history (all of his Sasquatch & most of his apiratelooksat50) in this file:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/ApiratevsSasquatch.xls

 

By no means am I advocating anyone giving up any avatar/screen identities.  Anonymity is cool.  If I could've thought up a cool avatar name (like Tröllspawn; hmm, note to self: check to see if that's available) perhaps I'd be only known under that name here.  Perhaps not.

But the point is this:  users are doing this.  And it is not a practice specifically banned under the current Comments Policy.  But it is a practice of those seeking, for various reasons, to have less-than-productive dialogue here.  And thus, to waste the time of other, more well-meaning contributors.

Thoughts?

 


Creation Date Password Email     Initial IP ISP Domain
apiratelooksat50 1/6/2011 elvis1986 srcenvironmental@bellsouth.net
72.159.132.4 Scbacb - Anderson County School District Five - GSP Lan.  ANDERSON5.NET  
sasquatch 1/21/2011 elvis1313 mikemacdonald64@yahoo.com
72.159.132.4 Scbacb - Anderson County School District Five - GSP Lan.  ANDERSON5.NET  
2011-11-15 05:34:51Comment's policy
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.193.102.28

How about explicitely adding a policy that participating with more than one ID is an immediate reason to get banned for all IDs, especially if at least one of the IDs is breaching the policy? Likewise, if one ID was banned and it is discovered that the same user is posting again with a new ID, this is also reason for immediate banning.

2011-11-15 11:18:54
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

OK, Mike just posted, under Sasquatch, essentially the same thought-free comment on SLR he'd posted earlier on 10-21-2011.

11-14-2011 Comment (in response to this comment/graph posting by Cynicus):

Sasquatch at 08:52 AM on 15 November 2011

I'm one skeptic who doesn't think that a couple of years of global mean sea level declining means much of anything. Just another example of the cyclical nature of nature (pardon the pun).

Yes, mean sea level is trending upwards in the timeframe provided. It's a no-brainer. To say otherwise would be foolish, and to be quite honest I don't know of any skeptics making a statement that sea level rise has stopped. However, it is a true statment that there is a decline over the last couple of years.

 

10-21-2011 Comment:

Is there a way to look at this information further back? I am interested in seeing the acceleration referenced.

The comment stream that follows the 10-21 comment makes it clear the fallacy of his point.  To which he did not even bother replying to.

That these deniers do not even bother to try to hide their disinformationist agenda anymore becomes vexing.  And tiresome.  Needless to say, this irked.

So I pulled the plug on "Sasquatch".

2011-11-15 15:34:08
KR

k-ryan@comcast...
69.138.165.234

Daniel Bailey - I would opine that calling the poster on their sock puppents (shades of "Cookie Monster" come to mind), killing off the offending 2nd/3rd pseudonym, and putting them on notice - that should be sufficient.

John Cook - a suggestion. A page listing banned posters, with reasons for their banning. This would shut the idiots right up - show why they there being idiots (list the posts), why they were banned (numerous reaons), and keep them from whining elsewere, as a simple link would demonstrate their 'sins'.

Incidentally, Daniel - thanks for taking on such a workload of moderation. I've observed you handling a huge portion of the load, and quite even-handedly. May I attempt to (re)balance this with my thanks?

2011-11-15 16:51:15
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
198.53.65.169

KR,

Good ideas IMHO.  A few of them are bad mnouthing SkS at other locations.  So if we had a wall of shame, that would shut them right up, or at least deter them from doing so.  And if they do and someone sees it, they can direct others to a link which exposes them.

More work though...

2011-11-15 18:50:15
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
143.238.130.246
Do we penalise users for bad mouthing SkS on other sites?

Re workload, I'm planning to revamp the moderation system, probably after AGU. So this thread is a good place to discuss possible reforms.

Just thought of all the things I need to do before I leave for Canada. So definitely after AGU.

2011-11-16 00:17:39
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Thank-you, KR.  It is appreciated. 

Also appreciated is the efforts of all those with more patience, eloquence in rhetoric, and deeper knowledge in the science than me that put thankless hours into rebutting the nonsense spewed by deniers (and the unwitting alike). 

Which is purt-near everyone, I may say.  :)

2011-11-16 00:26:33
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

In the spirit of open-ness/glasnost, I advocate an open-to-the-public list of those banned, together with reasons for banishment.  I do not see the need to cite examples of their "work", as that would just encourage some.

For example:

Poptech  

  • Banned for multiple offenses:  Ideology, off-topic, and inflammatory. 
  • Conditionally re-instated due to promises of better behavior. 
  • Banned again for ad-hominems, ideology, off-topic, inflammatory, trolling and spamming.
2011-11-16 01:12:13
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

I beleive the downsides to craeting a "wall of shame" greatly exceed the upsides. My principle concern is that deniers will see it as a badge of honor to be included on it and will flood SkS comment threads with drivel.

A general comment: Why are we so obsessed about what deniers say about SkS on other sites? It's totally irrelevant to our baisc mission.  

2011-11-16 01:17:56Daniel Bailey
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Despite our ocasional disagreements about banning a particlular blogger, I sincerely appreciate all of the time and energy that you put into maderating the comment threds.

2011-11-16 02:24:27
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
24.213.18.68

Click to enlarge

This Is Sparta!!!

2011-11-16 03:33:30Pirate
Sphaerica

Bob@Lacatena...
76.28.5.93

It should be noted that Pirate has abandoned Sasquatch without comment once called out on it -- which is a good thing.  No push back or fuming, he just dropped it.

2011-11-16 09:37:09Actually, just got an email from Mike Whaley this morning
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
143.238.130.246
He says:
My son and I use the same computers at home and at school.  Sometimes one or the both of us forgets to log off.  As a matter of fact, my school computer will NOT log out Sasquatch (son). Can you fix that.  It is okay to delete him.  
So looks like he's going with the "I'm not a sock puppet, it's just punks at my kid's school who happen to share my denialist views"
2011-11-16 09:44:56Hang on one sec
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
143.238.130.246
If Sasquatch was someone at a school computer, it would be a different IP. That argument, implausible as it is, makes no sense whatsoever.
2011-11-16 10:09:11
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Especially since both personae use identical IP's (many).  The intial creation of "Sasquatch" on the heels of apirate's, coupled with Mike's tacit admission on the current thread (Sphaerica responded to Sasquatch as "@ apirate" and Mike responded as apirate) means that Mike's integrity is questionable. 

Also, apirate gave his email earlier (http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=999#62501) as mikemacdonald64@yahoo.com, which happens to be the email Sasquatch signed up under (mikemacdonald64@yahoo.com).

So his whole emailed excuse is Crappe.

2011-11-16 10:56:05
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
198.53.65.169

The lying bastard...I'm "up to here" with liars today!  

2011-11-16 15:38:03
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Pirate/Sasquatch is as slippery as an eel. Always has been, always will be.

2011-11-16 22:05:21
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Dems da ways vit doz pirates...aboves da law, dey iz...

2011-11-17 11:57:40FYI, login sessions from both accounts in recent weeks
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12
Sasquatch
Date   IP
2011-11-17 07:12:48   72.159.132.4
2011-11-16 05:58:18   72.159.132.4
2011-11-16 05:58:02   72.159.132.4
2011-11-16 01:41:27   72.159.132.4
2011-11-16 01:36:09   72.159.132.4
2011-11-16 01:35:42   72.159.132.4
2011-11-16 01:33:23   72.159.132.4
2011-11-16 01:33:04   72.159.132.4
2011-11-16 01:31:14   72.159.132.4
2011-11-16 01:29:54   72.159.132.4
2011-11-16 01:29:30   72.159.132.4
2011-11-15 11:17:54   98.84.13.81
2011-11-15 08:52:37   98.84.13.81
2011-11-15 08:17:57   98.84.13.81
2011-11-14 14:37:39   98.84.13.81
2011-11-14 09:51:25   98.84.13.81
2011-11-12 01:39:25   72.159.132.4
2011-11-11 00:22:36   72.159.132.4
2011-11-10 14:26:30   98.84.13.81
2011-11-10 02:12:56   72.159.132.4
2011-11-09 13:31:04   98.71.173.181
2011-11-09 07:34:09   72.159.132.4
2011-11-09 06:30:31   72.159.132.4
2011-11-09 02:00:13   72.159.132.4

apiratelooksat50

Date   IP
2011-11-16 13:02:23   98.84.13.81
2011-11-15 23:05:17   98.84.13.81
2011-11-15 12:34:54   98.84.13.81
2011-11-15 11:20:15   98.84.13.81
2011-11-08 08:40:24   98.71.173.181
2011-11-07 04:48:04   98.71.173.181
2011-11-05 11:40:06   98.71.173.181

 

2011-11-17 12:40:33
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
198.53.65.169

Three IPs...maybe Dan or John should email him and explain to him that his gig is up and why.

2011-11-18 01:20:35
KR

k-ryan@comcast...
216.185.0.2

Multiple coinciding IP addresses, and the same email address supplied for both accounts - if I were a teenager riding on someone elses account, I certainly wouldn't use the same email...

2011-11-18 04:29:21
Sphaerica

Bob@Lacatena...
76.28.5.93

Actually, there's nothing in the IPs of import.  Using the same e-mail is a tiny red flag, but honestly my daughter uses mine on occasion for things where she doesn't want to use her own (being a teen girl and fearing Internet predators).


On the IPs, 72.159.132.4 is clearly the static IP for the computer on his desk, in his classroom, which could be used by his son, most likely before or after school.  He's on East Coast time, so his son would be unlikely to use it there except from 6-7 AM, or say 2-4 PM EST.  What are the times in the list above (meaning which time zone?  GMT?)?

On the rolling 98.*.*.* IP values, that is unsurprising.  He is on DSL through an ISP, so he'll often get a different IP as time goes on.  That means nothing.

All in all I do think he made the son-Sasquatch excuse up, but there's no evidence to say for certain.

I've tried to resume my dialogue with him, but his replies have been very short.  Usually it's "I'll read what you said, but what about this?"  I then answer his question, and he replies saying he'll read my answer, but what about...

I only hold out hope because he did at least come to admit that CO2 in the atmosphere must be anthropogenic in origin.

2011-11-18 04:49:12
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Out of deference to you, Sphaerica, I'm holding off advocating any further action at this point.  Not only are you more eloquent than I but you are more patient as well.  You are to be commended for your efforts; thankless and fruitless though I suspect them to be.

I reserve the right to change my mind should he say/do anything egregious in his commenting behavior.