Jonathan Bishop thinks he’s been wronged. Wronged to the tune of $10,000 to compensate for the vast flood of visitors the upstart Wikipedia has stolen from the massive information resource that is his crocels network. Wikipedia, which is only the sixth or seventh most visited website in the world, is clearly sufficiently worried by crocels (Alexa are also part of the conspiracy).

Expert: X, the unkown quantity, plus spurt, a drip under pressure.

Amusing though it is to point and laugh at the titanic hubris embodied in this frivolous and legally illiterate claim, it would be wrong not to consider and address any genuinely valid concerns Bishop might have.

I reverted an edit on the Character theory (media) page on Wikipedia (now located on Crocels Base) by a user called JzG, also known as Guy, who removed a section referring to a character theory I am noted for. I have been subject to significant cyberbullying and harassment in my occupation as an Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert and I asked that this page should be semi-protected as the section relating to me has been wiped by many people who breach WP:Civil and WP:COI by doing so.

Bishop’s revert violated [W:WP:COI]. It was an edit promoting his name, and all of the sources were also his own writings. When writing, Bishop does tend to cite mainly himself.

Bishop’s revert violated [W:WP:CIVIL]. On Wikipedia you need actual evidence to support statements like Clearly an act of cyberstalking and bullying of me to try to diminish my reputation in the eyes of others. In fact it also violates [W:WP:NPA].

I haven’t seen any evidence of the alleged cyberstalking and harassment, I have seen a lot of mockery directed at his relentless self-promotion, pompous self-referential screeds, his writing about himself in the third party, his vanity press publishing and more. Mockery is not usually considered harassment, as Bishop should know as an expert on the subject. Or at least he probably would know if he was an expert: I can actually find surprisingly little evidence to support the idea that he knows the first thing about it.

This is an important point since virtually everything Bishop says is dependent on the assumption that he is, in fact, a respected expert in the field. I have my doubts. Any article identifying Bishop as an expert, usually turns out to be written by Bishop. Example. A genuine expert would also probably have declared that they had a dog in the fight, as he does here.

In fact, the evidence suggests that he is a fantasist. Consider this quote from his website:

Jonathan Bishop Limited is the leading intellectual property acquisition, licencing and publishing firm in information, music, construction and defence technology in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States of America.

Really? DueDil shows Bishop’s Jonathan Bishop Limted as virtually dormant: £9,500 net debt and total tangible assets of £750, the price of a computer. His Centre For Research Into Online Communities and E-Learning Systems (Wales) Limited has over £16,000 of debt and net negative assets. Bluntly, his statements do not appear to be anchored in reality.

Or this news release, in which he claims that a million dollar research prize winners’ work was based on “crocels research”. Literally: “Academics honoured for building on Crocels research”. It would be fascinating to hear the opinion of a psychologist on what might lead a lone crank to assume that not only is his every passing thought a gem of originality divorced from all external influences, but also assume that anybody else who is working on any related concept is automatically aware of it and takes it seriously, despite it not being published in the academic literature.

Bluntly, his statements do not appear to be anchored in reality.

The harassment expert

As an “expert” in harassment, my opinion of him is coloured by his having weighed in on what is very obviously the wrong side of the Angel Garden / Andy Lewis dispute. From the judgment:

254. I have carefully considered whether her many derogatory comments
about the Second Claimant’s personality disorder and the like (as viewed by
her) are maliciously motivated. I am satisfied that the Second Defendant did
believe that the Second Claimant had a personality disorder. The rapidity,
scale, intensity and, (to use a neutral word) fervour of the Second Claimant’s
published comments about the Second Defendant were scarcely likely to
reassure the Second Defendant to the contrary. The untrue accusation of
grooming would strongly reinforce any such belief. I am not satisfied on the
balance of probabilities (or at all) that there was a dominant motive to injure
the Claimants and I am satisfied that the comments were made in exercise of a
wish to defend herself against attack. [...]

265. In oral evidence the First Defendant said that he was deeply alarmed
by the behaviour of the Claimants towards him, and distressed, by a campaign
“over several years now”. I have no hesitation in accepting the honesty of this
belief on his part, and the honesty of his belief that the Claimants were
obsessive in their approach towards him and his publications, and besetting of
him. I observe that the campaign of the Claimants was then un-abating, and
remained un-abating. I instance a communication of 6 October 2013, to take
an illustration almost at random:
    “Dear Shiv, ….. Andy Lewis, a rising star in UK Skeptic circles,
    is seeking a huge platform for himself on the basis of his
    scepticism. …. At the same time he has been travelling around
    the country delivering misinformation about Steiner Education in
    a talk he’s created to bring to light issues related with that
    alternative education movement…. Andy Lewis is blatantly
    using his followers’ assumption of, and confidence in, his own
    sceptical mindset to manipulate, defame and trash people who
    have done something he tells journalists can’t be done in order to
    dominate a platform for his own benefit. It is the most cynical
    behaviour I can imagine (emphasis supplied)”;
or to Zoe Williams, journalist at The Guardian newspaper copied to the editor:
    “It’s very important that you know that in your free schools
    article you’ve just linked to the website of a person who is
    involved in a campaign of harassment against a family reporting
    problems within Steiner Education, and in so doing you’ve
    enabled thousands more people to potentially read his
    defamation and mis-information .. Dr Andrew Lewis has, from
    his first post on Steiner, entered directly and enthusiastically into
    this harassment campaign…. If having looked at this evidence, it
    is not then immediately obvious to you that you have just
    directed potentially thousands of people to a site publishing
    harassment and defamation of others, including minors, in order
    to mislead the public, as well as grossly misinforming the public
    about the actual facts concerning agency regarding unchecked
    bullying in Steiner, all for his own personal benefit, please let me
    make that point absolutely clear (emphasis supplied)”.

To a dispassionate and reasonable onlooker, I would submit that the harassment here appears not being committed by Lewis. The basis of the harassment claimed by Garden and Paris also seems bizarre:

93. The stance of the Claimants was in truth intolerant of the idea that a private
person’s blog was one in which that person might rationally choose to exclude
the Claimants’ complaint of being blocked from other sites. At trial, they
acknowledged that there were other websites than the First Defendant’s and
other means of expression of their own experience and opinions. However as
developed at trial, in my judgment this paid lip service only to the availability
of alternative sites for comment, as on their own website, and appeared
dismissive of any notion that an individual might for whatever reason choose
to wish to exclude their own comment save for malicious reasons.

That is, the meat of Garden and Paris’ claim of harassment, was baseless. As the Judge said, “The tone of cross examination was throughout that it must have been malevolent for the First Defendant to seek to exclude any comment by the Second Claimant upon his blog”, but “In my judgment these accusations were wholly unfounded, and they were attacks upon him”.

So the harassment “expert” believes that Lewis harassed Garden and Paris by… putting them on moderation on his blog. He also implicitly supports their relentless attempts to bypass that moderation, their vituperative attacks on Lewis (and Byng) elsewhere, their writing to journalists and other attacking Lewis for this pretended harassment. Most of this was easily discoverable with simple web searches. The “expert” either did not do this, or chose to believe the self-evidently specious claims of Garden and Paris instead.

This “expert” is not credible. His “expert report” to the court was frankly comical, incorporating faux-legal concepts of his own invention referenced solely to his own writing.

And now back to our scheduled content…

It’s all a conspiracy

Wikipedia is used to dealing with people who are there to advance an agenda. Their treatment tends to depend on whether they are actual contributors tot he project, through editing multiple articles, or whether they edit only in a narrow area – Wikipedians with an agenda, versus agenda editors. The “drama boards” are full of discussion of this kind of editing. So when Bishop says:

I have made all my concerns known via the official channels, namely the relevant notice boards (WP:COIN, WP:ANI) and all users have done is work the rules to my detriment rather than following them in black and white. Unlike Guy, I have not taken Wikipedia into my own hands by removing content that he claims was created by me when it was not. Guy should have gone to the COI board like I did to raise his concerns, not unilaterally remove content without first discussing it. I have raised all my concerns on the WP:COIN and WP:ANI pages, but I have been ganged up on unfairly even though I followed all of the rules in black and white as they were intended all the time.

… he is, in fact, wrong.

What happened was exactly what any experienced Wikipedian would expect. Agenda editors never want to hear that policy mandates against their edits. They always assume that everybody who objects to their edits is trying to suppress The Truth™. The root of the problem is always the same: absolute refusal to accept the possibility that you might be wrong, about the content, but more importantly about how Wikipedia policies govern such content. The agenda editor always appoints himself sole arbiter of what is supported by our policies.

Nobody “ganged up on” Bishop, we merely coralled an angry mastodon.

It is others that did not follow the rules and I cannot be punished for pointing out when those rules were not followed. Wikipedia rules should be interpreted in black and white, there should be no shades of grey in interpreting Wikipedia’s to allow users to discriminate against people they do not like, such as Guy and all his supporters have done to me. Wikipedia should ensure its rules are always followed in black and white, else it is an anarchy even if it is not intended to be! I should not be blocked for following the rules all those that did not follow the rules should be!

There is a Wikipedia guideline for people who are in disputes: [W:WP:NOTTHEM]. In its simplest form, this basically says that whether or not other people are doing it wrong, has absolutely no bearing on whether you are also doing it wrong. Again, agenda editors never get this. Wikipedia largely does not care about your battle to Right Great Wrongs, we mainly just want a quiet life. This may be the most important thing in the world to you, but to most Wikipedians it really isn’t. By convention, Wikipedia administrators are janitors not policemen. The symbol of the sysop is a mop. See [W:WP:MOP], in fact.

And why did Guy remove them? Guy removed them because you do not like the fact that I have been helping people recover from cyberbullying from radical skeptics.

Wrong on every conceivable level.

Acting on information received, as it were, I removed references to Bishop’s publications because they are not reliable independent sources. Cleaning up bad sourcing is a thing I do. I especially focus on [W:predatory open-access publishing], but woo journals (e..g Explore, NY) and vanity presses like Lulu are also fair game. It’s not personal. Some of the people who add this crap are engaged in self-promotion, but most are probably entirely unaware that the journal they are citing uses a credit card number instead of peer review.

I have checked my records and I am pretty sure I was not aware of his anti-skeptic agenda at the time I started removing his self-published sources from articles. I certainly had (and have) no agenda against him, I would not know him from a hole in the ground.

As above, the “skeptics” are not radical and his work has been supporting harassers, not helping them recover.

And even if I had been aware of who Bishop was and what is agenda is, it would have made no difference. I have no conflict of interest in this, I have never met Andy Lewis, as far as I recall. We have a couple of mutual friends, but that is not a COI – certainly not in a way that edit warring to include your own theory of personality sourced to your own writing, anyway.

Guy removed them because he claimed I had been editing Wikipedia with sockpuppet accounts I have not. Guy was bullying me and it was Guy that breached WP:COI not me. Guy was relying on WP:COI to remove mention of me from articles that other people have added me to.

No, I removed it because these are not reliable independent sources. As noted above, I think Bishop’s judgment of what constitutes harassment and bullying is seriously defective and more aligned with what supports his worldview, and to a lesser extent his overweening vanity.

also noted a number of single-purpose accounts, which I believe are sock or meatpuppets of Bishop (Wikipedia draws no real distinction between the two in content disputes). One, VCHunter, I believe to be Mark Beech, Bishop’s friend. I am in two minds as to whether Beech actually exists, but the fact that he’s been recorded as a director of Bishop’s companies in Companies House records, and given that using a fake identity would be a pretty big deal, I’m working on the assumption that Beech is a separate individual.

Guy was thus committing WP:Wikihounding by proxy, because he removed multiple edits because he thought they were all made by me when they were not but in any case that action still breaches WP:Wikihounding because the intention was still WP:Wikihounding of me, even though it was not me that Guy was WP:Wikihounding!

No, I was removing them because they are not reliable independent sources. Having removed a large number of references to Bishop’s websites, I looked, as usual, at the edits that introduced those references. Turns out that most of them were either single-purpose accounts or, more usually, VCHunter, most of whose edits are to articles in Bishop’s area of interest. More, most articles that VCHunter has edited, included references to Bishop. On Wikipedia, this is a giant red flag and removing these references is quite normal.

The removal of me from Character theory (media) and whatever other pages I was on is in effect WP:Wikihounding by proxy by Guy . Guy thought all the pages he has removed me from were edited by me using sockpuppets, when this is not the case.

No, I was removing them because they are not reliable independent sources.

Guy holds a gripe that my professional life has included helping people who have been bullied by people he supports.

As above, even if I had known of his involvement, the harassment was in fact the other way round, and that seriously colours the issue. “X removed my name from Wikipedia because I am supporting people harassed by Y, who he supports”, versus “X removed my name from Wikipedia because I am supporting people who are harassing Y, who he supports”. The second here would be entirely acceptable even if I was a friend of Y, rather than just someone who reads his blog.

Bishop’s websites are not a reliable source. Bishop’s claim to expertise is fatally undermined simply by his statement that he was “helping people who have been bullied”.

And this is not a matter of simple opinion. There has been a court case, and the Judge expressly addressed this issue. He found no evidence of harassment by Andy Lewis. He considered and rejected the basis of that claim. He described as “irrational” some of the claims made by Garden and Paris.

Now, let’s be clear here: it’s fine to support people, even abusive cranks. What’s not fine is to pretend that you are a neutral expert and that any dissent is necessarily motivated by support for what you have decided, even though it’s contradicted by a Judge, to be harassment. Basically Wikipedia allows you to be wrong, but it doesn’t allow you to have your head so far up your own arse that you can’t conceive of any possibility that you might be wrong.

So even though I did not add myself to all the articles he has removed me form Guy has broken WP:Wikihounding because he assumed I did and that was why he removed me from them.

No, I was removing the links because they are not reliable independent sources. The person who caused the massive flare-up was Bishop himself, by drawing as much attention as possible to his reinsertion of his pet theory sourced to his (mainly self-published) writing.

The applicable Wikiepdia guideline here is [W:WP:FOOTGUN] (or more likely [W:WP:BOOMERANG]), not [W:WP:Wikihounding]. I don’t think I interacted with these people at all, which is what Wikihounding is. Neither Bishop nor VCHunter had edited for some months prior to my first removal, and Bishop returned from hiatus to edit his Talk page shortly after my first removals, removing a number of warnings dating back some years, especially in respect of some deleted articles. This is consistent with his statement that he actively watches Wikipedia content related to him. Aside: if you are mentioned on Wikipedia, actively monitoring every edit related to every mention is a seriously bad idea. But I digress.

Circle of Friends was a website created by Bishop, documented in an article entirely written by an account called MultimediaGuru; Bishop popped up on the AfD debate to out a number of editors involved in its deletion. Barry Wellman (user Bellagio99) schools Bishop rather beautifully during that debate. MultimediaGuru engaged in personal attacks and outing, very much as Bishop does. It does not matter if the two were one and the same, or if MultimediaGuru is actually VCHunter or some other associate, the only relevant fact here is that the account was part of Bishop’s self-promotion. Indeed, the deletion debate perfectly encapsulates Bishop’s paranoid conspiracist approach to dissent. He seems to think that [W:Barry Wellman], an eminent sociologist, regards him as a competitor.

The article on Bishop himself was also deleted after a deletion debate. The history shows a lot of activity by people with strangely little interest in non-Bishop-related topics on Wikipedia.

As Prof. Wellman said, “I feel very sorry for you, but your actions keep inflicting hurt upon yourself.”

So a check back on the history of the articles, and a review of what was added when and by whom, is clearly uncontroversial.

Either Guy should provide evidence I edited these pages or he should revert all the edits he made in bad faith, contrary to WP:AGF. Guy is the one with the WP:COI not me. It was Guy that removed references to me because of his devotion to Dr Andrew Lewis and other skeptics.

I am not saying that Bishop necessarily edited these pages (it may well have been an associate acting on his behalf). But even if I was, and it was not true, that would still not change the fact that these are not reliable independent sources. As it happens I am right that Bishop abused multiple accounts (a CheckUser has confirmed this, though we do not know whether this was before or after the incident started), but the suspicious accounts came to light only after I started removing the unreliable sources.

Guy has not acted in an objective manner. Guy has systematically removed mentions of me by claiming I am using several sockpuppet accounts that I have not!

No, I removed mentions of Bishop because he is not a suitable reference for Wikipedia. Just that, nothing more. The suspicious accounts are a separate factor. It’s a bit like saying a burglar stole to feed a drug habit. If it turns out that there was no drug habit, that doesn’t change the fact of theft.

Guy removed content produced by accounts that are not mine thinking they are. Guy is still referring to my “vanity text.”

Yes, it is vanity text

Jonathan Bishop developed a character theory [7][8][9][10] for analysing online communities, partly utilizing Campbell et al.’s character theory. In the online community he investigated, he found a number of character types, which can be applied to various usages of online communities, including Internet trolling.[11]

  1. Lurker – Driven by Surveillance forces. Lurkers make silent calls by accident, etc., clicking on adverts or ‘like’ buttons, using ’referrer spoofers’, modifying opinion polls or user kudos scores.
  2. Elder – Driven by Escapism forces. An Elder is an out bound member of the community, often engaging in “trolling for newbies”, where they wind up the newer members often without questioning from other members.
  3. Troll – Driven by Chaos forces. A Troll takes part in trolling to entertain others and bring some entertainment to an online community.
  4. Big Man – Driven by Order forces. A Big Man does trolling by posting something pleasing to others in order to support their world view.
  5. Flirt – Driven by Social forces. A Flirt takes part in trolling to help others be sociable, including through light ’teasing’.
  6. Snert – Driven by Anti-social forces. A Snert takes part in trolling to harm others for their own sick entertainment.
  7. MHBFY Jenny – Driven by Forgiveness forces. A MHBFY Jenny takes part in trolling to help people see the lighter side of life and to help others come to terms with their concerns.
  8. E-venger – Driven by Vengeance forces. An E-Venger does trolling in order to trip someone up so that their ‘true colours’ are revealed.
  9. Chat Room Bob – Driven by Existential forces. A chatroom bob takes part in trolling to gain the trust of others members in order to exploit them..
  10. Ripper – Driven by Thanatotic forces. A Ripper takes part in self-deprecating trolling in order to build a false sense of empathy from others.
  11. Wizard – Driven by Creativity forces. A Wizard does trolling through making up and sharing content that has humorous effect.
  12. Iconoclast – Driven by Destructive forces. An Iconoclast takes part in trolling to help others discover ‘the truth’, often by telling them things completely factual, but which may drive them into a state of consternation. They may post links to content that contradicts the worldview of their target.

As appears to be his wont, Bishop is trying to popularise idiosyncratic terms for common concepts, with academicky-sounding language. Snert? MHBFY Jenny? E-venger? Does anybody use these terms as Bishop defines them? Google finds 50 references to MHBFY Jenny, virtually all of which are Bishop’s and none appear to be reliable academic sources.

This was, in the article the largest (by far) description of the competing theories, the only one with bold, but the main thing that distinguishes it is that the other three are by [W:Erving Goffman], [W:Vladimir Propp], [W:Richard Bartle] and one by Campbell, Fletcher and Greenhill. These are all published experts with tenured professorial positions at established universities. Bishop is not.

So yes, it is vanity text. A large section detailing idiosyncratic neologisms promoting the name of a person whose specialism in the field does not rest on any evident academic reputation, referenced entirely to his own work, mainly published on his own websites without benefit of peer review. One of these refs is a paper published in an Inderscience journal. Inderscience is described by [W:Jeffrey Beall] as a publisher to avoid, as is IGI Global, the print-on-demand house where Bishop published his books. This is very low-tier stuff. And ultimately there is no evidence that anybody else is using these terms or this framework.

I know it might be inconceivable that there are people out there who care what I have to say, but Guy had no right to unilaterally remove content posted by accounts he believed were connected without first establishing whether those accounts were connected.

It is not inconceivable that there might be people out there who cares what Bishop has to say. As far as I can tell there are around two of them: Mark Beech and Bishop himself.

What’s missing is any credible evidence that anyone does care. And that’s Wikipedia policy. We’re not a publisher of original thought.

Guy cannot prove those accounts are mine so you should not have sought to diminish other’s contributions relating to me without proof they were selfpromotion. For something to be “self” promotion it has to be done by oneself.

I don’t have to prove they are yours, only that they have exhibited troublesome behaviour, which is unequivocally established. The self-promotion was the reversion of the character thory edits.

Glad that’s all cleared up.

They accounts Guy is claiming are mine are not, therefore it cannot be self-promotion but other promotion, if that!

See above.

Wikipedia banned me because I strongly criticised the way I had been intended to be treated by Guy. Guy ‘s intentions have not been to act in the interests of Wikipedia but to bully me because my professional life involved helping someone bullied by Dr Andrew Lewis whom he identifies with.

Free SpeechNo, Wikipedia banned Bishop because he acted like a crazy man. Literally, like a crazy man.  And because a CheckUser found that he abused multiple accounts. And because he attacked everyone in sight. And because he made claims about a “Canadian academic” that had to be suppressed.

He could have been advocating motherhood and apple pie, he’d still have been banned if he’d gone about it the same way.

Even if this were not the case, the fact is that Guy has removed content placed by accounts that are not mine because he thought they were.

No, I removed it because Bishop’s websites are not reliable independent sources and because there is no evidence at all that Bishop’s views are considered significant by anyone other than Bishop and his friends.

Guy has removed the content of accounts that are not me using allegations of sockpuppetry that he cannot substantiate.

See above. The use of puppetry is irrelevant to the fact that this content is not appropriate for Wikipedia., It is relevant only as a behavioural issue, and therefore a matter for potential sanction.

Are Wikipedia saying there is no process for editors like Guy to establish accounts are sockpuppets before they unilaterally remove content they believe is self-promotion even though they have no proof personally that the accounts are linked or connected with the person they believe is self-promoting?

No process is necessary for confirming whether accounts are sockpuppets or meatpuppets before removing material that references non-notable opinions published via unreliable sources, because the end is valid in and of itself. Why would we even need such a policy?

What did happen was a long discussion on the merits of Bishop’s editing before a ban was enacted. [W:WP:ROPE] was applied. Bishop took the rope, put it round his neck, and ran headlong at the cliff. Bishop is engaging in the kind of cherry-picking endemic among homeopathists and other quacks: how can science say homeopathy is implausible when this study from India shows silicates in a solution prepared in glass vessels? The purported problem with the consensus is tangential, at best, and does not in any way undermine the solid consensus. So it is with Bishop’s editing. Even if VCHunter turned out not to be associated with Bishop at all (which is unlikely), it would not make the Bishop content acceptable, nor would it even make VCHunter’s edits acceptable, because they promote a non-notable opinion from unreliable sources.

I do not think Mr. Bishop is terribly bright.

2 Comments


  1. If Jonathan Bishop and his friends were simply harmless cranks building their own alternate universe in the school yard, it would be easy to walk away with a sad chuckle left more in pity that ridicule. Trouble is, (I know I’m not telling you some thing you don’t know), their fantasyland hurts people. Bilking participants of fees to shady conferences, loss of reputation for submitting and relinquishing control over research papers to these suspect conferences. Question Bishop’s legitimacy and the full force of his wrath is released. Internet attacks and financially draining lawsuits are threatened. Even if they don’t reach court, baseless lawsuits can cost $1,000s
    Bishop’s claimed experience, education, inventions, publishing record, accomplishments and so on, are so outrageously absurd as to be completely off the scale of reality A perfect example of the suggestion, if you’re going to lie, make it a doozy. Lies of this scale lead people to think there must be SOME truth to it.
    Does Bishop steal other people’s research? It’s been alleged. Would an academic of integrity boastfully publish instructions on how to cheat systems designed to reveal plagiarism? Jonathan Bishop: “How to troll the JISC plagiarism checker.”
    Mind boggling.

    Reply

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