Translation of the French version
Two weeks ago, French Wikipedia editors learned that the community was manipulated for many years. The revelation and the length of the manipulation shocked many users, but not all. Some still debate the length and the relevance of the manipulation.
This manipulation starts with the blog Wikirigoler, who published more than 800 posts under the name « Pierrot le Chroniqueur » from 2007 to 2014. On the French Wikipedia, the posts were regularly cited, close to 500 times on that period, to further a point. The posts were used to defend some points of view, be it for deletion, against the CAr (the ArbCom of the French Wikipedia), and against Wikimédia France (the WMF chapter for France). Pierrot le Chroniqueur was sometimes dismissive of editors and sysops, sometimes supported other editors.
over-blog.com, were Pierrot published, sent by default to any visitor all IP addresses and e-mail addresses of previous visitors. These data were loaded in the browser, but were not visible unless you searched them in the HTML code. Usually, these data are only sent to site administrators. But a French sysop knew of that flaw and used it to compare the IP adresses from the website to those listed on
the French Wikipedia (because they were from vandals and trolls). He found matches with one well known user and shared his findings on the sysop noticeboard.
He wrote that *SM* (previously Suprememangaka) posted many times but under many identities, Pierrot le Chroniqueur being one. On Wikipedia, *SM* edited under the suckpuppet Eodial in order to bypass a CAr decision rendered in 2011 : he was blocked for a while and under a topic ban of 9 months.
While the talks were going on the sysop noticeboard, it was revealed that Pierrot le Chroniqueur was in fact a figurehead used by many editors from the French Wikipedia but not at the same time. The last post, published 4 months before the revelation, lists nine usernames but in a secret code. It is tempting to believe that the nine posted as Pierrot le Chroniqueur, and some were accused of misbehaviour. Three of them said they were not very active on the blog. Another said that she only published under her Wikipedia username and thus rejected any link to Pierrot. Over that period (from 2007 to 2014), six were sysops (some are still), two were on the CAr, four were investigated by the CAr and one is check user.
In all those years, some Pierrots never met, but many were active on the private IRC channel
##anticlique, where users suggested actions on the French Wikipedia and on Meta-Wiki, with the goal to fight the "clique" (an hypothetical group acting together to further their interests).
|“||I did not take long to understand why the channel was named like this and what its goals were. Over time, be it only with SM or publicly, I read calls to vote on article deletions/straw polls/elections, insults against editors, against Wikimédia France and administrators, against the hypothetical “clique”. It was not every day, but enough regular to be unhealthy.||”|
|— Sebleouf, Témoignage(s)|
|“||[...] we [##anticlique] were never able to fight efficiently the System we condemned with the tools we had.||”|
|— Pic-Sou, Le fond plutôt que la forme.|
At least 38 editors read the private channel.
The revelations bring many debates on many meta pages of the French Wikipedia. On the sysop noticeboard, they were the main topics for two weeks. Some comments were followed by a requests for administrator attention, two bringing user blocks for personal attacks. The sysop who published his findings was challenged by other sysops, some believing he acted illegally, used check user tools or invaded personal privacy. Sysops dismissed the problem, said it was minor or rejected the findings. One was recalled for a comment and the way he handled requests for undeletion. He asked the community to confirm his statute, but decided to resign after the first day of ballot. Four others resigned temporarily.
The CAr being out of order for a long time, the sysops are the only one able to act responsibly in this situation. On the French Wikipedia, there is a tradition to turn a blind eye on what happens outside the wiki, even on official IRC channels. Thus, users said they will keep exchanging with *SM* on those channels.
A sysop asked how we can be again a community with those who betrayed our trust.
If you understand French, you can read the original text (with more sources).
Following a leak of the
over-blog.com site, a sysop of the French Wikipedia (fr) find that some IP address of
wikirigoler.over-blog.com, one of the most influent blogs on the fr community (there's about 500 links to the blog on French Wikipedia), have been used from 2007 to 2014 by some well known fr users to publish the ~800 blog entries using "Pierrot le Chroniqueur" cover name. Some of them also have been actives on the private
##anticlique IRC channel and have coordinated themselves with others to insert biases on wp:fr and meta sites. At least 38 well known fr users, including sysops, arbitrators, arbitrated and CU, have been on that channel one day or another. One unblockable account, *SM* (aka Suprememangaka and SM), have been particularly exposed. He created at least one sockpuppet to bypass a French ArbCom decision and talked about some Pierrot posts he did himself undercover, as if they where done by another person, to support himself.
|“||Over time, I witnessed [on the channel], in private (only with SM) or in public : calls for vote to the AFDs/Proposals/elections, insults against some contributors, against Wikimedia France and its team, against the alleged "clique". Those things didn't happpen on a daily basis but it was usual enough to become deeply noxious.||”|
|— Sebleouf, Témoignage(s)|
The sysop who found the leak informed the others sysops about the situation on the Bulletin des administrateurs. The leak created an earthquake-like reaction on a lot of fr pages. Some sysops have accused the messenger to have illegaly obtained the information, have laughed of the situation, diminished or denied interest of the information. One of them have resigned after have been challenged. Other sysops have expressed their disgust about this machination.
|“||Seeing what is happening, how can we be a community anymore ?||”|
|— Gede, Comment continuer à "faire communauté" ?|
On other parts of the site, some users proposed to contest all the sysops and have been threatened to be blocked for POINT if doing so. At least four sysops have temporary resigned following the leak.
On French Wikipedia, there's no rules about what happen outside the site. So no action have been taken by the French ArbCom (k.o. since about a year) or the sysops about this deception. *SM* have been banned, but mainly for others reasons having no link with the leak. The French Wikipedia IRC channel is also treated as "offshore" and nothing is done there about the blocked/banned users. Some users have proposed to *SM* to continue to coordinate there.
- Bulletin des administrateurs, French Wikipedia Administrators' noticeboard (ed.). "Informations ?" (in French).
- Frakir. "pierrots1.jpg". actuonwiki.files.wordpress.com (in French).
- "Planet Wikimedia/Discussions concernant fr.planet" (in French).
- Darkoneko. "Gribouillage 2 - Cabaleries". darkoneko.wordpress.com (in French).
- Les échos d'en bas, ed. (February 2015). "Épisode 7 – Pierrots". actuonwiki.wordpress.com (in French).
how to find the channel users on the article source code (first comment)
- Jean-Jacques Georges. "Jean-Jacques Georges post" (in French).
- Darkoneko. "Gribouillage 3 - Honnêteté intellectuelle". darkoneko.wordpress.com (in French).
- (fr) La chasse aux sorcières a commencé !
- (fr) Bulletin des bureaucrates, Wikipédia en français, 16 février 2015
- As, for example, Macadam1 ((fr) Discussion utilisateur:*SM*, Wikipédia en français, 13 février 2015.