Posted by: GoRight | June 17, 2010

Thinking like a climate scientist …

Man, I gotta wonder about these super genius climate scientist types on Wikipedia.  The laughs just keep on coming.

There is a conversation on the talk page of Short Brigade Harvester Boris which can be found here:

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier

You gotta believe me, Jake! I done SEEN the black helicopters with my own two eyes! [48] ATren (talk) 11:14, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

I don’t think it’s exactly unreasonable to suggest that people with a modicum of intelligence and dedication can evade detection by checkuser. In fact, checkusers themselves frequently make such an observation, and this site’s history is rife with sockpuppeteers who have employed various technical means to defeat checkuser. It doesn’t seem like a paranoid speculation so much as an acknowledgment of a widely-known and repeatedly demonstrated reality. MastCell Talk 17:00, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

here is where you get tools that let you use your neighbors wi-fi network (or just go to a coffee shop). here is a user-agent switcher for firefox. Is this hard? No, this is not hard. Hipocrite (talk) 17:33, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

I have to say, I’m consistently amazed at the number of Wi-fi access points one randomly encounters with the SSID “linksys”. Which tells you that the owner has likely performed absolutely no configuration of any sort, since step 1 is to assign a new SSID. MastCell Talk 19:40, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

If you follow the link provided by ATren you will find a diff from Short Brigade Harvester Boris which states the following:

He’s posted some fairly complex scripts for parsing user contributions and the like. Admittedly there’s a slight bit of extrapolation involved, but I think it’s likely he knows what’s in an httpd log file, and I also assume that checkuser basically works by parsing httpd logs or something similar. In any event the technical measures required to defeat checkuser are a poorly kept secret. Addendum: It takes about 30 seconds with google to find the source code for the checkuser extension to MediaWiki. And once you have the source code… Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 03:56, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Emphasis is mine for effect.  🙂

Why do I find this funny?  Because all the while they keep jumping up and down screaming about how I must be guilty because anyone can do it, they are (a) demonstrating exactly how much they already know about the practice of socking, and (b) providing a how-to manual for all those sock master wannabes out there.

Guys, just put it all in an essay for my readers!  Thanks.  🙂  [Side note: the site stats are way up the past few days.]

So, to review, Boris provides us with the knowledge that he has already found the source code for the checkuser extension, and Hipocrite helpfully points us to some of the tools (his favorites?) needed to be successful.  Like I said, super geniuses.

And when I say “thinking like a climate scientist” I mean exactly that.  For those who don’t already know, but it is not a secret so I am not “outing” anyone here, Boris previously edited as Raymond arritt who is, as I understand it, a bona fide climate scientist just like WMC and a number of the others on team AGW.

Now, if I understand Boris correctly, he seems to be arguing that I have posted a couple of scripts written in AWK previously so therefore I must be able to defeat checkuser.  And because he has found the code for the checkuser extension that I must have already done so as well and because of this I am “logically” the only person capable of defeating checkuser.  Please, he says, look no further because all of your technical safeguards will have been circumvented.  You will HAVE to rely on the “behavioral evidence” presented by Stephan Schulz which would then amount, basically, to the checkusers sticking their fingers into the air and making a guess.  Is that about right, Boris?  If not please correct me in the comments.

The interesting thing to me is that they (and I mean more than just Boris) actually seem to feel that this “logic” is somehow evidence that I have done anything.  Arguing that it is so easy to create sock puppets that anyone can do it basically narrows the suspects down to, well, anyone.  But obviously anyone equals me, right?

This episode reminds me of another application of the vaunted “Duck Test” which was based on this same type of “logic”:

Wise in the ways of science,” indeed!

So, the next time you see a reference to the [[WP:DUCK]] test be sure to ask how they know the accused weighs the same as a duck!



  1. Yeah I laughed at those comments too.

    You did make one mistake though – WMC isn’t a climate scientist. He has a degree in math and used to code “computer models,” which are, as anyone w/ a comp sci background know, little more than modern day ouiji boards – the users get their answers from their subconscious.

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