Chip Berlet, SlimVirgin, and Wikipedia

By the end of the Twentieth Century, Berlet had become something of a shopworn commodity. Seeking a new audience, he joined Wikipedia.

What is Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is an on-line community that is a curious cross between a conventional encyclopedia, USENET, and a fantasy role-playing game. Founded by Jimbo Wales, a wealthy former options trader and internet porn impresario, Wikipedia bills itself as "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit." As is the case with most Wikipedia pronouncements, that statement is almost true, until you read the fine print.

There are complex and self-contradictory rules. According to Wikipedia policy, articles must reflect a "neutral point of view" -- but some points of view are more neutral than others. A Point of View (or "POV") must be backed by sources that are "verifiable," but also "notable," and the question of "notability" becomes an arena of battle. There is a proscription against "original research," i.e., opinions that are not demonstrably backed by a "notable" authority. There are also rules about behavior on the "talk pages," where editors debate how the articles ought to be edited. "Personal attacks" in the conduct of such debates are forbidden. What exactly constitutes a "personal attack" is also subject to debate, and the Wikipedia authorities use a great deal of interpretative license in determining when the rules have been violated, and how to punish the transgressors. Finally, there is a policy called "Ignore all rules," which increases the latitude of the authorities even further.

Wikipedia addicts compete to make their opinions dominate articles on subjects of interest to them, and for hard-core users, it becomes a Nietschzean struggle of the wills, with the losers often being banned from the community forever. Wikipedia editing and policy making is done by "consensus," which in practical terms means that the successful editor is the one who develops a knack for cajoling or threatening others into alliances of convenience. Aspiring contestants quickly learn the pecking order, and eagerly kiss the posteriors of those above them, while abusing those below them. There are, of course, many earnest individuals who merely desire to edit an encyclopedia as a hobby, but the minute they come into conflict with the more aggressive types, they are road kill.

It is important to note, however, that Wikipedia has a negative impact on millions of people, beyond just the participants, for the following reason: internet search engines, such as Google, give very high ranking to Wikipedia articles, so the unsuspecting internet searcher may happen upon a Wikipedia article that has been loaded with misinformation by someone who has successfully imposed their agenda on a supposedly "authoritative" encyclopedia article. Someone like, for example, Chip Berlet.


Chip (right) with fellow Wikipedia propagandist Dennis King


The SlimVirgin Saga

In late 2004, Chip entered the fray.

He soon found an ally in "SlimVirgin", an editor that joined shortly after Chip in late 2004. Their politics were similar, and SlimVirgin quickly learned that the way to win debates at Wikipedia is not by presenting a reasoned argument, but by "gaming the system": one must familiarize oneself with the rules, loudly accuse one's opponent of violating them, and then get the opponent banned -- problem solved. SlimVirgin was so successful at playing this game that she quickly became an administrator or "admin," giving her the power to ban political opponents herself.

Meanwhile, Chip also had something to offer to this symbiotic relationship. Wikipedia rules require that all opinions inserted into the articles must come from a previously published source. Voilà! Chip can write anything he likes, post it at the website of Political Research Associates, and it has been published! Suddenly Chip's writings were in demand, if not in the real world, at least in the nerd-obsessive battleground of Wikipedia.

But who was SlimVirgin? Her identity was a mystery, and as she ascended in the Wikipedia hierarchy, she made many enemies in her ruthless quest for power. The website of Wikipedia critics, the Wikipedia Review, voted her the Most Abusive Admin of 2006. So many editors were banned on various pretexts, merely for arguing with her at Wikipedia, that the quest for her real-life identity began.

One person whom SlimVirgin had managed to seriously offend was Daniel Brandt, pioneering cyber-sleuth and founder of Wikipedia-Watch.org. Brandt, working from the tiniest of clues (for SlimVirgin knew her way around the internet, and covered her tracks with care,) developed the theory that SlimVirgin was actually Sarah McEwan of Alberta, Canada. But not long after, he found other evidence that she was a journalist named Linda Mack, who had lived in England and researched the Lockerbie bombing.

The Byrne Identity

Brandt's findings were debated at the Wikipedia Review; other participants added their research and hunches, until suddenly, there was a breakthrough. Patrick Byrne, the controversial CEO of Overstock.com, came forward and made a positive ID. He described, in this post, his encounter with Linda Mack while a student at Cambridge:

How do you eat an elephant? "One bite at a time." Let's go one bite at a time.

I am sure you, dear reader, share my discomfort in confronting a woman such as SlimVirgin. I have no interest in hurting anyone, especially a fragile woman from my past. On the other hand, we didn't go at SlimVirgin, SlimVirgin came at us, and she is hurting dozens and misleading millions. I want to take the sniper down with a shot to the knee. You may think it silly of me to give you the detail I give here, but if you are welling to suffer a lengthy story, I believe I can give answers to questions you are debating.

I do not have a photo of Linda, but she is worth describing. She was my age, that is, in 1988 we were both mid-twenties, older than the other students by a few years: I had been sick for a few years before starting grad school, and she had taken a few years to do other things as well. Pretty, if not quite beautiful (though she might have been if she wanted), and very, very striking, so much that the few months I knew her left me with vivid mental snapshots of her after these eighteen years. Medium height, well proportioned but not athletic, skin so pale it was a bit eerie. Her hair was either red-dyed-black, or black-dyed-red, and was quite long except for bangs cut flat across her brow (think of "Morticia"). She wore blood-red lipstick. Here I confess a data corruption error, because in most images her eyes are unremarkable, but in one they are not. We had been sitting on a bench in the afternoon, talking, then I said something that I thought innocuous, and she responded, "Patrick (dramatic pause) I'm so hurt that you said that." I thought she was kidding and looked into her eyes. In this memory alone they are incredibly light blue, huge, with thick lashes curled back, welling with tears.

I felt badly, but it also felt like a trick. This was probably the first time in my life I did not fall for it automatically, and realized I don't have to give the click-whrrr response expected of me. I apologized, but made a note. Generalizing from my own experience (pardon the supermarket psychology and latent sexism): you get to know a guy, he says some frat-boy thing, and you say to yourself, "Ah, fratboy." Or a gal says something really strong and confident and you say to yourself, "This woman has it going on." Or a guy says something that shows he is not about fighting to be alpha and you say, "Cool guy" (and you give him the same sign, I hope). I think there are dozens of categories we develop like this over time. There is one I have had only a few occasions to use, from a line in an old Western: "The Indians will leave you along now, Woman, because you are 'touched'." On a small number of occasions I've gotten to know a woman and realized fairly quickly that she was not just fragile (which is fine), but "touched" and had to be treated with kid gloves. I'd say, example #1 from my life would be SlimVirgin.

I mentioned SlimVirgin's Victorian dress to convey what I just explained above. In a student pub in which kids wore jeans and tee shirts, she wore flowing, ruby red and emerald green dresses that were more costumes than attire. I am the last guy in the world to criticize another's dress (as a student, I'd change my shirt once/week whether it needed it or not, and I chose clothes less with an eye to fashion than utility: for example, I spent my undergrad years in cowboy boots and a Mexican poncho). But in a 1988 English student pub at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, SlimVirgin would show up dressed like she was ready for the start of the evening shift at Denver Dolly's Saloon and Cat House, c. 1890.

There were occasional student dances in the basement: SlimVirgin stood out as a dancer (not hard to do in England, where even women dance poorly and men think Sid Vicious is hip). She was a great dancer in a Grateful-Dead-Seaweed-Wave kind of way, but with more style and rhythm than you'd see at a Dead show. But what I remember about her was her sense that she was Den Mother, somehow in charge of the party.

I hope the reader understands now why I described SlimVirgin at this length. She's the kind you meet and realize, you'd better not only be on best behavior, you'd better walk on egg shells, and not return any flirty overtures, even in a good-natured way, or else you are going to come in one day and find that someone boiled your bunny.

I vaguely recollect what I said over dinner that upset her, but am not completely sure I am not confusing incidents. So as best as I remember, it was this: a group of us were stretched along both sides of a dining hall table. Nearing the end of dinner and feeling like clowning around a bit, I reached across the table for a French Fry from my friend Jeremy's plate, and said in a posh English boarding school boy's accent that I was just learning to imitate, "Say, may I have one of your ch-ips, lad?" Everyone froze. I suddenly remembered that Linda been using a British accent for a few weeks, people froze because there were wondering if I were making fun of her, or if Linda would think I was making fun of her, and there I was stuck with a fry half-way to my mouth, so while the others stared at their food I popped the fry into my mouth and smiled at her in an attempt to show friendliness, but instead she threw her face down in her hands.

As I said, I cannot swear with certainty that those were the events. But if it was not that exactly, it was something very much like it, and I remember wanting to reach out to her to say, "No, I was not even been thinking of you when I made the joke, it was thoughtless of me, I don't think you're being pretentious for switching to a British accent," or whatever I had to say to soothe her. I backed away as some women there (led by a lovely Scottish woman called, “Kanya” I think) tried to console her, and when some time later another guy came to the pub to tell me, "Linda's very upset at what you said," I did go back to apologize and explain, but a few women and Julian were sitting there with her, and Julian waved me off. It was the first time I recall seeing Julian and Linda together, and they began dating that evening. I believe he left Cambridge and was killed over Lockerbie the following week, or one or two after that at the latest.

After Julian’s death, she wore long black gowns.

No one has the right to say to anyone, "You only dated a guy for a few days (or a few weeks or whatever) before he was murdered, so you don't have the right to consider yourself, 'a widow.'" I know I have had brief flings that, had after we parted the gal been murdered, I would certainly have been crushed and felt a duty to avenge her. So no one has a right to judge another in such circumstances. So I never bought into the snickers that started to go around, mostly among women. I suppose what did seem a little inappropriate, however, was her emergence as one of the "leaders" of the Pan Am #103 families: as word of that spread, it did seem a bit off, and we all wondered how exactly she was portraying her relationship with Julian.

Her use of "families" in my earlier story was definitely intended in the "Families of Pan Am 103" sense. That said, she did project a sense of having “come from a good family" in Canada, used not as a crass euphemism for "wealthy," but simply, she was cosmopolitan and well-mannered (albeit dramatic). In short, she was from a family of well-educated people, and spoke of relations who were artists, writers, or teachers, I seem to recall.

I just rang up a friend of mine from those days, an English woman with whom I have not spoken in years (the one who told me, when I asked about Linda in 1989 or 1990, that she had moved off to London or New York, and was making Pan Am #103 her life's work). I just tracked down this old friend of mine in London. I'll summarize her recollection: "Yes I remember Julian. He was a very nice boy. Linda was a weirdo. She came to the King's Bar dressed like a Goth, and was always crying in public. After Lockerbie she was a wreck, but she was a wreck before it as well. We felt badly for her, but after a time it seemed like she was milking it, there with the wives and brothers and children of the deceased. I think I said something awful about it, but I mean, really. I recall thinking she was parlaying it into getting a job as a glamorous reporter. And she did: didn't she leave and end up working for ABC?"

I find it highly improbable that she was ever employed by any intelligence service. I would imagine that such groups have psychological filters through which to screen candidates to select those who are emotionally tough and stable. SlimVirgin's instability could be spotted from across the street. It is not out of the question that she could be used by one or more of them, simply by holding out the promise of feeling important. However, she would be of extremely limited use, I would imagine, and one would always have to fear her stability.

That, in excruiating detail, is that. If you have read this far I do hope you accept my apologies for the length. I have followed your efforts to expose perfidy within Wikipedia, perfidy which seems to cluster around SlimVirgin. I knew I had information that might answer some of your questions, but thought that if I just wrote out my impressions it would come across as simple gossip, though by sharing details I could convey the broadest possible picture that could be of use to you.

In sum: you are facing a person who is intelligent but went from unstable to unhinged, someone who floated around the international press corps then disappeared. She would be, I think, incapable of designing on her own any grand plan such as what you imagine, but she would be an easy target for someone who wanted to manipulate her into devoting her energy and intelligence to a bad cause, probably by flattering her desire to play an important role while confusing her with talk of higher purpose.

The Cooley Memorandum

Shortly thereafter, the following email, from a former ABC news reporter named John K. Cooley, was posted at the Wikipedia Review website by Daniel Brandt:

Dear Daniel Brandt:

After the Panam 103 Lockerbie bombing disaster in December 1988, when I was based in London as an investigative and radio reporter for ABC News, Pierre Salinger (then London bureau chief for ABC) and I hired Linda, then a grad student at Cambridge to help in the investigation. She claimed to have lost a friend/lover on pan103 and so was anxious to clear up the mystery. ABC News paid for her travel and expenses as well as a salary.

Notable was a trip she made to Damascus (where Salinger and I both touched down, among many other places during our year's investigation), where she wanted to interview Ahmed Jibril of the PFLP-GC, then a prime suspect. He wouldn't talk to her. Later, after we had been working with Jordanian intelligence, she befriended one of their officers who came to London to ferret out Abu Nidal's bank accounts. Once the two Libyan suspects were indicted, she seemed to try to point the investigation in the direction of Qaddafi, although there was plenty of evidence, both before and after the trials of Maghrebi and Fhima in the Netherlands, that others were involved, probably with Iran the commissioning power.

I was no longer based in London when it happened, but in 1991-92, after Salinger had traveled to Tripoli and successfully interviewed the two Libyan suspects (before their move to Netherlands), Special Branch of Scotland Yard demanded all of our tapes (including those not broadcast). Salinger came to believe that Linda was working for MI-5 and had been from the beginning; assigned genuinely to investigate Panam 103, but also to infiltrate and monitor us. ABC refused to hand over the tapes and other documents the Brits wanted; Special Branch raided our office and Salinger blamed Linda for this. (At two subsequent trials, ABC lost an expensive court case and had to hand over tapes and documents, none of which contained any conclusive evidence about the Libyans). At this point Salinger fired Linda and locked her out of the office, after she had been spreading some malicious rumors about him.

I never saw her again after leaving London for my new base in Cyrpus in late 1991. I believe she made one phone call to me, but I avoided further communication with her. I don't have any pictures. When I last saw her, Linda was slim, brunette and had a kind of wan beauty, like a heroine in a Charles Adams cartoon or an upgrade horror film. Salinger, of course, has long since gone to the great newsroom in the sky. That's really all I can tell you: other details have faded from my memory. I hope this helps.

Sincerely, John K. Cooley

Shortly after this post appeared, Cooley was contacted by Linda Mack and asked to refrain from assisting Daniel Brandt in his investigation. This established that Brandt & Co. had hit the bullseye.

In late August of 2007, Daniel Brandt contacted Dr. Jim Swire, a spokesperson for the British Organization "UK Families Flight 103," and asked whether he knew of Linda Mack. Brandt reports the following response: "I can confirm that the lady then calling herself Linda Mack was a Cambridge graduate and attempted to infiltrate an early meeting between our group (UK Families-Flight 103) and the American families in London. We had her thrown out when we discovered that she was 'wired' with a microphone under her coat." Brandt adds, "Dr Swire further stated that David Ben-Aryeah, who worked with Allan Francovich on the Maltese Double-Cross film, assisted in the ejection of Linda Mack from the joint relatives meeting."

In May of 2011, a post appeared by Mark Mitchell of the "Deep Capture" blog. In it he reports that in 2006, he interviewed Edwin Boillier, who was suspected (perhaps falsely) of manufacturing the suitcase bomb that was ultimately used to blow up Pan Am 103. According to Mitchell, "Boiller said that Linda Mack had visited him at his office in Switzerland and told him that she was working for MI5. Boillier also said that Mack seemed inclined to implicate Libya and to exonerate Iran."

It is assumed that Mack changed her named to Sarah McEwan after being disgraced in the Salinger affair. However, the team of Berlet and SlimVirgin continued to play a dominant role at Wikipedia. The Cooley memorandum establishes that Linda Mack, like Chip Berlet, attempted to use conventional media as a vehicle for the dissemination of propaganda and disinformation, and suffered an embarrassing exposure. However, unlike Chip, who is anxious to have his name appear as an "expert" in Wikipedia as many times as is possible, Linda Mack apparently saw Wikipedia as an opportunity to resume her activities under what was assumed to be an unbreakable, protective cloak of anonymity.

The Summer of '07: Linda Mack becomes "notable"

On July 26, 2007, Ludwig De Braeckeleer authored an article for the Korean news service OhmyNews, which contained information similar to that which had previously appeared on the web page which you are presently reading. This lead to a flurry of similar articles all around the world, including this one in Russian (now available here in English translation.)

Around the same time, Wikipedia Review researchers announced that they had found significant references to Linda Mack in two books, I Solemnly Swear: Conmen, DEA, the Media and Pan Am 103 by Micheal T. Hurley, and Pan Am 103: The Bombing, The Betrayals, and a Bereaved Family's Search for Justice, by Susan and Daniel Cohen.

On August 1, 2007, Daniel Brandt provided a summary at the Wikipedia Review of what the research had thus far confirmed:

Let me summarize what I think we know.

1. SlimVirgin is Linda Mack who studied philosophy at King's College, lost a close friend on PanAm 103, and worked for Pierre Salinger at ABC News, London from about 1989-1991 on the PanAm 103 investigation.

2. She pursued various PanAm 103 conspiracy theories, but once the two Libyans were indicted, she seemed to steer the investigation in the direction of the government's case against Libya, according to John K. Cooley, who along with Pierre Salinger, was responsible for hiring her at ABC.

3. Pierre Salinger interviewed the two Libyans in Tripoli, and believed, along with quite a few independent investigators, that they were either completely innocent, or only peripherally involved, perhaps unwittingly.

4. Syria's support in the Gulf War was important to the West. The leading theory until such time that the finger was pointed at Libya, was that Syria was involved, perhaps with Iran bankrolling them, in retaliation for the Iranian airliner that the U.S. shot down.

5. Scotland Yard raided ABC and made off with videotapes and documents. ABC fought in court, and after an expensive battle, lost the case.

6. Salinger came to believe that Linda Mack was working for MI5, and had been all along. He locked her out of her office.

7. Michael S. Morris, a former BOSS (South Africa) agent who investigated PanAm 103, has named Linda Mack as an "agent."

8. For at least two or three years after this, Linda Mack worked on the case as a freelancer. She started a petition drive against Allan Francovich's film, The Maltese Double-Cross: Lockerbie. This film promoted a conspiracy theory that was at odds with the government's case against Libya.

9. Linda Mack next shows up in Canada in 2002, registering the domain slimvirgin.com, using the name S. McEwan and a PO box in Swalwell, Alberta, Canada. Patrick Byrne, who knew Linda Mack at Cambridge, says she was half Canadian, and she switched on an English accent suddenly one day at Cambridge, and continued to use it from that point forward.

10. The email address on the slimvirgin.com domain registration was [email protected]. The email address for Linda Mack on the alumni list at King's College, Cambridge was also [email protected]. This mailing list was purged of Linda Mack's name several months ago. Similarly, the domain registration became a private registration within the last year.

11. One "Sarah McEwan, Canada" wrote comments or sent a letter to telegraph.co.uk in Britain in support of animal rights in 2004.

12. SlimVirgin signs her name as "Sarah" on the Wikipedia mailing list.

13. Daniel Brandt emailed slimvirgin AT gmail.com in late October, 2005, using a pseudonym, and asked if she would be interested in selling the slimvirgin.com domain. Twice she denied that she was the owner of that domain.

14. SlimVirgin's IP address geolocates to Shaw Communications in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, but the accuracy of this is disputed and she could be living in either Alberta or Saskatchewan.

15. SlimVirgin indicated a very early interest in the PanAm 103 article when she started editing Wikipedia sometime on or before November 5, 2004. At least one edit that was oversighted suggests inside knowledge of the Pierre Salinger investigation.

16. Jimmy Wales has admitted that articles have been oversighted to protect the identity of SlimVirgin and others.

17. Today almost no one with knowledge about the investigation, including Robert Baer, the CIA official who was close to the CIA's investigation at the time, pretends that the Libyans were guilty.

18. SlimVirgin has made a comment on a Talk page suggesting that the Libyan in prison is not guilty.

19. After Daniel Brandt emailed John K. Cooley in Athens, Greece to ask about Linda Mack, she called Cooley to ask him not to talk to Brandt. She had read on Wikipedia Review that Brandt had located Cooley, and was hoping to hear from him. But Brandt had already received Cooley's response shortly before Linda Mack made this call.

20. Various articles that are politically significant, in addition to the PanAm 103 articles, suffer from excessive ownership by SlimVirgin in that they are seriously skewed in directions that she has promoted and protected. These include articles about Lyndon LaRouche. Moreover, several months before SlimVirgin started the stub on Daniel Brandt, she declared that Brandt was an unreliable source on the topic of one Chip Berlet.


SlimVirgin and Sockpuppetry


In late August, it became known that SlimVirgin had created one or more additional accounts to edit Wikipedia, a practice known as "sockpuppetry." This is done for a variety of reasons, including to create fake "allies" in edit disputes, or to carry out actions that one does not wish to be a attributed to one's primary "identity." This revelation was particulary ironic, because SlimVirgin had used allegations of sockpuppetry, often based on the most tenuous circumstantial evidence, to ban many of her opponents in disputes over article content.

However, the evidence against SlimVirgin was not merely circumstantial. The evidence demonstrates that SlimVirgin did in fact engage in sockpuppetry, and then conspired with an ally to cover-up the evidence. A Wikipedia Review researcher who uses the handle "Wordbomb" posted a meticulously researched article on his blog, entitled "The Skinny on SlimVirgin’s Sockpuppetry," which provoked a heated debate on the Wikipedia Administrators' incident noticeboard. It provoked another heated debate behind the scenes on the secret Arbitration Committee email list, which became known after the contents of the list were leaked to the Wikipedia Review much later in July, 2011. Jimbo Wales frets in those emails that "it looks more like there was sockpuppetry of the bad kind."

Ultimately, a SlimVirgin sockpuppet account known as "Sweet Blue Water" was blocked from editing as a "Sockpuppet of administrator SlimVirgin, used abusively," but then subsequently unblocked by Jimbo, who said that it was an "inappropriate block." Jimbo also banned a Wikipedia editor who was investigating the topics where SlimVirgin had made some of her most questionable edits, including the articles on Pierre Salinger and the Lockerbie bombing, on the grounds that the investigator was "disrupting Wikipedia to make a point."

The environment of scandal began to take its toll on SlimVirgin, and on September 27, 2007, she discontinued regular editing. However, on that same day, a new account was created at Wikipedia, called "Sunsplash." On October 15, "Sunsplash" suddenly began an agressive bout of editing, focusing on articles related to Lyndon LaRouche, who is known to be a particular obsession for both SlimVirgin and Chip Berlet. Within 24 hours this activity had been detected and analyzed by watchdogs at the Wikipedia Review, and within another 24 hours the editing by Sunsplash abruptly ceased.

A Wikipedia prankster's revision of Sunsplash's user page


Linda Mack resumed editing as "SlimVirgin" on November 2, 2007. By mid-2008, however, the SlimVirgin account was again the center of controversy. A case against SlimVirgin was filed before the Arbitration Committee, and was subsequently merged with another case, involving other controversial Wikipedia administrators who had used administrator powers to impose their political agendas on the project. The merged case, entitled C68-FM-SV ("SV" meaning SlimVirgin,) concluded with an admonition to administrators about the "use of administrator privileges in disputes as to which the administrator is, or may reasonably be perceived as being, involved in the underlying dispute."

On November 26, 2008, SlimVirgin had her administrator powers revoked by the Arbitration Committee (this is called being "desysopped") for a period of 6 months. The reasoning behind this move was complicated and had relatively little to do with her long history of abuse of those powers. However, as is often the case with the enforcement of Wikipedia's policies, the action reflects the fact that her conduct had made her many, many enemies, and the pretext which was ultimately used to topple her is of little importance.

On July 23, 2008, Chip Berlet was blocked for incivility for 24 hours, meaning that his editing privileges were suspended for that period of time. There was a debate at the Administrators' noticeboard over the block; SlimVirgin was chided by some participants for refusing to engage in the debate, preferring to try to engineer an overturning of the block from behind the scenes. Her efforts were unsuccessful. Although Chip had been blocked before for similar reasons, he evidently considered this to be the final straw, and he proclaimed that he was leaving Wikipedia. His "user page" was subsequently deleted.

In 2009, SlimVirgin was restored to full aministrator status at Wikipedia, where she continues to play a leading role up to the present day.

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Glossary of Wikipedia terms and tactics

1. POV: Point of View

2. POV pusher: one who imposes his Point of View on Wikipedia articles. Successful POV pushing is the sine qua non for hard-core Wikipedia contestants.

3. Consensus: discussion among editors is supposed to result in consensus, which theoretically will help establish a Neutral Point of View in articles. In practice, the term "consensus" refers to the dominant POV at any particular moment.

4. Admin: Short for administrator. Acquiring admin authority is another highly desired objective for Wikipedia contestants. It enables you, for example, to block or ban your opponents. It is similar to the way some video games function, where by attaining a higher level of the game, the contestant acquires new powers.

5.Blocks and bans: a contestant may be temporarily blocked from editing by an Admin, or permanently banned. Normally the reason given is that the contestant is violating Wikipedia rules. However, more powerful admins (see Cabal) may use other rationales, such as simply calling the contestant "disruptive," or a "sockpuppet." "Sockpuppets" are new online editing identities created by adding additional accounts; this can be detected by a check of IP number, unless the contestant uses a service provider with dynamic IP, which is quite common. SlimVirgin is famous for saying that she didn't need an IP number check to detect a sockpuppet, because she possesses "exceptionally well-honed linguistic analytic skills."

6. Tag Team: editors, or in the more advanced form, administrators, who team up to influence consensus. Administrators may team up to block or otherwise sanction one another's opponents, to create the desired consensus. Two of SlimVirgin's most well-known tag team partners are Jayjg and Will Beback.

7. Oversighting: an edit history is maintained on each Wikipedia article, so that the reader can read all previous versions of each article and see how and by whom it was altered. However, in special cases, an admin can erase portions of the edit history, a practice called "oversighting." This technique was used to destroy evidence of misconduct by SlimVirgin by her tag team partners, notably Jayjg.

8. The Cabal: the highest gaming level of Wikipedia. Becoming a member of The Cabal means attaining unheard of powers, including effective immunity from all rules. However, to attain these powers, one must adjust one's own POV to suit that of The Cabal. The Cabal was described by Wikipedia chieftain Jimbo Wales as a concept that would "empower some shadowy mysterious elite group of us to do things that might not be possible for newbies."

9. Notability: A person who has received significant press coverage may become the subject of a Wikipedia biographical article. This is called being "notable." Linda Mack may have finally crossed this important threshold.


Jimbo Wales, founder and god-king

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