Boothroyd’s resignation from the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 27, 2009

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
10:29 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

The Register – Sockpuppeting British politico resigns from Wikisupremecourt: A Labour councillor for London’s City of Westminster resigned from Wikipedia’s supreme court at the weekend, after admitting he gained election to the site’s ruling body using a false name… When standing for election to the Arbitration Committee – known in Orwellian fashion as the ArbCom – Boothroyd’s platform included the notion that “editors should be encouraged to register accounts, and then ideally to stick to one account.” On a private email list used by the Arbitration Committee, Boothroyd acknowledged his real identity and admitted to using a second Wikipedia account under the names Fys and Dbiv. He has also used a third account under his own name.

Now, you need to keep in mind here that Iain Dale is a carpet-bagging blog-cheat who tolerates and encourages worse on his website when it suits him (while yelling ‘sock puppet’ at political opponents without a lick of evidence). Iain also has a near-pathological hatred of any ‘lefty’ who dares to have been in the internets longer than him. I mention this mainly so you don’t suffer from undue surprise when Iain continues to show a lack of interest in the detail and just carries on exploiting this rare opportunity to yell ‘sock puppet’ in a leftwards direction.

AFAICS, what has happened here is that a man has tried to move on from his past identities, but fallen into the trap of becoming involved (at an admin/voting level) in some disputes that have overlapped with that past – the result being a conflict of interest in a position/environment that won’t tolerate perceived conflicts, never mind actual ones.

I have every reason to be personally upset with some aspects of this, but I think it’s more important that I encourage you to take some time to look at the detail:

David has resigned from the Arbitration Committee, not Wikipedia as a whole (pardon my sloppy tweet) and certainly not as a councillor as some over-excited people have been saying/thinking.

Many people are speaking up for David’s latter editing record, and I urge you to at least scan this page to get a proper sense of that. At this stage there appears to be little reason to rush about undoing/ignoring all the good work he has done on Wikipedia, but such decisions/judgements are best left in the hands of people with far more experience and credibility than the likes of Iain Dale (or Phil Hendren, for that matter). Again, this is the page to be in on if you want to follow any of that.

– There isn’t a scrap of evidence linking Mr Boothroyd to Damian McBride, but I’m sure the narrative linking the two will persist regardless of any evidence, as it’s politically useful to Conservatives (who will, no doubt, recall all too well the indignity of watching their head of campaigning attempting something far more treacherous and failing on an epic scale).

– David has contributed many comments to this site over the years, and he’s still welcome to do so.


  1. David Boothroyd says

    Thanks, Tim. For what it's worth I did cross over at university with Damian McBride (for one year) but don't ever recall meeting him. Fairly sure he wasn't involved in any Labour students things.

  2. alan_b says

    One of many problems with Wikipedia is that comments and commenters can be disappeared if the comments are not to the liking of the site hierarchy, a bit like Dale and Dorries if you like."Wikipedia Review" has more than its fair share of malcontents but may give you a broader picture, especially if you can wade though this thread.

  3. mikkimoose says

    He hasn't really covered himself with glory with his wikipedia 'career', worthy though most of his edits are. The problem is people have differences of opinion about pretty much everything and this tends to lead to obstreperousness in certain sorts of people. I think he's realised that the resulting bans, etc. don't reflect very well on his public persona, hence going from an open ID to an anonymous one (but with the link to his original 'dbiv' logged) and finally to this ridiculous fake persona.Unfortunately for him this second move seems to have backfired.Is it possible for people to edit wikipedia without getting into feuds? I'm not sure, but my advice is Wikipedia is that it is something it's best not to get into. Especially not anything contentious about which one has firmly held views. The politics is ludicrous. At least MPs get their moats cleaned for free.Amusing that his Wikipedia biography has been swiftly deleted – just as the first article that's actually ABOUT him has been published.PS. He's not the first Wikipedia sockpuppet politician that's commented on your site…

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