Sagecandor returns

Specific discussion about Wikimedia editors and editing of Wikimedia project pages.
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The Devil's Advocate
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Sagecandor returns

Post by The Devil's Advocate » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:24 am

We talked about this editor back last year on Proboards WR when it was suggested Sagecandor could be a sockpuppet of disgraced admin Cirt. Sage was heavily editing articles relating to Trump and other political figures, which would be in brazen violation of Cirt's ban from biographical content on political figures were they the same user. I drilled down all the evidence over there to present a fairly compelling case that it was true. Here is a full quote for posterity:
Given Sagecandor's creation of the Caputo article has appeared to suck in a paid sock-puppeteer and the fact that, if Sage is Cirt, this article would itself be a serious violation of his political biography ban I think it would be good to present all the general evidence of which I am aware that has accumulated regarding the Sage-Cirt allegation.

1. Cirt stopped editing Wikipedia on April 24th. This was after Trump won the New York primary, leaving him as the only candidate capable of a mathematical majority of delegates, and two days before Trump sweeped a number of Northeastern states by substantial majority votes in each state. On May 4th, the day after Trump won a majority in the crucial Indiana primary forcing Cruz to concede and the same day Kasich conceded, making Trump the presumptive Republican nominee, Cirt requested the removal of all his admin privileges on all Wikimedia sites and once that was done made no further contributions on any Wikimedia sites. My opinion is this timing indicates Cirt was responding to Trump's electoral successes and potentially planning a return to editing under an account where he could violate his political biography ban undetected. The roughly six month period of inactivity on a registered account may have been to evade checkuser detection or perhaps waiting for the outcome of the election, maybe both.

2. Several weeks before the 2016 election an Antigua IP user begins making edits related to politics. IP Quality Score claims this IP belongs to a proxy service. Many of the early edits in this period are to an article on a Dr. Who franchise spin-off show called The Class, Dr. Who being one of Cirt's notable editing interests. An edit made to the reception section bears striking similarity to edits made by Cirt to one of his Dr. Who-related articles. Other edits made by the IP show considerable familiarity with Wikipedia formatting. The Antigua IP begins making a series of edits to the article on Fake News in the wake of Trump's victory and just hours after the IP stops editing that page and any others, the Sagecandor account begins editing the same page. For comparison check some edit summaries from edits to the page by the IP user and some others by Sagecandor. It is reasonable to surmise the IP was being used by Sagecandor before that account was created.

3. Both Cirt and Sagecandor have produced a prodigious amount of content about books, especially those related to politics or culture. Sage has created 18 articles about various books all directly or implicitly related to Trump. Cirt was extensive in his editing related to books, typically of a political or societal nature. Out of the 125 articles he raised to Good Article status, 48 were about books, and four out of the 18 Featured Articles he wrote were about books. One noteworthy result of this is both have shown an interest in writing bibliographies. Sagecandor edited the Donald Trump bibliography on Wikipedia to nearly quadruple its size over the course of a couple weeks. As for Cirt, he once successfully requested an exemption to his biography ban so that he could develop the Dan Savage bibliography up to Featured List status.

4. Related to that, another noteworthy convergence in their interests is the intersection of politics and eroticism. Dan Savage was the progenitor of a campaign to have Rick Santorum's last name be associated with a by-product of anal sex. The Wikipedia article on this campaign saw extensive contributions during the early stages of the 2012 presidential election from Cirt and partly served as the basis for his ban from political biography edits. In a similar fashion, Sagecandor's article on the Trump Tower novel was heavily focused on erotic elements to the work. Another bit of editing activity in this vein is his extensive editing of the biography for Elijah Daniel, who authored an erotic novel about Trump. Sagecandor, after some revision, edited the page to triple its size from before his first edit.

5. Lastly, both Sagecandor and Cirt show some similarity in their choice of phrasing on Wikipedia. As sashi outlined in this post, Cirt and Sagecandor both use the rather uncommon phrasing of "respectfully defer to" in comments on Wikipedia. One other choice of phrasing, though more common, was to say "acknowledgment of my" in responding to people speaking positively of his contributions. Both seem to be the most frequent users of that phrasing and are usually the ones using it in the same fashion. My own inquiry showed a number of similar phrasings used in edit summaries, including "commented" and "minor copy edit" that both prove to be very rare, if not unique, summaries as dozens of editors I looked at all consistently used different summaries. Slightly more common, but shared by both, was the use of "re" for replies and another oddity was a recurring typing of "Thank you !" with a space before the exclamation mark.

Any one of the above points would be cause for reasonable suspicion about a Cirt-Sagecandor connection, but all of it together is about as close to meeting Wikipedia's DUCK test as I can imagine absent a direct admission or return by Sagecandor to editing the same exact articles Cirt edited.
After all this started coming out Sagecandor had a sudden and conveniently-timed health crisis that supposedly required him to go offline and short-circuited a request for administrative action against him on an unrelated matter. There were also some signs ArbCom was looking into it and sashi acknowledged reporting it all to them. Well, obviously nothing came of that and a year later Sagecandor's health has suddenly improved and, wouldn't you know it, his health conveniently improved just in time for him to try and use Wikipedia to influence a Supreme Court nomination. That's right. He's back. Credit goes to sashi for catching this and posting about it over on WS.

For the most part his editing had been pretty innocent as he hasn't really tried to influence the content. His choice of editing is revealing as he is focusing on the article on the woman accusing Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Sagecandor also jumped in on the deletion discussion for Kavanaugh's friend Mark Judge, who was also mentioned in the allegations. Judge is very much a bit player in this story as the focus is on Kavanaugh, but he has received some coverage and he has done writing in the past that also got a bit of coverage. Although Sage's editing on this is not really about the allegations, his intention is to add as much content to the page about things other than the assault so as to build a case against deletion.

But wait, there's more! Sage is a prolific editor of articles about books and it just so happens Judge has written some books and they have received some attention from reviewers, though not a lot. Of course, the media feeding frenzy being what it is, these books are now the subject of much conversation and Sage has taken the step of creating a fully-fleshed-out article about one of these books. Given the book received substantially more coverage in light of the accusations against him and Kavanaugh, the references are overwhelmingly mentioning the recent sexual assault accusations. By my count 70% of the references in this article about the book are in response to the recent controversy.

Where will Sage stop? Looks as if he is wrapping up and trying to get the book article "good article" status given he is suddenly doing GA reviews. Other books of Judge's have also had a number of reviews. Could Sage go for a full bibliography for a bit player in a sexual assault allegation against a nominee for the Supreme Court? I awaited with bated breath.

sashi
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Re: Sagecandor returns

Post by sashi » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:35 pm

lol. "poor guy". When I read SC accusing someone of "specious arguments" in the AfD on Mark Judge's BLP, it brought back memories of their attack-dog style. WRC has suggested they get their articles ready-made from a publishing-house source. I'm less convinced. I'm surprised nobody notices the difference between their obsequiousness at drama boards and their badgering banshee prose at AfDs and on talk pages (either telling "enemy" scribblerz to FO -- in not so many words of course, usually just with DIFF -- or telling "fellow traveler" scribblerz just what fine barnstormers they all are).

Here they are putting their Commons skilz to work. Isn't there a text version of the Congressional Record somewhere? :shock:

Or are .jpgs just more stylish vertical blockquotes :ugeek: ?

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The Devil's Advocate
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Re: Sagecandor returns

Post by The Devil's Advocate » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:14 am

He created an article for yet another book Judge wrote and again the vast majority of sources are responding to the allegations about Kavanaugh.

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Proabivouac
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Re: Sagecandor returns

Post by Proabivouac » Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:38 am

I hope that Ms. Candor follows through with her commitment to testify before the Senate tomorrow. It was extraordinarily courageous of her to step forward and tell her story.

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The Devil's Advocate
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Re: Sagecandor returns

Post by The Devil's Advocate » Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:00 am

Sagecandor has now created an article for every single book Judge has written. He has also nominated every last article, as well as Judge's own article for the DYK section. Two have already been approved. A few of these articles don't have the overwhelming use of recent sources, possibly because there was not enough recent coverage, but all of them have at least a few references related to Kavanaugh. Given Cirt was such a fan of the SEO smear campaign against Rick Santorum, I have to wonder if he is applying a similar approach here in creating all these articles.

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Dysklyver
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Re: Sagecandor returns

Post by Dysklyver » Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:38 pm

And to think that only last week Mark Judge was at AfD as a BLP1E...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia ... e_(writer)
Editor of the The Wiki Cabal. Find me on the Wikipediocracy Discord.

Proabivouac
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Re: Sagecandor returns

Post by Proabivouac » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:48 am

Dysklyver wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:38 pm
And to think that only last week Mark Judge was at AfD as a BLP1E...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia ... e_(writer)
Wikimedia DC' treasurer and close "Small Hands" Gamaliel and Gorilla Warfare ally Andrew Lih ("Fuzheado") argues to keep:
Fuzheado wrote: Before recent events brought him more noteriety, he was already the author of multiple books related to Georgetown Prep life and Washington D.C. area culture, and served as a contributing writer at prominent outlets such as The Daily Caller and The American Spectator. The recent events magnify these existing themes even more, so his bio should not be seen as a WP:BLP1E violation for "only for one event." The third criteria of BLP1E is not met.
Wikipedia looks to be basically this guy's entire life:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewlih/
https://wikimediadc.org/wiki/Committees

No house bias here, nosiree.
The Devil's Advocate wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:00 am
Given Cirt was such a fan of the SEO smear campaign against Rick Santorum, I have to wonder if he is applying a similar approach here in creating all these articles.
Why was Cirt allowed to return? Probably just said, "Guys, relax, I'm with the DNC!" It's not true that Wikipedians lack a strong sense of right versus wrong.

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Pudeo
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Re: Sagecandor returns

Post by Pudeo » Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:17 pm

Well, what would happen if a regural SPI was filed with all the "coincidences" listed here?

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The Devil's Advocate
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Re: Sagecandor returns

Post by The Devil's Advocate » Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:41 am

Pudeo wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:17 pm
Well, what would happen if a regural SPI was filed with all the "coincidences" listed here?
For the sake of convenience if you should want to file an SPI case, as I linked to some posts in the quote of my evidence compilation and links on Proboards archives can be tricky sometimes, here are the links from Sashi's posts regarding common phrasing:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?se ... fulltext=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?se ... fulltext=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?se ... s1=1&ns3=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?se ... s1=1&ns3=1

Here are the ones from my posts (modified slightly in the first case to take you to specific examples):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk ... _FA_review

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk ... nother_one

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk ... e_1#Thanks

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... tart=&end=

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?li ... tart=&end=

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?li ... tart=&end=

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?li ... tart=&end=

Additionally, some evidence has been posted in a members-only section of WO by tarantino and more recently by Mr. Ernie. Don't know if you have an account there or not, but I'll post it here as well. Back when this was first brought up, tarantino identified a bit of code on both the Cirt and Sagecandor user pages to prevent it from having a table of contents:

https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php? ... did=953020

https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php? ... d=16907929

He also noted a tendency to create new user pages:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?li ... tart=&end=

Mr. Ernie identified another commonality where both have a habit of stating the word for a number followed by a parenthetical with the digit. He didn't provide a link, but here are some examples:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia ... ating_ISIS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia ... violation)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:No_worries/GA2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Parl ... /Archive_1

Worth noting that one detail I noted involving the use of "minor copy edit" with each a single word apparently did not go unnoticed as none of the edits made since Sagecandor's return have exhibited that particular quirk. However, I happened to stumble upon an even more distinctive quirk involving diffs. When Cirt and Sagecandor present diffs they have a shared tendency to say "at DIFF" with all the letters of "diff" capitalized. I found exactly one instance of someone else doing that and I mean one other person did it one time. All other instances where someone cited a diff that way it was either Cirt or Sagecandor doing it. Here are some examples (far from exhaustive as they both do it a lot):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Elij ... ther_links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Spec ... ng_content

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Type ... intro_sect

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia ... ember_2015

Another slight oddity is a habit of posting new sections on the talk page where each paragraph is basically one sentence:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... ws_website

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... news_sites

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... is_article

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... ublication

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... =714914677

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... ation_sect

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... eeded_soon

That is probably not as distinctive, but given everything else it is just further corroboration. We have a trait that is a lot more common, but is still revealing. Sagecandor's sudden departure in the wake of the evidence presented last year is not unusual behavior for Cirt. When he was still using the Smee account he was named as a party to an arbitration case involving a Scientology-focused user called COFS. If you look at the date when that case was requested and the date when it closed, you will notice a neat correlation to when Smee stopped editing and Cirt started editing. Hardly the only editor to ghost when facing the risk of sanctions, but this is another trait Sagecandor and Cirt share in common.

Lastly, this is something that is a little harder to get, but on Sagecandor's user page he states, "When I was a child, I would read the World Book Encyclopedia. And when I say read it, I mean surf it." We don't know Cirt's identity, but given how long he has been editing and his apparent age being at least 20's when he started, it is reasonable to say any edition of that encyclopedia he read as a child would be from around the 80's. Turns out Cirt has indeed suggested a reference to a 1989 edition of the World Book Encyclopedia regarding Scientology. Being such an oddly-specific year and the unlikely event that this was the only edition with a usable entry on Scientology, it stands to reason Cirt had personal access to this edition as one might if it was something in the possession of his family since his childhood as Sagecandor's statement would indicate is the case.

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Pudeo
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Re: Sagecandor returns

Post by Pudeo » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:14 pm

I don't have a WO account.

Having gone through all of that more closely to file the SPI, the behavioral evidence is pretty damn convincing. I also noticed that the IP did the one sentence for paragraphs thing on talk pages and listed that one too.

Now let's see. I'm proving you critics that Wikipedia processes work!

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