BullRangifer

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The Devil's Advocate
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BullRangifer

Post by The Devil's Advocate » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:51 am

I had been interested in doing a follow-up on this post by Sashi regarding BullRangifer stating he was a listmaster for a Quackwatch mailing list. Having previously looked into BullRangifer's activity, I found it interesting that he was so much involved in Quackwatch. The site was founded by scientific skeptic Stephen Barrett who also founded the National Council Against Health Fraud. During my previous inquiries, I learned BullRangifer's real name and it turns out he had also been involved with the NCAHF as well on numerous occasions. He seemed to have been closely associated with Barrett and his skeptic activism. More interesting is that earlier in his time on Wikipedia, BullRangifer made various edits to Barrett's page. Such edits were both seemingly the usual cruft used for promotional purposes and removing unflattering information. Natch, there is no disclosure of any kind about his close ties to Barrett.

What first caused me to take notice of BullRangifer was probably his editing of the article on Jenny McCarthy. As with most debunkers on Wikipedia, the BLPs of anyone with any kind of fringe view is an inevitable target. McCarthy was a target because of her views on vaccines and the claims of a link to autism. The Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia group, who have received glowing coverage in the media, bragged about how they added some pro-vaccine attack on McCarthy to her article when she became a co-host on talk show The View then some other editor came along and expanded it. Said editor who expanded it was Bull Rangifer who tacked on numerous lengthy quotations from people bashing McCarthy and her being selected as a co-host for The View. What resulted was a massive section about people criticizing her selection as a co-host on The View to the point the article afterwards had a section about her vaccine views representing more than half the article contents with the sub-section criticizing her new job at The View being roughly a fifth of the article.

As noted over on other threads here, BullRangifer has taken his approach into the political sphere of Wikipedia as well. Particularly he has been rather improper regarding BLPs in articles and his userspace rants.

Proabivouac
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Re: BullRangifer

Post by Proabivouac » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:03 am

The Devil's Advocate wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:51 am
During my previous inquiries, I learned BullRangifer's real name…
Well, what is it? Are you going to carry this secret to the grave?
The Devil's Advocate wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:51 am
…and it turns out he had also been involved with the NCAHF as well on numerous occasions.
How do we know this if we can't evaluate your identification?

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Pudeo
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Re: BullRangifer

Post by Pudeo » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:51 am

Just check the Sucks thread.

There was also a 2007 ArbCom case about BullRangifer aka Fyslee (his previous nick on Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia ... _Rosenthal

That had a a fairly critical finding on him. It's funny that despite that, he has continued on the same topic sometimes in rather controversial ways for 10 years. I guess not many were aware of that case or wanted to wikilawyer it. Also, what's mentioned in the evidence section is that BullRangifer is claimed to have been personally involved in lawsuits with people who he has claimed to be quackers and whose articles he has edited. I don't know if it's true but it wasn't redacted or denied either.

Proabivouac
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Re: BullRangifer

Post by Proabivouac » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:03 am

Pudeo wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:51 am
Just check the Sucks thread.
I am just hoping that WP:BADSITES has no force on Wikirev.org:

https://www.wikipediasucks.co/forum/vie ... ifer#p6599
Pisto wrote: BullRangifer was formerly known as Fyslee on Wikipedia. As recently mentioned on Wikirev forums, he admitted to being the Assistant Listmaster for Quackwatch on his talk page [1]. This didn't stop him from being one of the most active participants determining Quackwatch to be a reliable source in all four discussions: [1][2][3][4]. He even made one editor retire from Wikipedia because he attacked him so harshly that the editor no longer felt welcome, disagreeing over Quackwatch. Fyslee identifies as Paul Lee, who ran Quack-Files, on Sourcewatch. There is an archive available of his personal Geocities page. There seems to be just one working photograph of him on the site. Interesting how those kind of early mailing list activists turned into active Wikipedians, and their site ended up being an acknowledged reliable source.

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The Devil's Advocate
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Re: BullRangifer

Post by The Devil's Advocate » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:01 pm

Proabivouac wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:03 am
Well, what is it? Are you going to carry this secret to the grave?

. . .

How do we know this if we can't evaluate your identification?
Even without the WS thread, it would have been trivially easy to find that information yourself with just what I provided.
Pudeo wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:51 am
Just check the Sucks thread.

There was also a 2007 ArbCom case about BullRangifer aka Fyslee (his previous nick on Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia ... _Rosenthal

That had a a fairly critical finding on him. It's funny that despite that, he has continued on the same topic sometimes in rather controversial ways for 10 years. I guess not many were aware of that case or wanted to wikilawyer it. Also, what's mentioned in the evidence section is that BullRangifer is claimed to have been personally involved in lawsuits with people who he has claimed to be quackers and whose articles he has edited. I don't know if it's true but it wasn't redacted or denied either.
Very interesting and convenient. The caution is quite relevant to his history on political topics and skeptic topics. Going by this finding and the cited link, it seems there is no problem with giving out his real name and some of his associations. ArbCom already outed Fyslee, now BullRangifer, as Paul Lee of QuackFiles so this would not even be a violation on Wikipedia proper (albeit anyone in good standing wanting to keep their account should avoid mentioning his name unless discussing his COI). Lee's involvement with NCAHF can be seen through mentions in newsletters where they announce a web-ring he created. More significantly is another newsletter where they list him as the point of contact for a task force being organized by the NCAHF.

He has been previously questioned on COI and his response is bizarre and contradictory:
The accusation of a COI was never proven. I have never worked for or edited the Quackwatch website. That's an urban legend. The fact that I share POV with QW (and thus all scientific skeptics) is not a COI. The fact that I have written a few emails to Barrett seeking information, is not a COI. I usually got no positive result. Frankly he's not always very nice, at least not in print. I have never spoken to him or met him. So, the COI idea is really a very bad faith accusation which needs to be laid to rest.
One wonders how he could have written him e-mails and yet not spoken to him. He said he usually didn't get a positive result, which could mean no response, but "usually" suggests sometimes he did get a response. Perhaps what he really means is that he has never spoken to him vocally, but has exchanged e-mails and other messages. I don't doubt that he may have never met Barrett as his bio suggests he lives on another continent.

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Pudeo
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Re: BullRangifer

Post by Pudeo » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:08 pm

Some of his comments when discussing QW were pretty bizarre:
BullRangifer wrote: ... Context, context, context! That's what determines whether we should use a source or not. Even if we don't use the source in a given situation, that doesn't mean it's "unreliable", and QW is reliable, get that straight. Reliable doesn't mean perfect, but unless you have proof positive it's unreliable in a given situation, you have no right to even assume it's unreliable, but that's obviously your basic assumption, and that calls into question the accuracy of your moral/scientific/medical compass. No one has ever placed QW on a par with Lancet. That's a truly absurd straw man. It's a website, and not a "blog" type website. NEVER call it a "blog" again, got that?! Learn what that term means, and even then, many blogs aren't what they used to be. ... -- BullRangifer (talk) 03:42, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

The California court case was a travesty of justice with an idiot judge and poorly prepared people, and courts don't determine scientific fact or credibility. BTW, Barrett is indeed "biased" in the proper manner. He sides with science, and science agrees that homeopathy is bunk, yet that judge sided with a producer of homeopathic products. -- BullRangifer (talk) 03:35, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
(from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia ... ble_source)
BullRangifer wrote:These disruptive attempts to demote QW are to be seen for what they are. QW is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to exposing pseudoscience, quackery, and health fraud. Enemies of anti-quackery efforts always attack QW. That's a big red flag. Anyone who does that should be watchlisted, as their actions against QW undermine the goal of Wikipedia to favor sources aligned with mainstream RS. These people tend to favor use of unreliable sources. Anyone who is against the anti-quackery efforts of QW is by definition pro-quackery. -- BullRangifer (talk) 03:59, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
(diff)

Now that's some battleground attitude. It's exactly the same as "anyone who believes Trump shouldn't edit Wikipedia" with his essay.

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Dysklyver
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Re: BullRangifer

Post by Dysklyver » Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:18 pm

The Devil's Advocate wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:01 pm
One wonders how he could have written him e-mails and yet not spoken to him. He said he usually didn't get a positive result, which could mean no response, but "usually" suggests sometimes he did get a response. Perhaps what he really means is that he has never spoken to him vocally, but has exchanged e-mails and other messages. I don't doubt that he may have never met Barrett as his bio suggests he lives on another continent.
It could be that he just didn't get anything of substance back. Some people just reply with "thanks for the email" which to be honest is no better than an auto-response and might actually be an auto-response. I have seen some of his emails and he is very together, but does tend to email people with information and stuff before they have asked him for said information, I can imagine that if someone wasn't interested they would just put him on ignore.
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