This smells like an undisclosed paid sock farm to me. Both editing in the same area and creating the same kind of promotional articles. The master created HiSmile last month, and the suspected sock created Alex Tomic and Nik Mirkovic (founders of HiSmile). I reviewed the two accounts and found multiple similarities between the two that I'll be happy to share through an email. Requesting CU for technical evidence. GSS (talk|c|em) 15:14, 13 November 2018 (UTC)
Accused parties may also comment/discuss in this section below. See Defending yourself against claims.
Zenomonoz (originally User:Mctuker) edited sporadically from 2010 to 2018, when he was blocked for socking. His other accounts were User:Nomnomnomnz (originally Limereid) and User:Businessppl. He focussed on businesspeople (particularly their net worth) and topics related to Dunedin, New Zealand.
I think that 126.96.36.199 is Zenomonoz because the IP edited Trojan Holdings and Company Bay (two obscure Dunedin-related articles edited by Zenomonoz and his socks and IPs) and added net worth-related material to National Business Review (a New Zealand-based business newspaper). This edit to Healthcare and the LGBT community is juvenile trolling.
188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 are likely also Zenomonoz: both have recently made net-worth edits to pages he previously edited.
Edit to add:
1) While I'm inclined to doubt that this person is studying for a PhD, I don't wish to further embarrass him by making my reasons for thinking so public.
2) No, the IPs are definitely all Sxologist: they geolocate to the Otago region, while Freeknowledgecreator edits from a different area of New Zealand. How would Freeknowledgecreator know that making net worth-related edits from a Dunedin-based IP would implicate Sxologist? And why would he begin making these IP edits even before Sxologist had registered an account? Here is a fuller list of IPs Sxologist has used:
The old accounts are me (and the few edits on them are harmless), see diff.
Accused parties may also comment/discuss in this section below. See Defending yourself against claims.
Hi, yes – I apologize, I will admit that was me as Zenomonoz and Businessppl. I originally started as Zenomonoz and was editing random business figures, but I wanted a new account due to previous edits which made me somewhat identifiable and went to Bsnsppl. These accounts, however, have little relation to what I edit on now. I was simply dumb and didn't know that there were correct procedures for changing names, Businessppl was banned as a sock of the former. You can see here where I got accused of being a paid farm because of it, but that wasn't the case – I was just dumb, didn't understand how to go about things properly and didn't understand the problem with making another account. (Edit: this case, where a user was not banned, mirrors the same circumstances of my original ban. If you check my editing histories I never concurrently edited between them and expressed the unblock request here where I make that point clear. I also didn't edit in sexology or psychology on those accounts, at all. I do however accept that I should've made this clear which I apologize for.)
At the start of this year I was looking at sexual orientation articles which are at least related to psychology (but my focus is psychometrics involving instrumental variables estimation). I found a lot of the sexual orientation articles were outdated, relying on poor sources and had POV pushing, so I made Sxologist and started editing in sexology articles (where I had not edited before). I didn't come in as someone "evading" my shady past, I actually came in as somewhat of a WP novice and got reverted a few times because I was writing like WP was a personal meta analysis instead of relying on secondary sources. I improved on that front rather quickly.
I did have some reason to not declare my prior editing when asked. First, I assumed it was irrelevant given the difference in editing interested (despite GNU linking similar patterns, those comprise less than 0.3% of my accounts edits). This was a mistake on my part, and I absolutely acknowledge that. More importantly, I was editing the Wikipedia of a certain academic at Otago who promoted very fringe theories which promoted gay men as pedophiles. I have had personal interactions with this person and we have clashed (in a heated manner). One of those old accounts includes edits of suburbs in Dunedin. I live in the same suburb as this professor and we know each other. So yes, I did get paranoid about him finding about that.
GNU is also accusing me of being IP's and editors that I am not. For example - a rugby player? I don't know a thing about rugby lol. At most, it is likely an IP from my University so your sweeping assumptions about linking me to IP's when I attend a major university is totally unjustified. I can see that some of the IP's are me, such as this prior to me creating sexologist but a minor edit on an IP while I had no account for years??? If this is not allowed, I was unaware of it at the time so forgive me, but as I understand it people do the odd edit while logged out all the time. The comment about "doubting" my study is just an unnecessary personal comment which I will ignore. However GNU's comment about "embarrassing me publicly" (blatant outing threat) underscore that this report of me was suspicious. Someone who claims to know my real identity, and has made a threat of exposing me on here is clearly not a well intentioned editor (although I have no clue if they truly know my identity otherwise they wouldn't have made that weird claim about my PhD candidacy, although it isn't publicly listed anywhere except perhaps a page on my universities website). I suspect they do know who I am given the effort he went to put together this report, completely inappropriate and quite concerning. I suspect it to be the case that they dedicated their time to doing this after I commented somewhere that they might be the same editor as Skoojal, which I actually apologized for. GNU57 has also just accused another user of being freeknowledgecreator/Skoojal which I find odd. I'm upfront here and apologize for my misstep, and given the fact that the aforementioned professor who works at my university could likely work out who I am now, that's the best evidence I do care about correcting where I went wrong. If I cared more about saving myself from the potential embarrassment that I edited his Wikipedia page I wouldn't have replied here at all... but I'd rather be able to keep editing on Wikipedia because I like doing so and it's a good resource.
It will be a shame if I do get banned because there are not many other editors who have time to update the sexual orientation articles which are heavily reliant on primary sources and are pretty out of date. Other users have also been pretty supportive of my editing. I have been trying to update the these articles with good, robust, secondary sources, and I know the material reasonably well. Sorry to disappoint anyone and I am sorry I broke the rules. It was really, really stupid. I accept that WP admins generally just block socks, but given the nature of my misstep, I would kindly request that there might only be a temporary sanction. I really enjoy Wikipedia and I like spending my spare time updating the articles (when I can). If it is possible for temporary sanction, or to be able to return, that would be great. For example, I just stayed up late to make these large additions to this article because I'd rather it was significantly improved before I potentially can't edit anymore. Aside from not declaring my old editing which, by the way, was largely in other topics – I have tried to be a productive and helpful editor. I hope my apology and admission is heard and considered. Thanks :) Sxologist (talk) 16:38, 8 October 2020 (UTC)
Second comment: I didn’t check a couple of my old edits properly. I made a very rude comment on my old account after bbb blocked me. That was not ‘benign’ on my part, I was an asshole - I am sorry about that. That’s not okay. I had no clue who he was and I must’ve been very annoyed about being blocked - and I reverted it 2 minutes after I made it. I missed the edit which was described as a ‘juvenile troll’. That comment was indeed juvenile, and in part, because I just had been sent a link to this page in this crackpot book (p37-38) by Erik Holland, a self published Swedish author, who used to come onto online discussions and present himself as a purveyor of science. The link was sent in an academic listserv, and only because they thought we might find it funny. I was dumbfounded by the content. So my edit wasn’t serious, I knew the edit would be reverted automatically and it was (immediately), but it was more of a mockery of the insanity of that book. You can read it and it talks about people needing to use a 10 inch inflatable device to stop “anal incontinence”. So that edit was still stupid of me and I just expected the content of the edit would be hidden. As you can see by my actual edit histories I removed fringe material which was worked into WP articles by a Russian who openly admits to running a Russian anti-lgbt hate site. So I’m not happy I ever made those edits (one which was not serious and I wasn’t logged in), and one which was very rude and unfounded 2 years ago. Whether or not an apology is accepted, I still have to apologise for it even if things aren’t looking great. Sometimes we can do really dumb things (I know this was immature) and we can apologize and learn from them. I recognise how rude that comment was and I had no memory of it so I was just being an idiot, and a very rude one. I have been keeping my discussion civil when editing and always co-op with other users. Thanks for hearing me out though. Sxologist (talk) 00:37, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
Third comment: I also want to say that I do have a good history of edits which have improved articles. Edits I added last night seen here show that I am a suitable and productive editor who wants to help improve articles. I have restored content which got trimmed out by sock puppets, added more science writing to the conversion therapy article, updated articles related to sexual orientation such as this one which were being neglected and missing content, and replaced primary source POV pushing content with reliable secondary source material. Given my desire to keep doing that, I will promise that if I am allowed to stay, or if the sanction is only temporary, that I will only focus on continual editing in a professional manner. I only blame myself for my missteps. I hope my history of good editing is worth something though. Thanks. Sxologist (talk) 01:01, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
Fourth and important comment: as I explained, I had somewhat valid reasons for why I chose to abandon my first account and start a new one, and on its own that does not constitute sockpuppetry. BUT because I didn't declare that, I was (rightly) stung and that essentially got me a loop of worrying about declaring that. I wasn't ever banned because my first account was unproductive or fringe - I was banned because I switched to a second account, Bsnsppl (while Zenonomzo was not even blocked). For example looking at this case, that was practically parallel to my switch from the first to second account, but because I was editing in an area about commercial topics, admins had a fair reason to assume it was suspect, and I accept that. I hope that makes the nature of it clear. Sxologist (talk) 01:09, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
Comment by Crossroads: This is unfortunate. But I think we need to keep in mind what WP:Blocking policy says:
Blocks are used to prevent damage or disruption to Wikipedia, not to punish users. I believe that Sxologist is a beneficial editor. I have been familiar with his activity as Sxologist from when he started the account; I myself have an interest in the sexual orientation topic area and have been around it for as long as I've been editing. Based on that, I can testify that Sxologist has been a collaborative editor, willing to work with others, yield to them, and take their advice; and has consistently tried to make our article content reflect the scientific viewpoint on such things as conversion therapy and biology and sexual orientation. As part of that, he worked to prevent and later mitigate the fringe POV pushing of the now-blocked sockpuppet .
It appears that Sxologist has an additional interest in businesspeople, and that jumpiness about possible paid editing and his switching to a new account led to him getting reported at SPI and then blocked by Bbb23 back in 2018. Sxologist (as Businessppl) even made an unblock request, with reasons that match his explanation above. The blocked accounts did not edit concurrently, and frankly I can't see how not perfectly understanding (probably being unaware of) WP:FRESHSTART merits getting both accounts blocked indefinitely, especially when the edits are otherwise fine. Some people are just interested in business and businesspeople. That situation was not any more problematic than this recent unrelated SPI case, mentioned above, where there was judged to be no violation. The Nomnomnomnz account has never been blocked, and edited just 6 times, all in November 2013, so it also seems like a non-issue. Occasional editing while not logged in also does not seem so serious as to warrant an indefinite block.
Now, there is some misbehavior pointed to above (though note that the "very rude" edit was self-reverted two minutes later). He has apologized for it. Again, blocks are not punitive, and I don't see how blocking Sxologist now would prevent any disruption, nor that it would be a net benefit to the encyclopedia. I propose that instead, Sxologist be instructed that he should only edit while logged in (to be on the safe side regarding WP:LOUTSOCK), to stick to one account, and to not repeat anything like the past uncivil or juvenile edits. Crossroads -talk- 03:14, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
Comment by Flyer22 Frozen: I understand what Crossroads is stating and I ask others to consider his arguments. But as seen at User talk:Sxologist/Archive 1#Thesciencenewsonline and User talk:Sxologist/Archive 1#Previous editing, I very much suspected that Sxologist was not a newbie. And so did Mathglot. I didn't just suspect. I knew he was not a newbie and that he was a sock. Instead of coming clean about that, Sxologist lied and insulted my intelligence. As someone with as much experience identifying socks and other non-new
accounts editors as I have, there was no way that I was going to believe his explanation about why he edited with the obvious experience he showcased. Crossroads was able to give Sxologist the benefit of the doubt regarding the socking matter, but I never could. I could never trust Sxologist because of his dishonesty and because I kept wondering what account(s) he used before. And I can't see why I should trust what he states now. I can't support him in this SPI. I won't support him in this SPI. And I don't care if that means that things will be awkward or tense between us if he is allowed to continue editing. It was already like that for me with regard to him. Genericusername57 emailed me about Sxologist being Zenomonoz, and seemed to want me to take action. I suggested that Genericusername57 start this SPI if they had convincing evidence. And here we are. I leave the decision about whether or not to indefinitely block Sxologist up to others. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 05:52, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
"Having looked at it a bit more, it's not bad. I'll try not to come across as snippy regarding your edits in the future."You also had to tell me to cite proper page numbers, shown here for which I apologized, which also provides no support for the claim that you felt I was an experienced editor. You also accused me of being Thesciencenewsonline on one of my first few days of editing which was unjustified, since I showed no signs of being disruptive nor was I particularly good at editing (as highlighted above). You also comment here about understanding being "unjustly blocked" after I was accused of being FKC. So your assertion that
"I didn't just suspect. I knew he was not a newbie and that he was a sock"is not in line with your interactions with me at all. As Crossroads has highlighted, my former editing was not in the manner of me hiding or evading a topic ban, it matched fresh start, and I was banned because I was accused me of being a promotional editor because I was editing in business related articles. Read the unblock request I made. So while I do accept that you are fairly annoyed that I didn't disclose any former editing, I also think it is fair to say that you have, on ocassion, unjustly accused people of being a sockpuppet... and your characterization of what I did is conflating a well meaning move with a person who got banned for nefarious reasons and kept coming back to edit like that. I haven't done that. It falls under WP:SOCKLEGIT. I'm going to ignore your comments about making things "tense", I don't know how that has any effect on my ability to edit, and it would be better to remain completely impartial. Thanks for your comments none the less. Sxologist (talk) 07:16, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
Comment by Markworthen: (1)
I experience Flyer22 Frozen's talk page posts—particularly in response to others' sincere efforts to resolve complex issues or to draw attention to a potentially controversial edit—to routinely exhibit an uncompromising, captious style of "discussion". I do not trust what he/she/they write about Sxologist. (2) On the other hand, I wholeheartedly agree with everything Crossroads wrote ("I believe that Sxologist is a beneficial editor. ..."). Let's forgive the understandable mistakes and move on. "To err is human ...." Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) [he/his/him] 17:25, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
Comment by Beyond My Ken - I wish to underline three things. First, there are very few non-adms who are as proficient in recognizing socking behavior than Flyer22 Frozen. I have not done a study of any sort, but I cannot recall any significant instance where they were wrong once they had presented their evidence. Now, sometimes the socking editor doesn't get blocked or sanctioned because of other circumstances, but nevertheless, Flyer22 was correct in spotting them as a sock. Anyone here who denigrates their ability to uncover socking simply does not know what they are talking about.
Second, if anyone has a beef with Floyer's behavior, the place to bring it up is at AN or ANI, but it has absolutely no relevance here, and can be seen only as an attempt to poison the well. Such comments do not bear on the question of whether Sxologist is a sock or not, which should be decided based on Flyer22's evidence, and any other relevant evidence that is brought up, most pertinently the editor's own admission.
Finally, Crossroads' argument that Sxologist shouldn't be blocked for socking because they have been a useful contributor recently does not carry much weight with me. The answer to that is simply, if they socked, they should be blocked. Once blocked, they can appeal based on their supposed value to the project, and the community, or an admin, can decide if that is sufficient to release them from the block. Blocks are not punitive, but they are meant to protect the project from editors who have behaved in the past as Sxologist has. Beyond My Ken (talk) 21:46, 9 October 2020 (UTC)
Comment by Sxologist: Hi everyone - both Beyond My Ken and Flyer22 have pointed out WP:Standard offer to me. If it is preferential to ban me, temporarily or indefinitely, I would be happy to attempt a return through that route if it gives other editors more trust in me. After reading the relevant policy pages, I understand why blocks take place. Although I did disagree with the original ban, as outlined, which was probably not "fair" in nature, it is not really possible for admins to make decisions given how many potential socks go through the system. I apologize for beginning an unnecessary argument with Flyer22 Frozen which was irrelevant to the SPI. She has (very kindly) reached out to me regarding ongoing interactions here, which she did not have to do, as I know she is a trusted editor and I wasn't honest with her. If a block/ban (I don't know which would apply) is required to reinstate trust in me as an editor I have no problem with that. Of course it would be nice if a special provision could be made but that's not necessarily right - it was still my responsibility to read the policy pages and request an unblock via that route (although it's easy to say in retrospect). I hope that clears the air. Thanks again. Sxologist (talk) 21:29, 12 October 2020 (UTC)