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Wikipedia is a web-based encyclopedia. It has over 4,500,000 entries (as of 2014) and nearly 500 million unique visitors per month.[1] Because of the size and scope of Wikipedia, it appears at the top of more than half of all Google search results.[2] External links from Wikipedia also appear high among search results[3] as result of the Google PageRank system, making the issue of what external links are included very important to businesses, public relations firms, and individuals who wish to promote or suppress certain viewpoints.[4]

Because of its problems, participation on Wikipedia is currently in decline[5][6][7], with the site having lost around 40% of its editors since 2007. According to Halfaker et al, users new to Wikipedia are likely to have their edits deleted, and remaining editors comprise an 'old boy network' resistant to changes in the editing process.[8]


Wikipedia began as Nupedia, a free but closed encyclopedia that relied on a peer review process involving qualified contributors. In 2000, founder Jimmy Wales, in an effort to speed the process of entry creation, floated the idea of opening the encyclopedia to the public. Resistance to the idea at Nupedia was overcome, and Wikipedia was launched in early 2001. By September 2002, Wikipedia featured 40,000 entries. By the end of 2004, there were 500,000 English-language articles.[1] The site continued to grow, peaking according to some metrics in 2007.[9]

Problems with Wikipedia

Wikipedia has been criticized for number of problems, ranging from errors in content to conflicts of interest.

Errors in Wikipedia Health Entries

Wikipedia entries on health were found to have important errors in nine out of ten articles.[10] A peer-reviewed paper comparing Wikipedia entries on ten of the most expensive medical conditions with the medical literature found that:

Most Wikipedia articles representing the 10 most costly medical conditions in the United States contain many errors when checked against standard peer-reviewed sources. Caution should be used when using Wikipedia to answer questions regarding patient care.[11]

Citing a study that found that "47% to 70% of physicians and medical students admitting to using [Wikipedia] as a reference", the paper also noted other research that found Wikipedia "unsuitable as a reference for drugs" and "not a reliable information source for medical students in gastroenterology and hepatology".

The paper's eighteen co-authors advised in their conclusion:

Our findings reinforce the idea that physicians and medical students who currently use Wikipedia as a medical reference should be discouraged from doing so because of the potential for errors.

Intentional Errors Become Accepted Knowledge

In July 2008, seventeen-year-old student Dylan Breves edited the Wikipedia entry on the coati.[12] The coati is a type of raccoon. Breves and family members spotted several of these on a trip to Brazil. Convinced it was a type of aardvark, Breves located the creature on Wikipedia on his return, and was surprised to discover it was a raccoon. Breves named the coati the "Brazilian aardvark", suggesting this was an alternate name for the coati, giving no source for the nickname since he had simply made it up.

A year later, references to the "Brazilian aardvark" appeared in British newspapers "Independent", and the "Daily Mail", and in a book published by the University of Chicago. Following Breves' invention of the nickname for the coati, the Wikipedia entry on the coati was edited, citing as evidence for the existence of the nickname the 2010 article in the "Telegraph".[12]

According to the "New Yorker" article cited, even co-founder Jimmy Wales has been unable to correct an error in the date of his birthday listed on Wikipedia.

Gender Bias

According to a 2014 article at "The Guardian", a Wikimedia study found that fewer than ten percent of Wikipedia editors are female. The lack of female editors, according to "The Guardian",[13] has resulted in a male-centric history of science:

File:Wikipedia editors are predominantly male.png
Wikipedia editors are predominantly male.
"Many female scientists are either not there at all on Wikipedia or just [have] stubs," said Dame Athene Donald, fellow of the Royal Society and professor of experimental physics at Cambridge University. "It's not just the historical characters, it's the current ones, and these very eminent women just somehow get overlooked."

Furthermore, according to "MIT Technology Review":

In 2011, researchers from the University of Minnesota and three other schools showed that articles worked on mostly by female editors—which presumably were more likely to be of interest to women—were significantly shorter than those worked on mostly by male editors or by men and women equally.[5]

Sue Gardner, former executive director of Wikimedia Foundation, offered an opinion as to the reason for the lack of female editors. She characterized Wikipedia editors as:

"[...] very difficult, high-conflict people, even misogynists."[14]

Companies can now be hired to create and edit Wikipedia pages for commercial reasons,[15] as well as to disrupt or delete the Wikipedia entries of rivals.[16] Such companies often use networks of false accounts or "sockpuppets" to gain strength in numbers, pushing through edits based on apparent consensus.

Between 2012 and 2013, a sockpuppet "army" of over 300 fake accounts was exposed that had been creating and editing accounts for businesses.[16] The accounts were under the control of a single PR firm called Wiki-PR.[17] However, according to "The Daily Dot", PR firms not only employ empty sockpuppets, but also Wikipedia admins directly. In the article cited, Wiki-PR is said to have claimed "45 admins" under its employ, charging "between $500 and $1,000 to have the page created, then an additional $50 a month afterwards for monitoring". In contrast to sockpuppets, real-life editors paid by companies have earned the term "meatpuppets".[15]

In 2007, Microsoft offered to pay an Australian software engineer to edit entries favorable to Microsoft and OOXML.[18] In January 2014, Sarah Stierch, a long-time Wikipedia editor and employee of Wikipedia Foundation, was fired for paid editing.[19]

Wikipedia itself lists over twenty high-profile cases of conflict-of-interest editing.[18]

Improper Relationships with Outside Groups

In 2012, a wealthy donor to Wikimedia Foundation requested the placement of a paid editor at the Belfer Center at Harvard University to edit entries in a manner favorable to the donor and to Harvard.[20] Wikimedia Foundation obliged. When the improper relationship became known, other similar conflicts of interest between Wikimedia Foundation and donors were also reported.

In May 2014, Gregory Kohs reported at, a website devoted to looking critically at Wikipedia, on two other cases of donors editing their own entries and Wikipedia turning a blind eye.[21]

Revenge Editing

In September 2011, journalist Johann Hari was outed as sockpuppet "David Rose", a user who had been editing the entries of enemies and friends alike since 2005. Three months later, Hari was let go from "The Independent".[22]

In April 2013, novelist Amanda Filipacchi wrote an op-ed for the "New York Times" alleging sexism in Wikipedia's categorization of female novelists.[23] Within a week, Filipacchi's page was "pounced on" by "unhappy Wikipedia editors" who "started making alterations to it, erasing as much as they possibly could without [...] technically breaking the rules".[24] According to Filipacchi:

They removed the links to outside sources, like interviews of me and reviews of my novels. Not surprisingly, they also removed the link to the Op-Ed article. At the same time, they put up a banner at the top of my page saying the page needed "additional citations for verifications." Too bad they’d just taken out the useful sources.[24]

According to

The edits didn’t stop at Filipacchi’s page. Edits were also made to pages about her novels, stripping content from them on the grounds that they were overly self-promotional (a big Wikipedia no-no.) One editor, as recently as Monday morning, even started editing the pages devoted to Filipacchi’s parents, and slashed huge swaths from a page about the media conglomerate Hachette-Filipacchi, whose chairman emeritus happens to be Filipacchi’s father, Daniel Filipacchi.[24]

Most of the edits to Filipacchi's page appeared to come from a user named "Qworty". Qworty accused Filipacchi Efforts to investigate Qworty revealed that he was another novelist who had been "puffing" his own Wikipedia entry[25] and engaged in a variety of revenge edits and edit wars with other novelists.[26]

Editor "Squatting" and Commandeering

According to Wikipedia itself, entries are sometimes commandeered by editors who wish to control their contents[27]. This is sometimes done to "sanitize" the article of negative content or to push a particular viewpoint. In other cases, it is because Wikipedia editors fashion themselves as masters of content, "self-appointed deletionist guardians"[28] In such cases, editors often resort to "wikilawyering" to defend their own personally-motivated edits.


According to Wikipedia, wikilawyering is a "questionable" way of defending oneself or attacking another editor using Wikipedia's own often convoluted bureaucratic policies.[29] The use of "quasi-legal"[29] argumentation on Wikipedia is now commonplace, earning for itself the name "wikilawyering"[28]

According to Ed Chi at the Palo Alto Research Center, wikilawyering both discourages new users and unfairly bolsters experienced users who know how to use Wikipedias arcane and bureaucratic system to their benefit:

Chi thinks that Wikipedia now includes so much information that some editors have turned from creating new articles to improving existing ones, resulting in more disputes about edits. Such disputes are not a level playing field because established editors sometimes draw on extensive knowledge of Wikipedia's guidelines to overwhelm opposition in a practice dubbed "wikilawyering".[9]

The "New Scientist" article further states:

"Occasional" editors, those who make just a single edit a month, have 25 per cent of their changes erased, or reverted, by other editors, a proportion that in 2003 was 10 per cent. The revert rate for editors who make between two and nine changes a month grew from 5 to 15 per cent over the same period.

suggesting that experienced editors may have a sense of entitlement when it comes to their own preferred entries.

The excessive nature of Wikipedia's rule structure has even been criticized by people in the Wikimedia Foundation.[30] According to Wikipedia:

Kat Walsh, a chair of the Wikimedia Foundation, has criticized Wikipedia's increasingly detailed rules regarding editing the site, saying, "It was easier when I joined in 2004... Everything was a little less complicated.... It's harder and harder for new people to adjust."

Self-serving edits

Entries featuring "self-serving bias"[31] may be found on Wikipedia. One example is the entry on the Special Activities Division of the CIA. Under the Section "Covert Action"[32] one finds:

Every U.S. President since George Washington has used covert action as a part of their broader foreign policy, whether Republican or Democratic, liberal or conservative. The majority of these covert action operations were successful. Most of the operations that were not successful were directed by the President over the objections of the CIA. Some of the most controversial "covert action" programs, such as the Iran-Contra affair, were not primarily the work of the CIA. Covert action programs are also much less expensive than overt political or military actions. The Pentagon commissioned a study to determine whether the CIA or the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) should conduct covert action paramilitary operations. Their study determined that the CIA should maintain this capability and be the "sole government agency conducting covert action." The DoD found that, even under U.S. law, it does not have the legal authority to conduct covert action, nor the operational agility to carry out these types of missions. The operation in May 2011 that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden was a covert action under the authority of the CIA.

In the above, one finds the remarkable assertions that: a) the majority of American "covert action operations [have been] successful"; and b) "Most of the operations that were not successful were directed by the President over the objections of the CIA". Both claims are supported in the text with a single citation, a book entitled "Executive Secrets: Covert Action and the Presidency" by William J. Daugherty.

It is perhaps no surprise that according to "The Washington Post" in 2006, William J. Daugherty was "an associate professor of government at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga. and former CIA officer".[33]

Other self-serving edits have involved co-founder Jimmy Wales. According to an article mentioned previously at,[22] Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales added a section to his own entry about the break-up with his girlfriend before she was informed, and had previously edited her entry to make it appear more positive.

Government edits and vandalism

In July 2014, computers accessing Wikipedia from IP addresses located within the halls of the U.S. Congress were banned from editing Wikipedia.[34] The ban reportedly lasted for ten days, and followed similar episodes of vandalism from congressional IP addresses in the past. According to, of special interest to the vandals were Wikipedia entries on Lee Harvey Oswald, the moon landing, and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Despite the ban, immediately following the ten-day period congressional IP addresses resumed making dubious edits to Wikipedia.[35] Edits were done to entries concerning Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, in the latter's case claiming Snowden was an "American traitor who defected to Russia".[35][36]

Other governments have similarly engaged in Wikipedia entry alteration and/or vandalism. As the BBC reported,[34] the phrase "all Muslims are terrorists" appeared on a Wikipedia entry after an edit from a UK government IP address. Similarly, edits on entries related to victims of police violence, murder victims, and victims of the Hillsborough disaster were altered and/or vandalized by computers from government IP addresses.[37]

Wikimedia Commons and Pornography

As reported by in 2013, Wikimedia Commons - a media repository used to support Wikipedia - is routinely used to host "thousands of sexually graphic videos and images" and is "so supersaturated with porn that explicit content bleeds into places you'd never expect" [38] Wikimedia is used by exhibitionists to give their own sexually graphic images maximum distribution courtesy of Wikipedia:

[E]xhibitionists [..] use the Commons as their personal playground, turning the high-minded educational repository into the world's crappiest amateur porn hub.
The exhibition culture is dominated by men, much like the rest of Wikimedia. There are so many dick pics uploaded to Commons every year, in fact, that the site actually calls out the practice in its community guidelines. "Commons does not need you to drop your pants and grab a camera," it reads. "If you want to, try to fill a real gap in our collection."

Wikimedia Commons even has a problem with child pornography as revealed by[39] The issue was raised as early as 2012 in a column at Buzzfeed.[40]

Edit wars

Wikipedia has become known for its "edit wars", with a variety of websites and magazines compiling lists of the "Top 10" or "Top 100" edit wars.[41][42][43] PCWorld characterized those who engage in edits wars on Wikipedia in July 2011 as:

obsessive combatants [...] ready to fight for their pet causes like modern-day, Internet-addicted Spartan warriors.[41]

An article in "The Guardian" compared Wikipedia to a "cult", describing a common feature of Wikipedia edit wars:

They also use the most charming of debating techniques, which is to allow you to make a long list of salient points and pull in a wide range of empirical observations to back up your argument, and then ignore them completely.[44]

Wikipedia has at least two entries on the topic of edit wars.[45][46] In August 2014, reported that recent heated edit wars on Wikipedia included whether Flo'Ball was an actual sport; whether "an article on Nazis in space" belonged on Wikipedia; and whether Knut, a polar bear born at the Berlin Zoo, could be called "cute" according to Wikipedia guidelines.[47]

Prouty and Wikipedia

According to page statistics provided by Wikimedia Labs tool[48], the Prouty entry was created on Wikipedia on February 8, 2004 by an anonymous user from an IP registered to Hong Kong.[49] As of May 2014, the Prouty entry is accessed around 2,500 times a month.[50] The page is watched by some 42 users and has been edited nearly 300 times by over a hundred distinct users.[51] The page is linked to by nearly 60 other pages.[48]

The Wikipedia Prouty entry has been the site of an edit war since its creation between anti-JFK conspiracy users, pro-JFK conspiracy users, and neutral users. The edit war involves instances of "squatting" and "wikilawyering", the latter being reflected in changing justifications given for a total ban on mention (blacklisting) of Prouty's official site on Wikipedia.

Entry Creation and Early History

The anonymous user who created the Prouty entry created or edited other entries the same day on such topics as "The Secret Team", "Robert Crowley", "Gregory Douglas", and the "Central Intelligence Agency".[52] Since then, the user's activity on Wikipedia has ceased, at least from the IP address listed by Wikipedia. (A comment on a Talk page suggests that the creator of the Prouty entry was Greg Crowley, son of Robert Crowley.[53])

The first version of the Prouty entry listed Prouty's books along with career in the Pentagon.[54] The only external link given was to Prouty's official site at

The first material change[55] to the entry was made a month later by an anonymous user[56] located in the American West who attempted to add an external link to an internet page by John McAdams entitled "Is he telling the hidden truth, or a bunch of tall tales?"[57] (The same user attempted to add a link to McAdams' site the same day within the text of the Wikipedia entry on the film "JFK".) The McAdams page features a list of bullet points, mostly with links to other pages by McAdams. Among the bullet points is a list of what it calls "unsavory associations" between Prouty and "fringe" groups. While conceding "Do these unsavory associations suggest that Prouty is a racist or anti-Semite? Probably not", the page nonetheless lists the associations without attempting to provide any context. These associations would appear nearly verbatim ten years later on Prouty's Wikipedia entry as part of the ongoing edit war.

User "Gamaliel"

The edit war on Prouty's Wikipedia entry began initially in July 22, 2004 with the appearance of user "Gamaliel". Gamaliel added three external links, all three to pages critical of Prouty, with two coming from the McAdams site.[58].

User "Gamaliel" (Robert Fernandez) Date Unknown. Source:

Gamaliel is significant in understanding the edit war over the Prouty Wikipedia entry. According the Wikimedia Labs statistics,[48] Gamaliel has more edits to the Prouty entry than any user by a wide margin, making nearly three times as many edits as the next highest user, "Threeafterthree". When considered in terms of the number of words added to the entry, Gamaliel has added nearly four times as many words than the next user, "Hutcher". Gamaliel's changes to the Prouty entry span a ten-year period from July 2004 to February 2014.

Gamaliel's interventions on the Prouty Wikipedia page can be understood as "squatting", or an attempt to control the information on a Wikipedia page. The reason appears to be ideological. On Gamaliel's user page,[59] he writes:

One of the things I'm proudest of and spent more time working on than most anything else is my contribution to Lee Harvey Oswald. The Oswald entry was even mentioned in a newspaper article (broken link) on wikipedia. If you want to witness insanity firsthand, try monitoring these articles for conspiracy nonsense.

The creation of the Gamaliel user page dates to February 17, 2004, little more than a week after the appearance of the Prouty Wikipedia entry. His first contributions involved inter alia entries on comic strips, cartoons, and his alma mater, University of South Florida.[60]

His first anti-conspiracy edit appears on the Wikipedia entry on Vince Foster, where Gamaliel reworked pro-conspiracy text to reflect an anti-conspiracy viewpoint.[61] Other edits from Gamaliel the same day (February 27, 2004) involve Democratic Party political figures Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Arianna Huffington. Gamaliel's edits from the period do not involve entries on right-wing figures, suggesting an interest in left-leaning political figures, and later edits to entries on Michael Moore (positive) and Saxby Chambliss (negative) suggest Democratic Party sympathies. (As of June 2014, Gamaliel's user page carried a banner saying "This user supports the Democratic Party of the United States.[62]) However, Gamaliel performed edits on a wide variety of articles on a near-daily basis over this period, with the only constant being comic books, comic strips, and cartoons. Gamaliel claimed on his user page on July 7, 2004: "I am 74% addicted to Wikipedia."[63]

On June 4, 2004, Gamaliel edited the Wikipedia entry on "Kennedy", a fictional character on the television program, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[64] One month later, Gamaliel pivoted to the Kennedy assassination by way of what appears to be a pure accident. On July 6, 2004, Gamaliel was editing an entry entitled "Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy". In the process, he appears to have inadvertently added text intended for that entry to the Wikipedia entry on the Zapruder film.[65] He quickly reverted the edit,[66] and immediately embarked on a "reorganization" of the Wikipedia entry on Lee Harvey Oswald.

On July 6, 2004, Gamaliel altered the text in the Oswald entry in two significant ways.[67] First, he changed the entry to state that government "enquiries" (plural) found that "Oswald was the only assassin", despite the fact that of the two enquiries undertaken by the United States Government, one (the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy or "Warren Commission") found for that conclusion, while the other (the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations or "HSCA") found that Kennedy was "probably" killed as result of conspiracy.

Second, Gamaliel emphasized the mental-illness aspect of the official narrative, adding at the front of Oswald's biographical text:

Oswald was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Before the age of 18, Oswald had lived in 22 different residences and attended 12 different schools. When Oswald was 14 years old, a psychologist diagnosed him as having "personality pattern disturbance".

It is important to note that as of Gamaliel's first edit to the Wikipedia entry on Oswald on July 6, the entry already contained two external links to McAdams' site.[68] On July 14, 2004, Gamaliel added two more external links to the McAdams site.[69][70] He also attempted to incorporate images from John McAdams' assassination site into the Oswald entry.[71]

On July 9 and July 13-16, 2004, Gamaliel significantly expanded the entry on Oswald. He added three paragraphs on the apparent attempted murder of General Edwin Walker, but provided no sourcing for any of his statements.[72] He reworked four more paragraphs (again without sourcing)[73] and slanted paragraphs about Oswald's association with David Ferrie,[74] as well as Oswald's departure from the Book Depository on November 22,[75] to an anti-conspiracy view.

Gamaliel made edits on July 13, 2004, to the Wikipedia entry on Gerald Posner, in one case adding Posner's official home page as external link.[76] Gamaliel also edited Posner's entry to defend him against a charge made by James Tague that he was never interviewed by Posner.[77] His awareness of Posner and edits favorable to Posner suggest Gamaliel was influenced by Posner's interpretation of the Kennedy assassination. Edits made by Gamaliel on July 14, 2004, to entries on J.D. Tippit, James Tague, Posner, and Oswald, suggest that Gamaliel read Posner's book at around that time. In fact, edits made to Tague's Wikipedia page by Gamaliel directly reference claims made by Posner.

The text added by Gamaliel to the Oswald entry on July 13, 2004, is unusual and may have been plagiarized from Posner. Gamaliel departs from third-person neutral prose to wax eloquently on how Oswald and George de Mohrenschildt might have met:

From this group, Oswald found an unlikely best friend, the outrageous oil geologist Baron George de Mohrenschildt. Perhaps they took to each other because they were polar opposites, or perhaps de Mohrenschildt, who liked playing the provocateur, enjoyed putting people off with the disagreeable and sullen Marxist Oswald.[78]

On July 16, 2004, Gamaliel removed the word "controversial" from a reference to the Warren Report on Oswald's Wikipedia entry.[79]

On July 18, 2004, in the Talk section to the Oswald entry, Gamaliel credited the Judyth Very Baker story as "true" while linking to the McAdams site as a "good run-down" of the Baker/Oswald relationship. Gamaliel also described any connection between Oswald and "Al Hidell" as "entirely made up".[80]

By July 20, 2004, in an earlier version of what was quoted above, Gamaliel would claim on his user page:

What I'm proudest of and spent more time working on than anything else are my contributions to Lee Harvey Oswald. The article is even mentioned in a piece on wikipedia.[81]

"Gamaliel" and the Prouty entry

By July 22, 2004 when Gamaliel altered the Wikipedia entry on Prouty for the first time, he had been editing entries related to the Kennedy assassination for two weeks. He had edited not only the entries on Oswald, Tippit, Tague, and Posner, but expanded his reach in the forty-eight hours prior to entries entitled "Texas School Book Depository", "Assassination of John F. Kennedy", and "Dealey Plaza". On the "Texas School Book Depository" entry, he added a link to the McAdams site.[82] On the "Assassination" entry, he added two links to the McAdams site, one link to a site maintained by Warren Report adherent Dave Reitzes, and one link to the official site of the Sixth Floor Museum.[83] He also 'condensed' three external links to into a single link.[84] This latter appears to be how Gamaliel became aware of Prouty.

The desire to add external links to sites advancing the Warren Report narrative formed the basis of Gamaliel's first alteration of the Prouty entry, with Gamaliel adding three links hostile to Prouty including two links to McAdams's site and one link to Reitzes' site.[85] Gamaliel maintained an interest in the Prouty entry over the coming months while continuing to make changes to the Wikipedia "Assassination" entry as well as the entries on J.D. Tippit, Jim Garrison, Clay Shaw, the "Single-bullet theory", Ruth Paine, Marina Oswald Porter, Mary Moorman, Jean Hill, "Babushka Lady", Abraham Zapruder, Jim Marrs, Lee Bowers, Oliver Stone, and others[86] in some cases adding external links to the McAdams site.[87][88] On July 25, 2004, Gamaliel again removed links to, and restored deleted links to the McAdams site.[89]

During the summer of 2004, Gamaliel maintained a watch over the Wikipedia entries on John Kerry, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and "Swift Vets and POWs for Truth". His changes in favor of the Kerrys seem to have involved him in personal disputes and requests for arbitration.[90] He maintained a loose relationship with entries related to the Kennedy assassination,[91] editing entries for twelve or more hours a day, sometimes an entry every ten minutes. In September 2004, he added an external link to Gerald Posner's website on the entry for Jim Garrison.[92] In November 2004, Gamaliel made edits to the "Assassination" entry favorable to the official narrative.[93] He also again added external links to the McAdams site on the Oswald entry[94] and altered the text to reflect a pro-Warren interpretation.[95] In December 2004, Gamaliel removed reference to HSCA findings, declaring:

HSCA conclusions discredited and irrelevant to this article[96]

without any apparent attempt to support the assertion. In numerous entries throughout December 2004, not limited to the Kennedy assassination, Gamaliel simply reverted edits made to texts to his preferred previous version.[97] In the entry on Mary Moorman on December 2, 2004, Gamaliel removed a paragraph of information on Moorman's experience and location during the shooting, replacing it with a statement saying simply that "Moorman was never called to testify to the Warren Commission". He also added external links to the McAdams site and the Reitzes site.[98] In February 2005, he removed an external link on the Garrison entry to an article by James A. DiEugenio without giving justification.[99] He also added the pejorative "assassination buffs" to the same article.[100]

In May 2005, after nearly a year's absence from the Wikipedia Prouty entry, Gamaliel re-appeared to reverse edits made by Len Osanic. An inaccurate negative statement previously added by an anonymous user from Seattle, Washington, ("In reality, Prouty never met Garrison")[101], but based on an earlier negative statement from Gamaliel ("In reality, Garrison was not assisted by a high ranking government informant"[102] was removed by Osanic on May 2.[103] Five hours later, Gamaliel reversed Osanic's edits and restored the external links to the McAdams and Reitzes sites removed by an anonymous user in December.[104] On September 3, user PBP removed the unnecessary statement again along with links to the McAdams and Reitzes sites.[105] On November 10, Gamaliel again added the unnecessary statement together with the previously removed pro-Warren Report external links.[106] On November 14, an anonymous user removed the links. Seven hours later Gamaliel restored the links.[107] In December, an anonymous user changed the statement to read: "In reality, Garrison met Prouty."[108] Gamaliel was forced to concede, changing the text to read: "In reality, Garrison did not meet Prouty until years after the trial depicted in the film."[109]

In December 2005, disagreement over aspects of the Prouty entry was evident in the entry's "Talk" section. An anonymous user listed with a Swiss IP address questioned derogatory comments being made about Prouty in the Talk section along with inaccurate characterizations (e.g. Prouty was "right-wing").[110] The same user also pointed out that Prouty had, in fact, met Garrison. It appears that Gamaliel changed his assertion that Garrison had never met Prouty based on this claim from the Talk section alone; he provided no other sourcing. On December 19, Len Osanic questioned comments being made about Prouty and the anonymity of users. He also stated for the first time that he had found a Nazi swastika on Gamaliel's own Talk page. Given Gamaliel's fairly evident views on the Kennedy assassination, his reply to Osanic in the Talk section on December 20, 2005, is perhaps ironic:

Your comments about vandalism are not quite correct. You are welcome to edit the article and add your comments here. What is vandalism is removing or altering the comments of others on this talk page and removing material from the article simply because you personally disapprove of it. I'm sorry you feel that those links are "slanderous", but WP articles must provide information from all sides of an issue, from both supporters and detractors.[111]

During this period, Gamaliel became embroiled in a bitter dispute with user RPJ over edits made to the "Assassination" entry. Other editors came to Gamaliel's defense and RPJ was eventually banned.[112] Gamaliel continued to watch the Prouty entry, as evidenced by comments in June 2006 on the Talk page[113]

In January 2007, John McAdams made changes to the Prouty entry that contained a number of inaccuracies, arguably in an attempt to smear Prouty.[114] McAdams' edit:

However Prouty has taken controversial positions on a wide range of issues. He has repeated (with apparent approval) claims that Franklin Roosevelt did not die a natural death, but rather was poisoned by Churchill. ( He has insisted that oil is not a fossil fuel,( that Princess Diana was killed by the "Secret Team,"( and that the U.S. government was responsible for the deaths of People's Temple members at Jonestown.(

In Prouty's piece on the death of Roosevelt, Prouty relates a story told by Elliot Roosevelt in the February 9, 1986 issue of "Parade Magazine" in which Roosevelt recounts a conversation he had with Stalin in 1946. Stalin is said to have stated his view that President Franklin Roosevelt had been assassinated by Churchill. While Prouty recounted the story in his own article, he did not say he himself was of the opinion that Roosevelt was assassinated. Nonetheless, McAdams claimed Prouty did. McAdams also claimed that Prouty "insisted" that Princess Diana had been assassinated, whereas Prouty had merely said "it would not surprise me" if she had been assassinated. While Prouty wrote a short piece about abiogenenic oil for the website, the brevity and tone of the piece make it unclear whether the piece should be taken as a bit of speculation or provocative food for thought. Finally, while McAdams claimed that Prouty said the "U.S. government was responsible" for the Jonestown tragedy, a cursory reading of the article he quotes reveals that Prouty only claimed that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had "prior knowledge". No suggestion is made by Prouty that the U.S. government had the power to stop the deaths or was "responsible".

Despite the inaccuracies and cogent criticisms of the text in the Talk section,[115] no attempt was made by Gamaliel or other users to correct McAdams' text for over a year.

Gamaliel's next intervention on the Prouty page came in December 2007. Instead of placing a 'citation needed' tag on a statement that Prouty and Garrison had been in contact during Garrison's investigation, in accordance with standard Wikipedia practice, Gamaliel simply deleted the statement. The same day several edits were made to the Prouty entry attributing more beliefs to Prouty, and attempting to link multiple times from within the entry's text to the McAdams site. The edits were made from an anonymous user,[116] but interestingly, the IP address is traceable to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, home of Marquette University.

Though Gamaliel would not make any significant changes to the Prouty entry until 2010, he continued making changes to entries on Jim Marrs,[117] Oswald and the Texas School Book Depository,[118] David Lifton, Jack White, Gerald Posner, Jim Garrison, Arlen Specter, Dorothy Kilgallen, and the "Assassination" [119]. He also edited entries having to do with 9/11.[120]

The blacklisting of (2010-2011)

2010 marked a turning point in the edit war over the Wikipedia Prouty entry. Gamaliel had spent much of the previous year editing Wikipedia entries on JFK assassination related figures, political and media figures, and a variety of other topics.[121] As early as 2007, Gamaliel had added links to the McAdams page to a number of JFK-related entries and exchanged messages that could be interpreted as cordial with McAdams on the Prouty Talk page, where McAdams requested the page be "locked" to prevent further removal of links to his own page.[122] In January 2010, Gamaliel created a Wikpedia entry for McAdams.[123]

On January 12, 2010, user "Threeafterthree" made his first edits to the Prouty page on Wikipedia.[124] Threeafterthree would be a central figure in the blacklisting of on Wikipedia. (User Threeafterthree appears to be one Tom Harris of Rhode Island.[125][126]) Judging from his comment on the Prouty Talk page ("I just noticed this guy is dead, so no BLP issues" it is likely that Threeafterthree was not deeply familiar with Prouty.[127] The absence of edits related to the Kennedy assassination[128] combined with a comment from his user page ("This user's Agenda on Wikipedia is to STOP users who have an Agenda on Wikipedia"[126]) suggest Threeafterthree's main concern was quality of sourcing. Some of his edits to the Prouty entry were minor, and some were consistent with Threeafterthree's practice of editing entries for descriptions of nationality.[129] Threeafterthree removed some of the McAdams-added text relating to claims made by Prouty.[130] He also removed two external links unfavorable to Prouty.[131][132]

On July 8, 2010, an anonymous user[133] added a link to the McAdams page as external link.[134] The IP address is traceable to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the user had previously edited the entry on Marquette University. On the Talk page for the Wikipedia entry on John C. McAdams, the user from this IP identified himself as John McAdams.[135] On the same day (July 8), user Threeafterthree removed the McAdams link along with a link previously added to a piece on abiogenic oil.[136] Two days later on July 10, Gamaliel reversed Threeafterthree's edit and restored both links with a note saying: "(Undid revision 372464497 by Threeafterthree (talk) restore valid links per CIA instructions)".[137]

It was the first salvo in the edit war between Gamaliel and Threeafterthree that would end in the permanent blacklisting of on Wikipedia. Less than ten minutes after Gamaliel's restoration of the previously removed external links, Threeafterthree removed them again.[138] Several hours later, an anonymous user from an IP address traceable to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, added the link to the McAdams article back to the entry, leaving the link to the abiogenic oil article out.[139] The same user also edited articles on figures related to the Kennedy assassination and the entry on John C. McAdams.[140] The same user also added text to the "Controversial Claims" section related to Prouty's views on the death of Princess Diana and the Jonestown mass suicide.[141]

In a Talk entry dated July 8, the anonymous user left this note:

Well, somebody *again* deleted the link to my page critical of Prouty. It really is a problem when partisans are able to take out data and information they find incongenial. (John McAdams)[142]

Replying the same day, Threeafterthree wrote:

That was me I think. I removed it again per WP:EL.[143]


Article has one citation? [...] Seems a litle slim, even by our standards :) and its from I guess the only good news is that this isn't a BLP...[144]

Ironically, though McAdams put the removal of his link down to Prouty "partisans", Threeafterthree was, in fact, indirectly removing a link to On July 11, a user identifying himself as John McAdams wrote in the Talk page:

What the hell is going on here?? You have a link to a pro-Prouty site, and it's left alone, but you seem not to like my link to my page critiquing Prouty? Are you aware that the standard reference books say that my site is the best JFK assassination site the web? Do we have a pro-Prouty editor and an anti-Prouty editer (sic) fighting with each other?[145]

Threeafterthree replied:

I don't think its that sinister. This is a content dispute over which WP:EL

At the end of this exchange, the link to the McAdams site along with text from McAdams imputing claims to Prouty remained in the Prouty entry.[146]

On October 29, 2010, Threeafterthree removed the external link to the McAdams piece "critical" of Prouty,[147] writing in the Talk page: "Its groundhog day..again..(sic)"[148]

On December 1-2, 2010, an anonymous user with an IP address traceable to California added text to the "Controversial Claims" section.[149]

The next major clash in the Prouty entry edit war occurred in February. On February 7, 2011, Gamaliel restored the link[150] to the McAdams article previously removed by Threeafterthree in October. On February 10, an anonymous user with an IP address traceable to Kansas added a paragraph to the "Controversial Claims" section related to Prouty's dealings with the Church of Scientology.[151] The same day, Threeafterthree removed the external link to the McAdams "critical" piece.[152] Again Gamaliel restored the link to the McAdams site, and again Threeafterthree removed it.[153] Challenged by Gamaliel to explain how the link violated WP:EL guidelines, Threeafterthree wrote:

I would consider #1, 2, 11, 13 of the no links section. Maybe the external links noticeboard could decide this? Also, considering McAdams past history, we can certainly aim higher than his personal web site. Anyways, (sic)[154]

Threeafterthree appears to have been referring to the Wikipedia entry [73]. Disputing the reasons in the Talk section,[155] Gamaliel again restored the link.[156] User Threeafterthree replied:

McAdams research is unverfied at best and inaccurate at worst. Are you aware of McAdams' less than stellar history when it coms to research? McAdams being a "recognized authority" is very questionable. Anyways, I will defer to the EL board. (sic)[157]

Threeafterthree justified his removal of the external link to the McAdams page, saying:

Again, as I said above, maybe you missed it, most of McAdams "work" is unverified, thats all. He has his opinions and theories which he is intitled to. I really don't want to turn this into an examination of McAdams, rather its about if using his personal web site as an external link for articles other than his own bio is appropriate, thats all.[158]

Threeafterthree raised the issue of the McAdams site being used as an external link to the External Links Noticeboard on February 10.[159] Gamaliel responded on the same board, suggesting that the link be kept because McAdams was a "college professor" and a "recognized expert" with "a forthcoming book out on the JFK assassination". Another user suggested that while the "tone" of the McAdams site was not "encyclopedic", the "information" was "likely to be reliable". Based on this shaky consensus, the link was kept. blacklisted and "Threeafterthree" banned

Nothing further erupted in the edit war until its climax in August 25, 2011, when a permanent ban of Threeafterthree and the blacklisting of -- both initiated by Gamaliel -- would take place in the space of a few short days. The record is difficult to trace, as revisions to the Prouty page done in August by Threeafterthree are no longer accessible on Wikipedia having been "removed from the public archives".[160] The changes appear to have consisted of links added by Threeafterthree to the "External Links" section of the Prouty entry on August 25. All record of these additions was removed by Gamaliel on August 29, 2011.[161] The substance of the additions, however, can be pieced together from other sources.

On August 25, Gamaliel posted to the Incidents Noticeboard demanding "serious and immediate sanction" for Threeafterthree.[162] According to Gamaliel:

User:Threeafterthree has for some time objected to links to the website of John C. McAdams, a Marquette University professor who has published a book on the JFK assassination and whose website is widely recognized as an excellent resource. McAdams' credentials are detailed in his WP article. Threeafterthree has periodically removed links to this website with merely the edit summary "per WP:EL" and has generally refused to discuss the issue. On the few occasions he has engaged in talk page or noticeboard discussion, he has made broad generalizations about the quality of the website or about McAdams himself, abandoning the discussion before substantiating any of these generalizations in any way. He will then generally wait a few months and remove the EL again.

After I restored a couple of such links today, Threeafterthree retaliated by

  • going on a deletion spree of McAdams links
  • reverting me on an entirely unrelated article which he does not appear to be currently editing
  • libeling McAdams in an edit summary which I've deleted
  • Replacing links to McAdams with links to [ a website] (his own?) devoted to the late L. Fletcher Prouty, a former USAF officer who has become a hero to conspiracy theorists for his rather bizarre allegations regarding the JFK assassination, the CIA, etc. The page linked to is basically an attack page directed at a BLP, calling McAdams "Laughing stock of the Internet". Not only that, it is an attack page directed at me personally, with a picture of myself apparently taken from Wikipedia cyberstalker Daniel Brandt's hive mind hit list and (obviously false) allegations that I'm a Nazi.
This is really beyond the pale, something I'd expect from a drive-by anon, not an editor who has been here almost six years. Contentious editing and refusal to discuss is certainly one thing, but I would think libeling a living individual and posting an attack page directed at a BLP and another editor demands some sort of serious and immediate sanction. Gamaliel (talk) 21:42, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

The page Gamaliel appears to have objected to is located at The page shows a photo of Gamaliel together with his real name and the image of a Nazi flag purportedly taken from his user page. A consensus quickly developed at the Incidents Noticeboard that Threeafterthree's behavior was inappropriate, though some of the editors questioned Gamaliel's links to the McAdams site:

Personally, I think some of their recent actions bring credit to neither User:Threeafterthree nor User:Gamaliel. I think both have removed relevant and appropriate links (that appear to differ from their own personal viewpoint). Gamaliel, really, removing and blacklisting prouty dot org "the Fletcher Prouty Reference Site" from the article on Fletcher Prouty? How is Wikipedia supposed to aspire towards accuracy and NPOV when we can't link to the subject of the article's own words? That a notable person who is the subject of an article has "non mainstream" or "fringe" opinions does not by itself seem reason for wholesale removal and blacklisting of any links to their own words. (We have articles on people IMO a lot wackier than Prouty -- Lyndon LaRouche comes to mind -- and are able to have reasonably balanced articles on them without such drastic tactics.) -- Infrogmation (talk) 22:57, 29 August 2011[162]

The above comment suggests that was blacklisted by Gamaliel directly. appears in the list of 'spam' sites blocked by Wikipedia in August 2011.[163][164] There is no record of any discussion prior to the blacklisting taking place in the Talk:Spam_blacklist area[165], the first mention of the blacklisting on the Talk page being a comment two years later that the site had been blacklisted in August 2011.[166][167] Agreement was reached at the Incidents Noticeboard that the page at amounted to an "attack" page, while Gamaliel claimed that it libeled both himself and John McAdams. On August 26, user "Beeblebrox" citing a "consensus" indefinitely banned Threeafterthree from Wikipedia, citing previous blocks. As of June 2014, despite two subsequent requests to be unblocked in November 2012, Threeafterthree remains indefinitely blocked.[168]

On August 29, 2011, Gamaliel removed links to articles at from the Prouty entry calling it a "dubious conspiracy/attack website".[169] At the end of August, the only external links from the Prouty entry were to and to the McAdams site.

On September 12, 2011, user "Mtmsquared" attempted to add links to and The same day Gamaliel removed the link to, noting: "rm - that is not his website, he is desceased (sic) and it's run by some third party".[170] Edits from other users through the end of 2011 centered around Prouty's "Controversial Claims" and whether he "worked" for the Church of Scientology.[171][172]

Post-blacklisting (2012)

On January 6, 2012, user "Detmcphierson" made a number of edits to the Prouty entry, including removing the link to the McAdams page "critical" of Prouty.[173] On January 9, Gamaliel restored the link. On January 19, an anonymous user traceable to New York City removed[174] the link. That same day, Gamaliel restored the link, calling its removal "vandalism".[175] On January 28, Detmcphierson removed the link.[176] In the Talk section, Detmcphierson argued:

I don't mean to turn this into a hobbyhorse, but in keeping with my observations in the above (first) External Links section I am removing the link to McAdam's page because it is a fringe source. McAdam's stated agenda is to paint those who question the official JFK "lone assassin" theory crazy. In my humble opinion McAdam's work should be only used as source reference when it rises to the purely factual.[177]

On February 7, Gamaliel restored the link, noting "disagree with application of fringe policy as discussed on talk".[178] In the Talk section, Gamaliel argued that McAdams "qualifies as an expert".[179]

On February 8, an anonymous user traceable to Pennsylvania attempted to add a paragraph on Prouty's flying missions during World War II. Gamaliel removed the paragraph the same day, calling it "vandalism".[180]

On February 19, Detmcphierson again removed the McAdams link,[181] and noted in the Talk section that even granting McAdams "expert" status on the JFK assassination, this would not qualify McAdams as an authority on Prouty's life or opinions on other topics:

I'm unmoved by both McAdam's collected third-party praise and his credentials. A cursory examination of McAdam's writings related to his stated expert subject, the JFK assassination, again and again shows a reliance on ad-hominem attacks and unfair labeling to limit reasonable debate. McAdams will gladly impugn a man's integrity or sanity (as he does with Prouty) if he had the temerity to question the Warren Report, which McAdams--seemingly alone in academia--views as inviolable. Indeed it would take a much more prolific wiki editor than I to blunt his voice here--which makes up for what it lacks in temperance with volume--on matters revolving the JFK assassination. This time however, since McAdams has ventured away from the JFK assassination into the realm of more general biographical matters, I'm comfortable again removing his opinion on Prouty.[182]

Gamaliel dismissed the problems using McAdams as a biographer of Prouty: "Regardless of your dismissal of those things, those things are valid criteria for weighing the inclusion of a link, while your personal dislike of McAdams is not. I don't think your comments have really added anything to our discussion here."[183] Gamaliel used the Wikipedia criteria of WP:IDONTLIKEIT for restoring the removed link. Then as a "compromise"[184] swapped out the McAdams "critical" page on Prouty with another from McAdams' site and added a link to the Reitzes site critical of Prouty removed from the entry before 2012.

On February 20, Detmcphierson removed the latest link to the McAdams site,[185] again asking: "How does McAdams qualify as an expert on Prouty's life?"[186] On February 21, Gamaliel restored the link,[187] answering in the Talk section: " I've already addressed your concerns about McAdams' qualifications, but you've already dismissed the ample evidence of them, so I'm not sure what else there is to do here."[188]

Again, Detmcphierson removed the link,[189] stating in the Talk section:

Since the last link recently added conveys much the same information (albeit in a slightly more sober style, and with a MSM clip to bolster some of its arguments) I'm wondering why its so important to you that the McAdams link stays as well. Again, I'm removing the McAdams link until you explain how he qualifies as an expert on the life and works of Prouty--as the page touches on much more than McAdams' stated line of expertise, the JFK assassination. I'm also curious to see your explanation as to what McAdams opinions add to the entry.[190]

Less than twenty minutes later, Gamaliel restored the link.[191] In the Talk section, Gamaliel wrote:

Why is it so important to you that the McAdams link be removed? I don't particularly care about the link, but I am strongly opposed to information from experts being discarded on the basis of WP:IDONTLIKEIT. I've already laid out McAdams' qualifications and you've already dismissed them, so what's the point of insisting I go down that road again? Besides, if you were concerned about qualifications, you would raise questions about the qualifications of Dave Reitzes as well, but since you do not, then it's obvious that's not really the issue here, is it? Until you raise an issue that relates to Wikipedia practices or policies or explain how McAdams' credentials in this area are inadequate, then we're just spinning our wheels.[192]

While having stated McAdams' general qualifications as a college professor in the field of political science, Gamaliel dodged the issue of whether McAdams had any special authority when it came to Prouty's views or Prouty's biography. Detmcphierson raised this point:

I don't know who David Reitzes is but I didn't object to the link because it seems to lean heavily on a MSM source, namely an Esquire story by Robert Anson. I wrote to you that I would stop removing the McAdams link if you would at least provide me the courtesy of explaining how McAdams expertise stretches beyond the JFK assassination into all the areas Prouty had opinions on. (Geology for example.) As others have noted on this forum, McAdams agenda (impugning those who take issue with the Warren Report) makes people take a closer look at his links. But even I would have to admit that McAdams is an expert--of sorts--on the JFK assassination. But the Prouty link goes beyond that.[193]

Gamaliel then added a link to an obituary for Prouty at "The Guardian".[194] The obituary, while in the main factually accurate, was cool to Prouty, even skeptical, starting off in its subtitle claiming that Prouty was "obsessed by the conspiracy theory" of the Kennedy assassination. While noting that Prouty's various venues for publications such as men's magazines resulted from his being marginalized, the obituary made no great effort to wonder at the implications of a Pentagon high official declaring the Kennedy assassination a "coup d'etat". Gamaliel also added a link to the site with a full-length text version of Prouty's "The Secret Team"[195]

On February 21, 2012 user Detmcphierson again removed the link to the McAdams site, which Gamaliel immediately restored.[196] Detmcphierson responded by removing the McAdams link along with a link to the Reitzes site, citing "removing character assasination (sic) links per desire of numerous wiki users" as the edit reason.[197]

The reply by Gamaliel might be regarded as disingenuous:

I don't see anything on that page which requires any special exptertise (sic) in geology or a particular field of science. The word geology does not even appear. Whatever his alleged agenda may be, his expertise clearly covers the relevant areas.[198]

Then adding:

Also, since your reverts are becoming more frequent, please be aware of the (WP:3RR/three revert rule) and edit accordingly. Thank you.[199]

Later the same day (February 21), Detmcphierson again pressed the point:

Besides the Kennedy assassination, what is McAdams area of expertise? I'm truly curious. Has he done research on Prouty? It seems McAdams just picking out snippets from the web and wagging his finger. Hardly scholarly. Is his stated agenda really of no concern considering we are striving for no POV? In any event, you seem to have an awful lot vested in defending him here. And why aren't you contended with the Reitzes link since it conveys similar information?[200]

Unable to says on what basis McAdams could be trusted to accurately state Prouty's views, whatever his expertise on the Kennedy assassination, Gamaliel responded:

You seem desperate to make this personal, perhaps because you can find no policy based reasons for deleting the link, but sorry to disappoint you, I have no agenda here. I have an awful lot vested in Wikipedia. Eight years. That's my motivation. Do you have anything new to add? If not, I think we are done here.[201]

Detmcphierson replied:

You seem desperate to not answer the question at hand--about McAdams' expertise. And if there is a consensus here, it reads discontent with the McAdams link. I don't know what you mean by "personal," I don't know you and I never heard of John McAdams until I saw his overheated link marring an otherwise temperate encyclopedia entry. Your heartfelt salute to Wikipedia is moving for sure though. I'm glad you're "done," but I have my doubts that will hold when I delete the link again.[202]

Nevertheless, Gamaliel vowed to continue restoring the link, to which Detmcphierson finally declared resignedly:

Alas, poor Wikipedia. Perhaps someone with better stamina than I will take this issue up again. But for the record, I have nothing personal against you (or McAdams ((except I dislike his rhetorical style from what I've read)) and for the life of me I cannot see where you've made the case for this link except by referring to Wiki sub-rules and a list of Freshman courses in which McAdams is a rotating lecturer.[203]

Only a few minutes later, however, Detmcphierson returned to the dispute, saying:

I've changed my mind. I'm going to continue to delete the link until you make your case for McAdams' expertise. Many, many other Wiki users have been angered by this link as well it seems from reading this page. I've also deleted the Reitzes link b/c it seems to be little more than a blog post comprised of an Esquire article and further character assassination. Its just not right that a man who served his country honorably has to be impugned b/c he held unpopular opinions.[204]

Over the next several days, the tit-for-tat between users Gamaliel and Detmcphierson continued, with the former restoring and latter removing links to the McAdams site as well as the Reitzes page. On February 24, Gamaliel started calling the removal of the links "vandalism".[205] Also on February 24, mention of in the body of the Prouty entry was removed and called "vandalism".[206]

On February 28, Detmcphierson again removed the links to the McAdams and Reitzes pages. Within hours,[207] Gamaliel restored the links where they would remain for several months. In May-June 2012, user Woohookitty would remove the McAdams link, whereupon it was restored by an unknown party from a Boston, Massachusetts IP address.[208] On June 18, the link to the McAdams piece with a link to another McAdams piece on Prouty, the same piece that had been removed by Gamaliel earlier in an attempt to "compromise".[209][184]

There would be no further salvos in the edit war on the Prouty Wikipedia entry until 2013.

Against Blacklisting (2013)

On October 8, 2013 user "Len osanic", co-founder of, added a link to to the external links of the Prouty Wikipedia entry.[210] The same day Gamaliel removed the link with reason given that it was to a "fringe" website.[211]

On October 9, the link to the site was restored by user Amatulic, saying "that's the primary web site, recently white-listed for the purpose of including in this article".[212] The same day, the link was removed by Gamaliel, claiming "It's not the primary website, the man is deceased and this is just some guy claiming it is 'official'."[213]

On October 22, Osanic left a lengthy comment in the Talk section of the Prouty Wikipedia entry. In his comment, Osanic decried what he called "bias" in moderator deletions.[214] Noting again that Gamaliel had had a Nazi symbol on his own page at one point, Osanic spent the rest of the comment on asking why an external link to Prouty's own page where Prouty "wrote, answered email lectures, interviews, there etc (sic)" was forbidden and dismissed as a "fringe" site while external links to sites "critical" of Prouty and calling him a "crackpot" were allowed.

Less than ten minutes later, Osanic's comment from the Talk section (with no change having been made to text in the Prouty entry itself) was deleted entirely by Gamaliel.[215] Gamaliel cited as reason "You can make your case for inclusion without attacking me".

User "Amatulic"

On October 23, the majority of Osanic's comment was restored by user Amatulic, but "minus personal attacks and personal details, and [...] with a question".[216] As would later become clear, Amatulic was asked to intervene by Osanic in the ongoing edit war over the Prouty Wikipedia entry.

Consistent perhaps with the known demographic of Wikipedia editors, Amatulic opens his own user page with an obscure reference to a science-fiction television show.[217] Calling himself a "scientist who has worked as an engineer for the past 25 (approx) years, mostly in the field of stealth technology", Amatulic notes that among other things he enjoys "anime and role-playing games". Most importantly, from the point of view of the ongoing Prouty edit war, Amatulic's user page states:

I enjoy offering third opinions in disputes between two editors who have reached an impasse. There's something satisfying about coming to an article I have no opinion about, studying the edit history and talk page discussion, and offering a neutral disinterested viewpoint in an attempt to resolve the dispute. I think the Wikipedia:Third opinion page is a great vehicle for dispute resolution, and more people should use it and participate.[217]

The "question" left by Amatulic -- fashioning himself as a provider of a "neutral disinterested viewpoint" -- would, in fact, frame the entire subsequent discussion for months to come and name the central difficulty:

You ask what makes it "fringe"? I can offer one answer: It is possible that the website gives itself an appearance of being a fringe site by hosting attack pages on Wikipedia editors, making it seem more like a personal project or vendetta than an official resource of information. Removal of such pages would likely go far toward accepting a link to it here.[216]

Of course, nowhere in the Wikipedia entry on WP:FRINGE is there mention of "attack pages on Wikipedia editors" as criterion for whether a site should be considered "fringe". In fact, perhaps ironically, an area related to what qualifies as "fringe" on Wikipedia among its guidelines is germane to the Prouty edit war:

Close attention should be paid to the treatment of those who hold fringe viewpoints, since as a rule they are the focus of controversy. All articles concerning these people must comply with Wikipedia's policy on biographies of living persons. Fringe views of those better known for other achievements or incidents should not be given undue prominence, especially when these views are incidental to their fame, but the WP:BLP policy does not provide an excuse to remove all criticism from a biography or to obscure a person's fringe advocacy outside of their field of expertise.[218]

It might be said that despite Prouty's long and distinguished military career, comparatively little of that career is discussed in real detail in the Wikipedia Prouty entry, while considerable energy has been spent highlighting his "fringe theories", often by misrepresenting them. And ten years into an edit war on the Prouty Wikipedia entry dominated by user Gamaliel, whose interventions resulted in users being banned and Prouty's official site being blacklisted, the central sticking point now identified by the new "neutral, disinterested" third party was that hosted a page attacking user Gamaliel.

In his October 23 reply, Osanic stated that was Prouty's official site, noting the "basic point has to be addressed" as to how Prouty's own site could be blacklisted while a page apparently calling Prouty a "crackpot" could be included among the external links.

Gamaliel's response on the same day is significant. Not only does it represent might well be taken as wikilawyering, it represents a shifting account of the reasons given for blacklisting Whereas in August 2011, the primary reason for the blacklisting was that it was designated "Spam" due to user Threeafterthree's behavior, Gamaliel would appear to move the goalposts as to why it should remain blacklisted:

We have a guideline on Wikipedia called Wikipedia:Other stuff exists, which basically means that you must make your case on its own merits, not by simply referencing other things. You must make a positive case for inclusion of your website, not merely demand that we included it because we included the website of Professor McAdams. Your website suffers in that direct comparison regardless, as Professor McAdams is a professional historian with published works on the topic of the JFK assassination, while you have no similar credentials or publications that I am aware of. If you do, please reference them when you make your case for inclusion.
As I see it, there are several obstacles to inclusion at this time. Your claim that this is an "official" website is dubious, as Prouty has been deceased for 12 years. That would be like someone setting up an "official" website for Douglas McArthur or Patton. Someone making such a claim should have the credentials to do so, such as a professional historian or a published author on the topic. Also, the website seems to have relatively little material on Prouty. Prouty's books are instead links to amazon or other websites, and there are a few articles, but many are copyrighted newspaper articles which I doubt you have permission to post on your website. There are also links to purchase t-shirts and CDs unrelated to Prouty, which leaves the impression that this website is a personal venture and not an official one. Also, using the "official" Prouty website to host vicious personal attacks unrelated to Prouty furthers the impression that this website is a personal venture and not an official one. Removing these personal attack pages would go a long way to convincing Wikipedia editors of the professionalism of your website.[219]

The response contains certain statements that are verifiably false. John McAdams is not, for example, a professional historian, but a professional political scientist. Perhaps more importantly, as would be brought up by other users who would shortly engage in the Talk section, even a cursory examination of the would have revealed that Prouty himself created content exclusive to the site prior to his death; that the site was a central repository for information on Prouty unlike any other online; that information on Prouty provided by Prouty himself to (including a curriculum vitae in timeline form) had already been incorporated into the Prouty Wikipedia entry; and that the "vicious personal attack" on Gamaliel appeared on a page located on the site that was unrelated and unconnected by any link to the Prouty material.

As the last line of response seemed to indicate, for Gamaliel as for Amatulic, the real point of contention was that Osanic now hosted a page attacking Gamaliel (and McAdams); whereas from Osanic's point of view, the tone of the "attack" page was appropriate given almost ten years of Gamaliel's domination of Prouty's Wikipedia entry, during which time material and links critical of Prouty were continually promoted while a direct link to Prouty's own words and interviews had been suppressed for a shifting set of reasons.

User "GregoryBurnham"

On October 23, Kennedy assassination researcher Gregory Burnham using the same user name posted a response to the claim that was not Prouty's official website. Burnham wrote:

[T]he website was established several years prior to Fletch's death! Additionally, in the mid to late 1990's Len, Fletch and I were guests on various radio programs together (such as, The Radio Detective and The Jeff Rense Show) where Colonel Prouty often suggested that the listening audience visit the website and/or obtain a copy of the CD-ROM produced by Len Osanic (The Collected Works of Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty). Indeed, in 1997, Len Osanic was the first person listed by Colonel Prouty in the Acknowledgments Section of his book, The Secret Team, "To Len Osanic ... for bringing all my work back to life..." as a direct result of Len's dedication to creating a website designed to do just that.[220]

Burnham went on to quote from a letter Prouty had written to readers of his website, found easily enough at Burnham further stated that "Much of the content found there could only have been obtained by Len directly from Colonel Prouty himself. Colonel Prouty enjoyed hosting Len at his home in Alexandria, VA on many occasions where they would discuss various topics of great historical import", and that in his view, "[t]he act of failing to provide a link to a subject's own website, who is himself the subject of a Wiki page, when said website was commissioned prior to death by the deceased himself, is tantamount to censorship".[220]

On October 24, Amatulic replied to Burnham:

Those are reasonable arguments. The fact remains, however, that the site contains attacks on living persons. We aren't talking about criticism here. That would be fine. We're talking about personal attacks. While Wikipedia does have a policy (WP:NOTCENSORED) that states Wikipedia content is not censored for anyone's benefit, links are another matter. Wikipedia does indeed censor attack sites. As as been suggested repeatedly now, if the attacks are removed, it would go along way toward acceptance of a link.[221]

Like Gamaliel's many reasons for not including among the Prouty entry's external links, Amatulic's response can be taken to suggest a certain amount of wikilawyering. The two Wikipedia policy pages addressing the matter of linking to "attack" sites, taken together, seem to suggest a more flexible posture.

On the No Personal Attacks page (sub-heading: External links) the guideline is as follows:

Linking to off-site harassment, attacks, or privacy violations against persons who edit Wikipedia for the purpose of attacking another person who edits Wikipedia is never acceptable. Attacking, harassing, or violating the privacy of any person who edits Wikipedia through the posting of external links is not permitted. Harassment in this context may include but is not limited to linking to offsite personal attacks, privacy violations, and/or threats of physical violence. This is not to be confused with legitimate critique. Inclusion of links in articles is a matter for sound editorial judgment.
The interpretation of this rule is complex. See Wikipedia:Linking to external harassment for guidance on interpretation.[222]

At the Linking to External Harassment page the guideline is as follows:

The best thing to do with harassment found on external websites is to ignore it. These kinds of behaviour are aimed at gathering attention, and when controversy, edit warring and interpersonal conflict erupts on Wikipedia as a result, the harassers often feel triumphant and motivated to continue. This can be understandably difficult if they try to troll people on the site with it.


Sites not routinely harassing – Web sites that do not routinely harass have in the past become engaged in an isolated or specific dispute with a Wikipedia editor. It is not normally necessary to remove such links. Removing links to the official website of an article subject due to side-effects of a single dispute is rarely necessary and may be unwise. Consider whether removal may draw more attention than calm discussion.[223]

A key point that seems to have overlooked to this point in the discussion was that the "attack" page devoted to Gamaliel/McAdams was not accessible from the main page. Thus an external link to would not have meant a link to the Gamaliel/McAdams attack page in the first place.

User "Hochichi667"

A second user under the name "Hochichi667" engaged in the discussion on October 25, 2013. Noting that he had "no dog in the fight", Hochichi667 stated that in his view,[224] was unique on the Internet for being devoted to Prouty, whether or not it was an official site. He also noted that the site seemed to present original material related to Prouty not found anywhere else.

In a separate comment on the McAdams link, Hochichi667 wrote:

On the issue with Prof. John McAdams - which is in some ways irrelevant to the matter here - it is possible to overstate McAdams' credentials when it comes to the JFK assassination. It seems true that McAdams runs a JFK-assassination-related website, and it is also apparently true that he has been interviewed on television on the JFK assassination. However, it is significant that there is a decided lack of peer-reviewed publication from McAdams on the Kennedy assassination. (Indeed, his only peer-reviewed publication history seems devoted to the death penalty.) Apart from a book in 2011, it is unclear whether McAdams has ever published on the topic. While the 2011 book seems directed at a popular audience, the fact that he has not apparently written for a peer-reviewed journal on the topic combined with the fact that his specialization is in political science and not history would suggest that his only qualifications for being an authority on the JFK assassination are that: a) he has published a single book on the topic; b) he has appeared on television; c) he is a tenured professor in a different, if related field: political science, not history. Seen in this light, a whole host of others are really not less qualified. It is highly unusual for a professor called an authority on a topic not to have a long list of publications in the academic literature on that topic.[225]

Gamaliel responded on October 26:

Individually, these might be dismissed as minor issues, but the combined weight of them is difficult to overcome, especially considering the relatively low amount of original, non-copyright violation material on Prouty featured on the website. I do agree that the comparison to McAdams is largely irrelevant, and I only bring it up because that seems to be Osanic's main argument for inclusion. You raise some good points about McAdams but however whatever you think about McAdams' claim to expertise, he certainly has more of a claim than Osanic.[226]

Arguably, Gamaliel's response continued to reflect a bias against From the perspective of Osanic, Burnham, Hochichi667, and others, if "individually" all the reasons for blacklisting were false or questionable, then there would be no "combined weight" to speak of. Further, the matter of Osanic's expertise was irrelevant since he was simply hosting an "official reference site" with the primary source material of Prouty's own words; comparing his expertise with McAdams' was therefore a false comparison as Osanic was not presenting his own views.

The "debate" progresses

Over the next few weeks, users GregoryBurnham and Hochichi667 would make several key points which for being unanswerable arguably resulted in Gamaliel closing the Talk section on the Prouty Wikipedia entry.

Gamaliel's stated position against in late 2013 rotated around a set of claims: a) was not Prouty's official site; b) contained a "relatively low amount of original" material; and c) that it contained material that violated copyright. Moreover, Gamaliel continued to conflate McAdams' possible expertise on the Kennedy assassination with the matter of his expertise on Prouty, whose non-assassination views McAdams continued to criticize (and even misrepresent) on pages continually added to the Prouty Wikipedia entry's External Links section.

On October 27, Hochichi667 challenged Gamaliel's claim that had a "relatively low amount of original" material, asserting that since was the only apparent site on the Internet devoted to Prouty, and since it featured written material and interviews created specifically for the Prouty site, it had a relatively "high" amount of material compared to other sites.[227] Moreover, Hochichi667 challenged Gamaliel on the charge of copyright violation, saying it wasn't enough to "suspect" the site of copyright violation.

The same day, Gamaliel added a new reason for excluding's from the Prouty entry's external links: its visual design. Gamaliel wrote of "It is a low quality personal website of the sort you might have found on Geocities back in the day. It may have been the kind of external link that was acceptable for the Wikipedia of 2005, but not the Wikipedia of 2013."[228] The new criterion appears to have been at least inconsistently applied: both the McAdams and the Reitzes site rely on the same basic HTML design as

Hochichi667 responded, noting that among the external links on the Prouty Wikipedia entry, two links were given to where entire books of Prouty's were presented online without any concern as to copyright violation.[229] Moreover, that on closer examination, the material at from copyrighted sources appeared to be covered by the doctrine of fair use, which holds that copyright material might be used in certain cases where, for example, the motivation is educational and the purpose is a non-profit one. Hochichi667 further asserted that when it came to the "relatively low" amount of original content on the site, in fact featured over six hours of audio conversation with Prouty not available on other sites. Moreover, presented, according to Hochichi667, a "series of notable letters from Prouty's personal correspondence" unavailable anywhere else as well as "twelve commentaries apparently written by Prouty himself for the site [and] also a few more than a dozen e-mail communications from Prouty to various parties".[229] Hochichi667 also noted that the McAdams site "itself quotes and links to, making this whole issue a bit silly".[229]

Also on October 27, Greg Burnham observed on the Talk page that "ad hominem attacks against Fletcher Prouty existed on John McAdams' website even prior to Prouty's death".[220] Burnham drew attention to the fact that under the guise of a rhetorical question, McAdams was able to call Prouty a "crackpot" and present a page that, given its misrepresentations, amounted to a personal attack:

Since you allow (on Prouty's wiki page) an external link to John McAdams' page, in which McAdams attacks Prouty, isn't it only logical, by extension, that to be fair you would need to also allow the page you find objectionable on the Prouty website to be externally linked on John McAdams' Wiki page? After all, that would only be fair. Otherwise, allow the external link to Prouty's own Reference Site on his own Wiki page. It is the right thing to do.[220]

In response, Gamaliel continued to assert copyright infringement, claiming that use of articles or excerpts from articles from "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" amounted to such. Further, he clarified that in his view, was simply a "fan site", and not an official site. Despite the claim by Hochichi667 that over six hours of audio, as well as official correspondence of Prouty's along with commentaries written specifically for, was available nowhere else online, and that as a result, the website's content was "relatively high" compared to all others, Gamaliel continued to maintain that "much if not all of the valuable material is available on elsewhere on YouTube".[230]

On October 28, Greg Burnham again made a formidable case that Gamaliel's positions were inconsistent and biased:

You are committing several fallacies. First, you are engaging in Special Pleading, where only the evidence favorable to your own argument is being considered. Secondly, Gamaliel, you are acting as though you are qualified to judge whether or not McAdams' page is "a quite reasonable look at specific claims Prouty has made" when you are neither an expert on Prouty nor an expert on the subjects about which he has written. Moreover, you claim that McAdams "makes factual statements" about each one of Prouty's claims. But, how would you know? You don't claim to be a student of this case. And, even if you did, would you seriously claim to know more about these events than someone who was there?[231]

In Gamaliel's reply, he again turned the issue back to the matter of ad hominem attacks on the site. Later the same day, amending his reply, he seemed to indicate what was really again the main bone of contention:

As long as Len Osanic's website contains this sort of vicious personal attacks, (sic) it is impossible to take seriously as a resource worthy of inclusion in Wikipedia.[232]

In a reply on October 28, Hochichi667 stated the following:

I think perhaps you have personal reasons for not wishing to see the inclusion of among the External Links. On closer examination of the 'personal attack issue' -- particularly, the 'laughingstock' quote -- I find that the supposed personal attack against McAdams is really a collection of links and statements criticizing McAdams not altogether different from his own directed at Prouty. However, what may well constitute a personal attack is made on Wikipedia editor 'Gamaliel', which I can only assume is you. You did not mention this above. I can understand why in this instance you would not wish to include since you seem to be on the receiving end of the criticism/attack, but all would agree, I think, that you can no longer remain objective about the site's value vis-a-vis this Wiki bio entry.
Your arguments, I'm afraid, bear this out. There is a certain amount of shifting around in your position, and had I known the true reason for your arguing against inclusion, I might simply have not wasted my time on objective reasons. The copyright claim is invalid in my opinion. The Wikipedia guideline states: "Context is also important; it may be acceptable to link to a reputable website's review of a particular film, even if it presents a still from the film (such uses are generally either explicitly permitted by distributors or allowed under fair use). However, linking directly to the still of the film removes the context and the site's justification for permitted use or fair use." Fair use is the operative term here. Does using previously published newspaper articles constitute copyright infringement? Since 1) is not re-selling the material; 2) is providing it for educational purposes, those articles are arguably covered by fair use. Certainly, to date no legal challenge has been made against, or if it had, the site must have won. However, as mentioned, the links include *entire books* and the issue is not raised. Moreover, and most damningly, the McAdams page reprints from the New York Daily News and Dallas Times Herald, in the case of the former, apparently using the whole article.
On the matter of the original content, it is not for you or I to judge what the 'value' of the content is, only whether the content exists. I might judge an old letter from JEB Stuart's widow to have no value intrinsically, but nonetheless as a historical item, it is of value to those interested. Declaring that some ten hours of interviews with the subject of this entry, Prouty, have no value surely indicates that you are no longer objective, probably after having been the target of the criticism/personal attack from It's abundantly clear to any outside observer, however, that the raw material of the interviews, articles, etc., are relevant to this entry. You misrepresent my point on this score as well: out of the ten hours, two consist of video interviews embedded from YouTube. Eight hours (or by far the better part of the material) appear to be original content not found elsewhere. This is of obvious value to anyone with a historical interest in Prouty.
I've examined your exchange with Greg Burnham below. The essence of your position there stated seems to be that the site ( contains personal attacks, therefore it should not be included. Since you are the target of the personal attack or criticism, and since you disguised this fact above, you are hardly objective about the page. Your characterizations of the site are accordingly emotional and inconsistent. Above you pushed for its exclusion on account of its being a commercial site. Once demonstrated that this wasn't really true, you now hold that is simply a fan site. It cannot be both. In fact, it is neither. No Geocities fan site would go to the lengths of conducting first-person interviews with the subject of the page that seem designed for the historical record. Moreover, Prouty himself seems to have authorized the page to the extent that it: 1) carries his name without his challenging it; 2) carries articles specifically written by him for the page's audience; 3) carries a letter from Prouty specifically on the matter of the site (
I don't make any judgment on the 'attack' part of To me, it's all rather distasteful. I suggest, however, that you recuse yourself from this particular bio entry and the subject of If you feel you have been the victim of an unwarranted personal attack (which I can understand) the proper venue of recourse is a court of law. You may well have a valid legal case for defamation. You do not appear, however, to have a valid case for excluding from the External Links.[233]

In his response, Gamaliel perhaps properly noted that Wikipedia editors cannot recuse themselves when attacked because the result would encourage attacks. However, he applied a false equivalence by claiming that if McAdams' credentials were not sufficient, then Osanic's were not as well, despite the fact that the content on the McAdams site was written by McAdams about Prouty, whereas offered interviews and material from Prouty, not Osanic. Moreover, Gamaliel claimed that his willingness to debate showed his "objectivity" and "dedication".[234] Gamaliel also asserted that was a commercial site, and therefore not eligible to be included among external links.

The same day (October 28) Hochichi667 noted that the commercial section of was not located on at all, but a separate site: Drawing attention to what he called the "inconsistent" grounds for excluding, Hochichi667 stated: "The only final basis you have for not placing among the external links is that the site hosts a personal attack or criticism of you personally".[235]

On November 1, Hochichi667 added a lengthy post to the Talk section of the Prouty Wikipedia entry, in which he analyzed in detail Wikipedia guidelines in relation to various charges made against in support of its blacklisting. Hochichi667 first looked at the question of copyright violation, citing a "four-fold balancing test"[236] for determining fair use. The test included:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

According to Hochichi667,'s use of copyrighted materials passed Wikipedia's four-fold test.[236] Hochichi667 then addressed the issue of whether was an official site. Appealing to Wikipedia stated guidelines according to which official sites not only can be listed, but should be listed, Hochichi667 quoted from Wikipedia:

"Official links (if any) are provided to give the reader the opportunity to see what the subject says about itself."

On the point of hosting an "attack page", Hochichi667 held that far from being an "attack" on McAdams, the page served mainly as a set of links to other pages where the "attacks" took place. Moreover, that the only real "attack" target was Gamaliel himself. Hochichi667 asked to see any Wikipedia policy which stated that attacks against Wikipedia editors made an external link forbidden. Further, Hochichi667 took issue with the idea of relating the attack page to the homepage, making this argument:

One would think that any Wikipedia policy against personal attacks would protect the *subject of the article* and not extend to irrelevant parties. Concerning a Wikipedia bio of L. Fletcher Prouty, whether a site contains personal attacks against John McAdams, 'Gamaliel', or Abraham Lincoln is irrelevant. This is especially true considering that the page in question apparently cannot be found from the homepage. Thus, readers following the link to are not able to encounter it; they only find it (as I did) through a search engine. It is very easy to understand why Wikipedia would seek to limit links to pages that are essentially a mindless screed about the subject in question: if I buy an XBOX 360 that is defective and write a long rant about how much I despise it, then try to put a link to my blog on the XBOX 360 Wiki page, it might be reasonably excluded. However, if I am an accomplished marine biologist, and on my website I have a number of articles written by me that are presently included among the external links of a variety of Wiki entries, the fact that elsewhere on my server I have this publicly available rant and "personal attack" on Bill Gates should not mean links to all my articles on marine biology should be deleted because I engaged in a "personal attack".[236]

Having evidently dispensed with the objections floated by Gamaliel against, Hochichi667 ended:

Conclusion: Unless there is a clearly stated policy saying that Wikipedia does not tolerate links to external sites where attacks/criticisms of Wikipedia or its editors take place, should be included in the section External Links.

At this point, the long silent "neutral disinterested" third party Amatulic responded on November 3:

That conclusion is bogus. There is no requirement that Wikipedia guidelines and policies must be completely comprehensive. They aren't. It's like saying "Unless there's a clearly stated law that I cannot vomit in public, I should be able to vomit in public." Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
It has been stated before, and bears repeating. The site was blacklisted, and still is, due to representatives attempting to link to those attack pages. Such pages serve no purpose other than to attack and malign. They are not criticism, they are attacks. Removal of such pages, as has been stated before, will go a long way to acceptance of this link. No valid objection to removal of attack pages has so far been presented here.[237]

In his response, Amatulic seemed to suggest that blacklisting did not need to have a basis in Wikipedia policy. Further, despite the fact that no relation between user Threeafterthree and was ever demonstrated (or even claimed), Amatulic erroneously suggested that had been blacklisted because "representatives" of the site were "attempting to link to those attack pages". Of course, the page in question (not "pages) was not accessible from any link to, which was the link Osanic, Burnham, and others were seeking to restore.

In his reply to Amatulic on November 3, Hochichi667 wrote the following:

The absurdity of your position should be obvious to you. The reason why Wikipedia has guidelines is precisely so that something of an objective standard exist, and that decisions not be undertaken willy-nilly by editors imposing a thousand separate sets of standards. Wikipedia is a public website, and its stated guidelines are a sort of promise made to the public that *if* people invest the time to contribute and to help Wikipedia grow, their work won't be arbitrarily trashed by this or that peevish editor who has an ax to grind.
In your case, and in the case of Gamaliel, you have no arguments to support why should be "blacklisted" other than that you don't like the fact that Gamaliel is attacked/criticized on a certain page on the site. As you have basically just said, this is your whole point. Evidently, you don't feel you need to justify this "blacklisting" by referring to Wikipedia policy. You do it because you want to. Likewise, it has nothing to do with the obvious value of and its relevance to a Wiki bio entry on Prouty. So what we have here is a situation where two Wikipedia editors decide for personal reasons that a Wikipedia article should suffer because of a personal grudge against the owner of a certain site.
It should go without saying that this sort of thing is why Wikipedia is on the decline (see the MIT Technology Review for a good analysis). If you both had simply maintained this position by itself from the beginning, that would be one thing. However, reaching far for specious arguments about copyright violation, about being a 'fan site', and so on, show that you know you are being intellectually dishonest. You know that you are wrong because strictly on the basis of whether a link to would be of benefit to people studying Prouty, the site should be included. It's a simple matter.
The wounded feelings argument really doesn't stand up though. Why have you not mentioned the fact that the reason why there is an 'attack' against Gamaliel on is precisely because of the shenanigans on the Prouty wiki page and others? Should Len Osanic be favorably inclined to 'Gamaliel' and Wikipedia when the Prouty article is a site of constant mischief? When in the Talk section for example, the site is said to contain material of 'relatively low' value when it is the only site on Prouty on the Internet with ten or more hours of recorded interviews with Prouty?
I think Gamaliel should man up. Your own weak effort to make a point notwithstanding, not only is there no justification for "blacklisting", there are several separate reasons among Wikipedia guidelines for its inclusion. Thus your statement about the conclusion above being bogus is 'bogus'. Is the point here to provide a valuable service to the readers? Or is it simply to have online pissing contests? Imagine if someone new to Wikipedia comes to the Prouty entry, and thinking he/she is doing good, does the obvious and puts the official Prouty site under External Links. A day later the link is removed. The person new to Wikipedia finds that at some point in the past, a page critical of a Wikipedia editor was put up, and now the site is "blacklisted". Why would that person spend any more time trying to help at Wikipedia?[238]

Gamaliel responded the same day:

You don't get your way, so you resort to taunts and insults. Regardless, it's good that you've finally admitted that this isn't about Prouty at all, it's about the agenda of you and Osanic. Look, Wikipedia is about collaboration and compromise, not attacking people when you don't get what you want. I've seen this time and time again on Wikipedia, when conspiracy theorists arrive and are frustrated because they can't get their way and have to follow Wikipedia's rules. So they personalize the issue and make it about someone, me or somebody else, standing in their way, when it is their own inability to understand and follow the rules that is the real obstacle. If I was your obstacle, why would I be discussing this with you at all? It's very simple, if you or Osanic or Jim DiEugenio anyone else wants to contribute or have a certain point of view represented, they have to do it within the guidelines and policies of Wikipedia, period. We can discuss how Osanic can do that, or you can attack me, your choice, but the rules aren't going to change just because the conspiracy theorists have tried to make me the scapegoat for your inability to grasp this.[239]

Hochichi667 replied that he did not know Osanic and did not come to the Prouty entry because he was interested in "conspiracy theories".[240] Nevertheless, on November 4, Gamaliel continued:

For the record, Amatulić came to this article at the request of "Len Osanic", not me, and I've had no contact with him before his involvement in the issue following Osanic's repeated requests. But let's not let a little thing like facts get in the way of the conspiracy community's constant attempts to blame everything on me. You say that we should be focused on "providing the best possible research material to the reader" after spending three paragraphs complaining about me. Go ahead, I would prefer you focused on that instead of me. Nobody's stopping you from practicing what you preach.[241]

On November 5, Amatulic re-appeared. Whereas Gamaliel had been unable to find a Wikipedia policy according to which clearly merited blacklisting, and whereas Amatulic himself had stated no Wikipedia policy was necessary, Amatulic now held that the "attack" page located at aimed at McAdams and Gamaliel amounted to libel:

I have no dog in this fight. Let me explain my involvement:
The site is blacklisted. In a lengthy email conversation with Len Osanic, and after posting proposals on both the blacklist and whitelist pages with no objection, I white-listed just the home page, in the hope that it would lead to public discussion instead of unproductive back-room private conversation. That has happened. Mission accomplished.
You want a policy? Here you go: Wikipedia:Libel. It is a policy to delete defamatory material. One could argue whether the policy applies to defamatory links or actual text in an article. It doesn't matter. It should be obvious that Wikipedia cannot be complicit in libel. The page, while it does contain some valid critiques, clearly exists as a hatchet job for no other purpose than libel.
That said, I think overall the site is potentially a useful resource. It has some good information in it about the subject. The defamatory pages add no value and can safely be removed. Pages that attack McAdams' arguments rather than his character can be kept. If the site contents was modified thus, I believe nobody would object to linking it.[242]

Despite the fact that the Prouty entry on Wikipedia for ten years had been dominated by Gamaliel, who came to the entry with an anti-conspiracy bias (as demonstrated by his other edits) and who treated Prouty accordingly; despite the fact that Gamaliel had for years added and re-added external links to pages critical of Prouty that themselves excerpted or re-printed copyrighted works; despite the fact that those sites had a very basic and outdated appearance; despite the fact that numerous users had objected to the inclusion of the McAdams site among the Prouty entry's external links, to the point where at least one user was permanently banned; despite the fact that, Prouty's official site, was blacklisted as spam because of actions of someone never shown to be affiliated with the site; despite the endlessly shifting list of reasons given to continue the blacklisting two years later, including that was not an official site, but a fan site, and that it offered no original content, despite several hours of unique audio recordings along with some of Prouty's official correspondence, and that it had an "attack" page against a Wikipedia editor -- when Wikipedia guidelines themselves said that in such a case, the external link should probably still be included -- despite all this, according to Amatulic on November 5, 2013, the main issue was that continued to host a page attacking Gamaliel that was not accessible from its home page. When all others had failed, the latest contention was that should remain blacklisted because linking to it would make Wikipedia "complicit in libel".

On November 6, Hochichi667 questioned the charge of libel based on the Wikipedia guidelines for the same. Hochichi667 noted the difference between libel and "vulgar abuse":

According to the standard in the United States (given in this entry), libel must be factually false and harmful to reputation. However, on the same page we find that "vulgar abuse" is not considered libel. When I review the McAdams page, I find a basic slurs of "laughingstock", a comparison of McAdams to the Westboro Baptist Church, and a suggestion that McAdams is "asleep at the wheel". Other negative remarks directed at McAdams are quotes by others and links to criticisms made by others.[243]

Hochichi667 went on to note that libel was a "complicated legal standard", but that another Wikipedia standard against "personal attacks" that involve "privacy violations against persons who edit Wikipedia" might well apply against the page (even though the page continued to be inaccessible from On the page, the identity of Robert Fernandez as Gamaliel along with a personal photo were presented, both evidently taken from Gamaliel's user page. By suggesting that Gamaliel lived in Florida, if accurate, the page might arguably be violating the privacy of a Wikipedia editor -- if that information was not also already available on the user page. (As of August 8, 2014, Gamaliel lists Florida as his state of residence on his user page.) Hochichi667 suggested that in such an event the blacklisting "might instead be restricted to the McAdams page".

On November 7, Gamaliel posted:

You're missing the point that Amatulić and I have been trying to make from the beginning. Even if you make a convincing case that this link is not prohibited, that does not automatically mean it should be included. An affirmative case for inclusion must be made. You seem to think that inclusion should be "obvious", but others disagree, and the few arguments for inclusion have been thoroughly debunked.[244]

The debate having thus been confusingly reset, Greg Burnham responded on November 8:

Earlier Gamaliel repeatedly attributed his decision to prohibit an external link to The Colonel L Fletcher Prouty Reference Site—a site dedicated to a highly decorated "Full Bird" Colonel in the United States Air Force—from being linked to Colonel Prouty's own Wiki page, as due to its having contained so-called "policy violations" of various natures. However, by simply reviewing Wikipedia's policy page, these alleged violations are charged erroneously. Clearly the website is not primarily a commercial endeavor. Clearly the website is richly stocked with Primary Research on the subject of Colonel Prouty as an historical figure. Clearly the Primary Source Material contained at, which was obtained directly from the subject himself, is far and away the largest volume of both audio and video interviews of the subject available anywhere. Moreover, the ad hominem or otherwise critical comments contained on the McAdams website are aimed directly at assertions that were allegedly made by Colonel Prouty. However, there is one important distinction: The original statements by Prouty, that are being challenged on the McAdams’ website, can only be found on the Colonel Prouty Reference Site IN CONTEXT rather than presented from the biased point of view being offered by one of his detractors. How can a reference site that was created for--and in cooperation with--the subject himself be omitted? Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, USAF -- as per National Security Directive 54/12 -- was the first Focal Point Officer (between all branches of the US Military and the Central Intelligence Agency) working out of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in support of all clandestine operations GLOBALLY. Subsequent to that, he became the Chief of Special Operations in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was THERE. So it is with great bias that Gamaliel has chosen to apply censorship. Indeed, by preventing the subject (Prouty) of the false charges from being accurately represented through an external link to HIS OWN webpage, Gamaliel is behaving like the judge who allowed the prosecutor's witnesses to make accusations, but prevented the defense from calling its own witnesses to the stand in order to impeach the false accusations. Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty was an honorable man. He should be allowed to speak for himself. Students of this case (JFK) and of these other subjects related to the life and work of an eyewitness to HISTORY should not be prevented from educating himself or herself due to Gamaliel's censorship. I am beginning to understand why more and more people are beginning to lose trust in Wikipedia as a reliable source. When you are failing to live up to your own published standards by arbitrarily, if not, systemically omitting PRIMARY SOURCE MATERIAL from being externally linked, how can you expect to: increase your popularity, the public’s trust, or your donation revenues?[245]

Burnham, arguably, placed the main issue again at the center of the debate: whether an external link to primary source material could be justifiably excluded, while links to secondary source material critical of the primary source were not.

Less than fifteen minutes later, perhaps purposely overlooking that had already been demonstrated as meeting the criteria of an official site, Gamaliel responded:

The idea that this is a censorship issue is absolutely ludicrous. The article includes links to "the full text of two of Prouty's books", so it's not like anyone's trying to hide his views from Wikipedia readers. Prouty is already allowed to speak for himself here. The real issue is whether or not Osanic's fan site meets Wikipedia standards for inclusion. As long as Osanic's advocates ignore or dismiss this issue, we're unlikely to find any common ground on this matter.[246]

Later the same day, Burnham disagreed:

That is incorrect. He has not been aloud to "speak" for himself here. There is a great deal of difference between "reading someone's written word" and actually "hearing and/or watching" someone speak those words. Moreover, he wrote things for the website that had never been written anywhere else! There are dozens of audio/video interviews at for students to study for themselves, available ONLY on the Reference Site. This skirmish is more and more appearing to be a grudge match between Galamiel and Len Osanic. But it shouldn't be. It should ONLY be about serving history, education, adding to the knowledge base, and the CONTENT found at "The Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty Reference Site" beyond that which can be found in his books. I think you are, perhaps subconsciously, re-directing the anger you feel for Len Osanic by passive-aggressively venting your spleen at a "softer target" i.e., the website that he administers. A pity. You do so at the expense of free speech. This debate should not be between Prouty and McAdams. Nor should it be between Galamiel and Osanic. It should not be a debate at all. In my opinion, Galamiel, you need to hold yourself to a higher standard than that. After all, you are "the trusted guardian" here. Personality conflicts should be especially avoided by those who hold the keys to the realm. The wisdom of your decisions should always serve as an example of Wikipedia's unbiased commitment to equal opportunity within the marketplace of free ideas. Any other perception, real or perceived, can only cut into revenue.[247]

It appears, however, that Gamaliel was in a sense right: the many problems surrounding the Prouty Wikipedia entry were less about censoring Prouty's words directly, and more about maintaining a negative bias against Prouty on account of his "conspiratorial" views. More specifically, they also involved punishing an official site that proved intransigent when it came to compromising with an editor who had maintained that negative bias for nearly ten years.

The "debate" concludes

In 2011, was added to Wikipedia's Spam-blacklist by Gamaliel after links to an "attack" page located at were added to the site by user Threebythree. Threebythree was upset that links to primary source material including recorded interviews and original writings at were consistently removed by Gamaliel for a variety of questionable reasons, while at the same time, links to a secondary site with content from John McAdams were constantly promoted. When the dispute escalated to a direct confrontation, Threebythree was banned from Wikipedia, and remains banned to this day (August 2014).

In 2013, Gamaliel and Amatulic (a "neutral, disinterested" third party who appeared at the request of Len Osanic) maintained that the site should continue to be blacklisted. When reasons given by Gamaliel were addressed, he would simply shift to other reasons. When those reasons were addressed, he would shift back to his original reasons. The burden continued to be placed back on Osanic to remove his "attack" page, which appeared to only have been produced after considerable anti-Prouty bias had been demonstrated on Prouty's Wikipedia entry, and after a number of false charges were made against Instead of addressing the fact that Gamaliel had been removing links to before the blacklisting ever occurred, or the years of negative bias against Prouty in his Wikipedia entry, and instead of addressing the reality of an ever-shifting set of reasons being provided by Gamaliel (and to a lesser extent, Amatulic) why the blacklisting was to be maintained, both Gamaliel and Amatulic, experienced editors at Wikipedia, chose to make's "attack" page on Gamaliel the central issue.

Unable or unwilling to separate out the many issues in play, Gamaliel's post on the Talk page of the Prouty Wikipedia entry on November 8, 2013, again conflated certain points in order to insist that the "attack" page be removed. Claiming that blacklisting Prouty's official site was not "censorship" but "responsible selection",[248] Gamaliel again alleged "widespread copyright violations" at, ignoring the counter-claim of fair use in the few cases where the question arose, and asserted that Wikipedia thereby was serving "history and education [...] by insisting on high-quality links".

On November 9, 2013, Hochichi667 accused Gamaliel of circular reasoning, saying "we come full circle".[249] Saying that it had already been demonstrated that was not a "fan site" and that it had "relatively high" levels of original content, Hochichi667 went on to claim that in previous posts he had already listed what pieces on could conceivably be in violation of copyright, and argued that they were probably covered by fair use. Hochichi667 again raised the question of whether the "attack" page alone might be blacklisted.

On November 10, Amatulic responded by saying the "attack" page at was "defamatory" and "libel", and that "[i]f you want to propose any changes to how the blacklist should be configured with respect to that site, this talk page is not the place to do it".[250] In an addition to the note, Amatulic added: "I'll add that we don't blacklist individual pages, and it would be a waste of everyone's time to propose that. It's just too trivial for the site operator to rename the offending page to something not blacklisted. We don't play whack-a-mole. We blacklist entire sites".

On November 11, Hochichi667 expressed his confusion how a site could be whitelisted and blacklisted at the same time.[251] He also disputed whether the solution of blacklisting just the "attack" page was "trivial" since it seemed the most direct resolution to the current problem. Hochichi667 again noted, however, that the "attack" page was likely not "pure and simple libel" as Amatulic claimed. Hochichi667 had previously argued that the "attack" page probably would be considered "vulgar abuse", which didn't rise to the level of legal libel.

On November 17, in what was perhaps an attempt to close discussion of the matter of's blacklisting, Amatulic wrote:

As I said, the whole site is blacklisted. I "poked a hole" in the blacklist to allow a single page through, for the purpose of encouraging discussion here. If that doesn't make sense, I'm not sure how I can explain it more clearly. If you want to discuss blacklisting, the venue for that is MediaWiki talk:Spam-blacklist; it was an oversight on my part that I didn't reference that discussion page. As to libel, the community consensus on that has been made clear in past discussion that led to the blacklisting. If you want more clarity, you are welcome to ask an attorney. Wikipedia has attorneys who maintain user talk pages here, on which you are free to leave comments.[252]

Amatulic's assertion was questionable since the term "libel" was never used in the discussion that preceded the blacklisting. citation needed Indeed, discussion seemed to center around Threebythree's repeated linking to the "attack" page without any definite consensus having been established as to the legal status of its contents.

Researching the original circumstances surrounding the blacklisting of, Hochichi667 responded on November 19[253] indicating that he had read over the archived ANI discussion that led to the blacklisting of He suggested that one reason for the continual restoration of links to the McAdams site was that Gamaliel was "chummy" with McAdams, and that in the knowledge that Wikipedia strongly influenced search results, Gamaliel was happy to promote the McAdams site. Further, Hochichi667 noted that in the ANI discussion, the option was raised by Amatulic himself of blacklisting just the "attack" page at Hochichi667 also quoted the viewpoint of Wikipedia "bureaucrat" Infrogmation expressed at the time:

Personally, I think some of their recent actions bring credit to neither User:Threeafterthree nor User:Gamaliel. I think both have removed relevant and appropriate links (that appear to differ from their own personal viewpoint). Gamaliel, really, removing and blacklisting prouty dot org "the Fletcher Prouty Reference Site" from the article on Fletcher Prouty? How is Wikipedia supposed to aspire towards accuracy and NPOV when we can't link to the subject of the article's own words? That a notable person who is the subject of an article has "non mainstream" or "fringe" opinions does not by itself seem reason for wholesale removal and blacklisting of any links to their own words. (We have articles on people IMO a lot wackier than Prouty -- Lyndon LaRouche comes to mind -- and are able to have reasonably balanced articles on them without such drastic tactics.)[254]

The same day, Amatulic replied that he stood by his more recent view that whole sites should be blacklisted, not single pages.[255]

Gamaliel, for his part, responded also on November 19 with a post that includes threats that Hochichi667 would be blocked for his "attack":

I can only hope to address the most serious of the many inaccuracies in your post. I am not "extra chummy" with Professor McAdams, nor am I engaged in an effort to boost his Google page rank, as your comment implies. You are well aware of this, since I've already posted here a link to Mcadams' attack on me on his blog. Alleging collusion between totally unrelated parties is a staple of conspiracy theories. (At one point Jim DiEugenio alleged that I certainly must know some accused conspirator in the Kennedy assassination because we both were Hispanic men who at one point had resided in Florida. I can't make this stuff up!) Another staple is the conspiracist's inability to grapple with clear, stated reasons for disagreement, instead concluding that a hidden, more sinister agenda must be present. This refusal to accept stated reasons for disagreement must be why you find our decisions baffling. I suggest you read that ANI discussion again, and more closely since your recounting of that discussion is full of significant errors of fact. Instead of focusing on an inaccurate dissent (I played no role in blacklisting anything, contrary to Infrogmation's strange assertion.) posted several days later, read the immediate, universal objection to attack pages such as Osanic's. Perhaps then you will no longer be baffled by Wikipedia's decision.
A final note: I have participated in this discussion out of courtesy to Amatulić and because of my commitment to this encyclopedia. However, I will not allow this page to become another attack page aimed at myself. Any further inappropriate allegations that have nothing to do with editing Wikipedia will be removed and redacted from this page's edit history and I will ask that you be blocked.[256]

Gamaliel's response, charging that criticism of his influence on the Prouty Wikipedia entry was an "attack", could be interpreted as another attempt to shut down discussion in the Talk section given what happened shortly thereafter. On November 21, Hochichi667 made the final post to the Talk section on the Prouty entry before it was "archived". In his comment, Hochichi667 claimed that his use of the word "chummy" was a "bit of vernacular", but noted that the "laundry list of reasons on this Talk page why the page should not be included among external links" created a situation in which, according to Hochichi667, "the lady doth protest too much".[257]

Hochichi667 closed his comment with:

I came to this page more or less by accident, hoping simply to improve it. But [...] it seems more trouble than it's worth. But perhaps that is the goal? Or would that be another 'conspiracy theory'?

"Gamaliel" archives the Talk section

On November 21, 2013, Gamaliel initiated the process of archiving the Talk page, which once complete would effectively end discussion and make the record of the previous discussion more difficult to access.[258] On November 22, Gamaliel manually removed all mention of, replacing each mention with "[redacted blacklisted link]".[259] He also removed claims of a Nazi swastika having at once time been on his user page, replacing them with "[redacted personal attack]".[260] Over the next few weeks, Gamaliel experimented with the code for archiving the Prouty talk page until it was finally complete. The archiving of the Talk page took place on December 11, 2013.[261] As of June 1, 2014, six months later, there has been no further discussion on the Talk page.[262]

On June 11, 2014, a citation pointing to the Political Research Associates political group was removed by user "55 Gators" for referencing self-published material in violation of Wikipedia guidelines.[263] The link was restored by Gamaliel, suggesting that as Prouty was deceased, different standards applied. Another user "Location" (who had made edits in the past that can be interpreted as anti-Prouty) concurred and offered a more direct link to page showing an in-house memo from Chip Berlet to other members of his group. In that 1990 memo, little more is said than that, according to Berlet, Prouty and others were a part of "the growing network of persons willing to appear at functions of the quasi-Nazi Liberty Lobby". 55 Gators objected, saying "it is better to avoid the use of advocacy groups as sources". Indeed, according to the PRA website, the PRA is not a news organization or media outlet, but "a progressive think tank devoted to supporting movements that are building a more just and inclusive democratic society. We expose movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights".[264]

As of August 2014, the link to the PRA in-house memo remains. Also, despite the fact that the June 2014 discussion occurred well after the old Talk page was archived in December 2013, the new discussion has also been "archived".


According to the "Edits by user" search tool[265] user "Gamaliel" made 57 edits to the Prouty entry between June 22, 2004 and July 11, 2014, with some edits involving more than one change. Nearly twenty percent of the total number of edits to the Prouty entry, according to the tool, were therefore made by just a single user: "Gamaliel". Yet the Prouty entry by Wikipedia standards is comparatively short: over the same ten-year period the entry remained well under 2,000 words. It is worth noting that of the edits performed by Gamaliel, almost thirty (or half) are shown by the tool as "reverted" or "undid", reverting or undoing the changes of others.

Gamaliel "Prouty" Changes by Category: 2004-2014

Indeed, since Gamaliel's first edit in June 2004, most of his interventions on the Prouty Wikipedia entry during this period consisted of adding links to the McAdams and Reitzes sites. Looking at Gamaliel's individual edits (see chart) and organizing them into five different categories (link added to McAdams; link added to Reitzes; removed link to; negative edits; and other, where the 'negative edit' category reflects text unnecessarily added or deleted, probably to paint Prouty in a negative light), nearly forty percent (40%) of Gamaliel's individual interventions on the Prouty entry involved adding links to the McAdams site. Links to McAdams and Reitzes together push the total past fifty percent (50%). Negative changes to the main text of the Prouty entry account for around fourteen percent (14%) and removing links to around eight percent (8%). Taken together, changes from user "Gamaliel" reflecting an anti-Prouty bias account for around seventy-three percent (73%) of all alterations made by him to the entry over a ten-year period.

In addition, it is worth noting that at least two Wikipedia editors (RPJ and Threeafterthree) were banned from Wikipedia after run-ins with Gamaliel on assassination-related entries including the Prouty entry. Indeed, for all the talk of "consensus" on Wikipedia, despite efforts by users RPJ, Threeafterthree, Detmcphierson, Len Osanic, Greg Burnham, Hochichi667, and countless others over ten years to either remove links to what they view as an "attack" pages on Prouty and/or to restore links to, no lasting change has been effected because of the opposing view of a single user (Gamaliel). And not only are links to Prouty's official website now impossible on Wikipedia, mention of the web address in Talk sections is prohibited.


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External Links