Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I just talked on the phone to WikipediaClassAction.org

Previous: Class action lawsuit against wikipedia?

I asked the man who answered (Smith himself?) whether his organization had any connection with QuakeAID (a qustionable organization that claims to be a charity -- again, see previous post). He said they didn't. I pointed out that WikipediaClassAction.org had the same listed P.O. Box as QuakeAID. He said that that was because they had the same ISP, and the ISP provided the P.O. Box (do ISPs provide P.O. boxes? I suspect not.)

I asked him what wikipedia did to him to prompt this lawsuit. He refused to answer.

I talked to him for awhile (I don't know if he's normally this sarcastic and confrontational or was just in a bad mood). He suggested wikipedia requrie credit cards for use -- I said that wikimedia is an international organization and the overwhelming majority of people worldwide don't have credit cards. He said "the ones who don't have computers don't have credit cards" -- not even remotely true.

At this point "I don't have a credit card!" would have been the best thing to say; instead, I pointed out that even the majority of people in Europe don't have credit cards; they're mostly a North American phenomenon. "You don't know what you're talking about." he said. "I've lived in Europe for 20 years. Have you even been to Europe?"

"Of course I've been to Europe."

"I'm in Europe right now! I'm talking to you from London!"

"But this is an american area code."

"It's called a telephone!"

"Uh, but this is an american area code."

"Yeah! It's called a telephone! You can talk to people with it! Amazing, huh?"

At that point the conversation wound down.

For the record, I called the number posted on the organization's website: (866) 871-7368. 866 is, of course, a north american area code. It's also worth pointing out that he didn't have a british accent, though I think he started making some effort to put one on.

Previous: Class action lawsuit against wikipedia?

2 comments:

FutureMAN said...

Very interesting conversation. I am really having a hard time believing this guy now.

Anonymous said...

The man is a sociopathic loon. I sent him an email asking for details about his "group" (as I took it at face value that there was already a 'Class' to take the 'Action).

The reply I got was not to simply offer information about the group but instead to demand "who are you? Why should I share information with you?" (an odd response considering the Wikipedia CA website says to email for more information).

I later sent a link to a news story about that JFK assasination controversy where the guy who added the libellous information to WP apologised for the "joke gone wrong".

The response I got to that was "Why would you think I would be interested in that? Since you have so little understanding of the issues, perhaps you ought to sit this one out?" He then went on a rant about not wanting to become a WP contributor and saying he shouldn't have to set up a WP account; neither of which I had suggested he do by implication or in passing or any way whatsoever.

In conclusion, this man has absolutely zero chance of being an effective leader figure to take up the complex and difficult chance of making a legal attack on Wikipedia. He wouldn't be suitable to head a small team of burger chefs; he will rapidly alienate anyone he comes across.