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Mike Sutton
Mike Sutton
Dr Mike Sutton is the author of 'Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret'.


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Wikipedia is Plagiarizing Best Thinking Under an Official Philosophy that "Experts are Scum"

Apr. 9, 2013 12:17 pm

Wikipedia is engaging in deliberate policy of stealth plagiarism of my work, and that of other experts, on the basis that experts are scum!


Dysology.orgPublic Domain

Stop Wikipedia's Stealth Plagiarism

In a blog I wrote a couple of weeks ago I bust the then universally held myth that Richard Dawkins coined the phrase ‘selfish gene .Within two weeks of my unique mythbusting, Wikipedia sneakily changed its own perpetration of that myth by simply changing the word “coined” to “used” . And yet Wikipedia made zero reference to my blog as the source of their correction. I put a postscript on my selfish gene myth blog post showing what the encyclopedia did, and you can read it here along with my comments on the problems that such secret editing causes for scholars studying how myths and fallacies are spread.

Essentially, Wikipedia is not only failing to attribute the hard work of expert scholars who bust myths, in doing so it is effectively taking credit for discovering that information, which is an act plagiarism. Moreover, by this device, Wikipedia is also hiding its trail of involvement in spreading the original myth.

Today, a colleague came into my office to inform me that Wikipedia has plagiarized my myth busting again. This time in relation to my unique busting of the Moral Panic Myth

It took me minutes to discover that a so called ‘master editor’ Wikipedian recently deleted the link that someone had inserted to that Best Thinking paper, which uniquely bust the moral panic myth, and yet he/she then sneakily plagiarized it on the Wikipedia Moral Panic page itself. Consequently, Wikipedia now has no reference to my paper as the source of unique new information that neither Professor Stan Cohen, nor Jock Young, nor Marshal McLuhan actually coined the phrase ‘moral panic’. And yet before I bust that myth Wikipedia, along with thousands of other publications and websites, was credulously spreading it!

The rationale for plagiarizing experts – by passing off their work as the work of Wikipedia - is twofold. Rationale One can be found behind the scenes on Wikipedia’s edits page (here) as: “ does not count as a reliable source” (note: scroll down to 26th January 2013 to find it)

And the second reason: Rationale Two for plagiarizing my work is to be found in that master editor Wikipedians profile. Apparently it is because as an expert I am scum.

Here is his, and presumably Wikipedias, stealth-plagiarism philosophy from the site itself:

'The Wikipedia philosophy can be summed up thusly: "Experts are scum." For some reason people who spend 40 years learning everything they can about, say, the Peloponnesian War -- and indeed, advancing the body of human knowledge -- get all pissy when their contributions are edited away by Randy in Boise who heard somewhere that sword-wielding skeletons were involved. And they get downright irate when asked politely to engage in discourse with Randy until the sword-skeleton theory can be incorporated into the article without passing judgment.'

Most ironically – having plagiarized my Best Thinking article – Wikipedia’s rationalization for doing so is that Best Thinking is not a reliable source and that as an expert I am scum. Well now, they say that uneducated Americans don’t get irony, this is certainly not dis-confirming evidence for that claim. How about plagiarism, do uneducated Wikipedians get that? How about Wikipedia being an unreliable source and then hiding that fact every time it gets caught in myth spreading. How about Wikipedia plagiarizing other people's work in order to hide its dreadful unreliability by operating a policy that they do not need to reference the author if she/he published the exact same new information that they have taken from that author's work, in order to correct their own errors, on the basis that the author's publication platform that published the information is deemed unreliable by Wikipedia?

Wikipedia's psychopathic self-serving stealth plagiarism policy is that if unique information discovered by an author is reliable and valuable enough to plagiarize, because it is essential to correct Wikipedia's own errors, then that author and originator should not be cited if Wikipedia's rules state that the site where the author published the unique information, from which they just plagiarized the author's work, is an unreliable source of such information.

Wikipedia's institutional practice of stealth plagiarism is unethically Kafkaesque and is in fact underpinned by psychopathic thinking.

So who is scum now Wikipedia - or should it be Psycopedia, Plagipedia perhaps or even Kafkapedia?

The Unintended Consequences of Wikipedia’s Plagiarism Practices

I have uniquely bust several myths here on best thinking. They are as follows:

  • The Spinach Popeye Iron Decimal Place Error Supermyth
  • The Booze Down the Boots Bootlegging Myth
  • The Black Market Myth
  • The Moral Panic Myth
  • Google finds the original Google
  • The Warren Harding Founding Fathers Myth
  • The Zombie Cop Supermyth
  • The Crime Opportunity Myth
  • The Semmelweis Supermyth
  • The Robert Merton Mythbust
  • The Selfish Gene Myth is Busted
  • I have been more than happy to freely disseminate this information into the public domain for zero financial reward. However, my motivation for spending many thousands of hours that I have devoted to busting these pernicious myths is that I at least be attributed as the originator of the mythbusting.

    Wikipedia’s policy of institutional stealth plagiarism means now that other authors will take the new information that I have provided and weave it into their own published work in the academic and popular press and then be falsely invented as originators.

    I currently have a triple A-Z of 100 per cent irrefutable, because they are fully evidenced by the publication record, busted myths. My intention was to release one a month here on Best Thinking. However, the fact that Wikipedia is stealing the efforts of my labours and treating it as though its own editors are the mythbusters means that I cannot now do so.

    I used to support Wikipedia with financial contributions. I will now cease to do so until they publically guarantee that they will cease plagiarising the unique and original work of sceptics and mythbusters.

    Wikipedia’s stealth plagiarism policies and practices have effectively created an enabling environment for the perpetuation of unreliable information and the dissemination of myths and fallacies.

    This is a new hi-tech problem in need of a new solution

    Although Wikipedia is not untypical of the entire encyclopaedia industry in terms of profiteering from stealth plagiarism of the original work of mythbusters, the issue is now a serious problem due to the fact that we have the internet hosting online encyclopaedias that are under constant revision.

    In the past, mythbusting originators had a clear hard-copy publication record to prove that they had got their first, because the encyclopaedias could only plagiarise their work from a mythbuster's published traditional, hard copy, books that clearly preceded the encyclopaedia. Today, Wikipedia needs to adopt a more ethical practice than the traditional encyclopaedia industry. If it fails to do so then it is going to halt the ability of the internet to allow veracity to overcome fallacy at a greater rate than was previously possible. That surely is not something that Wikipedia is supposed to do, is it?

    To recap

    You will see here that Wikipedia official editors removed the reference to my unique publication here on Best Thinking:

And the rationale behind failing to credit the sources of the latest information that they took from my work on Best Thinking is Wikipedia's hypocritically self-serving policy that : “ does not count as a reliable source.” That's just a policy designed for psychopaths who enjoy editing to do as they please.

Andrew Dough
February 28, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Wikipedia does more than plagiarize and take content from sites unworthy to link to. I've written a blogicle (blog-article) or two about Wikipedia. Not published yet but still worth mentioning is how clearly Wikipedia's servitude to many masters, that by definition can't coexist, is present so clearly in their article on Lithium-ion Polymer Batteries. Not Lithium-ion, or Lithium - but Lithium-ion Polymer aka Lithium-Polymer, LiPo, and hyphenated and spacinated permutations thereof.

I assert a thorough reading (it's a short article, doubly so if you skip the filler copy-pasta from other articles) and coming away with a reasonable understanding will have you understand that: Lithium-ion batteries are the predominant Lithium-based battery technology, and that Lithium-ion Polymer is a lab battery. In fact, in all my experiences with batteries, hearing "Lithium-ion Polymer" is an exception rather than the rule. The strange non-battery I was hearing about piqued my interest enough to care about wikipedia for a few minutes.

It seems to me that there's a heavy presence from an interested individual (either financially or psychologically) or corporation to write of Lithium Polymer batteries as if they are something unique and relevant to the market. The article is justified on the fact that some form of polymer is used in the battery separator or casing, having nothing to do with the academic definition (which by their own standards precedes that of self published sources, such as a manufacturer). That's as ridiculous as putting some chewing gum on a 747's jet engine and calling it a bubble gum engine.

Why it is justified is clear within the content. The article is taking self-published sources over academic sources, and even states that the article will cover the non-academic meaning of the term [and relegate the proper term to a footnote that has the most real content in the article to the bottom].

The article clumsily tries to satisfy both the source of manipulation and the source of reason by padding the article with references to other articles to give it something other than the footnote of a main article it deserves (otherwise the article stands on little evidence), and also tries to satisfy reason by almost everywhere (actually, only in 2 sections - the only 2 sections that aren't excerpts of the Lithium-ion battery article) having the article make mention of how, in a phrase, "[real lithium-ion polymer batteries are lab only...for the most part]".

The term "Lithium-ion Polymer" is used for what are truly "Lithium-ion" (or, as I've NEVER heard, but to be known I understand and present the article honestly: "Lithium-ion Hybrid Polymer Electrolyte Battery") despite it being clearly untrue.

This ecumenical mixture of fact and fiction tries to satisfy everybody but serves nobody in doing so. It can serve to change minds, and is a good place for the psychopathy that governs it to exercise their control, unwittingly at the bidding of another, larger, hidden master. It shows that Wikipedia need not be true, just verifiable. In this way, it can be twisted to say and do anything. This is a benign example of it - it's so sloppy it's like a live training ground - although I'm sure that more subtle and more sinister examples are waiting to be exposed.

I have no conflicts or special interests in batteries or against any battery company.

Brian Josephson
April 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I've had problems with wikipedia also (a bit different -- in my case it is that people hostile to some ideas I push vandalise my input). Their position on experts is in fact that they cannot judge how expert a person is themselves, while if something is published in a reputable journal this means that a real expert picked by an editor has reviewed what is published. You could challenge the idea that people who write for Best Thinking are not expert in the talk pages. Good luck! You could also challenge the deletion of the link on the talk page.

Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
April 11, 2013 at 11:33 am

Dear Brian

Thank you for this useful comment. My stance is that it is Wikipedia’s own official stealth plagiarism policy that is causing the problem. It is not my job to have to monitor and challenge every act of plagiarism that is officially sanctioned via the way that official Wikipedia editors are operating. I simply do not have the time. And even if I did, any corrections made today could be deleted by the next Wikipedian tomorrow who typically (it seems) has no understanding of the concept of plagiarism and the unintended consequences of purposive action.

They need to re-write their policies on this matter across the board and govern themselves accordingly.

Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
April 10, 2016 at 5:22 am

Readers of these comments should take note. Brian Josephson (THE Brian Josephson commenting here) is a Nobel Prize winning Physicist:

Author's Favorite
Alex De Visscher
April 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm

If they really thought that your article is an unreliable source, then they should have restored the myth version. If they keep the busted version, then they are tacitly acknowledging that the source is reliable, and they should make that explicit by keeping the citation.

A deeper lying issue is that they make a sweeping statement about Bestthinking as unreliable, and then apply it to the reliability of your article. And those are two very different things! It's the nature of a site like Bestthinking that some articles are less reliable than others. To check the reliability of Bestthinking as a whole would be an enormous task, but checking the reliability of your article is trivial in comparison because you provide your sources for your readers to check. So rather than dismissing your article based on the reliability of Bestthinking as a whole, this Wikipedia editor should have done some factchecking based on your article before deciding whether or not to throw it out.

The irony of the whole thing is that I've never had my sources questioned in any peer review of my academic work. I've never cited Bestthinking in a scholarly paper, but I doubt that it would make a difference. So Wikipedia contributors have the gall to pretend they are using higher standards than the academic world.

Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
April 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Hi Alex - yes toe-curling stupid irony to to take the information but fail to cite its source, which was the sole source of it anywhere - until Wikipedia plagiarized it from this site - but won't then reference the site because it's deemed "not reliable" under their self-serving hypocritical criteria.

I've just has a Sage encyclopedia entry on stolen good markets accepted and it passed peer review and they have accepted my best thinking article as a cited source of the busting of the crime opportunity myth. That confirms your prediction - prestigious peer-reviewed academic encyclopedias do accept Best Thinking citations!

Wikipedia behavior in both cases where they plagiarized my myth busting (the Selfish Gene Myth and the Moral panic Myth) is appalling. They cannot hold their editors personally responsible for what amounts to a self-serving policy of institutional stealth plagiarism to make Wikipedia look reliable by stealing the work of others in order to correct their own fallacy and myth spreading and hide its trail!

I am rather furious and so I just had the following text right inserted right the top of the Moral Panic page on Wikipedia:

'Until Wikipedia plagiarized Dr Mike Sutton's unique research published solely on the Best Thinking Website, this website and every other publication on the subject credulously believed that the phrase moral panics was coined in the 1960's. Sutton has outed Wikipedia for practicing stealth plagiarism on this site for plagiarizing his original and unique myth busting work from Best Thinking and then psychopathically refusing to reference it on the basis that it is published on an unreliable platform. You can read about What Wikipedia has done Best Thinking.'

Of course those wikipedian plagiarizers took it down in minutes and tried as always to cover their slimy tracks. But I'm going into hard copy with this stealth plagiarism Wikipedia issue and they can't ever delete that!

Here is the profile of the Wikipedian - who deleted it and had the robotic just following procedure/orders stupidity to fail to understand the issue and to allege that publishing the truth that they stole my work counts under Wikipedia's Kafkaesque plagiarizer's slime trail hiding system as "vandalism" . So now we know what the weird face of immoral plagiarism looks like. It's a man who likes the color orange! Well at least this one is not hiding his identity like the other plagiarizing bozo who sadly calls himself 'dreamguy'.

Plagiarists should be boycotted - don't support Wikipedia until they reform their ways !

Michael J. Lowrey
April 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm
You certainly seem to relish re-defining words

When you provide information that proves useful, Wikipedians follow your leads to the sources of your information. By definition, we prefer to use the original sources rather than derivative sources such as a self-published book or a blog. This does not constitute plagiarism in any sense of the term, but rather sound scholarly practice. Are you saying these sources do not say what your blog post reported them to say?

And there is no polite way of addressing your redefinition of "psychopath" as "person who won't sufficiently gratify Mike Sutton's ego".

Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
April 11, 2013 at 11:16 am

Dear Michael (OrangeMike)

With respect, from what you write, you do not seem to have the faintest understanding what plagiarism is. Let me assist: It is taking the unique and original work of another and passing it off as your own. That is what Wikipedia is doing. The first person to find this new (forgotten/lost/neglected) information - that Wikipedia has now used to correct its own myth spreading was me. Until a Wikipedian visited this site and realized that everyone - including Wikipedia - had been perpetuating myths that are several decades old, you had no way of knowing about those "hidden books in the library" that I uniquely discovered and then used to bust the myth. You only knew about them through my unique and original research that proved Wikipedia and everyone else was publishing myths.

So what does Wikipedia do on finding this brand new information that I unearthed through my own hard research? It simply takes that information, uses it to correct its own errors as though they never occurred and then arrogantly refuses to cite me as the person who made the discovery. That is plagiarism, plain and simple.

In effect, Wikipedia’s slyly self-serving hypocritical policy on such issues makes Wikipedia look like the originator of the new information. This institutional plagiarism practice now means that I can no longer place original myth busting information into the public domain ahead of publishing it in the mainstream press etc. The unintended consequences of Wikipedia’s stealth plagiarism is that myths and fallacies (including those that it spreads) will remain in the public domain longer. Wikipedia is now the problem....not any kind of solution.

If I sound angry...there is a good reason for that. I am!

If you cannot see that stealing important original myth-busting content by refusing to cite its author and source, because you deem the source you raided as unreliable is psychopathic behaviour, then might I suggest that you and any like-minded Wkipeadians take the psychopath test, because there is something very wrong with your brains. It's a test that is freely available online.

You will have to do a lot better than throw red herrings into this debate. I most certainly do not relish re-defining words and don’t believe I ever have done so. I am fully aware of the Humpty Dumpty rationalization from Through the Looking Glass with Alice. If you weirdly think that I am re-defining the meaning of psychopathic behaviour then you should try to think again. Because I am simply pointing to where a bunch of highly functioning ones have found a nice little niche to torment others and please themselves in an environment of supportive moral delinquents with no understanding of ethics and a convenient set of self-affirming cult-like orders to blindly follow because they involve exploiting others for enjoyment.

As evidenced so far from Wikipdeian behavior and rationalizations for it, your own excuses and irrational thinking, above, are included, Wikipedia is a dysfunctional organisation staffed by quite a few dysfunctional individuals. Moreover, Wikipedia (as an institution) and its editors display an apparent total incomprehension of the concept of unintended consequences of purposive action.

Honestly, I've seen trailer parks with more imagination.

Finally, please try to think for yourself rather than blindly following the mindless Wiki-party-line with cult like claptrap rhetorical excuses about experts having over-inflated egos. Those excuses are clearly intended to work as guilt neutralization mantras for the lazy and parasitical behavior of any plagiarizing Wikipedian who is not so high up the psychopath disorder spectrum.

Just for a few seconds, if that is possible, if you try to think for yourself then you might understand that it is not an issue of me having an inflated ego by wishing to be assigned correct priority as the person who busted a long standing and pervasive myth. If you cannot understand that you need to grow up and find out what motivates people to spend hours engaged in difficult scholarly activity - as opposed to lazily plagiarizing the work of others in order to cover up their own inept myth-mongering.

Author's Favorite
Courtney Enzor
April 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm

I'm glad to see Mike's articles and blogs creating such healthy debate in discussing the feedback from Wikipedia editors. DreamGuy said that BestThinking “does not count as a reliable source” and OrangeMike said “we prefer to use original sources rather than a self-published book or blog.” This shows a clear need to clarify BestThinking’s editorial policy and mission.

The assertion is that BestThinking content is self-published and unreliable and therefore does not meet Wikipedia’s guidelines for being cited. This implies that if Mike’s blog was on the New York Times and therefore subject to their editorial guidelines and review, it would meet Wikipedia’s standard for citation. If the blog was on his personal website, it would not.

In this case, Mike published his blog on BestThinking, where like the New York Times, we do have editorial guidelines. They can be viewed here in our editorial guidelines (although we call it a Participation Policy): Also, a review of our “About Us for Writers” clearly shows that BestThinking is not a self-publisher.

The BestThinking editorial policy includes editorial stalwarts to maintain reliability such as: “Accuracy must be an essential element of all content on the Website. Your work should draw a distinct line between opinion and fact. Opinions are welcome, but you should not offer opinion as fact. Furthermore, data and results lead to conclusions, not vice versa. Data and results should be properly cited and referenced or independently reproducible and verifiable.”

We also assert reliability through our emphasis on identity and transparency. We independently verify the identity of every content contributor and put them on the record. Contributors are routinely engaged to make changes regarding compliance with the editorial policy.

We are just as committed to accuracy and reliability as other major non-peer review publications. The big difference is that we allow wide latitude on issues of pedigree, prestige, generally accepted thinking and commercial issues, which we believe have a lot more to do with maintaining the status quo rather that accuracy and reliability. A good example of this is the Rosalind Franklin DNA discovery story in which for a long time the oft-cited, generally accepted version was not the more accurate version.

The bottom line is that Wikipedia’s “not reliable” designation for BestThinking is not supported by the facts and ironic given the parallels in Wikipedia and BestThinking's shared history of bucking established media to improve knowledge sharing. Regarding citations and sources, content published on BestThinking falls under the same rules and protocols as major media such as the New York Times.

Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
April 12, 2013 at 3:45 am

Hi Courtney

Many thanks for this comment, which certainly provides Wikipedia with the information its editors never bothered to find out for themselves. On this basis the 'master' Wiki editor "dreamguy" should remove Best Thinking from the list he has published on his profile of publishing platforms that he has personally been allowed to ban as reference points for information he and other Wikipedians are using to plagiarize the work of others.

While this may reduce the level of Wikipedia's stealth plagiarization from Best Thinking - so long as authors of original work regularly police Wikipedia - it does not solve the problem of Wikipedia being underpinned by an institutional unethical plagiarizing sub-culture. Alex's comment, above, makes the point - that whatever their perception of the quality of the publishing platform - if they take a named author's, or organisation's (which may be the publisher), original mythbusting from that platform and then use that unique information to delete myths on their own platform, which they have been perpetuating on it, then they have an ethical obligation to reference the orignaitor of the mythbust. Because not doing so is plagiarism of that persons orginal work.

Moreover, it is weirdly hypocritical, and effectively psychopathic, and tautological, thinking to believe that it is acceptable to excuse plagiarism because the victim of it is deemed unworthy of citation by the predator due to the predator’s own conveniently self-serving and self-justifying rule making about who not to cite.

Wikipedia's self-serving, institutional stealth plagiarism practices will most certainly be deterring mythbusters from putting the results of their hard personal and original work into the public domain in advance of publishing it with mainstream publishers. That is not meant to be what Wikipedia is about. But it is an unintended consequence of its institutional stealth plagiarism sub-culture.

Thinker's Post
Mike Sutton
April 10, 2016 at 5:28 am

More recently (2016) the Wikipedia editor "Dave Souza" is on a biased Darwinist propaganda crusade to systematically keep the newly discovered and 100 per cent proven and peer reviewed fact out of Wikipedia that Charles Darwin lied about the prior readership of Patrick Matthew's (1831) original ideas on natural selection: The peer-reviewed proof is



Souza's Wikipedia fact deleting personal hobby-horse

Darwinist crusade can be seen here:

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