Senior Wikipedia Figure Quits, Forged Bogus Edits

Dennis Faas's picture

One of the most powerful figures at Wikipedia has resigned after it was discovered he'd been editing entries under bogus names. David Boothroyd, who is also a British politician, had even used the fake account to edit the pages of political opponents.

As well as being a registered volunteer editor, Boothroyd had been elected to the powerful Wikipedia Arbitration Committee: a group of around 15 editors which make final and binding decisions for any disputes on the site that cannot be resolved informally. In some cases, the committee could even overrule Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Scientology Ban

The committee most recently made headlines when it voted to ban any edits made from the IP address of the Church of Scientology.

The committee ruled that users with such addresses had made too many biased edits. It also decided that any user who appeared to be using the site solely to make changes to Scientology articles, whether in favor or against, would be banned for a year.

Boothroyd, who had been a member of the committee since 2007, quit after it was discovered he had edited pages under accounts other than his main user name ('Sam Blacketer'). These included changes to pages for British Conservative party leader David Cameron -- it's reported Boothroyd changed this page more than any other. (Source:

Procedure, Not Politics

In the British tabloids the issue has been a political one, since Boothroyd is an elected member of the Labour party.

However, the issue at Wikipedia is a procedural one. Using multiple accounts (also known as 'sock puppetry'), is highly frowned upon as it can be used to artificially boost the support for a particular position or belief. (Source:

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