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Greetings from Wikipedia :)
A group of Wikipedia editors just did a massive investigation into what we call the Chaneyverse. It's huge, and it hit multiple websites. We just deleted a pile of articles related to Warren Chaney as well as a ton of images. We have technical confirmation that articles' creator was abusing multiple accounts, engaged in abusive and deceptive editing, some of the images are confirmed photoshops, the articles would cite hundreds of sources but the sources either didn't exist, or didn't say what was claimed they said, or were they unreliable, or circular, or traced back to other user-submitted-content sites. Some aspects were self contradictory or were contradicted by independent sources. The investigation expanded to IMDB.com. IMDB deleted some of their Chaney movie listings. Some parts of the Chaneyverse are based in reality, some parts are wildly hyped promotionalized scraps of junk that barely exist, and some of it is just plain fiction. There was so much deception, and it was so hard to separate fact from hype from fiction, that we had to just nuke it all.
Anywho, if you check your Warren Chaney book listings you'll find the only accounts to ever comment on them are accounts that exist solely to post rave reviews on all the books in that set. Blatant promotional sockpuppet accounts. You can probably also notice that at least some of the images are photoshops. It appears that some of Chaney books do exist, other books appear to be connected to invalid ISBN numbers and show zero listings at worldcat.org. I'm sure you guys know far more than me about verifying what books are legit or not. You need to apply a paranoid level of scrutiny though. The Chaneyverse contains deceptions that easily pass routine scrutiny. If some website contains supporting info, you have to ensure that it's not a user-generated-content website or somehow connected to Chaney.
But Winston's LT activity goes back to 2011. On the other hand all his review are of Chaney and his only LT connection is RJCarter. Did the Chaneyverse invade that long ago or is it possible to game older dates onto recent entries?
A brief check suggests that "Winston Aaronson" does not exist in California. The last name is unusual, and is easy to search for in certain databases. The account is not a free account, so there's some documentation available somewhere on LT, but a paypal account would have been enough, so...
I'm also not finding anything named "US Book Review Ctr" (but my searches have, so far, been very casual).
I note that many of Winston's reviews had already been flagged as violations of the TOS, or as the dreaded not-a-review.
At the very least, those two "authors" ought to be combined. I note that much of the CK for the fleshed out author and all three pictures are entered by Winston. I'd bet money that both accounts are actually Winston, as well.
Now, where did I put that danged rat cage...
Yep, 2011 is when all the articles popped up at Wikipedia. I'd lay money on a bet that the IMDB listings also date to 2011. They also had dedicated accounts posting rave reviews. The reason no one caught it is because the articles are backed up with literally hundreds of sources, the article on a TV show (Magic Mansion) was backed up with a series of photos from the TV show, the article on a film(America: A Call to Greatness) was backed up with a clip from the film.
Except the hundreds of sources were all junk. The photos of the TV show were Photoshops. I believe some or all of the "clips from the film" may actually be video recorded to advertise a book with the same name. If anyone at Wikipedia or IMDB tried to check the listings, the first thing that came up was the matching confirmation-listing at the other site. And of course all the positive reviews were junk. We have been unable to confirm if the TV show or the movie actually exist at all. If there is some minor underlying existence, it has been wildly promotionalized and fictionalized.
You can read a story on this, and see the bunch of the TV show images, at this link:
When you investigate which of these books are real or not, remember that watching a youtube videoclip of a film literally doesn't prove the film exists! lol. That is how staggeringly deceptive this whole thing is. That is how paranoid you have to be examining evidence.
We decided to just nuke everything. Any fragments that seemed potentially legit were too unreliable to keep.
Edit: Adding links on our investigation below. A least a half dozen editors have been involved, researching this for nearly a month.
Work page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Rhododendrites/Chaney
Discussion page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Rhododendrites/Chaney
Just want to make some brief notes:
The two authors (both the same) probably should be combined into one. However, it seems silly to combine them when they will probably just vanish, as this problem is taken care of.
It is unlikely that this will be handled with any dispatch. It's Christmas week, the first post on this was made on Saturday morning, and Tim is off handling personal issues (poor thing). I'll probably alert lorannen tomorrow, but see no need to bother her today. It's waited this long. It'll wait a few more hours.
The two accounts should probably both be locked, and not deleted. Some data is best preserved. Once an account has received the "This member has been provisionally suspended for unusual activity" setting, all the crap, such as reviews, will vanish on their own. Not sure about works, but I'm betting that, since only the two have entered them, that it will mean they're gone also.
Normally, I'd be off flagging things into invisibility. This time, I think it's best to just sit idle, at least until Staff has a chance to look at things.
For ease of reference:
http://www.librarything.com/profile/winstonj (created in 2011, and paid for)
http://www.librarything.com/profile/RJCarter (Created Aug 26, 2015, and free)
Such an enormous amount of work to go to.
There's also plenty of evidence of similar nonsense over on Amazon. I'm so surprised.
We have only two accounts listed with these books, and with the exception of possible sock puppetry, they seem to be within the ToS. There is no rule against entering books that haven't been published. There is no rule against putting up glowing reviews or giving books 5 stars.
Wikipedia has a need for the information there to be as accurate as possible. LT has always held that a member's catalogue is what the member wants it to be. As long as the 'book' isn't obvious spam. I honestly don't see anything flaggable at this point.
Now if suddenly several more new members were to enter these books and/or talk messages were to appear with efforts to sell the books, I would rethink things. As the books don't seem to be available, that seems rather unlikely.
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