Hillsborough Joins The War On Free Speech And Bicholim: Chelsea Fan Sacked For Abusing Liverpool On Wikipedia
THE War on Free Speech looks at the story of the man who posted a message on Wikipedia. In “Revealed: How The Telegraph found the Hillsborough Wikipedia vandal”, the paper reports:
A civil servant in Liverpool has been fired for using government computers to post abuse about the Hillsborough disaster on the Wikipedia website following an investigation by The Telegraph. The Whitehall official used the government intranet to mock the 1989 tragedy in which 96 Liverpool fans died at Sheffield Wednesday’s football ground.
The 24-year-old idiot changed the message “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to “You’ll Never Walk Again”.
Altering a page on Wikipedia requires less skill than sticking a bookmark in an actual paper and ink encyclopaedia that not anyone can rewrite. Wikipedia is never finished. It is a work in progress edited by anonymous censors who decide what is and what is not true. It is open to anyone. Nothing written on Wikipedia can be trusted. Facts need to be checked with a reputable source.
As one commentator noted:
Wikipedia seeks not truth but consensus, and like an interminable political meeting the end result will be dominated by the loudest and most persistent voices.
This is an inherent flaw. The problem is not that there are too few voices in the editorial process, who can skew the result, but the opposite. Participation is prized more than competence. When a prominent Wikipedian who claimed to be a tenured professor of divinity was revealed instead to be a young college dropout, the site’s founder Jimmy Wales responded that he was unconcerned. The notion that a false claim to knowledge is wrong is not part of Wikipedia’s culture.
Wikipedia publishes a list of hoaxes, notably the Bicholim conflict:
Fictitious war between the Portuguese rulers of Goa and the Maratha Empire which supposedly took place from mid-1640 to early 1641. Was assessed as a good article…
A good article is “a designation given to less than 1 percent of all English-language articles on the site”.
But to the Telegraph the idiot who can create or alter a Wikipedia page is an expert in technology and code:
The hacker, an administrative officer, edited the phrase “You’ll never walk alone”, the anthem of Liverpool FC, to read: “You’ll never walk again.”
Hacker? To change a Wikipedia page you don’t need to be hacker, you just need a keyboard.
The idiot then went to the Wikipedia page for Anfield and wrote “This is a shithole” and on a page about the Hillsborough memorial daubed “nothing for the victims of the Heysel disaster”.
The man is a dickhead. You can read our reviews on the Hillsborough disaster and why it happened. But it seems that in this easily offended age, being a dickhead is a crime that goes to the very top.
…Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office Minister, is expected to tell Parliament today that evidence unearthed by The Telegraph identified the author of the comments. In a ministerial statement, he will inform MPs that a “junior civil servant” has been dismissed for gross misconduct after he used a Whitehall-linked computer to post the abuse…
The offender, who is from London but lives in Liverpool with his fiancée, was found after his changes to the online encyclopedia were linked to his social media activity and employment history. The suspected author was first located after his abusive edits from a government secure intranet (GSI) computer ended with a joke about the Liverpool stadium’s capacity. He claimed that attendance at the ground was worse than Chelsea and Everton football clubs — “and even Borehamwood”, a town in Hertfordshire.
So. Football fan tries to upset rivals of another club with online message designed to be abusive and antagonistic.
The hacker grew up in Hertfordshire and his parents still live in the county. He is an avid Chelsea fan and is engaged to an Everton supporter.
There’s that ridiculous claim he’s a hacker again. He’s no more a hacker than a man who writes ‘Liverpool are shit’ on a toilet wall is a skilled artist.
It is believed that he denied any wrongdoing when interviewed by Home Office investigators. He was put on “special leave” while his work station was analysed for any evidence. Online activity also suggests he has made sexist edits to a Wikipedia page on Natalie Sawyer, the Sky presenter about whom he has tweeted affectionately.
If there was one thing the Government hates it is anyone who dares criticise the Hillsborough victims. Sure, the State’s police corralled the Liverpool fans into a too-small section of the not-fit-for-purpose Hillsborough ground to control them, sent for the dogs and not for the ambulances when people were dying and was backed by a Press that called the fans “slum people” on whom all new measures of control could be tested, but history has now been rewritten, lessons have been learned and the elite now shares the fans’ pain.
The Government has copied the Wikipedia model. History is fluid.
Anyhow, the idiot was found out. A slap on the wrist for being an idiot on company time was surely enough. It’s not like being an idiot about football is restricted to just one group of fans. Take this story from 2013:
@LFC asked fans to suggest three tracks to be played over the Tannoy at Anfield ahead of Sunday’s meeting between the Premier League’s two fiercest rivals.
One fan apparently responded by suggesting three songs making fun of the 1958 tragedy in which eight Manchester United players died.
The songs were Come Fly With Me by Frank Sinatra, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle and I Like to Move it by Reel to Reel, according to the Manchester Evening News. The Monty Python song has been adapted by some who chant “Always Look on the Runway for Ice” while Reel to Reel’s 90s dance track has been switched to “I Like to Munich, Munich”.
The Liverpool account, which has 1.9m followers, then tweeted back: “Have you been sneaking a look at the dressing room iPod?”
You see. Idiots.
But this Wikipedia page change was ruled to be very serious matter:
A source close to the Cabinet Office’s investigation said: “There has been a rigorous investigation and an individual has been dismissed for gross misconduct.The person has been dismissed on the grounds that they were responsible for the 2012 edits. They are a very junior and young administrative officer. This dismissal is for the 2012 edits only but in the absence of other leads relating to other edits the investigation has concluded.”
Sacked for being an fool at work. Sacked for defacing an online book that can be make good again by another edit. And Andy Burnham, the MP who has overseen the Hillsborough inquiry, says:
“These edits were hurtful to the families, but all the more troubling coming from a government computer.”
Is he suggesting that the lone idiot is part of a Government conspiracy? If so, was the idiot sacked to make the Government look good?
Margaret Aspinall, chair of Hillsborough Family Support Group, said:
“We had a meeting on Friday evening and all the families agreed that his name should be withheld. He has been sacked, and we all took the decision not to name him because social media can be very unpleasant. The most important thing is that this has been dealt with and it has not been covered up. He has been punished.”
A man lost his job for saying something stupid on a web page. He his job for being a football fan daubing something designed to offend fans of a rival team. Yet, no MP, policeman or Sun hack who conspired to portray the dead as victims of barbaric football fans has lost their job, let along their liberty.
What utter balls.