Editor Banned From Wikipedia and Labeled a “Nazi” for “Kek” Username After Edit War Over Anti-Immigration Book
Due to an editing dispute over the article on the fictional work The Camp of the Saints, which includes anti-immigration themes, a Wikipedia editor was reported suggesting the user was advancing a white nationalist agenda partly citing the editor’s username including “kek” as proof and wrongly linking it to an alt-right meme. An administrator banned the reported editor indefinitely noting the name as a reason and citing a fictitious “No Nazis” policy.
The editor’s username predated the popular use of “kek” among members of the alt-right movement by about a year. Appeals noting this were brusquely rejected.
Camp of the Saints is a French fiction novel by Jean Raspall in which a mass-migration from Africa and Asia overruns Europe when its leaders prove unwilling to stop the onslaught out of politically-correct compassion. Written in the 1970’s, the book grew in popularity in recent years in the face of an increased focus on immigration crises. It has been well-received by conservative critics, while others have characterized it as racist.
One fan of the book is former Breitbart Executive Chairman Steve Bannon who later served as Chief Strategist in the Trump Administration. This contributed to an increased focus on the book by left-wing editors on the site. Gamaliel, a Wikipedia administrator and former member of the powerful Arbitration Committee or ArbCom, added a line to the intro of the article in early 2017 describing the book as popular with white supremacists, but his edit was removed as unsourced.
Nearly a year later, Gamaliel returned to add a line to the article’s intro stating the book was an example of the “white genocide conspiracy theory” and had been compared to Mein Kampf and The Turner Diaries, a notable white nationalist novel. Per guidelines regarding article introductions, the intro should summarize the article’s contents. Despite this, the line added by Gamaliel was derived solely from two sources in the reception section: a capsule review shortly after the book’s original release and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Omitted was any mention of the praise the book had received.
After an IP user removed the line, he was reverted by Volunteer Marek, which sparked an edit war. This is when editor Kekmon got involved. For edit-warring on that and another article, as well as for being uncivil towards Marek, Kekmon was given a two-day block. Another editor subsequently mentioned the work receiving praise, but left the inflammatory comparisons alone. Returning to the article a week later, Kekmon removed the line again and went to the discussion page to question use of Southern Poverty Law Center as well as their claim’s inclusion in the introduction.
Marek again restored the line and suggested it was in accordance with a neutral point of view. On the discussion page he blithely responded to Kekmon’s objection by stating the SPLC is a reliable source without addressing any of the other concerns. His claims of the line being neutral would be inconsistent with the site’s neutrality policy, which emphasizes not providing undue weight to minor viewpoints on a subject. Kekmon was again blocked for edit-warring with Marek over the line, this time for a week.
However, another editor reported Kekmon and asked for the editor to be blocked indefinitely as “not being here to contribute” to Wikipedia. As evidence, the editor cited the editor’s only two blocks and further claimed non-neutral editing based off the editor’s criticism of the SPLC being cited for the Turner Diaries comparison claiming the criticism was over “relatively uncontroversial” information. Claiming Kekmon’s edits were “far-right POV pushing” the editor also pointed to the username as proof and linked to a Wikipedia page discussing the “Kekistan” meme some left-wing media have criticized as being associated with the alt-right.
Within minutes administrator Drmies, also an ArbCom member, agreed Kekmon was not there to contribute and suggested “No fucking Nazis” as an alternative fictional policy. Drmies referenced the disputes over The Camp of the Saints article and dispute over another article, but led with the username to support an indefinite block. Unnoticed by both Drmies and the editor reporting Kekmon was that the kek meme’s association with the alt-right only began in 2016 during Trump’s presidential campaign. Prior to that it was a common substitute for “lol” and had no political implications. Kekmon’s first edit was in June 2015.
Drmies has previously pushed political agendas, sometimes invoking his administrator status. While discussing the Rotherham rape gang article last year, Drmies threatened to block users adding links to similar gangs or “smearing Muslims” by mentioning the gangs consisted of Muslims. He downplayed their Pakistani ethnicity and claimed mentioning it violated policies on claims about living people, meant to prevent defamation, then suggested those objecting were racist. Later that year, Drmies rearranged the ancestry section for actress Meghan Markle, fiancé of British Prince Harry, when a user complained it was “sexist” and “racist” to mention her white paternal heritage first. Said heritage made her a direct descendant of the royal family.
Following the indefinite block, another administrator and former ArbCom member weighed in to reiterate the same points in favor of the block and also suggested Kekmon was anti-semitic for noting the Jewish heritage of three individuals on their respective articles. Two cases had proved uncontroversial, with the third being the other article Kekmon had edit-warred over previously. In that case, Kekmon was responding to an IP user’s suggestion with editors rejecting the change as there was only one source. Appealing the block several times, Kekmon offered to change usernames, but this did not prompt any favorable consideration.
Kekmon’s indefinite block did not prevent further conflict over the article on Camp of the Saints as an edit war soon resumed over the line in the introduction after Gamaliel removed mentions of the book receiving praise. In a discussion over the content, both Marek and Gamaliel insisted the material was fine with Gamaliel characterizing the prominent individuals who praised the novel as “randos” whose opinions were given undue weight. The editor was also abortively threatened with a block, but was eventually able to somewhat improve the opening. Whether that lasts remains to be seen.
(Disclosure: The author has been involved in disputes with several of the parties mentioned in the article)