Yesterday Amazon banned author R.J. Ellory and other writers from being able to review books in their own genre, in order to prevent authors from leaving negative reviews of others in their field.
Less than a day later, Wikipedia has dropped the banhammer on the bestselling British crime novelist for, ironically, attempting to erase his history of flaming other authors from his own entry on the website.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Wikipedia banned Ellory after finding that he had repeatedly attempted to delete contributions to a "Controversy" section on his profile page detailing how he frequently used fake accounts—”sockpuppets”—to flame other authors until being caught and exposed this fall.
A look at the page's history reveals that Ellory also attempted to add several unsourced biographical paragraphs, including the following:
Aside from reading a great deal of fiction, Ellory then pursued an intense study of philosophy, religion, psychoanalytic techniques, psychology, drug rehabilitation techniques and associated physiological and mental therapies, including, amongst many others, the works of Socrates, Plato, Kant, Adler, Schopenhauer, Freud, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Gibran, Descartes, Dewey, Hubbard etc. He also studied the works of Guatama Shakyamuni, Guatama Siddartha, Krishnamurti, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita. He undertook courses in many aspects of these studies.
Ellory stopped writing for eight years, but then resumed in late 2001, citing as his motivation a quote from Benjamin Disraeli that "Success is entirely dependent upon constancy of purpose.
In one respect, at least, Ellory's purpose has remained constant: despite apologizing for his behavior on Amazon, he has continued to attempt to erase his sullied Internet history from Wikipedia, allegedly using sockpuppets to do so there as well.
"Roger - Please stop adding unsourced material to your own article.." reads an edit from Wikipedia user Esowteric in September. A few days before that, the same user reverted one of Ellory's unexplained deletions with the note: "Revert unexplained, repeat blanking of content by [Roger Ellory] and a couple of IPs. Content dispute or [Conflict of Interest]?"
Esowteric repeatedly attempted to undo Ellory's deletions of references and links to controversial articles about himself on the website. Other users had "removed unsourced burbling" and instances where Ellory had praised his own works—for example, describing his fifth novel as "an epic accomplishment."
By the end of September, Esowteric was done trying to repeatedly correct Ellory's edits: "Can someone try to get Roger Ellory in 2-way conversation or escalate this to [Wikipedia's Chief Information Officer] or [the Administrators' noticeboard]?" they asked on the author's profile edit page. "I've had enough."
Apparently, so had Wikipedia. The website informed the Telegraph that they'd pinpointed at least a dozen instances when Ellory subjectively edited out information on his page, sometimes using his own name, sometimes using sockpuppets.
Old habits must die hard: Ellory confessed to having used sockpuppets over at least a ten-year period to leave negative reviews of other authors and glowing reviews of his own works.
But from now on, on Wikipedia, at least, he'll have to content himself with reading what other people have to say for a change.
Art by Jason Reed, with elements from Wikimedia Commons