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Submitted on Nov 15, 2008
by creedo

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Seriously, I’ve always wondered. Is he an advanced spamming robot? An unusual web marketer? Some kind of PR flak for a foundry? Maybe someone who doesn’t speak english natively and somehow misunderstands the purpose of the site?

I don’t mean any of this in a meanspirited way, I just want to understand why this guy spams the board, distracting me from actual font IDing. Can we ban?

2480d 4h 25m 14s ago

Responses

philippedada:

creedo, he’s been posting since over a year ago (you solved one in March of this year) -- he sometimes starts with saying a font has been used to create a logo, which is backward in real time (yes, he’s a kid with a problem)

I know, it’s hard to resist jumping at bait (EVERY one of us has fallen for it) -- just remember to either ID derek’s post if he hasn’t done it already or leave it alone

2480d 4h 1m 28s ago
Eyehawk:

I don’t believe Derek is doing this with bad intentions. I also believe I know his problem. I have emailed myfonts, and hopefully this will be resolved soon.

By the way, it does no good to answer him, because I don’t believe he has ever acknowleged anyones answers.

2480d 3h 55m 8s ago
koeiekat:

I was somewhat irritated too but derekdespie’s teacher’s post made it clear. Best leave them alone I think.

2480d 1h 29m 0s ago
Gincis:

For those who don’t know:
"FYI the mystery to derek is that he has autism. He has been obssessed with fonts since he was a kid. He can remember everything he’s ever read esp. adverts. and repeat it back verbatim. He is the closest thing to Rainman I’ve ever met. Think of him as a walking pop-up. I used to assist Derek in his classroom. He doesn’t mean to cause frustration. It’s Dereks attempt at social interaction, of course on his terms.
--dereksteacher on 2008-06-20 11:57:44 (148d 19h 26m 20s ago)"

I think he does no harm to anyone, don’t he? If somebody doesn’t like this posts, don’t look at them. Everybody can see it’s Derek’s post and leave him be...

2480d 4m 57s ago
creedo:

I apologize to Derek (though he may not see it) and to his teacher... my comment was really insensitive. Not because I didn’t get it, but because I think I did get it, or at least suspected, yet I made that lame post anyway. If making posts brings him some measure of contentment then I don’t mind, I take back the bit about banning. It’s actually pretty interesting his autism manifests this way. If he could communicate normally, he’d probably be better at font IDing than any 10 of us put together.

2478d 5h 27m 57s ago
donnertroll:

I guess he is searching for attention. Just ignore him and help some other “real” users with their daily problems with our loved fonts :-)

2478d 5h 8m 40s ago
Eyehawk:

You may feel sorry for him, but he is disruptive. For those of us who are trying to help ID fonts for folks who need them for work or projects, it wastes our time to sort through his stuff. This site is here to make money and not play games.

I still feel he should be banned.

2478d 3h 41m 12s ago
schwalbenkoenig:

Nope, Steve, don’t feel so. The story behind it changes my mind. And he has done some really good ID’s, which we haven’t thought of. See it as a contribution for the archives. I say, don’t waste to much energy in Dereks Posts, but sometimes look and learn.

2478d 3h 15m 56s ago
creedo:

gah, eyehawk... that made me flinch a little. Rather than the old “he’s disrupting people from getting help” you went right for the jugular with “he’s coming between the site and money. Ban.” So gangster! I would have preferred to live with my illusion that there’s something at least a little bit altruistic about whatthefont, rather than thinking of it as a clever form of marketing.

2477d 23h 9m 50s ago
donnertroll:

I think a little bit thinking of marketing is in all of us, so what? ;-)

2477d 23h 6m 23s ago
schwalbenkoenig:

If the WTF-Forum would be a marketing-tool, people here would get paid for their IDs. And especially for the Bitstream-IDs, as this site is managed by them. As this things aren’t done, the forum is driven by pure idealism. So this is why the emotions are sometimes so overwhelming.

2477d 22h 9m 29s ago
Eyehawk:

I think you are an idealist, Rainer. I commend you. But, in the long run, this forum is a marketing tool. It is open for all to play with and enjoy, but it still creates sales.

That aside, I personally do not enjoy plowing through Derek’s stuff. To me, it is not important, so wastes my time. That is just me. That is just my opinion.

Cheers.
Steve

2477d 17h 20m 29s ago
luthco:

As a sporadic user I think his posts are disruptive. I have made some requests for IDs that seem to have simply drowned in an avalanche of dereks posts. Yes, I understand somewhat the history behind him, and find it mildly interesting (now he also posts as “Carmen”) - but in the end his posts are just too many, and frequently his posts are for IDs already made. His posts do not add anything of value. If was “fun” when he came on monthly or so, but now he’s posting all the time.
But it’s up to MyFonts how to handle him...

2477d 1h 31m 56s ago
jayma:

I dont' know if you guys realize that your posts are all public. I could read all your derogatory comments about derekedespie. I’m not saying you can’t shouldn’t make them, I am only saying perhaps they should be on a “moderators board only” instead of for public consumption.'

2476d 19h 46m 18s ago
Eyehawk:

We don’t have a moderators' board, Jayma. At least folks know what his problem is now, whereas when he first arrived we thought he was a troll.'

2476d 15h 30m 16s ago
donnertroll:
2476d 4h 35m 59s ago
luthco:

And now he’s posting as Colajam2000, as well. So he’s using (at least) three accounts spamming this forum. Please make it stop.

2476d 4h 8m 44s ago
dougbrett:

I have just (once more) had reason to be grateful to What The Font (in particular to Larss) for a swift ID of a font causing me grief. Brilliant. However the ‘derekedespie’ problem is doing the site no good at all. Whenever I create a new case I will always look back over the most recent pages in the vain hope I might be able to return the favour (I actually did once!) but now it is awash with these irrelevancies it makes it kinda difficult. Wheat from chaff and all that. I don’t want to be a party pooper but WTF is far too valuable to see messed up like this.

2475d 23h 50m 7s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

Our friend Derek has been wreaking havoc on the English Wikipedia for more than four years. His antics have earned him the nickname of “MascotGuy,” which he seems to have taken to like a duck to water since almost all of his sockpuppets have the name “Guy” in them.

If his teacher is really on this site, please, please, PLEASE have a discussion with him. Derek has caused untold problems with his vandalism; there is no other good way to describe it. His access to dynamic IPs have allowed him to run roughshod on the site with the creation of over one thousand sockpuppet accounts.

He’s even earned himself his own long-term abuse page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:LTA/MG

2470d 18h 11m 32s ago
nunymare:

I also found him very irritating. His letter font outburst today did no good, spamming the forums, and burying all the sensible requests. I, for one do not like bumping my posts to not have them buried by his posts. Please address him, he now has multiple accounts.

2435d 13h 19m 34s ago
shivatao:

He’s posted various logos and his alphabet logo runs numerous times.

If MyFonts isn’t going to block his accounts, they should at least place an audit on them where they need MyFonts approval before they are posted. But this likely won’t happen because they’ll need to hire a full time employee to handle the task.

All that has been done is limiting the amount of posts his account can make. His response was to simply setup multiple account to get around it. A red flag which should point out that something more serious needs to be done.

It’s truly a shame that such a valuable resource to so many has ended up becoming annoying to use because of having to weed through all the posts of this individual. By the look of things, it unfortunately seems like nothing will ever be done about him or his flooding of the forums to truly resolve the problem.

2435d 12h 32m 37s ago
J-Louise Heron:

I think I’ve just become ashamed to associate with some of you. I am glad you are healthy and well, you all must be perfect. God forbid someone is a bit different. This is like a radio - you don’t like the channel - you can switch or turn it off.

Steve - you are aware of a name - so go look for it. When you see it - DON’T SOLVE IT.

So what if this person loves fonts -- and truly wants to know the names. He is like an old soul of a tormented typographer.

Good night. I hope you all got coal in your Christmas stockings.

Forgive me for not being perfect.

2435d 11h 59m 3s ago
philippedada:

I did close all the “alphabet” of 26 posts because he merely added a pain line

I’ve tried (as Steve knows) to tease him into letting up, but it doesn’t help -- like Jackie says: leave him be (but I would limit ANYone to max of 5 entries per day, even if HE has at least 3 names)

2435d 11h 51m 8s ago
nunymare:

As the Wikipedian user listed above, he is a VERY heavy spammer. Philippe, do you have moderator priveledges?

2435d 11h 11m 47s ago
philippedada:

I am one of about 11 moderators here -- only our website commander can change input

2435d 11h 41s ago
nettogirl:

Jackie... I love what you said about him being a tormented typographer... that helps to increase my grace towards him ;)

As for the other comments... do we know what other alias names he’s posting under? Perhaps if we know, we as moderators can do our best to bump other threads as needed?

It’s hard to know how best to handle this, given the “story” on him...

2435d 10h 3m 18s ago
Eyehawk:

I have made efforts to get his attention, but to no avail. He doesn’t annoy me, but what he does annoys me when he starts plastering stuff all over the place. Most of his posts are repeats anymore, so I have become used to them, and recognize when he is lurking.

2435d 9h 40m 59s ago
philippedada:

. derekdespie
2. Colajam2000
3. Carmendespie [edit: finally got this name right!]

is this derek? -- a new tactic?
these new names appear next to each other and each has usually several posts: each with varieties of the same font
1. ymcolah
2. kujbus

2435d 9h 44s ago
Eyehawk:

If the text is similar, I’d suspect him. He may be autistic, but he is smart.

2434d 7h 28m 19s ago
philippedada:

see this evening’s stuff -- mostly Frutiger & Minion

2434d 7h 2m 7s ago
Eyehawk:

You think? If so, this is getting totally out of hand. But, Philippe, there is not bragging text in todays posts.

If he is this smart, and is deceiving us further, then he must be banned. It makes this forum irrelevant.

I hope you are wrong for all our sakes.

2434d 6h 46m 12s ago
philippedada:

no bragging now -- and the last time these posts were marked solved afterwards -- but the names include “cola” (“i am cola” ?)+(“cola i am” ?)

and now suddenly “Cola j am” is back

[edit: final note tonight -- all the “new” names marked solved tonight TOGETHER]

2434d 6h 38m 3s ago
Eyehawk:

There is no doubt this guy is smart. I am starting to doubt his autism. Maybe nothing more than a sly troll.

2434d 6h 36m 13s ago
philippedada:

Your thoughts
Person to person
Judging
Playing cupid
brand new image
Can you guess

tonight’s messages

2434d 6h 27m 48s ago
Eyehawk:

Happy New Year, Philippe. Email me, and I’ll tell you everything.

2434d 6h 24m 14s ago
philippedada:

Happy New Year, Steve!

2434d 6h 21m 29s ago
janwayne@*.org:

Happy New Year, Philippe and Steve! It’s East Coast New Year’s now. Not yet for me. You are next I guess, Steve. I’ve missed you both.

2434d 6h 14m 46s ago
nunymare:

HAppy New Year, all! Here’s to a 2009 with less derekdespie!

2434d 6h 1m 21s ago
philippedada:

Happy New Year, Jan -- and everyone!

2434d 5h 56m 40s ago
nunymare:

[[OFFTOPIC]] Philippe, do you have any idea of the case I posted that said ‘Enforcers’? [[ENDOFFTOPIC]]

2434d 5h 32m 49s ago
Eyehawk:

OK, it’s over. Time to get back to business.

Nice group hug folks. It is time to go to bed. Night all!

2434d 1h 44m 2s ago
nettogirl:

aww! I missed the group hug! Regardless, Happy New Year all... wishing you belly laughs and no stress.

2433d 20h 12m 9s ago
J-Louise Heron:

I was sleeping - I made it to a whole 9:30 pm last night... LOL

Happy New Year Y’all...

2433d 19h 34m 3s ago
larss:

Yes, Happy New Year, all!

2433d 19h 11m 3s ago
nunymare:

My god....the daily 1 page of Derek and Colajam has arrived already....Maybe he programmed a bot.

2433d 17h 54m 4s ago
janwayne@*.org:

Guys? Is there a particular reason y’all think dereksteacher is legit? I know you are Mods and I am not, so I don’t know what background info you may have on posters, this one in particular.

But it seems to me…that this message from dereksteacher appeared on four threads in identical form just out of the blue on 6/20/08 all within a few minutes of each other. They are not, however, a direct response to a post, but rather an after the fact comment. Here’s the log:

1 derekdespie posts the Carl’s Jr. thread 3/20/08
Eyehawk reponds shortly thereafter 3/20/08
mslazie with only this one post, marks it solved 5/08/08 (1 ½ mths. later)
dereksteacher posts “The Message” 06/20/08 (3 mths. from 1st post)

2 derekdespie posts the Target thread 03/29/08
creedo responds the same day 03/29/08
derekdespie returns and marks the thread solved same day 03/29/08
dereksteacher posts “The Message” 06/20/08 (3 mths. later)

3 derekdespie posts the FLICKR thread 04/03/08
reydsonpotter (5 posts over several months) shows up the following day and marks this post solved 04/04/08
dereksteacher posts “The Message” 06/20/08 (2 ½ mths. later)

4 derekdespie posts the Nicktoons thread on 2007 10/21/07
heron2001 responds right away 2007 10/21/07
dib909 posts “wtf” on 2008 06/14/08 (8 mths. later)
Eyehawk responds, and says, “You have been told that before, Derek.”
(How did you know dib909 was Derek, Steve?) 06/15/08
dereksteacher appears, 5 days later and posts all four “messages” 06/20/08

There has not been another post by this person, (although he/she was mentioned in two other posts, so shows up six times in a search). You don’t find that suspicious?

Autism is on the rise. I’ve worked with autistic kids and know it can be extremely challenging. One of the main techniques is the use of behavior modification: This includes strategies for supporting positive behavior and decreasing problem behavior by the child. dereksteacher’s post seemed an excuse for Derek’s behavior, not an attempt to address it.

However, mere mention of the ‘a’ word in these four identical messages should not be a reason to think it accurate, unless you know more details than I. If Derek can become Colajam2000, ymcola and kujbus, cannot he be dereksteacher? Or mslazie? I don’t know the real source of that dereksteacher message, but whoever it was, was not at the top of (at least) their English class. I realize that not everyone is an expert typist, but if you are copying & pasting a thought-out message, wouldn’t you have wanted it to be correct in both spelling and grammar? That message certainly is not.

Now that everyone thinks Derek autistic, there is a reluctance to ban him or otherwise stop his disruptive behavior. Perhaps a Mod should contact this “dereksteacher” and seek to verify the information. Derek seems to crave attention in a way I’ve not encountered with the autistic children with whom I’ve worked. I’m not going to call it without more information, but he seems more troll-like than autistic to me. Anyway, he’s got everyone’s pantyhose in a bunch here, and I think will drive folks away from the site. I know I’ve cut my time here down because of the ‘spam’ posts.

2433d 14h 4m 8s ago
Eyehawk:

Interesting thoughts, Jan. I lean toward your feelings. It would be more pleasant to just not have this problem.

2432d 18h 33m 11s ago
nunymare:

Woah....now he’s REALLY getting under my skin...the daily 10 to 5 posts are getting a alot redundant.....seariously...MyFonts HAS to do something...and QUICK.

2432d 17h 13m 20s ago
dereksformerteacher:

I guess I should’ve noted that I used to work with Derek. I haven’t worked with Derek in over 10 years. A year ago, out of curiosity I happened to google Derek’s name and found his posts at this site, just like I did today and found these posts. I wrote the post because I saw a former student being ridiculed. I was just trying to defend him. Jan I apologize for offending you with my “mistakes”. I was just trying to inform others about what drives Derek to post, and I was writing on the fly. So here are the facts. Derek has autism. Autism has a wide spectrum of characteristics, from low functioning (non-communicative), to high functioning (Aspergers). Derek is somewhere there in the upper middle part of that spectrum. Derek has an amazing capacity to memorize information that passes in front of his eyes, and sounds that enter his ears. All this information has to come out sometimes, and unfortunately WTF is one of the places he chooses to express himself. Another fact, Derek is not a child, but an adult in his 20’s. Children with autism eventually turn into adults with autism. Does that change how you feel about him now? Asking him to stop posting is like asking him to stop breathing, or to stop being autistic. As far as the multiple accounts go, has it ever occurred to any of you that there might be more than one user with autism posting on this site? This obsessive behavior with fonts and brands isn’t unique to just Derek.

2432d 2h 55m 14s ago
janwayne@*.org:

dereksformerteacher, I appreciate your coming to WTF to further explain about Derek and his condition. I guess I can deal with the multiple postings, but it does affect the forum and other visitors to WTF. Having not heard otherwise from the Moderators, I don’t know if there are adverse effects to MyFonts.com.

Do you have any suggestions, having worked with Derek in the past? Because he rarely responds to other’s posts, is there a way one can communicate with him...and would he understand?

BTW: Sorry for casting asperions on your grammar...my bad. :^(

2432d 2h 4m 35s ago
Eyehawk:

The multiple user names all have common wording. I doubt we have other autistic people presenting the same info and final sentence.

Examples:

Derekdespie: "Sonic Drive-In Font
SONIC DRIVE-IN is a chain of fast-food restaurants that are located anywhere throughout the United States.

The chain will expand up to about 5,000 U.S. locations around c. 2012/2013, requiring the chain to operate anywhere nationwide.

I can help anyone finding those fonts to identify that logo, you would really like it...THANK YOU!!!"

Colajam 2000: "Hawaiian Airlines Font
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES is the 11th largest commercial airline in the United States, and the largest airline inspired by the state of Hawaii. It was originally established in 1929 as Inter-Island Airways, and then later changed to Hawaiian Airlines.

I can help anyone finding those fonts to identify that logo, you would really like it...THANK YOU!!!"

Looks like the same poster to me, unless someone is spending a lot of time to imitate Derek.

Jan, not all the moderators agree. Philippe and I would like to see it disappear. Jackie and Rainer think we are over-reacting.

2431d 16h 42m 5s ago
koeiekat:

Can you see the IP addresses?

2431d 16h 26m 21s ago
dereksformerteacher:

As you’ve noticed messaging him has no effect with Derek. Unless someone is physically monitoring his computer usage, he’s gonna post. You can block him on this site, but then he’ll just find a different computer and sign up with a new account. Many crashed computers lay in his wake. He’s crashed computers at home, school, retail stores, and that was when he was 8 years old. Fonts are his thing. The brands in the shape of those fonts are his thing. All the history attached to those brands are his thing. In that order. To Derek, WTF is the online candy store that never closes. No real answer for you. There has to be something more desirable than fonts before he’ll give up fonts... for awhile at least. Have you thought about redoing the site with a new url?

2431d 16h 20m 55s ago
janwayne@*.org:

That’s two for...two against. But there are 11 of you Moderators (although Dave Noe and Mike have been MIA for awhile).

Did you ever get that “space” for a Moderators' private forum to hash out sticky issues? I realize that you also would have to make a recommendation to the boss of MyFonts, but this forum is growing, or has in my 3+ years here, and the WTF Mods' opinion should carry some weight.

2431d 16h 13m 6s ago
nettogirl:

I think what is most important to take into account is what Chris the programmer extraordinaire would have to do to implement whatever seems best. Overall, Derek just seems an annoyance, yet a kindred spirit if we are honest ;) with his love of fonts being the same as our own.

Maybe we could give him his own forum, where he could post pictures and knowledge that we could go to as a resource for a unique history from his view. ;)

Now that I’m working full time, I don’t have as much time on WTF as I did before, so my help in this matter is limited, but I would like to help where ever I can, as I’m sure the other mods would. :)

2431d 15h 54m 56s ago
Eyehawk:

The IP addresses are different, Koeiekat.

I believe it was Chris who suggested limiting the number of posts per day, but with all the access Derek has, that would be of little help. But it might be the only answer.

I agree that it is an interesting love he has for fonts. He is not looking for font identifications, but only saying that he can identify them, which would tell me Netto, that he already has a forum of his own. It’s MyFonts. ;)

2431d 14h 14m 59s ago
nettogirl:

lol! true enough Steve. ;)

2431d 12h 40m 24s ago
philippedada:

I haven’t said I’m against derek -- I’ve tried to curtail him with notes that he apparently doesn’t respond to

in the bunch of 26 letters (noted above) I closed all of them because he just added a showoff line to them all

I’ve tried to keep up with his “other” personality that doesn’t say he can ID and then responds with “solved” answers -- different than the one we first knew (at least I think it’s a different personality, but with the use of “cola” in the name, it made me connect) -- BTW: ymcolah in the first 3 or 4 said thank you -- never since

as I’ve said, 5 per day for ANY name should be enough for us to try to solve -- it might not be enough for derek, but would cut down activity

besides, he can read all of this

2431d 12h 1s ago
nettogirl:

“besides, he can read all of this”... may be true, but Does he? I doubt it. ;)

2431d 10h 12m 35s ago
larss:

I like to be optimistic. What Philippe says here makes sense to me... so I’ll go for these “new” posts.

2430d 21h 37m 45s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

“Kid in a candy store” describes him pretty well. It also makes perfect sense. He finds a computer - any computer - he creates his series of accounts and whammo. Another group of dedicated volunteers on whatever site he happens to choose cleans up after him. He was quiet on Wikipedia during the month of December, but given his history, he’ll be back. What I find interesting and even a bit puzzling is that his account naming conventions are different here than over at Wikipedia.

Wishing to see him banned isn’t due to a lack of empathy for his condition. However, it is that condition which apparently prevents him from understanding the gravitas of the situation. He’s treating public resources like his personal playthings and, as has been pointed out, left crashed computers and blocked IPs in his wake, not to mention a whole lot of frazzled nerves.

2430d 5h 43m 39s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

BTW, don’t waste your time expecting an answer. He’s never so much as placed a single keystroke of acknowledgement on a Wikipedia userpage. Sorry he’s turned his attention here for the time being.

However, I’m willing to take a whack at a response, so here goes:

Derek, if you’re reading this, no one thinks you’re a bad person, but you’re doing bad things here and on Wikipedia. I’ve seen your writing so I know you can read. Hopefully, you’ll understand what we’re trying to tell you: This is not a plaything and neither is Wikipedia. You have created lots of cleanup work for lots of volunteers who would rather be doing other things on these sites. It’s time to either follow the rules of this site and that of any wiki or bulletin board or you’re simply going to cause more problems if you don’t follow the rules.

2428d 19h 17m 44s ago
nunymare:

Steve- has Myfonts responded to your email about Derek? Seriously, this HAS to stop....he has like 1 forum page a day.

2428d 7h 53m 22s ago
Eyehawk:

They asked if I thought limits were a solution, which I agreed with. They know he has the capability to switch machines, so I don’t know if they are doing anything, yet.

2428d 4h 36m 41s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

After I updated the Wikipedia “MascotGuy” page with a link to this discussion, another user familiar with his antics brought up a very good point on my talk page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:PMDrive1061#MG_is_not_autistic

Doesn’t it seem odd that his “teachers” are here on such an esoteric site as this...? I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before.

My friends, it seems we’re all saddled with a real lunatic if this is true.

Please leave word here if you come to a solution and if it’s feasible for Wikipedia, I’ll suggest that it be implemented. Heaven knows Wikipedia has tried to block this person and frankly, I feel as if I’ve wasted time and bandwidth trying yet again to appeal to his reason. If he’s sociopathic and not autistic, nothing short of a series of IP range blocks is going to stop him.

2427d 19h 39m 35s ago
Eyehawk:

Here is a post that makes me wonder. Note the IDer (ymcolah). Per Philippe, “I am Cola”. Just too sneaky:

http://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/forum/case/168698/

I believe this is one of Derek’s handles. I may be wrong. We shall see.

2426d 1h 57m 37s ago
nunymare:

Well, I’ve noticed that ymcolah has slightly different antics ad derek, and Colajam. We shall see.

2424d 17h 35m 30s ago
carmen@[41019].com:

I am Derek Despie’s mother. My son is truly Autistic. He knew how to read by the age of 18 months and has always had a love of fonts. I am so very sorry that he is causing all of this commotion for you. Derek doesnt do this because he wants to or knows he is causing harm. He is obcessed with fonts and to him, your website is a dream come true. He identifies fonts as we drive down the road in the car, in magazines and so on. He had a similar experience with Wikipedia when he got interested in bridges. Once he latches on to something its very hard to redirect him. He types upwards of 90 words a minute and can blast through just about any block others have tried to use. If you can tell me a way, short of not letting him have access to the internet, that I can help alleviate this problem for you I will be happy to comply. In one of the postings I read the suggestion that you may be able to use his love of and knowledge of fonts to your benefit. Trust me, he would work tirelessly for nothing just to be a part of what you do. For him, it would be a dream come true. Again, I apologize for all the frazzled nerves here. I just found out about this today when his current teacher sent me a link to this site and asked me what I thought about it. By the way, when Wikipedia blocked his IP address, he somehow figured out that if he turned the electricity to the house off then on again, it reset the address. It took me to figure out when every day when I came home from work it appears we had lost electricity because all of the clocks were blinking. Then it happened when I was home one day and I asked him why he turned the electricty off and on. Derek doesnt lie because he doesnt really know how to, so he told me “to get back on Wikipedia”. How he figured that out is beyond me. I also know he used something called a sock puppet, whatever that is, to get back in. Sometimes, when he is denied access to something he really likes, it causes him to be hyper obcessed, even getting up in the middle of the night to continue to find a way in. I dont know what to do here to help you, but I am sorry and wanted you to at least know the truth of whats going on. He is no a psycho working hard to drive you nuts. He’s is a 22 year old Autistic Computer Wiz with the mentality of a 10 year old who loves fonts and Wikipedia. The really sad part is that all he really wants is to participate, like everyone else. He just doesnt understand how.
Carmen J. Despie-Williams

2142d 13h 19m 44s ago
Eyehawk:

Thank you for that information, Ms. Despie-Williams. Your son has been here a time or two, but seems to tire of it rather shortly. He has not been a major problem for some time now, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

If he knew that most people come here to get fonts identified for themselves, maybe that would help him understand what we do here. He likes to post a logo and let people know that he can tell us what the font is, so he is doing the opposite of what others do when they come here.

There are some of us (all volunteers) who help artists, hobbyists, newlyweds, etc. find the fonts they need. When Derek has come here (much more so in the past), he would create a number of posts which would slow down the work here for a while until folks realized who he is. At that point he no longer posed as big a problem, because we can skip over his posts to continue our work.

Over the last few months, he has not posted much. He may be tiring of the obsession, or has found someplace else to do his thing.

I would not worry about anything, if I were you. We have learned how to handle it.

Thank you,

Steve – moderator.

2142d 11h 24m 26s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

Mrs. Williams, I cannot tell you how happy I am that you posted here.

While it may not be possible to keep Derek off the internet, it is vitally important that you please, please, PLEASE keep him off of Wikipedia. I am the Wikipedia user who contacted you a few years back when Derek used your e-mail address as a username.

He has done untold damage to the site in the years since in terms of false information and wasted volunteer time. It has nearly gotten to the point of investigating the possibility of the loss of your internet service on a terms-of-service violation; it has been done before.

Derek has never once acknowledged his actions and while I understand your plight, please understand the plight Derek is putting us through at Wikipedia. It has gotten so bad that a filter had to be created in order to identify his creations. Basically, he logs on, creates a username and then uses that account to create as many sub-accounts as the system will allow. He even has his own long-term abuse page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:LTA/MG

While the good folks at this site have learned how to handle Derek, his lack of communication and abuse of Wikipedia make him a serious problem there. Simply put, please disallow him access to Wikipedia whether at home or in public. He has vandalized the site repeatedly through public terminals at Apple Computer stores and government offices; generally, his IP addresses are far too large for a range block. Please make him understand that he has been damaging Wikipedia for more than seven years, not helping it.

2089d 17h 39m 3s ago
LadyLola:

I think Derek should have a blogspot or something similar set up that he could post all his posts about fonts at, at will. I don’t doubt that he would get a following. I know I haven’t seen major abuse of his posts for a while here, but this entire thread was an interesting read. Autism at all the ends of the spectrum is a very interesting, confusing, frustrating, and remarkable condition.

2089d 16h 33m 22s ago
Eyehawk:

The reason it is much less troublesome here is because he only does it sporadically, and the main folks who ID fonts here have learned his style and simply avoid his posts. He uses more than one name, but not a lot of them.

2089d 16h 17m 48s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

It would seem that the good Mrs. Despie is unable to keep her son in line. He’s clobbered Wikipedia at least five times in the past week and a half.

Ma’am, if you’re reading this, I am begging you as a volunteer on one of the internet’s top ten sites to please forbid your son from running roughshod and taking up massive amounts of volunteer time and server space. Putting a dollar amount on the damage is impossible. I simply cannot begin to describe the mess he’s left in his wake over a course of years. Wikipedia is not his personal plaything, it is not a place for him to let his imagination run wild with the creation of bizarre user names and please instruct Derek not to treat it as such.

2074d 7h 55m 37s ago
Eyehawk:

As I understand it, Wikipedia allows folks to add or change info themselves. If that is the case, then Wikipedia has only themselves to blame.

They should change how their system works, and this stuff wouldn’t happen.

2074d 4h 30m 40s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

You’re right. That’s exactly how it works. Most vandals, once blocked, stay blocked. This individual is either going through proxies or he’s logging on at any computer he can lay his hands on. To block his ranges would be to block thousands of legitimate users, both new and established. His “sockpuppet” accounts are blocked soon after he makes them and any edits he makes to the article space are reverted and in some instances, the articles are locked from editing by new and unregistered accounts. Most people get the message once they’re blocked and rarely are they heard from again. This has been going on with this guy for nearly seven years. There was one persistent vandal who was at it for three years at a few BellSouth ranges in Mobile, Alabama. It took some doing, but those ranges have been blocked and we hanven’t heard from him since. Blocking Derek is impossible without serious collateral damage across multiple IPs. This is why I’m trying to appeal to his mother.

2073d 8h 45m 1s ago
capital_c@[25981].com:

Interesting forum.

Let me get some chicken and I’ll watch the fun from the stands :)

2073d 4h 28m 37s ago
carmen@[41019].com:

Dear Worn Out Wikapedian,
Apparently, you have no understanding at all of Autism. If it were as easy as my telling Derek he couldnt use Wikipedia, the problem would have been solved many years ago, just like many of the other issues in Derek’s life, like looking for cars before he crosses a road or eating properly so that his Diabetes doesn’t kill him, or a dozen other anti social behaviors that are the hallmark of Autism. But thats not the way it works. Rest assured I have spoken to him too many tiomes to count regarding this issue. That being said, the message posted by Eyehawk is really the only solution to your problem. I “will not” remove Derek’s only link to the world around him, his computer. I will continue to encourage him to use Wikipedia the way its supposed to be used, but as a single mom working 6 days a week, I can not look over his shoulder 24 / 7 to make sure that the problem is under control. I’m sorry, but thats the reality of the situation and I have much greater issues to try to keep under control than Derek’s obcession with Wikipedia. Rather than continuing to throw the ball back to my court, how about sending me some usable solutions I might try to put in place to help you!

Worn Out Mom

2072d 16h 24m 43s ago
koeiekat:

As far as we have seen here on this forum, Derek uses a rather fixed writing pattern. I can imagine that some smart wiki programmer can make a text analysis bot that will recognize Derek’s input and reject it or put it on hold. As there is already a long history of his activities the learning curve of such a bot should not be too steep. More or less like a spam filter.
Silly idea? Maybe ... But at the moment wiki has only 2 options, accept the situation as is or accept collateral damage. Whatever, Derek’s mom is not to blame. So please treat her with respect.

2072d 15h 56m 44s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

I honestly meant no disrespect and if it seems that I did otherwise, please accept my apologies.

As I pointed out in a previous post and as suggested above, Derek’s writing style made it rather easy to create a filter which alerts us to his presence:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:AbuseFilter/159

It does not block access, but rather serves as a filter. His habits of late are fairly predictible: He creates an account and then creates sub-accounts with it. The system limits the creation of sub-accounts to five.

Mrs. Despie-Williams, believe me when I say that no one is asking for his internet privileges to be shut off. Rather, please consider filtering out access to Wikipedia if at all possible. You might also consider changing your internet service so that you are on a fixed address instead of a dynamic system with a new IP each time you log on. If you were on a fixed system, he would no longer be able to edit the site once blocked, but he would have full access to read it. I would enjoy nothing more than to discuss possible solutions which would be of mutual benefit.

My thoughts and prayers are with you. Thanks for helping me to understand the situation a little better.

2072d 14h 43m 25s ago
koeiekat:

A fixed IP address costs a lot more than a dynamic one. At least over here. Would it be a win-win situation if wiki would carry those extra cost? It would be a relief for Derek’s mom (yes, Carmen, we now know your name but I like Derek’s mom better) and the costs for wiki, compared with the the damage done now, is close to nothing if not less than nothing.

Food for thought?

2072d 13h 2m 25s ago
carmen@[41019].com:

Thank you for your understanding and please know I understand your frustration as well. Unlike my son, I’m not very computer savy, but I will look into our internet servers ability to offer a fixed address. You also mentioned filtering out access to Wikipedia. How would I do that?

2072d 12h 46m 19s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

Not to worry. If you’re in Windows, the basic way is to go to the control panel, click “Internet options” and then “Security.” You can then block access to http://en.wikipedia.org. By the way, I have my wife to thank for that info. I’d forgotten it. :)

This is assuming that you’ve made yourself an administrator, which you can do through the “User accounts” tab on the control panel. You can make yourself an administrator and not allow Derek administrative access. That should keep him from logging on at home, assuming that he doesn’t find a way around the block. It should also prevent your having to bear the cost of a fixed address.

Ma’am, I simply cannot thank you enough for your help. Even if he finds a way to log on in the near future, at least we gave it our best shot and we now know that he isn’t trying to be harmful. We’ve had our fair share of really evil attacks coordinated via some of the most vile websites on the internet and I would much rather have a hundred Dereks logging on than just one of these vicious vandals.

God bless and a happy new year to you and your son. Thanks as well to the good folks on this site for your support and suggestions.

2072d 4h 1m 4s ago
moola@[26466].com:

Dear WornOutWikipedian, why are you spending so much energy on one lonely autistic person and so little on stopping people from adding libellous information to people’s pages? Did you hear that Ron Livingston is suing Wikipedia because people kept saying he was gay and living with some guy named Lee Dennison? Shouldn’t you be concentrating on stuff like that?

2072d 3h 2m 36s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

With all due respect, I spend a lot of my time on Wikipedia preventing libel and attacks, but I can’t do it myself. There are literally thousands of volunteers and only a few of those are administrators like myself. If this were an isolated incident regarding this individual, I wouldn’t be here and it would be silly of me to spend this much effort. This has been going on for years and I am trying to resolve it as diplomatically as possible. I believe the overall tone of my posts bears that out and I’m sincere when I say that I hope and pray for this woman and her son. I don’t mean anyone any harm and I simply want what’s best for a site on which I work so hard.

As far as that lawsuit is concerned, no. I hadn’t heard about that. Sadly, that’s the sort of garbage that gets posted on any number of wikis. It sounds similar to what happened a few years ago with a gentleman named John Seigenthaler. An anonymous user slipped in some false information accusing Mr. Seigenthaler of conspiracy in the Bobby Kennedy assassination. Needless to say, Mr. Seigenthaler was less than pleased and brought the issue before the press. The man in question turned out to be someone messing around with his computer at work and who quit his job over the incident. The issue was resolved and the man returned to his job.

There’s an article if anyone’s interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_biography_controversy
2072d 2h 40m 17s ago
moola@[26466].com:

WornOutWikipedian, people inserting libellous material may happen on “any number of wikis”, but I hear about it happening on Wikipedia fairly often. I’m genuinely surprised that you haven’t heard about Ron Livingston - you should Google “Lee Dennison” and read one of the news stories that come up.

Why are you “working so hard” if Wikipedia isn’t even bothering to stop people from libelling celebrities? Maybe there’s a more responsible site you could volunteer your time to and stop hassling some autistic guy who is probably just trying to help.

2072d 2h 21m 28s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

Moola, it happens often on Wikipedia because of its popularity; it ranks as among the top ten most-visited sites on the internet. Wikipedia works on a volunteer basis and it is very carefully watched in order to avoid this very problem; libel is taken very seriously and is reverted immediately upon its discovery. The current version of the article you cited no longer has a reference to his “affair.” An earlier version linked to an article at TMZ.com which stated his intent to sue, but odds are it won’t go that far. As for your comment regarding my “hassling” this person, it’s clear he’s trying to help but he is also disrupting the site. I’ve made no threats nor have I been anything but polite. In fact, I and others once tried to get him to agree to being mentored, but he doesn’t respond to discussions and never has. It would be wonderful if he could be made into a productive editor, but it just isn’t possible.

2072d 1h 45m 10s ago
moola@[26466].com:

WornOutWikipedian, if libel is taken so seriously, why does this type of thing keep happening again and again and again on Wikipedia? It’s one thing if some kid changes Eric Gill’s birthdate so that it screws up someone’s “research” (we all know Wikipedia isn’t reliable) but how is it possible that some malefactor can slip something libellous into some celebrity’s entry there and no one notices for months and months? Why should I be able to add that so-and-so is a necrophile and have it there waiting for somebody else to find it and fix it? That just doesn’t make any sense.

It’s great that the current version of Ron Livingston’s article doesn’t say that he is living with Lee Dennison, but how many times did it say that and for how long? No wonder he’s suing! Which is a more serious problem - someone trying to add information to Wikipedia about mascots or someone adding libel to people’s entries? Why bother to spend time on the former when the latter isn’t even being addressed?

2071d 17h 18m 3s ago
koeiekat:

does wiki have a forum? or is this the wiki forum?

2071d 17h 15m 19s ago
WornOutWikipedian:

Yes, Wikipedia has a number of forums. When I stumbled across this one, I had hoped that we could solve the problem on both sites. As far as completely dodging and parrying really malicious vandalism and misinformation, it’s a numbers game. There are generally a lot more folks editing than there are monitoring and even Wikipedia itself advises against its use as primary information.

I honestly didn’t mean to open such a can of worms and I’d like to consider the matter closed, at least as far as I’m concerned. My apologies for taking this discussion so far off-topic and for causing such concern. I had only the best of intentions.

2071d 11h 12m 31s ago
Eyehawk:

I don’t think anyone is blaming you, WOW. I think they are simply questioning the Wikipedia process, and what sounds like a loose security situation.

I admire your determination, and you did not really change the subject here. In fact, you helped me understand the situation here more.

I understand your dedication and why you joined our conversation here. No harm, no problem, in my opinion.

Good luck.

2071d 7h 7m 54s ago
gusbenedito@[11599].com:

I’ve read every this topic and I’m very impressed!

1800d 17h 1m 45s ago

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