This post will take you on a little journey which promises to be very satisfying by the time it’s done, but will require your full attention to get there. HINT: you’re free to take notes if it will help. Arriving at our destination, you can expect to have learned, as we have, that Gary Weiss is quite actively engaged in deception on other people’s blogs, in addition to his own. Furthermore, by the time we’re done, you’ll have found new levels of ironic significance in these words:
“Bravely spoken, by the coward who hides behind a pseudonym.”
And here we go…
The first thing you need to understand is that in late January of 2006, Gary Weiss’ IP address was 126.96.36.199.
Here’s how we know that.
The website Wikipedia endeavors to be an online encyclopedia that anybody can make changes to. Fortunately for mankind, a record is kept of each of those changes. Here’s just such a record: a summary of edits made by a user at the IP address 188.8.131.52.
Note the date range: January 27-28, 2006, and the article edited: Naked short selling. Such rapid succession of edits, as seen here, is suggestive of what’s called an “edit war.”
Now, let’s look at who else was editing that article during that period, to learn more about this edit war.
Starting at the bottom and working up, we see the editor identified by the IP address 184.108.40.206 editing heavily until 7:19pm when that user’s edits abruptly cease.
79 minutes later, a brand new user calling himself Mantanmoreland arrives, picking up right where 220.127.116.11 left off. A few days later, Tomstoner arrives, forging an unusually strong “tag team” relationship with Mantanmoreland. Together, Mantanmoreland and Tomstoner become the primary antagonists of the novice and disorganized bloc of Wikipedian naked shorting opponents.
On February 20, 2006, as if to put a fork in their soundly defeated opposition, Tomstoner adds a link to Gary Weiss’ blog to the naked short selling article.
Fast forward six weeks.
On April 6, Gary Weiss sees his second book published. Bravo, Gary.
On April 9, Tomstoner adds a reference to the three-day-old book on the article about Gary Weiss’ alma mater, the City College of New York.
On April 13, Mantanmoreland creates the Gary Weiss article on Wikipedia, and goes on to take ownership of it, including going so far as to know when one Weiss quote is more suitable than another.
On April 14, Mantanmoreland adds a link to a nearly decade-old Business Week article originally written by Gary Weiss
On April 15, Mantanmoreland decides the article on Arthur Leavitt would be better with a link to the nine-day-old book by Gary Weiss.
On April 17, Mantanmoreland adds a link to the first book by Gary Weiss
On April 30, Mantanmoreland feels one more article could benefit from a reference to the three-week old book by Gary Weiss.
Make that two more articles
On May 13, Lastexit, one of Mantanmoreland’s admitted “sockpuppet” alter-egos, feels the article about Julian Robertson could benefit from a link to a six-year-old bit of journalism by Gary Weiss.
On May 19, Mantanmoreland decides the article on hedge funds is incomplete without a link to the Weiss Book.
On July 12, Lastexit concludes that a three year old Business Week piece on naked shorting penned by Gary Weiss would perfectly round out the Wikipedia article on the same topic.
Anybody not convinced that 18.104.22.168 = Mantanmoreland = Tomstoner = Lastexit = Gary Weiss raise your hand.
Ok good. So we can all agree that in late January, 2006, 22.214.171.124 = Gary Weiss (remember that…it’s on the final exam!).
Now, let’s go back to January 22, 2006.
On that day, two relevant things happened.
First, the New York Post published an effusive review of the Gary Weiss book, which would not go on to be available for purchase for another 3.5 months.
Second, Yahoo user ID lamborghini751 is created and soon makes his first message board post in the form of a question as to his “wife’s” career options.
Four minutes later, his second post, to Yahoo’s Overstock.com message board, announces to the world that Gary’s book, though a full financial quarter away, had been the subject of a glowing review by the New York Post.
On January 24, 2006, Yahoo user ID cupandsaucerwithsugar is created. As his first act, at 1:29 pm EST, he provides an answer to lamborghini751’s two day old question.
(A quick scan of the subsequent postings of both lamborghini751 and cupandsaucerwithsugar makes it obvious that the same person is behind both. But Yahoo’s delightful dissembler sorting algorithm bug confirms this, as those familiar with the DSA will easily see.)
As his second act, less than 60 seconds after the first, cupandsaucerwithsugar chooses to honor Gary Weiss, as follows:
“yeah and weiss just ripped boobo and co a new one on his blog”
How sweet.For those keeping track at home, that post brings us to 1:30 EST on January 24, 2006.
Interestingly, according to the header info on the sample chapter posted on his website, Weiss’ publisher would complete the book’s soft proof 82 minutes later, at 2:52pm.
So what had the NY Post reviewer been reading?
Nevermind such details!
Six hours later, at 8:35pm, Gary Weiss publishes a new blog post, which opens thusly:
“Bob O’Brien,” the bravely anonymous leader of the Baloney Brigade…
Just 25 minutes later, on the above-mentioned Bob O’Brien’s blog, first time commenter cupsandsaucer has this to say to the same Bob O’Brien:
Bravely spoken, by the coward who hides behind a pseudonym.
A quick review of the corresponding server log entry (time zone set to GMT) confirms what we all already suspect, and poetically brings us full circle:
How much more ironic is the accusation,
…coward who hides behind a pseudonym…
when you consider it was posted by cupandsaucer Gary Weiss (aka 126.96.36.199, Mantanmoreland, Lastexit, Tomstoner, Lamborghini715, and cupandsaucerwithsugar), who’s turned pseudonymity into a way of life?