Another in a in a series of blog posts highlighting lesser-known Wikipedia editors.
So far, I’ve introduced you to Wikipedia editors For An Angel (AKA Ospinad) and Crakkerjakk without revealing their real-life identities. This time I will be introducing you to Meco, who tells us on his Wikipedia user page that he is 48 year-old “Halvor aka Halvor Raknes aka Halvor Raknes Johansen aka Halvor R. Johansen” from Oslo, Norway.
You probably won’t remember this, but in 2010 it was revealed that Amazon.com had been selling an ebook entitled
The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure. It made a great topic for discussion on the news networks. Faced with the predictable outrage, Amazon quickly pulled the book and everyone moved on. Of course, someone wrote an article about the book and its author in Wikipedia. As I recall, it was an excuse to air the author’s somewhat unusual views on relationships between children and adults. This article and the deletion discussion I started for it were where I first took notice of Meco.
Meco is an old-timer. He has been editing Wikipedia since 2006 and has over 50,000 edits on the English-language WP. As Meco’s user page notes, he was banned from the Norwegian-language Wikipedia in 2007. Of course, just because you have been banned on one Wikimedia Foundation project doesn’t mean you aren’t welcome on a different one.
In June 2009, Meco created the article for Sons, a film about “the conflict between a pederastic man and the boys with whom he has had intimate relationships”. In July 2012, Meco created an article on WP about a documentary called Are All Men Pedophiles?. This article had already been created and deleted twice before. Meco submitted the article to appear on the front page of WP in the Did You Know section with a “hook” of “Did you know… that the 2012 documentary film Are All Men Pedophiles? was inspired by its 23-year old maker’s attraction to girls as young as 15?”. It was rejected because “The movie title seems … to be deliberately misleading and exploitative (in a commercial sense) in equating men’s attraction to nubile females with ‘pedophilia'”.
Who are we actually dealing with here? Are individuals being singled out because they advocate age of consent reform and edit related articles in order that they become more neutral and less biased against this position? (That would be a matter of simple content dispute.) If not, then surely they must stand out being in violation of other Wikipedia rules that can be generalized, not needing to be transfixed to any one subject? Granted, age of consent reform advocacy and child abuse is often commingled, i.e. if someone advocates the former, and does nothing else, then surely as night follows day a barrage of allegations and invectives are going to be hurled at that person for being a child abuser or advocating child abuse, the two latter often indiscriminately.
He is supported in his questioning of the policy by a few editors, but the discussion comes to a close when Meco questions the block of an editor who was recently banned from contributing to Wikipedia. That part of the discussion gets removed by a member of Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee, per policy. Later, on the talk page of “Wikiproject Pedophilia Watch” he says:
That page is still under discussion. It seems someone got tired of all the secrecy and hush-hush regarding blocking of editors who self-identify as pedophiles. Apparently ArbCom has devised such a policy in half secrecy and now some of the ArbCom members want to have this more out in the open. That again has now led to the basic rationale for this policy and its practice to come under scrutiny. This again has met the same obstacles of secrecy and withholding of case information. This withholding is done with the rationale that these blocked editors’ identity need protecting from a hostile community. To me it all seems utterly Kafkaesque, and I’m trying to get a grip on the matter.
About a month later, Meco says:
There is a strong anti-pedophilia lobby on Wikipedia as far as I can ascertain. I do believe it compromises the integrity of the project on related topics. Editors who display a positive opinion of pedophilia on Wikipedia are regularly forced off the project in a process which I believe Franz Kafka would recognize. Some editors rationalize this with the political need to protect Wikipedia from external attacks by anti-pedophile activists or public opinion should Wikipedia be targeted for “harboring pedophiles”. I don’t like this at all, but I don’t see that anything can be done about it presently. At least not beyond seizing such opportunities as this to address the situation.
Meco seems to be arguing in favour of free speech and transparency about Wikipedia’s processes. Is that a bad thing? No. It isn’t even unusual, since WP has attracted more than a few libertarians and free speech advocates. Except that this isn’t a free speech issue. “Editors who display a positive opinion of pedophilia” are by definition not neutral. Editors who “advocate age of consent reform” are advocating rather than neutrally and dispassionately recording what people have said about the subject. The talk page archives of pedophilia-related articles are full of these types of “free speech” arguments. It is no coincidence that many of the people in those discussions have ended up being banned later for pro-pedophilia advocacy.And there’s one other thing you should know about Meco – according to his own ICQ profile page, he spent “13 days in custody in 1998 under suspicion of distributing illegal pornography to minors”.
Every picture tells a story, don’t it?
If you look at some of the archived pages from Meco’s old website, you will see that he hosted an FTP site where people downloaded and “traded” pictures. Meco invites you to email him “If you’re not a user of my FTP site but would like to gain access to my archives of gay erotica”. His home page at one point said:
I am very happy to announce the return of my galleries: My own collection of the most stunningly beautiful boys ever seen publicly displayed. To me these images of nude teenage boys although not sexual in content represent the epitome of aesthetics and serenity.
This linked to six pages of images (each page entitled “nude boys”).
Here’s what Meco himself says about that site:
I’m not sure what njegosh wants to present with this. I have confirmed the issue relating to an FTP site which I operated about a decade ago, parts of which did contain homosexual child pornography (e.g. very young boys being used by older men) among other homosexual pornography. If there is more to be investigated in this regard I welcome any questions and will attempt to provide answers.
A short version is that ever since I attained puberty I was attracted to and sexually aroused by the sight/thought of boys (pubescent, not prepubescent). So, with the money I got for my 13th birthday I ran downtown and bought myself a Super 8 mm film projector and two 10 min flics, one with two boys, 14 and 15 years old, and one with a boy, about the same age, who as a boy scout knocks on the door of an older woman (in order to sell something or rather) who subsequently seduces him. After this I continued to be a high-volume consumer of gay pornography with a preferance for pubescent boys. Before the Internet started up and I got on it (in early 1994), I had never before encountered child pornography. It did not take long before I discovered the gay porn channels on IRC with names such as #gayteengifs. I purchased a 28k8 leased line around 1995-96 to enable me to remain online 24/7. So I started to collect erotic and pornographic photos of boys, still no prepubescent. As I gradually became aware that there was a pedophiliac presence on the net, I looked this up out of curiosity and genuine interest for what this was all about. It was subsequent to this that I began accepting a few images that went below. agewise, what I had previously received. Due to the illicit nature of this trade and the high level of paranoia in the men who had a particular interest in this, I closed off a part of my then FTP site for such trade, giving out separate access to people who were particularly interested in exchanging either nude photos of prepubescent boys (aroused or not), photos showing such young boys engaged sexually with each other, or pictures of adult men having sex with these young boys, this particular genre goes by the name of “intergen” (meaning intergenerational ).With regards to the legal pictures, they were of the same kind that I presented openly in image galleries on my personal home page, which I believe had 800,000 visitors as early as 1995. I did charge money for access to my “legal” connection from people who weren’t trading (remember that this all started as a trader-collector activity on IRC using the DCC protocol), I believe $25 for six months access (I don’t remember exactly). My gains from this approximately covered my expenses for the leased line, that’s how I justified to myself taking that money. And since all the people who ever had access to the youngest pictures were already into this activity of exchanging (or trading, as the term was, it was a fully reciprocal process) them, pay was never considered. Besides, I was quite consciouss that there were ethical considerations involved, not to mention criminal, so I did not want to provide access to this material to people that were not already into this.
All my child pornographic images were hidden on my hard drive by an encryption protocol which in some respects is similar to PGP, which was called SFS- Secure File System. So, when I was arrested in November 1998 and all my computers impounded, the police were never able to find this material. The reason for my arrest was somewhat unrelated to this. It involved a burnt CD which contained heterosexual porn which some teenage boys who had been in my apartment asserted that they had received from me. That CD was an anomaly as I had never cared for naked women or girls. It had been left (forgotten maybe) by a teenage boy whom I had become acquainted with, and when some other teenage boys (a little yonger, around 14) were in my home, they discovered it and asked if they could borrow it. Not giving that matter much thought I said fine. I was convicted in the lower courts for having made illegal pornography available to minors, however, when the case was appealed, I was acquitted as it became unclear whether the CD presented in court was the same which I had had in my apartment (and which I had barely glanced at).
I don’t think that there’s much more that needs to be said about this particular case. Meco has said it all for me. He continues to be an editor in good standing on the English-language Wikipedia. [Editor’s note: shortly after the publication of this article, Meco was blocked at Wikipedia.]