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Qworty: The Fallout

by Dan Murphy

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Who is Qworty? Qworty is Robert Clark Young. And who is Robert Clark Young? Another bitter never-was jawing about how it’s not fair, how others got better than they deserved, and how he’ll show them some day. You’ve probably sat next to a gin-soaked Young at an airport bar as his self-loathing and anger rolled off him – before politely disengaging by claiming your plane was leaving a half-hour earlier than it actually was. And then you didn’t give him much more thought. Sad, really, and while the jealousy and bitterness are unattractive, they do no harm. Maybe they even help carry him through his difficult life. And then you put him out of your mind. But Qworty became a far more powerful figure than you would have ever guessed, as Andrew Leonard at Salon writes in an exploration of Qworty’s career as a Wikipedia editor. This website conducted its own extensive investigation and review of his activities on the popular crowd-sourced encyclopedia after Young, as Qworty, engaged in a bout of revenge editing against author Amanda Filipacchi. Her crime? She’d dared to complain about sexism in the popular and powerful website’s approach to female authors.

In turn, Qworty targeted Wikipedia’s article about Filipacchi, her mother, and her father, Daniel Filipacchi, the retired chairman of Hachette Filipacchi Medias, one of the two or three largest magazine publishers in the world. For good measure, Qworty went after the tiny Wikipedia article on that company as well. The attacks on the text of all these articles (which are the first hit on Google for all three individuals and for the company) created enough controversy both inside and outside Wikipedia that folks began digging into Qworty’s identity, and led to his “outing” (Wikipedia’s favored

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