RJ Ellory, the bestselling British crime writer exposed for writing fake online reviews, has been banned from editing on Wikipedia after he was found to be deleting stories from his biography.The Daily Telegraph can disclose that the 47 year-old was “permanently blocked” after attempting on more than a dozen occasions to remove negative stories on his posting on the internet using pseudonyms.
Volunteers from the online encyclopedia, which has more than 450 million users worldwide, became suspicious about his activity amid accusations it compromised the integrity of the profile.
Officials made the decision after finding he had tried to delete stories, including from The Daily Telegraph, from the profile and had breached its “self promotion” rules by being one of its main authors.
But the author, whose real name is Roger Jon Ellory, argued the coverage of his actions was “a significant matter of misrepresentation” and that stories had “blown [it] out of all proportion”.
The row came after Ellory, based in Birmingham, West Mids, was exposed over the so-called “sock puppeting” practice, in which people write fake online reviews.
The bestselling novelist was exposed for using pseudonyms to pen fake glowing reviews about his “magnificent genius” while simultaneously criticising his rivals.
The author of A Quiet Belief in Angels and a Simple Act of Violence apologised for his “lapse of judgment” and vowed he would not “avoid responsibility”.
He admitted he had used fake identities to write about his own work on the Amazon book site, giving himself five star ratings.
The father-of-one also admitted writing at least a dozen posts on the internet using pseudonyms and repeatedly apologised to fans and rivals for his actions on websites.
A group of leading authors later warned the practice was rife on the internet and readers should be aware of the “fraudulent” practices of some writers.
In the weeks after the scandal erupted in September, Ellory took to this Wikipedia page to amend the wording of a “controversy paragraph” and the newspaper links which gave “completely the wrong bias on this issue”.
After he was challenged by his actions, he admitted he had written his biography and had posted information about his novels for “a number of years”.
He said he was confused about the policy and questioned why he was not able to delete “potentially libellous statements” about his work, which he labelled “grossly unfair, unjust and biased”.
“My intent was never to antagonise you or challenge your system,” he told the moderators.
“My intent was merely to see that the information on my page – which is, after all, a representation of me and my life to the wider world – was not biased, inappropriate, incorrect and false.
“As far as this dispute is concerned, there is a significant matter of misrepresentation in the press regarding the extent to which I had manufactured ‘reviews’ on amazon [sic].”
He added: “Simply put, this entire issue was blown out of all proportion, and I have been treated most unjustly.”
Wikipedia sources described the attempts to delete information, which occurred on at least 13 occasions, as akin to “vandalism” while the site did not take information that was “unsourced”.
“Plainly and simply, we are very tired of people using Wikipedia in order to promote their own personal and commercial interest,” said one source.
“It makes no sense for him to admit in front of the entire world to writing the… reviews and to apologise for them, while, at the same time, attempting to scrub the evidence from Wikipedia.”
Last night a spokesman for Wikipedia, whose editorial work is completed by a team of thousands of volunteers across the globe, confirmed the author had been banned from the site but declined to comment further.
Neither Ellory nor his agent responded to repeated requests for comment.
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