Wikipedia Through the Looking Glass/Jeff Merkey

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Editor's note: I have not altered the text of this page as received except as necessary for formatting (which is not complete). The claims about Merkey here appear to me to be exaggerated polemic, contemptuous, very much like what I have seen from Vigilant about others -- including about me. Many of the sources cited are missing. The original description of Merkey is clearly contempt, and unlikely to be accurate as to Merkey's claims about himself. Underneath them may be a kernel of truth. Merkey did represent himself in court, did that make him an "expert"? He had opinions about IP law, etc.). It is not my intention for this page to stand without caveat, correction, and appropriate framing and attribution.

If Merkey finds this, he will be welcome to comment. Be nice, Merkey, this is what was being said about you and apparently believed. That's a fact, reality. What it means can be something entirely different.

Jeffrey Vernon Merkey was one of the most litigation-prone and threat-prone people in Wikipedia's history. Despite being eterna-banned, his name still appears on Wikipedia noticeboards occasionally, when he has another run-in with a Wikipedian. Because of his numerous legal threats, and Wikipedia's subsequent censorship of its own database to cover up these threats and any responses, it is not possible to fully examine Merkey's relationship to Wikipedia.


From this thread[1], posted 2008:

  1. Legal expert, able to represent himself in complex legal cases. Expert in IP law.
  2. Geologist, able to find gold reserves that will yeald more gold than Fort Knox
  3. Chemist, able to extract large quantities of rare metals and elements from handfuls of earth
  4. Kernel hacker, adding and modifying the Linux kernel at will
  5. OS expert, writing his own OS on the fly
  6. Internet security expert, able to find any hacker in the world after they access his website.
  7. Expert in native American cultures.
  8. Plant geneticist/Medical researcher. He's found a cure for arthritis
  9. Active in local politics, seeking to unseat a local judge (hopefully through the ballot box).
  10. Metallurgist, able to cast at home ingots of Rhodium requiring temperatures of 3569.09 F
  11. Expert in terrorism knowing all about the cause of their activities
  12. Humanitarian worker, offering 'enough peyote to trip out half of New York' after 9/11
  13. Website designer, producing unhackable websites with stunning layout and features
  14. Expert witness for the US Government. Assists the FBI and other 3-letter agencies in their work
  15. Astrologer, able to predict human destiny from the movements of the stars and planets
  16. Freak, three brains and an extra Y chromasome in his genetic makeup. Maybe this gives him superhuman powers?
  17. Gameshow host, offering everything from a Harley to a ride in the Space Shuttle in a contest
  18. International crimefighter and man of mystery ... And, after messages from the man himself......
  19. Artist and painter
  20. Musical composer
  21. Expert Botanist
  22. Decorated military hero, holds the AAM, ARCOM, ASR, OSR, GCM, Military awards and medals.
  23. Educated in Nuclear Weapons design and particularly, Nuclear Fusion and Nuclear Lens designs for Thermonuclear Warheads
  24. Linguist, uncovering a lost and secret language of the Cherokee Nation.

Merkey lived in the area of Salt Lake City during the 1990s and much of the 2000s. In the mid-1990s he was a software engineer working for Novell, and became involved in various aspects of the Linux operating system. Previously to his Wikipedia battles, he become notorious for his self-involvement in the SCO vs. IBM trial[2], despite not being a party thereto. This[3] alleged Merkey sockpuppet made numerous edits to Linux-related articles. Presently lives in Albuquerque.

WP history


Merkey had used various account names to try to control the BLP about himself, and to edit articles related to the Cherokee people, starting in 2005. The first account to become notorious, Waya sahoni, caused considerable strife in early 2006.[4][5] This led to a March 2006 arbitration[6] , in which Waya sahoni was permanently blocked. But the fun and the socking continued.[7]


  • I have just been informed by Danny Wool of the Wikimedia Foundation, via #wikipedia-enadmins on Freenode, that I am expected to give preferential treatment to Jeffrey Vernon Merkey

here on Wikipedia (User:Gadugi, User:Waya sahoni, and newer socks) by not applying admin actions to him - simply because, apparently, he's promised the Foundation money. Well, that's it, I'm not standing for this. I will not participate in a project where users can pay to have their editing privileges restored after they've been consistently unpleasant, made aggressive vanity editing of articles, launched legal threats against Wikipedians, etc. I have no further interest on continuing here. --NicholasTurnbull | (talk) 01:26, 19 April 2006 (UTC)[8]

  • I retract the above, as a consequence of a slightly disturbing answerphone message from

Gmaxwell. I am not convinced I misunderstood it, but, I retract anyway. As to how Gmaxwell got hold of my cell phone number, I am truly baffled... --NicholasTurnbull[9] 17:00, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

  • After conversation with a number of important Wikipedians it seems clear that I've well and

truly gone off the realms of sanity in this matter, and in fact got the wrong end of the stick completely. Gmaxwell was quite right in pointing out that there was no money exchanged between Merkey and the Foundation (since Merkey doesn't, in fact, have any to exchange, which rather seals it) and Jimbo's blocking of Jeff's most recent sock, wikipedia:user:Sint Holo[10] rather seals that the Foundation doesn't desire Merkey's presence - and, from what Gmaxwell has told me, it sounds as if Merkey has in fact been causing the Foundation a disproportionate amount of trouble. I wish to apologise most humbly to all involved in this matter who I maligned, and responded in a vitriolic matter towards, relating to my misunderstanding. I remain, however, on indefinite leave from Wikipedia. --NicholasTurnbull[11] 21:25, 22 April 2006 (UTC)[12] 2007

First appearance as Jeffrey Vernon Merkey[13] May 2007. He subsequently made many bizarre edits to Cherokee-related articles. His argumentation became notorious[14][15], so in July an arbitration[16] was opened against him, he made many legal threats, and was thereafter banned, first for one year and indefinitely after making further legal threats. Sockpuppeting, and bans of those socks, ensued. Arbcom clearly had great difficulty dealing with Merkey.[17][18][19][20][21] There is a stupid August 2008 request for checkuser[22] against Merkey, which accomplished nothing.

His Wikipedia biography was deleted and recreated ten times[23], in a manner similar to : apparently to punish him for daring to criticize Wikipedia. Legal threats drive them completely mad, and Jeff was full of legal threats.


Merkey fought with editor Vigilant[24] in early 2006, resulting in Vigilant's permanent banishment by [redaction] in April. Vigilant claims that the Merkey battle ended up with several administrators losing their powers. [redaction] was a primary disputant, along with [redaction]. Early admin Duk[25] was desysopped in 2007 after this[26], Nicholas
Turnbull[27] resigned and returned under a new identity, and Vigilant suspects that Sidaway's desysopping was partly a result of his battles with Merkey and opponents thereof. There were undoubtedly other consequences of Merkey's activities on WP -- many never documented in the database or elsewhere, some having been oversighted. from a Wikipediocracy post, 1 July 2012, found here[28]
Posted by person unknown:
"I'm not sure the Waya Sahoni account was the first to become notorious."
"By that time, as user Gadugi[29], he'd already been blocked by Jimbo (to cool down), blocked for legal threats several time, had a string of alleged socks, had (IIRC) has access removed/suspended for proxying through that. Had repeatedly claimed that Wales was sorting it all out, that he was in regular phone calls with him etc. Had been to arbcom twice, including the rather bizarre one where it was claimed that being blocked, he couldn't edit, so the arbcom listing was typed by his wife with him telling her what to write...

"The Gadugi account was still indefinitely blocked at the time Waya Sahoni turned up.

"There were various issues here, apparent socks like User:Mikemartin seemed to be little more than baiting Merkey's detractors (Claiming to be an SCO employee, whilst trying to add Merkey the list of notable Cherokees - in an on wiki rant to Wales, Merkey said he'd asked mmartin to stop posting, so it wasn't someone else just keeping the trolling going)

"So we have Merkey on one side who wants to be notable and have a wikipedia article, we have the
other side where every small thing apparently related to Merkey is wanted, complete with their own
conclusions as to what that adds up to. Anyone in the middle of that trying to manage it then ends up in
an impossible state:

"Cutting out all the recent stuff won't be acceptable to a large number, not to mention that anyone searching for Merkey would find a disconnect between what wikipedia says and what is all over the place. Leaving anything not glowingly positive in increases Merkey's displeasure. As Merkey was quite happy to insist anyone who said anything or maintained anything vaguely negative must be a troll from
SCOX of course (and attempt to out them in some way etc.) meant that editors either became formed a view of merkey and so happy to include the negatives, or just get them to walk away - tipping the balance of editors in one direction.

"My own conclusion at the time had been that in the grand scheme, Merkey simply wasn't that notable, so had believed that once things had settled down and the initial interest died down, I'd list it for deletion and hope it would go. Of course Merkey's continued engagement with the issue, meant that things never settled down.

"So the initial deletion of it by Wales was probably the best action, except (a) the way it was done was
quite unsatisfactory (I'm happy for decisive actions, but generally only when other methods have lead
to a lack of decision) and (b) allowing it to be recreated as a fairly weak bio seemed to suggest (to me)
some sort of white wash."

more from Vigilant, Aug 2013[30]

"So, some background. Jeff's been a nut for a long, long time. Lots of people know he's insane."

"People who followed the SCO vs the world saga first ran into him shilling for Microsoft and SCO. He gets called out on his lies and the shit hits the fan. He goes nuts on LKML, on various fora (notably the Yahoo!SCOX message board) and on wikipedia."

"He sues 200 John Does..."[31]

"Meanwhile, some miscreant (not me!) makes a Jeffrey Vernon Merkey article on wikipedia and tells Jeff about it. He loses his mind."

"Comes to wikipedia doing his blustery thing and gets shut down on the facts over and over. He's writing total garbage all over the place. People object (me too). He gets banned for legal threats because that's just how he rolls."

"There's a small group of us SCOX trolls (as he refers to us) who try to warn the powers that be on en.wp that Merkey is a serious net.kook. He convinces some of the more slackjawed (Hi Tony Sidaway and JzG!) that the real problem is these people who are hounding him. We all get blocked while he's allowed free reign."

"The article gets deleted out of scope as a favor to get Merkey to STFU and now the editors who worked on it are pissed."[32]

"Jeff starts feeling he's got some traction. Tries to make nice. Screws the pooch. He gets Jimmy Wales to agree to have his friends guard Jeff's new article in exchange for cash."[33][34]

"I was online with Nicholas Turnbull when this went down. Danny Wool told NichT that Merkey was to be treated differently as he was a high value donor (or words very close to that effect). NichT was not to ban, admonish or interfere with Merkey's editing. NichT quit on the spot but was later coaxed back. Merkey doesn't like what he gets and goes public with the deal. Jimmy says, "Fuck this" and Merkey's
banned and his article gets salted (probably for the best)."

"Merkey comes back five or six times legitimately and scores as a sock. He socks ~(100 socks?), gets caught, repeatedly, and gets his ass taunted near to death (partly me!). He contaminated hundreds of orchid articles by obviously plagiarizing a printed book. When called on it, the wikiproject plant people shrugged their shoulders, banned everyone and let the edits stay. Rather like Project [redaction]'s demise."

"Here's a couple of threads from WR.[35][36]"
"Here's a search with Merkey+arbcom[37]"
"There are hundreds of threads about him on the en.wp dramah boards."
"Didn't he have his own private WMF site in Cherokee?"
"Yes he did. It was bad. He told Jimmy that he was going to use his 190IQ and three brains (he said these things on the either Y! or en.wp) to build a machine translator from English to Cherokee. He provided bullshit updates using jargon he'd scavenged from natural language processing texts. The wikipediots bought it hook, line and sinker. Even if they hadn't, they were glad he'd found some other place to sod off to."

"In the past, he claimed to have a gold vein a mile wide and to have smelted rhodium in his kitchen. Comedy Rhodium is born as a new unit of Merkey Measure."

"He would ban people who created accounts there. He saw trolls and stalkers behind every chr.wp bush. He claimed people from inside the WMF devs had broken into HIS wiki and stolen passwords (there was a long discussion about salts and hashes that ended with him running away losing but proclaiming victory) He enticed a few ne'er do well wonderbread types, who claimed they were 1/64 Cherokee blood, with promises to teach them the language and customs."

"It was just a sad, sad mess that died an all too predictable death."

"The other stuff that was both funny and sad was his bipolar style dealings with his homo/bisexuality. He tried to have anyone who was gay and involved with his multitudinous runs at the dramah boards forcibly recused. That didn't go over to well
"He used a sockpuppet to edit Brokeback Mountain and added a section where he describes himself having a similar affair with an Oklahoma cowboy.

"Since it's Merkey, his sockpuppet was found and hilarity ensued due to the hypocrisy. There were furious denials and, finally, he blamed the edit on his cousin. Merkey's email was found to have been used by that sock in a later edit. He rails, nearly constantly, about fudgepackers this and queers that and faggots the other thing. There is much pointing and laughing."

"In later life, his wife decides she's had enough and bails, taking the kids. The company he works at sues him. This is a recurring theme. Pretty much every company he's worked at has either folded under the weight of his insanity or fired him and/or sued him. He heads to New Mexico and lives in a trailer on his mom's property."

"He continues to attempt feeble trolling online, but the volume of Comedy Rhodium slacks off. He joins the New Mexico Gays Men's Chorus but denies being gay. He just sings with them. Really. Hilarity resumes. Comedy Rhodium production soars."

"He says he had an episode of diabetic shock that nearly killed him, but fashions it as a wonderful epiphany about the structure and nature of time and space. He claims he can roll back or forth the future with a device that he built for $100 from Radio Shack parts. Hilarity resumes."
"He changes his website to promote a series of books that will "destroy Einstein's theories and quantum mechanics." Book covers are on the webpages along with fake ISBN10 and 13 numbers. He is roundly mocked for his sad lies and asked when the books will be ready. Shortly he claims as he's "negotiating with Amazon" about the placement, etc, etc."

"It's been nearly 10 years that I've been following this insanity saga. It's a hoot.

"Comedy Rhodium production manager, Vigilant, reporting for duty."

"He blamed his daughter for smashing a hard drive with a rock. He was required to return a hard drive during a trade secrets theft lawsuit brought by his former employer, Novell. In order to avoid Novell proving that he had stolen code and design docs, when he returned the drive, it was smashed beyond recovery.

"He blamed his daughter. What a piece of shit.

"Actually, on another occasion, he pretended to be his daughter in an IRC chatroom with myself and Nicholas Turnbull. It was pathetic acting and he was roundly mocked. He later tried to use those logs to prove that were sexual predators. Nobody was buying."


money:[46][47][48] Predictably, Jimbo denied it, unconvincingly.[49] Further links about Merkey's history of litigation and general madness:


  1. message apparently deleted.
  2. (2018)
  9. (renamed)
  11. see above
  21. original archive copied and archived.
  23. captured 30 Sep 2009. page log there is another version of the page "Jeff V. Merkey" also on log AfD archived
  24. => (contributions) talk archived
  27. see above
  28. (hidden, requires special privilege -- if it hasn't been deleted)
  30. member-only, copied and archived.
  31. member-only, copied and archived.
  32. WR down.
  36. dead link, archive not found.
  38. see above
  41. dead link no archive found.
  42. dead link no archive found.
  43. dead link no archive found.
  44. dead link no archive found.
  45. dead link no archive found.
  49. dead link no archive found.
  50. see above
  51. [ copy of settlement agreement]
  52. yahoo dead
  53. yahoo dead
  54. improper link.
  57. dead link