By Paul Goodman
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The twists and turns of Hackgate have nothing on those of Harigate. If you doubt it, check the Jack of Kent website, written by David Allen Green. Set out there in meticulous detail is the curious tale of Johann Hari, Wikipedia editing, Methuselah Productions, gay incest porn…and a writer calling himself David Rose. We linked to Green's account on our news pages this morning. No summary I write could rival Green's account, but I'll risk a brief one below.
A "David R from Meth Productions" edits Wikipedia so as to write Hari's entry up and those of his critics down. David R claims to know Hari from University. Hari claims to know David R from University. A Wikipedia editor notices that David R's IP address is traceable to the Independent. Hari himself of course writes as a columnist for the Independent. In response to enquiries, David R says that he is David Rose.
And Meth productions turns out to be Methuselah Productions (which is used in his hotmail address). Methuselah Productions has no easily identifiable trace on the internet, but a piece of gay incest porn exists attributable to a Methuselah Productions e-mail address. Green notes: "that the email address was used for this strange purpose does not mean that David or anyone else so far mentioned actually wrote that porn."
Details of Rose are sketchy. A writer called Scott Burgess criticised Hari in an article. Rose wrote comments beneath that article criticising Burgess. The issue at stake was man-made global warming. Hari wrote that Rose has "real scientific knowledge (a starred first from a degree specialising in environmental science at Cambridge, and extensive work in Antarctica observing the effects of global warming)".
There may, of course, be more than one David Rose. But in short, one of them is apparently a University friend of Hari's who has chosen to follow his starred first in environmental science by working on the Independent and other papers as a sub-editor. Green writes that he has tweeted Hari "to see if he can also put me in touch with his friend David Rose. At the time of writing, Hari has not got back to me."
Anyone who wants to read more should follow the threads below Green's piece, and for that matter follow him on Twitter. Needless to say, a lot of references are being made on the net to The Name of the Rose. I will stick with Shakespeare. "What's in a name? that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet."