|MetaFilter's site and server can always use upgrades of hardware, software, and bandwidth, as well as more stable funding for continued support of its small but high-skilled moderation and backend team! If you'd like to chip in, you can donate to Metafilter.|
From Mefi Wiki
Chronology of Events:
December 30, 2007
- On December 30, 2007, a user named Geremiah posted a question asking for help on how to find a high performing charity in Ask.Metafilter.com 
- After three answers, a user named Holden0 answers and suggests the use of Givewell.net.
- Two questions later, another user named Miko makes a post questioning the approach Geremiah was taking towards selecting a charity and suggested other options for Geremiah to go about finding a charity. 
- Geremiah then responds, criticizing Miko, and highlights Givewell.net as the sort of answer he wants. 
- Miko then becomes suspicious that Holden0 is the same person as Givewell.net founder Holden Karnofsky. 
December 31, 2007
- On December 31st, 2007, Miko creates thread in Metatalk.Metafilter.com calling out the previous Ask.Metafilter question as an attempt by Holden Karnofsky to use sock puppetry to anonymously plug Givewell.net, a violation of Metafilter rules. 
- Metafilter moderator and founder, Matthowie, discovers that Geremiah's question and Holden0's answer were posted from the same IP address. He deletes the question and bans both users. 
- Mathowie then discovers the same individual purchased both accounts, which cost $5 to open on Metafilter. 
- Holden Karnofsky posts in thread under new account name Holden00 and admits to posting the question and then answering it. He calls it a lapse of judgment , "terrible," and that it was not the right way to spread the word about Givewell.net. Asks that people understand Givewell.net is not a scam. 
- 18 minutes later, at 3:02 pm, after receiving criticism from other Metafilter users in the thread, Holden posts again apologizing, acknowledging he had done something wrong. Holden then blames some of his behavior on lack of sleep, and offers to give Metafilter.com a donation to make things right for breaking the rules. 
- Six minutes later, Holden responds to claims that he had deleted comments from the Givewell.net blog, noting that nothing was deleted and pointing out the comments were back on the page. Holden calls his lapse of judgment "quick and relatively thoughtless." He apologizes again. 
- At 3:11 pm, Holden posts again, admitting now that the offered donation could be perceived as a bribe (referencing previous Metafilter user posts). He also reaffirms that no comments were deleted from the Givewell.net blog. Holden then asks for advice on how to make things right and to uphold the transparency that his company purports. 
- Six minutes later, under the advice of several Metafilter posts, Holden posts a mea culpa on the Givewell.net blog. In it, Holden admits to the aforementioned behavior, to sending out brief emails from accounts setup for Givewell employees, and commenting on other blogs (unnamed) without identifying himself, and specifically for "astroturfing." He blames it on lack of sleep, a hectic schedule, and the mistaken belief that it was an honest way to get Givewell.net considered on the merits.  He then apologizes again.
- 3:57 pm. Link to Lifehacker.com blog where Holden posted as Geremiah, dismissing Charity Navigator and suggesting Givewell.net (linking to the original Ask.metafilter question), is posted into Metatalk.Metafilter thread.
- Holden responds again, admitting to sock puppetry and apologizing, and stating that his mistakes were made in a moment of weakness. 
- Holden responds to several Metafilter posts about the intent behind his actions, stating that it was an attempt to get Givewell.net judged on its merit, and not to appear as a spammer. He acknowledges that now he sees that it was "stupid and wrong." 
- A second thread from Lifehacker is posted in the Metatalk thread providing further evidence of Holden posting as Geremiah. The comments are later removed from the Lifehacker thread.
- At 6:01 pm, evidence of Holden posting on BoingBoing charity thread is posted, in which he questions the quality Heifer International and Charity Navigator.
- Immediately after, evidence of Holden posting on a Luxist.com charity thread is posted into the MetaTalk thread. In it, Holden is arguing for Givewell, then returns several days later in a different account (still named Holden) to support the original Holden posts.
- Five minutes later, another link is posted to the Metatalk thread, with Holden posting in a Consumerist.com charity thread.
- At 6:45 pm, Holden posts, admitting to his practices and re-iterating that the lapse of judgment was not a momentary thing, but that he never intentionally meant to deceive others into thinking he was an objective bystander. He notes that he did not "try hard" to hide his identity and he promises never to do such again. 
- At 9:30 pm, Givewell.net board member Tim Ogden posts in the MetaTalk thread. In a long post, Ogden states that Holden had contacted the Board, that the situation will be discussed by the board, and that he was aware of some of Holden and Elie's promotional events and supplied a link to a thread at the Wall Street Journal's The Wealth blog, in which he had participated and noted the presence of both Holden and Elie. He did not think there was anything amiss in their actions in this thread. He then goes on to address questions and concerns about Givewell.net in general.
January 1, 2008
- At 12:22, January 1st, 2008, a link is posted to the blog of Lucy Bernholz, a board member of Givewell, showing the first response by Bernholz to the situation.
- At 12:57 pm, Metafilter moderator Jessamyn, posts a copy in the MetaTalk thread of a comment encapsulating the events concerning Holden on Lucy Bernholz blog.
- 2:37 pm, a question is posted into the MetaTalk thread questioning the timing between Lucy Bernholz posting on the Huffington Post supporting Givewell (without disclosing any attachment) and her placement onto the Board of Directors. (She later addresses this question in later comments on her blog).
- 3:06 pm, evidence is posted on the MetaTalk thread linking Elie Hassenfeld to the same activities at a BoingBoing charity thread (previously posted with Holden's comments), as part of a quiet dismissal of Heifer International by directing to a blog entry on a website headed by Tim Ogden, BeyondPhilanthropy.
- At 3:19 and 3:27, more examples of Elie participating in the same astroturfing activities, one in "The Wealth" thread already admitted by Tim Ogden, and the other at MarginalRevolution.com charity blog (where he asks a question, then answers it later down in the thread's comments).
- Nine minutes later, further evidence is postedrevealing Elie posting an attack on Charity Navigator, while suggesting Givewell.net, at Buzz Builder blog.
- 7:19 pm, more evidence is posted to the Metatalk thread with Holden dismissing Heifer International in a comment in a charity article at the Huffington Post.
- 10:43 pm, a second comment by Lucy Bernholz (need to scroll down on her blog), responding to comments on her blog is posted in the Metatalk thread.
January 2, 2008
- 6:14 am, January 2nd, 2008, a comment by Holden on the Givewell.blog are posted in the Metatalk thread, in which Holden informs that the board of directors will be trying to meet during this week, that the comment subscription service was temporarily being removed, and comments to the blog that were not associated with the topic would be deleted.