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Don Murphy - another Living Person who doesn’t want a Wikipedia biography

with 22 comments

On 31st August 2007, Wikipedia Review discussion forums welcomed a new member, ColScott, who began by writing a post about his own personal experiences on Wikipedia, titled “ColScott says Hola“. As at the time of my writing this blog post, the thread was on its 14th page, with 262 replies and 4,395 views, and whilst it did go slightly off topic a few times, it is generally speaking pretty much on track.

As we discovered, ColScott is Don Murphy, who is a film producer with his own studio house called Angry Films, with a modest entry in the Internet Movie Database, and his own Wikipedia article. This issue is a similar one to Daniel Brandt’s, that inspired Wikipedia Watch, and is also similar to many other Biographies of Living Persons issues. But what does it all mean?

The first issue is a misunderstanding of what a film producer’s role is. It is not the same as a director or writer or starring actor. Whilst he did produce the Transformers movie, he was one of several producers, and not the primary producer. And whilst he did produce the movie Natural Born Killers, he was not the only producer. And whilst he has produced a number of other films, they were not enormously prominent.

Is this sufficient for an encyclopaedic article? This is the first question that was asked. A number of Wikipedia Review members said that it was, but a number of others said that it wasn’t. There is no serious question that a film producer with only 2 significant film releases, neither of which he was the primary producer, would not warrant an encyclopaedic article, however Wikipedia has a somewhat lower standard of notoriety than a regular encyclopaedia. Given that Wikipedia has an article on every single Transformers character, and every single actor that appeared in the film, even if they have no other film credits outside of it, obviously it is consistent to have an article on Don Murphy as well. By Wikipedia’s terms, he is equally as notable as the others that also have articles. Furthermore, it could be argued that “cruft” articles like Transformers represent the very best and most useful articles that Wikipedia has to offer.

The next question is whether Don Murphy has a right to ask not to have his own article. His concern is that it might become negative, due to vandalism and nasty comments. In its present state it isn’t overly nasty, however it could be. The fact that he was banned from Wikipedia means that in effect he has no say in preventing it from becoming nasty. Should Wikipedia have an opt out policy? Any reputable encyclopaedia would, at least for people who are not convicted felons. All biographies are approved by the subject themselves, or someone acting on behalf of the subject, with the exception of the tabloid “unauthorised biographies”. Bias can be accounted for by the reader. If all of Wikipedia’s biographies were biased in a very positive way, they would still be useful to readers, and the bias could be accounted for. If Wikipedia chooses to go the other way, then they run the risk of having libellous nasty statements and a smear campaign.

Many members of Wikipedia and of Wikipedia Review have argued that the article should be kept regardless of whether Don Murphy wants it to be kept, and that it is important to have both positive and negative viewpoints in order to comply with Wikipedia’s policy on Neutral Point of View. But Neutral Point of View is a policy that was intended to represent multiple expert opinions then being mediated by one neutral party - not to extinguish expert opinions in favour of someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about. Don Murphy is an expert on all things Don Murphy, hence Don Murphy should be one of the primary sources for the article. It is fine to have a neutral party that doesn’t really know about it act as the mediator, but they should not be the person writing it in place of Don Murphy’s input. Everyone has bias, and this bias can be accounted for by a researcher. Untruthful statements, which are likely to be presented by people who do not know what they are talking about, cannot as easily be accounted for. Biased truth is far more useful than unbiased lies.

The next issue is that ColScott feels that he was subjected to vicious attacks by a 15-year-old administrator who currently goes by the name of “Saturday” (he had previously changed his name). ColScott feels that he was targetted, while Saturday in turn has suggested that he was targetted by this “big shot Hollywood producer”, and that he is scared. The question of whether a Wikipedia administrator is more powerful in terms of Wikipedia than a film producer is overall was one that came up to much debate. Secondly, there is the question of which of them, if any, is stalking the other. Is ColScott lying about being stalked, just to try to get power over his own article? Or is Saturday lying about being stalked so that he can justify defaming a film producer and controlling his article? This issue came under much debate. Ultimately, several members of Wikipedia Review attempted to come to a compromise, but neither ColScott or Saturday seemed willing to comply. Saturday’s suggestion of locking the article in a state which ColScott did not agree with demonstrated either extreme ignorance or else a deliberate manipulation of the situation, and was never going to be helpful in any way.

The next issue that was raised was whether ColScott should be attacking a child, given that Saturday’s proported age was only 15 years. Some Wikipedia and Wikipedia Review members argued that someone’s age on the internet is relevant - that young members should not be attacked as much as older members, that it counts as bullying if it is a 40 year old arguing with a 15 year old. Others argued that age is irrelevant on the internet, and furthermore that we don’t even know for sure what his actual age was.

The issue has dominated discussion on Wikipedia Review in the past week or so, and other issues, such as SlimVirgin’s new presentation on “Cyberstalking”, seemed to somehow be linked to this one. Indeed, even an older topic on Ted Frank could easily be linked to this, as it too was a Biography of Living persons issue. And of course a Wikipedia Review member, Judd Bagley, has his own Wikipedia entry which he too wants to have deleted.

This very interesting issue seems to raise more questions than it answers. Everyone seems to have their own opinion on the issue, and whatever your opinion, I think that we all agree that this is very, very interesting.

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Written by blissyu2

September 7th, 2007 at 2:22 am

22 Responses to 'Don Murphy - another Living Person who doesn’t want a Wikipedia biography'

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  1. Good summary overall. However, “Saturday” was never an admin; his RfA failed in March. Most recently, Saturday has told a couple of WP admins (JzG (Guy Chapman) and DragonflySixtyseven) to fuck off ["don't . . . piss on my rug"] when they warned him to stay away from Murphy-related pages. He has apparently stayed away from those pages, nonetheless.

    Cedric

    7 Sep 07 at 7:08 pm

  2. “About this time there occurred a strange incident which hardly anyone was able to understand. One night at about twelve o’clock there was a large crash in the yard, and the animals rushed out of their stalls. It was a moonlit night. At the foot of the end wall of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written, there lay a ladder broken in two pieces. Squealer, temporarily stunned, was sprawling beside it, and near at hand there lay a lantern, a paint-brush, and an overturned pot of white paint. The dogs immediately made a ring round squealer, and escorted him back to the farmhouse as soon as he was able to walk. None of the animals could form any idea as to what this meant, except old Benjamin, who nodded his muzzle with a knowing air, and seemed to undertand, but would say nothing.

    “But a few days later Muriel, reading over the Seven Commandments to herself, noticed that there was yet another of them which the animals had remembered wrong. They had thought the Fifth Commandment was ‘No animal shall drink alcohol,’ but there were two words that they had forgotten. Actually the commandment read: ‘No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.’”

    Dillinger

    11 Sep 07 at 3:19 am

  3. Well I don’t know too much about this, but I do recognise a bullyboy when I see one. Murphy (in Col Scott alias) hosts a blog related to one of his main interests: the Charles Manson “family” and murders. Check it out at http://truthontatelabianca.com//index.php and you’ll see how he comes across as a true power freak. The other list members are booted off if they challenge his views (read back in the blog history), and those who remain behave like sycophants.

    Percival Buttermere

    11 Oct 07 at 6:28 pm

  4. Heh, well I’m not fifteen, I’m 17, never was and don’t want to be an admin (after the screwiness that is wikipedia decided to side with a mass spammer after I made a joke in an edit summary). Those that “warned him to stay away” were just doing something completely pointless. I had already said I was staying away, they decided to try and rub it in my face. Their attacks were later removed after one of them was discovered on IRC trying to gain support and promptly being shot down by a decent admin.

    Phil

    19 Oct 07 at 3:03 pm

  5. These are easy issues. But before I address them, I need to point out that I have little faith in Wikipedia’s ability to run a legitimate encyclopedia. Thus, my answers are theoretical, i.e., examples of what a legitimate encyclopedia should do. Wikipedia is another matter. With that, here goes:

    I don’t think minors should be administrators for any on-line publication that pretends to be serious. However, if they are allowed, then they should be no more or less immune from citicism as anyone else. If someone is exercising power on an equal footing with adults, then they ought to be liable to criticism on an equal footing as well.

    Secondly, a legitimate encyclopedia would make its own determination of who’s eligible for an article. Wikipedia’s “notability” policy purports to guide this determination, but as with the rest of their rules, policies, procedures, pillars, principles and so forth, they are ill-defined and contradictory and so the result is an ad hoc determination.

    I don’t blame Don Murphy for wanting Wikipedia to delete his article, and I’m not in the least bit surprised that Wikipedia has rebuffed him. One of these days, Wikipedia will cross the wrong person and pay the price for doing so.

    Charles Wilson

    16 Dec 07 at 11:30 pm

  6. Yeah, but it wasn’t exactly criticism as much as it was harassment. Mr. Murphy threw a tantrum and began collecting information on me and sent me childish emails with petty abuse. Wasn’t criticism, rather it was pure harassment.

    Phil

    29 Dec 07 at 11:39 pm

  7. Ahh Philly it is good to know that you STILL cannot grow up.

    Col Scott

    3 Jan 08 at 5:58 am

  8. Don Murphy is a dick. My girlfriend went to his forum for several years in anticipation of the Transformers movie and was a big fan of him.

    He progressively became more and more of a combatitive asshat, though, getting angry over the most trivial things.

    He posted some topic a while back , and made a harmless joke post about a Transformer, it was deleted. She thought it was a mistake, and posted again. 10 minutes later, it was toast. The only admin/moderator online was one Don Murphy.

    Don, you’re petty. You’re just petty. I’ve never seen a Hollywood big shot take the internet MORE seriously than you.

    I hate Wikipedia as much as any rational person would, but for god’s sake, STOP BEING A BABY.

    L

    24 Mar 08 at 5:45 pm

  9. Clarification: My girlfriend posted a joke about a transformer (which was completely harmless), and Don deleted it twice, while all the other replies remained.

    She was upset that she wasted so many years on a forum run by a dick, and I was upset that she didn’t know you were a dick for so long.

    Take your own advice, Murphy. GROW UP.

    L

    24 Mar 08 at 5:47 pm

  10. These comments about Murphy’s personality and behavior, putting aside their validity, only serve to reinforce the point people on WR have been making all along. Wikipedia is, at least to some extent, a revenge site. People (like Murphy) who have a knack for angering and upsetting others are primary targets for that sort of treatment. This is not rocket science, folks.

    The danger to society, and the reason WR members care about it, isn’t that someone like Murphy will continue to be pilloried and defamed (though it would be nice if they’d stop doing that). The danger is that public acceptance of the fact that Wikipedia is doing this to Murphy will ultimately legitimize their doing it to whoever they want. As the level of perceived “obnoxiousness” required to make someone a WP target continues to drop, the question becomes, how far will it drop? And will it someday disappear altogether?

    Somey

    24 Mar 08 at 11:51 pm

  11. Please note that further comments to this or any other WR blog entry which contain direct accusations of “stalking” against anyone who has not been either formally charged or convicted of such offenses will be deleted.

    Somey

    28 Dec 08 at 6:38 pm

  12. ColScott runs a blog called “Official Tate LaBianca Murders” I sent him an e-mail and asked him to remove my friend’s name from his blog followers list. She begged him to take her name off many times and he refused. So I wrote and asked him in email if he new how to remove a name from his followers list. I guess he was insulted. He wrote me back and told me to slit my wrists. This was when I was going through chemotherapy. I just blew it off. But what a big baby he is!
    C

    McHugh

    29 Jan 09 at 6:11 am

  13. If DM’s main concern is BLP violations or privacy issues on his article, I find it ironic that he has no problem violating those principals himself on other articles with his plethora of socks.

    I had the misfortune of running into one of his socks on a biography I worked on and what did DM do? He added his own bullshit (unsourced) conspiracy theory to it and when it was removed, tried to get his tribe of sycophant morons to find out the editors’ real life identities so he could harass us in real life. This wasn’t an article about HIM nor did it mention him yet he felt compelled to “get us back” because we would take his word as gospel truth. The fact that he goes out of his way to irritate and harass anyone who doesn’t agree with him over the internet speaks volumes about him. He can dish it out, but he sure as hell won’t take it.

    The only thing DM is against is anyone not bowing down to what he perceives is his own greatness. The only reason he pulls this shit is because it’s online. He tried being a badass in real life and got knocked the fuck out. Since then, he’s taken his resentment and bitterness out on the internet because he realized that in real life, people can and will smack the crap out of you.

    KellyMac

    27 Feb 09 at 11:30 am

  14. @KellyMac: So what’s preventing you from deleting the article?

    More to the point, so what if you think he’s obnoxious and childish? Who are you to cast aspersions on anyone? Murphy would say you’re a little bug, waiting to be crushed. Who’s to say he’s wrong? You?

    I don’t think so.

    Somey

    8 Apr 09 at 5:33 am

  15. Is it alright if I use your site as a resource in my paper? Thx

    Leon Westendorf

    19 Oct 10 at 4:53 am

  16. Skip Hop Studio Diaper Tote Tote is awesome.So several wallets - and not really these little, worthless pockets, either. All of the storage compartments tend to be a good size and genuinely support keep everything organized. The handles are a fantastic length and fit nicely more than the actual shoulder; the tackle shoulder straps also stay place on my own shoulder, which is actually critical when you are holding a baby. The tote seems good, as well. Not as well fancy, but not as well casual. (I’ve it in black) The material is soft (can’t assume of a much better word) so it’s simple to squeeze in to tight spaces - but yet it is sturdy. I have a Fleurville Lexi carry and I adore it, too, but this bag is actually kind of rigid. I assume this Skip*Hop will become my daily handbag. It’s a little bit large - so if you are not really in to significant bags this might be far better as an over-night baby diaper handbag.

    Marion Summerson

    27 Oct 10 at 2:27 am

  17. Don Murphy is a bully who thinks his shit don’t stink! News flash Murphy you farst give you away.

    Mary Bower

    23 Jan 12 at 7:54 pm

  18. Ah, so hard to know what to do when both sides disgrace themselves. Answer? Do the right thing.

    Zoloft

    21 Mar 12 at 2:09 am

  19. a

    West Hollywood Queen

    29 Mar 12 at 9:40 am

  20. Don Murphy is a moronic imbicile whom bosts about a lot of things that he only wishes. Its obvious WHY he feels the need to do so, just take a look at him, if you can bare to. His UGLY,cum burping, over the hill wife is of the same ilk and they could quite possibly be the ugliest couple behind the scenes in Hollywood(which is pretty bad). He can be crushed with words, which shows what a pathetic baby he is. Dish it out, but cant take it kind of guy whom collects personal sycophants to stroke his small smelly pop-out penis.

    Whirlng Dervish

    29 Mar 12 at 9:57 am

  21. This IS a fascinating subject.Wikipedia is it’s own bag (baby). :)
    There are 2 sides to everything, but true facts should be on Wikipedia. In some cases truth hasn’t won out on other Wikipedia sites, but that’s a different subject. If he is a public figure, (he probably has an IMdb page) and people are interested in him being on Wikipedia, I think there should have a site up. It’s history, still. The negative side to this is that everyone in Hollywood has to put up with stuff (right or wrong), some of which is opinion and some of which isn’t even true. But some of it IS true and Wikipedia being that Wikipedia is supposed to be a place people can go to check out the info on a subject as a start. With his position comes responsibility. So, because of this I think he really doesn’t have a choice.
    Is it wrong when someone says an absolute lie about someone. Absolutely.
    All that said, he is a scary guy. I didn’t know him from Adam but he made himself known to me because of my husband’s and my involvement in a murder case. We spoke out on the innocence of Amanda Knox. It’s a case in Perugia, Italy where Amanda flatmate, Meredith Kercher, was brutally murdered and sexually assaulted. Amanda and her then boyfriend, Raffaele were wrongly convicted and then later exonerated. It’s simple crime that has been turned into a hellish case. They’re actually being retried for the 3rd time, and Don Murphy vociferously hates Amanda Knox and has been scaring people with the kinds of things he says. It’s OK to have a different belief, but it’s what you DO with this difference that he’s crossed some lines on. So, being that this is a true statement, if someone wanted to include this kind of info they should be allowed to. As long as you can prove it. I personally have no interest in writing about this guy, but maybe someone else DOES.
    What led me to this site is an Amanda Knox supporter who wanted to show it to me.
    Don Murphy called a supporters employer just because of her different beliefs. He informed her boss that the young lady was supporting a murderer. Who does this kind of stuff? So, yeah, I say allow it.

    Michelle Moore

    21 Dec 13 at 11:12 pm

  22. This IS a fascinating subject.Wikipedia is it’s own bag (baby). :)
    There are 2 sides to everything, but true facts should be on Wikipedia. In some cases truth hasn’t won out on other Wikipedia sites, but that’s a different subject. If he is a public figure, (he probably has an IMdb page) and people are interested in him being on Wikipedia, I think there should have a site up. It’s history, still. The negative side to this is that everyone in Hollywood has to put up with stuff (right or wrong), some of which is opinion and some of which isn’t even true. But some of it IS true and Wikipedia being that Wikipedia is supposed to be a place people can go to check out the info on a subject as a start. With his position comes responsibility. So, because of this I think he really doesn’t have a choice.
    Is it wrong when someone says an absolute lie about someone. Absolutely.
    All that said, he is a scary guy. I didn’t know him from Adam but he made himself known to me because of my husband’s and my involvement in a murder case. We spoke out on the innocence of Amanda Knox. It’s a case that happened in Perugia, Italy where Amanda flatmate, Meredith Kercher, was brutally murdered and sexually assaulted. Amanda and her then boyfriend, Raffaele were wrongly convicted and then later exonerated. They’re actually being retried for the 3rd time, and Don Murphy vociferously hates Amanda Knox and has been scaring people with the things he says. It’s OK to have a different belief, but it’s not OK to do this stuff So, being that this is a true statement,and someone could provide proof, it should be allowed. I personally have no interest in writing about this guy, but maybe someone else DOES.
    Don Murphy called a supporters’ employer just because she believes in the innocence of Amanda Knox. He called her boss (found that info) and informed her boss that she was supporting a murderer. Who does this kind of stuff? So, yeah, I say allow it.

    Michelle Moore

    21 Dec 13 at 11:18 pm

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