Crookes will never collect from Google, though - not leastwise because it appears Google has already (quietly) removed the offending material completely. Wikipedia has only stubbed the article, and the original version of the Crookes article is still available.
I should note that civilization as a whole did not end as a result of these actions...
Anyway, Crookes isn't likely to get very far on this now, I suspect, for that very reason. His strongly-worded letter
to the blogger in question is still there, along with the blogger's reply, which was to say that the allegedly libelous statement simply consisted of "Crookes threatened PEP once and we advised him, in legal terms, to blow it out his tailpipe." Presumably his position was that he didn't threaten the PEP, but I dunno, asked them nicely
to do something, whatever it was, maybe.
FYI: PEP is the "Peace and Ecology Party" of Canada, and what apparently used to be their website, www.peaceandecology.ca
, is now a spam page for inkjet cartridges. (Hardly very ecological, really!)
I will say this, though. The original version of the article was essentially a personal and political hatchet-job of the first order. The were four sources cited, all of them blogs. It stood for about a month, after which it was stubbed, then restored, after which it stood for another three weeks. After another 3 months or so, the hatchet version returned on January 10 and stood for 6 days. (There was also some edit-warring in March that got the page stubbed again and protected, and it's fully-protected now, of course.)
If the WP folks are saying that something like this "couldn't happen now," as opposed to 8 months ago or even 3 months ago, I just think they're delusional. Maybe Crookes isn't a particularly nice guy, and sure, he probably resorts to legal threats more readily than the vast majority of people. Maybe he even deserved some of the hostile criticism, but the question still stands, and will always stand: Why doesn't Wikipedia insist that people do this stuff on their own
websites, as opposed to Wikipedia? Is web-hosting so expensive these days that they can't manage it?
Last I checked, it was really quite cheap.