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> Who is Essjay?, Probably he's Ryan Jordan
Daniel Brandt
post Sat 10th February 2007, 12:44pm
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QUOTE
Fr. Bill Fichteman
Cathedral of the Assumption
Louisville, Kentucky

Dear Fr. Bill Fichteman:

I am trying to confirm the identity of one Ryan Jordan, who lives just outside of Louisville. He says that "Fr. Bill is a friend of mine, and I was a cantor there" (referring to the Cathedral of the Assumption). I think he is referring to you, but might be referring to Fr. Bill Hammer.

The current information I have on Mr. Jordan is this:

"For those who may be interested, I'm a 24 year old guy from Kentucky; I grew up in Kentucky, and studied philosophy and religion at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky as well as the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. I currently live outside Louisville with my cat Mia. Before coming to Wikia, I was an account manager with a Fortune 20 company, where I worked on a ten person team that managed roughly $500,000,000 in annual sales. Prior to that, I was a paralegal for five years: I spent two years working for a local firm, nearly a year with a firm in Louisville that represented doctors in medical licensure matters, and a three month special position with a United States Bankruptcy Trustee. From there, I went freelance, and spent nearly two years handling special projects for several firms."

The reason it is necessary to confirm this information is because Mr. Jordan last month revealed that he is the real person behind the user name of "Essjay." Essjay began editing Wikipedia in February 2005, and since then has risen to the level of a top administrator. He was interviewed for an article in The New Yorker that appeared in the July 31, 2006 issue.

The problem is that until last month he claimed that he was a tenured faculty member at a private Eastern university, and that he had a doctorate in theology as well as a doctorate in canon law. Now he says that this was all disinformation. Some of his comments about this deception are available at: http://www.wikipedia-watch.org/essjay.html

The New Yorker is concerned about the fact that they published false information, and they are interested in looking into the matter. Since I don't have contact information for Mr. Jordan, I am asking you to confirm the new facts about Mr. Jordan. The occasion for his revised biography is that last month he accepted a job at Wikia, Inc., the for-profit spinoff of Wikipedia. Apparently it was necessary to reveal his true identity to his employers. This was not a requirement for his Wikipedia work, which was all-volunteer.

Thank you,
Daniel Brandt
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Daniel Brandt
post Sat 17th February 2007, 6:36pm
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Update: nothing much to report.

No response from the priest. I presume that Ryan Jordan got off with a dozen Hail Marys. I did include a nice blowup of his alleged photo at the bottom of the fax to the priest, just in case his name isn't Ryan Jordan. But then, that may not be his picture either. If that's true, it would mean that Jimbo and Angela and Gil all established his real identity and then said, "Good boy, Essjay, The New Yorker bought it completely, even though your claims were outlandish. Now you should create another phony identity, and tone it down a bit. Your history should remain unbelievable, but just don't make it unbelievable in the direction of claiming expertise or authority that you don't possess. That's where it gets potentially difficult for Wikipedia."

The literary agent for Stacy Schiff said that they no longer represent her, but they would forward my email to her. I have to assume that Stacy is hiding from me, because I haven't heard from her. She is a guest columnist at The New York Times and writes pure drivel, in my opinion. My expectations that she should be upset at Essjay because she sees herself as a real reporter have been substantially reduced.

I got a response from a deputy editor at The New Yorker a week ago. She apologized for the lack of response to last month's email and fax, and said she would look into the matter. I've heard nothing since then.

There was some argument on Essjay's talk page on Wikipedia (now archived) over this. Essjay took a hard line, citing the need to protect his family from psychopaths and stalkers. I think there are a handful of admins who object to the fact that he endangered the reputation of Wikipedia by lying to The New Yorker, but apparently the people at Wikipedia who matter (i.e., the ones who allegedly had dinner with Essjay) don't really care much one way or the other.
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anon1234
post Sat 17th February 2007, 7:30pm
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QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Sat 17th February 2007, 6:36pm) *

Update: nothing much to report.


To the contrary, it sounds like you are making great progress. Congratulations.

First off: Publications such as the New Yorker are naturally slow to respond to serious matters such as this one. They are cautious and rightfully so. Some patience may be necessary.

Second: I expect it is in Stacy's interest to pin the blame on Essjay's deception than to take the hit on her reputation, thus I would be careful and give her enough slack to do that. If you come down too hard on Stacy she may just withdraw until this blows over rather than putting the blame on Essjay where it belongs.

This post has been edited by anon1234: Sat 17th February 2007, 7:32pm
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Elara
post Sun 18th February 2007, 5:06am
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QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Sat 17th February 2007, 12:36pm) *

There was some argument on Essjay's talk page on Wikipedia (now archived) over this. Essjay took a hard line, citing the need to protect his family from psychopaths and stalkers. I think there are a handful of admins who object to the fact that he endangered the reputation of Wikipedia by lying to The New Yorker, but apparently the people at Wikipedia who matter (i.e., the ones who allegedly had dinner with Essjay) don't really care much one way or the other.


This surprises you?

I would seriously ask a question (mostly because I'm too lazy to find the answer myself) about when all this misrepresentation started. If this ... misinformation has been the standard line since Essjay started editing, before he was either an admin or important, then I have to question his real motives.

Has he done anything controversial enough to get stalked? If he was in fear of psychopaths butchering his family over EDITS to a pile of Pokemon articles, sports stats, and garage bands, I question his sanity.

Is he living in an area with strong antigay bias? Was he not in the clear? Did he come out of the closet, or was worried what his church might thing? If he in a safe and secure environment from both loonies on wiki or people who object to his orientations, I question his veracity.


I do not assume people lie in good faith, so all that remains is my replacement for AGF, which is "Assume No Active Malice". What did he GAIN by misrepresnting himself?
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Daniel Brandt
post Sun 18th February 2007, 5:36am
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Based on what I know, which is little, I recommend all three. You should question his real motives, his sanity, and his veracity. About par for Wikipedia's top admins.
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Somey
post Sun 18th February 2007, 5:35pm
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QUOTE(Elara @ Sat 17th February 2007, 11:06pm) *
I would seriously ask a question (mostly because I'm too lazy to find the answer myself) about when all this misrepresentation started. If this ... misinformation has been the standard line since Essjay started editing, before he was either an admin or important, then I have to question his real motives.

They've since deleted the more recent transcluded subpage on which he was keeping the phony bio information, but the original one is actually still there - and shows that he was claiming to be a college professor well before he was made an admin. He went from n00b to admin very quickly, of course.

They'll probably delete this sooner or later, but Essjay's first edit was on Feb. 8, 2005, and he began claiming to be a college professor on or before May 10, 2005:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...&oldid=21137993

His RfA began July 13, 2005 - only two months later - and he was adminned on July 20 with near-unanimous support. There actually wasn't a lot of mention of Essjay's putative academic credentials among the support voters, but in the comments section (and somewhat early on in the voting), AnonIP User:67.141.64.1 signing himself as "nd" wrote this on his RfA, praising "Dr. Essjay" for his Catholic scholarship:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...&oldid=19089436

That IP currently geolocates to an Alltel server in Meadville, PA, home of Allegheny College, which is about 400 miles from Louisville, give or take. However, this IP's very first edit on Wikipedia, and the only one prior to making that comment on his RfA, was a one-word change to the article on the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, changing the term "baptismal pool" to "baptismal font."

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...&oldid=18965217

Essjay reverted that edit three weeks later.
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Unrepentant Vandal
post Thu 22nd February 2007, 3:41pm
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I had a bit of time to waste earlier today, so just for fun: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=110044603
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Somey
post Thu 22nd February 2007, 4:12pm
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Waaah! You're gonna get us all in big trouble!

What we really should do is find as many articles about famous Catholic theologians as we can, and then add sections to them describing how, throughout their long careers, they somehow managed to avoid the enormous temptation to falsify their resumés. laugh.gif
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guy
post Thu 22nd February 2007, 5:00pm
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Great - start with Cardinal Martini. (Yes, he really exists!)
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Unrepentant Vandal
post Thu 22nd February 2007, 5:16pm
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QUOTE(Somey @ Thu 22nd February 2007, 4:12pm) *

Waaah! You're gonna get us all in big trouble!

What we really should do is find as many articles about famous Catholic theologians as we can, and then add sections to them describing how, throughout their long careers, they somehow managed to avoid the enormous temptation to falsify their resumés. laugh.gif


I like this idea. I should be able to spare a bit of time on Saturday afternoon. Any further plans, please PM me, as I don't want to alert them before hand.
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Somey
post Thu 22nd February 2007, 5:23pm
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QUOTE(Unrepentant Vandal @ Thu 22nd February 2007, 11:16am) *
Any further plans, please PM me, as I don't want to alert them before hand.

But we already did! sad.gif

I'm starting to wonder if we should really be giving you ideas! Still, I guess it can't hurt to alter the biographies of religious scholars to indicate that the complete legitimacy of their scholarly credentials. Who could argue with that, right?
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Daniel Brandt
post Thu 22nd February 2007, 5:56pm
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QUOTE(Somey @ Thu 22nd February 2007, 11:23am) *

I guess it can't hurt to alter the biographies of religious scholars to indicate that the complete legitimacy of their scholarly credentials. Who could argue with that, right?

Indeed, now that Bishop Essjay has muddied the waters of Wikipedia on this topic, I think we have an obligation to all religious scholars to do exactly this. It's sort of a disclaimer - "We're all screwed up here at Wikipedia, and we can't help ourselves, so we think people should know that you are exactly who you claim to be."
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Somey
post Fri 23rd February 2007, 10:45pm
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Sneakin' One in Under the Radar Dept.:

Check it out, folks:

http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikie...ary/063809.html

Seems Jimbo felt that the hubbub over this latest attempted deletion of the Brandt article would make for a good opportunity to appoint Essjay to the ArbCom, along with User:Mackensen.

He's a clever one, I'll have to admit! laugh.gif
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Daniel Brandt
post Sat 24th February 2007, 12:21am
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I guess it's Archbishop Essjay now, not just Bishop Essjay.
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Unrepentant Vandal
post Sat 24th February 2007, 12:29am
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QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Sat 24th February 2007, 12:21am) *

I guess it's Archbishop Essjay now, not just Bishop Essjay.


Should we start taking bets now on when he becomes Pope?
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Daniel Brandt
post Mon 26th February 2007, 4:57pm
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> Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 08:53:50 -0500
> Subject: For Daniel Brandt
>
> Dear Mr. Brandt,
>
> I want to thank you for alerting us to the issues with Essjay's profile and
> sharing his bio, user's page, etc., with us. We are running an editor's
> note laying out for our readers what happened; it is in our March 5
> issue, which comes out today (The Mail, page 10). Thanks again.
>
> Sincerely,
> Pam McCarthy
>
> Deputy Editor
> The New Yorker


The March 5 issue is posted, but I cannot find The Mail. If anyone has a link, please post it. Maybe they don't publish "The Mail" online? In that case, please key in the whole thing if you see it and are not as lazy as me.
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anon1234
post Mon 26th February 2007, 5:53pm
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QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Mon 26th February 2007, 4:57pm) *

> Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 08:53:50 -0500
> Subject: For Daniel Brandt
> I want to thank you for alerting us to the issues with Essjay's profile and
> sharing his bio, user's page, etc., with us. We are running an editor's
> note laying out for our readers what happened; it is in our March 5
> issue, which comes out today (The Mail, page 10). Thanks again.

The March 5 issue is posted, but I cannot find The Mail. If anyone has a link, please post it. Maybe they don't publish "The Mail" online? In that case, please key in the whole thing if you see it and are not as lazy as me.


I told you, you just had to be patient with them! :-) I let my New Yorker subscription lapse a couple years ago, but I'll check out a few local stores today to see if I can find a copy to buy and type in.

UPDATE: No luck. I was told that it would not be available in my area until this Thursday. I'll purchase one Thursday if no one here finds a copy sooner.

This post has been edited by anon1234: Mon 26th February 2007, 6:46pm
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Daniel Brandt
post Mon 26th February 2007, 9:46pm
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QUOTE
Dear Ms. McCarthy:

Thank you for your email. I haven't seen "The Mail" yet, but I presume
that The New Yorker's explanation of what happened qualifies as a
correction of fact.

If so, it should be appended to the original article at
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060731fa_fact

This original article is indexed in Google, Yahoo, and Live.com (MSN).
It is unethical for a print publication to continue propagating
errors of fact on the web, and then bury the corrections elsewhere.

Regards,
Daniel Brandt

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post Tue 27th February 2007, 5:43am
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I remember coming across a thing which referred to an IP address, signed by essjay. It was Glendale Community College, in California, back in the last millennium.
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a view from the hive
post Tue 27th February 2007, 8:09am
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QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Sat 17th February 2007, 10:36am) *

Update: nothing much to report.

No response from the priest. I presume that Ryan Jordan got off with a dozen Hail Marys. I did include a nice blowup of his alleged photo at the bottom of the fax to the priest, just in case his name isn't Ryan Jordan. But then, that may not be his picture either. If that's true, it would mean that Jimbo and Angela and Gil all established his real identity and then said, "Good boy, Essjay, The New Yorker bought it completely, even though your claims were outlandish. Now you should create another phony identity, and tone it down a bit. Your history should remain unbelievable, but just don't make it unbelievable in the direction of claiming expertise or authority that you don't possess. That's where it gets potentially difficult for Wikipedia."

The literary agent for Stacy Schiff said that they no longer represent her, but they would forward my email to her. I have to assume that Stacy is hiding from me, because I haven't heard from her. She is a guest columnist at The New York Times and writes pure drivel, in my opinion. My expectations that she should be upset at Essjay because she sees herself as a real reporter have been substantially reduced.

I got a response from a deputy editor at The New Yorker a week ago. She apologized for the lack of response to last month's email and fax, and said she would look into the matter. I've heard nothing since then.

There was some argument on Essjay's talk page on Wikipedia (now archived) over this. Essjay took a hard line, citing the need to protect his family from psychopaths and stalkers. I think there are a handful of admins who object to the fact that he endangered the reputation of Wikipedia by lying to The New Yorker, but apparently the people at Wikipedia who matter (i.e., the ones who allegedly had dinner with Essjay) don't really care much one way or the other.


Well, you can see partially the desire for personal info not to be posted somewhere. A fair number of the vandals / hardcore trolls would just love to harass Wiki administrators in the real world for banning them (ironically the bans were helping to prevent the vandals/trolls some from posting false info to one highly contested yet now deleted (sort of) article)
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