Sat 26th December 2009, 5:59am
Slim, I'm not trying to be evasive. The chain of events was posted on the original home page of wikipedia-watch.org, the relevant portions of which I've quoted below. I did indeed post a description on a site that was frequently critical of Google. That site was owned by Nathan Weinberg, a journalist. An owner of a different site, Philipp Lenssen, caught wind of the situation and took action. Lenssen is not only a Google fanboy, but Google loves him so much that his blog is not merely covered in Google's blog search, but frequently also indexed in Google News itself. Lenssen also happened to be already registered on Wikipedia and knew his way around, although he wasn't an admin. He hates me because I'm anti-Google. After trying unsuccessfully to restart the bio himself, and discovering that he needed admin juice to make it stick, he posted a complaint that the bio was deleted on Jimbo's Talk page. He also loudly complained that my bio was deleted on his site that has lots of Google juice. My goose was cooked at that point, and Canderson7, an admin, relaunched the bio.
I posted this on Weinberg's site on October 31, 2005, and also on the original wikipedia-watch.org home page:
Initially the article was deleted because SlimVirgin, the administrator who created the stub on September 28, and I agreed to a speedy deletion, after we worked together on the piece for several days. That was my initial request when I first complained to SlimVirgin — either delete the whole thing or lose those two biased links on me. We finally agreed to this deletion when I discovered that she was previously biased against me, based on independent evidence going back months that had nothing to do with Google. She also refused in the end to relent on one of the two links. Jimmy Wales was made aware that we had deleted the article, but he declined to intervene. He did defend SlimVirgin as one of his best editors, and scolded me for reverting two links on Google-Watch, and restored them, and said, "Don't do that again." SlimVirgin warned me that she didn't have the power to keep the article on me deleted if another administrator decided to resurrect it.
Then Mr. Philipp Lenssen waltzes into the picture. He is not a neutral party, as the link that I objected to most has been happily cited by him on his blog more than once. I consider him to be a "Google-lapdog blogger." SlimVirgin has properly recused herself from any editing on the resurrected version of the article, which is quite different from the one that she and I abandoned. It is much more amateurish, by an order of magnitude. I'll say one thing in SlimVirgin's favor — she's a brilliant editor and writer when she is truly neutral.
Lenssen got one of the secret-police Wikipedia administrators to undelete the piece. This secret policeman is named Canderson7. I asked him for his real name and he scolded me for making a legal threat, citing one of the alphabet-soup of Wikipedia acronyms that pointed to some paragraph on implicit legal threats. All I did was politely ask for his real name and location "for legal reasons." Anyway, Canderson7 did his thing and went away. Now Lenssen and other editors (everyone except me, of course) are free to violate my privacy and play games with the facts.
Believe it or not, Lenssen's position is that I don't have the right to touch any articles that mention me, but he has the right to spin like crazy, and add gratuitous links that defame me, and generally turn the whole article into an unfortunate joke. This piece of crap will be number one on all engines within a few months in a search for my name. It will follow me for the rest of my life.
I want it deleted, and I need your support. Even if SlimVirgin and I had arrived at an agreement, the entire structure of Wikipedia, with which I am now somewhat familiar for the first time, means that any Tom, Dick and Philipp can come along and pervert the piece. That's why I want a complete deletion. That's the most important thing for me.
Along the way, I'd also like accountability for the anonymous editors and administrators who lurk at Wikipedia. I should be able to know who SlimVirgin and Canderson7 are, for example. I don't think even Jimmy knows who most of his anonymous administrators are. This opens up Wikipedia to infiltration by agents of corporations, governments, or cults. It's a flaw in the structure.
And finally, I believe that articles on living persons should be generated in such a way that the person is notified, if at all possible, that the article is under development, and has the right to demand minimal standards of evidence to back up assertions made in the article. SlimVirgin had contact information for me but did not notify me of the initial stub she started — I found out by accident.
Wikipedia has a NPOV (neutral point of view) policy that simply means you should have a footnote handy. But that's all — any footnote from any blogger or forum anywhere on the web is all you need. No one expects anyone at Wikipedia to dig deeper.
Wikipedia is fine if you like trivia. It's great for things that no one cares about. But it goes too far when it sets amateur editors and anonymous administrators loose on the reputations of others.
What you are basically saying, Slim, is that I should have kept my mouth shut and tiptoed around once it was deleted. I object to this. In the first place, I had the right to describe my experience with Wikipedia somewhere on the web. Secondly, Lenssen would have nailed me sooner or later in any event.
If your position is that I should have kept quiet, then what you are saying is that subjects of biographies really have zero power on Wikipedia, and it's all a roll of the dice. That's essentially the same thing I was saying.