Posted on

The Federalist vs. Wikipedia

*Rubs temples* Okay. I need to say a few things.

Wikipedia has standards and policies written by its editors. I will be referring to them constantly throughout this article using the WP terms. Here is a quick reference:
WP:COIWP:EWWP:3RRWP:BLPWP:WEIGHTWP:BLPZEALWP:BIASEDWP:AGFWP:RSWP:SPSWP:NPOV

Over the past couple of days, people have been attempting to insert information into the Neil deGrasse Tyson article about him supposedly misquoting George W. Bush. First Edit. It never appeared on the article because the user was an IP address and nobody with reviewing privileges (which I have) accepted it. It lasted 14 minutes in the review queue before being rejected by somebody else. Some edits went back and forth about its inclusion and the talk page sprung up about it. This morning a review came up in my box which removed all mention of the controversy. I skimmed the talk page and decided it was for the best since no consensus on its inclusion was reached. I accepted the edits (review powers allow me to) and let them go live.

Four hours later, Phil Kerpen (User:Kerpen) makes the first edit with an attempt to shoehorn in the controversy over his quotes. I first assumed good faith by rationalizing “Oh. He must have skipped over the talk page.”, read his edits (making note of the references of The Federalist and The Friendly Atheist, the second of which violates WP:SPS) and did my first revert because he removed an image of him with Barack Obama (and Bill Nye) and I questioned the WP:Weight of the argument. I probably should have also included the stuff about the talk page, but oh well. 22 Minutes later, instead of going to the talk page, his block of text is reinserted (the image stayed this time) and I get another ping to review it. Before doing that I was considering leaving a note on his talk page to hit the Neil deGrasse Tyson talk page, but when I saw his user page, then his article I became a bit suspicious.

My WP:AGF is getting a crack here. Hmm…The Federalist has a conservative slant and this guy has worked for Club for Growth, Free Enterprise Fund and Americans for Prosperity. What are the odds he has also written for The Federalist? Let me bing that for you. Son of a gun! He has! This clearly violates the Conflict of Interest (WP:COI) policy as he is a writer for a reference he is trying to cite. Groovy. I revert this item citing the WP:COI and WP:BLP (which cites a whole bunch of other policies.)

Two minutes later, Dawn Bard doesn’t agree with me. I’m bumping up against the WP:3RR rule here, so I do not revert him outright. Plus he is a veteran editor so I assume much better faith with him. I go to the English Wikipedia’s IRC channel for help and guidance. First, I was looking to open a COI investigation against Phil Kerpen. No admins were around at the time and I would have otherwise gone to the Arbitration Committee. Whatever. He is not worth that much of my time. I begin conversing with some of the other people in the room and one of them brings to my attention Phil tweeting about me. So…I went to see one of his presentations and got my picture with him. Apparently this counts as conflict of interest? I’m not paid by Neil nor have I done anything for him.

I take to his user talk page. I cite his work, the conflict of interest policy and a possible block if he continues. He comes back with a straight denial of citing The Federalist (Uh…), calling me an obsessive fanboy about one of my heroes (I do not have any heroes, just people I respect), while citing WP:NPOV and WP:BLPZEAL (which is an essay, not policy). I replied once then felt that I was beating against a wall. Moving on.

IRC pings me again. This time it’s a Federalist article about this very situation. A blog attacking Wikipedia for a biased perspective? I want to say I saw an article about Markos Moulitsas (Founder of Daily Kos) saying the same thing. But anyway, nothing to get too crazy over, let’s read… “When it was reinserted, it was deleted yet again by an editor who describes himself as a childless progressive and an apostle of Daily Kos” Oh hey! They’re talking about me! My ego! The childishness of the article! *Dances*

So the first thing I do is bring this up to the talk page and post this. It is clear to me that The Federalist has some stake in their links being used as a reference, so I point it out and move on. Phil comes back with a parrot of what he posted on his own talk page. Another user chimes in and says how impossible it is to now assume good faith (WP:AGF) against Phil. The discussion ends there on the page. It is looked as an always revert until discussed on the talk page.

While this is going on, NeilN jumps onto Phil’s talk page and reminds him of the edit warring (WP:EW) policy. Phil comes back and says I’m in violation of the WP:3RR rule (I’m at two reverts at this point) and asks NeilN to block me. I cringe because NeilN isn’t an admin and I hadn’t gotten to three reverts yet. Then he tries to say he has one revert when he has two. NeilN and Phil butt heads but I stay out of it.

I’m riding the wave of an ego boost so I decided to check out the comments on The Federalist. One person has posted my profile to The Escapist (of all things) and another to my Facebook page. Since as far as I can tell I am the only person with my name, finding out anything about me is laughably easy, so…why is nobody vandalizing my website yet? But yes, I look like a girl. Hence why I dress like one too! Okay, really I have no concept of gender constructs when it comes to clothing and appearance so talking about it is just not worthy of my time.

At the end of the day, I’m not bothered by this. In fact, if The Federalist thinks I am worth talking about, it is just stroking my ego. I can turn off my internet and sleep at night and I’m very much okay with this.