Talk:Jeremy Duns

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I disagree with the proposed deletion of this article. How many novels does one need published to become "notable"? Mr. Duns has two sequels to Free Agent (novel) in the pipeline, which I believe is why this author deserves a Wikipedia article. Having three novels published by a respectable publishing house is "notable", in my opinion. However, I will merge this article with Free Agent (novel), Mr. Duns' debut novel.

Righty007 (talk) 21:52, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

  • How many novels he has published is not the issue. As with all Wikipedia articles, information must be verified by reliable sources. If you can find those and add them to the article, there will be no issue of notability. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:54, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Are my newly added citations sufficient enough to make this article "notable"? I'm trying hard to make this article abide by Wikipedia's guidelines.

Righty007 (talk) 18:00, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Anyone can contest a PROD - all you have to do is remove the tag (I have done so for you). This won't necessarily prevent the article from being deleted, via WP:Articles for Deletion, so you should try to address the concerns raised. You may want to read WP:FIRST and WP:Notability. Feel free to ask me for further help if you need it via the (talk) link in my signature. --ThaddeusB (talk) 16:03, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Questionable edits[edit]

In the last couple of days, someone using the alias 'Mountainy' has edited this Wikipedia article, which is about me. A couple of the changes have since been edited by another user, but the main thrust of the additions remain. I don't think they should. I'd prefer not to have a Wikipedia article about me at all, because I don't like the fact that your editorial procedures allow for anonymous unaccountable strangers to sabotage an article with no way of checking if they have a conflict of interest, and with the inevitable result of an agenda being pushed. That's not my decision, of course, but I'd question why there is an article on me - and now quite a long one - when I can think of dozens of much more notable writers who don't have any entry at all. There doesn't seem to be any way of deciding this other than by sheer chance.

In this case, I think it's obvious - but of course unprovable - that 'Mountainy' has edited my entry with an agenda. Their first edit was to add: 'Duns is most notable for being a critic of book reviews, attempting to out authors who write reviews on their own books.' Someone else has slightly reworded this now, but why is it in here in the first place? I'm not a critic of book reviews, which I think are vitally important. I have exposed (successfully) several authors who have written reviews of their own books, and those of other writers, under aliases. I'm not a fan of that, but then this could equally say 'Duns is a critic of people who try to settle scores on Wikipedia by sabotaging articles in their own interest'. I am a critic of people using fake identities online to further their own agendas. 'Mountainy's obvious insinuation is negative: an author who hates reviews! Who spends his life attempting - probably unsuccessfully - to 'out' people. So we have a sockpuppet account making digs at someone (me) who objects to sockpuppeting.

'Mountainy's motives become pretty clear with the next edit: 'Duns has previously made accusations against author Lenore Hart, stating that Hart's book The Raven's Bride was plagiarized from Cothburn O'Neal's The Very Young Mrs. Poe. Despite the book publisher comparing the two books and finding no similarities other than the subject, Duns made blog posts of the accusation and also exchanged angry messages on Hart's Facebook page.'

It's true that I accused Lenore Hart of being a plagiarist last year. I've also written about plagiarism by Johann Hari and Quentin Rowan, so why just mention Hart? But then why mention any of them? This isn't notable enough. I've written about lots of things, plagiarism and sockpuppeting being just two examples. But I've also discovered a screenplay for a James Bond film from the 60s, unreleased songs by Marvin Gaye and lots of other things. Who is deciding why this is important enough? Nobody. It's random. Whoever next edits could decide I'm right, and revert this to the short article it was a few days ago, or delete it entirely (please do!). Or they could decide to add bits on Quentin Rowan and Johann Hari and James Bond... there could be a lot of time wasted in arguing about it, too, because there's no clear editorial procedure here, and it's effectively a lottery. In an encyclopedia, a senior editor would just glance at this and cut it. Not here. I have to hope someone eventually reads this, and that they're sensible to boot.

Lenore Hart's publisher defended her, but if you read the article 'Mountainy' cited there are excerpts from her book and Cothburn O'Neal's, and I think most people who aren't related to Lenore Hart, have a commercial interest in her reputation or indeed are her would be able to see from the excerpts that it's a very blatant case of plagiarism, in some cases with verbatim sentences. Curiously, 'Mountainy' cited an Associated Press wire article that appeared in some major publications, including Business Week, several of which are online, but instead chose to point to a local newspaper that carried the article but which doesn't have it on its site. That newspaper, The Virginian-Pilot, just so happens to be one that has favourably reviewed Lenore Hart's work - - and indeed published it: What are the chances! Slim, I'd suggest.

The phrasing 'made blog posts of the accusation and also exhanged angry messages on Hart's Facebook page' makes me sound vexatious. Another way to put it might be 'After finding irrefutable evidence of her plagiarism he contacted her publisher and, receiving no response, presented the evidence on his blog and asked Hart about it directly on Facebook, having a long conversation in which several well-known writers and critics took part. After angrily refusing to answer simple questions about her blatant lifting of verbatim passages from the earlier novel, Hart deleted the whole conversation and didn't respond to any more questions. Her publisher eventually issued a mealy-mouthed statement claiming they had found no evidence of plagiarism. It convinced nobody, and the book is still for sale.' But that would perhaps be something for Lenore Hart's Wikipedia article. Except she doesn't have one.

I think it's pretty obvious that Lenore Hart, or someone who knows her well (possibly a fellow writer who I exposed on Amazon as writing glowing reviews of her work and defending the plagiarism under an alias), has made these edits. But because I can't prove it and this site has a bizarre policy of allowing unsolicited anonymous contributions unless a conflict of interest can be proven, I guess I remain a hostage to the goodwill of whoever reads this. My preference, as I say, would be to not have an article about me at all. As I dislike sockpuppets, and have said so publicly and exposed a few, no doubt 'Mountainy' won't be the last sockpuppet to come up with the idea of trying to sabotage my Wikipedia article. I'd rather not have to fight other fires like this one. Jeremy Duns

After seeing your comments on twitter, I edited this article. You should read WP:OUTING to avoid the risk of the other side having a stronger position as far as Wikipedia is concerned. See the Wikipedia:Contact us - Subjects to raise the issues you have made in confidence. The problem with prominent individuals editing their own Wikipedia articles favourably is not restricted to Johann Hari, or R.J. Ellory, incidentally. @philipcross63 Philip Cross (talk) 14:29, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, Philip. I'm really not comfortable with having an article about me here when it can so easily be derailed by an unaccountable stranger with an agenda - and I still don't see why Lenore Hart is any more relevant to an article about me than dozens of other things - but your edits do at least make it more accurate than it was yesterday, so thank you. Jeremy — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:41, 7 January 2013 (UTC)


Just noting that, once again, an anonymous person - 'BookLoverBrit' - with a clear agenda has edited my entry. At the moment, they've only edited two other entries - one on Stephen Leather and one on Nate Thayer. In their edits to those entries, they are clearly downplaying charges I've made against those authors. Inaccurately, too, in several ways. In their edits to my entry, I have gone from having a two-line entry saying I'm a writer - which was what the entry was set up about, according to the above discussion on the grounds that I was (barely) notable enough to warrant it - to having a whole long section titled 'Accusations by Duns'. Now changed by someone else to 'Allegations by Duns'. But the agenda, of course, remains: 80 percent of my entry is now about me giving a damn about ethics, presented as though I'm some kind of crazed witch-hunter. My career as a journalist and novelist, which outside the fishbowl of the internet's forums and Twitter is I am fairly sure what the handful of people in the world who know who I am would recognize me for, is relegated to a side-issue.

How is it clear brand new Wikipedia sockpuppet 'BookLoverBrit' has an agenda? Look at their edits on Stephen Leather's page, which are precisely about the issue of his bullying a fellow author, something I exposed. Now look at the wonderful long new section they've created on my entry devoted to all the people I've attacked, harangued, burnt at the sta... oh, okay, criticized accurately if we want to be truthful. Oddly, Stephen Leather doesn't appear in the list.

I suppose I could spend years of my life correcting every inaccuracy, opening up investigations in backrooms of Wikipedia, and arguing about why a blog by Nick Cohen of The Observer is not a valid source but one by me or by someone at the Columbia Journalism Review is, but it would surely be a waste of my time. This site allows pseudonymous editors with no vetting to set the agenda of my page. Even if 'BookLoverBrit' were banned and all their edits removed, someone with a new name can pop up tomorrow and insert some new insinuations and spin onto my career.

Why are my allegations about Lenore Hart's plagiarism notable enough for my entry - and yet Lenore Hart herself doesn't even have an entry?

Would it really be more of a loss to the encylcopedic knowledge of the world for my every move in the world of letters not to warrant an entry at all? Ms Hart seems to manage fine, and I understand will soon have a new novel out.

This isn't me begging Wikipedia to remove my entry, or suing you, or crying from the rooftops about it. I'm just trying to make a point, that by having my entry here you aren't adding anything to the sum of world knowledge, which is surely the idea. You're just giving an opportunity to sockpuppeting toerags with hidden agendas to endless defame me. Thank you so much for that!

Yours in frustration again, Jeremy Duns — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:09, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Some constructive suggestions, I hope[edit]

As I've indicated on the slightly Orwellian-sounding 'Biography of Living Persons Noticeboard' (and have ranted above, largely to myself), I'm a bit frustrated by my entry here repeatedly being edited by pseudonymous unvetted editors with clear conflicts of interest. An editor call 'Nomoskedasticity' responded to my questions about it there with the following comment:

'There's no problem with you having some input into the article. The best way to do this, consistent with WP:COI, is to propose an addition on the "talk" page of the article: write some text based on the reviews, give the sources that support it (including links, if possible), and invite other editors' views on it. The chances of adding it will be improved if you include some of the more critical things reviewers have said (don't just cherry-pick the good stuff). I've put the article on my watchlist, so I'll see when you've done this and will then add it if it looks okay. This is a much more promising path than deleting the stuff that's already there.'

There are a few bits about that I find a little strange – why should my Wikipedia entry necessarily be praiseworthy or critical, rather than simply a neutral, factual representation? – but here goes. I think I'd really rather not have an entry at all just because Wikipedia's policy means that at any point for decades to come someone who doesn't like me can spend five minutes creating an identity under an assumed name and edit it to give undue weight to whatever agenda they want to push, and even if it’s eventually corrected, they or someone else can just do the whole thing again the next day under another name from another computer. So it feels a bit like battling a Hydra. But, for what it's worth, here's the sort of thing I think would be rather fairer:

‘Jeremy Duns (born 10 December 1973)[1] is a British author and journalist. His debut novel, Free Agent (2009), was the first in a series of spy novels featuring MI6 agent Paul Dark, set in 1969. He has written for several British publications, including The Times (, The Sunday Times (,, The Daily Telegraph (, ), The Sunday Telegraph (, The Guardian (, The Independent (, MOJO and Time Out. In 2013, he presented an episode of the BBC Radio 4 programme Document examining the British media's links with MI6 during the Cold War (articles:,,; and the programme:

Duns has criticized several other authors for plagiarism, including Johann Hari (, Quentin Rowan (, Lenore Hart ( and Nate Thayer (, and for using sockpuppets to review or promote their own work, such as RJ Ellory and Stephen Leather (links to their pages, where this is all laid out). In 2012, Duns also signed an open letter from around 50 writers, including Ian Rankin, Lee Child, Val McDermid and Joanne Harris condemning authors using sockpuppets and paying for fake reviews ( With historians Guy Walters and Adrian Weale, he has questioned the veracity of Denis Avey's claims to have smuggled himself into Auschwitz ( - see foot of the page - and

Born in Manchester, he lives in Stockholm, Sweden. He is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association ( and International Thriller Writers (


   Free Agent (2009) ISBN 0670021016
   Song of Treason (2010) ISBN 978-1847394521
   The Moscow Option (2012) ISBN 978-1847394538
   The Dark Chronicles: A Spy Trilogy (2012) ISBN 978-0143120698
   Dead Drop (June 2013) ISBN 978-1849839273

External links

   Website/blog (
   ‘James Bond: Four writers carry forward Ian Fleming’s spy legacy’ by Steve Hockensmith, Hero Complex, Los Angeles Times, November 10 2012 (
   ‘From Cold War To Cool Culture’ by Nick Foster, The Financial Times, October 22 2010 ('

Something like that, perhaps? If I’m going to be deemed notable enough as an entry at all, surely this would be a more reasonable representation of why – at least until the next sockpuppet comes along?

Yours, hopefully/possibly naively,

Jeremy Duns

Unfortunately I think a somewhat different approach is needed. The links you gave in the paragraph discussing the publications you have written for are written by you -- but what is needed is sources written by others about you, per WP:SECONDARY. I'm sorry if this appears to make things more difficult -- but my approach is to try to get the article here into a condition where it would be much more difficult for another editor to come along and delete material of the sort that ought to be included. This is one of the reasons I was suggesting use of reviews of your work. Other good sources would be those that discuss your background, influences (i.e., leading to development of your writing in particular ways), etc. The reason to work on it yourself is simply that it might happen much more quickly that way; unfortunately I don't have the time to do the research & writing involved, and you're likely more aware of what sources are available.
I understand that all of this is frustrating. Trying to get it deleted is a possibility, but I think in the end it's unlikely to happen. The process is described at WP:XFD -- and my guess is that other Wikipedia editors would express the view that you meet the "notability" standard of WP:AUTHOR. So, building up the article into a proper biography, along the lines I'm encouraging, is probably the best bet for ending up with an article where the "plagiarism/sockpuppetry" stuff doesn't dominate it. Regards, —Nomoskedasticity (talk) 15:38, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I see what you mean. I included articles I'd written simply because at the moment the entry says I've written for some papers but doesn't cite that. There isn't very much written about me - I'm not that notable. I suspect my entry could be deleted without anyone being too upset about it - or it could be a few lines. I think people who read about Lenore Hart being a plagiarist are unlikely to have focussed on the fact that I was one of the people who pointed it out. And as Hart doesn't have a Wikipedia entry, I'm struggling to see how my claim against her makes me the more notable! The same goes for QR Markham. Stephen Leather is also curiously missing from my entry. I can't imagine why, as 'BookLoverBrit' has edited Leather's entry regarding the allegation, and is the same editor who has added all this stuff to mine.
But anyway, here are some example of the type of thing you mention:
I worked as a journalist at The Bulletin ( in Belgium, and at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control ( (I discussed both in this Financial Times interview: I've written for several British newspapers, as mentioned, as well as The Economist's Intelligent Life blog (, a couple of others). I'm a fan of Ian Fleming and James Bond ( and have discovered pages of a lost Bond novel (, an early screenplay for Casino Royale by the legendary screenwriter Ben Hecht ( and researched the MI6 operation that inspired the opening of the film Goldfinger ( and
My novels are influenced by Fleming, Len Deighton and John le Carré (,,, and have been praised by David Morrell for their accuracy regarding tradecraft ( My debut novel, Free Agent (which I really don't think warrants a separate entry! was praised by Charles Cumming, Jeff Abbott and William Boyd (not sure how I can prove that - their quotes are all on the back of the hardback, as well as my blog: and was one of the Daily Telegraph's 'Thrillers of the year' in 2009 ( The BBC optioned the TV rights to the Paul Dark series in 2009 (, with a screenplay for a first episode completed by Timothy Prager (, but the option ran out in 2012.
I hope that's useful! Jeremy Duns (talk) 17:13, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks -- most of that was useful. I couldn't add all of it -- sources have to meet WP:RS, so no Amazon blurbs (though perhaps others will be "looser" on that), and it's not allowed to cite other Wikipedia articles (strange rule, I know -- but you can use the sources used at the other Wikipedia articles). Anyway, you can see the way it goes. If I've written any of it wrong, feel free to make minor corrections, and to suggest further material along those lines. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 19:30, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
BTW, fwiw I admire the bits about finding plagiarism by other writers. (I get some real pleasure when I discover plagiarism by my students.) I do understand that this isn't what you mainly want to be known for, but I don't think the section creates such a bad impression (at least not the way it's presented now). Nomoskedasticity (talk) 19:33, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you - that is much appreciated! It doesn't look too bad now, true, but I drew attention to it because someone set up a whole section titled 'Accusations by Duns', filled with inaccuracies, split into difefrent sections, which dwarfed the entry. I believe in standing up for ethics, but the way it was written insinuated pretty strongly that this is my chief activity and that I spend my life seeking out fellow authors to accuse of henous crimes, with the added insinuation that I'm often wrong. I don't seek it out, and I don't think I've been wrong, either. Anyway, I will make a few small tweaks - if any are out of line, please let me know. And I hope that this conversation stays visible here - my main concern is that because of Wikipedia's policy of not vetting editors, and allowing them to use pseudonyms that can be set up from free email accounts within minutes (I set mine up from my Yahoo account so I know that), this sort of petty sabotage can happen at any time, and repeatedly. It's a bit of a tedious fire to have to fight. (talk) 20:20, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Anonymous editing definitely causes problems sometimes -- but there are also advantages (not that they're apparent on this article, though). I've put this article on my watchlist, and I check in most days, so I'll see if something goes wrong. But you should probably watch it as well -- who knows, I might get hit by a bus. BTW, as you can see immediately above, your last post was made not from the account you created but from an "IP address" -- that means you were logged out when you posted it. Better to stay logged in -- otherwise someone might start making noises about you using sock puppets... It's clear that you weren't pretending to be a different editor, but even so. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 21:08, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, thanks for that - good points, all! Thanks very much for your help. Best, Jeremy Duns (talk) 21:36, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

New anonymous editor[edit]

I see that a new editor has edited this entry about me, with the IP (but no name): I also note that so far they have only made edits about Stephen Leather's page and mine:

Their edits to Leather's entry serve to paint him in a better light. I note that other editors without names have made similar edits, so that Leather's public admission that he uses a network of sockpuppets to promote his work is now not mentioned anywhere in his entry. I also note that Stephen Leather admitted (on his at-the-time public Facebook page) to spending $700 on undoing Wikipedia edits. Here's a screengrab of that:

The user operating from the IP address has made two small edits to my entry here. The first was to remove the mention of the fact that the BBC optioned my novels, on the grounds that 'The option lapsed and the BBC has no plans to film any of Duns' books'. This is true - I noted it myself in the discussion above and it absolutely should be removed. But note the needless addition, and tone, of 'and the BBC has no plans to film any of Duns' books'. As if this is a stick to beat me with! In the context of the numerous sockpuppeting edits to this page, and the immediate focus of this new Wikipedia editor, I think I'm right in sensing some animosity towards me from ''.

The second edit they made was to remove the phrase 'He is an admirer of Ian Fleming and James Bond', saying 'Reference not backed up by the secondary source'. That's quite an odd thing to remove, really, especially as it very clearly is backed up the source. The source is an article in the Daily Telegraph, in which I wrote that Fleming was 'one of Britain's greatest popular novelists' the creator of 'often beautifully written thrillers' and discuss my two favourite Bond novels. Here's the article:

It's also very clear from this LA Times interview with me and three other writers, which is about our admiration for Fleming and Bond:

It's hardly important that I admire Ian Fleming and James Bond, but neither is it controversial in any way, it is in fact accurate and it also leads into the next part of the sentence rather well, so I see no reason it should be removed because of this editor's false claim that it's not backed up by a source that self-evidently does back it up. I also suspect that this may be the first of a few edits they try to make, little by little trying to change my entry to give a different impression of me, as previous anonymous and pseudonymous editors have done recently - see the discussion above.

So I'll now change this second edit back to how it was. If anyone objects to this edit of mine, please discuss it here on the Talk page first before making any further edit to this sentence, and only make a new edit once consensus has been reached, in line with the Wikipedia policy of WP:BRD. Jeremy Duns (talk) 14:42, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Rogue apostrophe[edit]

Duns' or Duns's: actually there is a difference between Br and Am Eng, with the Americans favouring the latter. It could be because it comes down to the pronunciation, as per the BBC. Duns or Dunsis would be the respective pronunciations of Duns' or Duns's, and I think in this case the pronunciation would be "Duns"? And pointing me towards an American style guide in the form of Strunk isn't likely to convince me one way or the other! Just as an aside, when one of your edits is reverted, as I did with yours, it's better practice to come to the talk page to discuss, along the lines of WP:BRD, rather than revert back again. - SchroCat (talk) 09:06, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

"With personal names that end in -s: add an apostrophe plus s when you would naturally pronounce an extra s if you said the word out loud". From here: [1]. Duns obviously qualifies, thus Duns's is correct, and The Economist confirms: [2]. Can I suggest that you do a little bit more research before reverting another editor's well-reasoned edits – it would avoid a lot of time wasting. Thanks. Jprw (talk) 10:12, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

So you would pronounce Dunsiz? As opposed to Duns? As to this: "you do a little bit more research before reverting another editor's well-reasoned edits" providing information from the BBC is perfectly acceptable, so there is no need to be patronising, especially over a rather debatable (and dubious) point. - SchroCat (talk) 10:18, 22 May 2013 (UTC)