Talk:John M. Ford

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Page history[edit]

Please note that the original version of this article was set up by Deb using text from John Ford, and she turned John Ford into a disambiguation page. Please see the page history of John Ford for attributions of authorship. -- Oliver P. 20:47, 6 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Update: The page referred to above is now John Ford (disambiguation). Please see that page's history for attributions of authorship. --Paul A 03:56, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)

A side-note for those unfamiliar with his works: John M. Ford's works included sly references to the other John Fords, e.g. one novel opens with a quote from the Jacobean play Perkin Warbeck and ends with a quote from the movie Stagecoach — in neither case mentioning the playwright or movie director by name. Characteristically, he left making the connection as an exercise for the reader. SAJordan talkcontribs 08:20, 17 Nov 2006 (UTC).

The juveniles were written under the name Milo Dennison; Ford only wrote the first two books, later books were by others using the Dennison name. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 71.116.166.115 (talkcontribs) 04:35, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Subject's death[edit]

It is with regret that I set the subject's "living" flag to "no". ACW 18:47, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Will Shetterly's Introduction to John M. Ford[edit]

Will Shetterly moved his web pages off of apocalypse.org to blogspot. Please see the parent directory of that page, http://www.apocalypse.org/pub/flash/ While the maintainers of apocalypse.org haven't removed the content, it would be courteous to not needlessly use their bandwidth. Will Shetterly is maintaining content at qwertyranch.blogspot.com, and in fact referred to that address recently: http://shetterly.blogspot.com/2006/09/bit-more-about-john-m-ford.html 70.181.146.182 22:49, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

More bio needed[edit]

The only really biographical information here is about Ford's illness and death. When I split the long lede into sections, I reluctantly called that section "Death". Somebody who knows more about Ford's life should change the section title to "Life" and add enough info to merit the name. ACW 17:03, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Removing refs[edit]

Citation removal is a good reason all by itself to revert; if an editor made a bunch of other edits along with it, he'd be welcome to make your other edits again, but making a bunch of edits while removing correct refs does not mean making other editors do the work of restoring those refs. Undisputed facts can (and should) be cited when citations exist. You can't tell by looking at him that he died on any particular date. But I'm at the limit of my reverts for the day, so I'll stop watching this page for a while. -- JHunterJ 17:01, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

The death-date ref would be the Making Light thread (John M. Ford, 1957-2006) already in the external links list. The entry is dated September 25 and refers to JMF's partner Elise finding his body that morning. -- SAJordan 03:01, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
I've added that death-date citation, new "References" section at bottom. -- SAJordan 08:05, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
As I've tried to explain in edit summaries, I don't see any need to include a particular citation for the death date: it's a general biographic datum, easily verifiable, and the footnote and Reference section just complicate the article's layout, because the Making Light post is already included in External links as being of general interest on Ford's person, not just one particular detail.
More later, if needed and when I have the time. --Malyctenar 16:01, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
JHunterJ and Malyctenar, would you two please settle this with each other? -- SAJordan 17:46, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
I'd say that by letting the article go REF-less, JHunterJ tacitly accepted my arguments. --Malyctenar 10:17, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

"Work" description[edit]

Left intact from the earliest version of this page is the claim that "Ford's works are characterised by an aversion to doing things that have been done before." This is true in a sense, and false in a sense. Mike wrote several novels of the Bildungsroman (coming-of-age) type; although the entry attaches that label only to Growing Up Weightless, it could also be fairly applied to Web of Angels, The Final Reflection, Princes of the Air, and even somewhat to The Last Hot Time. Put another way, Mike repeatedly wrote on the theme of growing up, learning about one's world and one's place in it, and taking responsibility for it — which involves taking on the power and wisdom to influence events, to help make the world a better place. This is a significant commonality, and I think worth mentioning. I am adding a paragraph to that effect, but not altering the prior existing text. This will result in a slight contradiction between paragraphs, which probably should be resolved. I'm just reluctant to alter someone else's argument. -- SAJordan 03:15, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Anonymous unexplained deletion[edit]

At 09:06, 8 November 2006, User:68.40.161.247 deleted the following sentence from John M. Ford#Life: "He is survived by his partner since the mid-1990s, Elise Matthesen." No edit summary, no explanation here. That IP has no other contribs. I'm requesting an explanation, else I intend to revert that deletion.  – SAJordantalkcontribs 06:29, 9 Nov 2006 (UTC).

Whois lookup says that the IP belongs to the Michigan Comcast (I don't know how much one can trust the Ann Arbor location). I think that it is possible to revert with boldness without waiting for an explanation (and I doubt that the drive-by deleter would provide one, or even check Wikipedia again): their relationship is public knowledge and I can't see how anybody concerned might object. --Malyctenar 13:26, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

My immediate temptation was to immediately revert. I am trying, not only for my health, to learn to resist immediate temptations.   :)   More, I had to at least consider the possibility of good faith, if not necessarily assume it: might the deletion have been at the request of a family member or Elise herself? I've paused to allow such an explanation, if it's forthcoming.  – SAJordan talkcontribs 19:54, 9 Nov 2006 (UTC).

My thoughts too. Revert - maybe add an obit. as a source. Maybe he's survived by others as well. But perhaps Elise or a family member did the deletion. I wouldn't want to put it there against their will. Appraiser 20:41, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
The line about him being survived by his long-term partner Elise Matthesen should certainly be restored. I am a close friend of Elise's and I was a friend of John M. Ford's for decades, and I can tell you with utter confidence that Elise would want that line in and Mike would have wanted it too. I am restoring it immediately. Pnh 22:49, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Thank you, Pnh! Note in the history that User:68.40.161.247 once again deleted that specific sentence (only), with again no edit summary or or comment; and Appraiser has restored it. (Thank you, Appraiser!) We may need to protect this page from anonymous edits. – SAJordan talkcontribs 23:18, 10 Nov 2006 (UTC).

In its third edit, IP 68.40.161.247 has made its third identical deletion here, still with no explanation, even in response to a request on its talk page. I've reverted it. – SAJordan talkcontribs 15:17, 15 Nov 2006 (UTC).

-unhappy- eek! I'm from Michigan Fandom myself, and I can't grasp why someone would keep ripping that out, over and over. I'm glad that all of you have been fixing it.

=Chica= 01:38, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Elise was Mike's partner, his friends and hers know this, and there is no good reason for deleting that fact, anonymously or otherwise. I agree with Appraiser that we may need to protect from anonymous edits. Vicki Rosenzweig 20:12, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
I have made a request for semi-protection of John M Ford. Vicki Rosenzweig
The semi-protection was turned down for now, with instructions to put a warning template on the anonymous IP's talk page if it happened again. It happened again overnight. Someone else reverted, I have placed the warning template and updated Wikipedia:Requests for page protection. [Vicki Rosenzweig 18 Nov 2006]

Anonymous editor speaks, sort of[edit]

The anonymous editor from IP 68.40.161.247 has, for the first time, actually said something. The anon chose to communicate by making resultless edits to the main article (making an edit and undoing it before saving), and leaving opinions in the comment field. I would guess from this that our anon doesn't know how to use a talk page.

The first comment reads:

Who found a dead author is irrelevant. Is who found Mark Twain dead listed or of note? Perhaps Elise just needs to see her name in print. SELF SERVING SH

And the second one:

Per request of family, no further edits will be made. The family wants nothing to do either with rabid fans nor pathetic hanger-ons.

In case this editor happens to read the talk page, permit me a measured answer. I have read one novel and one poem by Mr. Ford, and am not a fan or a hanger-on, but merely a Wikipedia editor; I have no dog in this hunt.

The person who discovers the subject dead is an incident in the subject's biography. Names of wives, partners, parents, and children are also completely standard biographical material. Mentioning the name of a decade-long partner seems entirely appropriate to me. I had never heard of Ms. Mattheson before, but her mention seems to fit into a biographical precis with no strain whatever. I would like (as I mentioned above) to see more biographical incident in this article, which seems barely above stub-quality to me at the moment. Wikipedia does not risk running out of storage because there is too much detail in this article.

If Mr. Ford's family has an opinion in this matter, there are numerous channels by which they may express it. Their opinions would carry much more weight if they were signed. As the statement stands, it is impossible to tell whether it represents the true wishes of the family or not. But even if this description of the family's wishes were verified, it would have no legal force. Though we might sometimes wish it otherwise, people are free to write what they like about each other. The family of Alan Turing attempted for many years to suppress biographical claims that Turing was homosexual. These attempts were unsuccessful; biographers enjoy freedom of expression.

On second reading, the statement is ambiguous: perhaps it means that the anonymous editor intends to make no further edits. If that was what was meant, I have almost equal regret. What would be ideal would be for this anonymous editor to come out of the closet and be constructive. Sir or madam: it appears you know something about Mr. Ford. Will you not consider actually contributing to the article?

ACW 05:10, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

At some point, I'd like to add more biographical information, and clarify bits of what's there, but I want it to be specific. I could, now, write "worked for companies in the gaming industry," but I'd like to find company names, and ideally dates and what games he worked on in addition to what's already listed. Similarly, I have a query in to try to find out exactly what year Mike moved to Minneapolis.Vicki Rosenzweig 14:15, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
The gaming companies include FASA and Steve Jackson Games, at least. In the external links "About Ford", Steve Jackson's website is listed, as is Eric Burns (who also wrote for FASA). They might be able to fill in whatever blanks were left by John M. Ford#Games. SAJordan talkcontribs 15:34, 21 Nov 2006 (UTC).

Deletion of biographical detail resumed[edit]

At 05:56, 30 November 2006 (UTC), Sjmac999 erased the sourced phrase "by his partner since the mid-1990s, Elise Matthesen" from John M. Ford#Life. (This is the same text repeatedly deleted by IP 68.40.161.247, who like Sjmac999-contribs has edited no other text than this one phrase.) That deletion has been reverted. A test1a warning has been placed on Sjmac999's talk page. A checkuser has been requested.

Note: Sjmac999 had earlier changed the word "partner" to "friend", which was also reverted. (I challenge anyone to interpret this as a declaration merely of friendship.)

Thank you, 216.243.177.140 and 70.181.146.182, for your restorations. SAJordan talkcontribs 09:32, 30 Nov 2006 (UTC).

Thanks. (Having not done a lot of Wikipedia stuff in the last year or two, I wasn't even aware of "checkuser".) Vicki Rosenzweig 15:27, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

24.253.70.106 04:32, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Now filed as a vandalism report, following the checkuser discussion. SAJordan talkcontribs 04:55, 2 Dec 2006 (UTC).
Blocks in place, 24 hours for IP, indef (with appeal option) for username. Let's see whether the deletions cease. SAJordan talkcontribs 06:08, 2 Dec 2006 (UTC).
Unfortunate that this was needed, but thanks for keeping on it, SAJordan. Vicki Rosenzweig 14:52, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

I would also like to see the word "partner" changed, just because I've always hated that word for lover. But that's neither here nor there--the word "partner" is in general use, and I think that fight is lost. What is more important is that there is no question that the reference to Elise should be included here, out of respect for Mike's memory as well as out of common decency to Elise. Thanks for your work in restoring it. -- Steven Brust 5-Jan-07

The Pioneer Press article uses the word partner and I suspect that is the word Elise used when interviewed. It would be presumptive for anyone to change it, except Elise, herself. Whether you like it or not isn't really germane. Appraiser 15:22, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
As you know, Steven, Elise said (and says) "partner," and Mike used "companion."
Appraiser, Elise hasn't been editing here, and I don't think she intends to.Vicki Rosenzweig 01:11, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I've heard Elise use the label "partner" myself, and many of us in the Poly community use that term. I use it myself, even though it is not ideal. I oce preferred "spouse", but apparently that has a legal definition not consistent with what Elise would intend. Atom 15:48, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Request[edit]

I don't know how to do Meta-wiki. I began a section today for Mike's shorter works. I'd be obliged if some more wiki-savvy person created a meta-file for those. I plan to keep adding to the shorter works as I can.

Thanks!

=Chica= 01:43, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Rather than recreate the work NESFA has done, maybe a better think to do would be to better emphasize the NESFA biblio. (currently mentioned as an external link) and supplement it here with the short works post 1997? 65.161.195.226 21:41, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
That seems sensible. NESFA are pretty good about keeping information online. Vicki Rosenzweig 03:54, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Okay. Thanks.  :) I'll also check and see whether we've got any of the post-1997 works around.

=Chica= 22:31, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Any comments on which shorter works should be singled out? The Alternities quartet? Erase/Record/Play? Fugue State? Winter Solstice? How to best mention the Speculative Engineering chapbooks of which I have only heard about? 70.181.146.182 06:24, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

NPOV[edit]

The first paragraph of this article is unduly fawning and adulatory, replete with positive adjectives. I added the NPOV flag. A lizard 06:39, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Critiques?[edit]

Could any critiques be added to this page? Rvo91 22:11, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

It's gonna be hard to make the article less elegaic, as it is (to the best of my knowledge) impossible to find anybody who's ever written anything bad about the guy. Please let us know what can be done to meet your concerns. --Orange Mike 13:34, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Several things need change in my view. The opening sentence needs to have real world context. It currently reads "Ford was regarded (and obituaries, tributes and memories describe him) as an extraordinarily intelligent, erudite and witty man. He was a popular contributor to several online discussions". It needs to be replaced with something like:
  1. "Ford was the author of intelligent and critically acclaimed books/short stories/articles in which the major themes included....
  2. He was a regular contributor to several blog/webzine/forums where he cultivated a following who apprecitated his wit and erudite comments about such topics as....

As the article stands, there is no context, and the opening comments read like a tomb stone.

Also, I also think the comments about his death too morbid; it should just read that "He died in 2007 after a life long struggle with Diabetes. The rest of the detail is not appropriate for WP, and reads like ambulance chasing.--Gavin Collins 17:06, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

First off, there is something more than a little weird about people in an online encyclopedia dismissing other online activity as not being "real-world content." I'd not object to emphasizing the fiction and poetry first, but note that even there, some of the poetry appeared on a Weblog, and he won a World Fantasy Award for a poem that he published as a Christmas card. The categories are not hard-and-fast.
Second "after a life-long struggle with diabetes" is misleading: I don't think there was an autopsy, so the cause of death isn't known, but it may well have been a heart attack rather than the diabetes. I don't see what you consider "ambulance chasing" about describing the man's health problems--which he did not keep secret, and which nobody is suggesting any kind of lawsuit about. Vicki Rosenzweig 00:54, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Making Light is not an attack site[edit]

I don't know what an "attack site" is, but Making Light, a notable website edited by prominent professionals in the science fiction field, is most certainly the place on which Mr Ford's death was first reported. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Doctorow (talkcontribs) 23:36, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

I've replied on your user talk page. ·:·Will Beback ·:· 23:48, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
See my essay for commentary on the whole contentious "attack sites" issue. *Dan T.* 04:18, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
The discussion, then, is on User talk:Doctorow#Making Light. See also the discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#Attack site incident - comment by Will Beback (talk • contribs • blocks • protects • deletions • moves), which led to the part of rules Will Beback tries to use as justification being disputed, with explanation at Wikipedia talk:No personal attacks#Yet another round of "attack site" nonsense. --Malyctenar 10:04, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Some parallel discussions of this were led at Talk:Teresa Nielsen Hayden#Making Light is not an attack site and User talk:JulesH#Attack sites. --Malyctenar 12:53, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Publication rights[edit]

As I understand it: after Ford's death, rights to his work passed not to his partner (to whom he was not married; oops; c.f. Stieg Larsson for another example of this sort of clusterfuck) but to his parents, who very much disliked SF/F and with whom he was on extremely poor terms. Consequently they have refused any and all requests to reprint his work, and therefore all Ford material is out of print (exception: The Dragon Waiting, which has not gone out of print and therefore the rights to it will not revert to Ford's parents until-and-unless it does go out of print, which it apparently won't, specifically for this reason).

Any thoughts on whether there should be a section about this in the article? DS (talk) 13:38, 14 November 2010 (UTC)