Talk:Jorn Barger

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New Twitter Account[edit]

As of late 2013, Jorn is using a new Twitter account, and is pretty active there: http://twitter.com/bnroj — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pwang99 (talkcontribs) 13:35, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Is Robotwisdom still active?[edit]

Robotwisdom has not been updated for quite a while -- unusual for a weblog.


Robotwisdom is now not longer even published.

VFD debate[edit]

This man is a phoney;there were no home computers in 1964.This was still the era of vacuum tubes and punch caards!I vote to delete this vanity page.

No claim is made that the Minivac 601 was a home computer. There is not a current vote for deletion. Dystopos 17:25, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
The Minivac 601 page now exists. It uses mechanical relays for its digital logic. Date: 1961. Purely an educational kit. 69.181.82.221 22:12, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

I vote for deletion on grounds that this is a vanity article and that blogging alone is no claim to fame! User:YellowSprings

See Wikipedia:Votes for Deletion for information on why and how to nominate an article for deletion. I can warn you in advance that the issues of whether this is a vanity article and Mr. Barger's notability have already been discussed, so another nomination on those grounds would demonstrate bad faith. Dystopos 17:02, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Boutin's little fiction[edit]

I hate being dragged into this, but the Boutin story is almost entirely fiction-- not that it's anybody's business, but I'd arrived in SF the day before, and spent the night at a youth hostel. I tried to sit down with Boutin and tell him the real story, but his mind was so closed he spent the entire time talking about himself. --robotwisdom 4 July 2005 11:41 (UTC)

Jorn, good to see you're alive and, well, kicking. I've massaged the article to reflect your comments, although Wikipedia:Avoid self-references means I shouldn't link to your response here. --Dhartung | Talk 6 July 2005 04:43 (UTC)
I wonder which aspects Barger denies; we have said now at the end of the article that he denies it accurately depicts his housing or financial situation, but are we reading in specifics he hasn't actually said above? One of the difficult things in writing these articles is not accidentally putting words in someone's mouth. I find myself having to relook at every sentence I write with this in mind; in fact since someone below mentions thinking about Featured status, I'll try to look over things to make sure the way we word things, especially sentences I wrote, is accurate. Maybe user Robotwisdom can review for accuracy as well. — Emerman 15:36, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
Well, we can't quote what Jorn says here, that's one problem. I'm not wedded to the wording above but it seemed necessary to say something, given Jorn's strong reaction above. To my mind I'm using pretty general language to rebut what are basically assumptions on Boutin's part. (Good grief, I've slept on a couch when I was making a pretty good salary!) Also, much as I like Jorn, I'm a little uncomfortable with someone actively editing their own article on its way to featured status. As it is the article just survived a VfD on the vanity principle. I think it would be best if he stayed away for the duration. --Dhartung | Talk 16:32, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
(My lengthy replies to Dhartung discussing numerous concepts such as how article easily survived VfD (Barger has been noted in NY Times, Village Voice etc.); "vanity articles" are those initially created by a Wikipedia article's subject about himself (not the case here); and the fact the boilerplate language for photo licensing specifically invites subjects to participate in editing an article about them and any other articles interesting them are archived in the History tab to save space at [1]. If I don't archive now, this page will become an Emerman talk page, due to my wordiness here. Am saving space to preserve other people's comments such as those of user Robot Wisdom so that this whole page doesn't end up archived for space like some end up.) — Emerman 12:57, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Whoa, whoa, you're way overintepreting what I said, I think. I was just waving a little "caution" flag for criticisms that others could conceivably bring to the article. While the VfD was talked down there are still a lot of people who think that blogging just isn't that important in the grander scheme of things, even to the extent of Wikipedia documenting a social phenomenon. I think it's cool, for instance, you found that connection to The Farm, which I'd heard about, but never knew that much about, and hey, it's already on the 'pedia. But some might question whether a decade-old Usenet post is in and of itself encyclopedic. ;-)
In any case, I made some more edits to the paragraph. I'm still not sure what to do about the self-reference problem there. I don't want to just link out to one of the many blogs that referenced it; it would just be circular. --Dhartung | Talk 18:33, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
(More lengthy replies from me to Dhartung about clarity and issues of encyclopedicness are again archived at [2]. I refer readers to my comments there, which also point out the Usenet FAQ reference from after 9-11 is not a "decade old" and what including it was intended to illustrate, although I may reconsider it as I go back to scrutinize the article in the future. Also if I have lengthy things to say here in the future, I may start putting them on my own Discussion page and linking here to them.) — Emerman 12:57, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Date[edit]

Unless I'm missing something, there's no mention here of when Robot Wisdom actually first appeared. 81.158.206.166 5 July 2005 03:10 (UTC)

  • I added the date of the weblog's first appearance, as noted here. Dystopos 5 July 2005 17:10 (UTC)


As for the strenght of Jorn's comments, if any Wiki is to survive as a viable information distribution first person challenges to information should be ignored. Jorn's comments, and his situation, though easy to accept must be ignored until some third person comes in with the same comment.

The only thing Jorn could produce that should be considered would be a long standing lease document or other evidence that his is not poor. After all, who wants to admit to being utterly poor and having to beg. Having known Jorn I can easily see this as true, and I can easily see how Jorn would react to this becoming well known.

If Jorn is not poor and homeless it would be rather easy for him to prove it without insults to authors. A tax return, a statement of accounts from an accountant, a lease, or even a picture of him sitting in his bedroom would be enough.

Jorn has made himself in to something of a celebrity, and must learn to live with the consequences. Jorn always wanted to be famous, but on his terms and has had a hard time dealing with the note people have taken of him.

Robotwisdom is a work a long lasting brilliance, and the light of that blog has, unlike some other Internet projects, as illuminated the person of Jorn. -- anonymous commenter

Hm. Well, I'm sure that the Wikiproject:Reviewing personal records people will want to have a hand in that process. ;-) Really, we don't want to go there. It was difficult for Jorn to respond to the article only here, as Wikipedia:Avoid self references is a guideline, but I think (aside from small quibbles) that we've handled the question reasonably well in the article. It's Wikipedia style to handle disputes with X said Y but J said K. --Dhartung | Talk 16:54, 17 August 2005 (UTC)


Wikipedia must never be of the form "X said Y about J but J responded here that Y is not true and X is K", which is what seems to be happening here. Its should not come as any surprise that Jorn would not like to be called a bum in the press, but he has pursued fame pretty actively and decided not to work for a full decade here.

It is not any kind of attack to say that if you decide not to work, and you have no other source of income you will in time run out of money. Its hard to see how stating "X is X" or anything else that is obvious should be question. A wiki that allows people to state "X is not X" because "X" is insulting to me is not of much value.

"Apple ][" ?[edit]

What is the "Apple ]["? It appears to me to be a formatting error or typo? Emerman 15:37, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

  • From Wikipedia:Apple II: "The "II" portion of the name was alternately rendered in a variety of creative ways using punctuation symbols. For example, the II and the "unenhanced" IIe was most commonly written ][ and ][e, and the IIc and enhanced, platinum IIe models were written as //c, and //e." - I'll go ahead and change it so it links to the format used in the article. Dystopos 15:44, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
It's formatting jargon best forgotten and kept out of everything but the actual Apple II article, at this late date. --Dhartung | Talk 04:35, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
It's nice to know what it meant, thanks! Emerman 15:27, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

Featured?[edit]

Emerman, looks like you're working toward a Featured Article nomination .... --Dhartung | Talk 04:40, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

Edited out repetitive short paragraph[edit]

Note to Dhartung: I decided to go ahead and go with what you said previously about Barger's single Usenet faq essay (I assume you meant the Usenet FAQ after 9-11) not being particularly significant or "encyclopedic." So I deleted it; I'd originally written that paragraph. Article aready had made reference to the anti-Semitism charges just a couple of paragraphs before, so the additional paragraph was repetitive and unnecessarily lenghtened the article as you implied. Also, the single faq Usenet essay after 9-11 was reviewing various gossip on the internet during a national crisis time of confusion among the whole country and its media; that particular faq essay probably does not represent what Barger thinks now though in the immediate aftermath of 9-11 many people thought many paranoid things briefly after 9-11 in internet chatter when reviewing any conflicting statements in the media. Emerman 13:19, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Vanity page?[edit]

Why is this page on Wikipedia? The man is a Hobo;nothing more...I consider this page nothing more than a vanity page. unisgned comment by User:Freespeech.

  • Your opinion is noted. Please refrain from vandalizing the article. See Wikipedia:Deletion policy for more information about what types of articles are routinely kept in Wikipedia. Dystopos 17:06, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
  • There were no 'home' computers in 1964!This is fiction as is most of the article.I vote to delete this vanity page!signed Rex
No claim is made that the Minivac 601 is a home computer. Dystopos 17:25, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
Actually it was a home computer. Six relays and not much else, $135 then = $800 inflation adjusted. Wikipedia needs an article-- it's considered the second programmable home digital computer. --robotwisdom 19:14, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Actually if Jorn can't stop self reference here one must wonder if Wikipedia, now getting a lot of bad press, should endanger further trouble by not deleting this entry.

Wikipedia's core policies for content are Verifiability and NPOV. The WP:AUTO guideline includes suggestions for helping preserve those policies. As long as Mr. Barger's contributions are verifiable and neutral, there should be no problem. Dystopos 14:26, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
"but the Boutin story is almost entirely fiction-- not that it's anybody's business" does not strike me as objective, neutral, or rather verifiable. Which parts can be varified as fiction do you imgaine?
That bit is on the talk page, not in the article. See the discussion above for how the competing first-person accounts were resolved in the article. --Dystopos 14:28, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Barger's considerable recent edits do qualify this as a vanity page, to me at least. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.50.79.141 (talkcontribs)
  • Feel free to edit the page if you spot vanity. --Dystopos 23:32, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Anti-semite?[edit]

Is there going to be no discussion of Barger's (arguable, though I'd say inarguable) anti-semitism? For a while his page was presaged with the phrase, "Jews worship fraud"; he once memorably asked, "are Jews a nation of lawless racists?"; this weekend's poll aims to legitimize Holocaust "skepticism". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.50.79.141 (talkcontribs)

  • His views on Jews and on Zionism are very likely notable. For Wikipedia's purposes we would need to draw from independent sources for anything but raw verifiable facts (for example, you could say what this weekend's poll was, but not interpret it's purported aims). Do you know of any notable reviewers who have written about Barger's views in a way that we could relate? (See Wikipedia:No original research for relevant policy). --Dystopos 16:55, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
    • This is why I thought it best that someone other than me write this section. I realize that calling him an anti-semite outright would be POV (and legally actionable); his only stated position is anti-zionist. But certainly, in any discussion of Barger, this comes up, and it is pretty gaping not to have _any_ extended discussion of this controversy here, rather than the glancing mention already here.) Of course I have no intention of feeding Barger's massive ego by initiating an argument about him. And seeing as how I mostly Wiki jazz albums, I'm probably not the best choice to summarize views on Barger and Judaism or Zionism. -Maggie —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.50.79.141 (talkcontribs)
      • I'm in the same boat. It's a relevant issue, but not one that I have any insight into. --Dystopos 23:31, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • It seems to me that we need to rely more on verifiable and notable views from third parties on this issue. To merely pluck a series of posts that contributed to a controversy tends to bring us closer to having a POV to support. Different people may legitimately draw different conclusions from these shards of evidence and we should be more interested in reporting on major views about Barger and his work than in creating our own characterization, no matter how fair and balanced. --Dystopos 22:52, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
    • The term "fair and balanced" gives me icky Fox News chills, Dystopos, but I do agree with you in principle, though I maintain that what _is_ there should remain there. As Barger himself has said, his trade is in "controversial" theories, and we certainly can't just include mention of accusations of antisemitism without indication that they may or may not be spurious. Hence the examples. I don't think anything else is needed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.50.79.141 (talkcontribs)
      • Icky chills were intentional. Where we are seems more or less ok. Let's see how it shakes out. --Dystopos 04:47, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Interesting to see here Barger's views criticized without any referral to the causing facts. (Aug 2009)
  • Why so much american interest about what is said about israel and not about other communities and issues? (Oct 2009) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.38.141.211 (talk) 11:10, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Why his views on Israel are given a separate paragraph and not his views on other issues? (Oct 2010) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.38.155.178 (talk) 09:51, 2 November 2010 (UTC)


Emphasis in intro[edit]

  • I have no problem with a section on controversies later in the article, but mentioning the accusations of anti-Semitism in the last sentence of the first paragraph -- a major stress position -- placed undue emphasis on this detail, which is far from the most important thing about Barger. I've shuffled the intro around to preserve all the information in a less inflammatory way, but I know next to nothing about these controversies. Aren't there non-Semite related ones? From the info here, "political" didn't seem like the best category for the controversial stuff, but is there a category that unites all the controversial comments? --Our Bold Hero 08:32, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Mr OurBoldHero: Although I agree with the spirit of your changes, the results scanned very badly - his inventing the weblog should be much closer to the first sentence, and they certainly shouldn't come after references to him posting to it. So I've plumped up his resume a little and reverted to an earlier version. --67.71.120.229 15:41, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Deletion of controversy section[edit]

The following text was deleted from the article by Amcbride, citing WP:BLP:

Some of his writings have been a source of controversy, provoking accusations of anti-Semitism.
Controversies
One of the first weblog controversies revolved around his political comments and the wording of his weblog's headlines linking to articles concerning the history of Judaism, policies of Israel, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some of the participants in a 1997 Web forum discussion Barger moderated on these issues accused him of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. The same accusations arose again in 2000, when Barger linked to an article with the headline, "Is Judaism simply a religion of lawless racists?" In an ensuing discussion (titled "What is Racism?", Barger suggested that the "Jewish ideology" of being God's chosen people was analogous to Hitler's ideology of an Aryan "master race". Shortly thereafter, the September 11 attacks on the United States prompted Barger to make several posts to Usenet suggesting that there was a Jewish conspiracy behind them.
Barger's positions on Judaism and Israel remain controversial. For a brief period in October 2005, Barger placed the phrase "Judaism worships fraud" atop his weblog; and in December 2005, a poll entitled, "Are You a Holocaust Skeptic?" was initiated. Barger's "Judaism timeline" makes only oblique reference to the Holocaust, noting it merely as a catalyst for Jewish immigration to the United States.

Now, I agree that scurrilous material about living persons should be aggressively policed. This, however, is about Barger's own blog content and political positions, and persons who have criticized him. It isn't the same as (for example) "I saw Jorn steal candy from a baby once." The blog isn't being used to verify a charge; it's the actual venue in question. It seems nonsensical to discuss a blogger, but be unable to discuss the content of the blogger's blog -- or the responses of other bloggers. In both cases the material being cited meets the criteria of being on the speaker's "own blog", per the policy. I move for reinclusion, as these are opinions Barger has not to my knowledge recanted. Note: the individual sections do not have specific references, a style choice by an editor dating to 2005. The references are below. --Dhartung | Talk 02:03, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

I was editing so missed the revert. Needless to say I support the revert. --Dhartung | Talk 02:17, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
I thought I had read somewhere that anything controversial needed inline citations, but now I can't find that so I assume I was misremembering. Also, I have no problem with citing Barger's own blog for his own statements, as long as those statements are still available on his blog. It's the citations of others' blogs that seem undesirable to me. I know there are some exceptions to the no-third-party-blogs rule, but trying to make use of those exceptions to source negative material on living people seems like a stretch to me. --Allen 02:53, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
That was my revert. Though my IP changes, I appear to be the current 'guardian' of sorts of this article. And to my knowledge there is no quoting or citing of third-party bloggers; the only quotes and paraphrases are of Barger himself, and it's not editorializing to call what he says controversial. (It's probably not editorializing to call it nonsense, either - like much of his other 'scholarship' - but I leave that to the reader.) Inline citations are, thus, there. Aside from that I've mostly been at pains to erase his own vanity contributions, especially when they weren't of any relevance to what makes him notable. --70.50.79.26 18:18, 3 July 2006 (UTC) -Maggie
Maggie, I strongly urge you to create an account. It increases your accountability and thereby your credibility to have a fixed username; and it allows other editors to contact you more easily, via your Talk page.
I wish to reiterate my support for inline citations. Emerman chose to make them all "print style", over my objections. Since last year more robust inline citation methods are available.
Also since last year, the WP:BLP policy has been implemented. I am researching its application history to determine if I have specific objections to the policy or its application here. My primary objective is providing a balanced and fair article (I've seen other articles slapped with NPOV just because they lacked anything negative about the subject), and I'm inclusionist by nature, while BLP is explicitly and firmly deletionist. --Dhartung | Talk 18:58, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Inclusionist, deletionist, Methodist, Lutheran, Carnatic, Hundusthani, the point is that I - and most other reasonable people would - object to relevant content being deleted from any article. This is particularly true in the case of a controversial figure who claims expertise in a wide range of disciplines, and about whom Wikipedia might be the only objective (or crypto-objective, or pseudo-objective) biography. I think you're doing fine work, and would support any change, including the instatement of inline citations if they suit the current Wiki protocol - but only insofar as the text remains readable and the meaning of any given passage is not radically distorted. I trust you, and so does everyone. If it's important to you, well, as the Nike adverts entreat, just see to it...
As for those who doubt the notability of Barger's provocations, an entry on Robotwisdom.com for 1st July 2006 (that's yesterday) identified Israeli jews as "the real Nazis". I suppose that resolves the question of whether he's recanted.
And finally, as for creating a user account, your advice is gladly taken. I'm sure I'll get round to it one of these days. - Maggie --70.50.79.26 21:12, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  • In my opinion it is original research to simply list instances when Barger has published criticisms of Israel under the heading of "controversies". It would be more appropriate to summarize a published critical evaluation of his views than to determine ourselves which labels might apply (or whether he has 'recanted' for having unpopular or officially-repressed opinions). If the sources for such an evaluation are thin, then the section should also be thin. If it is a major controversy, we ought to be able to do a much better job of presenting the issues without original research. --Dystopos 22:43, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Obviously we disagree, Dystopos. It is my opinion that the Wikipedia dictum against including original research merely amounts to an injunction against synthesizing facts into some kind of thesis. ("Barger said all these things on this-and-that date. Argal, Jorn Barger is an anti-semite.") That kind of rule makes perfect sense. But banning outright the inclusion of (documented) facts not published elsewhere would, I think, run contrary to the utopian dream of Wikipedia-as-universal-reference which underpins much Wiki policy. -Maggie --70.50.79.26 23:57, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
    • Barger has made a lot of statements on his weblog, many of which could be controversial, but this section collects only negative comments about Judaism and identifies the collection as amounting to a controversy. The only allusion to any of these statements actually creating controversy outside this article alludes to "Some of the participants in a 1997 Web forum", but fails to actually cite those critics. The result is an editorial opinion that the making of statements like these should be considered controversial. This may well be true, but my understanding of the rule against original research is that we need to be using a verifiable source for that claim. --Dystopos 06:05, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm afraid I'm not clever enough to actually navigate Barger's weblog. Maggie, could you add a link to his latest posting to the references section? Also, is there a way I can confirm for myself that Barger briefly posted "Judaism worships fraud" on his blog? Personally, I'll take the word of my fellow editors that Barger has actually said these awful things, especially because no one seems to deny it. But if I were a friend of Barger's, or a journalist trying to write about the topic, I think I would want to be able to verify these things more easily than I can right now. (On a related note, it sounds like most active editors on this article want to go to inline citations... true? I know that we must pay deference to the first editor when it comes to equally acceptable citation styles, but I think the requirement that featured articles must have inline citations implies that inline citations are better style, not equally acceptable style.) --Allen 23:13, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm sure you're mighty clever, Allen! Indeed, perhaps you can help me reference pages such as these:
http://www.robotwisdom.com/log2005m10.html <- This is Jorn's own archive of his posts from October, 2005. "Judaism worships fraud" is the third line from the top, underneath the phrase "edited by Jorn Barger". Other instances of "controversial" content can usually be found by cross-referencing the dates I've added with Jorn's archive, which he keeps at the bottom of the page (search robotwisdom.com for the phrase "RWWL archives".
The recent reference to "real nazis" can be found by simply visiting http://www.robotwisdom.com/ and doing a search on the page for that phrase.
If there's one thing that Barger is scrupulous about, it's keeping track of his most egregious statements. -Maggie --70.50.79.26 23:51, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks; I've gone ahead and put these two refs in as inline citations, using footnotes and template:web cite. --Allen 00:31, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Barger now officially loony[edit]

Take a look at robotwisdom.com while it still has the phrase "Judaism is racism" at the top. That's right - not "Judaism contains racism", or "Judaism has been invoked to justify racism" or anything "craven" (as Barger would put it). Just "Judaism is racism".

Anything to say, Barger apologists? - Maggie --70.50.79.251 15:20, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

  • That statement could be mentioned in the article. Let the reader judge what is lunacy. --Dystopos 16:49, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Obviously, Dystopos. Surely you'll agree that my contributions thus far have been NPOV by anyone's measure, even if my discussion page posts are sometimes a bit inflammatory? Anyway, might I respectfully submit that a sentence can also be a phrase, particularly if it's a very short sentence? I mean, it's true that robotwisdom.com is a website, and an English-language website at that, that happens to contain a weblog as well as a great deal of other data - but don't we generally refer to robotwisdom as a "blog"? Anyway, most importantly, Jorn Barger is a bigot. - Maggie --70.50.79.251 21:34, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
    • I responded because you asked for a response. The way you asked indicated that you wanted to get into a discussion about POV, so I responded with my own view of how the fact you recorded could be used without bringing POV into it. I am not in the habit of reviewing the work of individual editors, but insofar as they have stood the test of time, your edits have no doubt followed WP's policy on NPOV. Though the word "phrase" has a colloquial meaning that can include short sentences, in grammar a phrase lacks either subject or predicate. I made the change as an improvement to the article, not as an attack against your contributions. Barger may very well be a bigot, and I appreciate your understanding that it is not our place as editors to make that judgment. When presented with factual evidence, readers will be equipped to judge whether Barger's hostile statements comprise anti-Semitism and whether that label is meaningful in a particular context. --Dystopos 00:37, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned, the no personal attacks line is being crossed (recall that Barger is a contributor). Please tread lightly. --Dhartung | Talk 01:09, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
      • You're a good'un, Dystopos - but you're wrong, wrong, wrong about the meaning of the word "phrase", except in the very narrow grammatical sense of a prepositional phrase &c. (well, either you're wrong, or Francis Meres is wrong, and on the whole I'm on the side of Meres.) In any event, my comments above were not meant to suggest that your change of "phrase" to "sentence" indicated a second-guessing of my NPOV sagacity; on the contrary, it is this constant urge of yours to remind me not to be POV that prompted my playful response. - Maggie --70.50.79.251 01:14, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
I do not believe any line has been crossed, Dhartung. Barger is also the subject of this article and a controversial public figure. --Dystopos 03:01, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Though, calling him a "loony" is still a personal attack. *Dan T.* 03:03, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
It may not be necessary to call him names, but the policy on personal attacks has not been violated in my view. The "attacker" is clearly talking about the content of the article rather than the contributions of User:Robotwisdom --Dystopos 04:36, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Ethical dilemma[edit]

Though past evidence (notably his own meddling with his biography) attests amply to Barger's boundless narcissism, I initially thought that his angry departure from Wikipedia last year (over my refusal to characterize him as an 'expert') indicated a loss of interest in the way he was presented in this article. Lately, though, I've had a sneaking suspicion that Barger continues to watch over his bio here as it evolves, and that to some extent the changes we've instigated have spurred him on. The current main headline on robotwisdom.com reads judaism is racism is incompatible with democracy, which sounds to me vaguely like an exhortation to genocide. So what do we do? Stop? This page is probably the world's first-stop for information on a moderately signfiicant personality in internet history, but on the other hand its content may also be inspiring its subject to indulge ever more publically in his heretofore mostly muted bigotry. In other words, our bringing to light previous instances of anti-semitism may be giving rise to new ones that might otherwise not have been expressed. - Maggie --64.229.184.47 00:32, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Maggie wrote: The current main headline on robotwisdom.com reads judaism is racism is incompatible with democracy, which sounds to me vaguely like an exhortation to genocide. This is illogical and not helpful. Mr. Barger obviously has some issue with Israel and Judaism, but how is saying that judaism is racism an advocacy of genocide? Please be more careful with your language, Maggie; the rhetoric in this whole "Jorn Barger is an anti-Semite" thing is always dangerously close to spilling over into non-thinking. Dveej 13:03, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

On the contrary, I'm a very thinking person - and a dreadfully smart one too. What I suggested was that judaism is racism is incompatible with democracy sounded like an exhortation to (not necessarily an advocation of) genocide. (Think about it this way: You're presented with the resolution, judaism is racism is incompatible with democracy. Even if you agree, what's the next resolution? Well, we've got to have democracy. If democracy can't contain jews, what do we do with our jews? Forced conversion? (To the Cult of Krishnamurti, maybe?) Or just kind of round them up? I stand by my reading; in any event I said it here and not in the article proper. Since Barger was the first to bring Nazis into the conversation ("the real Nazis show their true colors"), I feel comfortable pointing out that Barger's rhetoric is very close to Goebbels's. - Maggie --64.229.29.138 15:33, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
  • An observation, right or wrong, is not itself an exhortation. Barger's claim can be reported, for what it is, but it is original research to make anything of it here that is not made explicitly elsewhere. Likewise, our responsibility is to report, and to get it right, and not to fret about what "message" we are sending, intentionally or unintentionally. Our responsibility is to fact and neutrality, not to effect. --Dystopos 18:09, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
I think it's an excess of self-regard to assume that our article is the reason for anything he does on the blog. Barger clearly reads and responds to a great many sources. I don't see that there's any value to exploring his sloganeering; it is what it is. (That said, I bet he does keep up.) --Dhartung | Talk 09:07, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

"accusations of anti-Semitism"[edit]

The article currently says Some of his writings have been a source of controversy, provoking accusations of anti-Semitism. I think that's trying too hard to be NPOV. Normally such accusations are matters of opinion and judgement but in this extreme case he doesn't seem to have left much room for ambiguity. If he believes "judaism is racism is incompatible with democracy" then surely he is literally and objectively anti-semitic. -- Slogby 23:38, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

  • With regard to Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons, I think we do have to try hard to avoid POV and original research. If the anti-defamation league has called him out, that's reportable. If the New York Times calls him a raging zionophobe, that's reportable. To say that he has a header on his website reading "judaism is racism is incompatible with democracy." is perfectly valid - but to conclude that this is his unchanging belief and that it is enough to characterize him - while certainly defensible and apparently beyond doubt, still oversteps the role of this project. The distinction between what we should and should not do is narrow and shifty, and, in the end, makes little difference to what the reader will readily perceive. That's my opinion. --Dystopos 01:12, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

"Expert" on Joyce[edit]

I should also note, as a Joycean, that Barger is a lot closer to a self-styled expert on Joyce than he is an actual expert (like Fritz Senn or John Kidd) - and that a lot of his theories are cockamamie. A lot of Joycean academes would agree.

I'm in no position to cast aspersions on his "expertise" vis-a-vis AI, though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.50.79.141 (talkcontribs)

  • I actually changed the text, but Barger changed it back. This is a serious problem: Wikipedia is calling someone an "expert" basically because that's how he describes himself. I mean, I could call myself an expert on The Byrds. I could probably get a bunch of people to agree with me. That doesn't mean I have any qualifications, academic or otherwise. Hobbyists aren't experts. Calling Barger a self-styled expert is not libellous (strong word, but used inaccurately, Jorn; hell, accusing someone of libel maliciously might actually be libel - maybe!), it is accurate. Unless he can produce a doctoral thesis or something. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.50.79.141 (talkcontribs)
Can you produce any instance where I've "styled myself" an expert? Can you produce any instance where anyone has found a factual error among my many megabytes of posted research? Whereas I've corrected errors in every other major Joyce site, eg Michael Groden falsely imagining the major paths cross in U10? --robotwisdom 21:33, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Being right on factual matters doesn't make you an expert. Acknowledgment as such by the 'establishment' - whomever that may be, and however distasteful you might find the idea of such a thing - does. You have styled yourself an expert inasmuch as references here - and elsewhere - to your being an "expert" on Joyce are in your own autograph - on your userinfo page, for example, or based upon your own declarations. John Kidd is an expert. He never had to insist that he was, because he is. I never suggested your conjectures were wrong - just cockamamie. Joyce as proto-AI archivist, cramming every possible idea or emotion or experience into his books without any regard for theme or structure, is a cockamamie theory. Not necessarily wrong. Cockamamie. Alright, screw it. Here's one error. "Gluepot" does not refer to the odor of semen. It's equestrian slang, denoting an old or lame horse. At least in that context. It also refers to a utensil for melting glue. Lucia being named after Lucy is also an absurd proposition. Santa Lucia is the patron saint of eyesight.

For the record, I am not Danis Rose, nor do I know the man, though I'm sure he's a very nice man. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.50.79.141 (talkcontribs)

  • It occurs to me that being right on factual matters does, in fact, make one an expert. Experts are hardly immune to cockamamie theories. In fact they may be exceptionally prone to them. But if the theories account for the evidence, then who is entitled to label them cockamamie or absurd? Perhaps you mean not to say that he lacks expertise, but that he lacks popularity.
That said, it is not the purpose of this article to establish expertise, or to reflect personal opinions about expertise, but to report verifiable acknowledgments of expertise (or anything else). Cite all claims and let them speak for themselves. --Dystopos 23:28, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm getting frustrated because my reply to Mr Toronto-Anonym keeps getting edit-conflicted. Here it is, interlinear:
Being right on factual matters doesn't make you an expert. Acknowledgment as such by the 'establishment' - whomever that may be, and however distasteful you might find the idea of such a thing - does.
This is nonsense.
You have styled yourself an expert inasmuch as references here - and elsewhere - to your being an "expert" on Joyce are in your own autograph - on your userinfo page, for example,
If I really wrote that I was paraphrasing the article. I never use the term.
or based upon your own declarations. John Kidd is an expert. He never had to insist that he was, because he is.
Kidd is a proofreader. He has zero insight into Joyce's creative process.
I never suggested your conjectures were wrong - just cockamamie.
Again, nonsense. If I've produced ten megabytes of critical analysis on every aspect of Joyce and his work, without making any detectable errors, how can you contest my expertise?
Joyce as proto-AI archivist, cramming every possible idea or emotion or experience into his books without any regard for theme or structure,
You're fabricating the last part from whole cloth.
is a cockamamie theory. Not necessarily wrong. Cockamamie.
Alright, screw it. Here's one error. "Gluepot" does not refer to the odor of semen. It's equestrian slang, denoting an old or lame horse. At least in that context.
See Dent. You're way, way out of your depth.
It also refers to a utensil for melting glue. Lucia being named after Lucy is also an absurd proposition. Santa Lucia is the patron saint of eyesight.
Joyce himself couldn't sneak that fallacy by.
For the record, I am not Danis Rose, nor do I know the man, though I'm sure he's a very nice man.
I'm still guessing Groden, with Downing a pitiful dark horse. In any case, you are in no way a nice or honorable man. --robotwisdom 23:40, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm feeling more and more resentful of the burden of policing this article, when the consequences if I don't are that the slurs quickly get republished around the world. And if I'm stuck with it, I think I ought to be able to use it to explain my individuality, which consists mainly of controversial theories. --robotwisdom 00:29, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Jorn, I remind you that you actively pursued a kind of fame. In the early 1990s you made repeated statements that you were going to pursue a career that would bring not wealth but reputation upon yourself, and in your life on the Internet you have actively pursued the spotlight. And on your blog you have constantly reminded people what a massive personality you are. Well perhaps a man of your vast intellectual ability failed to see the obvious consequences of the limited fame you have pursued. You have lost control of your legacy, that is the consequence of putting yourself in the public. Count yourself lucky that you have not obtained such fame that the tabloids will start asking questions of women you have worked with or other former co-workers what you were like, or put your former room-mates or lovers on TV to talk about you.
Honorable or not (and, for that matter, man or not), and fisticuffs aside, I am totally mollified by the term "independent scholar". And Dystopos's edits satisfy most of my grievances with Barger's autohagiography. - M —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.50.79.141 (talkcontribs)
    • Mr. Barger, I am certain that your legacy does not depend upon Wikipedia, and your responsibility to "police" this article should be considered more a courtesy to the WP project than a dire defense of your person. As a courtesy, then, thanks to all contributors for respecting Wikipedia's policies and for collaborating on this article. Some policies and guidelines relevant to the current issue: Wikipedia:No original research explains why and how we need to be able to verify all content. Wikipedia:Neutral point of view discusses the absolute requirement to eliminate bias from Wikipedia. Wikipedia:Autobiography discusses the practical consequences of having the subjects of articles contribute to their autobiographies. Wikipedia:Talk pages explains the function of and restrictions regarding Talk pages (such as this one). Finally, Wikipedia:Civility is an official policy outlining how our fellow contributors are to be treated and introducing the various methods of resolving conflicts. --Dystopos 02:07, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

That which makes him notable - well, it ain't "Anti-math"[edit]

There can be no doubt (and the deletion debate bears this out) that Jorn Barger is a notable figure in internet history. But because he wrote is own biography, the single achievement for which he is primarily notable is obscured. The fact that Barger graciously supplied his entire 'research history' - full of references to 'methodologies' being 'discovered' and 'developed' - belies the fact that no serious scholar - indeed, no-one but Barger - has ever actually made use of "anti-math" or has ever referred to what Barger refers to as "robot wisdom" by that name. If that isn't vanity I don't know what is. Certainly a definition of "robot wisdom" needs to be retained somewhere to account for the title of his downright-legendary blog, but with a separate subheading on the blog already in place, I wonder how valuable any of his biography is, providing as it does a litany of 'discoveries' of apparent import but no pertinence whatsoever to that which actually makes him notable. --70.50.76.235 16:10, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Well I knew Barger in the 1990s and his little anti-math book had a big impact on me and some other working at ILS at that time. He used to keep a copy of some of the pages on his door and they really struck one. Anti-Math certainly has not become the encoding model Jorn had hoped, and he has had to see blogs dominated by XML and RSS from his enemy David Winer, but I think the work has some artistic merit. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Rhooker1236 (talkcontribs) .
I think that, if you had to know the guy for it to be the least bit relevant or influential, then it doesn't count as notable...Incidentally, I've never heard of David Winer, but three guesses as to how a guy with such a name came to be Barger's "enemy". Maggie --67.71.120.229 15:32, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Well I don't know what is noteworthy or not. My philosophy which I have pushed on Wikipedia is to allow users to decide if something is NON, if they don't look up an article it is NON, if they do it is. I am an intellectual anarchist in the tradition of Feyerabend and Foucault, I don't mind the attention Jorn's more obscrure ideas got, I only wish everyone got the same level.
As for anti-semitism, well thats hard. There is no question that Jorn has posted things on the Robotwisdom.com troubled me deeply, especially since it is one of my favorite web sites and I wish he would use the term Israeli or Zionist and not Jew.
That said in the time I knew Jorn Barger in the early 1990s he was not and anti-semite, I would be willing to state that in a court. And from the little news coming out of him lately I don't think he hates Jews for being Jews, his fight with Winer was over who got what degree of credit for creating blogging IMHO and that was a fairly high stake fight. I still have a major problem with some of the ways he has worded criticism of Israel and it deeply concerns me and is frankly wrong. Most of the people close to me in my life are Jews and they despise Israeli government policy as I despise current US policy.
It also saddens me that Jorn is getting himself written out of the history of blogging. Certainly he did not play the role of Winer, but Scroble tells the story of blogging without Jorn's name even mention. David Winer used to give great credit to Jorn, Winer is a prince from my distant dealings with him when I was using Userland Frontier in 1999 and from reading his blog. But Winer is in a situatino where he can't praise Jorn from Harvard now can he? Rhooker1236 11:52, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Just be aware that under WP:BLP policy, edits like your recent one are inadmissible (and violations of verifiability and original research as well). The general issue is covered in the WIRED piece, anyway. As for Winer, you're one of the few who still thinks he's any kind of prince. Scoble certainly doesn't seem to feel he owes Jorn anything, but Dave might (if he weren't Dave). --Dhartung | Talk 18:32, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Maggie here, extending her props to Dhartung for his/her continued good work on this article and the reverting of some speculation and redundancy. Obviously the nonsense about Jorn's hat showing "signs of hard living" had to go. Rhooker, who the hell is writing Jorn out of the history of blogging? Everybody knows that Jorn coined the term, and it'll probably go down as his only (or - let's be charitable - most)significant achievement. And though Robotwisdom isn't a conventional weblog, it was one of the first, and remains one of the longest-lived. Doesn't change the fact that Jorn very quickly spiralled into bigotry and delusion after 9/11, though. And though Danis Rose may be a fool, let it be said that he's a published fool, a title to which Barger can make no claims. - Maggie --64.229.64.62 21:09, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure how you can be "written out" anyway. Jorn has never sought that kind of publicity, the way people like Glenn Reynolds have. (And with the attribution above, the comment sequence is now clear to me.) --Dhartung | Talk 01:06, 12 August 2006 (UTC)


As for written out I mean as the offical "story" of blogging is being written for the likes of Yahoo, Google, and MSN by people like Scroble make no mention of Barger. His name used to grace the first page of most articles. But since writing this I see that his name as the founder of Web Log has virally made a significant come back, with Google searches telling everyone he invented the name and journalists passing the informaiton on, increasing it position in Google. As for Mr Winer being a prince, when I started CMS I downloaded Userland Frontier and David answered every email I sent to him and gave me some tips on its use which helped me get to terms with a massive amount of content I had to manage. I will probably always defend him.(Rhooker1236 10:29, 2 May 2007 (UTC)).
I find it amusing that Barger has fairly recently begun to complain on his Blogger auxiliary that his polymathic genius is underappreciated, and that no-one has created a fan-page for him. (Here: http://robotwisdom2.blogspot.com/search/label/biography ; under 24th April 2007 and 16th December 2006.) The fact that this almost coincides with the ill-starred vanity contributions to his Wiki bio yesterday I find less amusing. - Maggie --70.48.207.80 18:09, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

no unsourced negative info on living people[edit]

I deleted the negative info on Barger; it has no inline sources (as required by WP:LIVING), and the sources for the info ultimately seem to be blogs, which by WP:RS are not reliable sources. My edit was reverted by someone who implied that the only sources for Barger were necessarily blogs; but this is not true: if it were, this article's AfD from last year would have succeeded. I recommend that reliable sources be found for this info (and provided inline, meaning refs right after the relevent sentences) or that it be taken out again. --Allen 01:59, 3 July 2006 (UTC)


Offline[edit]

Robotwisdom.com is apparently offline. --Dystopos 14:55, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

The article now reflects this and his (10th February) "save robotwisdom" donation request. -Maggie --64.229.184.137 03:52, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Bad hostname 'www.robotwisdom.com' these days too. Jidanni (talk) 01:06, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Biography assessment rating comment[edit]

The article may be improved by following the WikiProject Biography 11 easy steps to producing at least a B article. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me here. -- Jreferee 19:44, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

In the days to come, we'll see if he has any fans[edit]

In 2005 Barger actually edited his biography here, writing it mostly and reverting changes that he thought portrayed him in a bad light. Times have changed, and apparently he's decided to take up the gauntlet again, by proxy at least. He has just posted a "template" for revisions to this page: [3] . The influence this posting has on the article should be nil (all the relevant bases are covered), but if there's increased activity, he may rest assured that he's still got partisans. - Maggie --70.50.78.75 15:11, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

ACM paper on Barger[edit]

I recently delivered a conference paper that studies Barger's involvement in the emergence of early blogging. As author of the piece I may need to abstain from working it into article. At a minimum, though, I think it should enter the "Further reading." Thanks for taking a look.

Reference:

ARK (talk) 17:36, 15 July 2009 (UTC)