Talk:Aaron Swartz/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


Page creation

This is almost SPAM. There shouldn't be an Article Aaron Swartz created by himself. the preceding unsigned comment is by (talk • contribs)

Check the history, please. User AaronSW made two tiny edits - linking to his personal site (perfectly valid, IMO, since the article is about him) and to clarify who runs the Summer Founders Program in which he participated. And he did it with his existing Wikipedia account, completely transparently, not as an anon IP. This is a perfectly valid article about a notable individual. -- Vary | Talk 05:34, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
Come on! Look at the timestamps and admit that it is pretty obvious who the creator of this article was. --Raban 13:32, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
As I noted on the talk page, I didn't create the article. Someone I'd never heard of before (or since) did and emailed me to let me know. I checked the page, made a couple small corrections, and have otherwise left it alone except to revert vandalism and things. If you like, I can introduce you to the person who created the page and you can verify he's not me, but I don't see why it matters. AaronSw 19:55, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Raban: Maybe Aaron was emailed the creator. There are a number of possible explanations. Aaron is a noteable wikipedian with thousands of edits. He has said that he didn't create the page on the original AfD proposal. But even if he did create the page, we've still already gone through a AfD and it failed because enough people thought he was notable. —mako 16:13, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

I fail to see why this is a notable individual. It's a guy who works at a startup company. Neither he nor his company are reputable, famous or successful. This person has no extensive academic or industrial record, so I baffled as to why he deserves anything remotely like an encyclopedic entry. It seems like yet another way to pimp one's company through Wikipedia.

There is also no evidence to support the claim that this person did not create his own page.

This article has previously proposed for delection and the proposal ended with a decision to keep this article. Please read the AfD page and decide if you think something has changed between then and now that would make Aaron less notable and a similar proposal end differently. Personally, I see no absolutely reason why that would be the case. —mako 16:03, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Aaron is somewhat well known for being the co-author of RSS, that makes this page valid.

The most notable thing about Aron Schwarz is his ego. His homepage is the temple of self-adulation. Maybe he is really talented, but if so, he still has to prove that. As long as he didn't do so, there's no need for an entry in the Wikipedia. RSS is a good idea, but as far as I know it was not his idea. He himself states that he co-authored RSS, which probably means that he is responsible for the specification, which is ridiculously bad and an expression of nearly total incomprehension of XML. Hm, maybe there's another notable thing about Aron: He is the perfect example for this errant hype about youth. If you wanna be really good at something, you have to learn and practice -- and this takes plenty of time. In the end, fortunately, nobody is hurt by the existence of this article, so what?! The nicest solution would be if Aron himself exercised some humility and proposed the deletion of this article. --Raban 12:59, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately, I don't think it's really appropriate for me to take a position on this article either way. Even if it was, I'm still bound by the same procedural limitation as you -- the article already failed at AfD. I'm curious what about my website is a temple of self-adulation. I simply describe the various things I've done, which seems to be standard practice. If you can give me some suggestions about what to change I'd love to fix it since that's definitely not what I want. As you rightly point out, my accomplishments are fairly trivial and due more to being in the right place at the right time than any personal talent. AaronSw 19:55, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm ashamed by your calm response to my exaggerated accusations. Hereby I retract them. My impression of what was going on here wasn't quite right. But it seems that I'm not the first who, based on the available material, supposed that this is a case of disproportionate vanity. There are in fact a few things that render that picture. One may be that you talk about yourself in the third person on your homepage. Apart from that, homepages of people about themselves are always problematic and prone to being classified as self-adulation. How do you think about that, Mako?  ;-) Ok, I'm going to shut up now. --Raban 13:10, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
It makes me sick! Look at what his contribution to Zack Coburn (a notable intern at Arons firm) was: Nothing more than a reference to -- guess! --: Aron Schwarz. --Raban 13:20, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, that is what I know about him. AaronSw 19:55, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Aaron's talk page is not a venue for you to vent about your frusterations with Aaron's ego, his age, the quality of the RSS specification, etc. If you think that new evidence that you have dug up is enough to get a different response on an AfD (I can't imagine that it is), please go ahead. Otherwise, please go vent privately somewhere. Also, as the article shows, his name is spelled Aaron. —mako 16:13, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
This is not Aaron's talk page. This is the talk page of an article about Aaron. However, your critique concerning my tone is justified -- I admit it. Nevertheless there are some things about this article that are clearly conflicting with the principles of Wikipedia. The fact that Aaron is a diligent contributor otherwise has absolutely nothing to do with this issue. In particular it doesn't give him the privilege to use Wikipedia as a Aaron Swartz TM public relations platform. Anyway, sorry for the tone and for the misspelling of his name. --Raban 17:04, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

FWIW I found this article expecting it to be here. 23:32, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

note about community essays?

Recently popular : essays about Wikip/media, written to correspond to his bid for the wikimedia board. Are the essays worth mention? There's something self-referential about it... +sj + 21:19, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

A bit self-referential but, IMHO, the best thing I've read from him and it was highly passed around. I don't have particularly strong feelings either way. —mako (talkcontribs) 15:56, 27 January 2007 (UTC)


These images are impossibly old and out of date. Doesn't somebody have a picture of Aaron that is not 6 years old? —mako (talkcontribs) 21:12, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

I contacted Aaron, got a more up to date picture in the public domain, and changed the article to include this instead of the old one. —mako (talkcontribs) 02:50, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

autobio edit

I've noticed a couple of inaccuracies in this article that have remained there for over a year. I got tired of waiting and fixed them myself, but I'd of course like the community to verify the edit to protect against unconscious bias:


  1. the word "before" made it sound like the paragraph was out of chronological order; removing it makes it clearer that the decision not to return to Stanford occurred after the summer
  2. infogami failed to take off after the merger (at the time of the merger, neither site had taken off), so I moved these words
  3. Paul Graham did not encourage reddit to hire me as an engineer; the two companies merged. Paul Graham was the first to suggest the idea, but we of course were friends before that
  4. the discussion of Google Ads seems like an irrelevant aside
  5. technically I was asked to resign, not fired, as the cited article makes very clear
  6. it's worth noting that reddit used, since that's how it got released
  7. I have finished moving

4 seems like the most arguable, but at least I've removed a blatant inaccuracy. AaronSw (talk) 20:44, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Asked to Resign

The article states that Aaron was asked to resign from wired; a point he confirmed in a comment. However no information is given as to why? Did he eat someones puppy? Scirocco6 (talk) 18:11, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

  • You may find the answer on his blog -- (talk) 09:43, 1 October 2010 (UTC) (BTW I am not Aaron Swartz)

Content of the article

This article should be rewritten to conform to Wikipedia standards. Aaron Swartz is notable and he and his work should receive the attention it deserves. I can find no reference to his work on the Creative Commons (to which I hasten to add, Jimmy Wales is also credited). This alone should make him notable in an enviroment as Wikipedia. -- (talk) 18:54, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Enjoyed your thoughts about WP from 2006

I have been reading from and the related articles and find them still relevant. Best wishes Greenmaven (talk) 12:57, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Those articles were really ahead of the curve back in 2006! Prophetic in how Wikipedias (not just have gotten more and more hostile for outsiders. I think it's time for a movement to bring a little bit of Egypt to Wikipedia.--Sum (talk) 18:05, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Is this him in the news? "Harvard fellow could face 35 years in prison"

Is this him?

Harvard fellow could face 35 years in prison (talk) 17:15, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Yep. --Shepard (talk) 18:07, 19 July 2011 (UTC)


It seems that the 4 millions downloaded articles may also be the later released large amount Public domain articles. It seems meaningful for the case. Any information ? Yug (talk) 11:46, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

The article does not explain the case very well. I think the issue is that the accusation is the acquisition of public domain content in an illegal way, perhaps analogous to breaking into a library when it is closed to read books and not harm anything. I think the accusation is about digital locks which have special laws, and breaking locks even to access free resources is a serious crime. The article could use development. Does anyone know of key sources which explain the entire story? Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:21, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
There are number of references to press coverage, you might check them out. But no, the 4 million downloaded articles are not the same as the public domain articles. There is plausiblly some overlap, but determining the degree of overlap is unlikely to be possible until the evidence is introduced at the trial, still months away. But I think we can have confidence that the number of non-public domain articles that were part of the 4 million are a substantial fraction. jhawkinson (talk) 21:22, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Given that the case is still ongoing, I suggest that it be a minimal part of the article. This sort of legal matter is something that is generally not covered well by Wikipedia, as press articles are often wrong or misleading. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 22:52, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
I am interested in what details are available and if there is good comprehensive coverage that is not a press article about only a single aspect of the case then that ought to be in this article. Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:21, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Removed unsourced material and some non-notable comments

Some material on this page had been unsourced for months; other material has been unsourced for years. Some of it is subject to specific dispute; see, for example, This information should be properly sourced because it is potentially controversial, and it should not rely exclusively on the subject's claims (which appear in some contexts to be at least possibly overstated) or on other potentially exaggerated claims. In general, the subject's work often appears to be overstated. For example, he is occasionally identified as the 'inventor' of RSS when in fact he was one member of a large working group that authored an RSS specification that, though numbered 1.0, was not the first version of the specification.

In addition to the main purpose of my recent edits, regarding proper authority and accuracy, I have also removed some non-notable material and made some minor corrections. Most of these need no comment because they are minor. The only one that deserves comment is the removal of what I judged to be a non-notable 'opinion' quotation about the subject's pending criminal case. I happen to agree with the opinion (regarding the overuse of criminal prosecution in some cases), but its inclusion seemed unbalanced and arbitrary in the context of the article.

For what it is worth, I lean toward agreeing with those who have said that this subject does not meet Wikipedia's notability standards based on the cited material in the article. The criminal case has received some attention and coverage but probably does not merit a page of its own. The reasons for preserving the article that were presented in the relatively early AfD do not seem persuasive today, and in general the matter received little discussion then. But I do not feel strongly enough about the matter to renominate the article personally for deletion. Antiselfpromotion (talk) 23:02, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Your edits were about as thoughtful as your rather obvious special-interest username. It was hardly vandalism, so I don't see why you need to compare it to that – However by immediately repeating your edits you are clearly happy to begin edit warring. You deleted a number of refs from established authorities (JSTOR and, then deleted the rest of the content on the grounds that it was now unsourced. You deleted a number of refs from Aaron's own site, owing to your misunderstanding of policy: WP:RS is not a requirement that all references meet RS, or a ban upon self-published sources in addition – there was no reason whatsoever to blank these references. Of course you didn't consider using any of the tools like or itself (try [1]) to retrieve old copies of now-dead URLs.
You blanked the section about the 14 year old Aaron Swartz and his work with the W3C, which is one of the most well-known things about him. You made zero effort to source this (the W3C would, I think, be considered a RS and their archives are pretty accessible [2]). I was part of the RSS & RDF working groups at this time - Swartz had a big influence and left a big recorded footprint. One of the refs you read (you did read them didn't you?) even includes a photo of the (I think) 15 year old Swartz with Larry Lessig.
Strangely you left recent refs that related to the hacking incident, and that were critical of him, intact. You might wish to review WP:NPOV. You were also quite happy to swap "asked to resign" (which I understand to be the case) with "fired", presumably on the basis that "Fired" and "Wired" make a better pun for a T shirt.
You claimed, "much of it is disputed, and the subject appears to inflate his credentials in many contexts that have been subject to dispute." which isn't even OR it's just sheer WP:MADEUP on your part. The only real issue about which that sort of statement could be made is the credit for Reddit, a topic where some quite possibly overblown claims have been made, but far less from Swartz than they have from outside commentators. Where art these "disputes" that you claim? Where are these "many" contexts? If you're going to defame the subject of an article, it's even more important to source that than for cases where hes being praised, perhaps without sources.
Removing self promotion is of course a valuable goal that we all support. Two hundred edits? I think I hit that in a good week. This though was a poorly done hatchet job. Andy Dingley (talk) 01:04, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Your tone here is strange and hostile. You repeatedly call me 'lazy' and my work 'poorly done', but this is not about me or you. I'm not in competition with you or the number of edits you've made. You have, however, simply mischaracterized my edits. It is patently unfair to suggest I removed sources and then claimed material was unsourced, for example. Indeed, I explained this in my comments on the talk page.
I can respond to each of the various things you suggest, but I'm not sure you're considering what I'm saying in a fair spirit. For example, I replaced 'asked to resign' with 'fired' because the only source on the matter (the subject's own) uses that word. It is also the word used in the article on Reddit. The pun was his, not mine, but it is still the word he used, and elaborated, in the one cited reference on the topic. His connection with the PCCC, outside claims that originate with him, are unclear, and I was unable to find reliable sources on the matter. This is something about which we should be very careful, as they are a political action committee and we are claiming a link with someone charged with federal felonies.
I'm not clear what else in what you've written merits response; none of it seems germane to the reasons I offered on the article's talk page or to any of the specific edits that I spent time making. You seem to assume I have some animosity toward the subject, which I don't. My comments on the talk page concerning notability are not affected by whether he once worked with Larry Lessig or not.
I'm sure you're more experienced with Wikipedia than I am, but the policies in question on this matter are clear: 'Sometimes editors will disagree on whether material is verifiable. The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material, and is satisfied by providing a reliable source that directly supports the material.' WP:BURDEN. This is why I will revert your hostile, knee-jerk reversion of my edits once again. My understanding is that you are the one engaging in an 'edit war', having reverted careful edits and restored disputed unreferenced material without cause using Twinkle. I am unclear precisely how to escalate the matter, but I will do that instead if you prefer, and if you or someone else instructs me how. In any case, I suggest that if you really think my edits are inappropriate, you leave them to someone else to revert, after they read this discussion and the comments I have made on the article's discussion page. Antiselfpromotion (talk) 01:23, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
A minor update: I was prepared to restore my edits per WP:BURDEN, for the reasons I described. But this was unnecessary because a significantly more experienced editor than I already did so on the same grounds. I have no personal stake in this matter, but I do not think that the way you have characterized my edits is fair, and I just want to state so for the record. Antiselfpromotion (talk) 01:29, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
(Note: I have reposted my reply above from from Andy Dingley's personal talk page, after he reposted his reply to my comments on that page here. I'm writing this just to avoid confusion. I suggest we continue any discussion, if necessary, here.) Antiselfpromotion (talk) 01:34, 3 January 2013 (UTC)


Uh-oh ... there may be confirmation :-( . I'm still a little hesitant, further confirms might be wise, given Wikipedia is not for breaking news. Seth Finkelstein (talk) 07:17, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Seems the discussion forums are running it. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 07:50, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
New York Times obit :-( -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 19:36, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Known method: hanging, people will want to know. (talk) 20:05, 12 January 2013 (UTC)


Beyond the question of who wrote it, this is an irrelevant biography. There are Nobel Laureates and nominees with smaller entries, and I think this reflects the "techie-bias" of Wikipedia. --Alexiusca 18:26, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

That's fine. People that agree with you have taken this to a articles for deletion vote and have lost. If you think things have changed in a way that will change the AfD, feel free to propose it again. I think it's unlikely. If you find Wikipedia lacking in articles on Nobel Laureates, perhaps you can spent more time improving these articles rather than complaining on the talk pages of people you feel are undeserving. —mako (talkcontribs) 06:31, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
If you've got a problem with the pages on Nobel Laureates being too short, go edit them and put more information on them, don't complain about it on a talkpage in a completely irrelevant article. I'm appalled that there's almost 30 pages for some TV series, and the page on Minutes of Arc is completely incomprehensible and might as well be deleted. However the people writing have more interest in a show like Battlestar Galactica than they do on Minutes of Arc; similarly writers are more interested about Aaron Swartz than they are about a Nobel Laureate. He may not deserve a longer page, but he is certainly notable and in online communities he's probably more notable than most Laureates are and that's where it counts. 14:13, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Minute of arc as last modified on 8 January 2013 at 02:13 is superbly written. --Pawyilee (talk) 14:04, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm using some software by Aaron, thought 'that name seems familiar', looked him up and found some useful context for the software I'm using on this page. I'm glad it hasn't been deleted, it is a useful page. Marinheiro (talk) 15:43, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Source links

Wikipedia Username AaronSw in Article

I removed the username User:AaronSw in the article in the section about Wikipedia: (diff). I took a look at the list of Wikipedians who also have articles and for a small sample of articles I picked I don't see the Wikipedia user name included there: Jimmy Wales, Harald Tveit Alvestrand, David Weinberger, Michał Zalewski, Arthur Rubin, Sue Gardner. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jjjjjjjjjj (talkcontribs) 04:15, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

I inserted that username into the article when I originally wrote the Wikipedia section b/c it could be sourced. But since the others articles mentioned don't list their username I'm good with taking it out of this article and fully support your change. Thanks. --SouthernNights (talk) 12:24, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Footnoting Infogami/Reddit drama

There seems to be no disagreement that Swartz was co-owner of parent org Not a Bug after the merger, with controversy over the use of the term 'co-founder'. I moved details of the controversy to a footnote; not essential to the lede. – SJ + 08:39, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Support. I think you made the right call there. For what it's worth, I did a little journalistic research on this a while back, and essentially came to the conclusion he was in the right, though there's a bit of complexity in the gory details. But I believe it's unarguable he had both equity and the formal title of "co-founder", so the dispute boils down to connotation. Basically, I think it's a case where the others made a deal they later wished they hadn't, but it's not something that's subject to a "clawback". -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 09:31, 13 January 2013 (UTC)


I have added a video to the EL's. I'm well aware of WP:EL but it seems to me that a brief commercial-free piece where Swartz concisely sums up the SOPA campaign merits inclusion, especially as it is the only direct video link. It is not copyvio, and will be useful to people wanting to gain insight into Swartz's personality as well as the SOPA campaign. Wwwhatsup (talk) 10:04, 13 January 2013 (UTC)


Maybe Aaron Swartz's contribution to developing and discussing the Namecoin project[1][2] is worth mentioning.

It is currently not widely used, but controversies like the ITU conference in Dubai around control of the internet show that in the future, a decentral, secure naming system could become extremely important for internet freedom.


— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:52, 13 January 2013‎ (UTC)

SOPA section

I was surprised that a SOPA section does not exist, so I have started one and included an expand section tag—I am not an expert on this subject, by any means, so the contributions of other copyeditors would be great.--Soulparadox (talk) 11:56, 13 January 2013 (UTC)


The information about potential fines and prison sentences is given twice over in two separate paragraphs. Read the article from top to bottom, and the repetition stands out. Uncle G (talk) 14:15, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Quinn Norton

Based on this BBC piece (where she is described as "Swartz's former partner"), and a piece by Quinn Norton herself, it appears that Swartz and Quinn Norton had a relationship. However, that is merely interpretation, albeit it strongly supported by those pieces - has anyone got any clearer sources? GiantSnowman 15:11, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Demand Progress article

Interestingly, the Demand Progress article was just deleted yesterday... If I were a crazy person, I'd think there was a RIAA-MPAA conspiracy retaliating against Swartz and Demand Progress for their involvement in defeating SOPA. Fortunately, I'm not a crazy person. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:50, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
That seems ridiculous to me. Demand Progress has over 1M people on its subscriber list, and has been cited not only by national media and in connection with SOPA but on the RIAA and MPAA blogs... It's sad that we've gotten to the point where only 2-3 !votes suffice to delete articles with significant edit histories; it looked quite reasonably written, if in need of a few more national media cites. – SJ + 21:33, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Let's ask for deletion review and work on gathering sources. Looking around, I'm finding a lot of sources covering actions they took, but not a lot covering the organization itself in detail:

long list of sources and quotes
  • WPRI 2010: "Segal’s new project is Demand Progress, a federal political action committee and 527 he co-founded along with Aaron Swartz. They got to know each other during the congressional campaign – Swartz used to be with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which helped nudge Segal into the CD1 race. Segal is Demand Progress’ campaign director and Swartz is its executive director. “So far it’s been a lot of work on banking reform, free speech, and Internet freedom,” Segal said."
  • CNet 2011: "The progressive activists at Demand Progress could, reasonably, be viewed as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's natural enemy on most technological topics...the Motion Picture Association of America had already claimed that Demand Progress was allied "with at least one--and who knows how many more--offshore rogue Web sites that promote the theft and illegal marketing of American products like movies, video games and software." David Moon, Demand Progress' program director, told CNET today that the Chamber's attack on his organization is a sign that an online anti-SOPA campaign is working."
  • PCWorld 2011: "More than 30,000 U.S. residents sent messages to their lawmakers early Tuesday, Demand Progress said, after the group called on its members to ask their elected representatives to refuse to sponsor the House version of PROTECT IP...Demand Progress will oppose the House bill if it looks like the Senate version, said David Segal, Demand Progress' executive director."
  • Variety 2011: "Demand Progress said 70 representatives of tech companies and advocacy groups held a strategy session over the weekend and have launched a campaign called "Censor Everything" week, with the goal of driving "more constituent contacts to Congress than we've seen in years," in the words of Demand Progress executive director David Segal."
  • WPRI 2011: "Since his unsuccessful congressional bid last year, former state Rep. David Segal has been keeping busy running Demand Progress, a new federal political action committee and 527 group he cofounded last year that advocates for civil liberties, net neutrality and related issues. But now Demand Progress is making news rather than responding to it. Segal’s Demand Progress cofounder, Harvard student Aaron Swartz, has been indicted for allegedly hacking into the academic database JSTOR and downloading more than 4 million articles."
  • TechDirt 2011: "MPAA Attacks Demand Progress With Ridiculous & Unsubstantiated Claims"
  • Fox News 2012: "David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, an activist group responsible for the new Vote for the Net movement, called it "a big victory for the Internet,"" "Both President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney had spoken at length about controversial Internet legislation such as SOPA in the past, but neither was willing to comment on the Demand Progress platform."
  • Huffington Post 2012: "The progressive advocacy group Demand Progress is taking a stand against Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), amid rumors that he is being considered as a potential replacement for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The group is arguing that Berman's work on a host of controversial Internet issues, particularly his advocacy for the Stop Online Piracy Act, disqualifies him from the position."
  • PCWorld 2012: "More than 36,000 people have signed a petition, started by 'Net activist group Demand Progress in mid-August, calling on the two major parties to add Internet freedom language to their party platforms. Demand Progress reiterated its call for Internet freedom language in the platforms on Monday"
  • Raw Story 2012: "The advocacy group Demand Progress condemned the Obama administration on Thursday after the FBI took down one of the most popular file sharing websites on the Internet,"
  • Torrent Freak 2012: "Political activist group Demand Progress has filed a brief in the Megaupload case, urging the court to disregard the MPAA’s concerns over the return of data to former Megaupload users. The group argues that Hollywood lobbyists are out to make it impossible for Megaupload users to access their property, effectively using the court case as a backdoor SOPA."
  • ZeroPaid 2012: "Demand Progress has filed a legal brief, joining the many in call to permit users who used MegaUpload legally to have their files returned."
  • Chicago Tribune 2013: "Swartz later founded the group Demand Progress and led a successful campaign to block a bill introduced in 2011 in the U.S. House of Representatives called the Stop Online Piracy Act, which generated fierce opposition in the technological community."
  • CNN 2013: "Swartz then engaged in Internet digital activism, co-founding Demand Progress, a political action group that campaigns against Internet censorship."
  • Salon 2013: "Demand Progress, a million-plus member civil rights organization, will begin mobilizing their members later this morning to urge the Senate to reject Brennan’s confirmation as CIA director."

The question is whether this meets WP:ORGDEPTH. I think it does - it fits the criteria of "If the depth of coverage is not substantial, then multiple independent sources should be cited to establish notability" and "extends well beyond routine announcements and makes it possible to write more than a very brief, incomplete stub about an organization". Other thoughts? More sources? Dreamyshade (talk) 22:26, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Here's a mention in the Economist: Everything is Connected – SJ +
fwiw, Demand Progress is back and better than ever. Agreed it was foolish to delete in the first place. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 22:48, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Link to petition getting caught in the spam filter

WP:RSes discuss the white house petition. To provide readers with a direct link, we must add an entry to the spam-filter whitelist. This has been proposed at WT:WHITELIST, but they seem to have a bit of a backlog, so if anyone could speed up the whitelisting, it would help the article. --HectorMoffet (talk) 06:25, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

What would make a direct link to the petition appropriate? I assume you want to add it to the external links section? Online petitions are specifically not allowed per WP:ELNORyan Vesey 14:26, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Not in EL, but just seemed appropriate to add an inline ref citation linking to WH site when the text discusses that specific site (along with the existing secondary source reference of course). I don't think such a reference would constitute "spam" in this context. --HectorMoffet (talk) 17:05, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
It's still unnecessary to include since secondary sources refer to the petition and can be used as the reference. Ryan Vesey 17:54, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
My standard practices is that if the article refers to a notable article, you cite both secondary and direct for the readers. Then if it's truly promotional, it will get removed the natural editorial process. It's a minor but noted pity that our standard consensus-driven article-making practice can't play itself out on this article because of an overly broad technical limitation that was never intended to have this precise effect. ---HectorMoffet (talk) 18:05, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure what the problem is but I did add an EL to Petition to posthumously pardon Aaron Swartz --My76Strat (talk) 18:50, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Okay-- apparently the filter was literally just choking on the word petition in the WH domain name. Good Work My76Strat, you've de-glitched the glitch. --HectorMoffet (talk) 18:57, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Why was this archived? Discussion clearly wasn't finished. Including a link to an online petition is inappropriate. Ryan Vesey 18:58, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
    Yes I did see where ELNO#4 specifically prohibits "online petitions". Of course that correction was made through normal editing, which I support. The notion that it was prevented by a blacklist filter worried me a bit. --My76Strat (talk) 19:12, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Sorry to archive before it's time-- I asked a tech question, I got a tech answer, so I called it good. Glad you restored if discussion wasn't finished.
I'm inclined to agree with Vesey on us not including a straight link to the petition in the "External Links" section. We have like a hundred links in this article, but only 9 in the External Links section-- including a link there would stray too close to the guideline against promotion. --HectorMoffet (talk) 21:50, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Quote in death section

Isn't it POV to include "Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy, it is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death"? In fact, the section is filled with criticism of the charges; there's nothing neutral in that. Ryan Vesey 21:25, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

It's a quote, not a fact-- it's the charge leveled by the family in their official statement, and more to the point, that particular quote has been widely used in the WP:RSes. MIT and the US Atty's office will likely be producing similar statements we can use for balance. --HectorMoffet (talk) 21:54, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Westboro Baptist Church

Is this worth adding to the article? (talk) 23:32, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps when it happens, if it receives significant coverage, but not just the threat. It's both premature and not really relevant to the public response as WBC protests are just trolling, so it's not particularly enlightening that they are thinking about targeting Swartz. Ocaasi t | c 23:38, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
There's not only a "threat" though. It is both an announcement on their webpage ( and also a formal press release. Whether it is enlightening or not, it is notable that Westboro Baptist Church for specific reasons have targeted Swartz, albeit posthumously. (talk) 11:23, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
WBC frequently promise to protest in any death that gets media attention, but then almost as often fail to do anything. "Don't feed the trolls" comes to mind. Jonathunder (talk) 15:28, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Suicide or Alleged suicide?

Medicalscholar (talk · contribs) has changed the cause of death from just suicide to "Alleged suicide", even though I've notified him on his user talk page that there are sources that definitely say it was suicide. Could someone else check and switch it on the article page? Techman224Talk 06:22, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Removed. "A spokeswoman for New York's medical examiner later confirmed to Associated Press news agency that Mr Swartz had hanged himself." from BBC makes it clear. Ryan Vesey 14:30, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Oh yeah, like you've never ever seen someone's suicide be faked for obvious reasons. Here is Aaron’s Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto:

Information is power, but like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.

The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations.

Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.

There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it.

But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future. Everything up until now will have been lost.

That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them?

Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

‘I agree,’ many say, but what can we do?’ The companies hold the copyrights. They make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal – there’s nothing we can do to stop them. But there is something we can, something that’s already being done: we can fight back.

Those with access to these resources – students, librarians, scientists – you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out.

But you need not – indeed, morally, you cannot – keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.

Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by the publishers and sharing them with your friends.

But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral – it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.

Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate require it – their shareholders would revolt at anything less. And the politicians they have bought off back them, passing laws giving them the exclusive power to decide who can make copies.

There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.

We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive.

We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerrilla Open Access.

With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge – we’ll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?

Does Aaron’s manifesto sound like someone planning suicide? (talk) 19:27, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
This talk page is the first place I've seen which has claimed that the suicide was faked. Until some notable evidence arises which suggests his death was not suicide, there is no reason to qualify the word "suicide". Cmknapp (talk) 12:19, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

JSTOR section

The JSTOR section currently opens with the prosecution for what Swartz did. But media coverage has focused as much on what he did, as on the consequences. I think it would be worthwhile to rewrite a bit, focusing initially on what he did, and bumping the fact that he was being prosecuted to maybe the second paragraph.

In addition, it would be good to work in the fact that JSTOR opened access to its public domain holdings shortly after settling its case against him. (source) -Pete (talk) 16:19, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Plus JSTOR did so just days before the alleged suicide. So if anything, Aaron had reason enough to throw a HUGE party! This decision by JSTOR (would have) killed the entire case-load [.gov .corp .moneyhungry .powerhungry .jealous] had against him! (talk) 19:22, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Note that the access to the public domain articles was permitted shortly after the prosecution began, i.e. shortly after the event itself. The thing recently was about expanding some kind of limited quantity of access with a free account signup that began a year ago (see JSTOR). Wnt (talk) 23:18, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
To expand on Wnt's reply (I started mine before his appeared)—, you are getting two different things confused. What JSTOR did right before Aaron's death was expand its Register & Read program by 4.5 million documents. This is where they allow the general public to read, every two weeks, up to 3 articles that are at least 3 years old. The articles are only from certain journals, and must be read online, although some can be downloaded for a fee. JSTOR said the expansion of this program had nothing to with the Aaron Swartz matter. This is already mentioned here in our article, in the last paragraph of the JSTOR section.
What Pete was referring to was back in September 2011, when JSTOR did something that actually was in response to the Aaron Swartz and Greg Maxwell situations: they accelerated the implementation of their Early Journal Content program which was already in the works to make 500,000 public domain articles (pre-1923 U.S. publications, and pre-1870 non-U.S. publications) from 200+ journals available for free access by the general public. I agree this should be added. I had removed mention of Greg Maxwell's 2011 protest torrent of a sizable chunk of JSTOR's PD content as non-notable, but it might have to be added back in. —mjb (talk) 01:01, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

I semi-agree with Pete about using chronological phrasing. It was my first impulse to try to rephrase the section as proposed, but as I started to do it, I realized that I was going to be asserting that he did things that were the actually the subject of dispute. I mean, I don't think any part of the story was ever public until after his arrest, was it? And even then, what was reported were accusations, not confirmed facts. What exactly has Swartz or his legal counsel publicly admitted to?

Since there's no authoritative narrative of what he did, we have to be very careful about kicking off the section with something like "In December 2010 and January 2011, Swartz did X Y and Z". Did he really do those things? The recent, posthumous media reports state all sorts of things he supposedly did as if they were undisputed facts. But at the time of his arrest, when he was still living, the press was much more careful to refer to things as mere allegations made in the government's indictment and in JSTOR's press release. If nothing more has been publicly confirmed, then I see no reason to abandon WP:BLP.

I mean, just because journalists aren't doing their jobs doesn't mean we shouldn't hold ourselves to a higher standard. We can say what actions he is said to have undertaken, explicitly attributed to whoever says so, and we can say what crimes he was subsequently charged with, in relation to those alleged actions. But it was not a certainty that he did every act he is said to have done, nor is it a certainty whether all or any of those acts meet the definition of the crimes with which he was charged. That was the dispute that was pending and never resolved, and would never have been resolved without a jury trial or a change of plea. —mjb (talk) 01:01, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

You make a good point, and I'm sorry to say that without carefully reading the more reputable sources' coverage (which I don't have time for at the moment), I don't know the answer. I think holding ourselves to a higher standard is a good idea, but at the same time, that standard needn't be "perfection." If reliable sources have seen fit to assert that X is true, even though X was not admitted to in a legal case, I would consider that sufficient for us to assert that X is true in this article (with clear attribution). -Pete (talk) 06:24, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Talk:Carmen Ortiz#Request for Comment

There is an RFC in progress that editors of this article will likely want to participate in. --Intentionally Unsigned to avoid Bias 07:51, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Heymann's prior prosecution which ended in suicide: Relevant?

I moved this from the Petitions sections for discussion:

Heymann is linked to the suicide of another young computer hacker whom he aggressively pursued.Andrew Good, a Boston attorney who had previously represented Swartz in the case, said he told federal prosecutors that Swartz was a suicide risk. Their response was "put him in jail, he'll be safe there," Good said.

I have concerns about the soundness of the "link" between Heymann and the first defendant who killed himsel; also the relevance of this case to Swartz' biography; and, last, providing sources besides Russia Today would help establish the worth of including this. Ok...

  • Wall Street Journal has this same quote from Good, [3]
  • BuzzFeed, BuzinessInsider, CNET, Daily Mail, Salon, Boston Herald (local), and NYMag mention the first suicide [4], [5], [6] [7], [8], [9],

That's slightly more convincing but the quality of the mentions is still pretty slim for the strong suggestion about Heymann. Ocaasi t | c 18:52, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

it feels a step too far away from biographical for here; we are way past the point where this needs an even article though. --Errant (chat!) 18:57, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
It's not relevant. When somebody breaks the law and commits suicide to avoid the punishment, it's sad, but not the fault of the prosecutor. If the other person who committed suicide was somehow directly related to Swartz (not indirectly as it appears) it could be included, but it can't use Heymann as the link between the two. Ryan Vesey 19:00, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Just as usual, it becomes relevant to us in here, when some WP:RS out there makes this as a direct comparison between the cases. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:14, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
  • As Andy says-- the RSes make the decision. I agree the logic is questionable, but you can see, there's no shortage of RSes discussing the prior suicide case. We follow their lead. --HectorMoffet (talk) 20:45, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Decent source of quotes RE: public reaction

Some good quotes from various notable people here: RawStory:Debate intensifies over draconian cyber-crime laws after Aaron Swartz's death --Teststudent (talk) 19:57, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia username

Just wondering - what was Aaron's nickname here on Wikipedia (I assume he had one if, as written, he "volunteered as an editor at Wikipedia")? Kubek15 write/sign 14:59, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

AaronSw (talk · contribs) Andy Dingley (talk) 15:19, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I wandered over here when someone first broke the news at AN (never having worked with Aaron on Wikipedia, but having read about him in the past), and saw that the {{Connected contributor}} tag was still up on this talk page. I removed it, mostly because it's always been a bit harsher than it needs to be, so it seemed especially inappropriate on the biography of a now-deceased well-respected contributor. If someone would like, I can come up with some sort of more respectful talkpage template for notable Wikipedians who've passed away. — Francophonie&Androphilie(Je vous invite à me parler) 17:43, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree that {{connected contributor}} is harsher than it needs to be, in general. Thank you for removing it from this article; I think the best thing would be to rewrite that template in a way that is not accusatory. Plenty of people manage their conflicts of interest just fine, and don't need to have a scarlet letter permanently attached to their bios. -Pete (talk) 06:16, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. --Another Believer (Talk) 20:48, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Please see here for discussion of a proposed template I've made for the talk pages of articles on deceased Wikipedians. Also, someone remind me to start a discussion at Template talk:Connected contributor on incorporating a version of it for users who are clearly in good standing (like a "good=yes" parameter or something). — Francophonie&Androphilie(Je vous invite à me parler) 23:35, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Photo of Carmen Ortiz

Is there any reason to include the picture of Carmen Ortiz? Ryan Vesey 15:40, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

No, none at all, a link to her wiki bio is plenty WP:BLP considering the attacking, opinionated claims against her being the reason for him hanging himself to death - Youreallycan 21:06, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
The theory was that it would be fair to US Atty Ortiz to 'humanize' her by adding her pic to the article too, but I can see both sides and it's clearly nonessential. --HectorMoffet (talk) 20:36, 17 January 2013 (UTC)


Another question. Should his twitter account be removed? Wwwhatsup (talk) 10:04, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

No. There continues to be an extremely high number of references to @aaronsw on Twitter (more so than prior to his death), and maintaining that link is useful. jhawkinson (talk) 10:20, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

I think having a Twitter account listed is relevant. Why do people keep removing it? TiMike (talk) 21:33, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Then remove all the links and replace them with a single link to Google, as they're all linked from there too. Andy Dingley (talk) 00:10, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm sure you're being sarcastic, but it's not getting you anywhere. Ryan Vesey 00:17, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
  • The article is not over-flooded with links. I think the Twitter account information would make it flow better and be more complete. Acknowledged there are indirect policy recommendations in both directions, but taking both sides into account, I favor that its inclusion would create a better encyclopedia article. Lenny Kaufman talk 00:37, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
  • How would it flow better in a list of links? We don't have indirect policy recommendations in both directions, there's one policy which states that Twitter is inappropriate if it is featured prominently on the official site. It's featured at the top of the page. Ryan Vesey 00:49, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ryan, If you feel very strongly about it, I will not press it. Just letting you know I agree with the majority opinion for what people believe would make a better article. Lenny Kaufman talk 10:35, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Subject's own twitter name is encyclopedic, people want the link-- stop chopping it. :) --HectorMoffet (talk) 22:39, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

HectorMoffet has got it right. This is an encyclopedia, not an exercise in how strict we can be in following one of our content guidelines. Jonathunder (talk) 09:51, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Merged the two /* Twitter */ sections. There remains a lot of twitter traffic that references his twitter handle, making its presence on the article page particular useful. Honestly I'd argue that it belongs in the infobox, but that's probably best argued elsewhere and more generally. jhawkinson (talk) 14:30, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Death and Aftermath

The sections titled 'Death and aftermath' and 'Public debate and response' are a bit of a mess. Currently 'Death and aftermath' contains similar content as 'public debate and response'. In my view there should be a clearer distinction between the two. Details of his death, the funeral and the family's response to his death (and any eulogies at the funeral) belong in one section. Everything else belongs in the 'public response' section. The sub-heading 'Family response and criticism' could then be removed. JaggerAgain (talk) 18:37, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

I agree, be bold with your assertion, and improve the discrepancy. --My76Strat (talk) 19:18, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Ditto, good suggestion. I'm happy to make that change if you'd prefer. Ocaasi t | c 19:51, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Removed NPOV violations and irrelevant material from [JSTOR section]

I have removed the bolded:

Third parties have used various analogies to explain Swartz's alleged offense to a wider audience. U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz justified the charges by stating "stealing is stealing, whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars." Journalist Chris Hayes summed up the situation by saying "You should also know that at the time of his death Aaron was being prosecuted by the federal government and threatened with up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines for the crime of — and I’m not exaggerating here — downloading too many free articles from the online database of scholarly work JSTOR." Demand Progress said the indictment was like "trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library"

The removed statements are clearly written from a particular POV that feels that the case was unfairly brought. While that's not an invalid point of view, this page on Aaron Swartz is not made or maintained for the purpose of martyrdom or advancement of a non-neutral perspective. There are many problems with the removed statements, including but not necessarily limited to:

1. The statement by U.S. Attorney Ortiz is not an analogy, nor was it made by a third party; she spoke for the U.S. government, a party to the litigation, as the prosecutor on the case.

2. The opinion by Chris Hayes is not notable, nor is it neutral, nor is it factually correct, nor should the includer of the statement have given support to it. The statement is factually incorrect in stating that the basis of the charges was "downloading too many free articles from... JSTOR". JSTOR charges for access to its content, which it has a right to do (if not there would have been no reason for Swartz to commit the alleged crimes). I am bending over backward to be fair by leaving in the statement about JSTOR later allowing a minimum of free content to be viewed, with tight restrictions on method and amount-- note that allowing a small amount of free access as a teaser does not mean that all of one's intellectual property has been made free, or cannot be stolen. These are issues for courts to decide, not Wikipedia users intent on honoring the subject of a page before a court has ruled on the matter. In addition, to state that Chris Hayes "summed up the situation" is to assert the correctness of his summing-up, a huge NPOV violation that clearly indicates the intent of the original includer.

3. The statement by Demand Progress is heavily biased and irrelevant; of course they would weigh in with a comment supportive of Swartz in this situation, which they have a right to do. However, not only does their biased comment have no place in a factual discussion of the merits of the case, whatever those may be, but it is factually incorrect to boot. JSTOR documents cannot be checked out like books from a library and returned, a patently ridiculous claim. At the time of Swartz's alleged theft computer crimes, as remains true at the time of this comment, the vast bulk of JSTOR documents were accessible only for a fee, and were not "returnable" in any way analogous to returning a library book.

Internet activisim is all fine and dandy, but not the stuff of good Wikipedia pages, which must remain neutral. If anyone feels that the removals were improper, please feel free to discuss them here. CarthCarsen (talk) 12:47, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

I think you are going to be challenged on some of this removal. The content should not be in boldface however, per MOS:BOLD. --My76Strat (talk) 12:58, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
(I used bold to indicate what I'd removed and what I'd left.) I think the removals are massively justified. In fact I question the neutrality of the article overall even after the removal-- the "public reaction" section reads like an ad for a martyr's headstone for Swartz. I haven't gone hunting for commentary yet, but it's not possible that the entire world approved of his activities. CarthCarsen (talk) 14:57, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Indeed. I just love it when an editor with 50 edits (or is it a lot more? It frequently is) pops up and spouts expert knowledge of policy at everyone. After all, it's only a couple of weeks since much of this article was blanked by another editor with an axe to grind and a username to show it.

Why should we expect Chris Hayes (or Larry Lessig) to follow NPOV anyway? Our need is to report what they wrote, and to do that much neutrally. What they think and write is a matter for them, not us.

Also will people please stop calling copyright breach "theft" (it isn't "piracy" either). Theft has a legal definition (which in UK law is quite specific as meaning that you have to deprive the original owner of the material, amongst other requirements). Unless Aaron walked out of a server room with a wheelbarrow full of HDs, he didn't "steal" a thing, no matter how you regard the legality of his downloading. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:36, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Andy Dingley, your personal style seems to be to attack other editors who have fewer posts than you, at least when you disagree with them. I am as entitled to edit and post here as you; at one point you too had fewer than 50 edits. I haven't blanked much of the article, just removed a few totally biased statements where they had no place, as well as an assertion by a previous editor that one of the biased statements described the situation accurately, and even erroneous statements that the prosecutor's statements were an analogy (nope) and those of a "third party" (nope). Like it or not, your apparent hero was a defendant in a criminal case, and biased statements from the defendant's supporters are not justification for trying the case here, after his death. CarthCarsen (talk) 14:57, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I understand your sentiments. I think you are missing some of the finer points related to best editing practices, and perhaps bringing your own bias and original research to bear on the article. I posted a maintenance tag alerting readers of your contention, and suspect you will have an opportunity to address your concerns further. I would offer perspective on my understanding, but frankly I am biased at the moment and would more appropriately recuse at this point. Cheers, --My76Strat (talk) 15:12, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
When I'd made only 50 edits, I had no idea what "NPOV" meant, let alone how to hatchet articles along such a tightrope of policy. So my obvious suspicion is raised as to whether you're really a far more experienced editor, hiding behind a sockpuppet account. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:17, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
To be fair, this user has posted information on their user page that explains your befuddlement. It existed before this current situation, and by their contributions, they do not resemble an SPA. --My76Strat (talk) 15:23, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. I'm not a sock puppet. I am also not opposed to Aaron Swartz or out to minimize his legacy; fairness and accuracy are simply important to me. CarthCarsen (talk) 18:21, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
So please explain how NPOV applies to the statement, "The removed statements are clearly written from a particular POV that feels that the case was unfairly brought."
Of course they're POV statements. Of course that just doesn't matter (Off-wiki journos aren't bound by WP policy). If anything is a problem for POV on WP, it's this sort of unilateral blanking of one party's opinions. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:37, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry for not being the most polished Wikipedian. For me the trigger was a combination of the third-party opinions being inserted without countervailing ones, the fact that they were both misleading, and the fact that the editor who inserted them did it in such a way as to imply that they were accurate. I probably wouldn't have batted an eye at factually correct statements, even if they contained opinion, made by Swartz's attorney. The inclusion of those particular opinions in that one-sided way made the whole section read like an opinion piece, to me. CarthCarsen (talk) 18:21, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
So, do all opinions in articles on Wikipedia need to be made by an attorney to be relevant? I would say that coming from an attorney would make them less relevant. I don't mean that as a jab at attorneys, I just mean attorneys are non-NPOV by definition in real life. (talk) 19:32, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Don't be silly. My point was that the one-sidedness flag would not have been raised if a statement by the government attorney was opposed by a statement from the defense attorney. My problems with the quotes included the 1) seeming inclusion of only one side of a third-party debate, 2) while dressing it up to make it seem like the U.S. Attorney was such a third party and just restating the obvious about the state's case without anything more, 3) with massive inaccuracies in the third-party quotes, 4) stated with an implied assertion as to the accuracy of the third-party one-sided statements. HTH. CarthCarsen (talk) 19:41, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

To be honest; I've only quickly scanned the removals, but I think it was an OK choice - it wasn't the best content. I'm always a bit dubious of contentious issues that get stuffed with quotes from various parties. I think it would be better to find some less opinionated (i.e. mainstream) content that covers all of the commentators statements and see what they pick up on. (Also; I'm a bit worried about using material from the last few days amongst the older material. I think that latter opinions should be identified as such, seems like good practice) --Errant (chat!) 15:59, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

The back and forth -- who understands what, etc. -- needs to stop. This page is for discussing improvements to the article, and nothing else.
I agree with ErrantX, the recent removals seem worthwhile, and compliant with the NPOV policy. -Pete (talk) 16:10, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I think there are ways to bring all of that content in, in some form, but that the way it was done so was a little POV. That's going to be a difficult problem to handle here, partly due to recentism but also because Aaron was "one of us" etc. Perhaps we can put forward some concrete suggestions for different methods of covering this matter --Errant (chat!) 16:34, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I think it would be good to hunt up representative positions from both sides; there must be some. In addition, since the removed quotes are in my opinion much more objectionable by virtue of misleading readers than by bias in favor of Swartz, I think that it might be a good time to consider making a page about the case itself. For now I've left some questionable statements in the article, such as the unsupported assertion that the case tested the limits of the CFAA (which doesn't seem to be the situation to me, but rather that the law is considered by many to be overbroad, and the penalties in situations such as this too harsh). On a page about the case itself, some decent treatment could be made about the assertions on both sides, more exploration of the opinions without sainting the man or attacking his legacy on this page, and everything would be copasetic. The case does seem to be of more than passing importance to me, at least in terms of social impact and possibly legally as well (I can't say at this point). CarthCarsen (talk) 18:21, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Is it me or is there a misunderstanding here about what WP:NPOV is for? NPOV specifically encourages "representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources." - removing sourced, referenced quotes about the matter because those quotes themselves only represent one side is, I would suggest, not a valid use of NPOV unless the article itself contains ONLY quotes from one viewpoint and avoiding all others. There's clearly a balance to be struck - the article refers to the charges as laid, and conversely by representing the comments who have suggested the alternate viewpoint, proper NPOV is achieved. Removing the comments actually seems to breach NPOV more than including them does. Bonusballs (talk) 18:23, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Bonusballs, yes, it's good to survey the reaction. But it's a rather tricky task. The thing we should be looking to, to guide that coverage, is the highest quality secondary sources we can find -- that is, established publications making their determinations about what points of view are worthy of coverage. In this case, I think we should be looking to the points of view and quotations covered in the news coverage (as opposed to op-ed pieces) of the Economist, the New York Times, the LA Times, and the like.
At the same time, we should keep in mind that this article is the biography of a person -- not the place for an exhaustive survey of the reaction to his work. I think CarthCarsen is on the right track, above, to suggest a separate article about this court case, because a lot of the details under discussion here -- while important and interesting -- are not really about Aaron Swartz. -Pete (talk) 18:53, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

I vote that the quotes are included. Can we bring this up for a vote? I put the material into the article not realizing there was already a discussion on the talk page about the quotations. I don't believe they are biased quotes. Using metaphor or other illustrative techniques does not indicate bias, it can be merely illustrative. For example, in the quote "downloading too many free articles from the online database of scholarly work JSTOR", that is exactly what happened. It is not biased, it is factual. He downloaded too many articles which were freely available for download, and it was believed by the prosecution that he was planning to profit off of the articles for which JSTOR was a distributor through another channel.

I believe that CarthCarson is biased against including the quotes because he personally believes Aaron was guilty of a crime, and in discussing the crime in the article he doesn't want dissenting and useful illustrative opinion alongside the prosecution's opinion. They are both opinions, and they are both useful to the readers of the article. (talk) 19:19, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

I must agree. I'm not quite sure what Carth is doing (and their barbed comments with phrases like 'thank you for signing in' when reverting my edits are baffling, as I only ever edit with this username) but it strikes me as highly suspicious that someone arrives, makes ten edits to a token article, and then starts citing WP policy apparently like an old hand, while editing articles of significant current controversy (both this and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act‎) to repeatedly remove any quotes from the defendants or their advocates. Perhaps this is a cultural difference but in my own country, if someone is accused of something, it's unbalanced and definitely not neutral to publicise their charges and not their denial of same, if so stated. It cannot breach WP:NPOV to give both sides of the argument using properly-referenced quotes and sources. Bonusballs (talk) 19:25, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I believe you to be the same person as Bonusballs, right down to using a similar posting style. Do IP users get votes? If so I could probably rig up a way to massively skew things, not that I would.  :) First, if you want to remove the quote by U.S. Attorney Ortiz about the justification for the charges, please do so. It was fairly obviously included just as a weak attempt to show balance with the over-the-top biased quotes. In addition, the fact that certain articles may be released unpaid and at others for pay does not make them free to access in the main; in fact a number of newspapers and other sites now have a business model whereby a user is allowed a few token downloads before the charges begin (see for an example; you can read for a little while, then it prompts you to subscribe).
I don't want to wrangle over the rightness or wrongness of whatever it is Aaron Swartz was trying to accomplish with JSTOR, but overstating things in Swartz's favor in such a way does a disservice to all readers. The other quote is even worse-- it seems completely misleading to suggest that he was taking information which he wholly had a right to take in that (as one does a library book with a valid library card within the lending limits), that the information he was taking he was free to take without any charge, and that he was planning to (and could) put it back in a meaningful way. I don't really care at this point what the moral implications of his actions are, and I have NOT stated my belief in his guilt; skewing facts is simply wrong. Overstating the case is never the right path. CarthCarsen (talk) 19:35, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
What do you mean "I believe you to be the same person as Bonusballs"? You are talking to Bonusballs! I am Bonusballs, my comments and edits are all signed with this name, and this name only. I do not edit from any other IP address. But to the main point of your argument - it is not "overstating things" to report something that has been said about the case, just because it appears positive towards the defendant. The "checking too many books out of a library" quote was very widely reported and is clearly felt to be a significant alternate viewpoint. I don't see why it seems so important to you to remove such viewpoints from articles. Bonusballs (talk) 19:41, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I disagree that your feeling that a third-party viewpoint which egregiously misstates the situation, but has been repeated to a certain point by the faithful, makes it worthy of inclusion in an article as a supposedly valid explanation of a court case where most readers will understandably be fuzzy on the legal details without a full explanation. Inaccurate memes are not worthy of inclusion by being successfully retransmitted. CarthCarsen (talk) 19:50, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Your use of terms like "the faithful" is inherently non-neutral. Likewise it is not for you to decide that someone's quote "egregiously misstates the situation" - that is your opinion, and your opinion has no bearing on a Wikipedia article. Only published facts and quotes from reliable sources, presented in a neutral manner. You may disagree with them but it is not for you to remove them for that reason alone. Bonusballs (talk) 19:52, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Don't be ridiculous. My use of terms like "the faithful" conveys that I consider Swartz to be the subject of burgeoning cult status, not that I can't be neutral about the subject matter of the article. That is, noting the extreme partiality of others does not make me non-neutral-- not that I'd have to be anyway. It's the article that must be neutral. In addition, it is my place, as it is anyone's, to note opinion-laden falsehoods shoehorned into Wikipedia pages. I hope you do so on the pages you edit, where you're not so personally involved. CarthCarsen (talk) 22:33, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
"Carth", your behaviour is baffling. You arrive out of nowhere with a seemingly encyclopaedic knowledge of wikipedia terms, and then start making ludicrous personal attacks against anyone who disagrees with you. You've already accused me of sockpuppeting and editing while signed out (both untrue) and now you suggest I am somehow 'personally involved'? Nonsense. Utterly untrue. My only interest in this page is your blatantly lop-sided attempts to remove referenced material, against consensus. Whereas with the exception of the initial 10 edits you made to Vorephillia all your edits have been for the single purpose of removing referenced information from this article and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. As has been said, if you wish to improve the page by providing more and better references, go right ahead. But removing one side of the discussion achieves the reverse of the neutrality you claim to seek. Those "opinion-laden falsehoods" are THE WORDS OF THE DEFENCE. You are NOT the judge and jury. We hear from both sides. You might have thought that someone who was supposedly in the legal profession would have a greater understanding of the importance of such things. Bonusballs (talk) 06:54, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm humbled (blushing actually) that my plain language, adorned by the use of the term "NPOV", has made me seem encyclopedically knowledgeable. With this feather in my cap, I will be spurred on to greatness here. Neither the Demand Progress statement nor the one by Hayes is THE WORDS OF THE DEFENSE: one's a statement by a guy at an organization Swartz co-founded, one's a statement by a journalist, and both are inaccurate. Of course I'm not the judge and jury, and plenty of others here saw bias as well. In the future, try to look at the truth of the situation instead of assuming those who disagree with you are biased; examine yourself. (You seem to have followed me over to the CFAA page-- looks like I've got a pet, eh? There, just as here, presenting one viewpoint much more strongly than another shows bias. You're best off sticking to the facts if you are unable to control your bias.) CarthCarsen (talk) 08:28, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I am assuming that there is something wrong with your keyboard, as the conventional behaviour when making false accusations against another editor is to withdraw them and apologise, not to make things worse by making further accusations of bias. Ultimately the material you tried to remove was instead reinstated and improved, and the concensus on this talk page reflects that. That's how Wikipedia works. As to your apology, I'm sure that it will be forthcoming. Bonusballs (talk) 09:05, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with my keyboard. I think at this point we are even, whoever you are, as you've suggested that I am using a sockpuppet account.
You are correct-- in the end, in a context dominated by those who intend to suggest that the prosecution of Aaron Swartz was wrongful, and bent on including opinion which misstates facts to get that idea across, someone pointing out facts to the contrary may be overwhelmed. Much bias remains in the JSTOR section, such as the inclusion of a statement by Swartz's paid expert witness about the evidence he would have presented, without balance-- of course it's only there to gripe about the 35-year maximum sentence, ignoring that the maximum would never realistically have been imposed, as well as that there was a deal on the table providing for six months' incarceration. It's biased fluff, with no place in the article. Not as egregious as when we began this, with one of the same Wikipedia folks continuing to hope for a biased presentation suggesting that egregious misstatements of fact accurately summed up the situation.
The editing of this particular section of this page should be a source of shame to many who participated. It just goes to show that all the bleating about neutrality doesn't apply in the same way when a friend dies. Maybe you whom I address are all good friends / idolators, but you are terrible Wikipedians when you can subjugate neutrality to your own interests. CarthCarsen (talk) 17:31, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Nope, not the same person. You can get an admin to tell you the same. My IP is a shared IP for the 225 south sixth building in Minneapolis, which is pretty obvious from the other edits from my IP address. I do not think the attorney's opinion should be removed as well as the other opinions - I think they should all be included, though I'd be willing to give up the library one as a compromise. I'm disliking Wikipedia more and more over the years just because of this; articles, in reaching some consensus, just contain less and less information. Useful information which was once there, which I remember being there, is gone because people decide to remove everything of note simply because people can't agree on what to include. It's better to over include than to under include for the readers of Wikipedia. They come for information, they don't care as much as high-volume editors on what is notable and what isn't, and they don't care about our stupid arguments either.
But in continuing this stupid argument, your paywall analogy is a bad analogy in one sense. Paywalls are not contracts (you should know this as an attorney yourself.) You are not bound to the terms of a paywall if the content is accessible by merely accessing cached copies of the pages (which is one way to get around them), and you are not bound either if you merely turn off javascript and cookies (another way to get around them.) In neither case have you made any contractual agreement with the newspaper website, and in neither way are you hacking or cracking their site. JSTORs articles are the same, in this sense of your analogy. You can write a Perl script to do GUI operations to scrape articles in as reasonable a way as you would do by hand, without breaking a contract, in a much more efficient manner. Google is just as guilty for creating links with subheader information from newspaper pages without paying the paywall as Aaron was for scraping JSTOR content, and Google has been found not guilty of that many times in many countries. (talk) 19:56, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
You're essentially trying to exonerate Aaron Swartz, regarding a case that can now never be tried, without adequate presentation of the facts, based on your personal feelings. You should be recusing yourself, not arguing further. This page is simply not the place to drum up support about your biased perception of unfairness. Yes, he was a popular figure among many Wikipedians and other relatively web-techie types. Yes, there are good reasons for that; and nevertheless some people, whose job it is to have some degree of wisdom on these things, thought that he broke the law. Whether he did or not, no amount of misleading quotes from his own organization and other heavily biased sources are going to aid this article in being factually correct. In a full treatment of the case, maybe; but the article is still misleading as it stands at this moment. CarthCarsen (talk) 22:33, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Just what kind of bias is that? Hindsight bias? Ethnocentrism? And when is a personal feeling no longer personal? When there is consensus, or when there is empirical evidence? There is both consensus that collecting and collating data is legal if you're not breaking or impersonating credentials in an authorization scheme, breaking an encryption scheme, or violating a reasonable expectation of privacy, and there is empirical evidence to the same, see United States vs Nosal.
I appreciate the spirited discussion, but please don't forget that there are also many people who have some degree of wisdom on these things who believe he did not break the law. Lawyers included. But I don't believe notable comments made on cases are limited to lawyers or experts in positive law.
As for biased perceptions of unfairness, you mistake impression for perception. Any impression of unfairness is philosophically biased. Unfairness and justice are both constructs, neither exists naturally, kind of like artificial scarcity. It is a biased impression of unfairness that he could have gone to prison for 35 years or more and that helping al-Qaeda develop a nuclear weapon carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, or that killing someone in a heat of passion has a maximum federal sentence of 10 years. It's just bias that we believe we perceive this as unfair, I recognize that as a fact; I agree with you that this belief is an impression of unfairness. But what we publish on Wikipedia are both scientific facts, human perceptions, and impressions, because perception and impression are significantly meaningful aspects of science and constructs of culture. (talk) 00:15, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I enjoyed your comments. Let's create a page for the case, and really make a good show of it. It will cure the current problems neatly, and add useful information for all time. What's pretty obviously been happening is that bias of those who loved Swartz and his work is causing the page to turn out, despite best intentions, as an attempt to portray him as the victim of a massive railroading. The case needs to be explored in depth because it's important, and also because the issues raised cannot properly be addressed in such a limited space. A full exploration of all the facts and treatment of all the issues will put things in the proper light, and the readers can draw their own conclusions as they like. CarthCarsen (talk) 00:40, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree that a stand alone article would be a good encyclopedic inclusion. I would also like to express that this article is in a current state of flux, as the {{Recent death}} tag intends to convey. It is tolerance of this changing nature that will end in a balanced, informative biography for Aaron Swartz, and show which areas require a separate article for any aspect of disproportionate notability. The best thing to do for now is to ensure content is reliably sourced, faithfully transcribed, and not given favor over opposing views, or counter-intuitive inclinations. The main copy editing will begin after the recent-ism wanes to stability. --My76Strat (talk) 01:11, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
another view

I have to agree with others-- the material removed served a purpose and should be retained (or improved upon). The prosecution itself was controversial long before Swartz's death-- it was not at all clear that what Aaron did was a "real" criminal offense under the law. This is a valid opinion and must be included in the JSTOR section for that section to be NPOV. Removing the MSNBC and DemandProgress quotes tip the scales away from NPOV. Find better quotes if we can, but zero quotes won't work. --HectorMoffet (talk) 19:58, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

I'd just like to chime in that if Aaron was a principle founder of Demand Progress it seems clear that it could not be used as a reliable source because it could never be "independent of the subject". --My76Strat (talk) 22:13, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Good point. While we discuss this and look for optimal sources, I've at least noted Swartz' relationship to the organization in the sentence where we quote from it. Ocaasi t | c 22:40, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I've deleted the statement again. The library analogy can only mislead readers. Similarly I would not expect to see, on the page for Bernie Madoff, a statement by an organization founded by Madoff that his alleged crimes were in the nature of borrowing money to be put back, harming no one. It's throwing Wikipedia's support behind biased, misleading statements that is attempted by the inclusion of that statement. In no way was what Swartz allegedly did like borrowing library books-- it's misleading in so many ways I can't believe we're still here discussing it. CarthCarsen (talk) 22:45, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Good move. The library analogy is one of the most foolish things ever written in world history and is not fitting for an encyclopedia as the source of the statement is not reliable. AutomaticStrikeout (TC) 22:59, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Bernie Madoff? So you feel this page would be objective if it made Aaron look as bad as or comparable to Madoff? JonErber (talk) 23:13, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! CarthCarsen (talk) 23:32, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Chris Hayes is not Demand Progress, and his statements are independent of the subject. I should also say that I strongly favor letting the subject have his say; even if Demand Progress is not neutral, we should still make sure that Swartz's point of view is well covered. The library analogy seems reasonable to many people, as in fact Swartz could have read any one article at MIT and made a printout for his archives just as many visitors do at any college library in the world. Please avoid giving original research precedence over quotes sourced to respected journalists. Wnt (talk) 23:15, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
    I think it would be much better to include in the article statements from Swartz's attorney about the case. Those are as close as we can come to his position. Printing a single selection from an electronic library is not the same as downloading nearly the whole thing. He'd have to be pretty buff to cart 4.9 million papers and books out of a library, and the lending library analogy is also false because far from planning to "return" the information, he allegedly planned to spread it worldwide. CarthCarsen (talk) 23:32, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
    The library analogy only becomes analogous if you metaphorically contrast every library's "lending limits" to one's ability to check-out 1/5th of a library's content, and what door is used to remove the books; front or back. It would be a crime at every library in operation for the material to be removed secretly through the back door, I'm as certain of this as I am of Paris' location. --My76Strat (talk) 23:43, 15 January 2013 (UTC)


I added this:

George Washington University law professor and computer crime specialist Orin Kerr commented on the legal blog Volokh Conspiracy, “The charges against Swartz were based on a fair reading of the law...Once the decision to charge the case had been made, the charges brought here were pretty much what any good federal prosecutor would have charged.”

Is that sufficient to remove the NPOV section tag? Ocaasi t | c 22:05, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

I think that there are still multiple problems with NPOV regarding this article, but it is a step in the right direction. For just one example of the remaining bias from the same section, I note yet again the statement about Swartz's case testing the reach of the statute under which he was charged. It seems like original research, and is unsupported by anything except the apparent belief system of certain posters here. The main thrust of the case seems to be the overbreadth of the statute and whether basic fairness should have resulted in less harsh treatment, not whether what Swartz allegedly did fell within the prohibitions of the statute. CarthCarsen (talk) 23:01, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
As it stands now, at 10:10 pm EST, 15 January 2013, the articles treatment of the prosecutor's prosecutorial rationale is WP:NPOV-compliant. The rationale comes first, in the words of the prosecutor. Next, Professor Kerr supports her rationale.
Three distinct, though interrelated criticisms follow. All belong in the article.
A) Hayes: Whether or not he's right about "free" is irrelevant. Arguing that he's factually wrong betrays a truly idiosyncratic view of WP:RS and WP:NPOV. It matters not one whit. What matters is that he's a journalist and that he said the stuff in the quote on MSNBC. It critiques the prosecutorial rationale that something was stolen.
B) Demand Progress: DP's connection to Swartz needss disclosure. As it stands in the article now, it's disclosed. DP makes a slightly different point in criticizing the government's theory of the case. Rather than Hayes' view --- that one can't steal something that's free --- DP says the stuff taken was akin to borrowing too many books from a library at once. The DP quote doesn't argue that there was no misbehavior, but rather that the misbehavior was so small, and the penalties sought by the government so severe, that the prosecution was fatally disproportionate.
C) Stamos: The concluding quote provides the reader with an important part of how the prosecution's case would have been answered if Swartz had lived to see a trial. It's important, notable information, from a reliable source, about Swartz's actual defense. This is critique that is different in kind, and not just in degree, from the other two. It must stay.
Now, although "!voting is evil" (c'mon, somebody hadda say it), consensus is important. By counting characters or lines, I think Ortiz + Kerr tallies out about the same as Hayes+DP+Stamos. If we're to reach consensus a different way, like, for instance, 2 pro and 2 con, I'd be happier losing DP than Hayes.
As I said, in my view, dropping Stamos is a non-starter.
OK, I've made my edits, once, and explained my rationale. Others have been taking two, three or four bites at this apple. Please stop. Please revert no more. I'm begging y'all, stop the incipient edit-war. Let us reason together.
Hugs and kisses,
David in DC (talk) 03:30, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure the issue is whether we include Hayes and Demand Progress so much for balance, but whether they reflect the best available legal commentary on the case. Swartz's expert witness, for example, is in a much better position to weigh in than either Hayes or DP. My suggestion would be to compromise for now and pick either Hayes or DP (since they basically voice the same argument) and see if that settles things. 03:41, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
As I said, given that choice, I'd drop DP. What do others's think? Andy? Carth? Occasi? David in DC (talk) 03:53, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
re: the choice of Stamos quotes, the one you prefer strikes me as flashier but as containing less actual legal analysis. I believe part of the concern with the 3 pro-Swartz legal commentaries is they are heavier on heat than light. Perhaps consider whether Stamos' specific arguments would be more useful than his nutshell summation. (also, to sign just a datestamp, use five ~ rather than four. Ocaasi t | c 04:16, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I would favor dropping the DP quote from this page at some point, at the very least after the new page is created for the case. Even if one likens the "Register and Read" process of accessing only three documents at a time, keeping them in one's "shelf" area, to borrowing a physical book, it would still be incorrect to say that Swartz thus "checked out" too many resources-- when one checks out a book from the library a librarian typically scans it out, or there's some other method of controlling the checkout to make sure it's proper. Swartz's action would be more like walking out of the scholarly section at a paid version of the Library of Congress with 4.9 million (minus three?) unchecked-out resources under his arm, with the intent of giving away copies for free. I guess as hyperbole it might make a reader think, but that hyperbole/skewing can only be understood by presenting it properly in a setting of facts. CarthCarsen (talk) 09:49, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
It's not really the role of an article to make judgements on the statements of others. The moment you say "Well we won't reflect this viewpoint because it is wrong", you start moving away from neutrality. It is legitimate to quote what people of relevance and importance have said. If they are wrong, they are wrong - but their quote stands for itself and it is for readers to make the judgement, not for editors to prevent that judgement by hiding the viewpoint. Bonusballs (talk) 09:53, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Presenting inaccurate statements, without providing enough context to show why they're inaccurate, to support an agenda is simply wrong no matter how many words you waste in justifying it. Thus when one includes a statement suggesting that Aaron Swartz did nothing different from checking too many books out of a library, without presenting enough information for readers to understand why that's false (he didn't go through an analogous proper method of access, etc.) it is an NPOV violation. In similar vein we wouldn't allow unanswered statements by some commentator on Obama's page that he is a Kenyan, without enough information for readers to actually judge for themselves. I suspect at this point you're simply intentionally turning a blind eye to the obvious. Of course shoving a bunch of pro-Swartz opinions into the article without supporting context is biased. CarthCarsen (talk) 17:41, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
If you have an example of "supporting context" that is presented by a reliable, referenced source, then go ahead and include it. In the meantime, it is not for you to unilaterally decide the rights and wrongs of a complex situation like this, it is not for you to edit or surpress quotes given by connected entities, it is not for you to add your own additional commentary pointing out what you think are errors in what other rather more newsworthy individuals have stated. I have to say that your pattern of edits and edit comments seem so vehemently anti-Swartz that it's difficult to see your supposed objectivity which you claim to be bringing. Removing a picture of Aaron from the Jstor article, for example, with the bizarre and rather sarcastic comment that 'Including the smiling face of Aaron Swartz smacks of hero worship and a hidden agenda' is nowhere near a neutral position. Bonusballs (talk) 19:24, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree with User:CarthCarsen on this. Let's for the moment ignore the inaccuracy of the Hayes quote. Focus instead on what makes the quote potentially inaccurate. Hayes is not a legal expert. For that matter, neither is Segal. The Hayes and Segal quotes should be removed. Legal commentary should be restricted to legal experts within this context. Even the Stamos quote is somewhat frustrating. Expert witnesses are allowed to testify based on how their expertise pertains to the facts of the case. Their opinion on sentencing would not be allowed in court, and likewise overextends their expertise here. There are almost certainly legal experts and law professors with quotes favorable to Swartz. There are also almost certainly expert witness quotes confined to their realm of expertise that favor Swartz. Why not use superior sources for commentary? Chicken Wing (talk) 10:20, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
+1 to what David in DC said. The Hayes and Stamos quotes show us "why the prosecution itself is controversial"-- one is a legal opinion, one is a political opinion, and this case touches on both. Demand Progress, meanwhile, is a clear partisan with ties to Aaron himself, so, include it, but disclose the connection. The version I see right now looks good and resolves a lot of the concerns raised further up above. Good work all. --HectorMoffet (talk) 07:09, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

United States v. Aaron Swartz

Restoring the article on United States v. Aaron Swartz would probably solve any neutrality problems with this current biography and allow that subject to grow appropriately. Viriditas (talk) 01:42, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

I proposed this above, but those who commented all said they didn't like the idea of trimming anything from this article yet. —mjb (talk) 12:34, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I support your proposal as it is the quickest way to resolving the neutrality issue as they all pertain to that case and its ramifications. There's no reason to redirect such a notable case to this biography and I'm surprised at this outcome. The case stands on its own. Viriditas (talk) 21:02, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Categories need not reflect established fact

Somebody recently removed several categories related to crime (" 2010", " 2011", etc) with the edit summary "Swartz was not convicted. Per WP:BLP the Categories are inappropriate.". Other categories have been removed wit the summary (caps in original) "Categores MUST be supported in the text text and with citation in the article". This is surprising, as Arbcom have ruled that "Categories ... need not reflect established fact". Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:03, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

WP:Arbcom do not set policy or guidelines WP:Policies and guidelines without community support WP:Consensus - the statement, "Swartz was not convicted. Per WP:BLP the Categories are inappropriate.". Other categories have been removed wit the summary (caps in original) "Categores MUST be supported in the text text and with citation in the article" is completely correct within all WP:Policies and guidelines - Youreallycan 16:09, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Grouping the PACER and JSTOR events under [Crimes] seems presumptuous and maybe a bit pointy. For PACER no charges were brought; for JSTOR the files were all returned and charges had not resulted in a judgement as the case was pending. I'm happy to discuss this further. Ocaasi t | c 21:17, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Suicide, apparent suicide...

There's some back and forth about when to mention suicide and if to qualify it by 'apparent'. The vast majority of sources I have read call this a suicide, although the early reports used the term 'apparent suicide'. Should we call it a suicide? Should we qualify it with 'apparent'? Ocaasi t | c 17:20, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Don't qualify it with apparent. As you said, the vast majority of sources call this a suicide. Qualifying it lends credibility to conspiracy theories. Ryan Vesey 17:29, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Apparent suicide was probably the best term before the coroners report. Not anymore. Nil Einne (talk) 03:25, 21 January 2013 (UTC)


I've read from some sources that Swartz was Jewish, but they're not sites I'd consider especially reliable. He does have a somewhat Jewish physiognomy, so it's not implausible.≥ Is there any information on this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:10, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia does not describe people as Jewish based on their 'physiognomy'. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:17, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
The fact that his funeral will be held at Central Avenue Synagogue is a more reliable indication; also: [10]. W\|/haledad (Talk to me) 16:43, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Then find an appropriate source, and add the necessary information to the article - though a source, rather than 'an indication', would be preferable... AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:38, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
His Jewish background is missing. I mean he had his service at a Synagogue I think that rules out him being Muslim. At least he should be tagged Jewish Americans.--Inayity (talk) 19:03, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Find a source. In this case, having services at a synagogue may be more indicative of his family's practice than Aaron's. Either way, NODEADLINE on putting a religious/ethnic label on a subject, especially if he didn't put that label on himself prominently. --HectorMoffet (talk) 21:59, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Yup. A Reliable source showing that he identified himself as a particular religion or ethnicity and you have extra data for an encyclopaedia article. The important thing, especially where there are living grieving relatives and friends, is to filter out the clutter of poor quality info out there. ϢereSpielChequers 05:43, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I have to agree, the only Issue is Who is a Jew is not like being Muslim and the criteria for inclusion has always been tricky. Sometimes it is used to liberally. --Inayity (talk) 05:56, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Google translation of this refers to him as "famous Jewish hacker". Bus stop (talk) 03:31, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Of course, as you know BLP also applies to the recently deceased. Need a citation of self-identification, not identification by others. Yworo (talk) 03:40, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Yworo—I don't think WP:BLP requires self-identification for material found in the body of an article. Bus stop (talk) 03:55, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I was speaking of the category, which I removed. Somebody returned it, I've removed it again, as the article current does not even have support for Jewish descent. Yworo (talk) 18:27, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

WP:BDP: "material about dead people that has implications for their living relatives and friends, particularly in the case of recent deaths, or notable suicides, is covered by this policy. Contentious or questionable material that affects living people or about the recently dead should be treated in the same way as material about living people." No-one has identified implications for living relatives/friends, and so the requirement for self-identification does not apply. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 19:14, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Compromise: Category:American people of Jewish descent

  • "Swartz grew up in an Orthodox home in Highland Park, Ill., outside Chicago. And though he became an avowed atheist as a teenager, ultimately rejecting religion, his life’s work was nonetheless infused with deeply engrained Jewish values of inquisitivness, scholarship, iconoclasm and a passion for social justice."

This is the best (though not ideal) source for his family's religion. It also suggests that Swartz may not have identified as Jewish and that we should be cautious about identifying him as such without a self-statement from Swartz. Thoughts Ocaasi t | c 19:19, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Typically, we apply WP:BLP for the first year after the subject is deceased. I have no problem with Jewish parentage with citation being added and adding category "American people of Jewish descent". However, unless we can show that Swartz made some statement of self-identifying with or following the Judaic religion, we should not assume any more than ethnicity. This is a Wikipedia-wide standard, and I am even dubious that changing that category to "American Jews" after a year serves our readers. It implies something we cannot prove if we don't have self-ident sources. Yworo (talk) 19:20, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
As I've indicated in response to Ocaasi's kind approach on my talk page, I support adding that category because on its own terms it's appropriate. On other matters: "American Jews" is ethnicity. On BLP -- or rather BDP: "material about dead people that has implications for their living relatives and friends, particularly in the case of recent deaths, or notable suicides, is covered by this policy. Contentious or questionable material that affects living people or about the recently dead should be treated in the same way as material about living people." No-one has identified implications for living relatives/friends, and so the requirement for self-identification does not apply -- and in particular identification as a Jew does not require self-identification with the "Judaic religion". If there is to be a straightforward mindless application of BLP(CAT) for one year following someone's death, then we will surely see revision of the policy via discussion on the talk page; at present, there is no such provision. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 19:34, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Personally, my concern is merely accuracy verifiability.
  • WP:BLP states: "Categories regarding religious beliefs or sexual orientation should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified with the belief or orientation in question, and the subject's beliefs or sexual orientation are relevant to their public life or notability, according to reliable published sources."
  • WP:CAT/R states: "Categories regarding religious beliefs of a living person should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified with the belief in question (see WP:BLPCAT), either through direct speech or through actions like serving in an official clerical position for the religion. For a dead person, there must be a verified consensus of reliable published sources that the description is appropriate."
  • Category:American people of Jewish descent: "Note: Listed are American people for whom reliable sources have been found indicating partial Jewish ancestry, but who are not Jewish."
Regardless of whether we defer to BLP or BDP or just V, the issue is whether or not Swartz was Jewish in the religious sense. While Judiasm can be both an ethnicity and a religion, identifying Swartz as descending from Jewish parents but not necessarily practicing Judaism strikes the right balance. If we add the American Jews category then it suggests that Swartz was Jewish by identification and practice not just ethnicity. I would desire a specific and narrower category such as [American people of Jewish ethnicity] to explicitly exclude religion; on the other hand, that is more or less just what [American people of Jewish descent] accomplishes. So, in my mind this is problem solved given the sources we have. Ocaasi t | c 19:46, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm familiar with the concern. I feel it even more strongly: [Americans of Jewish descent] really annoys me, because it implies that such people are not quite Jewish (otherwise why not come out and say: American Jews?). "American people of Jewish ethnicity" are -- wait for it -- American Jews. Adopting formulations that imply otherwise are highly problematic (and "American people of Jewish descent" does exactly this, in the language you quote). Again, I'm agreeing to "Americans of Jewish descent" because it is manifestly true. What is also obviously true (verifiable via sources) is that Swartz was Jewish. And: BLP doesn't apply here, per BDP (unless someone identifies implications for relatives/friends). Nomoskedasticity (talk) 19:53, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Where are the sources that demonstrate he was Jewish by self-identification? I've looked for them and haven't found them. Ocaasi t | c 20:01, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not aware that there are any. I'm arguing that the requirement for self-identification doesn't apply: one, because he wasn't Jewish in a religious sense, and two, because he is (sadly) no longer alive (and there are no identified implications for friends/relatives). Nomoskedasticity (talk) 20:04, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
So we're really looking for Category:American people of Jewish descent who were implicitly ethnically Jewish by birth but did not self-identify as Jewish in a religious sense. Ocaasi t | c 20:07, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, but we don't use Jewish standards for determining "Who is a Jew". We use Wikipedia standards, which are quite well and clearly stated. In point of fact, the criteria that the religion be relevant to the subject's notabilty has not been established either. Please either follow the intent of Wikipedia policy with respect to religion and accept the fact that we distriguish between people who are ethnically Jewish and those who profess the religion. The "American Jews" category is a subcategory of a religious category; inclusion requires establishment of the subject's religious beliefs for inclusion in this category. It is not solely an ethnicity category. If you can't accept this, please avoid future editing of these categories, or work to change the policies and guidelines (good luck with that!) Yworo (talk) 20:11, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Could we have convenient links in this thread to Wikipedia policy and its rationale on identifying biographical subjects as Jews specifically, and ethnic and religious background more generally, when (as here) neither religion nor ethnicity was significant to the subject's notability? Thanks in advance. MarkBernstein (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 23:26, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

The WP:BLP, listed above, appears to require that Swartz's Jewish beliefs or ancestry is "relevant" to his notability. I think that's an open-and-shut question; it's not relevant. MarkBernstein (talk) 23:31, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
WP:BDP policy would not be applicable because there is nothing "contentious or questionable"[11] and there are no "implications for…living relatives and friends".[12] There are no Categories for "Observant Jews", "Nonobservant Jews", and "Semi-observant Jews" so that is not a possibility. Aaron Swartz neither converted to another religion nor renounced Jewish identity therefore he is not "of Jewish descent". He is simply an American Jew and should be Categorized accordingly. Bus stop (talk) 03:01, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Bus stop is simply an obsessive Jew-tagger and should be ignored accordingly. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:07, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Andy—am I permitted to weigh in without your carping? Bus stop (talk) 03:16, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Given your relentless disregard for WP:NPOV when issues of Jewishness and identity are under consideration, in my opinion it would be better if you weren't. Nobody should be dismissed as 'simply an American Jew' to be rubber-stamped by Wikipedia, and your blatant disregard for anything but your ridiculous obsession with labels makes you unfit to edit any article where this is an issue. You have shown no interest in any part of this article other than to insist on 'categorising' the individual concerned, regardless of any encyclopaedic merit. On this basis, since it isn't unfortunately in my power to prevent you editing, I will instead suggest that people ignore your opinions here, as apparently based on what appears to be OCD or the like, rather than on anything of actual significance to Wikipedia. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:46, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Andy—WP:NPA Bus stop (talk) 03:53, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Bus stop-WP:NPOV, WP:INDISCRIMINATE, WP:NOBODYISSIMPLYAJEWEVENIFBUSSTOPTHINKSTHATWAY AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:06, 20 January 2013 (UTC) : Categories regarding religious beliefs of a living person should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified with the belief in question (see WP:BLPCAT), either through direct speech or through actions like serving in an official clerical position for the religion. For a dead person, there must be a verified consensus of reliable published sources that the description is appropriate.
This is, I think definitive. Aaron had no official clerical position. There is no verified consensus of reliable published sources that the description is appropriate. MarkBernstein (talk) 03:58, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
As is clear from the discussion above, [Cat:American people of Jewish descent] is not considered a religious category, rather an ethnic one -- so that policy on religious categories does not apply. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 18:54, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
The category page states that "Note: Listed are American people for whom reliable sources have been found indicating partial Jewish ancestry, but who are not Jewish." This is clearly not applicable. We have no reliable sources. The subject’s Jewish ancestry was not partial. It is far from clear that the subject did not consider himself Jewish. And we have further agreed that Wikipedia is not a list of Jews. Neither the subject's religion nor his ethnic background was significant to his life and accomplishments. This category is not appropriate, nor is "American Jew" which, as above, is not appropriate. MarkBernstein (talk) 19:29, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
That text does not match the way the category is used and should probably be changed; as is abundantly clear from the discussion above, this category is used for Jews who are not religious but rather Jewish in an ethnic sense. (I have my own beef with this issue more generally, but I'm accurately describing how other editors approach the issue.) There are indeed reliable sources about Swartz's Jewish parentage (ancestry) -- it's right at the top of this sub-section. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 19:35, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Prosecutory rationale and response

The "Prosecutory rationale and response" section contains a great deal of commentary from random academicians and scholars regarding the Swartz suicide. Commentary & opinion from individuals unassociated with a subject is pretty explicitly forbidden under WP:NOT. I deleted much of that commentary with an explanation that opinion pieces are inappropriate. User:Andy Dingley reinserted it with a somewhat cryptic edit summary reading "The New Yorker is now some insignificant local rag?", which seemingly misses the point. I'd invite Andy to explain why the general rule forbidding commentary should be ignored in this article. NickCT (talk) 15:10, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

I think NickCT is mistaken here. First, these are not "random" scholars; many of them were in fact closely affiliated with the subject. In order to find some voices defending the prosecution, editors have reached farther afield, but that is understandable. Coverage of the issues in the media is the essence of WP:IMPORTANCE and, in this case, the phenomenal outpouring of writing about the subject is itself notable.Please hold back on deletions, at least for now; it will save the community a lot of work and a great deal of pain. If redundancies appear, we can address them later when our grief is less fresh. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:53, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Which part of WP:NOT are you claiming supports your view here?
WP works only by "comment". We are specifically restricted to third party sources, i.e. "comment", to the exclusion of WP:OR and with very narrow restrictions on primary sourcing. Anything that's left could quite easily be described as "comment", yet surely you're not claiming that all of WP ought to be blanked on that basis.
These are substantial pieces, by substantial sources. They're not just the gleanings of Boing Boing trivia or the blogosphere - although one editor, YouReallyCan, has previously removed the New Yorker piece on the grounds that it's just a blog (I think they need to look at what the New Yorker actually is). Andy Dingley (talk) 16:03, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
@Andy Dingley - "Anything that's left could quite easily be described as "comment"" - I'm sure you understand that there is a difference between "Swartz was found dead ... by his girlfriend" (i.e. a factual assertion) and "The prosecutors forgot that .... protect the public from actual harm." (i.e. an opinion/a commentary). WP is not a collection of random opinions about current events. NickCT (talk) 16:18, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Both are acceptable, provided that the person making the comment meets RS. Yes, we don't want a horde of wailing geeks. That's not what these are.
If we follow your "strict" definition of comment, we're just left with, "Aaron Swartz did wrong and the Government was going to punish him. As he had free will, this was his fault. A crowd of people stood in a city square. No-one knows why. Some old guys in tweed jackets sat in rooms full of books and wrote stuff in newspapers, but we're not going to talk about that. Justin Bieber wears size 41 shoes. We measured them."
Not much point in writing an encyclopedia on that basis. Andy Dingley (talk) 16:43, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
My strict definition of commentary only discourages the "The prosecutors forgot that .... protect the public from actual harm." blurbs. Everything else, every factual assertion is OK. The point I'm trying to make here should be pretty obvious. There is a clear clear distinction between factual assertions and statements of opinion.
re "Yes, we don't want a horde of wailing geeks." - That's part of the problem. If you're going to argue that commentary from these geeks are OK, then why not other geeks? If I looked, I could pull a thousand opinion blurbs just like these. Why not add them all. What makes these guys opinion more notable than all the other scholars who have weighed in. NickCT (talk) 17:32, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
First: wailing geeks is getting right up to the line of being offensive. I know that's not what you intend, but we're discussing an inflammatory topic and BLP has a lot to say about that.
Second: Discussion of the reception of a writer's or a politician's ideas is always and necessarily part of their biography. That clearly applies here: the subject espoused a philosophy regarding intellectual property and the academy, those ideas have excited extensive discussion, and in the aftermath of the subject's death those ideas received even more discussion. That discussion should naturally be represented here.
Third: The selected sources are chosen because, in many cases, they come from Swartz's colleagues, collaborators, and eulogists. In other cases, the comments come from leading scholars whose opinions may carry great weight, or appeared in important journals where they received an extensive audience. In some cases, the comments may simply be especially well expressed. All these factors make the opinion of "these guys" notable.
Finally: this is not the time. In a month or two, perhaps we'll have perspective. In a month or two, we’ll be in a better position to assess the merits of different commentators and jurists. MarkBernstein (talk) 18:27, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
1) "Wailing geek" was not said in relation to Swartz, rather than the commentators we've been discussing. It was said off-hand and not in relation to any specific person. I think you've got ask whether you might be a tad over sensitive.
2) Discussion of the reception of a writer's or a politician's ideas is fine. You CAN say "Swartz book caused rioting" (i.e. factual assertion). You can even say "Critics widely praised Swartz's book" (i.e. again, factual assesrtion, provided it can be referenced to a reliable source). You can't however say "Joe Blow was quoted as saying 'Swartz's book is great'" (i.e. a reflection of one person's opinion).
3) re "they come from Swartz's colleagues" - Is that made clear in the article? Because when I first looked through it the quotes I was deleting looked like they came from random people.
4) re "In a month or two, perhaps we'll have perspective." - refer to WP:NOTOPINION. "Wikipedia authors should strive to write articles that will not quickly become obsolete". What some guy at the New Yorker has to say about the prosecution is almost certain to quickly become obsolete. NickCT (talk) 19:36, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Some of these "geeks" are law professors, at least one being a copyright specialist. Their difference is that they meet WP:RS, and that we thus consider their opinions to have merit that yours and mine don't. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:52, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Is that relevant? I don't care who is offering the opinion. What I care about is that it's purely opinion and Wikipedia is WP:NOTOPINION. NickCT (talk) 20:36, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
You are correct, but you will not win anyway. Any attempts to present the facts surrounding the JSTOR case and Swartz's death will be met with ignored rules and bleatings by a few members that they have achieved "consensus", i.e. that there are several of them banded together despite several banded together to point out the bias which continues to be rampant on this page. Though you won't win, keep up the good work; perhaps someday a less biased public encyclopedia will arise from the ashes of Wikipedia. (talk) 20:48, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Regarding "this is not the time", someday-- hopefully after certain people here have had time to establish enough personal distance-- a study should be made of this page to find out why multiple editors thought it perfectly okay to attempt to whitewash the facts of the case, with the justification that their personal bias allowed it and that others had better keep their distance in the meantime. (talk) 20:45, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
You might not be aware of the wikipedia rule that editors Assume Good Faith and do their best to refrain from personal attacks. I do not agree with your characterization of the response to the case; I think few people outside the office of the DA would. You have the advantage of me, moreover, in that my identity is known to you, whilst you continue to hide in anonymity. And "the ashes of Wikipedia" might be bit inflammatory, don't you think? Constructive edits that add significant new information are very welcome here. MarkBernstein (talk) 21:03, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
It is hard to assume good faith when an editor justifies the inclusion of bias on the basis of his own personal bias. Be that as it may, I assume it anyway--nevertheless, the issue of the NPOV inclusions remains, and the faulty justifications for them. (talk) 21:07, 22 January 2013 (UTC), some of your edits seem to be less about whether and which third-party commentary should be reported here, or about addressing the bias and the "whitewashing" of "facts", and more about giving undue weight to Kerr's predictions that Swartz would lose at trial and would be unlikely to receive the maximum sentence.
Kerr's prognostication about the likely sentence, given his knowledge of CFAA litigation, is plausible, so I understand your desire to inform the reader that the maximum sentence wasn't likely. But to characterize the maximum as "theoretical" is hyperbole; surely you can see that. Kerr doesn't have a crystal ball, and neither should we.
The DOJ's own press release stated the maximum penalty as what Swartz was in fact risking, and that was before they tripled the number of charges against him. We mustn't downplay this, even if Kerr does, as it was the public outcry over the maximum sentence and the aggressive prosecution that makes this aspect of Swartz's life so notable; we must acknowledge it.
Besides, it's not at all uncommon for legal scholars to have quite divergent opinions on how a case will turn out. Regardless of predictions made by the prosecution, the defense, or experts in the field, it's the jury who decides whether the defendant is culpable, and the judge who decides the penalty. The prosecution may have some influence over the sentencing, but ultimately they only make a recommendation after the trial, so it doesn't matter what they "sought" beforehand. Even if they seek a minimal sentence, they're free to change their minds, and the judge is still free to ignore what they say. It's also standard practice not to seek specific amounts of jail time and fines anyway; if they asked for less and got more, they certainly wouldn't insist that the sentence be reduced. —mjb (talk) 01:31, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Not even close to hyperbole. Never to my knowledge has a prosecution under the CFAA resulted in such a harsh penalty, and as Kerr points out in his article (which is a good primer on sentencing basics for those new to the topic) any sentence imposed would be formed according to judicial guidelines. In addition, also as pointed out by Kerr, Swartz's own attorneys have indicated an estimate by the prosecution that Swartz would have actually faced only up to a 7 year sentence at most. The words "at least" mean what they seem to mean-- at the very least theoretically possible, though very likely not actual. Now here's the truth, unfettered by the need to hedge on an encyclopedia page: Swartz never, ever realistically faced 35 years in prison. Though it's fair I suppose to characterize the initial press release by the prosecution as a form of scare tactics, maximums in any case are rarely imposed and Swartz's case would not have actually seen anywhere close to the maximum. (talk) 19:51, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
In arguments below, you say that calling 4.8 million "about 4 million" instead of "nearly 5 million" is "extremely harmful". So, forgive me if I'm being overly skeptical of your ability to recognize hyperbole when you see it. (I've attempted to address this. See #Amount downloaded.)
I made it clear that I understand your point of view on the sentencing issue. I just don't agree that it's appropriate to use a dismissive term like theoretical. Even if accurate, and even if not hyperbole, it's synonymous with unlikely, and you clearly intend for it to be interpreted that way. WP:NOTCRYSTALBALL applies. Few would support the word unlikely unless quoting or summarizing Kerr.
Regardless, the sentencing issue is a distraction. Your response indicates that I was right; your interest in this discussion is not confined to the actual issue at hand, which is (?) whether third-party commentary (Kerr's and others') should be acknowledged at all. To try to steer this back on topic, I will interpret your position here as "yes, we should acknowledge commentary, and it should not be relegated to its own section, but rather should be peppered throughout the article." You've failed to argue why that's a good idea; it amounts to injecting "however, experts disagree" in every paragraph. As I said, experts pretty much always disagree. —mjb (talk) 00:32, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Please resist the urge to remove DemandProgress's statement on the subject-- it's the closest thing we have to a statement from Swartz himself and is balance to the prosecutor's statement. HectorMoffet (talk) 04:43, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

It's not the closest thing we have to a statement from Swartz himself; it's not a statement from him at all. In fact the statement itself explicitly disclaims any relationship to the actual facts of the case. It's a nominally supportive, factually incorrect, hands-off statement by a friend of Swartz, not even close to a statement by the man himself. (talk) 14:48, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
It’s a statement by the organization the subject founded concerning the subject's life and death. As such, it is as germane to the article as would a statement by the SCLC or the ACLU on Martin Luther King, Ted Kennedy’s eulogy of Robert, or -- let's go there -- Paul on Jesus. MarkBernstein (talk) 16:03, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Not so much. In any event I've added a reference to Segal's own clarification of his remarks on behalf of Demand Progress. Enjoy. (talk) 19:36, 23 January 2013 (UTC)


Caution should be applied when identifying individuals who are discussed primarily in terms of a single event. When the name of a private individual has not been widely disseminated or has been intentionally concealed, such as in certain court cases or occupations, it is often preferable to omit it, especially when doing so does not result in a significant loss of context. When deciding whether to include a name, its publication in secondary sources other than news media, such as scholarly journals or the work of recognized experts, should be afforded greater weight than the brief appearance of names in news stories. Consider whether the inclusion of names of private living individuals who are not directly involved in an article's topic adds significant value. The presumption in favor of privacy is strong in the case of family members of articles' subjects and other loosely involved, otherwise low-profile persons.

The names of any immediate, ex, or significant family members or any significant relationship of the subject of a BLP may be part of an article, if reliably sourced, subject to editorial discretion that such information is relevant to a reader's complete understanding of the subject. However, names of family members who are not also notable public figures must be removed from an article if they are not properly sourced.

The emphases are mine. They describe the girlfriend/partner's situation - to a "T". The statement identifies its issuers as Swartz's "family and partner". That sure looks like "intentionally concealed" to me. Please consider WP:HARM and the Golden Rule. The name adds nothing to the wikipedia article. The newsrags have their standards, we have ours here on wikipedia. The two are not coterminous. Thank heavens.

This is a WP:BLP issue. Please do not reinsert the name. If someone else does, please revert it unless we reach a talk page consensus otherwise. The "presumption in favor of privacy" noted in the policy above is clearly against inserting it. WP:3RR does not apply to BLP issues. David in DC (talk) 21:29, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. Definitely keep partner's name out of this unless she decides to become a more prominent figure. --HectorMoffet (talk) 21:52, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Ummmm... As a vigorous enforcer of BLPNAME (see Talk:2012 Delhi gang rape case), I must disagree with you. From that very statement: Aaron is survived by his parents Robert and Susan Swartz, his younger brothers Noah and Ben, and his partner Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman. Unless I'm missing something, I think that that definitely constitutes willingness to be named. (For the record, I NOINDEXED this page yesterday, per BDP, so we're within the cone of silence.) — Francophonie&Androphilie(Je vous invite à me parler) 21:53, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I have not given this enough thought yet to have a strong view, but I'd like to re-iterate David in DC's request that we proceed slowly and thoughtfully and get consensus before we move forward.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:59, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Originally I added the girlfriend's name because 1.) it was sourced, 2.) there was speculation that Quinn Norton may have been "the partner" based on her piece titled, "My Aaron Swartz, whom I loved". and 3.) the term "partner" gives an undue implication of a "same-sex" relationship; which in this case, is not correct. In adding the content, these two concerns were answered, yet I respect the privacy concerns raised and have no aggressive intent to include the content. I suppose my question would be why is the reference left in place when it only exists to support the inclusion of the persons name? --My76Strat (talk) 22:19, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't see any particular reason why the name would be concealed or why she would want to conceal it. She certainly has nothing to be ashamed of! Wnt (talk) 23:12, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I believe general precedent is that BLPNAME does not extend to references; it's a question of what we want to put forward as an encylcopedia, not of covering something up. I agree with Jimbo that caution is wise, and I also agree with you, as noted above, that there's grounds to include it (specifically that she has consented to be named). The one thing I disagree with is the note on same-sex relationships: She clearly made a choice to be termed his partner, despite any connotations that may carry; this probably has something to do with the fact that Swartz was open about having been sexually active with both men and women [13]. Additionally, "Taren" is an obscure enough name that it's unclear if it's male or female anyways (to me, at least), so naming her doesn't clarify things much, unless you wanna add a footnote saying "Not a dude." — Francophonie&Androphilie(Je vous invite à me parler) 00:50, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't see a need for a footnote when the sourced quote is "discovered by his girlfriend". That supersedes the ambiguity of the gender neutral name and by the way, I also felt that Quinn was a bit gender neutral. --My76Strat (talk) 01:07, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Jimbo. I will ask about privacy preferences when I see them [the family] tomorrow. – SJ + 01:57, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree as well; with David in DC in fact. If you mean that you will see the family tomorrow, please pass along my condolences by proxy and those of our editing community. Sentiments are accumulating at user talk:AaronSw#RIP. Thank you. --My76Strat (talk) 02:15, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Ditto. In terms of BLPNAME; She is just about notable in her own right - and a relatively public figure. So as a hardliner over BLPNAME I'd be less worried about this example, unless an explicit preference for privacy is expressed. --Errant (chat!) 10:05, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

The source specifically identifies the partner's name, apparently by choice. Would a proper biography include this person by name? One would think so. The biography should also state the subject has two brothers (and stating their first names would also be fine). There is no reason however to decide any of these issues today. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:01, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

  • I wouldn't name her at all, WP:BLPNAME - she is not related to his notability in any way, she is not notable and their relationship isn't notable in any way either. Youreallycan 21:41, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
    • At best, she's got marginal notability from what I can find as well. While I personally believe that her using her name, intentionally, in the press release really gives us some latitude with respect to BLPNAME, I also don't see that, short of her being notable, that the name is particularly important, either. And I can imagine it being hurtful to include it, or to exclude it, depending on the preferences of the living person. In short, I don't personally have much left in the way of strong feelings about this. (Modified from a previous comment that was based on factually incorrect information, I've removed it rather than add to any confusion.) --j⚛e deckertalk 22:01, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

I don't know whether I'm doing this edit correctly formatting-wise, but as I told SJ yesterday in person I have no problem at all with being named in the article. I'm doing press interviews about Aaron's death and have been named and quoted in the WSJ and other prominent sources, and intend to do more interviews over the coming days. -- Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:55, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Assuming that this is really from who it purports to be from, our analysis becomes simpler. There's still WP:BLP1E to consider right now. But if and when reliable sources start quoting the partner, the potential WP:BLPNAME issue evaporates. What will be left are questions of relevancy and editorial judgment. My knee-jerk concerns about WP:HARM and the Golden Rule fall by the wayside. I appreciate everyone taking a cautious approach in response to my boldface cri de coeur and possibly-overwrought exhortations. David in DC (talk) 20:44, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Confirmed. – SJ + 14:50, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
SJ's word is the tipping point. Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman is notable and BLP is satisfied. --HectorMoffet (talk) 20:40, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman article created

Per confirmation of IP's comments by SJ, I've gone ahead an created a bio. Please expand it as appropriate. ---HectorMoffet (talk) 14:01, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

I've removed the Demand Progress quote... my reasons

I decided to create a new talk-page section because the previous one is so cluttered with other issues. Here are my reasons for removing the Demand Progress quote as an NPOV violation:

1. Presented as it is without the proper context, readers are not presented with enough context to judge whether it is inaccurate or not.

2. It is highly inaccurate and misleading. Not only can a person not carry 4.9 million books out of a library, but Swartz's alleged actions would not constitute any sort of checkout procedure, but rather unpermitted access (again, allegedly). This statement thus may have a proper place on the new/impending page for the case itself, where hopefully the relevant workings of JSTOR at the time can be explored somewhat-- but not here, out of any possible context that can lead to understanding it. This is not Fox News (or a liberal/activist counterpart) but an encyclopedia.

3. It is not balanced by opposing commentary either. Including a few token statements by Carmen Ortiz etc. about whether the allegations, true or false, were overcharged or overprosecuted do not serve to balance misleading characterizations of the alleged acts themselves. If there's to be an analysis of just what he did via commentary, it can't be so one-sided. (Note that though Ortiz makes a general statement about misappropriating computer data being wrongful, she doesn't make any specific statement in her quote about what Swartz allegedly did. In addition Hayes' quote currently remains, completely inaccurate though it seems to be to call the documents "free".)

These are my thoughts. I think anyone who can't see that with the DP comment the JSTOR section is hopelessly pro-Swartz needs to recuse themselves at this stage. CarthCarsen (talk) 18:02, 17 January 2013 (UTC) this is what anybody can do to any wikipedia page, just come in and unilaterally delete things they feel are bad? Are you aware of how totally and hopelessly anti-Swartz you are? Are you on the payroll of the Department of Justice in Mass. working for Carmen Ortiz?JonErber (talk) 18:44, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I happen to agree with you that the quote is misleading, but removal of the quote is not the only manner of redress, and I would contend it is neither the best manner. Because the quote is so widely prevalent in reliable sources, and because this is an encyclopedia, the best manner is to include the reliably sourced quote, with attribution, immediately followed by its counter-intuitive nature, letting the reader decide its appropriate weight. For example we could state:

Demand Progress, a group Swartz co-founded, characterized the indictment as "trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library."[1] The characterization however, does not reconcile its relationship to the lending limits imposed by libraries, nor the physical impossibility of one person to carry over 4 million books out of the library.

The block-quote above demonstrates the wiki-better-way of NPOV inclusion, IMO. --My76Strat (talk) 19:07, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I tried to do something similar to your suggestion before. I just tried again, and Bonusballs of course reverted the edit. It seems that some simply will not allow these statements to be put in the proper context for understanding, which once more makes the section read like an "Aaron Swartz was railroad" sob story. (Maybe he was, but it's simply inappropriate to effectively endorse these misleading statements by presenting them without the proper context. They should be on the page for the case, or here if there's enough room, with the proper context.) CarthCarsen (talk) 17:28, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Your edit was reverted - again - because it - again - violated WP:SYN and WP:OR (using quotes to advance a viewpoint not made by the source) and went against the clear concensus on this talk page that editing or removing notable, referenced quotes, is not NPOV. Just because you don't agree with what someone has said, doesn't mean you have a right to silence them. If you can't bear not to advance this "but websites are not libraries and books are not documents and you couldn't carry 4.9 million books and I don't know what a simile is" position, find a reliable source reporting an advancement of that position by someone notable. It's not up to individual editors to decide to draw these conclusions by themselves. Bonusballs (talk) 17:50, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
I've reverted your edit. You simply cannot mislead users in your attempt to exonerate Swartz in this way. Either leave out the legal pronouncement by a non-expert, or present enough information to render the comment non-misleading, as My76Strat has suggested and another user has endorsed. This page cannot be allowed to so obviously portray Swartz as innocent in this way. Either he was or he wasn't; this is best left for the page on the case itself, with information on how JSTOR actually works, and hopefully with bona fide legal commentary if the DP quote is presented there. Your suggestion that WP:SYN has been violated is laughable. CarthCarsen (talk) 18:39, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
You are repeatedly ignoring the stated concensus on this talk page that the quotes are valid and should stand. You disagree - and that's a shame. But please do not ignore the concensus. I have again restored the material which you have attempted to remove. The violation of WP:SYN is very clear and indeed was made by others before me. Please now respect the concensus on this talk page - if you have a further disagreement with that, discuss it on this page before removing any more quotes, or adding any further non-neutral commentaries. Bonusballs (talk) 18:44, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Stating that your position is consensus is simply inaccurate. Perhaps you should read up on what consensus involves. "Consensus on Wikipedia does not mean unanimity (which, although an ideal result, is not always achievable); nor is it the result of a vote. Decision-making involves an effort to incorporate all editors' legitimate concerns, while respecting Wikipedia's norms." By refusing to allow the inclusion of context enough to present the information in a non-misleading way, as suggested among others by My76Strat; by ignoring serious concerns of many users here about the quote as presented, and refusing to consider any middle-ground solution; and by your petulant edit-warring, you have done anything but achieve consensus. You simply want to get your way, and to do your best to exonerate and saint the subject of this article. Recuse yourself. CarthCarsen (talk) 18:52, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
My position is the same as the multiple other editors who have expressed the same or similar opinion on this page. That's what "consensus" means. The points you have made were listened to, and as I said earlier, if you can find a proper quote from a notable individual connected with this case, making the point which you seem so desperate to make, reported by a reliable source, then by all means include it. But please do not include your own opinionated commentaries, or remove or edit the quotes of others to match the angle which you are coming from. Wikipedia's norms have rules against that too. The fact that someone has said something which you personally do not agree with does not automatically mean that it is misleading. It means that you disagree. And although that's a shame, Wikipedia articles have rather more serious business to attend to. Please, please respect the consensus and channel your energies towards making positive contributions to the encyclopaedia, rather than just constantly attacking anyone who holds a contrary viewpoint and demanding that they recuse themselves for you. That is not how it works. And before attacking me on the administrator's noticeboard, please note that the disputed material was not even mine to begin with. All I have done (as have several others) is attempted to prevent you from removing it without consensus. Bonusballs (talk) 18:58, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
My position is also the same as that of multiple other editors, who began by observing that the removal was warranted and have continued through to the present, noting that the inclusion of the quote is biased. You have not achieved consensus by starting an edit war. You do not decide whether concerns have been addressed-- and in particular you of all the posters here seem the least likely to ever compromise. My76Strat suggested a fine edit, but you couldn't have it; the only thing you will accept is presenting misleading information in an out-of-context way in order to sway readers to your point of view. Read the many other comments here expressing concern over the biased info, and stop bleating that you've achieved consensus when you have not-- and stop edit-warring. Recuse yourself if you cannot be neutral. CarthCarsen (talk) 19:04, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Your position is not supported by the majority. Not all the points you make are entirely wrong but on this particular issue, if you don't mind me saying, you seem to have a bit of a blind spot. You're also unlikely to attract much support for your cause while you repeatedly attack editors who disagree with your point, and I notice that you are again demanding for people to recuse themselves seemingly for no other reason than not holding your, somewhat less than neutral, position. As I said, that is not how it works. I can and will support any edit you make that does not involve removing referenced quotes, amending referenced quotes, or inserting your own commentaries and synthesis into an article. That is not appropriate for Wikipedia articles and is most assuredly not the Neutral Point Of View that you claim to be upholding. I have no interest in swaying readers to any point of view, but I do have interest when a single-issue editor like yourself consistently and repeatedly tries to grind an axe by distorting articles to match their viewpoint. Yes, that gets my attention, and when I see such behaviour, then I, like any other Wikipedia editor, will obviously seek to challenge it, discuss it, and ultimately reach a concensus that everyone is happy with. If everyone cannot be happy, then the majority needs to be happy. I think I've been more than helpful and have bent over backwards to illustrate appropriate ways in which you could make your point, if you are really determined to. All you have done is just repeatedly remove the content you don't like, regardless, and make personal attacks against any editor who challenges you. I'm sorry you feel that way. Bonusballs (talk) 19:10, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
There you go again, confusing consensus with a simple majority. You are blinded by your bias-- recuse yourself. CarthCarsen (talk) 20:47, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Have to agree. For a single editor to be removing, and even EDITING referenced quotes is absolutely not acceptable and not how a legitimate NPOV concern should be addressed. Bonusballs (talk) 19:17, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
One can remove part of a quote if the meaning is preserved, or even change whole words and sections! Who knew! The only part removed from Hayes' quote was the assertion that he was not exaggerating. CarthCarsen (talk) 17:28, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
That said, it starts to get silly once you start inserting nit-picking editorial commentary over a perfectly simple to understand smilie. e.g. "Mr X said that his wife was 'as fat as an elephant', however this ignores the fact that elephants walk on four legs, not two, and their ears are much larger than those of humans." - You do have to draw the line somewhere and recognise that most readers are intelligent enough to draw their own conclusion and do not need to be protected from it by over-zealous single-issue editors. Bonusballs (talk) 19:55, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
No Jon, they can't - and editors who disagree get to fix things. Pretty much as 76Strat put it just above.
NPOV does not mean:
  • Stripping quotes an editor disagrees with
  • Editing quotes, especially not in a partisan manner (WTF?!)
  • Claiming that "balance" is achieved by having one line from each side and counting the words that each gets to use. If the vocal world out there is shouting "Swartz was innocent", then there will, and ought to be, a long series of quotes and opinions on such a basis. We report them.
  • Maybe the world is shouting "Imprison the Pirate" instead? So far I'm seeing Carmen Ortiz and Westboro Baptist Church. If CarthCarsen knows of others, then they should probably be here too.
Andy Dingley (talk) 19:29, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
1. We report the charges, we report the prosecutor's statements on the charges, we report a third party's opinion that the charges were justified.
2. 'THEN we give the other side of the debate on charge validity in the form of two sentences-- an MSNBC host and Swartz's own organization.
3. Both perspectives are necessary for us to call this a NPOV article.
Disagreeing with the opinions expressed ("misleading") does not mean those opinions cease to exist or cease to be notable. They just mean your opinion differs from one of many notable opinions included in this article. Join the club. --HectorMoffet (talk) 20:07, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree that the quote belongs, and I suggest that repeatedly removing it will not prove to be an effective editing strategy. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 17:56, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
User Bonusballs cannot compromise by allowing enough information to put the one-sided quote in context. Until such time as that's done, such as in the excellent suggestion by My76Strat, Wikipedia cannot seem to endorse the skewed view of the unqualified quote-- which is of course the intention of Bonusballs et al. Save it for the page on the case (with enough info on JSTOR to render it non-misleading), or allow enough context here to fix the problem; but a solution is not to allow legal opinions from biased non-experts in an effort to exonerate Aaron Swartz. Bias is showing terribly in this edit war. CarthCarsen (talk) 18:35, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
CarthCarsen, removal of well-sourced quote does not improve the article. Your justifition is confusing-- no quote is itself NPOV-- rather, WP:NPOV is a property of our articles, not the opinions featured in the article. --HectorMoffet (talk) 20:06, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
The fact that a quote is well-sourced does not mean it improves the article. The point is that by presenting inaccurate, extremely biased quotes by Swartz's supporters out of context, readers will be misled. Similarly, we wouldn't let the Second Amendment article be full of statements by gun owners that the Second Amendment guarantees a right of armed revolt. Sure, some people hold that viewpoint, but not only is it false, but by presenting it without the proper factual setting, some readers might believe it-- and believe that Wikipedia endorsed. Such are the (multiple users') concerns about the Hayes and Demand Progress quotes. CarthCarsen (talk) 20:46, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

I find the quote useful as illustrating the subject's view. I also observe that we're edit-warring (the characterization of CarthCarsen, who is very close to the 3RR rule) an article that is very nearly BLP. Readers of the encyclopedia will want to read the position of the subject and his organization; the opinions of others need not be reflected here or given equal weight. There is no NPOV issue here: the quote indicates what the subject and his organization maintained.

Given the emotions surrounding the subject, I strongly recommend that detractors back off on this for a time. De mortuis nil nisi bonum. If that proves impossible, I'd recommend that an admin take appropriate action. MarkBernstein (talk) 21:09, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Please read this edit and the couple of fixes right afterward. I've tried to isolate the part that might be considered POV, rearranged things, changed a heading, added a heading and misspelled "hagiography", all by adding fewer that 50 characters. I acknowledge I've been WP:BOLD. As the edit summary says, revert if you think I've done damage. But please consider if this helps put us back on the road to civil collaboration. Please also read this. I've tried to calm the waters. When the 31 hours expire, please try to do so, as well. David in DC (talk) 15:17, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

It is obvious that Demand Progress quote is relevant. Let people read it and decide whether it is important or not instead of behaving like a censor. Of course, it won't get into your head, but I hope some other editor eventually will step in. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:43, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

As it turns out, the speaker's own disavowal of any relation to the actual facts was the best way to put it in context. This is good because it doesn't necessitate juxtaposing the statement with somewhat involved explanations of JSTOR specifics enough to show its inaccuracy, nor does it require summaries which would probably be attacked as "original research". Problem mostly solved, for now, though it seems a mite ridiculous to have the full quote in the section it's in with the extraneous added assertion of Swartz's respect for this and that, but such is life. Moving this article towards some semblance of a proper encyclopedia entry is like herding cats, and I for one am grateful for every bit of sanity. The clarification/"back-pedaling" is vastly better than nothing, even with MarkBernstein's attempt to counter it with something blissfully supportive. (talk) 23:25, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

David Segal's comment

Are there any sources which comment on the stupidity of Segal's comparison? (Even though he backpedaled a bit.)

By the way, I restored the deleted backpedaling, which shows that Segal did recognize the stupidity of his initial blurb. (The deleter probably confused post date with retrieval date and mistakenly assumed that the blurbs were far apart; in fact they were timestamped with the same day of July 17.) Staszek Lem (talk) 20:20, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

I think, if you care to look, you'll find Larry Lessig concurs with Segal. "Early on, and to its great credit, JSTOR figured “appropriate” out: They declined to pursue their own action against Aaron, and they asked the government to drop its. MIT, to its great shame, was not as clear, and so the prosecutor had the excuse he needed to continue his war against the “criminal” who we who loved him knew as Aaron." ( Of course, Lessig is merely the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School.
"Here is where we need a better sense of justice, and shame. For the outrageousness in this story is not just Aaron. It is also the absurdity of the prosecutor’s behavior. From the beginning, the government worked as hard as it could to characterize what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way."
Characterizing what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way is precisely what we should be trying to avoid here. MarkBernstein (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:30, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Concurs with the absurd analogy to checking out a few books? Agreed, it's best to present a factually true account. That's why the Segal analogy, as well as the Hayes quote asserting that the material was "free", are so problematic. You seem to have taken the approach of trying to balance out Segal's backpedaling with a paean to Swartz's human virtues. The earlier you start looking at this as an encyclopedia article instead of as an homage, the better. (talk) 20:39, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
It's best to let the quotations by notable people, published in reliable sources, speak for themselves. Whether Segal's analogy is stupid or not, it's the statement of a spokesman for a Swartz-afiliated group. If the best such a spokesman can muster is a stupid analagy, maybe it would be a good idea to let the readers of the encyclopedia draw their own conclusion from that. Whether CarthCarsen or or anyone else reading the quote thinks it's stupid is irrelevant. Asserting otherwise simply demonstrates a lack of understanding about wikipedia and it's use of secondary and teriary sources. If you can, as Lem suggests, find a reliable source where someone notable is published as saying it's a stupid analogy. Then insert it. <DiDC ends paragraph before he gets carried away with a tangential remark about other things to insert and where they might be usefully inserted.>
Carth's user page claims he's a lawyer. So, please ask Carth to explain the concept of admitting a statement into evidence for a reason other than the truth of the fact(s) asserted. It works that way here, too. Segal, a Swartz partisan, defends him with an analogy a reasonable reader (or for that matter a nut-job conspiracy theorist) finds idiotic. To compound things, Segal back-pedals. If all of that appears in an encyclopedic biography of Swartz, the reader and/or nut-job gets to decide the import of the quote.David in DC (talk) 21:13, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
There's no need to get cutesy. To extend your analogy further, if Segal had sat in court and made such a statement while testifying, the prosecution would instantly have moved to strike the statement, and the judge would have granted it and instructed the jury to disregard the statement (alternatively the judge would immediately have so instructed the jury without being prompted). Including factually misleading assertions, without the proper context, tends to mislead. (talk) 21:27, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
There's every reason to get cutesy. The alternative is far worse and my back is too old for stooping. Also, in a case where Segal's state of mind was at issue, rather than whether the facts he asserted in his answer were true, the prosecution's motion would fail or, alternatively, the judge would, sua sponte, do nothing. David in DC (talk) 23:10, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
It would be good to compile a list of NPOV problems with the article. I'll do it later if I have time. The Segal quote, especially unqualified as it was originally, is/was such a problem because the reason it's present, really, is to suggest to readers that Swartz did something far different from what he actually did ("right" or "wrong"). That's the fairly obvious reason for the Hayes quote, too--it is only present to suggest, falsely, to readers that JSTOR content Swartz downloaded was free. Until these sorts of suggestions are presented in the proper factual context, they skew the article. Such misrepresentations of fact are in my opinion a far bigger problem than any disproportionate presentation of viewpoints. (talk) 20:39, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I think you've hit on a very good idea for putting your time to a useful purpose. As a matter of fact, it's exactly why we have user sub-pages here on wikipedia. Even under your two known personae, you've got relatively little experience here, so maybe you don't know how to set up user sub-page. I'm sure someone could show you how. Then you could compile your list and, once it's i's are dotted and t's crossed, you could give fellow editors a link to it. It's a pretty good way to encourage collaborative editing. David in DC (talk) 21:13, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I'd rather put it here, where it's tougher to ignore. I'll keep it brief. (talk) 21:27, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
There is absolutely no credible argument here. By fairly presenting what Seagal actually said, as reported by a credible source of record, the job is done. It is not the job of editors to get so AMAZINGLY bent out of shape in the way that you seem to be. Quite aside from anything else, that's Original Research and is not wanted or required in a Wikipedia article. Bonusballs (talk) 20:48, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree--absolutely no credible argument as to the reason the quote was stuffed into the article in that particular way. What are we arguing over? Whether inept or skewed analogies may be taken at face value? I'm not "amazingly bent out of shape" because I point out the presence of bias. When a quote is presented as notable, and it asserts that that which is not free is free, and it's from a news channel, it's going to mislead someone. That's the point; and no amount of personal attacks is going to change it. To all readers, note how Bonusballs attacks... and attacks... and attacks. Note also his/her need to always have the last word. (talk) 21:00, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Just making the observation. The Seagal/Demand Progress quote seems to have been a particular focus of yours from day one. It would be bias if someone wrote in an article "What Aaron did was no different to waiting in the no-waiting zone" and if someone DID try to pass off their opinion in that way in an article, it could and should be rightly removed. But this is a notable quote from someone rather closer to the case than any of us. (Presumably...) - The fact that you happen to disagree with it is sad, but I'm pretty sure that you don't spend all day trying to correct the quotes of the thousands of people throughout history who have said something that does not align with your views. Why this one? And again, the point stands - what Seagal said is what he said. It's a valid quote, properly referenced, reported fairly. There's no reason to lose any sleep over it, as far as I can see. I'll ignore your continued personal attacks against me (once again you accuse others of what you actually are only doing yourself) as that really is just getting very boring now. It demeans the quality of your argument if you can't make it without attacking other editors. Argue the facts and people will respect your viewpoint more. Bonusballs (talk) 21:05, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes, Lessig's influential and widely-quoted essays on prosecutorial bullying in this case do, in essence, concur with Segal's analogy. Having greater compass for his remarks, and not being required to comment on the record on the day of the indictment, his argument is more detailed and more nuanced, but it agrees with the analogy. Lessig is currently unavailable for comment, but when he returns to his post I don't doubt that he will be happy to speak for himself if you wish to inquire further. For now, his remarks speak for themselves. MarkBernstein (talk) 20:47, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

In no way do assertions of "prosecutorial overreach" (or whatever the buzzword today is) translate to endorsement of a particular flawed analogy to the facts. Lessig's remarks cannot rationally be interpreted in such a way. (talk) 21:02, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
75.67... , please understand that Lessig, Hayes, and Segal are all notable individuals whose comments have been published by WP:RSes. Your opinions are merely your own. If you have difficulty understanding the "library analogy" as applied to this case, respect your limitations and yield to editors with more familiarity or more emotional distance. Multiple edit wars will only lead to multiple blocks against you. --HectorMoffet (talk) 06:40, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, I did a quick google search and noticed that quite a few people found this analogy flawed. Further, some other people found that these latter ones have flawed arguments themselves, etc., etc. Since I have no idea (I don't care) who of these are notable enough to cite here, I didn't bother. I merely posted the question (see the very top) for people who know what's up, but sadly observed the section deteriorated into bickering (again). Staszek Lem (talk) 16:20, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
My above comment is decidedly not directed at you, Staszek. The "Library Analogy" isn't decisive-- it certainly didn't convince prosecutors for example. It's an argument used by one side of the debate to explain their views. Disagreeing is fine, citing notable disagreement is fine-- editwarring to remove the opinion altogether, however, is not fine, as user CC & 75.67... hav regrettably discovered. --HectorMoffet (talk) 08:21, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Proposal to create separate article about JSTOR case

The more details we report about the case and the fallout from it, the further we are drifting from an Aaron Swartz biography. This article needs to be mainly about Aaron. Of course we have to say something about the case, but the complete chronology of what JSTOR did, what MIT did, what the Secret Service did, what the federal prosecutor did, and what the lawyer said all really belongs in an article about the case itself. So I feel that a better use of our energy right now would be to fork the JSTOR section, with the main article being United States v. Aaron Swartz, and just have a terse one- or two-paragraph summary and link here in the Aaron Swartz article. Would anyone object to this? —c(talk) 01:01, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Seems reasonable to me, in keeping with WP:SUMMARY. This article should primarily be about the person and his work. The things done in reaction to his work needn't be exhaustively detailed in this article, but would be more appropriate in an article about the legal case. -Pete (talk) 06:11, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I wouldn't start "trimming"/"summarizing" this article yet-- still lots of flux; but I see no problem whatsoever in creating United States v. Aaron Swartz and doing chronologies, more details. Good idea, C/Mjb--HectorMoffet (talk) 07:13, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes to a separate article about the case; no to cutting significantly from this one (at least at this stage). Nomoskedasticity (talk) 21:36, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Agree. Lenny Kaufman talk 00:43, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Also agree. Leave the material that is here and go into greater detail, of which there is no shortage, in the new one. Jusdafax 08:26, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Ditto. Bonusballs (talk) 09:34, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Agree. I tagged the section in hopes of getting more comment on this proposal. --Hirolovesswords (talk) 18:41, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
  • oppose We've got no article to split, as yet. There's very little in the bio section about RSS or RDF, and nothing on his early work with CC. Maybe, once the article is so big to be unwieldy otherwise, we might need to split it then. Andy Dingley (talk) 18:56, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
  • oppose removing substantive text or creating new article about state case.

  Aaron's getting arrested could reasonably have affected him more traumatically than other single incident in his life.  It's where he first experienced the shock of imprisonment.
   The disposition of the case would have also affected Swartz personally.
   But Commonwealth v. Swartz is an “unreported” case in a state district court.  (It can't be cited in other trials.)  No judicial opinion was issued.  So the case has no legal significance.
_ support trimming or removing the Silverglate quotation.
Dervorguilla (talk) 12:01, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

What's your objection to the Silvergate quote? It's the central news in the article, which is the main reportage in Mass Lawyers' Weekly, which certainly is widely read by lawyers in the state, even those not engaged in criminal defense. The state case would never have had significance as a precedent since it was, apparently, never envisioned that it be pursued; nevertheless, it's clearly significant in terms of biography. While is not unlikel that in the coming weeks or months this particular quotation might be superseded by the results of further investigation, we'll have to wait upon events. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:18, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
We agree that the state case is clearly significant in terms of biography and that it should not be split out.  The Silverglate quotation is interesting and important.  It can be questioned because the author attributes it to “[l]awyers familiar with the case” − no names are given.  It doesn’t seem to be verifiable.  (Incidentally I can’t find this passage anywhere: “In subsequent interviews, state prosecutors indicated that they did not intend to seek a jail sentence.”)
The phrase "lawyers familiar with the case" reflects background sourcing, a practice nearly universal in US news media. This indicates that the newspaper relies here on anonymous sources, behind which the paper places its full faith and credit. "Verifiable" in wikipedia means that we can trace the information to reliable published sources, not that we are privy to their reporters' notes and the identities of the sources their reporters used. MarkBernstein (talk) 23:28, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Concur with MB's description of US journalistic practice and wiki-meaning of verifiable. I often use this page when called on to describe the most common on-the-record/off-the-record/backround/deep background sourcing approach in American newswriting. I'm not saying it's how journalism ought to be practiced as a normative matter, but it's a good fairly short, fairly easily read summary of the standards reputable American journalists and their publishers currently hold themselves to. David in DC (talk) 03:21, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
1. Attorney Silverglate doesn’t claim to be a reporter.  2. Silverglate didn’t say, “In subsequent interviews, state prosecutors indicated that they did not intend to seek a jail sentence.”  3. Nor did he say that anyone else did.  I haven’t found the quote anywhere outside WP.
I don’t intend to remove the quote.  But if someone else does, do you intend to summarily revert? -Dervorguilla (talk) 05:18, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
1. This was run as news, not editorial, by a respected journal. You will find sourcing like this in any morning's edition of the Washington Post. Since any source saying this on the record would be likely to lose her or his job, the off-the-record sourcing should not surprise you. For that matter, the ny times story based extensively discussed here has even deeper sourcing, depending on documents leaked from (presumably) the US Attorney's office.
2. On these grounds, yes, I would revert.MarkBernstein (talk) 13:02, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

See also?

--Pawyilee (talk) 05:46, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Doesn't mention Swartz, Demand Progress, or SOPA

--Dervorguilla (talk) 14:09, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Volokh Conspiracy

Orin Kerr, associate professor of law at the George Washington University Law School, has posted two articles to The Volokh Conspiracy that may be referenced in text, or in external links:

--Pawyilee (talk) 15:16, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

I believe both are currently referenced and discussed in the article. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:48, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Please see Kerr/Boyle thread below and, if you are so moved, comment. David in DC (talk) 13:19, 1 February 2013 (UTC)


In good faith, Dervorguilla made this deletion with a sensible edit summary rationale. I've restored the Kerr quote here, with what I hope is a sensible countervailing rationale. Whaddya think, fellow collaborators? David in DC (talk) 13:20, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

2.2.1. “George Washington University Professor Orin Kerr, writing on the legal blog Volokh Conspiracy, opined....”  2.2.3. “GWU’s Orin Kerr wrote, on Volokh Conspiracy....  Kerr, again writing on Volokh Conspiracy, proposed....”  Dervorguilla (talk) 14:12, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
There are a number of sources we use for different facts, in different places, in this article.
In 2.2.1. Kerr's first Volokh posting is used to balance the statement that Swartz still risked 35 yr/$1 million sentence.
In 2.2.3. the same article is used for the opinion that the charges were S.O.P. That's a very different point. The first is about the risk of a maximum sentence. The second is about the propriety of the initial charges.
In 2.2.3. A couple days later, Boyle refutes Kerr's first post. A couple days after that, Kerr makes a second Volokh posting.
In my editorial judgment, the "sentence risk" opinion paraphrase is properly in 2.2.1, the "appropriate charges" quotes are properly in 2.2.3., and none belong in the Congress section.
I claim no corner on the wisdom market. Hell, I'm sometimes moved to wonder if I even have a stall there. But I'm looking for some policy-based explanation of why the quotes --- as they stand, where they stand --- need correction. I'm persuadable. Perhaps someone besides Dervorguilla or me has some wisdom to share? Please? David in DC (talk) 02:20, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

c|net and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly are reliable sources

Why then should this article and especially the author of that article's separate quotation reported in this article be excised from our wiki-article. The edit summaries suggest that an editor has done original research to determine that c|net is wrong in describing the author as "of counsel" to Swartz's first law firm on the federal case. And that he's wrong when he tells c|net about what the D.A. planned to do and how the US Attorney took the case in a different direction. That's not kosher. I purposely relied less on the Mass Lawyers Weekly piece, because it's, arguably, a primary source. But the c|net article is clearly a secondary, reliable source. It really doesn't matter if an editor thinks c|net is wrong about the attorney's position at the firm or whether that editor thinks the attorney's direct quotation in the c|net article is, objectively, true, so long as we cite the c|net article and identify the attorney the way c|net did. I'm puzzled and a bit troubled. Can someone explain why we're substituting our own opinions for what's been published in c|net, a reliable secondary source. David in DC (talk) 01:34, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Burden of proof is on those who wish to … restore … the disputed material.…  Consensus must be obtained first. — WP:BLP
Material about dead people that has implications for their living relatives, … particularly in the case of … notable suicides, is covered by BLP policy.  Contentious or questionable material … should be treated in the same way as material about living people. — WP:BDP
Word “source” … has three meanings: … [2nd] the writer ….  Base articles on … sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.…  Be especially careful when sourcing content related to living people. — WP:SOURCES
Whether a specific news story is reliable for a specific fact … will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. — WP:NEWSORG
Material has implications for Swartz’s estate.  Contentious.  Questionable.  Swartz recently dead.  Swartz a suicide.
McCullagh article isn’t a reliable source for BDP.  Not fact-checked by *CNET*.
Swartz Didn’t Face Prison Until Feds Took Over Case, Report Says. — McCullagh, CNET.  “… a new report says.”  “… according to a report ….” (headline; subhead; graf 1)
No report found.
“Silverglate told CNET today that:  ‘Swartz was arrested for “trespassing ….”’” — McCullagh, Swartz, CNET.
“The authorities claimed that he broke into ….” — Cooper, Internet Activist, CNET.
“[Swartz’s] alleged use … resulted in … charges for breaking … and breaking & entering … according to local prosecutors.” — Gerstein, MIT, Politico.
Reliable secondary source.  Cites authoritative sources.
“By 11 a.m. … a Secret Service agent … was on the scene.” — Cohen, How MIT, NY Times.
Fact-checked by *NYTimes*.
Dervorguilla (talk) 06:32, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
1) Silverglate is indeed "of counsel" to the law firm, as can be verified by a quick search yielding the firm's website page "Harvey A. Silverglate, Of Counsel ...".
2) I would suggest that CNET be left out of it, since that's just an echo of the original post.
3) Under Wikipedia rules, Silverglate's article should be treated as a statement by a prominent subject-matter expert, the same way e.g. Orin Kerr's blog posts are treated, and others.
4) It's not a contentious statement - "Lawyers familiar with the case have told me that it was anticipated that the state charge would be continued without a finding, with Swartz duly admonished and then returned to civil society to continue his pioneering electronic work in a less legally questionable manner. Tragedy intervened when Ortiz’s office took over the case to send "a message."". That's basically true, almost conventional wisdom. It really wasn't much news to anyone both following the case AND familiar with the specific details of the various charges involved. It's worth noting for description, but there's no other side saying it's wrong, anywhere.
(sigh ... disclosure, I'm acquainted with both Silverglate and the CNET writer, though haven't crossed paths with them for years now)

-- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 08:41, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Burden of proof is on those who wish to … restore … the disputed material.…  Consensus must be obtained first. — WP:BLP

Agreed. That's why we're discussing this on the talk page.

Material about dead people that has implications for their living relatives, … particularly in the case of … notable suicides, is covered by BLP policy.  Contentious or questionable material … should be treated in the same way as material about living people. — WP:BDP

Agreed. That's why I used two reliable publishers, CNET and Mass Lawyers. (Yes, I get it that this is the crux of the issue. If there were consensus about reliability there wouldn't be a need to be here on the talk page.) I don't think C|Net's general reliability is in question here. As for Mass Lawyers, it's read by the most contentious people on the planet, lawyers. If it played fast and loose with the truth, there should be some evidence of complaint about it. I can find none. Disclosure: I'm a lawyer. But I usually try not to mention it in polite company. :)

Word “source” … has three meanings: … [2nd] the writer ….  Base articles on … sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.…  Be especially careful when sourcing content related to living people. — WP:SOURCES

That's why I used two reliable writers, Maclaghlen and Silverglate. (Yes, I get it that this is the crux of the issue. If there were consensus about reliability there wouldn't be a need to be here on the talk page.)

Whether a specific news story is reliable for a specific fact … will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. — WP:NEWSORG

Silverglate's article, published in Mass Lawyers, rests on his reputation for veracity. It's good. He's a living person. Saying otherwise requires at least an example, even on a talk page. He's writing about his discussions about this with informed sources. McLaghlin's article, in c|net contains independent reporting. A new interview with Silverglate, for instance. It is largely reporting what Silverglate wrote, but not entirely.

Material has implications for Swartz’s estate.  Contentious.  Questionable.  Swartz recently dead.  Swartz a suicide.

Agreed. All true. But that's why we're engaged in discussion about the sources in the first place.

McCullagh article isn’t a reliable source for BDP.  Not fact-checked by *CNET*.

Um, how on earth can one know it's not fact-checked. The seperate interview of Silverglate and the material in the article that doesn't derive directly from the Mass Lawyers article strongly suggests otherwise.

Swartz Didn’t Face Prison Until Feds Took Over Case, Report Says. — McCullagh, CNET.  “… a new report says.”  “… according to a report ….” (headline; subhead; graf 1)
No report found.

This is sophistry. Silverglate is reporting in his article - about information he obtained from informed sources. That's standard journalism. Reporters report.

“Silverglate told CNET today that:  ‘Swartz was arrested for “trespassing ….”’” — McCullagh, Swartz, CNET.
“The authorities claimed that he broke into ….” — Cooper, Internet Activist, CNET.
“[Swartz’s] alleged use … resulted in … charges for breaking … and breaking & entering … according to local prosecutors.” — Gerstein, MIT, Politico.
Reliable secondary source.  Cites authoritative sources.
“By 11 a.m. … a Secret Service agent … was on the scene.” — Cohen, How MIT, NY Times.
Fact-checked by *NYTimes*.

All true. What's the point? David in DC (talk) 12:08, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

There is no reason to excise this material. It was reported, with background sourcing, by Mass Lawyer's Weekly -- a distinguished and reliable source. There is no reliable report that Silvergate's sources do not exist, or that they did not say what he reports they said. I believe that a working consensus exists now on this topic, that the deletion should be reverted -- and that the deletion, having been proposed here and cogent objections having been raised to it, should not have been made without further discussion. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:36, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

No consensus on whether ‘Silverglate is indeed “of counsel” to the law firm.’  User Seth Finkelstein says he is; subject Silverglate says he isn’t.  Harvey A. Silverglate, CV (“2003–2010: Of counsel to Good & Cormier”).  WP:NOCONSENSUS
-- Dervorguilla (talk) 03:32, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

I'm inclined to say include the material. Most prominently, the statement really doesn't seem contentious-- it's what we would expect: state prosecutors enforce state laws like trespass that have penalties like "dismissed without a finding". Federal prosecutors prosecute federal offenses that in this case had penalties like "35 years imprisonment". --HectorMoffet (talk) 04:38, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
“But [Swartz’s] alleged use of MIT facilities and Web connections … resulted in … state felony charges for breaking into a ‘depository’ … according to local prosecutors.” — Gerstein.
“Whoever … break[s] … a … depository … shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than twenty years….” — Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 16 (1974).
‘Contentious material’ is primarily that [which], if untrue, would clearly cause harm to the subject. — WP:CRYBLP.  The accusations here would clearly cause political harm to the federal prosecutor (Ortiz).
-- Dervorguilla (talk) 06:56, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
I think criticism of government figures in RSes is to be expected in articles of political interest. I won't speak to the "of counsel" issue, but it seems widely reported that the state prosecutors were willing to settle without prison time, while the federal prosecutors demanded jail time. --HectorMoffet (talk) 07:19, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
You agree the material is ‘contentious,’ in the WP:CRYBLP sense.
-- Dervorguilla (talk) 07:48, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Dervorguilla, while I acknowledge that I might be in error on the "of counsel" issue as regards the current timeframe, I believe it would be fairer in your rebuttal to avoid any implication that I made an argument from authority ("says he is"). That is, I did indeed take it as fact, but you omitted that was based on the listing on the website of the law firm itself. Perhaps that listing is out of date, and the CNET article was working from the old listing. Such errors have been known to happen. I would be fine with editing "is of counsel" into "has been of counsel" (yes, I know, that's the dreaded "original research", but it's such a small thing, can we just call it WP:IAR, for the greater good of the encyclopedia?). It is unclear to me what your objection is overall. It would help me to understand it if you filled in some of the telegraphic points you are making, in a more connected form. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 08:23, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Making ‘telegraphic points’ is _._ . . _.!  Illustration:  “So, Grimson .._. .._ _._. _._s the duck by telling the Chief to keep the perp’s address out of the _... ._.. ___ _ _ . ._..  That’s a section ____. ___....  But, for a while it works.  Nobody figures out it’s the kid.  Meanwhile he’s staring at a twenty-year bid from ._.. . ___ _. . on a section .____ _.....” -- Dervorguilla (talk) 01:43, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm guessing this is a redacted version of one of the police radio broadcasts that the MIT Crime Club publicizes. But, maybe because some redactions are not wikilinked, or maybe because I'm obtuse, I genuinely don't get the point. David in DC (talk) 12:40, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
It seems to be fictional. Dervorguilla's playing with the word "telegraphic", which I used in the sense of "very terse and without context", but instead s/he's goofing with it as Morse Code. Running the text through a translator I get "Making 'telegraphic points' is (keen)! Illustration: "So, Grimson (expletive deleted)s the duck by telling the Chief to keep the perp's address out of the (blotter). That's a section (9:). But, for a while it works. Nobody figures out it's the kid. Meanwhile he's staring at a twenty-year bid from (leone) on a section (16)." Amusing as that is, slightly, it doesn't respond to my point that more context and prose explanation from him/her would be helpful in understanding the issues he or she wants to discuss. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 13:11, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
D'oh! I've got literal dots and dashes in front of my nose and can't make the conceptual leap to Morse Code. Thank you, Seth P. However, I don't think that the text is fictional. Because of Dervorgulla's edits to the MIT Crime Club and because the article says the club publicizes police radio broadcasts, and because the text reads like a police radio broadcast, i.e. "Grimson [engages in coitus with] the duck", "the perp's...", "That's a section 9", "...he's staring at a twenty-year bid from (leone) on a section 16," I'm applying Occam's Razor and concluding, tentatively, that it's excerpted from an actual police radio broadcast. I still don't get the point, beyond goofing ineptly on your use of the word telegraphic, but I think there is one and, like you, I find this obscurantist style of point-making frustrating and unhelpful.
I agree that disclosing Silverglate's "of counsel" relationship (current or past) with Swartz's first law firm on the federal charges would bolster a reader's understanding of why he might be privy to what lawyers close to the case report, but I don't think we can include it until we find a secondary source for the information Devorguilla uncovered with his/her original research in hunting out and posting Silverglate's resume. David in DC (talk) 17:07, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
My error, Seth.  Maybe my MIT Crime Club™ Secret Coder mistranslated the link punctuation...  Here’s an (edited) html-free version.
“So, Grimson .._. .._ _._. _._s the duck by telling the Chief to leave the perp’s address out of the .-.. --- --. .  That’s a Section ____. ___.. .  But, for a while it works.  Nobody figures out it’s the kid.  Meanwhile he’s staring at a twenty-year bid from ._.. . ___ _. . on the Section .____ _.... state rap.”
TRANSLATION.  “So, Grimson ——s the duck by telling the Chief to leave the perp’s address out of the log.  That’s a Section 98.  But, for a while it works.  Nobody figures out it’s the kid.  Meanwhile he’s staring at a twenty-year bid from Leone on the Section 16 state rap.”
For comparison, here’s some verifiable cop banter.  Edit by [BU/PD subnet] to Boston University Police Department (02:36, 7 February 2008).  “Since being at BUPD, Jack St H—— has designed computerized policing never having to leave his desk.  He rides the greyhound bus to work to save on gas and global warming.  Sgt St H—— is the first sergeant to ever insert his full head ….”
More research coming up, addressing Seth Finkelstein’s other helpful points!

Not wanting to do original research, I went with the reliable source (CNET) on of counsel. But Devorguilla's original research into Silverglate's curriculum vitae seems like an ok WP:IAR in this case and, while not having done the original research myself, I'll assume it's accurate. I think we DO have consensus on may find a path to reaching consensus on "of counsel" now. The consensus seems to be to I propose to ask everyone to sign off on is to leave it out, based on Silverglate's CV, as retrieved by Dervorguilla and posted to this talk page. Golly, I love collegial, cooperative editing. :). David in DC (talk) 12:51, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Sure, I'd be fine with leaving it out. The reason for it would be for further explaining Silverglate's connection to the relevant case lawyers, i.e. "credibility". But I don't think Wikipedia can handle that level of quality and informed writing, given it worships mismashes of half-garbled (sometimes fully garbled) hackery. Or at least, the requisite long argument over wikirules is just not worth it, from my perspective. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 13:11, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

New sources - Slate, New York

There are two new very long articles which look useful: Slate - Aaron Swartz wanted to save the world. Why couldn’t he save himself? and New York - The Life and Afterlife of Aaron Swartz -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 13:22, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Added helpful material from Slate to JSTOR section. -- Dervorguilla (talk) 07:57, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
See this response: [14] It's "only" a blog and rather long, but has suggestions for NPOV. --Pawyilee (talk) 10:46, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Checked out the blog.  An admission from the blog author herself: “This [material] is the transcript of interior thinking — again, thinking out loud.”  Illustration: “Swartz was a trespasser [given that] he wasn’t an MIT student.”
WP:CRYBLP. “Contentious should be narrowly construed.  Contentious material is primarily [material] that, if untrue, would clearly cause harm to the subject.”
WP:SOURCES. “Contentious material about living persons that is poorly sourced should be removed immediately.”
At WP, “contentious” does not mean “likely to cause disagreement or argument.”  It means “clearly (likely to) cause harm to the subject if untrue.”
So, the material would have to be immediately removed. -- Dervorguilla (talk) 01:41, 11 February 2013 (UTC)  Modified. -- Dervorguilla (talk) 01:41, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Does Silverglate’s op-ed cite only anonymous partisan sources who defended Swartz against the subject’s campaign?

The passage under discussion:

“According to attorney Harvey Silverglate, lawyers familiar with the case told him the Middlesex County District Attorney had planned to resolve Swartz’s case with a ‘stern warning’ and ‘continuance without a finding.’ … Tragedy intervened when Ortiz’s office took over the case to send ‘a message.’”

1. ‘Contentious’ material is primarily that [which], if untrue, would clearly cause harm to the subject. — WP:CRYBLP

If untrue, the material would clearly cause political harm to Ortiz, the subject.  This means the material is contentious.

2. Red flags … include … challenged claims that are supported purely by … material … released by parties involved in litigation against other involved parties …. — WP:REDFLAG
   Questionable sources … are not suitable sources for contentious claims about others. — WP:QS

The anonymous lawyers were involved in defending Swartz against the subject’s (malicious allegedly malicious) campaign to imprison him.  So they’re not suitable sources for the claims, which the subject is challenging.

3. Partisan secondary sources should be viewed with suspicion as they may misquote …. — WP:RS
   Be wary of sources … that attribute material to anonymous sources. — WP:BLPGOSSIP

A partisan secondary source — Silverglate’s op-ed — attributes the claims to anonymous partisan sources.  The point that Attorney Silverglate is a reputable author is impertinent.  Both the op-ed and its sources must be viewed with suspicion.

4. Contentious material about living persons that is … poorly sourced should be removed immediately. — WP:SOURCES

The claims are about Ortiz, a living person.

Because the challenged harm-causing claims are cited to a partisan op-ed that cites only anonymous partisan sources involved in the subject’s case against the sources’ client, the material should be removed.

WP:CRYBLP WP:REDFLAG WP:QS WP:RS WP:BLPGOSSIP WP:SOURCES -- Dervorguilla (talk) 08:39, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Well, I think I see the chain you have constructed, but I would say the links are flawed. In specific, there is not a claim against Ortiz which is contentious. I believe you have a sort of "fallacy of composition" above. That is, there's a claim which is not externally sourced (about the state charges), there is then a (negative) mention of Ortiz, therefore it's supposedly a contentious claim against Ortiz. I don't think that can be resolved mechanically, as the specifics matter. I'm not eager to do megabytes of discussion on the, err, contentious, issue of applying informed judgment when interpreting claims. In my view, the statement that state charges were going to be resolved without prison time is not contentious - I do not believe anyone has denied it, plus it fits with informed views. You are correct that it's not actually stated in other places, and taken in isolation apart from all other understanding, might be viewed with suspicion in terms of basis. But my own perspective is to apply a balancing, incorporating the reasonableness of the statement. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 10:30, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Agree with Seth. The statement about state charges vs federal charges is a non-contentious, straightforward presentation of facts just as we would expect them to be, and it's not contradicted by other sources. --HectorMoffet (talk) 11:47, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Concur with SF and HM. I can't put it any better than they have so I won't be repititive.
A thought: The limited number of people discussing this, and the fact that we seem to be descending into talking at, rather than to, each other - myself most surely included - argues for asking fresh eyes to look at this. I just read WP:3O. We don't qualify because we are more than two editors. What about the BLP Noticeboard? David in DC (talk) 13:23, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
I posted to BLP Noticeboard and reverted quotes to consensus version. Evereyone: Please stop editing this until BLP-savvy, uninvolved editors opine. Also, please reconsider assurance that unamed sources are from Good and Cormier. Re-reading original Silverglate and subsequent c|net pieces, I think it's as least as likely that they're from Middlesex DA, or both. David in DC (talk) 13:49, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Coming from BLPN. The notion that we should give the slightest airborne fuck about harm to the political career of a public prosecutor is beyond absurd, particularly if there are sources that criticize that person for some sort of misconduct or lack of good judgment. It's as if no-one could relate criticism of Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq -- or any number of other public actions of public figures. The fact that the argument to exclude invokes an essay is itself a red flag about the quality of the argument. Public figures do not have a right to driven-snow portrayals of their actions. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 13:51, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Wow, that's a great way you put it: "It's as if no-one could relate criticism of Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq -- or any number of other public actions of public figures." Discussion about the performance of a public officials career is really a discussion about performance of government. To be an officeholder in a democracy is to invite intense criticism from your fellow citizens. Which is why BLP doesn't stop us from covering things like Barack Obama's Birth Certificate Controversy. Good post, Nomoskedasticity --HectorMoffet (talk) 01:21, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Keep the quote. It's not partisan: it was published in Mass Lawyer's Weekly, the definitive news source for the profession in this area. Nomoskedasticity (talk is correct; there is no BLP issue here. MarkBernstein (talk) 17:10, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

1. Silverglate and Nomoskedasticity do not agree.  Silverglate’s law firm sided with Swartz and fought Ortiz.  Its members gave Swartz their full loyalty.
2. Mass. Lawyers Weekly and Nomoskedasticity do not agree; an invited op-ed can be as partisan as the author.
“partisan: One who gives full loyalty and support to another.” — Webster’s.
“partisan: One who … sides with another.” — Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage.
No consensus.
-- Dervorguilla (talk) 06:26, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
A long time ago, I spent four years at Swarthmore, where they do teach you a little about consensus. It seems clear to me that what we have here is a consensus and an isolated, intransigent voice. My impression is that you're not listening to us or responding to our concerns, but instead wikilawyering for a reason to exclude one specific fact. I also observe that your edit history shows hundreds of edits to this page, a large number of edits at something called the MIT Crime Club, and hardly anything else. This reinforces the sense that you will join a consensus only if the consensus agrees to join you. MarkBernstein (talk) 16:00, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
The conclusion that Silverglate's sources were only Swartz's erstwhile attornies is without merit. They could be (and likely at least one was) in the Middlesex D.A.'s office. Hell, they might also be from inside Ortiz's office. It's irrelevant. Silveglate has a reputation for veracity. To say differently, without an example, treads damn close to a BLP violation. Mass Lawyers Weekly and c|net, similarly, are reputable reliable sources, both generally and as to the specific articles by Silverglate and Maclaghlen at issue here.
Fuzzy math aside, the !vote tally posted here at the bottom of this diff is preposterous. As a matter of fact, it transcends preposterosity and ventures into realms of fantasy never before visited in recorded history. It's more preposterous than Jar-Jar Binks, a passel of Ewoks and the ghost of Bea Arthur being invited, collectively, to replace J.J. Abrams at the helm of Episode VII.
Plus, and somebody has to say this in every wiki-discussion about consensus, upon pain of trout-slapping all around: !voting is evil.
Derogating every opinion expressed here but ones own, including an opinion posted after an explicit appeal for fresh eyes on the BLP Noticeboard, a posting which, 'though days old, has produced not a single dram of weight for the other side of the balance, requires hubris, piled atop chutzpah, wrapped in gall and topped with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.
Please consider the The First Rule of Holes. David in DC (talk) 17:40, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
WP agrees with Dervorguilla, the ‘lone dissenting voice.’  It does not agree with the ‘talk page consensus’ or with David in DC.
David in DC got it backward about what the source says.  (He also got it backward about what MIT Crime Club says.)
Ex. A
David in DC . .
  the source does not say trespassing.  it says “breaking and entering in daylight”  Which is long, awkward, and uneccessary.  please do not interpolate MIT Crime Club conclusion into sourced words.  “case” is sufficient
Dervorguilla . .
  +trespassing.  Source says trespassing.  “Silverglate told CNET that ‘Swartz was arrested for “trespassing.”’”  (MIT Crime Club says “breaking and entering,” nottrespassing.”)  David in DC got it backward.  Do not revert.
   … the Middlesex County District Attorney had planned to resolve Swartz’s case ….
   … the Middlesex County District Attorney had planned to resolve Swartz’s trespassing case …
Ex. B
David in DC . .
  With 1 dissenting voice, talk page consensus favors including this material.  Although unlikely to satisfy that lone dissenting voice, I’m trying to make explicit, for uninvolved readers, exactly what the sources for each quote are.
Dervorguilla . .
  -'who is of counsel to the first firm to represent Swartz on the federal charges.'  NOCONSENSUS.  Objectionable statement removed.  Do not revert.  Subject LP agrees with lone dissenting voice.  See Talk.
   According to attorney Harvey Silverglate, who is of counsel to the first firm to represent Swartz on the federal charges, lawyers ….
   According to attorney Harvey Silverglate, lawyers …
Ex. C
This is the current revision of this page.
   According to attorney Harvey Silverglate, lawyers familiar with the case told him the Middlesex County District Attorney had planned to resolve Swartz’s trespassing case ….
And that’s my final comment on the matter. -- Dervorguilla (talk) 20:14, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

A) In the Mass Lawyers article, Silverglate says "breaking and entering in daylight." In the c|net article, as Dervorguilla points out, Silverglate, in the seperate, fact-checking interview MacLaghlen conducted with him, says "trespassing." So I haven't contested Dervorguilla's replacement of "case" with "trespassing case". Dervorguilla gets his way.

B) C|Net article and Cormier and Good web page say Silverglate is "of counsel", currently. Dervorguilla did Original Research and dug up Silverglate's Curriculum Vitae. It says the association ended in 2010. I explicitly acquiesced, per WP:IAR to Dervorguilla's original research for this point, on this very talk page, and dropped the matter in this article. Dervorguilla gets his way.

C) "WP agrees with Dervorguilla, the ‘lone dissenting voice.’  It does not agree with the ‘talk page consensus’ or with David in DC." Um, no, but thanks for playing. Here's Johnny Gilbert to describe your lovely parting gifts.

D) "And that’s my final comment on the matter." If so, it's mine as well. If he's able to exercise the discipline to keep his pledge, Dervorguilla gets his way. David in DC (talk) 22:59, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

   I misspoke.  That was my semi-final comment.
   Dervorguilla gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions that David in DC and Seth Finkelstein have made toward providing Wikipedia’s readership with helpful information. -- Dervorguilla (talk) 03:09, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

anyone can edit

From this diff it would appear that Aaron came up with the phrase "a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit" Is this correct and should it be mentioned? Leutha (talk) 12:19, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

“a free-content encyclopedia in many languages that anyone can edit.” → “a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.”
He seems to have regarded the abridgement as being part of the new “design” he was creating (rather than new content). -- Dervorguilla (talk) 02:50, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
that is original research based on inappropriate use of primary source document. It cannot be used unless a third party reliable source attributes the claim. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 07:58, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
NOR says it’s okay.
No original research WP:NOR
1 Using sources WP:STICKTOSOURCE
1.1 Reliable sources
    Material for which no reliable source can be found is considered original research.…
1.2 Primary, secondary and tertiary sources WP:PSTS
    Primary sources … are often accounts written by people who are directly involved.…
      Policy: Unless restricted by another policy, primary sources that have been reliably published may be used in Wikipedia ….
    Tertiary sources are publications such as encyclopedias ….
      Policy: Wikipedia articles … are sometimes used as primary sources in articles about Wikipedia itself. -- Dervorguilla (talk) 08:37, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
WP:OR absolutely DOES apply. You are looking at a post, and from that attempting to extract a claim that it is the first, then assuming that it was picked up and modified to be the catchphrase for Wikipedia. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 09:20, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Ummm.... Are you really going to insist that reading Wikipedia diffs constitutes original research? MarkBernstein (talk) 12:18, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

reading them to imply anything beyond what is explicitly in the actual words whether wikipedia diffs or anywhere else is yes prohibited by original research policy. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 12:45, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

OK, thanks for the responses. I found this Wikipedia talk:Main Page/test ( 21:43, 29 November 2004‎ ) which predates the Main page change. So the answer is No. Leutha (talk) 23:57, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

TRPoD is perfectly correct. Wikipedia itself is not a reliable source, much less assumptions based on Wikipedia diffs. Some third party reliable source has to have made the assertion. Any assertions made by Wikipedia editors based on anything other than such a reliable source is indeed original research. Yworo (talk) 00:04, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Surely wikipedia is a reliable source for things like (a) the contents of wikipedia, (b) wikipedia policies, and pertinently (c) the history of its own pages as recorded in wikipedia itself. I've forgotten the relevant policy nickname, but wikipedia *can* include facts that are true and obvious -- as would be the case for assertions like this. But, as the subject's role in coining this phrase appears to be peripheral, we need not have a hullaballoo today. MarkBernstein (talk) 00:39, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
No, its not. See WP:SELFREFERENCE. Unless a fact is mentioned in a reliable source outside of Wikipedia, such fact does not meet notability requirements and also falls under WP:UNDUE. Yworo (talk) 00:42, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Dervorguilla went to see WP:SELFREFERENCE; it contradicts Yworo’s proposition.
At § 1: “Articles … may well discuss Wikipedia as an example…. Use external link style…. Such pages may include … articles about prominent people involved in Wikipedia, for example, Jimmy Wales.”  WP:WAWI.
See, e.g., at Wikipedia#References, Talk:James_Delingpole/Archive_1#Some_attention_to_this_article_likely_worthwhile; Special:Statistics; Wikipedia:No_original_research.
MarkBernstein’s information is accurate.  Thus spoke Wikipedia:  “WP:NPOV § 1. Explanation of the neutral point of view. … Uncontested and uncontroversial factual assertions made by reliable sources should normally be directly stated in Wikipedia’s voice.”  WP:YESPOV.
-- Dervorguilla (talk) 00:27, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Finding GA-quality material to substitute for blog postings by authors not expert on particular topic (modified headline)

Kerr’s posts about subjects in which he’s an expert are very reliable sources.  (He doesn’t regard himself as an expert on Swartz.)

Biographies of living persons WP:BLP
    … Any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be explicitly attributed to a reliable … source ….
4 Where BLP does and does not apply
4.4 Recently dead or probably dead WP:BDP
    … Material about dead people that has implications for their living relatives …, particularly in the case of recent deaths or notable suicides, is covered by this policy.
-- Dervorguilla (talk) 07:50, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

This telegraphic style does not, it seems to me, promote consensus. I fear that it's building a paper trail to justify some sort of systematic removal of material you dislike (sourced to sites you call "blogs") while retaining sites you do like (like Volokh Conspiracy), calling them "reliable". As far as I can see, the sourcing of the article now is solid and arguably excessive, thanks to recent efforts to remove material individual editors disliked. So, what are you proposing now?MarkBernstein (talk) 12:24, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

There's an easily corrected misunderstanding involved here. In these excerpted directives, "the subject" is not required to be the subject of the wikipedia article. Indeed, reading them that way unintentionally distorts their meaning and purpose. The "subject" here is being used as a synonym for "topic". It's referring to the subject in which the expert has notable expertise. In the current instances, the rules against self-published material are inapposite.
Silverglate's report is not self-published. It was published by Mass Lawyers. But, even if it were, Silverglate is an expert in the practice and procedure of criminal law in Massachusetts, both in state and federal court. So, if it were self-published, it would pass the excerpted policies. Just for jollies, here's another reason Silverglate's Mass Lawyers article is permissible: It was also fact-checked and reported on by c|net. C|net even re-interviewed him.
Kerr and Boyle, both publishing their material on blogs, are also wiki-kosher. Each must be treated the same way as the other. Diferentiating between Kerr's self-published pieces and Boyle's, based on whether they are on Volokh Conspiracy or HuffPo, would be engaging in the sophistry commonly called "drawing a distinction without a difference." In both cases, the authors are writing about subjects in which their subject-matter expertise is notable and unquestionable, at least if one is reviewing their propriety for use in this article in good faith.
One final point. The fact that we are still discussing the propriety of using the Silverglate article in light of this diff is the least surprising development in the history of unsurprising developments. The insertion (and tell-tale deletion) of that part of the original posting that started this new iteration of discussing the same old things leads me to have the same fears suggested by MB, above.David in DC (talk) 13:26, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Are we, in fact, still discussing the Mass Lawyer's Weekly quotation? If do, we're well into WP:DEADHORSE territory here. And, since Dervorguilla promised -- twice! -- yesterday that he'd said his final word on the matter, this has the appearance of bad faith. Let's stop this. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:04, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Discuss editors’ actions, but avoid accusing them of harmful motives without clear evidenceAGF
_ You can assume this isn’t about Silverglate or Mass. Lawyers Weekly.
_ You can assume this isn’t about whether Dervorguilla likes or dislikes the material.
_ You can assume this is, rather, about subjects — meaning ‘topics’ — in which the author’s subject-matter expertise is notable and unquestionable. -- Dervorguilla (talk) 20:53, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
OK: it's NOT about Mass Lawyers Weekly. What is it about? MarkBernstein (talk) 21:04, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Correction to own post:
_ … this is about
(1) subjects in which the author’s subject-matter expertise is notable and unquestionable; and
(2) postings or other material by authors or publications who are themselves the subject of the particular article/section.
I should start by adding material that does fit under (1) or (2), and then come back to this discussion. -- Dervorguilla (talk) 21:27, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

One should start by refraining from inserting information into an article that one can reasonably expect to be contentious. One should, rather, discuss anticipatable issues first, and try to obtain input from other editors equally interested in the article, on its talk page. One should understand that, when time after time, one stands alone, one is especially in need of the kind of reality-checks that talk pages provide.

Of much more importantance than anything else I've typed above, one should avoid editing an article to make a point and one should avoid turning wikipedia into a battleground.

Pre-emptively announcing ones intentions and what policies one intends to rely on before "...adding material that does fit under (1) or (2), and then com[ing] back to this discussion..." is the opposite of how collegial, collaborative editing works. Especially if the announcement cryptically omits any hint at all about what the material actually is.

Faced with contention one should always seek out suggestions from an editor or editors one respects (if any such mammal exists) before inserting material one feels the need to justify ahead of time.

It's nearly as tell-tale a sign of stormy weather ahead as this was. David in DC (talk) 22:23, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

The latest insertion makes a whole lot of sense. It's an article from the Wall Street Journal, in which Swartz's partner explains what she knew about his state of mind just before he killed himself. I've moved it to a slightly more prominent position. In my editorial judgment, it belongs right after the reporting on the funeral. It was published the same day and it quotes one of the principal mourners. It seems out of place mixed in with the other items under the heading "In the press." David in DC (talk) 02:54, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Sounds good.  More about the Aftermath: In the press section...
The 30-word passage that’s attributed to the AP reporter herself is correctly cited.  A reader who wants more information about how the AP reported the news can get it by following the link.  But the long (51-word) quotation taken from the AP interview with Soghoian isn’t cited in the text as an interview by the AP.  Nor is the 32-word quotation taken from the interview with Caine.
Can we regretfully say goodbye to Soghoian or Caine (or both)? -- Dervorguilla (talk) 04:29, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

I see no necessity for omitting either. Rhetorically they're a pair. There's no question, I believe, that they're fraudulent?MarkBernstein (talk) 04:36, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Ummm, this thread started out with a reference to Silverglate, which was quickly deleted. So far, since then, it appears we're talking about how refs to the Wall Street Journal and AP should be treated. Is there another shoe to drop, that actually relates to blogs? If not, would the editor who started the thread edit the heading? If there is material about blogs coming, would the editor who started the thread please introduce them here, so we can discuss and edit in collaboration? David in DC (talk) 12:36, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Since this section does not discuss the topic of its heading, and does not actually propose ways to improve the article, and since the original editor seems reluctant to explain what he means or intends, let's archive it. I don't know what this is about, but it doesn't seem to be about this article. MarkBernstein (talk) 13:48, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Let's hold off a bit. I think the editor anticipated difficulty inserting the Wall Street Journal material publish on the day of the funeral, or for some other reason felt the need to justify using her opinion about Swartz's state of mind. Once he deleted the reference to Silverglate in his original posting, the rest seems to be what a lawyer would call "laying the foundation" for the insertion of the quote and paraphrase from the Wall Street Journal.
Far from finind it inappropriate, I thought it a great addition to the article, editing it only so far as moving it from the "In the Press" section to the "Death" section, and changing the "Death" heading to "Death, funeral and memorial observances" for the reasons I put in my edit summary.
If for no other reason than to memorialize and highlight this brief lull in hostilities, I'd like to see this section remain up for at least another week.
Also, there is the possibility that there is additional material soon to be inserted whose justification can be teased out of the early "foundation-laying" postings on this thread. It does no harm to leave this thread up for another week or so and it may help lead us to The Promised Land of collegial, collaborative editing. If nothing further (and constructive) is posted on this thread by 2/21/13, it's archive- ready. But, for the moment, let's hold open the possibility that things are looking up. David in DC (talk) 21:26, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Agreeing with MarkBernstein and David in DC; topics 1–43 should be archived, by 2/21/13 (if not sooner). -- Dervorguilla (talk) 18:09, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Getting to GA: going from 90 KB to below 40 KB

Generally 30 KB of readable prose is the starting point at which articles may be considered too long.  Articles that go above this have a burden of proof that extra text is needed to efficiently cover their topics….
Sections that are less important for understanding the topic [ought] to be lower in the article … because many readers will not finish reading the article.  WP:SS.

The article currently has about 89 KB of readable content.  (Total length = 95 KB.) -- Dervorguilla (talk) 04:14, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

A good deal of the word count arises from the extensive -- indeed obsessive -- referencing that resulting from previous disputes. 165 references is too many, but for now they're necessary in light of recent edit warring. I count a mere 34K (5,500) of actual text in the body of the article. MarkBernstein (talk) 17:23, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Good point.  (Where’d you find the text-count gadget?) -- Dervorguilla (talk) 18:16, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I selected the text, copied to BBEdit, and checked the word count there.MarkBernstein (talk) 18:23, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

For the actor, see Aaron Schwartz.”  Targets a stub created in 2007.  Only one substantive edit by a clearly legitimate editor — and he acknowledges, “I was in his class.”  Link could be seen as promotional.  Remove? -- Dervorguilla (talk) 19:09, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Agreeing with edit summary by Yworo that ‘recency of addition has no bearing on the usefulness of the hatnote.’  The reason it has no usefulness:  Schwartz isn’t an actor.  He’s a location assistant and, since 1996, an ex-actor.  Aaron Schwartz stub, ref. 1 of 1. -- Dervorguilla (talk) 03:45, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
The Wikipedia article says Aaron Schwartz is an actor. IMDB says he's an actor, and shows him in an acting role as recently 2012. Got a problem with that? Then nominate his article for deletion. As long as articles on two people with aurally similar names exist, people will search with the wrong spelling. That's precisely what disambiguation hatnotes are for. It doesn't matter that the actor is an incredibly minor one. Think his article should be deleted? Then nominate it and get it deleted, if that's the consensus. Then you may remove the hatnote, but not while the article still exists. You have no valid reason for doing so. Yworo (talk) 05:38, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Aaron_Schwartz_(2nd_nomination) Andy Dingley (talk) 07:52, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Article says he began working as a film actor at age 4.  In Eleni (as the Czech Officer).  Delete. -- Dervorguilla (talk) 08:04, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Misinformation which you added to the article yourself. [15] As I said, that has nothing to do with this article or the appropriateness of the hatnote. The hatnote stays until the article is deleted. If the article is deleted. Please review WP:DICK. Yworo (talk) 23:00, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

As a GA author and reviewer, I just wanted to say that the 30kb rule is pretty rarely helpful. Most of the good articles I've written are at least twice that size. Feel free to split some long content out, but don't worry too much about that. Just my two cents. PS. Article size: check out User:Dr pda/prosesize.js, that's what I use. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 22:31, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

  • If length rules an article out from being rated as a "GA", then that's yet another reason to ignore GA star-hunting in favour of writing good articles instead. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:37, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong Concur re: star-hunting. David in DC (talk) 13:46, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Archiving or hiding Talk content

Proposing that we shorten the Talk page without waiting for the archive bot.  Ideas:
A. Archive topics 1–19 now.
B. Don’t archive yet, but hide content by applying Template:Show or other method.
C. Leave as is.
--Dervorguilla (talk) 00:32, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

C. "Leave as is" seems sensible to me. People repeat errors if they can't see what's gone before. Sometimes even when they CAN. But that's a topic for a different, future thread, I'm guessing. :) David in DC (talk) 13:41, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
It's already bot-archived and set to archive any section older than 30d. Don't see any reason to change that. Yworo (talk) 15:16, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
I see a reason. If one has an edit trail one wants to make more obscure, one might make such a proposal. I'm just sayin' David in DC (talk) 23:29, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
A second reason:  The current page amounts to 29,200 words.

Compare also MarkBernstein’s point at § 25.  “Since this section does not discuss the topic of its heading … and since the original editor [Dervorguilla] seems reluctant to explain what he means or intends, let’s archive it.”  (The editor did proceed to explain, so the section didn’t need to be archived.)

With the exception of two edits at § 4, Dervorguilla’s fifty-item edit trail begins at § 19 — a section in which the argument she was making remains unchallenged.  David in DC’s point is nonetheless correct.  Early archiving could seem suspicious.  Consider the proposal withdrawn. --Dervorguilla (talk) 00:53, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Unchallenged? How 'bout my calling it "sophistry"? How 'bout the assertion of another editor that "There is no reason to excise this material"? How 'bout yet another editor saying "I'm inclined to say include the material"? Unchallenged, you say? I guess it's my turn to play Inigo Montoya to your Vizzini: I do not think this word means what you think it means. David in DC (talk) 04:17, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Speaking of alternate meanings, I'd say Dervorguilla does indeed seem to be rather challenged, though to say in precisely what way might run afoul of WP:NPA. Yworo (talk) 04:27, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Management consultants often suggest that one should not call something a problem. Instead, they argue, one should view such a thing as a challenge. On another topic, "smerge" as used in one of your recent edit summaries is my new favoritest word. :) David in DC (talk) 12:33, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
When the edit was first posted, “§ 19” meant “§ 19 See also?”.  Then our friend Miszabot I came along and archived two sections.  Now it means “§ 17 See also?”.  My (citation) error...  Maybe David in DC and Dervorguilla could be in accord more often than they think.(?)  --Dervorguilla (talk) 07:21, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Taren: "DOJ admits Aaron’s prosecution was political"

New comment, looks like it's worth following up:

Andy Dingley (talk) 16:05, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Better source, clearer about what happened, in this Guardian article: "A congressional aide told the Guardian that, in a recent meeting for staffers on the House oversight committee, representatives from the Justice Department said the Swartz document – which Swartz called the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto – was a factor in establishing "malicious intent" to download documents on a large scale." -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 14:22, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

i've inserted the Guardian article as a ref. David in DC (talk) 20:20, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

WP:UNDUE revisited

I've rearranged the "In the press" section to make it a more journalistic, "inverted pyramid" section. In doing so, I'm becoming convinced that there is undue weight in the section. Please let's discuss here before an edit war breaks out over which grafs to lose. I think the first two tell the tale most succinctly. First straight reporting of criticism, then the two starkestly contrasting quotes about Open Access v. IP orientation. I think we should lose at least one of the next three, maybe two. I think the Reuters graf makes a good close.

What do others think? Please, let's try to be respectfull. This undue weight topic is incendiery in this article. Let's try to achieve what we've failed to acheive in prior discussions of this sort. (Please not that I keep referring to "we", to emphasize my role in the incendieriousity.) David in DC (talk) 12:11, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Are you referring to section 4.3 specifically? Or to the subsequent sections as well?'
I disagree, fairly strongly, with the impulse to provide one supportive and one opposing opinion. This would be, in my opinion, a case of false equivalence. And leaving just these two as "representative" would give readers the impression that there was a consensus belief that Swartz was, in the JSTOR case, pursuing an Open Access agenda -- a contention in which the prosecutors believed, to be sure, but for which there is much reason to doubt.
Finally, before we try to assess whether or not there is WP:UNDUE weight in this 350- word section, might not some more time give us a little more perspective? Time will certainly yield more writing in the press. I suggest that a reasonable strategy might be to accept that this section will be a bit shaggy for a while longer, and is likely to grow a little shaggier; we can groom it and keep it clean, and we can look to prune it in a season or two. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:28, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm only talking about 4.3. And I'm content to wait. It takes me months to get my 15-year-old to get a haircut. I can abide this kind of shagginess at least that long. David in DC (talk) 22:48, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Grafs 4 & 5 come from the same article as graf 3 and can be safely disposed of. --Dervorguilla (talk) 02:09, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I disagree. Each of thes experts cited adds something important. We could use other refs if you like, but the article already is over sourced.MarkBernstein (talk) 14:34, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree with David in DC’s assertion that there is undue weight and that we should lose at least one of grafs 3–5.  I agree with MarkBernstein’s assertion that we don’t have to provide one supportive and one opposing opinion, that each of the cited (secondary) sources adds something important, and that the article is over-sourced.  I neither agree nor disagree with his assertion that each of the cited AP article’s cited (primary) sources adds something important.  I agree with both editors’ assertions that the section is getting shaggy. --Dervorguilla (talk) 11:52, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

PACER section

The PACER section repeats two errors that have unfortunately circulated widely in the press. I've written an | article in a reputable news organization with the correct information but of course it wouldn't be kosher for me to cite myself. But for the record in case others want to do something about this:

  • PACER has approximately 500 million documents. Swartz downloaded 2.7 million documents. Hence, he got about 1 percent of the documents rather than 20 percent. The 20 percent figure comes from an early back-of-the-envelope estimate by Swartz himself while he was doing the downloading. At the time he didn't know how big the entire corpus was. If someone fixes this here they should also fix it in the RECAP article which, full disclosure, I helped write.
  • The Perl script in question was not installed on a library computer in Chicago. It was installed on an Amazon EC2 servers. This is clear from Aaron's email exchanges with Carl Malamud (which Malamud has released) and has been confirmed by Swartz's collaborator Steve Schultze. Also, according to both Schultze and Malamud, Swartz primarily used credentials from a Sacramento library, though it's possible he used some from Chicago as well.

Binarybits (talk) 16:09, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Kosher and halal, friend!  Take the most helpful material, rewrite it as a single passage of 49 words or less, and cite to the article itself.  If the rewrite meets OR, V, and NPOV, WP wants it.

You just don’t want to add an analysis or synthesis of your published material that “serves to advance a position not advanced by the source” — meaning, a position not advanced by you in the published article.  So says WP:OR.

Post here.  (And should you be fortunate enough to have a financial conflict of some kind, do disclose it!)

Note.  The article now comes to 40.1 KB of readable text.  See anything that ought to go? --Dervorguilla (talk) 05:16, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

OK, I've updated the section. Hope I did it right. Thanks! Binarybits (talk) 01:08, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

Zombie Apocalypse

I reverted language from a new IP poster seeking to "balance" the article by claiming that Swartz's concerns about a long sentence were unreasonable and that he was depressed anyway. The new language is strikingly similar to that proposed previously by CarthCarsen, who has not been seen since his January block though he reappeared briefly as another IP sockpuppet. In any case, the claims are tenuous and smack of special pleading, and I think they ought not to have been reintroduced without discussion. MarkBernstein (talk) 14:33, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

One of the sources for the Swartz article is a report by Mike Masnick in Techdirt. How interesting then, that the most recent edits by this new IP editor, other than to the Swartz article, are attacks on Masnick and Techdirt. David in DC (talk) 16:49, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Verrry interesting.  Good detective work! --Dervorguilla (talk) 01:42, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Was MIT incident a hack or just a hoax?

From Webster’s Third New Int’l Dictionary (2013 ed.) & Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009):

hack. “To gain access illegally to a computer or the data stored on it.”

hack. “To surreptitiously break into the computer, network, servers, or database of another person or organization. Cf. crack: To hack (a computer, network, server, or database) with the intention of causing damage or disruption.”

From Peter Schworm & Dan Adams, Unfounded Report of a Gunman Inside MIT Came from an Electronic Message, (Feb. 23, 2013, 5:03 PM):

One graf (2.7%) mentions Swartz.  “Authorities said at the press conference that there was no indication the hoax was related to Aaron Swartz, the Internet activist who took his own life.”

--Dervorguilla (talk) 01:27, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I've changed the heading.
Two of the three sources mention the Swartz revenge angle (one in the effing headline!) I've separated out the one that's doesn't. David in DC (talk) 20:18, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

1. As of 3 March 2013 we’re up to 39.5 KB readable text.

2. “Hacks” has been expanded to “Attacks, hacks, and hoaxes”, but no consensus has been sought.

3. In the expanded section, David in DC’s ref 146 ("UKDailyMail"), which is invalid, most likely duplicates his ref 148, which redirects to [[Daily Mail]].

4. The cited secondary source is a Mail Online article that reads:

Another Twitter user John Hawkinson wrote that … the first public alert did not go out until 8.47am.  ‘Not so timely,’ he wrote.

David in DC’s edit reads:

Another reported that … the first public alert did not go out until 8:47am; ‘Not so timely,’ he observed.

The edit omits the name of the primary source (John Hawkinson).

5. JHawkinson is a known frequent contributor to a WP article (Aaron Swartz) that cites a John Hawkinson as a source — without naming him.

487 edits on article: Aaron_Swartz. Maintained 37 days.  Frequent users: Dervorguilla; David in DC; HectorMoffet; MarkBernstein; Yworo; Mjb; Jhawkinson; …

Same person?  --Dervorguilla (talk) 11:23, 3 March 2013 (UTC) & 01:53, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

I changed the heading because Dervorguilla pointed out that not all the items listed were hacks. I had thought this a non-controversial edit. At the the very least I thought she wouldn't object. Go figure.
I omitted the names because they add nothing to the story. WP:BLP1E.
I honestly didn't notice the similarity between the tweeter's name and one of our editor's user name. However, if Dervorguilla is correct, she's committed a severe offense. I hope she's incorrect. Because if she is, outing an editor calls for a ban. David in DC (talk) 11:33, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
I do not understand the issue Dervorguilla is raising in items 4 and 5 above. Without taking any stand on any identity, I do not see how those parts are relevant -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 13:47, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
It's not "outing" when there's no attempt at anonymity. I do think the standard applied here a bit goofy. A scarier question might be to ask how many other news sources my tweet might have influenced who did not choose to cite the tweet or me by name. Or, for that matter, how many news articles might have pulled facts from this Wikipedia article. Unfortunately the reality is that there a lot of potential feedback loops, and it's not apparent that gauging them on the basis of apparent disclosure leads to better results.
In this case, I would suggest instead citing The Tech: Timeline of Saturday’s gunman hoax incident, from report to the all-clear which is probably the best source on the precise timing. jhawkinson (talk) 16:27, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
To answer Jhawkinson’s question:
No other news source has picked up the tweet yet — or the story itself (which is bylined to “Daily Mail Reporter,” as are 72 other anonymous articles published in the Mail Online that day).
A generally helpful authority: AP Stylebook (“Standards and Practices. Use of others’ material.–  We must satisfy ourselves … that the material is credible.  If it does not meet AP standards, we don’t use it.”).
Jhawkinson is in my opinion among the most principled of the ‘frequent contributors’ to Aaron Swartz.  As a courtesy to him I’m reverting the edit. --Dervorguilla (talk) 06:48, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
—And so in my opinion is David in DC; moreover he’s among the most capable. --Dervorguilla (talk) 13:23, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Here’s the basic issue being raised in points 4 and 5:
User A and user B contribute frequently to article CA quotes B in C.  Should the quote stay or go? --Dervorguilla (talk) 01:58, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
As mentioned in point 2:
 _ An editor has added new information (about a “hoax”) not within the scope of the original section (about “attacks and hacks”).
 _ The editor hasn’t sought consensus about expanding the scope.
So far the editor hasn’t given a reason for expanding the scope.
Because the edit is now known to be controversial, it ought to be reverted pending consensus. --Dervorguilla (talk) 01:07, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

The original heading was not "Hacks and Attacks". It was "Hacks by Anonymous". Because Dervorguilla pointed out that the most recent incident was not a hack, and because I noticed that not all of the incidents were explicitly attributed to Anonymous, I revised the heading. As I said, given that I was responding to Dervorguilla's initial posting to the talk page explaining why "hack" was not the right word for all the incidents, I find her complaint of "no consensus" bizarre.

She said it. No one disagreed. I agreed. I acted on her suggestion. Where's the "edit without seeking consensus" problem?

However, re-reading everything, I've concluded that the "MIT fails to notify students" angle is far too tangential to belong in the article, at all.

So I've re-added the part that's relevant and fixed the Daily Mail reference problem Dervorguilla pointed out. My new addition now adds less text (as she seems to be concerned with brevity) and fits precisely under her preferred heading. Given that these edits seem to take all of her stated concerns into account, I now expect to be excoriated for them on entirely new grounds.

My edits also delete the parts of my original edits that led to these wiki-questions:

"If A and B frequently edit this page and A unwittingly cites Source C to quote someone whose name is similar to B's user name, while omitting the name, is this problematic?"
"Should D be careful about connecting B with the similarly named fellow quoted in Source C?"
"In judging D's editing behavior, how much weight should be given to B's subsequent comment that publishing, on-wiki, the connection between himself and the person being quoted in source C is not a problem because B's user name is so closely connected to B's real name that "outing" is a non-issue?"

So I guess they need not be resolved. David in DC (talk) 13:24, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

I now expect to be excoriated for [the new edits].”  No, but here’s something we can cheerfully argue about!  From Aaron Swartz intro graf 4:  “<!--… MNEMONIC DEVICE: Pictures are hung. People are hanged, …-->”  Hmmm...  Are we sure we want to use that particular analogy?  ;)  --Dervorguilla (talk) 04:41, 6 March 2013 (UTC)