Talk:Aaron Swartz/Archive 4

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New heights (or, I guess depths) of impropriety?

I understand that there are permissable uses for multiple accounts. I saw long ago that User:Dervorguilla has an info box on her user page indicating that she has more than one account. I've assumed good faith about it, until now. But I honestly never imagined she'd use an alternate account this way. I'm gob-smacked. Can this possibly be appropriate? David in DC (talk) 02:29, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Apparently. --Dervorguilla (talk) 04:17, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

I've asked about this at AN/I David in DC (talk) 02:54, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

A helpful comment by autoreviewer Carrite...
== Improper use of alternate account ==
I (and others) have been involved in a content dispute on the talk pages of and in the articles about Aaron Swartz and Carmen Ortiz with User:Dervorguilla. … Can someone please intervene in whatever way might be approriate? David in DC (talk) 02:48, 16 May 2013 (UTC) …
  • I would caution the Original Poster that THIS kind of nonsense, edit-warring with hidden messages in the edit window in mainspace, is entirely unacceptable. Beware of the boomerang. Settle content disputes politely on the talk page. Carrite (talk) 16:40, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
--Dervorguilla (talk) 11:56, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Irrelevant. Yes, David in DC probably should not have embedded ("hidden") an argument directed to one particular editor, but that misstep has nothing to do with the appropriateness of the disputed content. Reposting Carrite's comment here is just more deflection and ad hominem. I don't care if he disputes content edits via source-code comments. I don't care if he drinks kitten blood for breakfast. It doesn't persuade anyone that your edits are any more valid than his. And it certainly doesn't have anything to do with your use of pseudonyms when requesting intervention. —mjb (talk) 21:50, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Ummm, please click on Carrite's diff. It's not my edit Carrite is citing in warning. I believe Carrite is carrying the OP designation over from here. OP there refers to our friend's alter ego account. Also, who squealed about the kitten blood? David in DC (talk) 02:14, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
True, it's not an ideal diff link, but it does show a "hidden message in the edit window in mainspace" (i.e., <!-- in a comment -->). That's a message written by you (as shown in an earlier diff) and it was removed by Dervorguilla, so it seems Carrite intended to admonish you, the OP in that discussion. Not that it matters. —mjb (talk) 08:35, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Concurrance with mjb's analysis. I think there is a proper use of html comments in mainspace and it has to do with making sure that editors are aware of an issue at the time and place they make the edit (because they may not have seen or may not be aware of, a discussion on the Talk page). But if those comments have the appearance of a dispute, they're best handled on the talk page, perhaps with a link to the talk page portion in an html comment if truly necessary. I would not agree it was "entire unaccpetable," more like "potentially ill-advised, and not actually helpful in this particular case." jhawkinson (talk) 11:41, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Duly chastened, I channelled my frustration into untangling the muddled history of the state charges against Swartz, so I could delete the hidden code and duck the boomering of Carrite's mataphormetaphor.
I found reliable sources for this history:
January '11: arrest (state charges)
July '11: federal indictment
November '11: State indictment. Not really "superseding", as the case generated by the arrest was still open.
December '11: "nolle" of January '11 arrest charges.
March '12: dismissal of November '11 state indictment.
I think I've disposed of one issue, in a way that should satisfy all editors working on this. David in DC (talk) 16:06, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

"he was charged, in Massachusetts District Court"

Err, I'm a little confused now. The revised text today, consistent with the referenced sources, says: "he was charged, in Massachusetts District Court." My understanding was that the Mass. stuff took place in Superior Court, not in District Court. I'm not clear on what took place in District Court, but ultimately there was a Superior Court indictment, docket, and arraignment. Perhaps all arrests are at the District Court level even when the prosecution is not? Was he actually charged in District Court? (Was he then charged in Superior Court, too?) Perhaps the distinction between Mass. District Court (Cambridge) and Mass. Superior Court (Middlsex County) is too minor to have here and we should choose a neutral phrasing (Mass Court?). Or maybe we should get it right. I don't think there was a removal from one to the other, but I suppose I don't truly know. And this comment is based on my memory and casual glancing at things rather than rigorous research, though I'm pretty sure I didn't state anything incorrect here. jhawkinson (talk) 02:43, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Rechecked; Swartz was arrested by MIT on two state charges and arraigned in Cambridge District Court, then indicted by a grand jury on additional state charges and arraigned in Middlesex County Superior Court.
In legal citations, you’d say “Mass. Dist. Ct.” or “Mass. Super. Ct.”, unless the name of the district is ‘of particular relevance’, in which case “Mass. Super. Ct. Middlesex County”, etc. In textual sentences you’d use the ‘full name’ of the court, which doesn’t include the name of the state.
So, you end up using two names for the same court. In the text, “Middlesex County Superior Court”; in the citation, “Massachusetts Superior Court” or “Massachusetts Superior Court (Middlesex County)”.
Likewise “Cambridge District Court” in the text, “Massachusetts District Court” in the ref.
Cases are “removed” from state to federal court only, which may not have been an option here. Also, Leone did hang on to the case as long as he could; maybe he was hoping to read his name in the papers? Whatever, he’s now a white-collar defense lawyer. --Dervorguilla (talk) 04:46, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Silent alteration


[…] Dervorguilla, not having received the support she was looking for at AN3, has now taken this discussion to ANI. And here. And she's started making minor at EastgateSystems, in which she's presumably interested because I work there. This is getting tiresome.

[…] MarkBernstein (talk) 12:21, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

[…] Eastgate Systems, not EastgateSystemsDiff not a minor.  --Dervorguilla (talk) 13:39, 9 May 2013 (UTC)


[…] Dervorguilla, not having received the support she was looking for at AN3, has now taken this discussion to ANI. And here. And she's started making inconsequential edits at Eastgate Systems, in which she's presumably interested because I work there. At other pages, these inconsequential edits have been the prelude to an edit war. This is getting tiresome.

[…] MarkBernstein (talk) 12:21, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

[…] Eastgate Systems, not EastgateSystemsDiff not a minor.  --Dervorguilla (talk) 13:39, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Revision summary

(cur | prev) 14:36, 9 May 2013 MarkBernstein (talk | contribs) . .m . . (66,220 bytes) (+116). . (Restoring Silverglate) (undo)

No insertion markup, no timestamp, no edit summary.  Marked as a minor edit.  --Dervorguilla (talk) 23:49, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

before: minor. After: inconsequential. Seemed like a minor edit to me! Sorry if anyone was confused. Perhaps I meant it was an inconsequential edit? (Good grief) MarkBernstein (talk) 02:13, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

“She's started making minor at EastgateSystems….”
Eastgate Systems, not EastgateSystemsDiff not a minor.”
“She's started making inconsequential edits at Eastgate Systems….  At other pages, these inconsequential edits have been the prelude to an edit war.
Eastgate Systems, not EastgateSystemsDiff not a minor.”
Before MarkBernstein’s alteration, the second editor sounds clear-headed. If you go check the diff, it appears that she’s helpful too.
After the alteration, she sounds like a jerk. --Dervorguilla (talk) 05:47, 15 May 2013 (UTC)  Additional emphasis added 01:46, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
fancy that! MarkBernstein (talk) 10:52, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Dervorguilla, what are you looking for, here? What is the point of making such an issue of this edit? How does this have anything to do with improving the article? What are you trying to accomplish? mjb (talk) 11:44, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
TPYES. “Comment on content, not on the contributor.”
The content on this page appears to have become less stable. One Harvard contributor says he’s entitled to alter content without adding a summary, markup, or timestamp. Can we improve the BDP more by letting him or not letting him? I’d rather let sysops Bbb23 or Ocaasi or editors Canoe1967, Collect, FreeRangeFrog, jhawkinson, or RightCowLeftCoast say.
11:44, 15 May 2013‎ Mjb . . (→‎Silent alteration: justify this conversation or drop it.)
Here I’m happy to reply personally, mjb. Your request is unfair to MarkBernstein (“M” below). I suggest you let him first justify his falsification of his correspondence with me (“D” below), so I don’t misinterpret and make him look bad.
So that's your reply? "But [i]he[/i] started it!"? ... In other words, you are unable or unwilling to justify continuing this conversation which has nothing to do with the article content? I see. Well, good luck with that. —mjb (talk) 00:59, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
“And she's started making minor at EastgateSystems….” --M 12:21
Eastgate Systems, not EastgateSystems. Diff not a minor.” --D 13:39
“And she's started making inconsequential edits at Eastgate Systems…. At other pages, these inconsequential edits have been the prelude to an edit war.” --M 12:21 [14:36]
Eastgate Systems, not EastgateSystems. Diff not a minor.” --D 13:39
How would you interpret the doctored correspondence, mjb? Does D look like she’s evading M’s assertion that she’s been engaging in edit wars? --Dervorguilla (talk) 07:12, 16 May 2013 (UTC)  Additional emphasis added 01:46, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Dervorguilla, I think MarkBernstein's edit was just fine. He entered a comment on a talk page, and three minutes later he revised his sentence. Neither edit used an edit summary, but this is a talk page. The two edits were consecutive, and very close in time. Use of the minor tag was entirely appropriate. I would suggest a WP:WIKIBREAK may be in order here—please give it due consideration. This feels like attempting to make a mountain out of a molehill. I think most readers of this talk page would rather focus on more substantive concerns. (PS: the indentation within a talk comment is driving me crazy; I can't tell the difference between indentation-within-a-comment versus indentation-that-indicates-a-reply, which I find frustrating. Perhaps the fault is my own!) jhawkinson (talk) 10:52, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Fully agree; these were minor amendments, including a typo correction (insertion of a missing word), to his own text. Nothing was "doctored".
Dervorguilla, considering the gobs of edits you have made in the article space in short periods of time, including refining the phrasing of things you wrote just minutes earlier, you of all people should be sympathetic to the need for and harmlessness of such edits. We all rephrase things we write, before and after hitting the submit button. There's nothing devious or malicious about it, edit summary or no.
I understand you are feeling put-upon, but the crux of the issue here is that you haven't convinced anyone here of the need for your Silverglate-related edits. Apparently, out of desperation, you have chosen to interpret "minor"→"inconsequential" as somehow being a personal assault, something worthy of a policy-violation accusation that you make a big stink about in what you admit is an attempt to prevent "one Harvard contributor" from being allowed to edit the article space at all. Of course this hasn't any bearing whatsoever on the merits of your edits in the article space. There's no point to it, and you need to stop. Your assumption that it was a personal attack is wrong. There was no policy violation. The entire issue is a big distraction and you need to just let it go. —mjb (talk) 00:59, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Please, let this page not devolve into a slow moving edit war. A solution, if we cannot stop this train heading down the wrong path, is to lock the page by requesting a full page protection, and make it so that only admins can edit the article space based on consensus reached here on the talk page. Rather, perhaps opening an RfC or taking it to DRN is in order?--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 13:20, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I think plan A would be best. RfC or taking it to DRN would just be more drama-fests. Full protection on both articles and then have admin edit after consensus.--Canoe1967 (talk) 13:34, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Canoe1967 (talk) reverted my reply here [1] on the grounds that it doesn't discuss the article. Fair enough. But this entire section fails that test :)
I think my point is worth a hearing: Dervorguilla (talk) has taken this recently to WEA (through a sock), AN3, ANI, and other venues. Now we're talking about RFC or DRN. How many people's time do we want to consume over one editor's inexplicable though strongly-held distaste an otherwise innocuous and uncontroversial quotation? And, what will follow then? There is a consensus in favor of the Silverglate quote today, just as there has been on every day since January. Few if any editors comprehend the axe that Dervorguilla (talk) has been grinding. No one can propose compromise language because no one knows or understands what Dervorguilla wants -- other than ownership by another name. I assume it has something to do with righting wrongs done to MIT at the hands of Harvard, or perhaps of finding things for the MIT Crime Club to have something to do at their meetings, but who can tell? Let's please accept this and move on. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:13, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support in part RightCowLeftCoast, and support in part, Canoe1967. The edit summaries at the article space have become even more of a soap opera than the Talk comments; the lead offender’s just been given a warning (below) but I have to worry that the low signal-to-noise “consensus” results here could keep clustering around a weighted-average COI.
Exhibit A. We’ve determined that one editor does indeed have a meaningful COI and we’ve given him reason to suspect that [del] we’re not capable of stopping him from [ins] he can keep on making noisy personal attacks. I don’t mind, but I no longer believe that I’m the intended audience.
Exhibit B. As frequently pointed out, all The other editors who’ve supported removing the statements about Leone and Ortiz seem to have disappeared from Talk. You do still find [del] them [ins] some at BLPN, and maybe elsewhere. Should we give BLPN another shot?
Also, I don’t think we’ve tried posting on Jimbo Talk yet.
Either way, we’re likely going to need some kind of formal or informal administrative protection after the consensus edit gets posted. We’ve reached consensus on this section before but the edit invariably gets reverted in less than a week.
Plan D: Maybe we could ask some stern authority figure to put us all on notice that if anyone tries playing games with the edit they get booted off the page for a month...
--Dervorguilla (talk) 08:49, 17 May 2013 (UTC) 14:06, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

There's been a consensus in favor of the Silverglate quote for months. This is just wiki-lawyering: Dervorguilla (talk) hoping that someone, somewhere will agree with him (if she's using her sock account) or her (if she's posting as Dervorguilla ) and then freeze the page. Of course, that's unlikely to happen.
And isn't this matter off-topic for this section, while this section is off-topic for the page? Between the pronouns and the topic drift and all the insidious personal attacks, Wikipedia can be confusing. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:40, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Concerns about that 'slow-moving edit war'

  • Support “Plan A” recommendation by RightCowLeftCoast and Canoe1967, above.
      “Please, let this page not devolve into a slow moving edit war.…”
      “I think plan A would be best.… Full protection on both articles and then have admin edit after consensus.”

Going through the page history, it now looks to me like we’re going to need that full-page protection. One development that changed my mind: Our third most productive contributor recently had to be given a couple of admonishments concerning poor judgment. And some of his edit summaries and comments seem to me to suggest that he is, in good faith, unable to tell when he’s edit-warring.

See Aaron Swartz revision history:
Dervorguilla. “‘JSTOR download’ -> ‘JSTOR incident’ (no evidence supporting any implication that Swartz didn’t make large downloads at Harvard).”
MarkBernstein (RR 4). “RV because the rationale in prev comment seems wrong; what do Harvard downloads have to do with anything? Talk, please.”

Addressing MarkBernstein in particular-
Here’s the reason I substituted the heading “JSTOR incident” for the heading “JSTOR download”. To my knowledge, no evidence has yet been found supporting the apparent implication in the heading “JSTOR download” that Swartz never made a large JSTOR download at Harvard too.
(Mutually understood: Swartz was a fellow at Harvard and had access to JSTOR at Harvard.)

I now think I was wrong in interpreting the comment below as “grandstanding”. It may conceivably have been written in good faith. Note: The quotation refers to an 82-word passage from Silverglate’s account of his (anonymous) sources’ statements about the prosecutors.

“How many people's time do we want to consume over one editor's inexplicable … distaste [for an] innocuous … quotation? Few if any editors comprehend…. No one knows or understands…. Who can tell?” --MarkBernstein (talk) 15:13, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

A helpful insight:
“A wp:wikibreak might, as another editor [(jhawkinson)] suggested below, be in order.” --MarkBernstein (talk) 11:12, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

--Dervorguilla (talk) 06:12, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't think any of myself (jhawkinson), MarkBernstein, Dervorguilla, or David in DC should be advocating for full-page protection (I don't think this would be better than the slow-moving edit war, actually), administrative intervention, etc. We are all too close to the situation, and the danger of applying Wikipedia's advanced dispute tools as weapons against each other seems far too high. I would prefer to see more avoidance of conflict here. (I don't mean to imply that use of Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard would be inappropriate -- I think that's an option that is always in order. But I would like to see it not applied in a weaponized fashion that favors one side of a dispute, and that we be careful about the advantage given to the complaining party). I would feel better if we were able to resolve this without that step.) I think on most of these issues, Dervorguilla finds himself on one side with the others of us on the other side. Wikipedia's not a democracy-of-four, so it's a mistake for us to construe that as necessarily concensus, but it's also true that a single opinion that differs from the others may not be the best one, either. I have personally tried to defer to other editors on these kinds of issues. jhawkinson (talk) 11:14, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
The difficulty here is not simply that Dervorguilla finds himself on one side with the others of us on the other side, but rather that nobody has been able to fathom what Dervorguilla's side entails -- what her point might be. Today, she has undergone a epiphany and suddenly says that my edits "may conceivably have been written in good faith." This revelation appears to be my absence of knowledge of Harvard downloads, a question that has been very lightly discussed in the media, which as not been discussed at all here, and whose pertinence to anything is obscure. Similarly, last week my edits were apparently attributed to animosity toward D. A. Leone, someone of whose existence I am only dimly and hypothetically aware. jhawkinson (talk) 's allusion to weaponization is very pertinent, as several sections of the current talk page appear to serve little use save for preparing a move of that nature. MarkBernstein (talk) 14:43, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
“D.A. Leone”, not “D. A. Leone”. He was the Middlesex County District Attorney from 2006 through April 2013. He’s mentioned in the Arrest and state charges section, at graf 4 (“the Middlesex County prosecutor”). --Dervorguilla (talk) 23:13, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
And now, Dervorguilla (talk) has weaponized and taken this to AN3. MarkBernstein (talk) 19:55, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Major alteration at line 310, not line 324

I'm sorry, what? [This diff] is the edit to line 310, which seems minor to me. I cannot seem to find the edit you refer to as "line 308," perhaps you could succintly point to the diff in question? I can't tell whether the 310 diff I reference is what you call the 308 edit, the 324 edit, or neither. jhawkinson (talk) 08:31, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
jhawkinson’s point is (as usual) unassailable. Game to jhawkinson, 1–0. Deleting “308” and inserting “310”. ---Dervorguilla (talk) 13:19, 18 May 2013 (UTC) 07:11, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
D. A. Leone? Who is Leone? What does he have to do with anything?! MarkBernstein (talk) 15:41, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

No, Dervorguilla, we don't agree! Your concern about this line-whatever talk-page edit is your beef alone. Major, minor, minutes, hours...who cares? It all appears to be a thinly veiled attempt at ad hominem, discrediting an editor you're unable to persuade, in a misguided attempt to get him banned, as if that's somehow going to win people over to your side in your crusade about the Silverglate quote (etc.?)—content which you've repeatedly failed to convince anyone here is better than that which other editors have proposed. Continued finger-pointing will get you nowhere. This discussion is over. —mjb (talk) 21:27, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

'Arrest and state charges', proposed revision


==== Arrest and state charges ====

On January 6, 2011, Swartz was arrested near the Harvard campus by two MIT police officers and a U.S. Secret Service agent on state charges of breaking and entering a building with intent to commit a felony.

Attorney Harvey Silverglate wrote an op-ed for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly describing what some lawyers familiar with the case told him: they had expected that Middlesex County District Attorney Gerard Leone would have the breaking-and-entering charges held in abeyance (continued without a finding) for at most two years and then dismissed, should Swartz have caused no further trouble in the meantime.

On November 17, Leone had Swartz indicted by a Middlesex Superior Court grand jury on charges of breaking-and-entering with intent, larceny of electronic data, and unauthorized access to a computer network. On December 16, he had the charges dismissed.

Swartz’s law firm said federal prosecutors had been running the investigation since he was first arrested:

The lead prosecutor in Mr. Swartz’s [federal] case, AUSA Stephen Heymann, ... and [Secret Service] Agent Pickett directed and controlled the investigation of Mr. Swartz from the time of [his] arrest on January 6, 2011.... Heymann’s involvement in the case had commenced very early in the investigation....

^ …

^ Silverglate, Harvey (January 23, 2013). "The Swartz suicide and the sick culture of the DOJ". Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Archived from the original on 2013-01-24. "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.’"
^ McCullagh, Declan (January 25, 2013), "Swartz didn't face prison until feds took over case, report says". c|net. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
^ …

--Dervorguilla (talk) 22:49, 20 April 2013 (UTC)  23:08, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

I declare that I do not intend to do any edit-warring. --Dervorguilla (talk) 09:56, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

No. You're trying (again) to impeach Silverglate, whose authoritative interviews have the been widely reported. I think we're all tired of this argument, which for reasons unknown you've been trying to push without respite since January -- three full months ago. Silverglate did not write as Swartz's advocate, as you insinuate. The current language is fine.MarkBernstein (talk) 18:10, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
I'd also like to call attention of my fellow editors to a new practice Dervorguilla has adopted, of making ten or more consecutive tiny edits and embedding one or more POV edits in the middle of them. This both hides the major edit and makes it hard to revert, since subsequent minor edits conflict with a revert. MarkBernstein (talk) 18:11, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
I've taken note of it and tried to remedy it in one specific area. As stated above below, if her sophisticated version of edit-warring continues, it's time to call in the admins to review my work, hers, and any others' they need to review, and issue some guidance, corrective sanctions, or both. David in DC (talk) 03:16, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Sometimes the best way to respond to an isolated personal attack is not to respond at all.  WP:PERSONALOr to try to prevent, see above (cited by other user below).  --Dervorguilla (talk) 11:47, 22 April 2013 (UTC)  16:14, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

"I declare that I do not intend to do any edit-warring. --Dervorguilla (talk) 09:56, 21 April 2013 (UTC)"

After my latest edits, her declaration shall be put to the test. If it proves false, in my view, it's time for admins to review my edits, hers, and take such action as they deem appropriate. David in DC (talk) 03:16, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Sounds like a plan!  ;)   --Dervorguilla (talk) 11:47, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Restoring nice consensus version as edited by Ocaasi at 16:30, 7 February 2013, and supported by MarkBernstein at 16:38, 7 February 2013.  --Dervorguilla (talk) 16:43, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Glad you don't intend to edit war this time. I'm not sure just what you think is better about the Feb 7 version than the current version. Some details of references and punctuation that have been recently approved would be lost by the revert. And what's the point? What is it about this passage in Silverglate that matters to you so much that you'd risk another ban block to try to soften it? MarkBernstein (talk) 21:24, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
I think she's risking a block, rather than a ban, but I'm mystified too. As I typed yesterday, "[i]f it [Dervorguilla's declaration disclaiming intent to edit war] proves false, in my view, it's time for admins to review my edits, hers, and take such action as they deem appropriate." Yo, lurking admins, this is your cue. David in DC (talk) 22:05, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Addressing MarkBernstein′s comment (“Some details of references and punctuation that have been recently approved would be lost by the revert.”).
I believe that no details of references or punctuation would be lost.  Can you explain your remark?
See generally CIV: “Other uncivil behaviors: …; lying”.  --Dervorguilla (talk) 04:10, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
admission by silence.  The failure of a party to speak after another party’s assertion of fact that, if untrue, would naturally compel a person to deny the statement.”
Dervorguilla respectfully asks that MarkBernstein
     (a) deny he was lying or
     (b) reword or strikeout his comment.
Identifying incivility (“Other uncivil behaviors: lying”).  --Dervorguilla (talk) 07:25, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Ocaasi consensus text of Feb 7

Restoring the OcaasiJeff G.ShearoninkMarkBernsteinDervorguilla consensus text of February 7 (reverted by David in DC on February 8).

Ocaasi has asserted that the rephrased text is “more neutral” than the old MB–DDC text.

Rephrase, a bit more neutrally.” — Ocaasi.

Ocaasi, Jeff G, Shearonink, MB, and Dervorguilla appear to have agreed that the old material by MB and DDC ought to be rephrased more neutrally.  See page history.

About ten hours after Ocaasi published the consensus text, it was reverted.  By DDC.  He didn’t disagree that the old material was less neutral; rather, he said:

         “With 1 dissenting voice, talk page consensus favors including this material.” — DDC.

So far, no editor appears to have disagreed with Ocaasi’s assertion that the consensus text is more neutral.  All editors:  If you think it isn’t, or if you’d rather have it restored anyway, could you give your reasoning here?  --Dervorguilla (talk) 08:37, 30 April 2013 (UTC)  13:53, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

In Arrests, charges and indictments, I’m going to be substituting the “more neutral” passage written by sysop Ocaasi (16:30, 7 February 2013).

According to unnamed lawyers familiar with the case, the Middlesex County District Attorney had planned to resolve Swartz’s case with a stern warning and a continuance without a finding; if Swartz got into no further trouble with the law, the charges would have been dropped, the case dismissed, and Swartz "returned to civil society to continue his pioneering electronic work in a less legally questionable manner."

So far no one’s had a bad word to say about the language or about the admin who wrote it. --Dervorguilla (talk) 05:04, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Ocassi is, no doubt, a sterling fellow. No one here has a word to say against him. That has nothing to do with anything, of course. Regarding the Silverglate quote, this version has been repeatedly proposed -- edit-warred -- by you over a period of months, and has garnered no support from other editors. It has been extensively discussed on this talk page, and a bevy of editors have repeatedly explained to why the current language appears better. Your claim to the backing of consensus is in this case absurd, and you made this most recent change within hours of filing a misleading complaint at WP:AN3. It was, appropriately, reverted immediately by another editor. MarkBernstein (talk) 07:14, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

CNET 'echo' of op-ed

Removing the CNET reference, as suggested by Seth Finkelstein:

== c|net and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly are reliable sources ==
[…] 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 01:34, 7 February 2013

The McCullagh article isn’t a reliable source for BDP.  It was not fact-checked by CNET. --Dervorguilla 06:32, 7 February 2013

[…] I would suggest that CNET be left out of it, since that's just an echo of the original post.[…] -- Seth Finkelstein 08:41, 7 February 2013

So far, no editor has disagreed that some of the statements in the McCullagh article about the Silverglate op-ed are false.  All editors:  If you believe that the article was indeed fact-checked, could you give your reasoning here?  --Dervorguilla (talk) 09:16, 30 April 2013 (UTC)  13:55, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

No. No. and No This is getting very old. (a) The Silverglate article was published by Mass Lawyers Weekly, which stands behind it. (b) The CNET article was published by CNET, which stands behind that article. (c) You apparently have special super-secret knowledge that leads you to believe the McCullagh article is in some way incorrect but if you've cited a reliable independent source for that knowledge, I haven't seen it. Instead, for three months you pretend that one article or the other was not "fact checked" or that background sourcing can't be cited in Wikipedia or something else. Please, stop this. It’s over. Finished. Dead as John Cleese's parrot. If you want to impeach McCullagh, force CNET to retract the story. If you have super-secret knowledge, get Mass Lawyers Weekly to publish your story. Until then, please leave the article (and us) alone.MarkBernstein (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 15:36, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Henriette Campagne (Vice President for Editorial) can address your question about whether Mass Lawyers Weekly fact-checked the Silverglate op-ed.  “Henriette can be contacted … by e-mail at henriette campagne @ masslawyersweekly com.”
Answer:  MLW doesn’t fact-check op-eds.
That’s my “special super-secret knowledge”.  --Dervorguilla (talk) 04:47, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

'Does mass lawyers weekly not stand behind the publication? Bring us a a published retraction, not private correspondence and original research.MarkBernstein (talk) 05:52, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Henriette Campagne can address your question about whether Mass Lawyers Weekly is publishing a retraction of the Silverglate op-ed.  “Henriette can be contacted at (617) 218-[....].”
Dervorguilla has no private correspondence on the matter.
Your request is denied.  --Dervorguilla (talk) 07:31, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

I have no idea what you're talking about here. These pseudo-legalism is at best obscure. Mass Lawyers Weekly stands by its article, which should be included here. I can't for the life of me fathom what bothers you so much about it; it appears to me to simply state a fact that everyone understands but for with Mass Lawyers Weekly provided a solid, though off-the-record, source. MarkBernstein (talk) 09:44, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Dervorguilla is denying your request for production of the “published retraction” specified by you, which you asked her to provide for inspection.  --Dervorguilla (talk) 16:37, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

WP's treatment of false statements

WP:QUOTEGeneral guidelines
“Never quote a false statement without immediately saying the statement is false.”

Here’s an authoritative source relevant to Silverglate’s statement.
Docket, United States v. Swartz, No. 11-CR-10260

The defendant’s lead attorney (Elliot Peters) says:
“On the morning of January 4, … the Secret Service assumed control of the investigation.… On January 5, … [MIT’s] Program Manager of Scholarly Publishing & Licensing [told MIT’s Senior Network & Information Security Analyst] … that it was ‘now a Federal case’.”

The Assistant U.S. Attorney (Stephen Heymann) admits:
“Government counsel did, indeed, have [its alleged] chronology slightly wrong. The equipment was held in evidence by the MIT Police (rather than Cambridge Police) from its recovery on January 6 until February 3, when it was picked up and transported by [a Secret Service special agent] and [a City detective] to the Cambridge Police; … the Secret Service … t[ook] custody of the evidence on February 25.”
Opposing Peters’s motion to suppress, he says:
“The equipment was seized and held [by MIT Police] initially as evidence in a state case.”

(Yet the state prosecutor didn’t get to draw a grand jury for the state case until four months after Heymann drew one for the Federal case.)

If you believe Heymann, the equipment was being held as evidence for the Federal case as of February 25. If you believe Peters or MIT, January 6.

Does this evidence material indicate that Harvey’s allegation is more likely true or false?  --Dervorguilla (talk) 22:22, 10 May 2013 (UTC)  23:20, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Who is "Harvey"?

In any case, none of this has any bearing on the Silverglate quotation. Silverglate reports what a lawyer with knowledge of the matter said. That is not in dispute. You think that this knowledgable lawyer was wrong, but we can't know that -- and we certainly have no reliable published source to confirm it. The quotation was published. It has not been retracted. All this controversy about who was "in control" of what on which date is, at present, original research and is, in the nature of the thing, subjective and subject to ambiguity. The fact Silverglate reports -- the statement of his source -- is true. Others may disagree with Silverglate's source -- you apparently do disagree for some reason -- but that is neither here nor there. MarkBernstein (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 02:10, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for sharing your feelings about Silverglate and me. See my comment (above) about your making up a “front-page story” that doesn′t exist. --Dervorguilla (talk) 09:14, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

The Silvergate quote is a RS that explains the difference between a state-only case and a full federal case, and it comports with our understanding of the case. The chronology is an entirely separate issue-- it had become a federal investigation prior to the arrest, but that doesn't automatically mean federal charges will be filed. Silvergate explains to us what it looks like if the Ortiz/Heymann team had exercised their discretion in the opposite direction. --HectorMoffet (talk) 03:57, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for sharing your understanding of the case with us, HectorMoffet. You do agree with Silverglate and me that his sources were worthless when it came to predicting what Ortiz and Heymann were going to do in real life? --Dervorguilla (talk) 09:14, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
I worry this approaches tendentiousness.
I'd agree in a very limited sense-- anyone who thought there wouldn't be federal indictments was, in fact, in error, because federal chargers were in fact filed.
But Silvergate isn't predicting the future, he's conveying a past expectation of the future (Future in the Past). I think any defense attorney looking at the state charges would reach a similar conclusion as Silvergate's sources-- young, Havard fellow with no criminal history charge with "trespass" on a nearby university's open campus, there's no reason to expect this would ever proceed beyond continuance.
Explaining the "default" expectation helps explain the public response to the federal criminal prosecution. I can see what is useful about that Silvergate quote, but I do not see what harm is caused by including in.
Let's look at moving on. --HectorMoffet (talk) 15:38, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. Shearonink (talk) 17:10, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
To share my own opinion: I believe that any sophisticated defense attorney would have worried that Swartz’s arrest by a federal agent meant that federal charges could be coming up. As for causing harm: Too many business leaders have gotten themselves indicted on federal charges because they believed that the Justice Department thinks Harvard people are special. Maybe Silverglate (Harvard Law ’67) fooled himself into believing so too.
Swartz was arrested on felony charges. You appear to have thought that he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge (“trespass”). This suggests to me that you may want to go back and rethink your analysis. --Dervorguilla (talk) 16:49, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

It's always interesting to know Dervorguilla's opinion. But the discussion here concerns the opinion of an attorney who we know to have been familiar with the case. That attorney, as reported in MLW and again in CNET, expected that the charges would not be pursued. The attorney might have been mistaken, and Dervorguilla might have offered that attorney terrific advice if only Dervorguilla had been consulted. But that's neither here nor there. The informed attorney reports what he or she says they believed, and we have no reason to doubt it. Where Mr. Silverglate went to law school is hardly relevant to anything, and Dervorguilla's opinion of Harvard from her seat at the MIT Crime Club might not be the most urgent thing for us to discuss. Also, remember that the flowers the bloom in the spring (tra la!) have nothing to do with the case. MarkBernstein (talk) 17:43, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Someone else here go to Harvard, MarkBernstein? --Dervorguilla (talk) 17:56, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
B.A. Swarthmore HH 1977, Ph.D. Harvard (Chemistry) 1983. Tra La! MarkBernstein (talk) 18:17, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
“The flowers that bloom in the spring (tra la)...” – Ko-Ko, Lord High Executioner, The Mikado (1885) (“My object all sublime / I shall achieve in time: / To let the punishment fit the crime”). May I ask, are you going to have the MIT Crime Club punished for its investigating a murder at Harvard or me punished for inciting a federal investigation? --Dervorguilla (talk) 04:13, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Did the MIT crime club investigate something? Did you do something in 2004? Was it fun? Do you represent a source of innocent merriment? MarkBernstein (talk) 02:11, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
I didn't go to harvard OR mit, but it seems like Derv has adopted a bit of an anti-harvard WP:BATTLEGROUND stance here. This campaign against the Harvard alum Silvergate needs to achieve consensus-- edit warring him out of the article isn't going to work. --HectorMoffet (talk) 08:36, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Hacks and Hoaxes

Is this subsection adding useful information to the subject? These posthumous hacks and hoaxes were not conducted by the subject, or with his knowledge or permission. Nor do they add significantly to the subject's notability. Perhaps they belong elsewhere -- on the page for Anonymous, perhaps -- but do they belong here? MarkBernstein (talk) 21:09, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm persuadable to the contrary, but in my editorial judgment, this belongs in a section about the aftermath of Swartz's prosecution and suicide. I think it belongs in a biography of Swartz because it is a part of his legacy. We've got a couple of citations that suggest his influence will extend beyond his death. Some of that is all of the Congresscrap. But so is the hacking. I wouldn't block consensus if I'm the only one who turns out to think this way, but I'd like to see a healthy discussion here, an arrival at consensus, and then action (or not - depending on the consensus.) Who knows? Maybe by disagreeing and enlisting the community to reason together about this, we can provide an example for others. David in DC (talk) 21:41, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't disagree that Swartz will have a lasting influence; at the recent Web Science conference, several speakers felt comfortable in assuming that a room full of academic computer scientists drawn from the global research community would immediately recognize his name. But I'm not sure that some other people's hacks and pranks are going to be a significant part of that legacy. Nonetheless, if we think this section might be useful, let's keep it and revisit it in a year. MarkBernstein (talk) 21:52, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree- The hacks/hoaxes seem a sliver WP:UNDUE. Vandals and pranksters always exist, do they really deserve this much coverage relative to the serious interests involved? --HectorMoffet (talk) 14:11, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Graf 4 is the wordiest by far. Maybe this 18-word passage could be dispensed with (it doesn’t talk about the hoax itself): “On February 26, MIT’s student newspaper, The Tech, reported law enforcement radio traffic suggesting police were concerned that….” Other than that, I have to agree with MarkBernstein that it′s still too earlier to tell. --Dervorguilla (talk) 03:10, 19 May 2013 (UTC)\

As suggested by MarkBernstein, I’m taking the ‘Salon’ dispute here. The current material is about a mural of Swartz that was reported in at least one reliable press source (Salon). Unlike the other material in this section ("In the press"), the press item is not about Swartz or about anything Swartz did. --Dervorguilla (talk) 21:12, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Actually, MarkBernstein suggested that you discuss the matter here. What you did, instead, was delete the entire passage (again -- third time, I believe) and then come here, claiming falsely that this is what you were asked to do. Rather than simply reinstate your reversion again, I rewrote the passage to clarify its relevance. And, just in case, I also broadened the section title to include responses in the press and in the arts, so that artists can be heard. MarkBernstein (talk) 21:31, 21 May 2013 (UTC)


Please note: Edits to this article are again being discussed at the edit-warring noticeboard. David in DC (talk) 10:48, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

A Parting Gift (Maybe)

Thanks for the kind comments on my talk page and elsewhere.

I've done what little I could to save this page -- and wikipedia. I think it's clear that it's beyond me. Link: "They Hate Us"

I am tempted to spend an hour or so this weekend with this page to undertake a wholesale revision during the brief interval where we are, at least notionally, free from The Pajamas. The idea here would be to have one short-lived draft of the article as it might have been had we not spent months and months defending every tiny detail from relentless sniping. It will shine for a few minutes, The Pajamas will revert it, that will be that.

I'll probably think better of this and watch the Red Sox - Indians game instead, or add a feature to Tinderbox.

If you have ideas for what ought to be done or sources you'd include if only The Pajamas weren't going to come after you, I'd welcome them. Don't discuss here, please: we've had enough talk page discussion for several lifetimes. Email me: bernstein at (I'll at least acknowledge promptly, so if you don't hear back, it's in the spam filter. Ping me. MarkBernstein (talk) 13:16, 23 May 2013 (UTC)


What the tedious and unnecessary wrangling over the Silverglate quotation has tended to obscure is that the article is rather badly out of balance. The subject of the article was, after all, a remarkable (and remarkably young) software innovator, someone who in his late teens and early twenties had already been at the center of two widely-used internet standards, had built an internet startup and sold his stake in it for a very large sum of money, and who had since devoted his time to political causes and to fusing internet activism and politics. What we have on the page is a guy who did some stuff before his arrest, prosecution, suicide, and the controversies that arose in the wake of his death. The wikipedia page, in short, is the story of an alleged criminal who incidentally did some things before his arrest.

Though one obvious solution to this would be to rebalance the article by trimming legal detail, that approach seems very unlikely to prove tenable. We have spent months arguing over a single innocuous quotation!

Another solution, previously proposed here, was to move the entire discussion of the PACER and JSTOR prosecutions to a dedicated page, leaving no more than a sentence here to state that they happened and to provide a link. This page could then proceed directly to the eulogies and other sequelae. I fear that this would be a continuing headache, as new editors might well arrive and set out to rebuild the entire section, reopening the argument again and again.

Might we achieve better balance by making a more concerted effort to explain just what Swartz contributed in his technical work, and by seeking out remarks about its influence with the same energy we have spent seeking remarks about (for example) the appropriateness of various charges? This would leave us with an even longer page, to be sure, but one that has a more intelligent balance between the subject's accomplishments and his prosecution. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:18, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

David in DC has been moved to boldly move the section ... but his motion must be denied.
1. The case name is United States v. Swartz, not United States v. Aaron Swartz. “Omit given names of individuals.” The Bluebook (19th ed. 2010).
2. No consensus (yet) = mandatory revert.
--Dervorguilla (talk) 19:15, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Motion denied? I made no motion. I asked our fellow editors to carefully review my work before reverting. Without waiting for anyone's comments, you've summarily reverted my work, with an edit summary asking others to clean up the mess you've made by not dealing with the refs you messed up. You've now created a situation where we have two different pages filled with exactly the same material. And I suspect that, others reviewing my work might have seen value in it.
As for the name, mjb and I have answered you on the United States v. Aaron Swartz talk page.
Nomenclature is a slim reed to stand on for reverting what I thought was very constructive work. And announcing "no consensus" before a single soul has had a chance to comment is peremptory, presumptuous and poor form.
For that matter, so is the latest unwarranted edit-warring complaint you've just posted to the AN3 notice board. It abuse our processes, abuses MB, and hurls a false accusation against me about editing in regard to Swartz's suicide. I deny the allegation. I reverted the faulty edit and explained myself on the talk page. Please do not impute improper, blockable behavior to me when I've done nothing to merit the accusation. You base it on what I think to be an inartfully written edit summary by MB. That's a helluva big leap you've made there, to accuse me of wheel-warring.
Please strike or reword your AN3 complaint. Please self-revert on this page to give other editors a chance to review and opine. Please stop turning WP into a battleground. David in DC (talk) 20:11, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't understand this schtick about "Motion denied" in which Dervorguilla indulges. I think she gets a kick of some sort about pretending to be a lawyer or a judge, or perhaps she thinks it's witty. It leaves her open to asking who died and made her judge? But we'll take that as read.
On the substance, I thought your bold edit was bold, brave, and interesting. And I think it may ultimately prove the right way to approach this. But we might perhaps go even further, I think, by trying to sort out which parts of the aftermath respond specifically to the legal case, and which respond to the subject. (For example, I think the hoaxes and hacks would have proceeded exactly as they did whoever had been prosecuted, where obviously the eulogies inhere in the subject. Things like the Abelson investigation might need to be mentioned on both pages, but could be written differently on each. This might yield a pair of useful and focused pages. MarkBernstein (talk) 20:23, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
More likely three pages... The state case fits well in Swartz’s biography or in a (future) subarticle, Commonwealth v. Swartz, but not in United States v. Swartz, which is a different case. --Dervorguilla (talk) 03:35, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────As the person who initially proposed forking the article for balance, I'm in favor of it, but with two reservations.

First, I didn't like that all that was left in the main article was a teaser in the lead section and a {{main}} link in the body of the article. A summary, even if it's 80% identical to the teaser in the lead, is necessary; people shouldn't have to read the other article to understand the basic issues in that aspect of Swartz's life.

I do understand the concern that people will be tempted to expand the hell out of any summary they're given, but that's how it always is when forking articles. The challenge is making the summary be terse and general enough that no one can really argue about it, yet also make it contain some useful information. The stability of the summary in the lead is testament to the fact that it can be done.

Second, as Dervorguilla alluded to, there's a problem in that there are two topics covered in the section in question: the state case and the federal case. They are intertwined, of course, but we have decided—though not irreversibly—that the title of the article to which this content is being relegated is the name of the federal case. If it is really going to be all about both cases, and if it's going to include the amount of posthumous commentary that it does (something not considered ideal in case articles), then I feel that we should retitle the article to something more general ("Aaron Swartz, JSTOR, and MIT legal issues" or whatever), awkward as it may end up being. That would be more consistent with how these situations are handled on Wikipedia. However I could be persuaded otherwise.

One thing, though: I don't think the state case is notable enough for its own article. What other articles will ever link to it? And what would be in it that wouldn't also be covered again when giving background for the federal case?

Regardless, I don't think the bold edit was out of line. It just needs some refinement. —mjb (talk) 04:22, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Now that there will be a one-week lull in the edit warring, I'd like to renew efforts to split out the JSTOR case, both federal and state charges, and replace it with a two-three sentence summary, and a link to United States v. Aaron Swartz. It's not a perfect solution, but it's a start. Everyone here who's been left unblocked can edit collegially. I think we should not make the perfect into the enemy of the good. Let's get the detailed material about arrest, charges, indictments and prosecution onto another page, and start to reshape this page into a proper biography. Obviously the immediate aftermath stuff, the statement of the family, the memorial gatherings and the like can stay, but maybe they need trimming. Maybe all the Congresscrap can be split out into an "Aaron's Laws" article, eventually, with the same kind of summary and link I'm proposing for JSTOR. Maybe a lot of things. But I think the JSTOR fork would be a good start. I won't boldly go where I went before, but I'd like to see if there's consensus such that any one of us could feel comfortable making the move. David in DC (talk) 02:37, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Do the crickets I hear chirping denote fatigue? Silent assent? Disagreement?
Or could they have something to do with my recent error, about which I've explained myself in a dialogue with an admin on my talk page and for which I've apologized on the aggreived party's talk page. My intent was other than has been imputed. But I understand why my intent was obscure. I screwed up and I've made amends, as best I can. I hope it's not the reason I'm hearing crickets.
Also, thanks to those who've contacted me off-wiki. I appreciate your concern and the kind ways you've couched messages that quite rightly boil down to "You effed up, David." David in DC (talk) 17:40, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Shrugs. Can't see lasting good coming of this -- or anything else -- until our friend is banned. And of course after the ban he'll just sock it up; he'll have no trouble changing IPs til the cows come home. I agree with splitting the legal details to United States v. Aaron Swartz, of course.
But for what it's worth, I'd like to see the tributes expanded, not trimmed. Instead of simply recording the speakers at each event, we should include some of the more interesting a distinctive quotes from this remarkable group of people, all speaking about our subject. That will lengthen the article, but we're here to provide information and we're here to draw a portrait of the subject. And one of the most notable things about Aaron Swartz at this point is the remarkable outpouring of tributes from all quarters, from Larry Lessig to Daniel Issa.
We haven't been able to do that because The Pajamas would immediately revert. But unless (like me) you're doing this as a mere gesture -- putting a pebble on the grave even though a storm is coming and it will surely be blown away -- none of that will happen until the ban happens. MarkBernstein (talk) 18:27, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

OK. I've heard no reply in three days, so I've tried again. This time I left more of a summary on this page, per comments above. I've also tried to make sure no refs are lost, leaving some paragraphs over-sourced. I'm hopeful that others will now edit my work. And hopeful that it won't just be blanket reverted. I think this is an improvement, giving us hope for a stable Aaron Swartz page, and moving the material that may be contentious to a stand-alone page. I don't think the ultimately-dismissed state cases are out of place on the new page. They explain the activity and set the stage. But, I'm hoping, that's a discussion for the talk page over there. David in DC (talk) 17:58, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Case name

I think we can agree that the case-name question can be easily ‘closed’.
MOSLAW. “Legal case names are always italicized (Plessy v. Ferguson).… Case names are italicised, as in the Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation article.… Cite to legal materials according to the generally accepted citation style for the relevant jurisdictions.”
The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (Harvard Law Review Ass’n et al. eds., 19th ed. 2010). “General Rules for Case Names: Generally, omit given names or initials of individuals.” --Dervorguilla (talk) 22:51, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Of course the case name should be italicized. Was that ever in dispute?
MOSLAW doesn't give us any guidance on abbreviating the case name. On what basis do we accept The Bluebook as authority? Style guides, including legal ones, often disagree. For example, the capitalization of "the court" in prose is disputed. If an issue is to be made of this, shouldn't consensus be sought for all case articles, not just this one?
And is the abbreviated case name ideal for the topic of an article, as opposed to a reference in prose? Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is the title of an article, but in prose it's normally referenced as just The Empire Strikes Back. Of course it's not a court case, but it's no different; I would expect an article about the case to bear a longer-form name than is used for referencing it elsewhere, unless the case is extraordinarily notable outside of legal writing by the short name (e.g. Roe v. Wade). But as I said, I don't really don't feel comfortable insisting on any format; I'd much rather we solicit input from more Wikipedians, if the article must be named for a case. Who would like to take the initiative on that? :)
Anyway, as I remarked above, it may well be that no variation of the case name is appropriate, if the article is to cover more than just the federal case. —mjb (talk) 04:22, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Dervorguilla, please don't say things like "I think we can agree that"; when it is clear there are disagreements, it simply raises hackles and sets folks against each other. An article title is not a citation; a citation is designed to be as short as possible while still being comprehensible. (Also, we would never title an article "336 F.3d 811 (9th Cir. 2003)" without something having gone deeply worng.) Article titles must convey more information that citations do. My interpretation of WP:MOSLAW's directive is how to cite cases in running text and footnotes/references; but even then, I don't think it's very strong. Right after the directive you cited, it is followed by a conflicting one: "Also consider using the citation style used in secondary sources rather than the citation style used by legal briefs or decisions." The question of whether To Bluebook or Not To Bluebook is hotly debated at legal styling soirees, and I am not up on the latest. But I agree that bringing such a debate here to Talk:Aaron Swartz would certainly raise the caliber and civility of the discussions on the talk page beyond what we have had to date; if that is what it takes for more civility, then I say bring it on, and I will study up! (My personal bluebook expert is out of town this week, but I'm sure the discussion will last long enough that this won't be an impediment.)
With respect to the titling of the article, my conclusion is that there is no clear guidance here, and we should use our best judgement and hew to clarity as our first lighthouse in the murky dark ocean. So I am quite comfortable with the status quo. jhawkinson (talk) 10:58, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
One question worth asking ourselves, as we follow jhawkinson (talk) into a discussion of case nomenclature, is whether the question is operationally solvable. What we have here (again) is a proposal for a bold edit, discussed in advance on the talk page with fairly widespread approval, and then capably executed by another editor. That edit was almost immediately reverted, doing some collateral damage to the page, on the grounds that the case nomenclature was wrong. But is this the sole or real objection? Recall that, in the case of the Silverglate quotation, we have heard a series of rationales advanced by one editor against it: wikipedia forbids quotes on background; OR facts reported in op-eds are not reliable; OR the author of the published article is conflicted because he is involved with a law firm that represented the subject; OR the author is conflicted because he's from Harvard; OR the person quoted in the article was telling a falsehood and wikipedia excludes *that*; OR Ocassi is a fine fellow and he briefly proposed different wording. I'm sure I've missed a few. So, after spending time arriving at the proper name for the page, will we not simply find ourselves debating some other issue that makes it impossible to create the page? And when that, in turn, is settled, will we not need to revisit the nomenclature again? This discussion really hasn't been particularly uncivil -- I do admit to some very mild and rather lame jokes which I will forbear to repeat -- but it's been pointless because we don't appear to be discussing the article, but rather searching for a rationale that would permit one editor to revise it as he or she prefers. MarkBernstein (talk) 14:15, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Suicide not a 100% certainty

All of the sources refer to "statements" or "rulings"; they do not simply state suicide as a 100% certain fact. So, I have changed the sentence to include the word reportedly.

May122013 (talk) 13:25, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

Under what, if any, circumstances could we establish any suicide as a 100% certain fact? I believe that the coroner's verdict is probably sufficient for our needs. MarkBernstein (talk) 16:05, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Its not up to us to determine anything. If the sources simply said " he committed suicide" then we can say that, but if the sources use words like "ruled" then we should also. Its not for us to take the final step of stating as unequivical fact something when the sources use other terminology. I will change it to use the word "ruled" as the source does. May122013 (talk) 21:56, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Statement of Swartz's family and partner: Our beloved brother, son, friend, and partner Aaron Swartz hanged himself on Friday in his Brooklyn apartment.
Business Insider, reporting on Swart's death and his family's statement: Swartz committed suicide by hanging himself on Friday, according to the statement.
Reporting by the BBC: The activist and programmer took his life in his New York apartment, a relative and the state medical examiner said.
The family and the medical examiner say he committeed suicide. His suicide is reported, as fact, in multiple reliable sources to be found in the references section of this article. Unless there's a citation to a reliable source that casts doubt on the statement of his family, the ruling of the medical examiner, and reporting in a multiplicity of reliable sources, this edit is faulty. David in DC (talk) 22:12, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree. It is up to us to make this kind of decision with everything we report in an article. That is, do we state something as an uncited fact, as a cited fact, or as a cited claim? What's ideal depends on the situation. In every single case, you could say that it's just someone's claim, and cite a source for it. We could do that, but we don't, and with good reason.
I mean, sure, for any fact/claim, there will always be some conspiracy theorists who say the grass being green is just what someone wants you to think. But as a matter of course, we don't lend support to these fringe viewpoints; when there's no serious doubt, it's perfectly legitimate to state the information as a fact, rather than as so-and-so's claim. If theories of foul play gain some real traction, we can revisit this issue. But for the reasons stated by David in DC above, there's no debate about it, for now, and we shouldn't pretend like there is. —mjb (talk) 01:44, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
I am not getting my point across. My point is that none of the reliable sources I've seen state his death as being suicide without attributive wording. Even David in DC's examples use words like "a relative and the state medical examiner said" and "according to the statement". I am not aware of nor support any other theories or explanations about how he died, I did not know there were any, but I remain baffled at how almost all of the sources include attributive wording in their description of his death yet here we choose not to. I do not think we are supposed to be a fact-finding panel and I fail to see what harm is done by using similar attributive wording to the sources ? Could someone answer that ? May122013 (talk) 14:04, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Secondary sources use attributive wording because they are secondary sources. The coroner's report and the police report are dispositive; they WERE fact-finding panels and did reach this determination. There is no reason to believe they are wrong. MarkBernstein (talk) 14:27, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
But why not simply say that they reached this determination instead of presenting it as if Wikipedia reached this determination? May122013 (talk) 14:51, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Everything in the encyclopedia depends on reports from secondary sources. We also report that the subject was born on November 8, 1986, but this, too, depends entirely on secondary source reports that are fallible and might be wrong. We report as fact dates of birth of people in the 18th century though we have no living witnesses to that event, and if we did have witnesses, we cannot know that their testimony was not mistaken or suborned. Nor can we be entirely certain, as readers of fairy stories and viewers of Switched At Birth will recall, that the chain of custody of the infant was entirely secure. And these are births, which in the nature of things necessarily have a witness, while the subject's death had none. In the interest of sensible, concise prose, Wikipededia (and everyone) accepts as facts propositions that might conceivably be wrong but which there is no reason to doubt. This is kindergarten epistemology. MarkBernstein (talk) 16:12, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Mark, my point is not that the conclusion is wrong or may be wrong or not true in any way. My point is that most reliable sources use attributive wording regarding his death and, thus, so should we. The sources which say he was born on November 8, 1986 use simple language and do not include any attributive language such as "according to birth records" so your comparison is a non sequitur. Please don't use insulting language ("kindergarten ..."), especially to try to support an obviously false comparison. May122013 (talk) 15:53, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Compare, please, the Hemingway page, which unambiguously calls Hemingway’s death a suicide even though (a) it, too, was unwitnessed and unrecorded and not 100% certain, and (b) reliable, published sources called it an accident. We disregard those sources because competent authorities, such as the coroner, adjudged them so. No source casts any doubt on the nature of this subject's death. As other editors have reminded you more than once, you have gained no support at all for these edits. You persist in them, making no constructive edits here (and precious few anywhere else -- yours appears to be a single-purpose account with occasional detours.) In the end, the language of the coroners' report is dispositive. 16:27, 19 May 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by MarkBernstein (talkcontribs)
Mark, I just got around to reading the Hemingway sources. You are correct in that does seem to be a very good comparable. I think the reporting and evidence of Hemingway's suicide is even more uncertain, as you allude to in (b) above. So, what this means is I either need to accept this consensus here about the wording of how the subject died or else raise the issue on Hemingway's BLP as well :); and the latter does not make much sense so I'll accept the wording that is in place here. May122013 (talk) 12:38, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Mark, May122013 (talk) 12:45, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Mark's become very frustrated with his treatment at the edit-warring noticeboard and, if you look through the recent history of this page, you'll see that he may no longer be paying attention to this (or other) pages. He's always struck me as a gracious guy, so I'm sure he'd thank you for your willingness to actually read his example and for your flexibility about this. So I'd like to thank you. Thank you. David in DC (talk) 11:50, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Newest outrage

An editor has now gone completely beyond the pale with his increasingly disruptive and argumentative edits. He has replaced "penned an article" with "wrote an account". He's provided no proof that Ms. Norton did not use a pen for her first draft and deviously conflated the concepts of "account" and "article".

Such behavior must be eradicated. I think each editor to this page should choose a notice board and file a complaint. Some obvious places would be WP:External_links/Noticeboard, WP:Non-free content review, WP:Fringe theories/Noticeboard and WP:WikiProject on open proxies. I'll cover those.

His sister is also a shameless extrovert. He's reliably reported to practice nepotism with his sister-in-law, he has a brother who is a known homo sapiens and he has a sister who was once a thespian in wicked New York. Worst of all, it is an established fact that, before his marriage, he habitually practiced celibacy. For confirmation, please see here. David in DC (talk) 18:46, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Still more nefarious editing! Insulting commas by desribing them in perjorative terms - "extraneous" indeed! Editing out allegedly overmuch detail!
Where will all of this high-handed behavior end?! If we allow it to continue, we'll have fire and brimstone coming down from the sky! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria! Please see [2]. David in DC (talk) 22:10, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Well, the admin has spoken, and it seems they don't want me to edit for five days. Devo and her sock get banned for a week. I think I'll probably give up and let the crazies and the MIT Crime Clubs Kids do what they will. Good luck, everyone. I'm afraid you'll need it. I might check back for sensible discussion, if any, or email me at the usual address. MarkBernstein (talk) 02:46, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Please reconsider. Make the explicit promise. Not here, but in reply to the admin. Spend the five days on other matters, here on the talk page, on other wikipedia articles or just on wiki-break. Then come back to do what all but one of us mean to do, create a proper bio and proper forks and proper other pages.
Admins have a thankless job. This one hit D with a formal block and offered you an opportunity to control your own wiki-fate. I can understand why that might rankle, but please consider the wisdom of Henri IV.
If you need a worthy project for the five days, please take a look at the article about Genie (feral child) which my friend Blade is turning into a masterpiece. It needs fresh eyes for copy-editing. It needs no more research, which won't stop Blade from doing more, but it can always use language tweaks. Check out the talk page and read the whole article, as it stands. If you can't find a way to pitch in constructively, I've misjudged you. I don't think I have.
Unrelated query: What sock got blocked? It doesn't seem to be the one D used to try to sic admins on us surreptitiously, back in April, although I did discover something bizarre about that account today. You can check that out there. But I'm curious what other socks or SPA's are out there. David in DC (talk) 03:09, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
I think it's probably time for intelligent people to give up on Wikipedia, help it fail quickly and definitively, and leave what remains to the tinfoil hats. I'm a busy fellow -- juggling a big software development project, two books in progress, and research. Thanks for the suggested project anyway. Good luck outlating the MIT Crime Club and the prosecutor's in-laws.
My email's bernstein at, and my office phone is easy to find if anyone wants to talk. MarkBernstein (talk) 13:35, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
First of all, they are not tinfoil hats, they are Faraday cages. Second, they are inanimate objects and cannot edit Wikipedia. Third, you seem to suggest that intelligent people edit Wikipedia and I just don't think there is conclusive evidence to support that claim. Int21h (talk) 22:06, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

"Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious." --Brendan Gill

Superb repair work

MB: Thank you for making these repairs. I deleted one insertion (the Silverglate material.) As I noted in my edit summary, it's in the United States v. Swartz article and, in my editorial judgment, we don't need it in two places.

For the purpose of capturing cansensus, and not with any thought of re-adding the material, would you please give us your rationale for deleting two other items? My thought is to list each, ask you to comment on each, and then let concurring (or dissenting) voices establish a consensus we can point to later, if necessary. David in DC (talk) 17:16, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

It's all doomed. And I doubt I'll be around long enough to justify each in detail, especially as each justification will doubtless be attacked in three days for arbitrary and inscrutable reasons. But, since you ask and I happened by, here goes.MarkBernstein (talk) 20:48, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Why delete the Russia Today report about the wikileaks tweet? David in DC (talk) 17:16, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Because, in my judgment, the sourcing here is very, very thin. There's no particular reason to think that Russia Today had good sourcing on this. As I recall, they didn't indicate what their sourcing was. In the case of Anonymous and Wikileaks, it's unclear what sourcing could be possible, since "we are legion" could include anyone. There's no particular reason to think that the subject was active in Wikileaks beyond sympathy for Manning. MarkBernstein (talk) 20:48, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Why delete the "Hacks and hoaxes" section? David in DC (talk) 17:16, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

None of this concerns the subject, his life or accomplishments. Its inclusion here is a posthumous attempt to identify the subject as a "hacker" and a confederate of "Anonymous", and most of these were pushed by POV editors hoping to discredit the subject. The supposed MIT gunman, in particular, was of local interest on one day on one campus, and could have been perpetrated by anyone who read about Swartz in the newspaper or on Wikipedia. None of this is very notable, and none is especially pertinent to Swartz. If it were notable, it could have its own page. MarkBernstein (talk) 20:48, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

POV against prosecutors

Listen guys, there is a bunch of stuff in here about people criticizing the prosecutors, which is fine to a certain level. But we all need to understand a few things here which need to be said. First, the Department of Justice's prosecutors and law enforcement officers (plus some Homeland Security officers) did nothing illegal from what the sources seems to say. Second, Congress, not the President or the Attorney-General or Carmen Ortiz or Stephen Heymann, but Congress, said its OK to do what they did, i.e. seize property without a warrant, stack charges, etc. So it can obviously be argued that they did nothing wrong and at the same time its misleading for Congress in particular to lay criticisms on them.

Congress seems to be deflecting attention away from the fact that all this was done at their command; it's called "the law", not "the regulations". All the quotes from Congressman criticizing officials for carrying out what Congress said the prosecutors could/should/must do (i.e. warrantless seizures) is overkill, and plain misleading, at least when the criticism is taken to this level to drown out any information to the contrary. It leads people to believe someone other than Congress is to blame for, or can fix, this problem; that the solution is somewhere other than your local "central party committee" (or things like the Domocrats' "biennial Assembly district election meetings" in California that no one bothers to attend.) The assclown (as I always say it takes one to know one) responsible actually lives closer to your house than you think, maybe even within walking distance. When the county central committees start to make this an issue, turn on C-SPAN and watch them magically understand and start trying to change the law (they've already had their chance; don't let them; throw them out and let them be a page for the next guy if they want to be there so bad; next time don't waste our time with your nonsense hearings.)

Its not that I want my opinion included, its that I want all this POV to be diluted. It ain't the only viewpoint on the block. Int21h (talk) 00:55, 29 May 2013 (UTC) Int21h (talk) 01:05, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

I understand and agree that Congress ought to be the primary focus of people's reactions. The difficulty lies in that so much has been written and said about Aaron, especially after his suicide, in regard to the JSTOR/MIT case (this is what puts his notability over the top); and at least when an opinion is expressed, it is actually overwhelmingly critical of the prosecution.
There's also a problem in that it's not clear how to deal with factual errors or misleading statements by (e.g.) members of Congress as they react to the situation. Obviously we can't change what they said, and we can't give undue weight to unpopular viewpoints. We're also supposed to avoid crafting our own rebuttals, fact-checking, and commentary on their commentary. But we also shouldn't let any false implications in their statements be received as information.
This problem gets worse when we commit to including quotations; as it stands, we've set the bar pretty low for deciding which ones get included. If it were up to me, I wouldn't have gone into so much detail; the fact that many notable people reacted as they did can be expressed as a statement to that effect, with a list of people, and doesn't need to get into the actual quotes. But at this point, I'm not sure it's particularly harmful to have it the way it is, either.
If you didn't have to worry about the ramifications, what would you change in a bold edit, specifically? What quotations would you ditch, and would you replace them with a summary or anything? —mjb (talk) 06:40, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Its what they aren't saying that make their statements misleading; i.e. they are not offering solutions, only commentating on problems in a useless and irrelevant way, as if Congress is Fox News or something.
There's just so many Congressional quotes, they just seem to stand out. I mean, there's his "Life and works" section, then there's this "Congress" section which is almost as big, and has all these blockquotes. Yes, they are a powerful and important voices, but an entire section that almost matches his life's work in size filled with nothing but quotes of commentary? No. Aaron doesn't even get that many blockquotes. Ignoring the sections dealing with something else beside commentary, delete as many Congressional quotes as possible I say, especially if there is already a summary of their position. But... I realize that may not fly.
I think just removing <blockquote> tags from the Congressional quotes is a reasonable first step. This includes the quotes of Issa, Cummings, and Stinebrickner-Kauffman. Just reduce those quotes to regular quotes. Int21h (talk) 22:00, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Stinebrickner-Kauffman is not a congressperson. I think the partner of the subject is entitled to a blockquote under the circumstances, especially as she is replying directly to the attorney general. MarkBernstein (talk) 22:47, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
The only person who is entitled to blockquotes here is Aaron. I just really don't think Stinebrickner-Kauffman is that important to understanding Aaron Swartz. Int21h (talk) 00:27, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Also note I am just not experienced enough in edit wars to have any reasonable chance of getting these edits in here unless a gatekeeper editor takes up my cause. Hence, this talk page section. I understand I may have to bring this up a few times given the activity on both the article and this talk page. Int21h (talk) 22:10, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Trust me on this, the last thing we need around here is anyone with experience in edit wars. We've had quite enough of that. You're handling this correctly, coming to this page and proposing a change and seeking consensus. I'm going to ask my editing colleagues to step back a bit. I agree with them on the merits, so far, but there's been a bit of a hair-trigger response, and, I think, a faulty assumption. Having reviewed some other pages, I'm convinced this isn't a sock of any kind, nor a stalking horse for our recent antagonist. This is a good-faith editor with a different opinion, approaching this article exactly the right way. Plus, he's got a sense of humor. Please see his response to my silly post on behalf of beleagered commas on this page. I've responded to that with my favorite Brendan Gill quote of all time.
There are only two true markers of adulthood: a sense of humor and the ability to disagree without being disagreeable. So far, Int21h has displayed both on this page. How's about we let him start out with the reservoir of goodwill everyone's supposed to get? Reservoirs can be depleted and assumptions rebutted. But not prophylactically. We're too used to a departed (from this page) editor's style. Let's not impute it to others without a glimmer of a reason to do so. David in DC (talk) 22:47, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support: removing blockquote tags as described by Int21h. 1. We can use a more encyclopedic writing style, see LONGQUOTE. 2. One of the quoted authors (TarenSK) appears to have been taking part in an angry dispute, see IMPARTIAL. (“Try not to quote directly from participants engaged in a heated dispute.”) --Dervorguilla (talk) 06:14, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Oppose': Taren is no more part in an angry dispute than Ortiz. This is specious POV pushing at its worst. Here comes another edit war I guess. Welcome back from your block. Sigh. MarkBernstein (talk) 11:47, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
I've truncated some block quotes and made them inline quotes, per Int21h's suggestions. We differ about the need to cut back the Congresscrap, but his critique about the number of block quotes seems balanced, collegial and well worth considering, discussing and, where uncontroversial, acting upon. I wouldn't go so far as to say "[t]he only person who is entitled to blockquotes here is Aaron," but I see no harm in reducing the number and length of the quotes, judiciously.
 !Voting is evil. But if it weren't, I'd vote against any suggestion that Swartz's partner, when quoted in reliable sources, should not be quoted on this page because of guidance that's nonsensical in this context. Guidance that, in any event, is voiced in the conditional mood rather than the imperitave.
Swartz was involved in a number of heated disputes covered in this article. Shall we forswear quoting him? Heymann? Ortiz? Holder? Lessig? Malamud? What about that storied Kerr/Boyle dust-up?
I suppose we should sanitize the article about the Hartfields and the McCoys and scrutinize it for quotes from any Hatfields or McCoys. They sure had a heated dispute. Oh, and Ali. Let's next go to the articles covering Muhammad Ali's many prize fights and bowdlerize any of that "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" malarkey. His poetry, and that of Bundini Brown, whose work Ali sometimes passed of as his own led to some heated disputes, ya know. David in DC (talk) 17:56, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Int21h (talk) argues that this article is unbalanced because many commentators have criticized the actions that led to Swartz’s death. It is true that few people choose a funeral to enumerate the subject’s flaws or to praise the prosecutors who led him to end his life. No doubt, Int21h (talk) will shortly set out to remedy their omissions. (It's interesting that Int21h (talk) appears here for the first time a few minutes after The Pajamas were unblocked.)

But Int21h (talk) has a point: the article as it stands does not discuss Aaron Swartz’s notable weaknesses and glosses over his failings. He did not, for example, eat his vegetables, even when told to. He ate far too many hamburgers. He was always short, and early in his career was very short, regardless of the inconvenience this caused his colleagues. He could be difficult in school and was not always polite to his teachers. He showed scant interest in user interfaces, and had little sympathy for the difficulty of getting them right. He believed in bug-free code, but left us relatively little code of his own. He liked David Lodge’s novels more than they deserve. The article is POV against these and a host of other issues about which people have been oddly silent. MarkBernstein (talk) 13:29, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Do you have a cite for the hamburgers? IMHE, this would seem at odds with his general behaviour. I'd agree about glossing failings though. My own last emails to him called him (gently) an idiot (on the basis of "Don't poke The Man with a pointy stick").
"Unbalanced" is a strange viewpoint. Int21h seems to think that NPOV is based on finding equal numbers of positive and negative things to say about a group. However we are distinctly short of RS who have said positive things about the prosecutors. In such case neutrality should reflect the balance of the comments (which are mostly negative), not try to level things out to this "equal airtime" position. Also (and without prejudice to Int21h) I hope that if we do have a flurry of new editors here, it's not just more socks. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:39, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
First of all... no. Second, I think it is unbalanced with respect to Congressional critics. I think we should all admit many if not most of these Congressional quotes are nothing but commentary. Most of them are not connected with the institution of Congress other than being said at a hearing or being said by a Congressman; they are definitely not proposed bills (although I think there is one in there that is only tangentially related and another that is just rumor.) But it is still just commentary. If it was from the hearing, fine its unique in that respect, but the other commentary? No. On top of that is the fact that its not new commentary, it just reiterates what others have been saying for who knows how long. It would be another thing if the quotes were not commentary but instead proposals or solutions or something, but they are not, at least not a great majority. And those that are proposals or solutions are drowned out by the commentary from the Congressional peanut gallery. Congressional peanut gallery commentary just doesn't require this much emphasis. It is the classic state funeral of Lamarque, with the government trying to claim the cause as their own while simultaneously continuing to resist everything Lamarque stood for by not doing anything. Its an insult, and Wikipedia just shouldn't be giving them this much of a platform to do it. I also couldn't care less about other issues, e.g. Aaron's failings or assertions that what the prosecutors did was OK; that is a separate (but related, vis-a-vis the hamburgers) issue. Int21h (talk) 22:00, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Maybe I missed a nuance, but I don't think it is correct to say that Congress should shoulder dramatically more of the blame than prosecutors. Cf. Larry Lessig's essay on prosecutorial discretion. There's a reasonable argument to be made for both kinds of responsibility, but prosecutors are "on the ground" and can make the day-to-day decisions. It is very very to get Congress to make changes; that doesn't mean impossible and it doesn't mean it is pointless to advocate for it, but it is very different from the choices a prosecutor gets to make. (p.s.: Welcome Back, Mark!) jhawkinson (talk) 02:18, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, well, I will raise your Lessig essay with Kozinski's essay "You're (Probably) a Federal Criminal". There is obviously a school of thought that holds the root of the problem, and the solution, lies at the Capitol. (Which does not necessarily contradict the view that the solution is at the bar or the White House as well.) Its not that I'm saying this article must reflect this view, its just that I don't think Congress should be given so much voice to put forward the argument that the fault is with someone other than themselves. If the law was ambiguous, that was the Congress' fault and is in need of a Congressional solution. The prosecutor wanted to put an arguable charge pursuant to an ambiguous act of Congress to a jury, and used every dirty trick in their bag to harass Aaron into submission (or insanity), that much is plain. But Wikipedia readers are being fooled into ignoring that the dirty tricks were provided by Congress, and all these Congressional statements only perpetuate the ignorance. Int21h (talk) 00:27, 31 May 2013 (UTC) Int21h (talk) 01:28, 31 May 2013 (UTC)