Talk:Giles Hattersley

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Moved from article[edit]

On 8 February 2009, Hattersley wrote in The Sunday Times that his English Wikipedia entry falsely claimed he was the son of politician Roy Hattersley.[1] The Telegraph journalist Shane Richmond noted that Hattersley did not appear to have a Wikipedia biographical entry at the time, and that there did not appear to have been one in the past.[2]

  1. ^ Hattersley, Giles (February 8, 2009). "The wiki-snobs are taking over". The Sunday Times (News Corporation). Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  2. ^ "Giles Hattersley's disappearing Wikipedia entry". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 

--Apoc2400 (talk) 19:01, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

It is imperative it stays in the article, it is what most peope hitting the page will want to know - is it true or not. He has written, in a very high profile British newspaper (not a down market tabloid), that it is, it is clearly not in the article that he is Roy Hatterley's son and never has been. Wikipedia has never made this claim about Giles Hattersley, and that needs to be clear. Giano (talk) 17:58, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately it's now only a matter of time before somebody does make attempt to make this claim. — CharlotteWebb 18:43, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
An ancient canard; I found it claimed on this blog], but we would never use that as a reliable source. --Rodhullandemu 19:00, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
This is all ridiculous, Wikipedia's owm PR machine (does it even have one) should be countering these ridiculous claims from Hattersley, not leaving it to the general writing editors. Giano (talk) 19:17, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Is the WMF office open on Sundays? I doubt it. Even so, how would a rebuttal be achieved without the obvious counter of "well, they would say that, wouldn't they"? Better left where it belongs- on the furthest shores of oblivion. --Rodhullandemu 19:35, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Do we have any clues as to which English Wikipedia, Giles Hattersley was looking at? Apparently it wasn't this English Wikipedia. GoodDay (talk) 20:25, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

For all we know, his entire article could've been oversighted. That wouldn't leave any trace. --Conti| 20:40, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

We can keep the paragraph for now, but a year from now it will be forgotten and irrelevant in this biography. --Apoc2400 (talk) 20:52, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

"Original research"[edit]

Ref this removal, this does not constitute original research. I did not say that the first article was created then (I have no access to any proof one existed before or not, and am not assuming anything so far). I stated that this article was created then, with the appropriate proof. We surely do not need third party sourcing for interpreting our own software?. If the apparent need for this piece of article text to exist is to refute claims made against Wikipedia, then including the date of this article being created is going to be quite pertinent to the reader, don't you think? MickMacNee (talk) 19:40, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I think that sentence ought not to be in the article because it's an excessive self-reference which WP:ASR tells us to avoid. Sam Blacketer (talk) 20:19, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Without qualification, do you think the statement "journalist Shane Richmond noted that Hattersley did not appear to have a Wikipedia biographical entry at the time" makes any sense at all to the reader, when they are actually reading a biography of Giles Hattersley? The bigger glaring self reference would appear to be the implicit assumption that the reader has the first clue that this article has only existed for a few hours, or indeed would have the first clue how to find that out. MickMacNee (talk) 20:47, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

It would appear to be a moot point anyway. MickMacNee (talk) 20:53, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Assume that this is being written elsewhere – therefore Wikipedia is referred to as what is defines itself as, i.e. an online encyclopedia project or something akin to that. To say "this article" and "this Wikipedia entry" is making assumptions and would look strange on other sites where the article pops up. --➨♀♂Candlewicke ST # :) 15:33, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Temporary deletion[edit]

I have temporarily deleted this article, and kindly request that no one restore it until we've sorted out all the facts. Giano has been blocked for 24 hours by me for incivility related to this entry. Jay and I are already aware of the situation and I am reaching out to the newspaper for further clarification.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:53, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Be careful that Mr. Hattersley does not misconstrue this deletion as an acknowledgment that the article contained the falsehoods that Mr. Hattersley claimed it contained (before the article existed). Right now he can point to the deletion log and his readers will only see that the article was deleted 20:48, 8 February 2009 by Jimbo Wales, and assume that the deletion was in direct response to Mr. Hattersley's rant found here. — CharlotteWebb 21:01, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Have no fear. Things will be straigtened out. GoodDay (talk) 21:02, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Please try to be serious. — CharlotteWebb 21:03, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I am. GoodDay (talk) 21:10, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I must say that I don't understand the reason for deletion. DuncanHill (talk) 21:50, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Neither. Why wasn't oversight or selective deletion used instead? neuro(talk) 21:52, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't see that any selective deletion or oversight would have been necessary either. All that has happenned is to make it harder for people to see the true history of the article - which doesn't help when someone makes false statements about it in a major broadsheet. DuncanHill (talk) 21:53, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I can understand deletion if the whole article was a BLP issue, trouble is that the general editing public is not going to understand that, and I don't believe that the whole thing was a BLP issue. The section should have been removed and the incriminating edits oversighted - I don't see how deleting the whole page will cause anything other than drama. neuro(talk) 21:58, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
  • The page was written to set the record straight. It was factual, it was referenced and it was accurate. The matter was widely known and discussed for 21 hours before I wrote the page. The page was openly writen, I also discussed it with an Arb at the time I was writing it. I posted openly concerning it on the Admins Notceboard, where upon it was vastly edited and expanded by others. The page needed to be written by an editor, who if checked would be seen to be a reliable mainspace editor; my mainspace edits are reliable. You are all reading far too much into this. People will be looking for an bio on this man, and I don't see why he can't have one, so long as it is accurate. Giano (talk) 23:20, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
It seems we have the facts now. Since this was intended as a temporary deletion until we had the facts, could you please undelete and allow the community to decide what to do? --Tango (talk) 23:59, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

A message from Giles Hattersley[edit]

As to this thing about a Wikipedia entry - as far as I know, I've
never had one. I think the line must have been tweaked at some stage
(not by me) from talking about mentions of my name on the site to an
actual entry. The mistake pointed out in the piece, was pointed out
to me a year or two ago in some corresponding page where my name
cropped up - either Roy Hattersley's entry, or a third party's page.
I'm glad to hear it no longer exists!

As you can see, the entry as it stood before was a serious WP:BLP violation. (In fact, it was a serious WP:BLP violation even before these emerging details were discovered.) Given that Giano created the entry specifically, in his own words, "as a rebuttal" to a news story, it was also a violation of WP:NPOV and WP:NOR.

I was asked up above, why I deleted the entire entry, rather than just some offending revisions. The reason is simple: they were all offending revisions. The article was a WP:COATRACK designed by Giano to "defend" Wikipedia against a slight.

It appears that now The Times needs to issue an apology for this, but not Mr. Hattersley himself (I am still taking issue with him for other errors in the article). It would be quite helpful, though perhaps quite difficult, if someone could find the precise revision where the error originally appeared. (Or else, conclusively show that it never happened, which would be quite difficult I suppose, given that the edits could in theory have been randomly oversighted or deleted from who-knows-where.)

I hope this case will be a lesson for people. It is not ok to create hatchet jobs about people for any reason, and especially if the reason is simply because you feel that they were wrong in some respect about Wikipedia. Not ok. Not ever.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:36, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

What BLP violation? Suggesting that he writes the articles that appear under his name? DuncanHill (talk) 23:39, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
All the revisions I saw said something along the lines of "this appears to have been an error", which it clearly was. Did someone change it to something accusing the author of acting in bad faith (or even just recklessly) at some point? That said, I think commenting on a error that you last saw a year or two ago without checking that it still exists is pretty reckless (although perhaps that's recklessness on the part of the editor, rather than the journalist, there's no way for me to know - although if I were a journalist I would make sure I read the final version of anything that was going to have my name attached before it went to print). --Tango (talk) 23:46, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
(ec)WP:COATRACK aside, I don't see that creation of a properly-sourced article is an issue. Many articles are created here as a result of external events. Per this Arbcom decision, I'm assuming that Mr Hattersley has released his ostensibly private email for publication. But to return to the issue of notability; it was thin as the article was originally written, although sourced. To my mind, at that point, it would have been a borderline WP:AFD article, but certainly not a WP:CSD#A7. So it's debatable.
I agree that creating biographies in reaction to coverage of the project is an extremely poor practice, whether as rebuttal or praise. Putting a stop to it here and now is the right thing to do. Steven Walling (talk) 23:47, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
If it's solely a rebuttal, then it's largely indefensible; otherwise, if external events from whatever source, indicate a defensible need for a notable topic, then the article should be created; but not as a bull-rush.--Rodhullandemu 23:52, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, the decision should be taken on grounds of notability (I've yet to be convinced the subject is notable). The creation of it as a rebuttal is clearly wrong, but there is no need to delete it on those grounds. --Tango (talk) 23:53, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

WP:UNDUE is really the key here. It is entirely possible, and indeed all too easy, to write a completely indefensible biography by relying solely on perfectly good sources. It is not enough that a claim be sourced. As it turns out, the error appears to not have been Mr. Hattersley's at all, and so upon reflection, I think it is pretty clear that a minor error in the newspaper (which the paper ought to apologize for, both to us and to Mr. Hattersley) is not even something that would ever belong in his biography in the first place. Anyone who thinks it is ok to use Wikipedia by writing hatchet jobs in response to negative articles about us, is invited to recuse themselves permanently from all WP:BLP editing, and indeed to leave Wikipedia entirely.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:00, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

It would be helpful if Mr Hattersley could actually tell us where the error was, instead of us having to trawl a couple of million articles (and their revision histories) to find it. DuncanHill (talk) 00:02, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
(e/c)Its a coatrack, created under questionable circumstances for questionable motives, delete it under BLP's Do No Harm - or BLPSE, (finally a decent use for that godforsaken procedural tool). I'm fairly convinced that the cited erroneous claim exists no where relevant, unless the revision has been oversighted since I don't have access to OS.--Tznkai (talk) 00:05, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
How about restoring the first two paragraphs, but not the last one about the recent Wikipedia piece? The rest of the article looks fine to me. --Apoc2400 (talk) 00:07, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I am quite willing to criticise Giano when he has acted wrongly, and I have voted for restrictions on his editing more severe than have been imposed - so I am no soft touch when he is concerned. But I genuinely do not think he intended to write a 'hatchet job' or a BLP violation. I think he was acting in good faith. Sam Blacketer (talk) 00:10, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Newyorkbrad (talk) 00:14, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps interesting: I agree too. I do not think Giano intended to write a 'hatchet job' nor to commit a BLP violation. But the fact remains that he did, and that it was a particularly egregious one given the overall circumstances. As far as I can tell, Giano acted in good faith to do something monumentally wrong, and he did so for all the same kinds of reasons that we all know so well about him. I don't think Giano is a bad person, although one has to wonder sometimes if he isn't deliberately trolling. But one need not be a bad person to be entirely in the wrong.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:24, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I see nothing resembling a "hatchet job" and nothing "monumentally wrong" about the article. I think Giano very scrupulously wrote a fair article that wasn't called for (for one thing, it broke the rule that WP is not a newspaper, though of course this is broken all the time). But all right, you and I disagree about it. So, putting myself in your place, believing that the article was "monumentally wrong" but that Giano "acted in good faith", I'd have summarily deleted it, salted it, and firmly but politely warned Giano away from creating responses to similar non-events in the future. -- Hoary (talk) 13:40, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
As for the article itself, there is no need or reason to do anything immediate. We can let this situation settle out over the next few days before deciding what, if any, article is warranted. Newyorkbrad (talk) 00:15, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Good faith or not aside, (I'm convinced he was doing his best to protect Wikipedia's reputation), on a practical level creating an article as a rejoinder was a bad idea in concept. The final version of the article read like a brief biographical sketch and then a petty rejoinder, calling out the LP for his article's mistake.--Tznkai (talk) 00:16, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Further thought, I agree with Brad above on leaving the article alone for a day - or possibly starting completely anew after calmer heads have prevailed.--Tznkai (talk) 00:19, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Side comment[edit]

I just read the Hattersley article and it follows the same line as a torrent of MSM stuff being put out lately; just this morning there was a discussion on Irish National Radio (RTE) in which several press and broadcast journalists all agreed that Wiki was dreadfully inaccurate - without any sense of irony whatever. Wiki is a non-commercial model that is in direct competition with these guys livelihoods - we must not forget that. They desperately want it to fail. All involved in the discussion claimed to never use Wiki, yet oddly, the local MSM is full of material lifted from the "totally unreliable" Wikipedia. (Including an endless string of my photos). We must stop open ended editing of BLPs - period. It is like handing a loaded gun to your worst enemy. (But I get very concerned when I read that Gaza needs to be censored). But surely Jimbo, instead of being so apologetic, should comment on the accuracy of the MSM? The Times, for example, faithfully reported the Iraq WMD claims by Blair as "fact". A rather more serious inaccuracy in terms of consequences than anything we've seen on Wiki. While you don't and shouldn't write Wiki articles to counter the MSM bull - it would be nice to hear Jimbo being more assertive in this matter - and maybe less assertive with people like Giano. Remember, de facto, a handful of the Corporate Rich control the Anglophone media and yet we must read, in silence, bull***t about the 3,000 elite with their skewed vision?!! If the MSM journalists and commentators were not so Corporate-friendly in their views, their reporting and their writing they wouldn't be MSM hacks! Remember that bit of self-selection next time you read some rubbish in the papers about Wiki. Wiki writers are not, unlike corporate journalists, paid to convey a particular POV. Sarah777 (talk) 01:01, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Wiki writers are not, unlike corporate journalists, paid to convey a particular POV.
Well, at least that you are aware of. I happen to know that some wiki writers are being paid to convey a particular POV, and they're successfully doing it. And, on the flip side, most paid journalists are not paid to convey a particular POV. Lots of drama in your statement, Sarah777, but not much fact. It's irony on top of irony about supposed irony.
I agree that the MSM isn't quite getting it right about Wikipedia, but from my vantage point, they are coming much closer to the truth about Wikipedia now than they were in 2007. -- (talk) 01:17, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Oh come on! Of course they are paid to stay "on message". I suspect you mustn't actually know any. The instructions do not have to be explicit - the paycheck does the trick. Sarah777 (talk) 01:27, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I know about six people whose paycheck derives from their contributions to journalism, two of them quite personally, and I don't know if I can name too many people I know who are more ethically bound to produce work that is passionately devoted to their profession and to the reader, than to their employer. Sarah777, you have an extremely pessimistic (but regrettably, thanks to a few bad apples, understandable) outlook on journalists. Indeed, being that Wikipedia itself is purportedly built on the assembly of facts from "reliable sources" like newspapers and magazines, your criticism is something of a major indictment against Wikipedia. Is that were you wanted to go with this? -- (talk) 03:27, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Nope. I have long had issues with using the Anglophone MSM press as "reliable sources" - it undermines the credibility of Wiki - rather more than using the "unreliable" Wiki undermines the MSM. Wiki errors are generally short-lived vandalism or POV; MSM writing is systematic POV pushing in most cases. Sarah777 (talk) 03:41, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
A confused Englishman asks - MSM? DuncanHill (talk) 03:44, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
MainStream Media; you daily papers and TV channels - not including the Socialist Worker ! Sarah777 (talk) 03:49, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think anyone would ever accuse the Socialist Worker of being mainstream! I forget, who owns the SWP at the moment? DuncanHill (talk) 03:51, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
No idea - probably some collective. Sarah777 (talk) 19:37, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I think the term "Mainstream Media" itself is vague, misleading and loaded. This is a category that contains sources as diverse as the Tribune company, Fox News, Conde Nast, Koch think-tank periodicals, MSNBC and your local regional paper. Arguing that all of these companies share the same bias and outlook merely because they are companies and their reporters receive paychecks is utterly fantastical. Each of these individual organizations are so vast and employ so many different types of people who are driven by so many different things that lumping them all together is simply unhelpful. If you don't want to look at individual organizations, just consider the distinctions between job descriptions: political analyst, beat reporter, city desk, DC commentator, columnist. Any actual journalist could talk your ear off about the differences in bias between reporters covering individual *beats* (police, retail, economics, science, transpo, etc).
I'm not saying that journalism doesn't include bias; quite the opposite. I would say there is no such thing as a 100% NPOV. Every editorial decision, inclusion and ommision is the result of some bias. Journalists, like wiki editors, are human beings with a perspective. We can never escape our perspective in order to write from a "view from nowhere" that a 100% NPOV would require. Its a human condition, not an economic condition (because you mention the SWP; Communist news outlets in general do not exactly have a great reputation in this regard). Smart consumption of information does not come from disregarding all outlets with the slightest bias; it is understanding the bias in what you consume. Jaydubya93 (talk) 00:50, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
And then of course if someone has died it ain't a BLP - is it? But we must be sure they are really dead before we write nonsense about them! It is only fair to note that many Wiki editors are actually MSM hacks who would cease to be MSM hacks if they wrote with the accuracy and truthfulness that they do here. Sarah777 (talk) 01:10, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

" it would be nice to hear Jimbo being more assertive in this matter - and maybe less assertive with people like Giano" - agree. His principal value to the project is in his high profile and ability to speak directly to other high profile people, not in being a contributor or a "super-admin with bells on". DuncanHill (talk) 01:31, 9 February 2009

Hrm. So you don't want him to contribute to Wikipedia? Or you don't want him to have the tools he has with the Founder flag? Unless there's some inconsistency between his actions and the will of the community, I don't understand either wish. Please explain? -kotra (talk) 00:12, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
I was quoting from, and agreeing with, a comment made above. If you need it spelled out - I think he should spend more time on doing the things he is good at, and much less time attempting to micro-manage particular articles or contributors. I do not think that he has got his priorities right, and I think that this is damaging to the Wikipedia as a whole. And yes, I do think he should lose the "founder" flag - I don't think any one person should have that level of power and control. I would say the same if he had never performed any admin actions with which I disagreed. DuncanHill (talk) 00:43, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
Got it, thanks for spelling it out for me. You feel that his admin actions are damaging to Wikipedia. So, you should discuss your grievances directly with him, file a AN report, file an ArbCom case for his desysopping, or whatever stage of dispute resolution seems appropriate. That's what we do with admins misusing their tools. Otherwise, these comments just seem like impotent protests against authority. -kotra (talk) 01:14, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
Discuss with him? Has been tried and is unproductive. AN report? Hard to get problems with low-profile admins taken seriously there. ArbCom? There have been attempts in the past to start such cases, but arbitrators have (for whatever reason) been reluctant to examine the actions of the one who appoints, and can dismiss, them. As I am sure you are aware there have been multiple criticisms of Jimbo's actions in the matter of this article and the editors associated with it, and many of those criticisms have not come from me. Impotent protests against authority? MAybe, or maybe some other editors will be inspired to look into these things and make up their own minds about the appropriateness or otherwise of the rôle and of the person filling it. DuncanHill (talk) 01:24, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, more than one of the criticisms have come from me. However, this page is a place to discuss how to improve the article Giles Hattersley. Village pump, perhaps? -- Hoary (talk) 01:54, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, you're right. I have a response, but I'll save it for another time and venue (also, I'm ashamed to say I didn't actually read the aforementioned multiple criticisms). -kotra (talk) 02:47, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

What should we be learning here?[edit]

It occurs to me that it's not clear exactly what the problem is with this article. Every day, dozens of articles are written or significantly edited to reflect recent news events (Saddam's execution, Bhutto's assassination, a long list). And just the other day, another journalist complained about his WP article, and it got significantly rewritten within 24 hours.

So is the problem that the article was written by Giano, an editor who rarely works on BLPs? I note that half a dozen other editors also participated in the article, expanding it, adding facts and improving language as is often done in our collaborative efforts. Is the problem undue weight? Then it's like tens of thousands of other BLPs, particularly brand new ones. Is the problem that it's written in response to an external article about WP? Well, we do that all the time.

Can someone clearly define why exactly this article is a problem? Risker (talk) 00:34, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

It wasn't a problem until a certain person took an interest in it, and decided that being kind to fashion journalists was more important than treating Wikipedia contributors well. DuncanHill (talk) 00:37, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I think notability and undue weight are the key issues here. Discussing the problems with the article should probably wait until it is undeleted and people who aren't either admins or were here before the deletion can contribute - and AFD would be the ideal place for such a discussion. --Tango (talk) 00:38, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I think we have some Giano issues conflated with genuine issues here: this article was a self refrencing WP:COATRACK, or at least it read like one. (IMO, obviously)--Tznkai (talk) 00:39, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, I very much dislike how often COATRACK is misused in discussion, but this article in the state it was did appear to be one. Not that I think Giano had bad intentions, he simply saw a gap in our coverage (imo GH is undoubtedly a notable journalist) and filled it. The problem is Wikipedians' fondness for navel gazing and self reference. the wub "?!" 00:44, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
That Giano had wrong intentions is not in dispute; he said himself that he created the article as a "rebuttal". That's not a valid reason to create a Wikipedia entry. Ever.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:19, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm having real trouble divining a coherent policy stance from all of this. So editors are encouraged to correct an article when John Seigenthaler writes an piece pointing out that he was never under suspicion for killing JFK, while they will be blocked if they start a correctly-sourced stub when Giles Hattersley writes a piece pointing out that he is not related to Roy Hattersley? Wikipedia:External peer review, for example, is entirely editors reacting to outside publishers. While the stub wasn't perfect, "perfection is not required" was still considered a true statement on the site last time I checked. Jimbo, I don't see how you can expect us to see this as anything other than 'Giano was involved and got irritated when another editor with whom he had previously clashed inserted Giano's username as creator into the article, so he had to be blocked and the article expunged'. - BanyanTree 02:12, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

I think the other issue is that writing an article about someone because they criticized Wikipedia will be seen as a kind of revenge, even if the article is perfectly neutral, sourced, etc. However normally we don't care about why an article was written or how it reflects on Wikipedia, as long as it meets the rules. Still, there is certainly no hurry to have this article. --Apoc2400 (talk) 00:49, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Looks like a similar case is brewing over at Libelous comments concerning Professor Hewitt. Background on Knol: Corruption of Wikipedia ( (talk) 06:23, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I can agree with Apoc2400's "other issue". As for this particular article and its repercussions, however: I'd never heard of Hattersley till half an hour ago and remain unconvinced of his significance. I've looked at what I think is Giano's final version. The first two paragraphs seem entirely innocuous and irrelevant to the brouhaha here. The third and final paragraph said Hattersley wrote in The Sunday Times that his English Wikipedia entry falsely claimed [...] -- it doesn't accuse Hattersley of falsely saying anything. It now starts to appear that the ST may have distorted Hattersley's words; but, rightly or wrongly this material does appear under Hattersley's name, and it's a reasonable (if occasionally mistaken) assumption that a signed article is indeed written by the person who signed it. Nothing objectionable so far. Then the article notes that Richmond disputes what Hattersley wrote about this. It's all written coolly; there's no "sexing up" of anything. I understand that the charge here of "coatrack" isn't without foundation, but it seems exaggerated. If I'd seen the Telegraph blog article (let alone just the Sunday Times article) I'd never have written this or any article, and I don't think that writing the article was a good idea; however, given that an article was written, I think this was a decent if flawed try. Poor decisions, very likely; blockworthy behavior, no. -- Hoary (talk) 02:05, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
  • The situation we have now is that the Sunday Times on its website carries a story (allegedly by Mr Hattersley) falsely claiming that Wikipedia libelled his mother. The Wikipedia article which correctly mentioned that another major newspaper had commented on the inaccuaracy of that claim no longer exists. DuncanHill (talk) 02:17, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
    • And the conclusion you draw from this is what? Neither of those things is particularly critical to writing a biographical encyclopedia article about Hattersley, if we actually try to manage that. They would be important to writing a well-balanced article about this incident in some place like the Signpost. Your points simply illustrate the continuing fallacy of trying to recast single dramatic events into biographical sketches of the players involved. --Michael Snow (talk) 03:00, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
      • The conclusion I draw from it is that Jimbo should spend less time trying to be a one-man police force, judge and executioner on Wikipedia, and more time defending Wikipedia from false accusations made by competing organizations. DuncanHill (talk) 03:04, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
        • Maybe, maybe not (what competing organizations?). But again, not particularly relevant in trying to write an encyclopedia article about Hattersley. --Michael Snow (talk) 03:23, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
          • News International and its associated companies publish encyclopædias, for which Wikipedia is a competitor. They publish newspapers, for which Wikinews is a competitor. Get the idea? DuncanHill (talk) 03:46, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
            • Jimbo is doing entirely the right thing, defending the wikipedia from editors who lose their good sense when someone dares to say something critical of wikipedia. Whatever Hattersly may or may not have done, it is inappropriate for editors to try an punish im on wikipedia particularly when we don't even have a reliable source (no a blog is not usually a reliable source on a BLP particularly for such a contentious issue, it's not even clear if the Telegraph maintains full editorial control over the blog) and even more so when they are writing articles precisely to punish him. The actions of editors here are causing far greater damage to wikipedia then Giles Hattersly has ever done. In case people are not aware, maliciously attacking people in articles on wikipedia to 'set the record straight' or whatever other nonsense you come up with does not make people thing well of wikipedia but brings us far greater discredit then any inaccurate article in a newspaper ever does. Nil Einne (talk) 09:30, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
              • Hi - could you explain what aspect of the article you consider to have been a malicious attack? Gonzonoir (talk) 09:35, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
                • Any article written with the intention of 'setting the record straight', particularly when that article contained no reliable sources about the record that needed setting and was supposed to be a biography but was primarily about an error someone may or may not have made which was not even apparently notable. The fact that the error now appears to have not even been Hattersley's further proves the point. This should have been an article about Giles Hattersley not the Times and it's highly questionable of a non-notable (as it remains up to now) error in a non-notable article (as it remains up to now) not even made by Giles Hattersley even if it occured in an article under his name is of any relevance to Giles Hattersley and if it is, it didn't deserve to occupy so much space in his article. If you don't have enough source to show Giles Hattersley is notable, you shouldn't be writing a bio about him and the first thing you should do when writing a biography is go into depth in his life, not about the alleged (at the time) error. Nil Einne (talk) 10:30, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
                    • I see your point, but for me the intention behind an article's creation is far, far less important than the actual content of the article, which was all sourced and neutrally-written (when I edited it yesterday afternoon, at any rate). I can see an objection on grounds of undue weight, given that it was a stubby article, but Hattersley himself appears notable according to the criteria at WP:CREATIVE - he has had, and the article cited, biographical coverage published in other newspapers, and is clearly a widely-cited journalist. I assumed that we fix undue weight issues by editing the articles: and this one had attracted several uninvolved editors who were expanding the other sections about Hattersley's life and career at the point when it was deleted. Gonzonoir (talk) 12:23, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
                      The last version of the article I saw had just one independent, non-trivial source about him, we usually require multiple. Other sources may exist, but someone needs to go and find them before writing the article. --Tango (talk) 13:33, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
                      I have not followed this from the beginning, but to repeat Gonzonoir's comments, editor motivation has nothing to do with anything unless it violates verifiability, NPOV, notability, undue, etc. Some people write because they hate their job and have nothing better to do, others because they are obsessed with Pokemon, others because they have OCD. Unless it is leading them to push a POV, which this marginally might be (I can't see the original), it is utterly irrelevant. Joshdboz (talk) 14:36, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
There are bigger issues at stake than Jimbo and Giano and personality conflicts--Tznkai (talk) 18:40, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Roy Hattersley[edit]

Since no article existed on Giles, and his claim has now apparently shifted to saying the errors were in some other location, I took a look at Roy Hattersley, that being the primary possibility he offers. Using diffs, I went through the entire history of the article on Roy Hattersley and could find no mention of Giles whatsoever. So, anyone have any ideas about any other articles where this might have popped up? --Michael Snow (talk) 03:04, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

None at all. Someone else has already checked Arena (magazine), the most likely other source for this claim by Mr Hattersley. DuncanHill (talk) 03:08, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I've looked at Grace Jones, which quotes an interview she gave him, and no mention of Roy in there either. DuncanHill (talk) 03:21, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Nothing in Andreas Lipa, which uses an article of his as a reference. DuncanHill (talk) 03:22, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Somebody check the User Talk space history for every editor that has ever contributed to any of the above-mentioned articles. (kidding) Why don't we wait for more feedback from The Times, and not spend so much time trying to be a "wiki-hero" by being the one who finds the smoking gun? -- (talk) 03:31, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
If there ever was a gun. DuncanHill (talk) 03:33, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Nothing in British Press Awards 2006 (he was nominated for one of the categories). Unless Mr Hattersley can actually tell us where he got his information from, I doubt we will find it even if it is there. DuncanHill (talk) 03:32, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I've checked any number of logical articles, and nothing. Needle, haystack.--Tznkai (talk) 03:46, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
A google search limited to wikipedia containing relivant terms brings up nothing. Best I can tell there are two non wikipedia pages on their web that make the claim but they are nothing to do with us.Geni 15:25, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

The Scotsman[edit]

This article [1] in the Scotsman newspaper last July includes readers on-line comments, including one about Giles being Roy's son... Maybe Giles saw that and thought it was WP?? Then there is this blog too, which mentions the son thing: [2]-- Myosotis Scorpioides 11:35, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Integrity of News Corp and their journalists[edit]

Hattersley and the newspaper have changed nothing in the article at the time of writing, many hours after their attention was drawn to the error. His unraveling explanation would have been parsed for what it was worth in a few minutes had he been an editor here; yet it seems to have been initially accepted without any question. Perhaps at the very least we are owed the full text of his communication(s) with Wikipedia. Jimbo says: It appears that now The Times needs to issue an apology for this, but not Mr. Hattersley himself (I am still taking issue with him for other errors in the article) ......Jimbo - so you do know he has 'issues' then? Shane Richmond - Communities Editor of - blogs about this further. He says: Giles Hattersley set out to argue that an open site such as Wikipedia is intrinsically less reliable than a professionally edited publication. Inadvertently, he has proved the opposite. You'll see a comment from Tim who tried to correct the story. He says: I did append a comment to Mr Hattersley's original article, politely informing the Times that it had been comprehensively pwned by Mr Richmond. They, uh, didn't publish it. Draw your own conclusions. And I submitted the following: Is this story accurate. It seems that Mr Hattersley has invented a Wikipedia entry for himself which never existed. He did proofread the article, didn't he? After all it appears under his name. Also not published. -- luke (talk) 14:41, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

I also commented on the story on the Sunday Times website - not published. I emailed the Sunday Times - no reply. DuncanHill (talk) 17:10, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Update -- I just noticed an editor's note has been appended to Hattersley's article as follows:-
Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect Giles Hattersley's original, which was changed during editing of the print edition of the Sunday Times. The sentence that read, "My entry features at least two errors, one libellous." has now reverted to, "Mentions of me feature at least two errors (unless my mother has been keeping a dark secret, I am not Roy Hattersley’s son)." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shojo (talkcontribs) 20:18, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
"at least two errors" so what are the other errors in his non-existant biography? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:21, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
We don't know - Mr Hattersley doesn't seem to know where he saw the errors, and although all the likely articles have been thoroughly history searched, no-one has been able to find anything to support his contention. We are looking for a needle that does not seem ever to have existed. DuncanHill (talk) 16:30, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Notability of the article[edit]

Other then the Times situation, is Giles Hattersley truly notable? Perhaps, that article should remain deleted. GoodDay (talk) 14:53, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

The topic without question satisfies our inclusion criteria: see [3] [4] [5][6] [7] [8] [9]. Skomorokh 15:20, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Okie Dokie. GoodDay (talk) 15:32, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Back to the point, are we ready to have an article that clearly lays out a) mr. hattersley's notability as a journalist and b) his poor fact checking regarding his wikipedia entry? --Rocksanddirt (talk) 23:47, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

If we want to. It wouldn't be that hard to write compared to some.Geni 14:00, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Poor checking? Sounds pov but that is no reason not to have an article that is NPOV on him. Perhaps he was just doing some wishful thinking. Thanks, SqueakBox 14:25, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
There's already been a version started at User:Ryan Postlethwaite/GH. --Michael Snow (talk) 17:06, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

What happened[edit]

New article[edit]

As Giles Hattersley has achieved some significant things - shortlisted for Young Journalist of the Year, editor of Arena magazine, youngest-ever chief interviewer of the Sunday Times - it's clear that he easily passes the notability threshold. A new version of this article has been developed by a number of editors at User:Ryan Postlethwaite/GH minus the elements that were a problem with the last version. Note that this is not a restored version of the old article; it's a completely new article, written from scratch. I've therefore copied it over to article space but have left Jimmy Wales' page protection in place for now to (a) prevent any mischief resulting from the recent controversy and (b) to give Jimbo a chance to review it and lift the protection himself when he is content. If editors have suggestions for changes to the article, please make them below. -- ChrisO (talk) 09:05, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

It's not protected, and that's probably a good thing because I made a possibly embarrassing correction 718smiley.svg --NE2 09:13, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Hmm, it looks like Jimbo's protection was expired when he deleted the old article. Thanks for the correction! I've re-protected it now for a short period for the reasons given above. -- ChrisO (talk) 09:19, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
He never did protect it from editing. --NE2 09:22, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
NE2, I had already addressed that issue but somebody pasted over it. Anyway I'm not saying this article should be deleted, only that I've seen literally hundreds of more notable subjects succumb to AFD. Could we not find more information and prepare for the inevitable train-wreck debate… — CharlotteWebb 19:24, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I suggest wikilinking shortlist. There must be more than me who weren't sure of the term. --Apoc2400 (talk) 09:37, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

History undelete[edit]

Is there any reason the history of the article and the talk page are deleted? Ought they to be restored? Certainly there are GFDL reasons why the article history ought to be present. Sam Blacketer (talk) 10:24, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

The article is a complete rewrite from scratch, so GFDL would not be an issue in that regard as there is no continuity, but I agree about the talk page history. Restoration is a bit beyond me though - could someone else do it? -- ChrisO (talk) 10:39, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I've restored the talk history. The present version of the article itself came from Ryan Postlethwaite's userspace version, so we really need to do a history merge on them for GFDL compliance. Sam Blacketer (talk) 10:54, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Update: I think I've just done my first history merge; others may want to check that it works OK. Sam Blacketer (talk) 11:04, 11 February 2009 (UTC)


Is the protection still necessary? If it's an office action that shouldn't be overturned {{pp-office}} should be used. -- lucasbfr talk 11:25, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I expect it is the only way that Mr Wales' preferred version can be maintained. That is assuming of course that all Admins and Arbs are in complete agreement with Mr Wales - which they are not. Giano (talk) 11:45, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Of course they aren't. How long before someone tries to add back material about the recent contretemps? But it's simply not relevant to his encylopedic biography, and looks like using Wikipedia as an attack-platform. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 12:11, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
If it received coverage in reliable sources, how is it "simply not relevant to his encyclopedic biography"? I had never heard of this man until this kerfuffle about his false accusations about Wikipedia. That aside, isn't the important thing that the material is sourced and notable, not whether or not he likes having it in the article? H2O Shipper 12:32, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
if the comments section is any indication (which it may not be), the only people reading and commenting are Wikipedians and Wikipedia Reviewers: the collective effect of which is to suggest that Wikipedia is either the greatest innovation of the information age or the worst addition to media since snuff films. If you're commenting on this talk page, you're probably too close to tell how relevant the Wikipedia error is to Hattersley's life and career.--Tznkai (talk) 13:05, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I rest my case 1/2 :-) -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 13:08, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Rest your case and put smileys all you like, the point remains: if it received coverage in reliable sources Green tickY, and is a major portion of why the man's name is notable Green tickY, then how is it "not relevant to his encyclopedic biography"? Answer that question please, in lieu of making any more snarky remarks about resting your case. H2O Shipper 15:23, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
  • "If you're commenting on this talk page, you're probably too close to tell how relevant the Wikipedia error is to Hattersley's life and career" - so we should only allow edits from people who haven't discussed it here first? DuncanHill (talk) 16:10, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
No. I'm just making a point about our lack of objectivity and perspective. Someone dig up a source saying that this incident was notable and we're half way done - the other half will be balancing the guys whole career with this incident. We may have to wait till the next Sunday Times is published. Right now though, we are close to the incident in both proximity and time, perspective comes with distance in both categories.--Tznkai (talk) 17:08, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Much clearer and yes, fair point! DuncanHill (talk) 17:10, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
On the notability question, the Guardian had this - what do you think? Gonzonoir (talk) 14:05, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
It's much less about Hattersley than it is about Wikipedia, JW, or both. And it's just four days old. If people still remember this six months from now, then write it up somewhere, maybe. -- Hoary (talk) 15:31, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
There's no rule on Wikipedia (that I can find anyways) that states "wait 6 months and see if people are still talking about it to establish notability." That makes no sense at all. It's an event that happened in this man's life. It was covered by reliable sources. It belongs in the article. If it's not placed there shortly, by someone with more clout than little old me, I'll do it myself. H2O Shipper 15:39, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Excuse me? I stumbled upon this from having worked with Duncan a bit, and I followed him here. I looked into it, and this entire thing stinks royally. Especially the attempts to sanitize this article of the fact that even though Hattersley has clarified that the initial article was patently false because of an "editing error", he is still making claims that are apparently untrue. H2O Shipper 00:07, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
  • They are not "apparently untrue", they are unverified. No evidence has been forthcoming that the claims were or were not on Wikipedia, so passing judgement on them is premature. Yes, this reflects poorly on the journalistic and epistemological standards of The Sunday Times and their ilk, but that is their problem. Skomorokh 00:17, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Error corrected[edit]

I have corrected the error about the subject of his degree, and wish to note that the error was not in the pre-deletion version of the article, but only in the restored version. DuncanHill (talk) 17:06, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Apologies Duncan, I thought I had written fashion journalism in the article but obviously not. Many thanks for catching that so quickly. Ryan PostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 17:41, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Apparently, Hattersley is still "mistaken"[edit]

I've turned WP upside down looking for any supposed errors he pointed out regarding to references to him, and I can find none. At what point do his odd accusations become notable enough for the article? H2O Shipper 23:59, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

  • See this link for the lack of anything resembling evidence supporting his claims. It may be different in the UK, but don't journalistic standards there at least require a kernel of truth? H2O Shipper 00:03, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
    • For certain parts of the Murdoch empire (e.g. xenophobic editorials in the bestselling Sun), probably no they don't. But that's by the way. Hattersley made a claim, or a claim was attributed to Hattersley, about coverage of him in Wikipedia. You're looking to see what Wikipedia says; but not what Wikipedia has at one time or another said. Others (not me) have already looked in the histories of likely articles for what Wikipedia might have said, and they've reported nothing. However, even if they've scrupulously looked in the histories of all relevant articles, their failure to find any evidence doesn't prove there never was any: such evidence might have been there before it was "oversighted". As for the question of whether his accusations (odd or otherwise) become sufficiently notable for an article, I'd wait at least till they were picked up by two or more writers for the serious (newspaper-hosted) blogosphere, or, better, an actual newspaper article. Really, while A's charge that B said something about him that wasn't true should concern B (especially if B purports to be an encyclopedia), the charge itself hardly seems "encyclopedic" no matter how often it's repeated. -- Hoary (talk) 00:33, 12 February 2009 (UTC)


And now, one month later, everyone on Wikipedia seems to have forgotten about this person. Totally surprising, I know. — CharlotteWebb 11:00, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Naturally. That doesn't make him non-notable, however; it's just a reflection of the famous-for-fifteen-minutes nature of the news cycle. -- ChrisO (talk) 11:07, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Conversely, it might be that now we're much less excited about it we're less likely to enthusiastically conclude he's notable :-). Might be worth taking it to AFD for a calm decision... Shimgray | talk | 14:06, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Ah, so there are still people watching this page. I stand corrected. But you can't tell me with a straight face this article would ever have been created had the subject not made accusations about Wikipedia. However the omission of this statement may be because Wikipedia cannot reliably prove them false, or convince any third-party sources of this. All they see is timestamps which suggest that the article existed but was deleted in response to the accusation. Is there no way to explain this that readers would believe it? — CharlotteWebb 14:20, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

I think we're caught in a bind - we shouldn't really discuss the claims (because they're trivial) and so we can't contradict them, leaving aside the issue of how we should be responding to this sort of thing in article space. (I concur entirely we'd never have created the article were it not for this, incidentally, and I feel it's a little silly that we did...) Shimgray | talk | 14:36, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

And was there every any reported outcome of Jimbo's discussions with him? -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 18:21, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Roy, again[edit]

Is he related to the (much more notable) MP and journalist Roy Hattersley? we should say so, either way.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:24, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

The article that kicked off the whole balagan stated that he was not, but mysteriously seems to have vanished from the Times website. The detail about Roy from the original article is quoted here at the Telegraph. Gonzonoir (talk) 18:29, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
But if we can't cite the non-relationship without linking to something that mentions the Wikipedia-related crapstorm, I don't think it's important enough a detail to resurrect that whole mess over. Gonzonoir (talk) 18:30, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Another thing to look at in six months, I guess. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:03, 11 June 2009 (UTC)