Talk:John Prendergast (activist)

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Link farm[edit]

Placed SPAM template due to overabundance of links. Wikipedia is not a link farm. Please see WP:EL & WP:LINKSPAM for guidance. --Whoosit (talk) 02:33, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

I've done what I can to trim down the link farm to something reasonable. Videos and articles that were actually about other subjects where he was simply one of several sources/panelists/interviewees are gone, as are op-ed articles by him that weren't published by third-party news outlets like CNN or WSJ. There are still quite a few speeches/interviews in the external links section, but only the ones where he is the sole speaker and which aren't links back to the Enough Project website or its affiliates. I also trimmed the excessive link text, which seemed to repeat the subject's full name in every link, as if we don't know who the article is about already. Based on the drastic cutting that I did, I've removed the linkfarm tag, but that shouldn't be taken to mean that some additional trimming couldn't be done. It's just no longer the unreasonably huge list of links that it was before. --RL0919 (talk) 18:17, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
RL0919, did you happen to find these links[1][2] at their website? Is there anything in the Wikipedia list that isn't already in their list? Perhaps we should just point to their list of every press mention and every publication by him. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:29, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
I didn't see those lists before, but there doesn't appear to be any overlap except for one link that I just removed. Since I deleted a lot of links to the Enough Project site, my guess is that the editor who inserted the links used the Enough Project links whenever possible, and only linked other sites when the material wasn't available there. --RL0919 (talk) 19:03, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is WP:NOTLINKS[edit]

Wikipedia is not a directory of webpages that mention or are written by John Predergast. A few hours ago, this article had links to 24 papers and 67 other links by and about this author -- yes, ninety-one links, not counting a single proper reliable source! This is not okay. Usually, merely ten links is considered too many for an article.

If John Predergast wants the world to have a comprehensive list of webpages he's involved in, then he can put it up on his own website. Wikipedia is not his public relations bureau. More pointfully, Wikipedia simply isn't a list of webpages. DMOZ is -- but Wikipedia is not DMOZ.

Many thanks for RL0919's efforts to weed this linkfarm. If you think that a particularly important link was removed, I'd be happy to hear suggestions for which less-important link should be deleted to make space for it. Alternatively, some of these links could be used to support actual article content, which will provide more value to the readers and be more likely to have people read it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:24, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Article cleanup - September 2010[edit]

Prendergrast appears to be an impressive fellow who has done a lot to bring relief to people suffering in Africa; but the article as it stands is cluttered with a lot of fluff and other extraneous material, and I'm going to take a crack at paring it down a bit, as well as tempering some of the more obviously promotional tone. I'll explain my edits in edit summaries, and let's discuss them here if there are concerns with what I'm doing. Thanks. JohnInDC (talk) 10:51, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

I cleaned up some of the more obvious items, like long lists of places in which his op-ed articles have appeared, and things he's *going* to do (but hasn't yet). (See WP:Crystal.) There is more work to be done - there are, for example, several instances of 'inflation by association', e.g., 60 Minutes episodes nominated for Emmys (was the honor to Prendergast?), and lists of famous people who are associated with entities with which Prendergast is associated. I hope to continue work on the article as time permits. Again, please discuss any issues with these edits here on the Talk page. JohnInDC (talk) 11:05, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
I didn't specifically explain it above or in the edit summaries, so I'll just add that I completely removed the list of places in which Prendergast was "profiled". To the extent any of those serve as reliable sources for assertions in the article, they're appropriately cited - but a simple listing of articles that have written about him adds nothing to this article, and carries the distinct flavor of puffery, e.g., "look at all the important publications that have taken notice of this fellow". JohnInDC (talk) 11:31, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
It appears that this article was originally copied, almost (perhaps entirely) verbatim from this site. This is, by virtue of the OTRS license (?) noted at the top of the page, not a copyvio - but it illuminates the matter of the article's tone, and underscores the need to go through the thing with an eye to making it encyclopedic, rather than promotional. I'll keep at it but invite others' efforts as well. JohnInDC (talk) 14:36, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for some hard work on this article, was waiting for response on the OTRS permission before proceeding. Am still a little unsure as to how to rescue this article. We are paring down a copy of the man's personal bio from his website, which might make NPOV difficult. I've looked at some versions from the edit history, specifically from before User:Jespah began working on it. They seem, while out of date, to be closer to a short and concise NPOV description. Thoughts? The Interior (talk) 01:46, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
If those versions are better then use them - I certainly won't be offended. I was already halfway through this process when I realized the source of what I had, and elected to continue along that path (at that point it was easier than a rewrite), so I have some time sunk into the project; but not any ego. It is, after all, mostly a process of selective removal. Perhaps there's a way to mine the older versions for NPOV phrasing while leaving some or much of this more current stuff in place. A lot of the puffery is gone now anyhow, and there's something to be said for completeness, even if parts are highly derivative. JohnInDC (talk) 10:28, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

As you say, you've reduced much of the puffery. As you have invested more time to this, I'll call it a day on this one. I'll leave the much-debated "resume" tag's fate up to you. Cheers, The Interior (talk) 21:20, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

I've removed a few more embedded references, particularly where a Wikipedia article already existed on the subject. See Wikipedia:Citing_sources#Embedded_links. JohnInDC (talk) 11:40, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Exlinks cleanup - February 2011[edit]

Once again, this article has accumulated a few unneeded links. I have removed:

Contains info already in article (list of works). (this link also contains books written by a different John Prendergast)
Harry Potter-related blog, no useful info.
Uni newspaper, fails WP:EL inclusion criteria.

If anyone feels strongly about any of these links, please comment here before re-adding, thanks, The Interior (Talk) 06:06, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

I would give the worldcat template a weak pass, but the Harry Potter blog and Daily Princetonian blogs should be removed. --Jezebel'sPonyobons mots 18:55, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I suppose Worldcat could be included under point three of WP:ELYES, but would it be better to use it as a reference for the "Books" section? The Interior (Talk) 00:55, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Sure, that can be done. --Jezebel'sPonyobons mots 14:43, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I understand and agree and welcome collaboration.

Jespah (talk) 00:50, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Conflict of interest[edit]

I request User:Jespah to disclose the nature of his relationship to John Prendergast. Jespah has added a great deal of promotional content to this article, and I think that this article would benefit if the edits made by Jespah are closely inspected to ensure that the neutrality of this article is not further jeopardised. Alugh (talk) 18:45, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

This comment is quite interesting. The Interior (Talk) 23:09, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

_______________________________________________

Alugh: If you would like to cite specific instances in the article... I will address them.

What I do take issue with is being treated as though I am on trial.


Nell 15:54, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Nell, it is not a court of law, but Wikipedia does have policies and guidelines that need to be followed. In this case there are concerns regarding your neutrality with regard to John Prendergast and his activities. In a collaborative environment such as Wikipedia, other editors have every right to question the level of your involvement if they think it has a negative impact on the article, of if they believe you are displaying ownership of the article and its content. --Jezebel'sPonyobons mots 17:28, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

__________________________

Yes, of course, I understand that Wikipedia has policies and guidelines and want to follow them, which is why I am asking for details of anything perceived by an editor(s) as not neutral. My relationship AND nonrelationship to anybody in this world is of no concern to Wikipedia editors. The issue is the article.

That, I am more than willing to address.

Please cite any statement or reference with which you take issue, and I will address. 69.0.16.144 (talk) 18:48, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

___________________________________________

I request user:Alugh to respond to my posts.
I don't see the fairness in Alugh's tagging this article and then not responding... If there are no responses within a week of tagging, I will remove the tag.

My initial impression of this user was that they had a clear conflict of interest (see my link above), but also that they were communicative and open to feedback. I had hopes that over time, they would read some of our policies and become a valued editor. They have already uploaded several great pictures and obtained permissions from Prendergast's organization for copyright-free status. But much time has passed, and the editor seems to be unwilling to respect Wikipedia's policies. User:Jespah edits exclusively on John Prendergast, Prendergast's organizations Enough Project, Not On Our Watch, and the Satellite Sentinel Project, as well as Prendergast's new book Unlikely Brothers. They have been exerting extreme ownership of these articles.

This ownership manifests itself in edit warring over minor changes and aggressive talkpage messages to any editors who make changes they disapprove of. Below are some difs of comments by User:Jespah.

  • Ownership, accusations of stalking [3]
  • Asks me to "leave my work alone and stop policing this page"[4]
  • accusations of vandalism, harassment[5]
  • accusation of "bullying"[6]
  • Tells a new user they must ask Jespah before making minor formatting changes to page[7]
  • "Stormtroopers"[8]
  • "Fascistic behaviour"[9]
  • Aggressive talk page messages to editors who make changes: [10]

As their talk page indicates, this editor also has a long history of copyright violations as well.

In closing, I hope that User;Jespah will agree to follow our best practices guidelines for editors with a conflict of interest. But from their comments here, it is fairly clear that this editor has no intention of relinquishing control over this article. The Interior (Talk) 18:37, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

_________________________________

I take pride in my work here and really to want to be a good editor. It is sometimes a difficult process. If people want to remove, alter anything from the page in question, please let's discuss so that we can remove the unsightly tag. Thank you.

I have gone through and made a number of changes to work towards a less promotional article. If there any issues, let's discuss them here. --Daniel 23:02, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

____________________

Hi Daniel,

Thank you!

I don't know that I agree with "Career" as a topic, since initial paragraph includes much of Mr. Prendergast's work and perhaps should be incorporated there.

Also think that Big Brothers is important, as as a big brother, Mr. Prendergast met his "little brother" with whom he co-authored his most recent book, Unlikely Brothers, and represents his character.

Re working in Africa for over 25 years, supports legitimacy.

Think, too, that best-selling author is important, as it is part of his life.

Let me know what you think.

Do you feel comfortable removing the tag now?

Thanks! Jespah 23:59, 22 April 2011 (UTC

I changed the section title to Career, because it covered his general career aside from his literary endeavors. Aside from being unreferenced, the big brothers item certainly does not belong in the lead, he is much more notable for other activities. Article absolutely should not have "puffery" terms like "best-selling in the lead", take a look at just about any best selling author's page here and you will see it is almost never used. The 25 years bit was unreferenced and unclear (what was he working on?). What would be better would be a section discussing his actual work, which is what this article is lacking right now. It reads like a puff peace trying to tie Prendergrast to famous people and publications at every opportunity rather than discussing what he has actually done in Africa. The article was formerly a copy of the bio at his own site which is really problematic. There is a big difference between an encyclopedia article and a promotional biography. --Daniel 02:26, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Daniel. I understand and am happy to work with you on this. May we remove the tag?

Also, Daniel, can you please tell me the size limit of photo in infobox template? Thanks!

Info box images are usually between 200-300px. This one looks fine to me. Also please do not remove the COI template from the page until we all agree the issues are resolved. --Daniel 04:54, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Hi Daniel. I am going to have to print out article as it currently is and what appeared previously, to see the changes. I do understand how some people can view some mentions in this article as puffery; though, the reality is that he is tied to a lot of well-known people, and they reach out to him to help shine a light on Sudan and Congo, not the other way around. I do agree that it will improve the piece to include Mr. Prendergast's work in Africa. Re the team Emmy - he and his team at the Enough Project won the Emmy for 60 Minutes show. Thank you for your help.

I don't really understand your most recent changes re profiles? what you had wrong? thank u, Jespah 18:23, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

You can use the history page to compare any two versions, so printing it out shouldn't be needed. We need a source for the 60 Minutes Emmy, I can't find anything other than iterations of the original bio from his website. I changed the "has been profiled" items because most of what I originally left were article written by Prednergast rather than article about him (profiled). --Daniel 22:30, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank you, Daniel! Would like to keep these profiles in: NY Times Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Men's Vogue, LA Times, Washington Post. Am going to work on inclusion of his work in Africa and government... Sorry about the Emmy - thought I had included a source. Will look for that again.

Jespah 23:28, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Go ahead and pick whichever four profiles you think are the most important, but make sure they are actually articles about him, not article by him or articles that just mention him. --Daniel 23:34, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I understand.

Jespah 23:58, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Hi, am I allowed to include Op-Eds written by JP?

Below I have pasted portion of Samantha Power's wiki page, wherein are included articles, etc. under External Links category.

Including op-eds, articles would provide more substance.

______________________________________________________________________________________

SAMANTHA POWER

External links Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Samantha Power [edit] Profiles and Bios

   * Bio, from Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
         o Recent Articles by Samantha Power
   * Power's profile at Harvard
   * Samantha Power: Biography | PBS
   * A League Of Her Own- Profile story from Men's Vogue
   * Fun Couple of the 21st Century - Profile story from Esquire on Power and Cass Sunstein

[edit] Speeches and Interviews

   * Samantha Power in conversation with Azar Nafisi at LIVE from the New York Public Library, February 21, 2008
   * Interview on Sudan for guernicamag.com
   * Interview at Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley
   * Interview at IdentityTheory.com
   * Interview with Harry Kreisler on Conversations with History about "Genocide and U.S. Foreign Policy
   * Speech (Video) "Can Genocide Be Stopped in an Age of Terror?" Keynote address for the Witnessing Genocide Symposium, University of Oregon, April 28, 2007
   * Interview with The Scotsman, that led to Ms. Power's resignation from the Obama campaign and apology.
   * Interview in 02138 on Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World, the purpose of the United Nations and Barack Obama
   * Interview about Chasing the Flame on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, February 22, 2008 (video, audio, and print transcript)
   * "Debate on U.S. Actions in the Balkans, the Independence of Kosovo, the Iraq Sanctions and Humanitarian Intervention": Samantha Power vs. Jeremy Scahill on Democracy Now!, February 22, 2008 (video, audio, and print transcript)
   * Interview for New Statesman on 6 March 2008.

[edit] Reviews

   * Review of Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira De Mello and the Fight to Save the World by Sara Arrow in The Current, a Columbia University journal
   * Reviews of "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide

[edit] Educational Resources and Video

   * Facing History and Ourselves: Facing History and Ourselves

______________________________________________________________________________________

  thank you,

Jespah (talk) 18:03, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

Why did you post this long list of external links from a start class biography? --Daniel 18:27, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
a start class bio? posted to give example of articles posted on another bio, as i asked you above if i could include some op-eds and/or articles on John Prendergast page -

Jespah (talk) 19:20, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles are rated by quality. "Start class" is the second lowest, above "stub." If you are looking to emulate other article, you should look at bios that are featured (the highest rating). Take a look at WP:FA. Just because another article has problem is not an reason to have problems here. To answer you question, it is probably not needed to link to a number of op-eds. We are looking to create encyclopedic prose, not a resume. --Daniel 21:29, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
is there another tag that can replace the COI tag, which will also alert editors to call for review?

Jespah (talk) 15:00, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

I don't think so. This tag seems entirely warranted. --Daniel 15:10, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the information about featured articles.

re coi: in this instance, continued tagging seems to be a punishment for someone who really didn't understand wikipedia. i have demonstrated my eagerness to correct all that is unacceptable in the eyes of wiki. what more can I do? Jespah (talk) 15:44, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

The tag doesn't have anything to do with punishment. The article was extensively edited by someone with a conflict of interest and needs the tag. If you want to have the tag removed you can work to improve the article's neutrality. Make it less like a resume and less like the biography on his own web page. Take a look at some featured biographies, that is what we should be aiming for here. --Daniel 15:49, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
I understand the aim and am working towards that end. However, this, to me, seems to indicate that the article is allowable as it presently stands:

"This article is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.

"The content of this article has been derived in whole or part from http://www.enoughproject.org/content/john-prendergast-co-founder. Permission has been received from the copyright holder to release this material under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. Evidence of this has been confirmed and stored by OTRS volunteers, under ticket number 2009090310049544.

This template is used by approved volunteers dealing with the Wikimedia Open Ticket Request System (OTRS) after receipt of a clear statement of permission at permissions-en(a)wikimedia.org. Do not use this template to claim permission."

Jespah (talk) 18:46, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

The banner referring to the OTRS ticket refers only to copyright. It has nothing to do with conflict of interest or neutrality. --Daniel 22:09, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Isn't that tantamount to allowing the article to exist as is???
 The editor who tagged this article never communicated his concern to me prior to tagging.  It is my understanding that that is preferred behavior by Wikipedia and that it encourages, and perhaps more, editors who complain of COI to engage in helpful edits to the article.  You are the only editor who has contributed.  Wiki also states clear guidelines to follow when dealing with inexperienced Wiki editors.  As I posted on the "other" discussion, I find it odd that those who complain the most have contributed nothing to the article.

Jespah (talk) 23:07, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Jespah, many of the concerns from other editors (including myself) are in relation to your overt ownership tendencies with the Prendergast article and related topics, however you are misconstruing the concerns as being solely related to neutrality within the article prose. If other editors try to make changes to the article, or point out problems, your response is to label them as bullies and harassers. That is a problem. --Jezebel'sPonyobons mots 23:51, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
I do agree that I have felt ownership of the article. However, I have demonstrated a change in my approach and willingness to cooperate with editors. Most of the editors who are commenting on COI are holding on to the past, not listening to the present. It serves noone, really...

Jespah (talk) 00:29, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Jespah, the change is a welcome one. In a collaborative environment such as Wikipedia it is important that editors work together to obtain balance and verifiability in articles. --Jezebel'sPonyobons mots 00:45, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
I understand and welcome collaboration. Please feel free to offer suggestions, edits... Thank you, Jespah (talk) 00:57, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure this is noted above, but in case it's not, a parallel discussion (which eventually forked in a new direction) on these issues can be found for the time being at least at Wikipedia:Conflict_of_interest/Noticeboard#John_Prendergast. JohnInDC (talk) 02:17, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Response to your post[edit]

Let me know specifically what you want.

All of the information I have included in the profile of John Prendergast is verifiable.

Would appreciate receiving Wiki rule re size of photo allowed in template.

Is this all because you did not like my response to your changing size of photo?

Would also appreciate your removing content above profile.

Thank you, Nell 20:16, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Propose removing tag[edit]

I'm inclined to remove the COI tag. The article as it currently reads meets all our policies and no longer requires any more cleanup. Whatever COI issues there are with Jespah are duly recorded here and are continually being discussed. I don't see any further need to alert readers at this point. -- œ 06:40, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

However if Jespah continues to make promotional edits or continues in a pattern of WP:OWNership then the tag can be replaced. -- œ 06:43, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

I'm not so sure - yet. If the article meets current policies it is only through the work of editors other than Jespah, who has been editing the article almost continuously in 2011. I would prefer to leave the tag in place until it's clear, or at least clearer than it is today, that Jespah really does understand, and will abide by, Wikipedia editorial policies and practices such that the article will reliably *continue* as one of high quality. (The Talk page discussion re the COI, while a useful record of concerns, is effectively invisible to the uninitiated reader.) JohnInDC (talk) 10:52, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Just adding more or less what I said at WP:COIN on the subject: Really the easiest way to get a COI tag removed is for the subject editor to stop exhibiting (what appears to be) a COI, and given the history here I think we should give that process a couple of weeks at least to play out. JohnInDC (talk) 10:59, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
I just put following at WP:COIN, but it needs to be here too. I agree with JohnInDC. I have not seen any acknowledgment from Jespah that COI is or even could be a problem. To demonstrate there is no COI is pretty simple: take a rest and stop insisting the tag must go, and listen to other editors. The most benign interpretation of events is that Jespah is a massive fan of the subject and all of his associated articles, and that Jespah has very close contacts with the subject's photographer (see File:Prendergast_headshot.JPG). That's great, but even massive fans needs to show they understand that Wikipedia is not a free website for promotion of worthy causes. Johnuniq (talk) 11:22, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
I can agree to a set time period of a couple weeks. Unless of course, Jespah can concede that the article as it currently stands is of high enough quality to not need any further 'enhancements' from him, and that he agrees to distance himself from editing articles on this subject for at least a short period of time. -- œ 11:35, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, User:O1English, I concede that the article as it currently stands is of high enough quality to not need any further 'enhancements' from me and agree to distance myself from editing articles on this subject for at least a short period of time. Sincerely, Jespah (talk) 16:17, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
This was posted on COI discussion pafe: Hello Jespah, it's very collegial of you to voluntarily withdraw from an article where your edits have drawn controversy. I'd like to emphasize that I don't see any consensus to ban you from the article, so please don't feel compelled to avoid the article if you have constructive input, especially on the article's talk page if you still wish to avoid controversy. I hope that you find a place in the millions of other articles on the project. If nobody objects, I think we can mark this issue resolved? -- Atama頭 19:39, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
       User talk:Atama Thank you! By resolved, I understand you to mean we can now remove the COI tag?

I have more background information for the article and would welcome help. Jespah (talk) 19:44, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Would love to know where things stand now. May we remove the tag? Would you like to help me with new material I have for the article or should I just stay away for a while? Thank you. Jespah (talk) 22:00, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
If you have new material, go ahead and post it to the article. Others can then edit it. I don't think we should remove the tag yet though, the article still reads a bit like a resume. What we really need is a section that actually discusses his work rather than his celebrity partnerships. --Daniel 22:08, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Think I have to hold off on posting, as have already said I will stay away for a while - condition, I think, for removal of tag. I really don't know what is expected of me here...very frustrating. I suppose I can post the new information for article here and you or someone else can post it on article?

Jespah (talk) 23:08, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Posting it here is fine. Although I personally don't have problem with you posting on the article itself. If someone has a problem with it they can always revert, the only issue is if you revert its removal. --Daniel 23:10, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Is there one editor, of all of the editors who have articipated in this discussion here and on the coi page, who has more authority over another? I see that one is an administrator, User talk:OlEnglish. If I post it here, would you like to edit it and post on article page

Jespah (talk) 23:13, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

I have no more authority than anyone else here. My suggestion for you to distance yourself from the article was a way to alleviate any concerns of article WP:OWNership. You're free to continue editing the article if you want but keep in mind that depending on the substance of your edits it may cause the tag to remain longer, especially if you edit-war. Right now though it seems the consensus is that the tag should remain for at least two more weeks regardless, and I think your actions during this time will help others here determine the extent of the COI and necessity of the tag. -- œ 07:44, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
According to another administrator, she differs in her opinion re removing the tag. I would really appreciate people reading all posts, so that we keep current. Jespah (talk) 17:42, 27 April 2011 (UTC))
I'm a he (check my user page under the Userboxes). :) Anyway, I stated that I would remove the tag myself if nobody else objected, but it seems the majority do. I'm not going to overrule consensus, I have no authority to do so (nobody really does). Let's just say that the COI tag indicates that there are issues to clean up, and while those are being actively worked on, the tag remains, but it won't be there forever. -- Atama 19:18, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Suggested additions[edit]

Further background information for article:

In the latter half of the 80s and the first half of the 90s, Prendergast worked for a variety of organizations in the U.S. and Africa, focusing primarily on peace and human rights. He co-wrote Human Rights Watch's first book on human rights in Sudan, co-authored a study of the relationship of aid to war in the Horn of Africa that later became a book, studied the impact of the military intervention in Somalia on human rights there for Human Rights Watch, and worked and traveled extensively in war zones throughout Africa for the U.S. Institute of Peace, UNICEF, and other organizations.

At the end of 1996, Prendergast was hired as a Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council in the Clinton White House, working under Susan Rice. In that position and later as a Special Advisor to Rice at the State Department, he worked on the successful peace process ending the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, at the time (1998-2000) the deadliest war in the world. He also worked on peace efforts in Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Angola and others.

When Prendergast left government in 2001, he went on to direct the Africa work at the International Crisis Group, which experienced a major growth in organizational productivity and influence in Africa. In 2007, with Gayle Smith he co-founded the Enough Project, housed at the Center for American Progress. Enough combines on-the-ground research and analysis in war zones with inside-the-Beltway advocacy and outside-the-Beltway activism, attempting to leverage policy change to end genocide and other human rights crimes."

Jespah (talk) 00:17, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for placing this on the Talk page. My own reaction is that bits of it may be useful as biographical background, but that it sort of reads like a CV in prose format plus goes into a level of detail that adds clutter more than comprehension. (I am assuming there are sources for all of it too.) Prendergast's earlier career, it seems to me, could be pretty thoroughly summarized for this article in a few sentences, e.g.,
In the latter half of the 80s and the first half of the 90s, Prendergast worked for a variety of organizations in the U.S. and Africa, focusing primarily on peace and human rights. At the end of 1996, he joined the National Security Counsel as Director for African Affairs and thereafter served as Special Adviser to Susan Rice at the State Department. Prendergast left government in 2001 to direct the Africa work at the International Crisis Group, and in 2007, with Gayle Smith he co-founded the Enough Project, housed at the Center for American Progress.
The prose could be cleaner, and I might've gunked up the facts a little, but that kind of streamlined information about Prendergast's pre-notability career is, in my opinion, helpful to the article without excessive detail or promotional tone. JohnInDC (talk) 02:14, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. I am interested in seeing other editor's comments, too.

Jespah (talk) 02:56, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Looks great, John. Jespah, what's the source for the info (so we can add a reference)? The Interior (Talk) 05:48, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I think it is important to include this in some form: as a Special Advisor to Rice at the State Department, he worked on the successful peace process ending the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, at the time (1998-2000) the deadliest war in the world. He also worked on peace efforts in Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Angola and others. Jespah (talk) 14:46, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't think the detail adds anything, and it smacks of bloviation. "Worked on" the peace process is vague. It's the term people put on their resumes to make them sound like they had an important role in something that they they almost certainly didn't - because if they did, they'd use a better verb. Did he lead it? Negotiate it personally? Devise the strategy? Any of those and it might be worth adding. But - even if it does go in, that little bit about it being the "deadliest war in the world" strikes me as just more ornamentation. If he really ended a war, it doesn't really matter if it was the first or fifth deadliest. I have a similar reaction to "working on" vague "peace efforts" in a laundry list - not even exhaustive - of African countries. Prendergast has extensive professional experience with efforts to bring peace to African countries. That's certainly fair to say. But more than that just makes the article harder to get through.
Do you have refs for this? (And - thanks for formatting your response the right way!) JohnInDC (talk) 15:03, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, will give you refs, asap. Jespah (talk) 16:48, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Daniel, I have to say that I object to what you have removed. I posted new information (to which I alerted you) and talk made some edits, also posted here, which will go up in due time. This is very frustrating. Jespah (talk) 16:59, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
What removed content do you object to specifically? --Daniel 17:05, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
You wiped out his entire career history. I think we have to be careful to read all of the posts here, so that we know what is going on. I think the past history is important to show his path. Jespah (talk) 17:19, 27 April 2011 (UTC))
The lead should be a summary of what is in the article. The info I removed was neither sourced, nor mentioned anywhere in the article. --Daniel 17:21, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Then there is a disagreement between what you, and three other editors think, so how do we resolve this? Seems I could spend 24/7 on this - with all of the varying opinions. The info will be sourced soon. I think it would be nice to people to discuss their changes before removing. Will you please read the new background information posted here? Jespah (talk) 17:25, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

JohnInDC Re: Working on Peace Process between Eritrea and Ethiopia: This quote from Madeline Albright: "I also want to especially thank Assistant Secretary of State Susan Rice, National Security Council Senior Director Gayle Smith, and Special Advisor John Prendergast. These individuals, and several others, were a force for peace-devoting relentless energy, over a great many days and many long nights, to the task of negotiating a settlement."[1] Jespah (talk) 17:39, 27 April 2011 (UTC)


In the latter half of the 80s and the first half of the 90s, Prendergast worked for a variety of organizations in the U.S. and Africa,[2][3][4] focusing primarily on peace and human rights. At the end of 1996, he joined the National Security Council as Director for African Affairs[5] and thereafter served as Special Adviser to Susan Rice at the United States Department of State.[6] Prendergast left government in 2001 to direct the Africa work at the International Crisis Group,[7] and in 2007, with Gayle Smith he co-founded the Enough Project, housed at the Center for American Progress. [8] Jespah (talk) 18:00, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

That seems fine, although the source for his work under Susan Rice, refers to him as an aide rather than an special adviser. I'm going to add this section to the article with that change. --Daniel 18:06, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I will provide a different reference then, as he was Special Advisor. Jespah (talk) 18:18, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Replaced reference. Jespah (talk) 18:24, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Again the source you are using is just a reprint of his website bio. --Daniel 18:30, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I guess you can choose to believe a reporter over the source. John Prendergast is like a brother to Susan Rice; he would not be stating he was her Special Advisor, if he wasn't. For all of the skepticism here, Mr. Prendergast is a humble man. He doesn't have to inflate... Jespah (talk) 18:54, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I guess you can choose to believe a reporter over the source. - That's Wikipedia policy, as outlined in our reliable sources guideline, specifically the section talking about self-published sources. A journalist is considered to be more objective than Mr. Prendergast himself, and journalists are subject to editorial oversight (where other people fact-check what they write or say before it is published or broadcast). If you're using Mr. Predergast's humility as a reason to defend material or the use of a source, I can understand why people are concerned with your objectivity. At the same time, you're adding valuable information which will help this article so I'm glad you're still contributing here. -- Atama 19:26, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I understand editorial oversight and show you examples where it failed in the NY Times, for instance. This is the first time I have mentioned humility. I have included a reference from USIP re Special Advisor status. May we remove the tag, please? Thank you. Jespah (talk) 19:34, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
PLEASE NOTE: ITEMS I WOULD APPRECIATE BEING ADDRESSED FOR INCLUSION IN ARTICLE. THANK YOU.

1. Featured in an Emmy-award winning[3] and Emmy-nominated episode of 60 Minutes.[4]

2. John Prendergast was part of the facilitation team behind the successful two-and-a-half-year U.S. effort to broker an end to the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.[5] Jespah (talk) 01:59, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

3. Mention of Mr. Prendergast as a 'big brother',[9] which he has been for 25 years. His soon-to-be released book is about his experiences, and is co-written, with his 'little brother'. Jespah (talk) 01:29, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Possible sources[edit]

I found a couple of articles from the SF BayView (a left wing African American newspaper) which criticize Prendergast on a couple of points: [11] and [12]. I don't think these sort of criticism should be given much prominence as the majority of coverage appears to be positive, but WP:NPOV indicates that we should cover all significant view points. I would like to get other editors thoughts before adding anything. --Daniel 18:28, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

I agree that we should include the bitter with the sweet. That being said, I'm not sure about adding a section for it at this point. If similar criticisms and complaints start cropping up elsewhere, or if other outlets take notice of the ones raised by these sources, then we should revisit it. For now (and this is just my opinion) these strike me as pretty isolated, against-the-grain complaints. In guess what I'm saying is that, yes, we should cover all significant viewpoints but right now I'm not sure these are "significant". Helpful? JohnInDC (talk) 18:57, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I definitely don't think a separate section is warranted, but I think that we might want to mention these in context within the article. --Daniel 20:18, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Suggested additions (continued)[edit]

JohnInDC (talk) I posted above, quote from Madeline Albright re Mr. Prendergast's contributions re peace process. Please note and reconsider including in article.Jespah (talk) 19:12, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Daniel, (talk) I guess you can choose to believe a reporter over the source. John Prendergast is like a brother to Susan Rice; he would not be stating he was her Special Advisor, if he wasn't. For all of the skepticism here, Mr. Prendergast is a humble man. He doesn't have to inflate... Jespah (talk) 18:54, 27 April 2011 (UTC) I do not believe that "aide", especially with a small "a" explains the situation. An aide could have supplied coffee. Jespah (talk) 19:15, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Daniel Another source stating Special Advisor and work in Angola: (sr991012.pdf)

This Special Report results from John Prendergast’s trip to Angola and neighboring countries during September 1999. He met with representatives of the Angolan government, Angolan civil society, the diplomatic community, and international nongovernmental organizations. This is the fourth in a series of Special Reports on African conflicts authored or coauthored by Prendergast since he left the National Security Council staff. This report was written before he joined the State Department as a special advisor to Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Susan Rice. Previous reports focused on the Horn of Africa, the DRC, and Rwanda and Burundi. Jespah (talk) 19:23, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Here is a video made by people who bestowed LBJ award, in which Susan Rice speaks... LBJ Honor Jespah (talk) 19:39, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

TO ALL EDITORS: I am trying to work with all of you. However, this system is not very effective, as editors are not reading and sometimes not responding to my posts. I don't have the time to spend 24/7 on this, so efficiency is really important. Not saying I haven't missed a post. Below is a quote from Madeline Albright stating that John Prendergast was a Special Advisor...

Re his work on peace process for Eritrea/Ethiopia - that quote also covers. Albright thanks Susan Rice, Gayle Smith and John Prendergast. If he were not key in the negotiations, she wouldn't be including him in that short list.

Re: Working on Peace Process between Eritrea and Ethiopia: This quote from Madeline Albright: "I also want to especially thank Assistant Secretary of State Susan Rice, National Security Council Senior Director Gayle Smith, and Special Advisor John Prendergast. These individuals, and several others, were a force for peace-devoting relentless energy, over a great many days and many long nights, to the task of negotiating a settlement."[1]

Therefore, I respectfully ask that the word aide be replaced with Special Advisor and Mr. Prendergast's work on the E/E peace process be included. Thanks.

P.S. I am the person here who is most familiar with Mr. Prendergast's work, which is why it is frustrating that there is so much cynicism here. Jespah (talk) 17:39, 27 April 2011 (UTC) (Jespah (talk) 19:55, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Jespah, this is not time-critical material. (Particularly in an article that yesterday you agreed did not need any "further enhancements".) Speaking for myself, and presuming to speak for Daniel, we do not have time to deal with it 24/7 either, so there may be a bit of delay between your posts and our responses. Also - speaking only for myself now - I may be slow to respond because I am tired of making the same points over and over. Your enthusiasm for and admiration of John Pendergast is manifest but, as has been pointed out to you, that can get in the way of sound Wikipedia editing. I really think you should give this a rest for a bit. JohnInDC (talk) 20:00, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate your post; however, you still haven't addressed the peace process issue, nor has Daniel responded to the aide versus Special Assistant issue, and have both responded to each other before answering my questions. I believe I was asked to provide more substantive material, which I have. I made that remark about further enhancements after I was told that the article was fine - after being told it was not. So this all is a bit crazy-making. It is important that the information in this article be accurate to me. I gave you all information, and it is not being addressed. Jespah (talk) 20:36, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Where does this quote from Albright come from? When we get a source we can change it. If this is making you crazy, take a break and come back later. --Daniel 20:48, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
It has been explained to you that "Special Advisor" is not supported by a reliable source. "Worked on the peace process" and "was a force for peace" are vague laudatory phrases that do not convey any actual information about what he did. Pendergast has received many accolades and much acclaim and not every single instance need be listed here. So I am not inclined to include that language. Finally I concur with Daniel. If it is making you crazy, then step away from it for a while. JohnInDC (talk) 20:57, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Here again is the quote and reference, posted above: Re: Working on Peace Process between Eritrea and Ethiopia: This quote from Madeline Albright: "I also want to especially thank Assistant Secretary of State Susan Rice, National Security Council Senior Director Gayle Smith, and Special Advisor John Prendergast. These individuals, and several others, were a force for peace-devoting relentless energy, over a great many days and many long nights, to the task of negotiating a settlement.[10] I think it is a big deal to be part of a peace process negotiating team bringing two countries together. How many people can say they were involved in such? You wouldn't leave out electricity when talking about Ben Franklin. A force for peace resulting in a negotiated settlement. Jespah (talk) 21:12, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I see I'm not getting through to you, and as this is beginning to make *me* a little crazy, I will heed my own advice and back away from this for a bit. JohnInDC (talk) 21:32, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I found some references that call Prendergast a "special adviser":
I see just as many references to him being an aide to either Susan Rice, Bill Clinton, or the White House. I also see him described just as an "adviser" especially for Africa. So it seems that "adviser", "special adviser", and "aide" are just interchangeable terms for what he did. Really, just take your pick, I don't think he had a formal title from any of the sources I can find. -- Atama 22:14, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank you! May we please remove the coi tag now. (Jespah (talk) 22:21, 27 April 2011 (UTC))
Here is a Mother Jones reference for Special Advisor[11] Jespah (talk) 22:26, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I still think the tag is valid. The article still reads like a resume and has a massive amount of transparent name dropping. This stems mostly from the fact that the article was originally copied from Prendergast's own website. While it generally considered appropriate to have a biography like this on one's website, it isn't an encyclopedia article. The issue now is that until recently (possibly still) any effort to improve the article was met with resistance from Jespah. I've gone ahead and changed the job title. --Daniel 22:30, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
"(possibly still) any effort to improve the article was met with resistance from Jespah." I really have trouble with this attitude. I am not and said I will not edit the article for a period of time. I am not always wrong and others editors always right. I maintain that the tag reflects poorly on the subject who, through no fault of his own, suffers this blight. There is no conflict of interest. An administrator also agrees with me. The purpose is to rid the article of the title. I'm just at a loss, really. You may have thought aide was improving the article; it did not. In the majority of instances, he is referred to as Special Advisor. You wiped out an entire paragraph of information without carefully reading the posts here and knowing what was going on. Perhaps you should be tagged with something! Additionally, there are editors here who say the article is fine as is, so you are in the minority. And, if you feel the article reads like a resume, why don't you suggest ways to improve it, instead of complaining about it! Jespah (talk) 22:52, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Actually, in no case is he called a "Special Advisor". In the Mother Jones article (which I linked in my list) he is called a "special adviser". There's a difference. It's like saying that anyone can investigate a mystery, but only a member of law enforcement can be an Investigator. The capitalization of the term, and even the spelling (in this case) marks the difference. I think you're operating under a huge misconception though, Jespah. The COI tag has absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Prendergast. It doesn't reflect poorly on him, it is only a reference to the information in the article, not the person himself. Is that your only worry about the tag? That you think it makes him look bad? -- Atama 23:02, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
If John Prendergast says he was a Special Advisor to Susan Rice, that is what he was. If you like, I will email Susan Rice's office tomorrow and ask, then show you the email response. Above the article, the tags says "A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject" - that could mean different things to different people. It is not clear cut, and yes, I think it could reflect badly on the subject. I also want the article to be an excellent article, and I would appreciate having the tag removed. Thank you. Jespah (talk) 23:18, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

This ref. needs to replace one in article. Special Advisor[12] Jespah (talk) 23:32, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

I am also stymied by how you can make the comparison you made. The Secretary of State, Madeline Albright said: "I also want to especially thank Assistant Secretary of State Susan Rice, National Security Council Senior Director Gayle Smith, and Special Advisor John Prendergast. These individuals, and several others, were a force for peace-devoting relentless energy, over a great many days and many long nights, to the task of negotiating a settlement." What higher authority do you need? I have posted this quote a number of times and am continually having to repeat myself and really finding this to be a horrible experience. Your perception of the tag is not one that is universal, and I ask you to please take that into consideration and remove it. Thank you. Jespah (talk) 23:41, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Is the capitalization of his job title so important that you find this to be a "horrible experience." I really think you need to relax. You can also stop asking to remove the tag in every one of your posts everyone knows you want it removed. --Daniel 23:48, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
"If John Prendergast says he was a Special Advisor to Susan Rice, that is what he was." Okay, that's the attitude that needs to stop. You take this far too personally. Editors are supposed to be trying to improve the article, not advocating for a person. It's getting very difficult to work with you and I empathize even more with the other editors who have worked on this article. I really don't care about his title at this point, in fact it looks like Daniel already made the change in the main text anyway. But the overall problem is that your motives are not the same as the other people working on this article. Your pro-Prendergast POV is so strong that you can't follow Wikipedia's policies because they conflict with your extreme admiration of the article subject, and that's a real problem. -- Atama 23:53, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
What am I not following? I have posted a quote here from Madeline Albright, and not one editor has responded. Instead, you say I am not following policy. What policy am I not following? I would appreciate an explanation. What policy are editors following when I give them a respectable source, and everyone ignores it? I would also appreciate a response to my wanting the tag removed. Thanks.Jespah (talk) 00:21, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Saying that we should accept Mr. Prendergast as a reliable source in this manner because of who he is, that is not following policy. Objecting to a common, accepted tag adopted by the community at large because in this one case you think that it might be somehow misinterpreted by someone in the future to make someone you admire look bad, that is not respecting the community. One other problem with this discussion, which isn't entirely your fault, is that you have been posting citations as references rather than external links. A citation tag is proper in the article space but on the talk page where there is no references section it's difficult to follow them. I'll create a references section just below this comment so that we can view them. -- Atama 00:41, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
  1. ^ "Remarks at Ethiopia/Eritrea Peace Agreement Ceremony" (PDF). United States Institute of Peace. December 20, 2000. 
  2. ^ USIP 
  3. ^ "UNICEF". 
  4. ^ "Human Rights Watch". 
  5. ^ "Official Delegation Accompanying the President to Africa" (Press release). March 20, 1998. 
  6. ^ "Human Rights Watch". 
  7. ^ International Crisis Group 
  8. ^ Enough Project 
  9. ^ Unlikely Brothers 
  10. ^ "Remarks at Ethiopia/Eritrea Peace Agreement Ceremony" (PDF). United States Institute of Peace. December 20, 2000. 
  11. ^ [hhttp://motherjones.com/politics/2005/01/crisis-darfur "Crisis in Daarfur"]. Mother Jones. December 20, 2000. 
  12. ^ [hhttp://motherjones.com/politics/2005/01/crisis-darfur "Crisis in Darfur"]. Mother Jones. December 20, 2000. 
I think I have just about given up. I indicated that Mr. Prendergast is a man of integrity out of total frustration with my efforts to get people here to pay attention to Madeline Albright's quote. You yourself said you felt the coi tag was inappropriate. I'm sorry your perception of my feeling about the tag is one of disrespect. It is not. It might be helpful for you to ask people who have had articles about them tagged how they feel about it. You still have not addressed my request to have the tag removed. I guess I could say that ignoring my request is disrespectful - after I have said I will not edit the article for a while. Jespah (talk) 00:59, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
You have asked to have the tag removed a dozen times. Why should anyone keep answering you, I told you why I think the tag is valid and your response was to attack me. I also don't understand what attention you want to be people to pay attention to the Albright quote, I already changed his job title in the article, are you upset about the capitalization? --Daniel 01:04, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't think I was asking you. I know your response. I was asking Aatma who had said yesterday or the previous day that she was giving it a day and might remove it afterwards. She said she felt it was not a coi issue. I think if Madeline Alrights says Special Advisor then that is what it is. I was also addressing JohninDC, who had an issue with words re Mr. Prendergast's working on a peace process, which I think is a rather big deal and deserves mention in the article. I was not attacking you; I was stating facts about the way you were editing. It is also curious to me that I am the only one here being criticized. The whole point of this exercise is to get rid of the tag, to improve the article. Jespah (talk) 01:19, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I have been trying to improve the article and you have been attacking my edits, that is why we have a problem. --Daniel 01:22, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm going to go through the article and remove any remaining content that relates to the conflict of interest issue and remove the tag. We can then discuss improvements more calmly without the tag. --Daniel 01:25, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank You! Jespah (talk) 01:45, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

I am fine with this course of action, provided of course that the same sort of content does not begin to creep back into the article. JohnInDC (talk) 01:51, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Thank You! Jespah (talk) 02:31, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

JohnInDC Re your questions : Most recent book, Unlikely Brothers, will be released May 17, 2011. The team won the Emmy: Mr. Prendergast was part of the team. He pitched idea to 60 Minutes took them to Congo, set everything up for them, took them to mines, was interviewed. He may have been involved in other ways. In any case, he was an integral part of the team who created and produced the show. Jespah (talk) 02:45, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

He's not mentioned on the linked Emmy site, there are no "team" awards listed there, and so absent a source to connect him personally to the award, I think it needs to stay out. JohnInDC (talk) 03:34, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Here is corrected ref. for International Crisis Group[1] Jespah (talk) 04:39, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
The first three citations need fixing. If I am allowed to fix, let me know. Thanks. Jespah (talk) 04:43, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
If you like to clean them up, then please go ahead! JohnInDC (talk) 10:48, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
For clarification, the reference that Jespah last tried to link was Sudan: Now or Never in Darfur. -- Atama 16:08, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
thank you for clarifying!

Regarding including Mr. Prendergast's participation in the peace process between Eritrea/Ethiopia, would it be agreeable to include: "John Prendergast was part of the facilitation team behind the two-and-a-half-year U.S. effort to broker an end to the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea." Reference: http://www.usip.org/publications/us-leadership-resolving-african-conflict-case-ethiopia-eritrea

Re 60 Minutes- agreeable to say the 2007, 2010 episodes were nominated for Emmys?

2007: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/07/19/60minutes/main3075310.shtml 2010: http://www.emmyonline.org/mediacenter/news_28th_nominees_data_list.html Jespah (talk) 18:38, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

So it was Searching for Jacob that you're referring to (in regards to the 2007 story). What exactly was Mr. Prendergast's involvement? From this article I think it would be fair to say that Mr. Prendergast was "featured in an Emmy-nominated story". Does that sound fair to anyone else? I'm less clear about the 2010 episode. -- Atama 18:50, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I think that language re the war is fine. You could even add "successful" in front of two-and-a-half year part, if that's accurate. He was unquestionably part of that team, and that formulation acknowledges that without some vague verb to describe his (perhaps known but not easily sourced) actual role in it. Re 60 Minutes - it just seems like a logical disconnect. Winning or being nominated for an Emmy means the 60 Minutes professional staff did their job really well. I don't see how that ties in at all to the subject of the show and I can't escape the sense that this is gilt by association (as it were). — Preceding unsigned comment added by JohnInDC (talkcontribs) 19:13, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it has to be credit by association (I consider that the reverse of guilt by association). Let's say that someone made a biopic about Mr. Prendergast and the movie won an Oscar. I think it's appropriate to say that an Oscar-winning film was made about his life. That doesn't imply that he was responsible for the Oscar. -- Atama 19:57, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Ahh, you missed my exquisite pun. As to the merits - well, I'm not going to contest the point too strongly. I disagree but I am also a bit sensitive to what I'll call "halo" issues in this article and if a disinterested editor thinks it's okay to go in then I'm not going to fuss. JohnInDC (talk) 20:28, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm kinda with John on this one. The Oscar-winning biopic in Atama's example would be very notable in itself, and worthy of significant coverage in the subject's article. But 60 Minutes produces dozens of segments a year. The Emmy was won by the producers, and it reflects their reporting/storytelling abilities. By attaching the Emmy to JP, I think there is a hint of "gilt by association" as the editor from DC puts it, which is something this article already suffers enough from. (great phrase BTW. I am stealing it.) The Interior (Talk) 20:33, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Ah... A gilded award. I gloss over so many misspellings on talk pages I block them out. Good one. Going back to the subject, what I actually disagree with is the suggestion that Mr. Prendergast was part of the team that won the award. That is where I think we would be granting undue credit. If he were listed among the contributors to the program on the Emmy web site that listed the nomination, that would be one thing. But we don't have such evidence. -- Atama 20:39, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
(e/c) The Interior, you are more than welcome to steal it. You do not even have to credit me provided that each time you use it you feel a little pang of conscience. In connection with your comments, it may be worth noting that 60 Minutes won 4 Emmys that same year of 2007, at least according to the original link - [13] JohnInDC (talk) 20:40, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
60 minutes would not have had emmy nominations for jacob nor for congo's gold if mr. prendergast had not brought the stories to them. How about saying, the episodes were nominated. (one episode, or two, won)

Would like to insert "John Prendergast was part of the [successful] facilitation team behind the two-and-a-half-year U.S. effort to broker an end to the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea." Reference: http://www.usip.org/publications/us-leadership-resolving-african-conflict-case-ethiopia-eritrea, as also suggested by another editor, above.

Regarding gilt by association: As you can imagine, it is hard to get people to become advocates for the people of Sudan and Congo. Sadly, it frequently takes celebrities to reach a larger audience. These celebrities come of their own free will to help shine the light on the atrocities occurring daily in both Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Enough Project, which Mr. Prendergast co-founded, does not seek them out. They seek him out. Jespah (talk) 21:15, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Mr. Prendergast seems to be a great person, but this isn't a fan site, we're trying to improve an encyclopedia article about him, which has to be objective and verifiable. Also, I don't see where there was a second 60 Minutes episode, I've asked about that before. There was one episode in 2007 that he was featured in that was nominated for an Emmy, but unless we have some credit for the nomination given to him, I have to agree that we shouldn't imply that he had anything to do with the Emmy nomination. Mr. Prendergast helped make the story happen, but the 60 Minutes people were the ones that made the story worthy of a nomination. Unless there's some official acknowledgement from CBS or the Emmy nomination itself, we're manufacturing credit where it's not due. -- Atama 21:26, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
(e/c)Jespah - Atama almost had me persuaded on working in the Emmy thing but now I have to say, if you are arguing to include it in this article about Prendergast because *he* made the awards possible, then you've lost my vote. I was beginning to worry that I was becoming too sensitive, and was seeing efforts to exalt Prendergast where there were none, but I guess not. I've already commented on the language you want to insert. Other editors may have something to say as well. Try to be more patient. JohnInDC (talk) 21:31, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I was supporting Atama's statement. I suggested we say he was featured in an emmy-nominated story. I was not arguing that we should include it because he made it possible.

Are you, JohnInDC last sentences referring to peace process??? I have to say this is the most frustrating work. Clearly, he was part of the peace process. He spent 2 to 21/2 yrs. of his life on that peace process. You don't find that worthy of mention??? Atama: I have already provided the second emmy mention source. I am having trouble going back and forth here and wasting so much time if people don't read the posts.Jespah (talk) 21:46, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Jespah, if you are finding this a waste of time, then you shouldn't be doing it. Wikipedia should be a hobby to enjoy, not a source of frustration. We all have other priorities in real life, and things don't necessarily happen quickly on this website. Patience is a virtue. The Interior (Talk) 22:02, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Jespah, I'm not ignoring the "peace process" thing, I just need a bit of time to look over the article as it is and see how and where it would fit, and if it would be an improvement or redundant or what. As to providing the second Emmy source, I think you made a mistake. You said "2010" and linked to the 28th Emmy award nominations which were in 2007. The awards in 2010 were the 31st News & Documentary Emmy Awards. -- Atama 22:16, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Some people here actually make me cry. I feel like I am in an insane asylum. You say it is supposed to be encyclopedic, and the information I have provided regarding the peace process certainly is that and is not redundant. Where is there a rule that says someone cannot insert something in an article on good faith that it is appropriate - where does it say I have to wait until more editors have their say? Jespah (talk) 22:25, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
You said you were going to stop editing the article. Normally you wouldn't have to wait for someone else. If this is making you cry, I strongly suggest you stop editing for a while and take a break. --Daniel 22:29, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Jespah, what part of "I just need a bit of time" do you not understand? -- Atama 22:54, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Jespah, your good faith is not at issue. Your judgment, however, is. As Daniel says, ordinarily you would not have two or three or four editors looking over your shoulder at every edit you suggest, but over the past several months you have demonstrated a serious, and seemingly intractable, inability to distinguish between what you *want* to see in the article and what *ought* to be in it; and so we find ourselves together in this fashion. I am sorry it's frustrating. Some of your most recent suggestions are comparatively benign, an assessment I've tried to convey in my comments. Others, not so much. In any case this oversight is, I think, going to continue for a while, so if the process in this form is upsetting you, then, yes, I echo Daniel and others. You should take a break. JohnInDC (talk) 23:34, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
PLEASE NOTE: ITEMS I WOULD APPRECIATE BEING ADDRESSED FOR INCLUSION IN ARTICLE. THANK YOU.

1. Featured in an Emmy-award winning[3] and Emmy-nominated episode of 60 Minutes.[4]

2. John Prendergast was part of the facilitation team behind the successful two-and-a-half-year U.S. effort to broker an end to the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.[5] Jespah (talk) 01:59, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

3. Mention of Mr. Prendergast as a 'big brother',[2] which he has been for 25+ years. His soon-to-be released book is about his experiences, and is co-written, with his 'little brother'. --Jespah (talk) 01:34, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Personally I don't think any of this merits inclusion.
  • 1. There is no need to mention that the pieces won Emmys, the awards were not given to Prendergast they were given to the producers of the pieces.
  • 2. We really need a better source for this, all I've seen is a press release from the state department mentioning him (Primary source). What we would need is a real third party source discussing in some detail his participation in the peace process.
  • 3. We already mention that he is a in the big brother program in the context of his soon to be released book, that seems like enough to me, it isn't what he is known for.

--Daniel 20:38, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Ok, thank you, Daniel. If there is not consensus, I will drop l) and 3). There is the Madeline Albright quote from a talk she gave. That is the best I have and believe it is good enough. I think there are two other editors here in agreement. Madeline Albright: "I also want to especially thank Assistant Secretary of State Susan Rice, National Security Council Senior Director Gayle Smith, and Special Advisor John Prendergast. These individuals, and several others, were a force for peace-devoting relentless energy, over a great many days and many long nights, to the task of negotiating a settlement." There is also this Unfinished business: Eritrea and Ethiopia at War http://books.google.com/books?ei=K0-_TYm4Ko6tgQf7l7zTBg&ct=result&id=sk1zAAAAMAAJ&dq=tony+lake+and+john+prendergast&q=john+prendergast#search_anchor . There is also this Special Report by Mr. Prendergast, September 2001 : U.S. Leadership in Resolving African Conflict: The Case of Ethiopia-Eritrea : http://www.usip.org/publications/us-leadership-resolving-african-conflict-case-ethiopia-eritrea

--Jespah (talk) 00:48, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Is anyone available to comment, would you like me to look for other editors or start editing again? --Jespah (talk) 02:52, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Voices of Uganda[edit]

The article describes an upcoming documentary, "Voices of Uganda", and links to a website for the project, but beyond a picture of someone on one page that appears to be John Pendergast, and a reference to him at a panel appearance, I can't find anything that really ties him closely to it *or* indicates that what started as a series of plays is actually near realization as an actual documentary. I quickly Googled the project and couldn't immediately find anything more useful. Jespah, is there a better source for this, or has this project gone by the wayside? The current citation - best I can tell from my perusal - doesn't support Pendergast's involvement or the assertion that there is a film or that it's forthcoming any time soon. JohnInDC (talk) 02:14, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

I should state this a little more plainly - seeing as the official Voices of Uganda website fails to support either assertion in the article, I think this bit of information needs to be removed absent a reliable source. Let me know if I'm overlooking something there or elsewhere. Thanks. JohnInDC (talk) 03:31, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Anything? JohnInDC (talk) 21:37, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I've removed this documentary from the article; of course if anyone does find a proper source some or all of it can go back in. JohnInDC (talk) 11:53, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
The correct name of the film is Staging Hope: Acts of Peace in Northern Uganda, of which he is the Executive Producer[3] The film opens 4 May in Washington, D.C. http://www.politicsonfilm.com/index.php Jespah (talk) 13:14, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
I put it back in with the correct name and his correct role. Thanks. JohnInDC (talk) 13:46, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. Jespah (talk) 16:50, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

17 May revision of JohnDC[edit]

why? anything wrong with explaining the Enough Project's mission? Already states in intro that Enough is affiliated with Center for Am. Progress. there is a difference between being neutral and being incomplete. what does neutrality have to do with the stated and committed mission of an organization??? why are other mission sttements allowed and not this??? --Jespah (talk) 21:30, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Because the history of this article reflects a marked tendency toward puffery, praise for the subject and his undertakings (sometimes explicit, sometimes veiled) and POV phrasing -- a kind of POV creep, if you will. Noting that Prendergast founded Enough Project "to build a permanent constituency to battle human rights crimes like genocide, rape as a war weapon, and child soldier recruitment" sounds like something taken straight off of its website (whether or not it was), and that kind of tone is not appropriate for these articles. Please review WP:NPOV if I'm not being clear. Enough Project is wikilinked and the article includes external links to its website. Anyone who is curious about it can follow those. JohnInDC (talk) 21:42, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Disagree with you strongly about your interpretation. This is why they were founded and what they are doing. It is not puffery; it is fact. --Jespah (talk) 22:24, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
And apparently a copyvio lifted straight from John Prendergast's blog on the Enough Project webpage, see here. This has got to stop, Jespah. You can't copy the words from other webpages verbatim without copyright issues. You can't copy words and sentiments directly - or paraphrased - from advocacy websites without running into POV issues. This has been explained to you again and again - what is it going to take to get through to you? JohnInDC (talk) 23:01, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
You didn't answer my question! No matter how it is worded, you would delete it. I would like you to answer my question. Additionally, why do you stalk my posts? --Jespah (talk) 00:57, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Jespah your claim "no matter how it was worded, you would delete it." is just speculation. The fact is you copied a laudatory description from the subject's own webpage, both a copyright violation and completely inappropriate wording. These issues have to stop, I'm actually beginning to think that a topic ban might be a valid option. It really doesn't seem that you are capable of editing this neutrally or collaboratively. --Daniel 01:15, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid I've reached the same conclusion. A lot of editor time has been consumed in circular and ineffective discussions with this editor. The Interior (Talk) 02:28, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Having permission to use text is not a copyright violation. --Jespah (talk) 04:29, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
It is disturbing that Jespah chooses to ignore the above suggestion for a topic ban and continues arguing that a copyright violation is not a copyright violation. The combination of WP:ADVOCACY (with an WP:NPOV failure), and clear WP:COI leads me to also support a topic ban for the user. I think the next step would be for someone to prepare some evidence and make a proposal at WP:ANI. Johnuniq (talk) 07:09, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Addition to article[edit]

I've moved the discussion below from my Talk page, where it originated:


Hi,

I would like to include this : http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/11/south-sudan-midwives-special-report-idINDEE86A0BI20120711 - The Wonks Who Sold Washington on South Sudan and wonder if you would please help me with placement.

Thanks so much!Pazleila (talk) 16:20, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Okay. I will say that I've only briefly scanned it but I am not sure what new point in the article it would be included to support. Wikipedia articles aren't meant to serve as compendia of a subject's media mentions, and the existing article is already abundantly sourced, so this new cite really needs to be there in support of some new thing in the article, a meaningful thing too that isn't just embellishment. It's not enough to be just another article that talks about Prendergast. JohnInDC (talk) 17:45, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
i think that being in support of and working for years towards establishing a new nation is important to include. the supporters include five others. maybe i am wrong.Pazleila (talk) 19:14, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Well - what is the sentence or two you'd use this in support of? Where would it fit in the chronology? The problem with that article in the past has been a tendency toward hagiography, a kind of "look how great this man is" tone rather than something a bit more neutral and descriptive. "Supporting and working for years to establish a new nation" strikes me as a bit, I don't know, fawning. So maybe there's a better way to recite it, more factual. I dunno. JohnInDC (talk) 21:19, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

(end of transferred discussion)

I understand. My intention is for it to be factual, not fawning. Don't know yet where to include it or how, why I was asking for your advice. When I have more time will review.Pazleila (talk) 14:33, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

PR embellishments, puffery[edit]

In recent weeks a series of editors - IPs from Connecticut, or registered editors who appear to be affiliated with the subject in some fashion - have been editing the article to embellish or puff up the subject and his projects, in a fashion that reads as if it came straight from a mission statement or PR release. Examples include amending the description of Enough Project from a "non-profit human rights organization" (which is already complete and correct) to "an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity"; and the larding up of Prendergast's (already impressive and extensive) personal accomplishments with impressive-sounding but hopelessly nebulous additions like being "part of peace processes for Burundi, Sudan, and Congo." Since its inception, this article has suffered from the persistent efforts of single purpose accounts to make Prendergast sound even more impressive than this already impressive article portrays him. (Indeed one editor was so heedlessly persistent with additions of this nature that she became the subject of a topic ban on Prendergast and related interests.) Editors are reminded that Wikipedia is not a vehicle for PR or for putting forth one's own views or interests. The article is fine as it is. Please stop trying to puff it up. Thanks. JohnInDC (talk) 00:10, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

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