Talk:Joshua Gardner/Archive1

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See history and discussion at Duke of Cleveland. - Reaverdrop 00:24, 14 January 2006 (UTC)


The following was commented in the article. I suppose it would better stay here in the talk page:

Obviously a fraud, as Cleveland is an English title, while Crichton-Stuart is a Scottish surname. While the first creation was indeed for the mistress of a Stuart (Charles II of England), Gardner claimed to be the "Fifth Duke," which would point to a descendant of the Vane family, as the last (fourth) duke of Cleveland was Harry Powlett, 4th Duke of Cleveland, born Harry Vane. The family through collateral descendents still carries the title Baron Barnard. Moreover, there hasn't been a new non-royal dukedom created since the late nineteenth century, and there hasn't been a royal dukedom conferred on a Jacobite since 1725, and that creation was illegal. Furthermore, the Jacobite succession (which Gardner was claiming, given the surname Stuart) has since passed to the House of Wittelsbach, the deposed Kings of Bavaria. Therefore, he ought to have claimed the name Herzog von Bayern (see Franz, Duke of Bavaria). Finally, new creations use their own numbering, so he would have been the first duke, not the fifth. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why vandalizing an article on the peerage is plain idiotic. (written by Mackensen)

This little essay is quite interesting. - Liberatore(T) 13:52, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Only on Wikipedia... Madame Sosostris 15:06, 14 January 2006 (UTC)


Meanwhile it slipped out onto the mirrors where it remains and who for a moment thinks the sort of persons presumably targeted by such fraud would even think to parse the lineage? In this case, he fooled some people for at least a month. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 12:24, January 15, 2006.

His vandalisms were corrected within 30 minutes. His version of the article is not online anywhere.--Nectar 12:30, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

I do want to be gentle about this, but your reply rather typifies the slipshod research of most Wikipedians, especially in the social sciences:

According to that page, it's been carrying the fraudulent content for over 200 days. Think of all the other mirrors it's been on for months and months. As I said, it got onto the mirrors and you mistakenly reverted my edit to the article. Please revert yourself, thanks. The Witch 15:30, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

No, that demonstrates the slipshod practices of mirrors beyond our control. If you'll take a look at the talk page of Duke of Cleveland, you'll see that Mr. Gardner was reverted speedily–within minutes in most cases. Personally, I dislike the mirrors, as they tend to have formatting issues and be out of date. Mackensen (talk) 13:07, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
Apparently, some search engines filter out Wikipedia mirrors,[1], which is why my search produced zero results. ( derives its results from google.) The same search terms on google reveal a single mirror, which you have linked to above.[2] One unofficial mirror that lags in updates of a site doesn't seem to meet the notability requirements for a discussion regarding the reliability of Wikipedia.--Nectar 13:21, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

You're both mistaken. Any personal opinion of mirrors, or Wikipedia's "control" of them, or their lag times, isn't at all the point. The fraudulent content did leak onto those mirrors, remained on them for many months and the source was Wikipedia. Some of it still remains (see the example link I posted above). Once again, Wikipedia has damaged not only itself, but the credibility of freely available information on the Internet. Meanwhile, my facutal and correct edit was reverted. Please put it back, thanks. If you want to tweak it, that's ok but I think Wikipedia readers should be aware that its fraudulent content can and does slip out to dozens of Google-visible mirror sites whether or not it's reverted by Wikipedians. The Witch 15:30, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

While I see your point, I think you're wrong to put the onus on Wikipedia. Anyone who mirrors content has a responsibility to verify what they're posting. While we do our level best to keep vandalism off the site, we aren't perfect. The fact that a mirror grabbed Duke of Cleveland during the brief period that it was vandalized and then never updated again speaks poorly of them, not us. Wikipedia did not damage the credibility of the Internet, Joshua Gardner did. The fact the he was reverted so quickly speaks in favour, I think, of the project. If information was entrusted to those fellows at nationmaster we'd all be out of luck. Mackensen (talk) 13:35, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
My point (after two edit conflicts): the removal of the sentence from the article was perfectly justified by WP:V (any unsourced material can be removed, which seems perfectly logical). Given the new source, I would support writing something like: "the mirror [3] however copied the page before it was reverted, and did not update for more than 200 days." This is a fact. The statement "Think of all the other mirrors..." is unsupported by any evidence. For example, our most known mirror has a version without the "fifth duke" [4]. - Liberatore(T) 13:39, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

That's sounds ok to me. Wikipedia enabled Mr Gardner, a registered sex offender, whose fraud immediately went "live" and was spewed by Wikipedia across the Internet, remaining there for months. Wikipedia's content controls failed to prevent this from happening. Think of all the mirrors this was on, for months. People should know about that. Most of them don't care about mirrors and update lags. They type stuff into a search engine and read what pops up. The Witch 15:30, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

[Edit conflict] "Freely available information on the Internet" coming from often illegal webpages does not have credibility to be damaged by Wikipedia. Wikipedia, on the other hand, makes claims to its own credibility as an encyclopedia, and these claims are shown to be verifiable in this case. Notability in this context is defined by Wikipedia:Notability as being of "particular importance or impact." is a random webpage with zero importance or impact (i.e. not a reference source).--Nectar 13:48, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
[Edit conflict] I also disagree on placing the blame on Wikipedia, in this case. The mirror should have known better than uploading an article and not updating it for >200 days. But this is an opinion. I would not be surprised if they also have some articles whose content is "Mark is gay".
Returning to the article content: everybody agrees with my version of the sentence? - Liberatore(T) 13:52, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm fine with it. By the way, Wikipedia nevertheless was the source, and is/was cited as such on all those mirrors. Wikipedia is responsible. Wikipedia enabled the registered sex offender, as is documented in hundreds of (mostly mirrored) news articles worldwide. Sometimes, we need to see the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. The Witch 15:30, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

So did mySpace, and that's far more damaging. He had no lasting presence here. He could not communicate with potential victims through here. The blog world is far more culpable than this place (besides the obvious point that the vandalism he committed here helped the high school students track him down). Mackensen (talk) 14:00, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
The only mirrors that caught it would be one that updated in that 30 minute window. is no more notable than a teenager's diary on geocities repeating the false claim. Wikipedia does not make any claims regarding the accuracy of random websites or teenager's diaries, nor does or any other official site. Widespread disinformation might be notable, but a single non-notable webpage is not notable for an encyclopedia article.--Nectar 14:04, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Actually, this whole story is not notable enough for an encyclopedia entry. It looks notable for us because we partecipate at the Wikipedia project, but for the outside word it's just kind of a funny story(I apologize for my terrible choice of words: see section "Apologize and clarification:, below). In my opinion, this article should be moved to the Wikipedia: name space, and possibly linked from Criticism of Wikipedia. - Liberatore(T) 14:12, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

You think registered sex offenders are funny? (Your apology and clarification are noted and more than accepted) With thought processes like that, no wonder Wikipedia's lack of credibility is making the news so much. Anyway I think you guys are still in denial. A bunch of high school kids typed his name into a search engine and found the Wikipedia content months after he put it here. It made the news. Think of all the stuff that hasn't. The Witch 15:30, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, no, sorry. I should have used "unusual", not "funny" (that's what I really meant, I just couldn't find the right word when I wrote the comment above). What I mean is that a story like this one is usually not much newsworthy, (let alone having an encyclopedia article), if not for this guy appointing himself the title of "fifth duke of Cleveland" (which, alone, would be funny, if he were not a sex offender). I apologize for my bad choice of words. - Liberatore(T) 14:27, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

I mean, have a look at the original news item from 2002 and tell me if you think Wikipedia having enabled a registered sex offender is only an "unusual" story

Meanwhile, Wikipedia's reputation continues its freefall. ABC news reports, "The reporters uncovered their first clue when they read the entry for the Duke of Cleveland on Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that takes submissions from readers. The entry was written by Joshua Gardner, a name that also turned up on the National Sex Offender Public Registry." The Witch 15:30, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

"Unusual" means "not usual". Do you think that sex criminals usually get here to advertise themselves as "dukes of something"? According to the sources, this guy is a criminal. I never tryed to deny that, nor I tried to dismiss what he did (in the real world) as minor offences. Please, do not try to imply that I think that, as I find it very offensive. Let us stick to about whether this article should be moved or not, ok?
I have to go now. See you this evening. The other wikipedians here may post, in the meantime, their opinions about whether this article should be moved or not. - Liberatore(T) 14:54, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

First you said it was funny, now you agree he's a criminal so yeah, sweeping it under the rug may be the easiest way to avoid confronting the systemic problems with Wikipedia brought up by this incident. Readers may wish to note that Liberatore doesn't seem to have done any meaningful research on this before starkly expressing opinions about it. Anyway I hope my edit will be restored, re-worded if need be. Thanks. The Witch 15:30, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Apologize and clarification

While caming back, I realized how poorly I expressed myself above. I striked out that clause without correcting it, so that everyone passing here can see how stupid I am. What I wanted to say was: "in the outside world, this story received so much media attemption only because it is unsual". I do not and did not think this story is funny (very poor choice of word) nor that is is "just unusual". Sex criminals are unfortunately common, and this one received more media coverage than the others only because of his attempt at vandalizing the Wikipedia. I am very sorry for my poor way of saying what I think.

I still believe in my suggestion to say that one mirror uploaded the page without updating for more 200 days. This is a fact. Whether it is a fault of the Wikipedia or of the mirror (or both) is an opinion. - Liberatore(T) 17:28, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Those students found his bogus Wikipedia content and ABC news reported that they found it on Wikipedia. That's what the public will remember. Either way, Wikipedia enabled a convicted, registered sex offender. What other frauds are being enabled by Wikipedia? The Witch 15:30, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I am happy we could find a good agreement about the mirror. And, thank you for accepting my apology.
I feel I need to clarify one more point here. What I propose is to move this page from its current title to Wikipedia:Joshua Gardner, which will still be accessible to everybody as it is now (with the same links pointing to it). My point is that this guy should not have an encyclopedia article. I am not saying that this article should not exist. You can still consider that a way of "hiding it under the carpet", of course (I disagree).
Now, just because I am curious of what other people thinks: you say that Wikipedia is respondible from the fraud; what would you propose for that not to happen again? Placing a big disclaimer (something like: not Wikipedia is not reliable) on each page? Restricting the way mirroring is done? Restricting access to "validated" articles? I am asking because some of these measures have really been proposed in the past, and I would like to hear the opinion of someone, like you, who is very critic of the Wikipedia. - Liberatore(T) 00:05, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
In my opinion, this article is more encyclopedic than around 600,000 others on the site. Anyway I didn't say Wikipedia was responsible for the fraud, I said Wikipedia enabled it. The solution is obvious, validated articles (even if validation is little more than a short incubation) would be part of it, along with restricting edits to registered users and even eliminating any "incubation" for those at a higher trust level, but there are some deeper issues as to acceptable sourcing and documentation, notably in the social sciences including bios, which need addressing too. Wikipedia's credibility problems are partly true (it does distribute dodgy information along with much helpful content) and partly a public relations thing. I'm not sure Wikipedia's leadership, for various reasons, has any desire (yet) to truly focus on content. The latest policy changes seem to have been precipitated by bad press, not by internal discussion or someone's insight. The Witch 15:30, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Warning, Will Robinson

What's with the "Warning" on "MySpace entry for the "Earl of Scooby" (WARNING: Site contains mature content.)". There doesn't seem to be anything "mature" there whatsoever. - Nunh-huh 00:01, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

I didn't see anything worth warning users about. I'll remove the content disclaimer. — TheKMantalk 07:34, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I think they had in mind the animated GIF of a naked dancing man. The Witch 15:25, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia self reference

I know it's a bit hard to avoid Wikipedia self references in this case, but should we be linking to edit histories directly from an article? — TheKMantalk 23:41, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

With all due respect, I think someone was defensively trying to "show off" how quick Wikipedia editors were to respond to Gardner's vandalism but I found it truly revealing they didn't mention that the Stillwater high school students told ABC they found his "Duke of Cleveland" Wikipedia claim on the Internet. This is typical of how many Wikipedians blatantly break Wikipedia policy when it suits their role-playing and other agendas, then enforce it to the hilt when it serves... their role-playing and other agendas. It also illustrates how many active Wikipedians are more interested in process, appearances and community participation than they are in encyclopedic content.IP tag addition removed - there is no Wikipedia policy requiring it and no request for it on this talk page - the template is usually used to alert Wikipedians that an unsigned comment from an unregistered IP editor is perceived as somehow at odds with Wikipedia's role-playing, unencyclopedic spirit and thus might bear watching
Hi Signing your posts is a Wikipedia style guideline/etiquette that is useful so that other users may attribute posts to specific users. Signing "unsigned" comments in no way implies anything other than someone wished to clarify who has posted. — TheKMantalk 13:22, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
user:TheKMan other than politely noting that you're engaging in a typically evasive and time wasting Wikipedian "tit for tat" exchange about procedure which has nothing to do with Wikipedia being self-referenced by an article in an unencyclopedic manner, we can drop it.
It really didn't become time-wasting until you removed the "unsigned" sig. I think this has a better place in our own talk pages if you wish to continue discussing the merits of Wikipedia guidelines. — TheKMantalk 13:46, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I disagree but we can drop it now. To show good faith I've signed with my registered username. Truth be told, I don't think anon editors should be allowed here at all. The Witch 14:54, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Now, back on topic...should we be linking to edit histories directly from an article? — TheKMantalk 13:47, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

No. It's unencyclopedic, never mind shrill. Readers don't care about edit histories, they care about reliable content and the fact remains, those high school students found shreds of Mr Gardner's fraudulent Wikipedia contribution months after it was removed. The Witch 14:54, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
As the shrill user who originally added the self-reference, please see the account of the vandalism over at Talk:Duke of Cleveland. I frankly don't see how these high school students pulled this off an active page considering how fast the response was, especially if they weren't investigating on either 10 May or 22 May. Like I said over on the other page, I think they googled the guy and got Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV (Joshua Adam Gardner), 5th Duke of Cleveland, which was cut short when the article was speedied. Note that the news reports went from talking about a "Wikipedia page" to a "Wikipedia biography" without explaining why the wording was changing. Gardner tried to get his hoax in with two different IPs and an account sockpuppet on two different days, creating a fake article and modifying an existing one, and got nailed by multiple users both watching the page and on RC patrol. This was example of how Wikipedia works, not how it can fail. If the media bothered to verify anything rather than assume that it was a biography in the article space, this would be a story about how robust Wikipedia anti-vandalism is. - BanyanTree 15:47, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't think you're shrill! However, if you think journalists can be relied upon to be accurate, you're mistaken. Readers are not interested in process, Wikipedia is too consumed by process. Reliability of content is the ultimate implied goal of an encyclopedia, nothing else. Wikipedia spewed unreliable content onto the Internet, never mind how fast it was fixed here. The Witch 16:03, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I do think that a mention of Wikipedia is needed, but not to the point that we start discussing Wikipedia processes and POV pushing Wikipedia in an article. — TheKMantalk 16:31, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia was wontedly a part of the story. For me, the unencyclopedic self-reference happened mostly with the links to diffs, which are now gone. Editors should be exceedingly careful, however, to only use secondary sources which themselves describe Wikipedia's part in this story and not make personal interpretations which are not directly drawn from those outside sources, otherwise, accurate or not, this would be original research which is outside WP policy. The Witch 16:41, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
I afraid I don't understand the line "spewed unreliable content onto the Internet". The hoax was fixed quickly enough that it looks like it didn't get into any of the mirrors, and the only Wikipedia connection is a page on the backend that states "largely nonsense" and "hoax", or various hard to find article histories and deletion logs showing a prompt reaction to attempts to insert misinformation. If the page hadn't been AFDed, nobody would even know that an attempt was made here. Wikipedia is based on the assumption that bad edits will be removed quickly enough that a minimal number of people see it, not that bad edits will be prevented. This assumption was born out in this case and Wikipedians should be proud of it. - BanyanTree 16:57, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
You're mistaken. While verifying the ABC news account I quickly found the fraudulent Wikipedia content on Nationmaster through a Google search. Yes, Nationmaster is lame for having an irresponsibly slow update cycle, yes Wikipedia is lame for allowing fraudulent content by unvetted editors to go live at any time. However, please don't interpret my remarks as opposition against drawing from reliable secondary sources to describe how Wikipedia enabled the fraud of a registered sex offender. The Witch 17:16, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Ugh, this is just bad luck. If there are that so many mirrors that they are catching almost every edit and then are not bothering to update, then I'm not going to worry about it. It appears that you and I disagree on the basic character of Wikipedia, and I would like to refrain from engaging in what I suspect will be a fruitless argument. - BanyanTree 17:44, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Bad luck only because WP policy allowed it to happen. I suspect other mirrors had it for awhile but updated sooner than seven or eight months after the fact. Either way, think of how much other dodgy content is lurking out there on mirrors, misleading people. Think of the dodgy content still on site, in entries nobody cares enough about to watch. So far as disagreeing on the basic character of Wikipedia, all I'm talking about is assuring academic standards across the site. The Witch 18:19, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
You should know that there is a verification feature in the works, which may alleviate some of your concerns. But your criticism of Wikipedia seems based upon a more-traditional view on slowly-updating commercial reference materials, and it clashes with Wikipedia's nature as totally different from other reference sources: free in both senses. --AySz88^-^ 01:55, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
I never said anything about slow updates. I was talking about keeping wankers and trolls away from the edit button. The Witch 10:31, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
You mean, like yourself? User:Zoe|(talk) 17:54, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Wow. That was a personal attack. Personal attacks are against Wikipedia policy and are a blocking offense. You know that, but I guess you think you're above the rules. Either way, you're only making yourself seem like an idiot. I don't think you're an idiot, so why not stop behaving like one, stop the trollish role-playing and quietly edit an article to academic standards like, now? The Witch 18:30, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, Witch, I haven't been attacked like that yet today. I was thinking I'd lost my touch. User:Zoe|(talk) 02:57, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Er, you could show Wikipedian good faith by blocking yourself for 5 minutes. You know, "bad Zoe." We both know you're capable of better things, don't we? ;) The Witch 03:11, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Readers please note: User:Zoe is an admin whose only contribution to this talk page has been the sarcastic personal attack above. Now, take a look at this admin's contribution history. Notice the almost complete lack of article contributions, only edits to the Wikipedia name and administration spaces. Why is that? I mean, if User:Zoe isn't here to edit articles, what's the pith? Is User:Zoe being helpful? The Witch 18:41, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Per Wikipedia:No self-references, this article cannot have internal links to Wikipedia: namespace pages, such as Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV (Joshua Adam Gardner), 5th Duke of Cleveland or Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks. Please do not reinsert these links; they do not make sense in paper versions of Wikipedia or Wikipedia mirrors. Rhobite 01:00, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Those Wikipedia entries are part of the international news reports and are therefore not self-reference. There may be a technical issue as to he use of internal and external links, however. The Witch 02:30, 19 January 2006 (UTC)


It's interesting to note that this particular page was shot on CNN a few hours ago: Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Caspian_James_Crichton-Stuart_IV_(Joshua_Adam_Gardner),_5th_Duke_of_Cleveland --AllyUnion (talk) 09:28, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

See also: Special:Undelete/Caspian_James_Crichton-Stuart_IV_(Joshua_Adam_Gardner),_5th_Duke_of_Cleveland --AllyUnion (talk) 09:31, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Alas, not being a role playing fiddler (that is, not an admin) I can't view that page :) (Note, my sarcasm does not apply to all admins, nor to a disdain for the rules, which I don't think are followed nearly enough around here). The Witch 10:34, 18 January 2006 (UTC)


"Fraud" is a legal term with a specific meaning. We can write about "inaccurate content" which Gardner posted, but fraud is a determination for the courts to prove, not Wikipedia. There are a number of requirements to prove a claim of fraud, misrepresentation is just one of these requirements. If you're not going to link to a court case which finds Gardner guilty of fraud, please don't make this accusation in this article. There are plenty of terms for lying which carry no legal connotation.

Also if you're going to revert me, at least leave my style fixes in the article. I fixed a sentence which was written in the passive voice and was promptly reverted by User:The Witch. Rhobite 01:03, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Since you brought it up, I thought your style fix was unhelpful and contributed to an inaccurate spin, but that was only my opinion. The Witch 01:59, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Hi, this is regarding your recent edits.
    Definition of fraudulent: Engaging in fraud; deceitful.
    Definition of fraud: A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.
The word fraudulent was used correctly, and it was never stated that Gardner was being charged with fraud. Also, I understand WP:NSR, but that page was shown on CNN, so it does has relevance in this article. "Wikipedia can, of course, write about Wikipedia, but context is important." "...the article may well discuss Wikipedia as an example, in a neutral tone, without specifically implying that the article in question is being read on — or is a part of — Wikipedia. If, in this framework, you link from an article to a Wikipedia page outside the main namespace, use external link style to allow the link to work also in a site with a copy of the main namespace content." (from WP:NSR). — TheKMantalk 01:15, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
If you insist that the AfD page should be linked from the article, I guess you could use an external link. Personally I don't see how linking to the AfD (which has one vote and conveys no information about Gardner) is useful, but go ahead if you like. I strongly believe the word "fraudulent" carries a negative connotation. There is simply no reason to use it instead of a more neutral term such as "incorrect". Furthermore, Gardner's behavior doesn't even meet your dictionary definition - it doesn't seem that he wrote the entry "in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain". Rhobite 01:22, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
The mere use of a term with a legal meaning is problematic. Consider an article which states that someone "assaulted" someone else. Even though "assault" has its own meaning to laypeople, it's a specific legal term and I would shy away from using it unless absolutely necessary. Rhobite 01:25, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
With all respect, I do think the the dictionary definition does fit. He posted deceptive content to back up his claims, in order to gain access to a school. He was later arrested, accused of violating his parole and having unsupervised contact with minors.[5] Personally, I don't think using the word "fraudulent" is that necessary, I just thought I should mention this. I do think we should replace "incorrect" with something like "deceitful" or "deceptive". — TheKMantalk 01:37, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
I think you're misunderstanding the case - there's no indication that he intended the entry to be read by the school or its students in order to support his claim to be royalty. He wrote the Wikipedia article several months before he attempted to gain entry to the school, and the entry even helped students find out his real name. I really doubt that he wanted the students to read the entry and find out his real name. I would also prefer it if we didn't ascribe intent to him. "Incorrect" is a neutral term for the information he posted to Wikipedia; "deceptive" makes a judgment about his intent. Rhobite 02:12, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Sounds like Rhobite's trying to give legal advice. Anyway the dictionary definition will suffice for an encyclopedia article, which is not a filing in a court case. Gardner's deceptive behavior does carry an extremely negative connotation, is widely documented (never mind admitted and apologized for by him in published interviews). I have my own notions as to why Rhobite's trying to spin this article and Wikipedia's role in the story (Gardner, the convicted, registered sex offender, or someone pretending to be him, did directly edit Wikipedia articles related to Gardner's fraud at the high school) but we don't have to go there if Rhobite doesn't want to. The Witch 01:41, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that I'm Gardner? I'm thoroughly confused. I am just trying to apply Wikipedia's NPOV policy here, along with WP:NSR and a few grammar fixes. Rhobite 02:12, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
No, I never said or implied you were Gardner. Furthermore, I don't think your edits reflect NPoV, I think they represent a spin intended to mostly write Wikipedia out of the story. The Witch 02:18, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
You think that I'm trying to write Wikipedia out of this story by correcting the spelling of the word "misspelled", eliminating passive voice, and replacing word "fraudulent"? Although I don't think it's relevant, I changed the AfD link to an extlink, so it is no longer a self-ref. Rhobite 02:22, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I do (minus our difference in the spelling of mis-spelled, obviously). By the way passive voice is not always "bad" and I sincerely thought your fix was not only a spin designed to minimize WP's role in this, but was awkwardly worded. The Witch 02:26, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
That was not my intention. I think you should try harder to assume good faith. My wording is not that great, but it's an improvement over the old sentence, which uses the passive voice twice ("posted ... by" and "was carried"). According to Raimes, "A general rule is to use the passive voice only when the doer or agent in your sentence is unknown or is unimportant or when you want to connect the topics of two clauses." Passive voice is one of my pet peeves, and it's unnecessary in nearly all encyclopedia articles. Rhobite 02:38, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree with your interpretation of WP policy regarding good faith and your interpretation of the quoted passage from Raimes. The Witch 02:51, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

The idea that Wikipedia "enabled" anything except Gardner's exposure is mistaken. No one confirmed his story here (in fact, Wikipedia was used to disconfirm it, and in fact was the means by which, according to their own interviews, the student reporters first determined "Joshua Gardner" as a name that needed further investigation). - Nunh-huh 02:06, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

I disagree with you. Gardner's fraudulent Wikipedia claim was carried for months on at least one mirror. It's still there by the way. The source was Wikipedia, like it or not. It's true that he put his true name in the content too, which the high school students used to uncover his status as a convicted and registered sex offender. The source was Wikipedia... and both ABC and CNN (qualified secondary sources) have reported that Wikipedia carried his fraudulent claims. The Witch 02:18, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
But you haven't actually disagreed. I haven't said that someone couldn't have been misinformed by information appearing in Wikipedia, but the fact (through sheer dumb luck) is that we know of no one who actually was. We know only of those who found Mr. Gardner's record through Wikipedia because of his use of his real name in editing the fake article. - Nunh-huh 03:17, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Yeah but I'm sort of hinting at the wider issue this represents, ya know? Some people might feel threatened by it, others may quiely read and more or less agree but be afraid of becoming targets for that role-playing variety of admin who's ready to block someone for a week for copy-pasting the wrong dangling participle on the wrong page but whatever, Wikipedia's systemic problems are plain to see here. What if our friend Caspian hadn't left his real name in the WP entry? (I mean, he seems to have needed to link "Caspian" with "Joshua" and all that but what if?) How many more articles, the kind nobody cares about and nobody watches, are being used for this sort of social fraud? The Witch 03:27, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
I understand your motivation, but I would suggest that your goals are not furthered by making inaccurate statements about what actually happened. - Nunh-huh 03:42, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Try reading that again. I was asking questions and very specifically did not make any "inaccurate statements about what actually happened." Please try to avoid misrepresenting my remarks, thank you. The Witch 03:50, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
I haven't represented your remarks, so I can hardly have misrepresented them. - Nunh-huh 04:07, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Oh, yes, the wonted Wikipedian dodge. Humour, in the guise of one big happy community tittering along in good faith. Spare me, ok? Though I see you've edited Billie Burke so there must be something meed about you ;) The Witch 04:35, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Uhm, another thing. He told the Pioneer Press he was surprised he'd been caught, because it had worked for so long. Can you, er, infer what he might have meant by "worked"? As in, got xxxx? With at least one WP mirror "proving" his peerage up his sleeve? Anyway he also told the PP reporter that Hollywood should start taking him seriously, since he did pull it off for months and so on. Oh, he's an "aspiring actor," according to some news reports. Maybe that's all the convicted, registered sex offender was doing, right? And oh, no, one would never call it fraud... The Witch 03:35, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Not having heard the interview, but nonetheless venturing an opinion, I'd say "worked" is being used synonymously with "fooled people". I'm not sure why his aspirations are pertinent. He's an aspiring King of England, too, I think. - Nunh-huh 03:42, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Why did he want to fool people? Something tells me he's not so brain dead that the registered sex offender thought he could take over Lizzie's public relations job after she exits stage left. I mean, he reported to the nearest police station as soon as his probation officer rang him up on his mobile phone. The Witch 03:45, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
I suspect that there are lots of reasons, none of which can be any more than guesses. Wanting to feel important - or a dislike of feeling unimportant - would be right up there. There is plenty of "fake royalty" out there, and they have all sorts of motivations. - Nunh-huh 04:07, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
If you believe that, perhaps I might interest you in considering the purchase of a tidy little web site, a Wikipedia mirror, you see, with high Google page rankings, higher even than Wikipedia sometimes and plenty of Google text ads on every copied, out of date and unvetted page... The Witch 04:17, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

A question

Wouldn't he be *styled* Duke of Cleveland? -Tim Rhymeless (Er...let's shimmy) 22:00, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

In the UK, yeah, one could, although it's a bit archaic and the incident happened in North America. Wyss 22:03, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

A "style" and a "title" are subtly different. One either has a title (e.g. "Duke of Cleveland") or does not, but one's "style", or ceremonial designation, is chosen (or dictated) because there are several viable options. If this gent had the right to the designation "HRH", that would be part of his "style" rather than his title. The full style, for example of Elizabeth II is "By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith", though of course the full style is seldom used; her son, while he is always the The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cornwall, The Duke of Rothesay, The Earl of Chester, The Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Great Steward of Scotland, is styled "His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay" rather than "His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales" when in Scotland (more controversially, his second wife Camilla, who could by right of marriage call herself "The Princess of Wales" has instead been "styled" "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall"). - Nunh-huh 23:10, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the refresher, Nunh-huh :) So... accordingly, I think he'd be styled Convicted and registered sex offender then, huh? Wyss 23:57, 21 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, he could be, but it would be on firmer ground if Her Majesty would say so in Letters Patent.... - Nunh-huh 15:56, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
lol. She seems to hand them out like party favours anyway... Wyss 16:16, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

NPOV, proper order of facts, and sequence of events

What's up Wyss? Why the changes? -Ste|vertigo 17:27, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Your changes are not supported by the secondary sources. Garnder didn't present the students with the WP article as "proof" of his "peerage" and Wikipedia's role in the story is not what caused it to become international news. Anyway please provide solid citations for this new spin (ie these two assertions you've inserted) before changing the article. Thanks. Wyss 17:32, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Well you dont have to have a snotty attitude, nor do you have to misrepresent my edits as distortions. Im simply reconfiguring the article to reflect the facts, according to basic news style. Who, What, When, Where, Why. Not to mention a little policy called NPOV. Verstehen Sie? -Ste|vertigo 17:41, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
PS, I know some Wikipedians are trying to spin this as a case of Wikipedia helping track down a fraudster but it's murkier than that... they did apparently use the history button to find his deleted content, but meantime it had spewed onto at least one mirror and in effect, WP also enabled his fraud. No big scandal, it's a wiki, but trying to paint WP as purely the saviour and the pith of the story is a bit thick IMHO. He had business cards, a convincing UK accent, other websites, lots of tales to tell and so on. Wyss 17:38, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Thats all way besides the point. Read my piece on lj if you havent already. Linked from the AFD page. -Ste|vertigo 17:41, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Unsupported assertions in this article are besides the point? He put the D of C hoax stuff on WP seven months earlier, it had been long deleted by the time he got to Stillwater high. Anyway I don't have time to go on about this now but I think you're trying to present WP as having saved the day when in truth WP was both only a part of the enablement and a part of the discovery. There was more involved. Wyss 17:46, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

OK, I was unclear on that particular point as to the role Wikipedia played. I certainly am not in favor of having another article merely on the basis of a tangential connection to Wikipedia, which is what it seemed to be about for the most part. With that out of the way, how do you justify placing the very controversial 'registered sex offender' label in the lede? -Ste|vertigo 17:51, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Wah. I apologize profusely if I gave the impression of a snooty attitude. I am now groveling. Moreover, I didn't mean to imply you're "guilty" of distortion... only that your edits in my view do inadvertantly distort. Ouch. I didn't mean to be mean. :( Wyss 17:53, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough. :) Basically I think its important that the article be as precise and clear on the sequence of events as you are here in talk. That way, people like me dont get misinformed. And again, it should keep the 'sex offender' label in the second paragraph where it can be qualified very well. I still think this article has only two legs, and is otherwise held up by somebody's knee. ;) -Ste|vertigo 18:01, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Apparently he'd been getting away with it for months, elsewhere. It even made the news in England (WP was hardly mentioned btw). Wyss 18:08, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

The Florida sexual predator unit flyer (linked in the article) lists him as a registered sex offender from Minnesota, and also states he was convicted of 4th degree forced or coercive sex. It's not even clear exactly what went on in that garage... although he didn't go to prison for it so it must not have been too... whatever. Wyss 17:56, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Hm. 1st degree murder is the more severe crime, so I assume that 4th degree is less severe. The labels of 'forced or coercive' seems to have a dual meaning, which contradicts an implication of higher-degree violence. -Ste|vertigo 18:01, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
That's my impression. It seems to have been a bit more serious than straight underage sex, but doesn't sound like violence was involved (at his first hearing the judge released him without any need to post bail and when convicted he got a suspended sentence, probabtion, all that stuff is in the article and the sources are linked there). Anyway the AP reporter seems to have gone to some length to determine that she was actually his girlfriend and downplayed the "sexual offender" part in the story, though he is a reg. s.o. which, as you can imagine, is what alarmed the student reporters at the school when they saw the Florida flyer on the web. Wyss 18:08, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, encyclopedia articles arent written on impressions are they? Please dont bogart the article -- its neither well founded in encyclopedic interest nor well enough written to be seen as territory, and dominated to bar any development. I notice your version doesnt even state the fact that Minnesota AOC is 16, and insists on keeping the 'sex offender' label dominant. -Ste|vertigo 21:18, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Wow. 16, huh? Wyss 21:31, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Um yeah. And its still not in the article --for anyone who for some reason thinks there should be one. Think that fact might be relevant? -Ste|vertigo 18:43, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Mr Gardner broke the laws of the state of Minnesota (whether they are helpful is another topic, what went on in that garage is unclear), was given probation instead of prison time and chose to impersonate a fictitious English duke at a Minnesota high school filled with minors with whom he was specifically forbidden to associate according to the terms of his probation. He insisted everyone (including the principal) call him "your grace" and said he was a buddy of Prince Harry. He handed out business cards with a "crest" which included a unicorn (one could say something about his choice of a unicorn but whatever). When a bunch of kids working for the school newspaper unmasked him, the story made international news.
If he'd gotten nicked for underage sex and stayed quiet almost nobody would have ever heard of him, but he pulled an extraordinarily flambouyant ruse, partly using a medium which is a newsworthy topic these days (the Internet) and was partly found out by a group of kids using the same medium.
The WP article goes to great lengths to explain Gardner has apologized, said he didn't mean to hurt anyone and is not accused of criminal misconduct at the school.
This is not about underage sex. If he hadn't tried his Duke of Cleveland scam in a building full of minors while on probation there would have been no news reports and no article here. Wyss 18:58, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
            • He handed out business cards with a "crest" which included a unicorn (one could say something about his choice of a unicorn but whatever). Actually, supposedly the unicorn can be used to symbolise Christ in such crests; certainly, the unicorn has been a symbol of purity for some time now. There are a few out there in crests. Not as popular as dragons, lions or gryphons, of course, but they're out there. :) Runa27 22:54, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
1) Its not a "scam" --its a young person gone a bit nuts and out of touch. 2) My criticisms arent about the law, but the way the article is written to feature the law prominently without much qualification, except in parentheticals near the bottom. (It still doesnt mention the fact that the AOC is only 16.) 3) "The article goes to great lengths" is not the point either. Its poorly written and needs to be reorganized. 4) Dont bogart the editorship of the article. -Ste|vertigo 20:51, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
I think what you're saying is that you want to bogart it :) Anyway your apparent take on this is not supported by the sources. Have fun. Wyss 21:14, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Agree with Steve. It's a little opinionated to prominently point out that he "is a convicted and registered Minnesota sex offender" in the first sentence. Editors need to be careful with "is-a" relationships. They are often used to label or pigeonhole the subject. It would be much better to write that the state of Florida lists him as a sex offender. Rhobite 21:22, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I guess it's best to avoid the fact that Mr Gardner is a convicted and registered Minnesota sex offender. I mean, it wasn't a scam at all, he was only a nice guy passing out drawings of unicorns trying to set things up so he could get dates with minors, after all. How could I be so frickin' blind? Wyss 21:31, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Labels are labels. Due to the NPOV policy we need to be careful about making unattributed statements about what someone "is". Doesn't matter if the label accurately describes the subject - it's still POV unless it's attributed. Rhobite 21:52, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
The statement is fully attributed and sourced, so your comment doesn't make sense. Wyss 21:55, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
There is a citation, but the sex offender label is not attributed. I've reworded the first paragraph. Also, he is registered in Florida. I can't find a source for the statement that he is registered in Minnesota too. Rhobite 22:04, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
The record originated with Minnesota. Minnesota passed on their info to Florida. I beleive Florida publicly lists lower level offenders, while Minnesota, registers them, but doesn't give the public display of the names, unless they're higher risk. --Rob 22:22, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
To be clear, the record describes him as a sex offender, convicted of 4th degree criminal sexual conduct (coercive or forced sex). Fully attributed and sourced. Why the fuss? This was an unusual story which was internatonally publicized. He was on probation, forbidden from associating with minors and he strolled into a high school speaking with a UK accent and claiming to be a friend of Prince Harry. Sounds like the kids understood what he was after (and why it was dodgy) straight off. Wyss 22:26, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

This is sloppy. He didn't attempt to enroll. He said he was interested in enrolling. Also, he impersonated the D of C long before he visited the school. Why are you distorting the documented record? Anyway, please read the sources. Wyss 22:38, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

What she said

Please cite the relevant WP policy which requires that the statement of a minor victim involved in a widely reported criminal sexual conduct case must be included in the article (if the article mentions her existence). Mr Gardner was convicted of criminal sexual conduct, forced or coercive sex (cited in art.), the AP said it involved his 14 year old girlfriend (cited in art.), that's the documented record and that's what is appropriate here, thanks. I do find all the sensitivities surrounding this article (which mosly involve efforts to delete documented facts about the case/story) interesting Wyss 16:05, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

WP:NPOV --Rob 16:20, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
As I said, please cite the policy.
Here we have one "side" which wishes to assert a so-called "NPoV" that Mr Gardner was in effect just a poor mixed up 22 year old young person who made some mistakes while trying to get dates with underage girls (with an implied subtext that age of consent laws in the US are too strict), and another "side" which wishes to paint him as a child rapist. Both sides attempt to assert their highly charged PoVs by deleting information, gaming policy (I'm sorry to say) and claiming NPoV. Meanwhile the documented record clearly tells a story somewhere in the middle. Wyss 16:31, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
No, you mischaractizing my comments. I would rather not get into *either* of those sides. I don't want to write about his excuses. I don't want to write about the victim, her family, or the authorities of the original case. I would like to simply state what he was convicted of, and leave it at that. But, once you show one side, then you must show the other. My comment about the showing the girls side was *conditional*. If people leave out the boys side, I'll leave out the girls side. What's hard about that? Let's just stick to the *recent* facts. Whether he "deserved" his original conviction is immaterial. --Rob 16:38, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
What's hard about it is that deleting information invariably distorts the article one way or another. Why deprive readers of documented facts and statements? Why tell them he was convicted of forced/coerced sex but withold information that an AP reporter took the trouble to talk to a prosecutor and determined that, whatever happened, it involved Gardner's underage girlfriend? Why withold from readers Gardner's 2002 statement? Why assume any statement at all was made by the 14 year old? Why allow the article to spin into inaccuracy by deliberately witholding information through a distorted (and in my strong opinion, mistaken) interpretation of NPoV? Well-intentioned or not, allowing Gardner to be portrayed as a child rapist is irresponsible and PoV. Allowing him to be portrayed as a muddle-head who couldn't find a date is also irresponsible and PoV. Let's stay with the documented record. Wyss 16:59, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
It's not POV to state that somebody has a criminal conviction. It's a statement of fact. If you like, we can even put the terms used by government in quotation marks. But this whole business of him claiming he didn't know it was illegal, or whatever, is veering way off topic. Also, no where did I ever put that he was a "child rapist". We can't have a useful conversation if you mischaracterize what I say. --Rob 17:15, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
No, it's merely providing well-documented and direct quotes from Mr Gardner. To delete them is to sway the article into distortion (PoV). I've listed this article on RfC. Let's get some wider input. Wyss 17:20, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Re the "child rapist" thing, I didn't mean to say you were calling him that, I meant to say that deleting certain documented information will invariably lead some readers to that conclusion. Wyss 17:20, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Re the use of quotation marks, I wontedly interpret those as a form of weasel language and try to avoid them however and wherever possible. Wyss 17:22, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
I give up. Your insulting and mischaracterizing what I say. I will now disregard further comments by you. I will remove any POV that you do on behalf of this person, and welcome contributions and comments from other editors. --Rob 17:28, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Readers are invited to decide for themselves whether or not I've been insulting. Either way, my concern is that attempts have been made to delete documented, widely reported information about this story from the article. Sensing we might come to an impasse, I've already put the article up for RfC. Wyss 17:34, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
There's nothing more annoying than a POV pusher who thinks their own POV is NPOV. I'm trying to state the facts, and your trying to spread your opinion that the boy did nothing to serious. You have an opinion. You're pushing it. That's POV pushing. I'll leave it for now, and see if others will NPOV it out of here. If other editors get involved, I'll happily stand aside, and not revert further. --Rob 17:36, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
I interpret that as a PoV warrior accusing me of Pov warring :) You've already deleted widely documented information about the story claiming NPoV, when the effect on the article is strongly PoV. Anyway, I've listed this discussion at RfC. Wyss 17:39, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Since your determined to push your POV, and make this favorable to the boy, I'm leaving it. Do as you wish. I think anybody can see your obvious bias. I really don't care enough to keep trying remove the imbalance. --Rob 17:41, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Your remark and make this favorable to the boy may imply a desire on your part to depict an unfavourable PoV. Personally, I think the notion of someone who was convicted of criminal sexual conduct with his underage girlfriend, then spared prison and put on probation, violating that probation by wandering into a high school full of underage girls and passing out business cards emblazoned with a picture of a unicorn and pretending to be an aristocratic buddy of Prince Harry's is rather frickin' unfavourable (whatever happened in that garage in 2002). Readers of the Associated Press were informed the original victim of the crime was his 14 year old girlfriend whom he was convicted of committing a crime against and I don't see why Wikipedia readers should be denied the same information. Readers are respectfully reminded that it was his determined efforts at impersonating the Duke of Cleveland, his visit to a high school while on probation for criminal sexual conduct, the students' unmasking of his ruse and his subsequent arrest and incarceration for probation violations which, all together, resulted in this story appearing widely in the international news reports. Wyss 17:48, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
I dont think this argument is particularly productive. No doubt Wyss you are looking at this from a particular POV; one of a teenage girl who's got slightly different priorities than a purist concept of NPOV. Now that the ref tags are gone, we can start rewriting it. Wyss, though youve done a lot of 'citing sources', you have yet to learn how to judge sources; encyclopedia writing and sourcing is is far more formal than newspaper writing and sourcing. Rhobite put it best when he said we have to avoid "is a" relationships. This goes double when talking about people. -Ste|vertigo 08:14, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
With all due respect... how weird. All I'm asserting is that documented elements of the story should be included. Anyway what makes you think I'm in my teens? Wyss 14:06, 27 January 2006 (UTC)


I appreciate the effort that the editors on this article have taken. As of this comment (per the signature date stamp) the article looks good. It's well referenced and presents Joshua Gardner in an NPOV manner. The conviction is relevant, as is the background information provided. The article strikes a fine balance where it conveys the facts of the case along with the appropriate level of ambiguity. This might have been a sexual predator seeking new victims or a not very bright young man on a desperate quest for respect. Either way his behavior was out of line and that high school has a fine set of student journalists. There might remain a little fine tuning - I'm not an expert here - but I'd like to congratulate the editors here on a fine job. Regards, Durova 07:04, 27 January 2006 (UTC)


Ive replaced the improper ref tags with template ref tags. HTML tags made the article impossible to use, and bolstered Wyss desire to keep it as it is. Now it can be edited. -Ste|vertigo 08:10, 27 January 2006 (UTC)


Done. Please check links to see they match up. Note that in-article external ref links typically belong at the end of a sentence, not in the middle. Placing them at the end of a paragraph is preferable, and makes editing around them easier. And thats what wiki is all about isnt it? -Ste|vertigo 09:10, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Please provide a citation supporting your assertion that the original crime was statutory rape, thanks. Wyss 14:13, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
    • Im not sure. It certainly seems equivalent, even if its not specifically stated as such. If its a legal term issue, we must make that clear. If theres a substantive difference then we must make that clear also. What we can agree on at this point (on this particular point) is that we cant base the article on inferences taken from an ambigious term --particularly if that ambiguity is local to a particular jurisdiction or even a particular case. -Ste|vertigo 20:16, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Truth be told, I agree that it could be equivalent but I also have serious reservations stemming from "coerced or forced." I sincerely think we need a citation from a secondary source before using the term "statutory rape" or saying he was actually convicted for having underage sex. Something else may have happened which aggravated things to the point where he was arrested. I'm not a lawyer, but here in Europe, people aren't usually arrested for underage sex with 14 year olds unless some other sort of abuse (uhm, like coercion or force, or abuse of authority) was involved. Wyss 20:40, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I see. That makes sense, though I would be more deferential to using the statutory term. In the United States the terms forced or coerced can in fact have a rather banal meaning - any statutory rape can be considered forced or coerced if in fact the state does not consider the underage participant to be capable of acting on their own free will and judgement. In Europe things are a bit more relaxed simply because the culture has been around much longer, and any definition of 'coercion' is not abused by using it abiguously. In the U.S., the puritannical element still tries to hold on to its minor statutes and issues, even when it represents a diminished respect for the free will. In fact, the AOC issue is at the centre of the free will issue ; evangelical conservatives may consider too much freedom to be dangerous to the soul. Its hard to disagree with either view, except to say that laws will reflects any inconsistencies within the different levels of social government. - Ste|vertigo 23:43, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
  • About the age of consent in that state, it's not discussed in any news reports I've read, so your insertion of it (never mind an apparent lack of citation) smacks of original research and I don't think it belongs. I understand your thinking and while I'm not saying you're "wrong," nevertheless the details you're adding don't seem to be supported by the documented record (the conviction clearly contains the expression "forced or coercive." for example). While I'm curious, I've not attempted to insert any personal interpretations into the text and if you read the AP report, although it mentions she was underage and we have Garnder's "ignorance of the law" claim, the reporter doesn't go so far as to say he was convicted for statutory rape. I think it's dodgy to start substituting legal terms and descriptions without citations. Wyss 14:24, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
    • That information comes from the age of consent article at a little online encyclopedia called Wikipedia. Anyone who claims that crossreferencing facts which are directly relevant to the case somehow violates WP:NOR doesnt have a leg to stand on. If you are unsure of this, please email wikien with your questions. Certainly an exclusivist reliance on media sources is an inappropriate interpretation of WP:CITE. -Ste|vertigo 20:16, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Please provide a citation which mentions the connection between the age of consent in Minnesota and Mr Gardner's troubles there, thanks. Wyss 20:40, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I would have to say thats inferrable at the encyclopedic level. If we are to rely on citations, then we must rely on news sources, which may be limited or incomplete. I prefer to make a distinction between news stories and facts --they are two different things, just as newsworthiness and encyclopedicality are different things. If you say 'we cant do research outside of the given sources,' and 'we cant use more precise language than the ambiguous language used in the Minnessota law,' then my assertion that this article is indeed lacking the necessary importance to exist is substantiated tremendously --even if the teenagers at AFD prefer to see it as a 'how Wikipedia helps the world,' and 'what great sleuths we are' story. -Ste|vertigo 23:43, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
  • With all due respect, your previous reference to my gender and (incorrect guess at) my age indicate to me the possibility of unintentional bias on your part regarding both the article and my edits. Wyss 14:26, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
    • Your previous revert, though justifiable, made it seem somwehat as if you had a bone to pick. Others seemed to agree. I didnt mean to imply that you werent mature, but rather that your writing wasnt yet developed to its full potential. Sorry for any hurt feelings, and please accept my apology if my criticism seemed to be personally directed.-Ste|vertigo 20:16, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
That wasn't a revert. I re-wrote over your re-write trying to keep intact as much of what you'd done as I thought I could. We disagree about my writing. You're the one, by the bye, who mis-conjugated verbs and let slip other sloppy mistakes though I only bring it up because this is the second time you've accused me of poor writing. I don't think it's my writing though, I think you believe and want to have the article reflect a PoV the age of consent laws in Minnesota are unfair to misunderstood 22 year old imposters like Mr Gardner. If my edits to the article were contributing to a spin you liked, I don't think you'd have much complaint about my writing, thanks. Wyss 20:40, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
OK. Sorry. I must mention that the term 'impostor' is imprecise. He claimed to be someonewho in fact did not exist, that's misrepresentation, not impersonation. Impersonation in the united States is a crime only when its about someone in a position of authority. A duke of England would have less authority than the groundskeeper, and therefore there is no issue of impersonation. -Ste|vertigo 23:43, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
  • This standard dicdef doesn't mention anything about a distinction between fictitious and true persons. Mr Gardner pretended to be someone he is not (a fictional 5th Duke of Cleveland). That's impersonation. Even if there were a distinction, one could still impersonate Frodo the hobbit so long as people believe, right or wrong, that Frodo exists in reality. Yes, impersonation may have specialised meanings in sundry legal jurisdictions but the sources don't indicate he's been charged with any crimes of "impersonation" or "misrepresentation" etc.
  • I get the impression you're trying to spin the language in this article to minimize, however you can, any sense of "wrong" doing (legal, ethical, moral or whatever) by Mr Gardner as much as possible. If so, why is that? Wyss 00:06, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Although somewhat subtle, the term misrepresented upsets the the syntax and range of meaning possible in the clause a fictional fifth Duke of Cleveland. Impersonated is clearer and direct (again, I get the impression, though I may be misinterpreting, that your goal is indeed to obfuscate, or to diminish whatever seriouness there was to his actions with little regard to the article's clarity). I'm sure you think what he did wasn't cool btw. Wyss 00:24, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

4th degree criminal sex conduct

The Minnesota statute defining 4th degree criminal sex conduct that I could find is here: [6]. It looks consistent with a typical case of an 18 yo dating a 14 or 15 yo and having consensual sex. The "coercion" is because the crime is statutory rape and rape is coercive by definition (i.e. minors can't give legal consent even if they want to). So I think the perp's explanation should be included in the article. 06:10, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

This does seem to be what an AP journalist hinted at but without a direct citation from a reliable secondary source using the term statutory rape in connection with the original conviction, that term shouldn't appear in the article. Wyss 19:16, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Another Rewrite?

Something is still wrong; this reads like it was taken from a newspaper article (especially the sentence "As part of the deception Gardner posted a fake article about his persona on Wikipedia, a freely editable encyclopedia."). Ardric47 08:23, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't think the article sounds like it was lifted from a newspaper, though the "Wikipedia, a freely editable encyclopedia" line sounded a bit too adlike or whatever so I've tweaked that paragraph. Wyss 19:13, 27 February 2006 (UTC)