Talk:Les Balsiger

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Different person[edit]

Please note that this page is not the same as the article created by User:Lesb246 about the Les Balsiger presently working as an administrator at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon. That article was subsequently deleted; see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Les Balsiger

This article is about a different Les Balsiger presently living in Troy, Montana.[1] --A. B. (talk) 04:19, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

This is about a living person who is non-notable and is an attack
( 23:09, 10 January 2007 (UTC)).
This person clearly meets our notability requirements by virtue of the newspaper coverage -- see WP:BIO. The Les Balsiger referred to in the newspaper references cited engaged in very public, if controversial behavior. He deserves a straight, honest story but (in my unofficial opinion) he is not entitled to the privacy protections of a non-public person.
As I see it, there are several issues here:
  • Is the subject of this article the same person as the La Grande, OR Les Balsiger?
    • Note that there was significant discussion of this question which I subsequently blanked out of concern that the article might be pointing a finger at the wrong Les Balsiger. Blanking talk page discussions is almost always forbidden, but there are rare exceptions -- see WP:BLP. If you haven't already, step version-by-version through the edit histories for the article and this talk page and you'll see what I mean.
  • Are the statements in this article factual?
  • Are the statements neutrally worded?
    • Going beyond the issue of superficial, factual neutrality, there are subtler but just as important neutrality issues? See Wikipedia:Neutral point of view#Situations and handling for some good discussion of how one can string together selected factual, neutral statements to form a non-neutral whole.
  • Are there important facts that are not included but should be included? (Note that these have to be verifiable using reliable sources -- see WP:RS and WP:V)
--A. B. (talk) 02:21, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Minor changes in wording[edit]

I took out the "harshly" in the opening sentence. I agree 100% that the criticism was harsh, however us saying so gives the impression of POVism. Also it seems to me that when "the pope" is used, refering to the current pope, it is in lower case. The same with "the queen", refering to Queen Elizabeth, or "the president", refering to the current US president. I personally think it should be capitalized, which is why I noticed it. I had been capitalizing them and changed to conform to what newspapers, etc. were doing. Steve Dufour 18:02, 12 January 2007 (UTC) p.s. I checked out the Pope article and saw that they capitalized it there too. I think they are wrong but I'm not going to bother.

Well I sort of disagree, but I'm not going to arm-wrestle you on either point. Feel free to revert my edits.
More importantly, I appreciate your work on this problematic article! --A. B. (talk) 18:27, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll take out "harshly" but leave "Pope" capitalized. Steve Dufour 18:50, 12 January 2007 (UTC)


As a result of direct communication with Mr. Balsiger (administrator) I have disambiguated the pages and redirected Les Balsiger to Les Balsiger (activist). I hope this clarifies any confusion.--Brad Patrick 13:09, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Respectfully, I think this sets a very worrisome precedent to have a disambig top notice for a non-notable person. What if someone named Dean Carter who is not the serial killer calls and threatens to sue? Would that article now have to be tagged with "Not to be confused with Dean Carter (plumber)"? And my guess is that there are probably several dozen people in the United States with that name.
I hate to use the old "slippery slope" argument, and I'm sure you had a good legal reason for your actions, but I worry about what this commits Wikipedia to do for anyone who shares a name with a negatively portrayed person.
The "(activist)" disambiguating clarifier to the title of this article is one thing, but a top link {{distinguish}} notice is overkill. -- Satori Son 13:32, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I also find this troublesome and would like to bring this situation to the larger wiki community, because I am tempted to simply remove the redlinked template. Is third opinion the next step? Because I believe requests for comment is for more serious incidents? Katr67 15:41, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, since Mr. Patrick made the edit in his official capacity as legal counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, we are prohibited from reverting it. I have left a note on his talk page asking if he might check back here and reconsider the {{distinguish}} template based on our concerns. -- Satori Son 17:37, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I checked his user page after I made the above post. I think it should be made clearer, for future reference, that this action was an official Wikimedia Foundation action. Some of us ordinary Wikipedians don't pay too much attention to who the higher-ups are. Nothing personal, you understand. Katr67 18:08, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Brad Patrick may correct me if I'm wrong, but if this was an WP:OFFICE action, it would have been clearly indicated as such. So it's safe to assume this was a purely preemptive measure, still open for community discussion and revision. Femto 12:19, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Also, the community consensus that the administrator Les Balsiger was insufficiently notable was established at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Les Balsiger. -- Satori Son 17:51, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that whole debacle (including a massive linkspamming incident) is why this page is on my watchlist at all and it sort of left a bad taste in my mouth, which is one reason why I'm opposed to having a link to the non-notable administrator. But if Brad has indeed verified the person's identity, I guess I can overlook what was a good faith, albeit clumsy, effort to clear his name. Katr67 18:08, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I concur in Brad's change. It's a small thing and it's fair to administrator Balsiger. More importantly, it's a cheap way to avoid legal trouble for the Foundation. Ultimately, the Foundation would prevail, but it would be draining in terms of time and money. I have a lot of confidence in Brad's ability to finesse these things with minimal disruption to Wikipedia. I'm sorry he's resigned his official position. --A. B. (talk) 17:58, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Just let me be absolutely clear: I also have great confidence in Mr. Patrick's judgment, and I fully support adding the "(activist)" clarifier to the title of this article. But allowing anyone (or anything?) with the same name as an existing article to add their name and occupation/description to the very top of the article opens us up to abuse and spamming. Where do we draw the line? Is it only people who threaten to sue? Is it only if the primary article has a negative slant? What about music bands, websites, or companies? And how many do we allow? I can easily see the top of the an article having five or six of these, none of which link to an article (which is the purpose of a top link disambiguation notice).
And I also agree we have to pick our battles. But this is a major precedent that we will one day be very sorry about if we leave it. -- Satori Son 18:18, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
No really, we're talking about that someone tries to influence Wikipedia's content by threatening with a lawsuit. (for later reference [4]) Even if it's just one unusual disambiguation note now, where do we draw the line?
That said, disambiguation is appropriate when there is a possible risk of confusion, which evidently there is. Though the 'other' Les Balsiger may lack encyclopedic notability and won't get another article any time soon, if recognizing his existence with a redlink avoids legal trouble, so be it. But the {{distinguish}} template is overspecific and definitely too much for this article. How about replacing it with a generic {{otherpeople}}, pointing to a proper Les Balsiger disambiguation page with two entries, where an eternal redlink shouldn't really bother anyone? Femto 12:20, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
General practice is we should not disambig when there are only two links unless both people are equally noteable. Okay, I know this is a particularly unique case but I feel creating a disambig page is just worse in this case Nil Einne 17:32, 28 March 2007 (UTC)Strike that. After looking at how Brad has done it, seems good to me Nil Einne 17:33, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm thrilled at the response to this. My overarching concern is that Administrator Balsiger is, in fact, being confused for the person who is the activist. It is precisely the Dean Carter (plumber) problem. (Or rather, Dean Carter (HVAC) - to the TRANE rep in Seattle, I'm sorry Mr. Carter [5]). There are probably many more that's the first fellow I found on Google. In the case of attorney disciplinary cases in Washington State, where I am a member of the bar, the notices have qualifiers that say things like "Mr. John Q. Smith of Wenatchee is not to be confused with Mr. John Q. Smith of Omak." It is a form of disambiguation which is directly relevant to those individuals. Administrator Balsiger has been very clear that the unfortunate circumstances of his name and geographic proximity to Activist Balsiger, in conjunction with Wikipedia have made it difficult for him to differentiate himself. I understand the fear of a cascade of Joe Blow disambiguations. In this case, I think everyone agrees the (activist) nomenclature is correct. There seems to be an open question about how to properly differentiate a Joe Blow (controversial) from Joe Blow (anybody) from Joe Blow (star), Joe Blow (author), or Joe Blow (notable noun). Is the red link overkill? Not to this Administrator Balsiger, who acknowledges he is not, and does not intend to be, notable. He just doesn't want to be labeled incorrectly: guy who said the Pope is the anti-Christ vs. administrator at a Catholic institution. That does seem reasonable under the circumstances.--Brad Patrick 16:31, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Rereading comments - should the red link instead point to the RfD re: non-notability? That's its own problem, and even more confusing. I was not intending to create policy here, I was solving this problem for this person under these circumstances.--Brad Patrick 16:35, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
If people do want the red link to point to the RfD, how about instead moving the deleted Les Balsiger to (administrator), deleting it again and then protecting it (the RFD will have to be moved as well I presume). This way the red link will be to a protected page which links to the RfD. Nil Einne 17:32, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Just did redirects and disambiguation. Administrator Balsiger will never have a red link until he does something notable. :) --Brad Patrick 17:34, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

I just undid the above action. Sorry, I shoulda read this Talk Page first. Nonetheless, I disagree with BradPatrick's actions and would like to see a consensus for this solution. I'm sorry if non-notable Mr. Balsiger (administrator) is confused with notable Mr. Balsiger (anti-Catholic activist). That's the way the cookie crumbles. We cannot have disambigs for every non-notable perso with the same name as a notable person. --Richard 17:48, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

There is a great deal of comments about how we cannot disambiguate every pair of people; this is true, but I don't know why it should be a particularly high bar either; I have a sense that, while a person may not be notable, the fact that they are in close physical proximity to someone with a radically different viewpoint has a sort of notability that merits mention. I am reminded of a similar episode of two men of faith at Princeton with radically different viewpoints; the student newspaper wrote this article [6] after the newspaper very nearly attributed a website from the ultraconservative street preacher to the moderate Episcopal priest - if they had done so there would have been a "verifiable" source confusing the two identities! I see the argument against disambiguating people simply because they have the same name, but not the argument against disambiguating people in cases where an otherwise nonnotable person is negatively affected by the association? Sirmob 00:10, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

New discussion[edit]

Note new discussion at Talk:Les Balsiger (disambiguation)

Per my comment at Talk:Les Balsiger (disambiguation), since Brad's version was properly restored, to prevent further changes during the discussion I have protected the page and the redirect, on the basis of BLP policy. DGG ( talk ) 19:39, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Edit HAT[edit]

{{editprotected}} Can we link to Les Balsiger (disambiguation) in the hatnote? Otherwise it makes no sense to have a hatnote, I think. Not sure if this was an oversight or by design. Thanks. Katr67 (talk) 19:41, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

 Done - I have switched to use template and moved to top of article. Keith D (talk) 00:55, 11 December 2009 (UTC)