Talk:Robert A. Mandell

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Proposed rewrite for this article[edit]

Hello, all. I've been working on a new proposed draft of this article, which expands on Robert Mandell's life, career and ambassadorship while cleaning up some existing content. That draft is now ready for review. First a disclosure: I am working on behalf of Mr. Mandell as part of my work with Beutler Ink. I will not edit this article directly and am seeking other editors' input and assistance in making the changes if they are reasonable.

With my new draft, I give structure to the article, bring it up-to-date and improve sourcing. Being that the existing article is short and largely unstructured, I am proposing my full draft in its entirety. However, I am happy to go over it with editors section-by-section if that's preferable. I've placed the full draft in my user space—Robert A. Mandell (new proposed draft). This diff shows how it differs from the current article.

Here's what you'll see in my draft:

  • The current version of the article consists of a single Biography section. My draft creates sections for Education, Career, Ambassadorship and Personal life.
  • My draft expands detail on Mr. Mandell's education and his career in the private and public sector.
  • It also moves the photo to a new Ambassadorship section and includes a new caption to better identify those in the picture.

There are two other specifics that are worth noting on this discussion page.

  • My draft deletes detail on the resignation of the previous ambassador, Cynthia Stroum, as this article is about Mr. Mandell and should focus on him.
  • Also, the current version mentions "some controversy" over Mr. Mandell's appointment because he was a fundraiser for President Barack Obama and says that "some criticized" the appointment because of Mr. Mandell's lack of diplomatic experience. This is an overstatement. Some media mentioned Mr. Mandell's fundraising and his lack of prior diplomatic experience, so my draft presents the issue that way. It seems to me to be a mischaracterization to say this was a "controversy" when the Senate approved the nomination in a voice vote.

As I said before, I'm willing to go through this with editors section-by-section or as a whole. I'm open to any feedback or suggestions. Cheers, WWB Too (Talk · COI) 16:10, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

WWB_Too I am dissatisfied with your proposed draft. The present article developed by the community is pretty much par for the course for a controversial businessman of moderate notability who purchased an ambassadorship. Merely because the BLP subject is paying you (how much is the amount ?) does not entitle him to a longer puffed up article vis-a-vis those who don't pay and would be unfair. Inlinetext (talk) 03:10, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
Hello, Inlinetext. Thanks for taking a look and responding. To be very clear, my intention is most certainly not to create a "puffed up" article, but to provide additional detail on Mr. Mandell that meets Wikipedia's content rules on verifiability and neutral point of view, among others. I'm curious: Are there specific issues you saw with it that I can address?
Besides the new material, my draft improves on the existing entry in a few ways. For instance:
  • I have updated the infobox, which currently says Mr. Mandell still lives in Luxembourg in an official capacity, which is incorrect.
  • I've moved the image from the left of the page to the right as per the Manual of Style, and rewrote the caption so readers can easily identify the people pictured.
  • The current version says Mr. Mandell worked for Greater Construction and later became its president, but it never says when.
As regards "controversial"—have you seen any particular sources that point to business controversies that should be mentioned in the article? I have researched the topic and not found any. Same question about his his appointment as ambassador—the limited coverage of his confirmation hearings, such as this story from the Orlando Sentinel, does not mention debate over the nomination. While the story notes Mr. Mandell's fundraising efforts for Barack Obama and a lack of previous diplomatic experience, it does not describe these as particularly controversial.
Thanks for your consideration. Cheers, WWB Too (Talk · COI) 18:39, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
Hi 'WWB' (BTW, I read your blog :-) regularly).
I am more concerned with the ghost writing aspects of paid / undisclosed promotional editing which are not easily discernible to the average Wikipedia reader.
Specific issues ? Sure:
  • In the United States, for example, "Unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce are unlawful."
  • "In 2012 the Munich Oberlandesgericht court ruled that if a company or its agents edit Wikipedia with the aim of influencing customers, the edits constitute covert advertising, and as such are a violation of European fair-trading law. The ruling stated that readers cannot be expected to seek out user and talk pages to find editors' disclosures about their corporate affiliation"
  • I am especially concerned that I am being harassed (among other things) for policy based objections connected to your initiated COIRESPONSES here. Cheers, Inlinetext (talk) 19:30, 3 April 2017 (UTC)
Hi, Inlinetext. I fear we are getting off-topic. I'd like to concentrate discussion on the current and proposed content of this entry, and so I was asking if you had specific concerns with the language in my draft. However, it appears your issues are with COI editing altogether. I'd just like to point out that I have openly disclosed my COI, posted a {{Connected contributor}} template, and have pledged not to edit the article directly, an approach endorsed by Jimmy Wales. All of my actions are in line with Wikipedia's Terms of Use and the established guidelines for COI editors seeking edits. I also wish to note that I had nothing to do with the discussion at AN/I, but since you have linked the two, I will leave a note there as well. Best, WWB Too (Talk · COI) 21:30, 3 April 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Editor User:Inlinetext has been blocked from editing, so I have collapsed the unproductive discussion above and currently seek another editor—or editors—to review my proposed draft and implement accordingly. My purpose for collapsing the discussion above is not an attempt to hide concerns regarding paid editing on Wikipedia, but rather to isolate the tangential conversation so editors can focus on this particular edit request specifically. Cheers, WWB Too (Talk · COI) 20:00, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

I think it's a good draft. No glaring issues of WP:NPOV or WP:PROMO. Sticks to facts about where he's worked and for how long, etc., with various sources. All in all, looks fine by me. Gabe Iglesia (talk) 23:53, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
@GabeIglesia: Many thanks for reviewing the draft. Since my updates look good to you, would you be willing to make the changes to the live article? As mentioned above, I won't edit the article directly because of my WP:COI. If you have further questions, let me know. Cheers, WWB Too (Talk · COI) 18:29, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
@WWB Too: Done. With a few minor modifications (I added the specific dates of his tenure as Ambassador, plus a few other formatting things such as Wikilinks). Gabe Iglesia (talk) 21:04, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
@GabeIglesia: Thanks, everything looks great. I appreciate the additional cleanup as well. Cheers, WWB Too (talk) 14:57, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Request to add new photo[edit]

Hello again, I am back to request the addition of a more recent photo for the infobox. I have uploaded this photo to Commons. The filename is Robert-A-Mandell-110.jpg. I believe reviewing editors will find it is of a higher quality than the photo currently on the page. As I stated in my edit request above: I am working on behalf of Mr. Mandell as part of my work with Beutler Ink. I will not edit this article directly and am seeking other editors' input and assistance in posting the new photo. Cheers, WWB Too (Talk · COI) 19:57, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

YesY. Hello, WWB Too, done with pleasure. Wishing you all the best. Resetting as answered. Fylbecatulous talk 22:35, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks so much, Fylbecatulous, I appreciate it! WWB Too (Talk · COI) 13:27, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Use of undeclared paid editors by WWB Too[edit]

Editors should be cautious about using or restoring material suggested by WWB Too in this article. (talk) 03:20, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

To this IP editor whose second edit to Wikipedia is the comment above: I've just become aware of the recent changes to this page. On absolutely no account did I use an undeclared paid editor on this article, nor any others. I have no control over which editors respond to my requests, and I take it on good faith that helpful editors are doing the right thing. This page should be restored to this version from May 16; it's the best version to date, as explained in threads above. I hope another editor will do so soon. WWB Too (Talk · COI) 14:50, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
It is improbable that a professional paid editor does not monitor his client's pages. What is probable is that you arranged another undisclosed paid editor to restore your content independently. If you are so concerned with rules and proprieties, kindly see to it that GabeIglesias is sanctioned for his edits here. (talk) 17:08, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Additions, deletions, and edits I've made to this article are mine alone. Someone may have asked for my assistance, but I verified the factual accuracy of what I wrote, and I added verifiable references. No one told me what to write, or offered me any consideration. I do what I do on Wikipedia as a volunteer only because I'm interested in history and current events. Anyone who suggests otherwise is mistaken.
Billmckern (talk) 15:09, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Your statements are false, because you have been spoonfed by a paid editor. there is very little originality in your work or edits. (talk) 16:52, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Well said, and thanks very much Billmckern. Would you also mind restoring the newer photograph that was in the May 16 version? It's available here: File:Robert-A-Mandell-110.jpg. WWB Too (Talk · COI) 15:14, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── WWB_Too becoz you are a self-declared paid editor, I am not required to AGF anything you say. It is crystal clear that GabeIglesia is also a paid editor who has neglected to disclose his paid editing on Wikipedia. Similarly whatever Billmckern states for this article cannot be taken as face value. This is presently not a case of an organically developed article where volunteer (unpaid) editors collaborate, this is a paid editor WWB_Too imposing his client's wishes through shills and deleting unfavourable references which portray his client in unflattering ways. False in one is false in all. WWB_Too you were caught out once before with GabeIglesia (see the Reddit thread), now leave this article alone and practice your trade somewhere else. PS: see WP:IPHUMAN regarding IP editors. 16:37, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

IP, the article prior to my involvement was very poor—and yet I see you have reverted to the previous version again. My draft sought to improve the quality of information, including reducing UNDUE negative material which I explained in detail above (see here). I first reached out to multiple wikiprojects first to find help (see here and here), and finally reached out to editors who had been helpful on similar subjects—included among them was GabeIglesia (see here). I had not seen the evidence of this alleged Upwork account until today; we don't even know for sure that it is not an impersonation, which has been a real problem on Wikipedia. Your allegation that I am using shills is false; the better version should be restored, and if you have specific problems, raise them afterward. WWB Too (Talk · COI) 18:23, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Using IP to refer to me is a personal attack. Clearly you have been utilising the services of GabeIglesias on more than one paid assignment. Your use of the term we for the alleged impersonation is disingenious. It is not for us to claim impersonation on Upwork but for GabeIglesias to do so. Your excessive use of links from arouses suspicion that you are paid by that lobbying organisation too. So stop trying to convert this encyclopedia into a tawdry marketing catalogue for your vrious clients. This is an international encyclopedia with international contributors and readers and subject to possible multiple legal jurisdictions for undisclosed paid editing which the WMF Terms of Use require you to comply with. Since Mr. Mandell is a real estate developer Unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce are unlawful. If there is any impersonation/deception it seems to involve your clients. I dispute that your version is better. I am prepared to discuss and revdevelop it if we begin from the last uncorrupted version by Drimies. (talk) 00:35, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Hello. Coming into this conversation a little late, so my apologies. I will say on the record that the edits I made for Robert A. Mandell were not paid for as part of an Upwork assignment. To be frank, I never actually have accepted Wikipedia editing projects on Upwork (most of the time I've been approached, it's been by small companies who clearly want articles made for them for promotional purposes). I've set an "inactive" status on my Upwork account since I did not find my time on it to be worth it. As a result, I deemed that there was no need to "declare" a paid edit because such an accusation that I have been paid for my edits on Robert A. Mandell is false. I have been paid for edits on other non-government articles (e.g. Antioch College back in late 2015 which I did indeed declare, and this was prior to my Upwork account creation in 2016), but I have not been paid for any edits since 2015. As an editor who volunteers his time, I do my best to provide assistance to people who want to make edits to government-related articles and I try to apply my best understanding of WP:NPOV and other related policies. I accept mistakes where they are made, so I apologize that this has caused dissatisfaction with IP. As for the edits themselves, I still stand by them and believe that they were as factual and non-biased as they could be, and appreciate the other editors such as WWB_Too and Billmckern for their input. Gabe Iglesia (talk) 15:37, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Nobody has claimed that WWB_Too paid you via Upwork. The claim (originally made on Reddit) is that you are a public SEO Wikipedia "coolie" (or mule) claiming to have 12,000 edits on Wikipedia hired by WWB_Too when he could not find any established editor to take responsibility for these atrocious edits. It seems your conduct was reported on meta but you are only coming here now because WWB_Too contacted you to do so. Irrespective of what you say here, do you admit the Upwork account linked and archived from Reddit is yours or is it an impersonators ? Do you appreciate the amount of damage people like you can cause for us non-US users ? Have you even read the WMF's General Disclaimer carefully enough to understand its consequences ? (talk) 21:03, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
You will notice on my talk page a notice that says "This user is busy in real life and may not respond swiftly to queries." I had no idea there was this discussion here (let alone the fact that I was outright doxed on Reddit and falsely accused of being an active paid editor) until I received a notification about my username being mentioned in this talk page. I don't deny that I had made an Upwork account, so the one mentioned in Reddit was mine. ***Was*** being the key word, because I don't actively use it, and actually never used it for Wikipedia-related projects. As for your second question about the "damage" inflicted on non-US users, I am sorry to say I do not understand what this harm is. I also am not sure what you mean by the WMF's "General Disclaimer." If you are referring to the Wikipedia General Disclaimer, this is simply a statement rightfully warning all users to remember that information should not be taken for granted on Wikipedia. If I am correct, the main concern you and the Redditors take issue with is the role that paid editors play in Wikipedia content. I don't disagree that this deserves discussion. But clearly from your behavior in this and similar discussions, it is apparent that your intention is not to discuss but to shame other users and discourage constructive editing on Wikipedia. Gabe Iglesia (talk) 23:11, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Removal of criticism -"Obama names another bundler to be ambassador to Luxembourg"[edit]

Why has this citation been removed ?

Obama names another bundler to be ambassador to Luxembourg


The White House has nominated Florida real estate developer Robert A. Mandell to take her place. Like Stroum, Mandell is an Obama bundler, one of an elite corps of fundraisers who collect from $50,000 to more than $500,000 from friends and business associates. Mandell raised more than $200,000 for the 2008 Obama campaign, records show.
A recent investigation by iWatch News found that Obama has appointed two dozen of his 2008 bundlers as ambassadors, despite a campaign promise to curtail the influence of big donors and other special interests in Washington. In all, nearly 200 Obama bundlers have landed government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions for dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events, the investigation found.

This report by a double Pulitzer prize winning organization clearly shows that Mandell is habituated to pay and bribe his way. (talk) 17:16, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

It shows no such thing; like it or not, presidents tend to appoint bundlers to ambassadorships. The passage you quote does show that Mandell is hardly unique in this regard, and its inclusion on this page must be evaluated accordingly. I did not delete the criticism; I put it in context (see here). I'm not opposed to CPI being included, but the content from my draft should be restored—and the details about the previous ambassador have no place in Amb. Mandell's biography. WWB Too (Talk · COI) 18:30, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

WP:PAID is not a replacement for Terms of Use on paid editing[edit]

WP:PAID is a supplement to WMF's Terms of Use and not a replacement (alternative policy) or dilution of it. (talk) 17:20, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

EU law also applicable[edit]

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a member of the EU. Accordingly relevant EU laws and directives will also apply for this article. As an EU resident and contributor to this article, I require prominent paid editing disclosure on the article page itself and not hidden away on the talk page whenever this page is displayed within EU. (talk) 01:01, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Where are you getting this BS about paid edits to this article, and why? As I've made clear, I wrote most of the content in this article, and provided the references, and no one paid me, offered to pay me, asked me if I wanted compensation, or anything along those lines. I write and edit as a volunteer because I have interests in history and current events. That's it.
Billmckern (talk) 01:19, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Where I am getting it is from your user page, and your confirmation that your present primary employer is The Analysis Corporation which is deeply linked to the State Department. You are not the first such "volunteer" with links to the State Dept used by WWB_Too to insert his drafts into articles like this and Colleen Bell who is another Obama bundler who employs WWB_Too. Since GabeIglesias is exposed as an undisclosed paid editor, the same suspicion devolves upon you. See this (talk) 03:49, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
You are falsely presuming cause and effect. I work for a company, and I write on Wikipedia, and therefore my work must have something to do with my writing. There is no cause and effect. For one thing, I was writing on Wikipedia for several years before I began working for my present employer. For another, if I was going to commit some kind of conflict of interest trickery here, why would I use my own name as my screen name, and let readers know how to contact me? Think this through -- your accusations are not only false, they're nonsensical. You need to stop questioning my integrity, because I haven't done anything wrong.
Billmckern (talk) 11:05, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
You are not thinking this through logically. You did edits for WWB_Too in the past (Dec 2015 on Colleen Bell). In May 2017 not finding anyone else he approached you again for these edits. You did not effect WWB_Too's edits, which were effected through GabeIglesias an editor now exposed as a SEO freelancer employable at US$5. These were reverted by another IP (possibly the Reddit objector). You then come along with some cock-n-bull story about cleaning your talk page, reverted that other IP's edit by ignoring the paid editing rationale and still persist in edit warring to retain WWB_Too's ghost written promotional content. Any reasonable person would conclude that you are being paid by WWB_Too contingent upon this content sticking. You are doing wrong by ignoring all the conduct rules for content disputes between 2 editors (WWB_Too doesn't count). I have repeatedly said that I am prepared to assist in cooperatively rewriting this article from a stable and neutral base version. The last such version was by Drmies (an arb). (talk) 14:46, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
You need to shut the hell up. I didn't "come up with a cock and bull story." If you look at my edit history, you'll see that I cleaned up my talk page on the same day that I replied to WWB-Too. You're WRONG on the facts. You're WRONG in your accusations. I don't know what your problem is, or why you're fixated on this, but you need to stop NOW. You can't accuse me of not thinking something through logically when I'm factually correct, and you're factually incorrect, and I can prove it. Just accept that you're wrong, and move on please.
Billmckern (talk) 16:04, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
You are being exceptionally abusive when I am trying to communicate in a CIVIL way with you to collaborate on improving this article. I am not accusing you of anything except acting as an "agent" (probably inadvertently) for WWB_Too. NB: I use the term "agent" for the same reason it is used in WMF policy under applicable law/s. How could you not be aware that GabeIglesia's paid edits had been reverted by the other IP for undisclosed paid editing ? Or did you choose to ignore that IP's concerns ? More importantly, why did you ignore WP:PAIDATTRIBUTE ? How are Wikipedia readers in the EU supposed to be informed about these paid / COI edits ? Are you even aware of the several other applicable policies for such COI edits which you have blithely skipped over and failed to comply with ? (talk) 17:48, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm not abusive. YOU ARE. I'm not being paid, and you need to stop falsely suggesting that I am. I don't have a conflict of interest, and you need to stop falsely claiming that I do.
Billmckern (talk) 18:22, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
You simply don't get what I am saying do you? You may, or may not, have a COI. But WWB_Too certainly does. When you insert content from his ghost written drafts into article space in violation of policy / ToU / guidelines you cause legal trouble for not only yourself but also other editors. So long as any of WWB_Too's content is in the article without disclosure no well informed EU editor can read it or edit it or link to it. In other words you are poisoning the common well for the rest of us. I am going to have to revert you to preserve this BLP for non-US users. If you voluntarily decide to reinsert any content traceable to WWB_Too without complying with each and every legal requirement (including those in the General Disclaimer) you do so with personal liability for your actions. (talk) 18:45, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
You simply don't get what I am saying do you? I DO NOT have a conflict of interest. I AM NOT being paid. You keep making the accusation, and I take attacks on my integrity seriously. You need to stop right now.
Billmckern (talk) 18:48, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
So stop acting as a proxy / agent for WWB_Too and collaborate with me. (talk) 18:56, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
First you falsely call me a paid editor and a liar, and now you want me to help you? Nooooope.
Billmckern (talk) 20:14, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
Well in that case there is now nothing to say considering that you have deliberately opted to revert me to reinsert your master's words. (talk) 20:28, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
There you go, lying again.
Billmckern (talk) 21:07, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Regarding WP:PAIDATTRIBUTE claims[edit]

The IP user still reverting the page from this high-quality article based on my proposal to this low-quality version is wrong to claim, in this edit, that there was no proper attribution made per WP:PAIDATTRIBUTE. Billmckern did precisely that in this edit of October 4, 2017. Accordingly, the better article should be restored. WWB Too (Talk · COI) 19:40, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

As always this paid editor is lying while singing for his supper. The edit summary he highlights does not at all comply with WP:PAIDATTRIBUTE. (1) It does not link to WWB_Too's draft, (2) It does not specify that WWB_Too is a paid editor, and (3) It does not specify that the text is insered on behalf of WWB_Too. The edit summary for such edits is expected to be on the lines of "Text inserted on behalf of paid editor User:X; copied from Draft:Paid draft.". NB: This has nothing to do with better or worse versions of the article. The fact is that the changes lack WP:CONSENSUS especially when there are only 2 actual editors involved, and one of them is refusing to cooperate and seems to be WP:NOTHERE to improve the encyclopedia. (talk) 20:25, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
There's no point in debating you any longer, so I won't. WWB Too (Talk · COI) 22:32, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Major deletions without consensus[edit]

Recently, a newly-created account removed significant content from this article over a two-day period. This is their entire edit history to date, and I think if anyone looks at the specific edits (e.g., "infobox not required") it's clear they're not really WP:HERE. Cullen328, I saw you had tried to deal with what you viewed as POV-pushing at the time. Billmckern, you had gotten involved previously following similar activity on this page. To restate the record, Amb. Mandell was a client of mine last year, and the version that was stable following the last round reflected not just my proposed edits, but good faith changes by other volunteers. I'm hoping one of you is willing to consider restoring that version. And FWIW, similar nonsense is happening on other pages with which I've recently been involved, so I doubt it's an isolated incident. Adding a template here as well, so it's viewable in the official queue. Thanks for the consideration, WWB Too (Talk · COI) 03:26, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

Hello, WWB_Too. I have reverted those edits, which did not improve the article. This editor shows all of the signs of being a WP:SPA pushing an agenda of hostility to Mandell. Please let me know if they return.
As for other articles with similar problems, please feel free to open a discussion on my talk page. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 03:50, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, this one is settled, at least for now. WWB Too (Talk · COI) 04:28, 15 December 2017 (UTC)
For what its worth, I also endorse this restoration. TonyBallioni (talk) 05:17, 15 December 2017 (UTC)