User talk:Wjcohen

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David Grann[edit]

You have now twice (diff 1, diff 2) wholesale reverted substantial edits at David Grann with which you partly disagreed. This is disruptive editing, because you reverted undisputed impromevents of the article, which I documented in my edit summary (a practice which you seem to shun).

As for the part of the article you disagree with: you asked a question in this regard at Wikipedia:Editor assistance/Requests; please respect the advice you received there.

I strongly suggest you revert your revert. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:10, 14 July 2011 (UTC)


2. I have been told by the wikipedia dispute board to try to this work this out with you directly so here goes.

A lawsuit is an instance of a formal allegation, in this case against a prominent journalist. Although wikipedia guidelines do state the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, lawsuits covered in the press do seem relevant of inclusion. And this lawsuit was posted as part of the page.

However, once a lawsuit is dismissed, as it was in this case, then the allegation would seems to lose relevance - being tossed out of court renders the lawsuit devoid of merit. So its continued inclusion upon a wikipedia page casts undue aspirations on a living subject's character. (Particularly to a journalist, whose presumption of fairness is paramount to his reputation.) Innocence ought to be restored to the living person. And in this case, the lawsuit never reached trial, it never had a discovery phase, no jury was called, etc. It was tossed out of court.

Thus, it seemed no longer relevant to subject's wikipedia entry and potentially biased(as its appearance conveys a sense of an ongoing dispute when in reality, there is none any longer.) You keep trying to reinstate it for reasons unclear since it adds no meaningful or legally clarifying information. His original restoration of the lawsuit represented 33 percent of the subject's entire career profile; your reedited submission still represented more than 10 percent of the information displayed in that section, which is disproportionate as well as irrelevant as no judgement was found against the subject! Wikipedia guidelines state "Beware of claims that rely on guilt by association..." and this would seem to be a case of it here.

Furthermore, being sued is sadly inherent to being a journalist. Many suits are frivolous and tossed out of court like this one. I checked Bob Woodward's page as comparison and none of the failed lawsuits against him are referenced on his page.

Wikipedia urges that "special attention be paid to neutrality...regarding living persons" I hope this dispute can be settled with the edits I have submitted. Thank you.

Wjcohen (talk) 19:54, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Grann's article, "The Mark of a Masterpiece", which sparked the court action was one of the finest and most gripping pieces of long-form journalism I've ever read; it was rightly nominated for an award. Another event that arose from it was the court action by Biro. It was commented on in reliable sources. Consequently, it needs to be mentioned in Grann's biography. That Biro's complaint was dismissed by a judge doesn't mean the court action never happened. How my wording of the episode using 46 words can be perceived as harmful, biased or "casting undue aspirations" I don't understand. In fact, I think the episode enhances Grann's reputation – he's written a controversial piece, he's faced court action over it, he (and Condé Nast) stood their ground and won. On the other hand, I did remove this episode from the article Who the *$&% Is Jackson Pollock? where it was irrelevant. You, however, have removed the whole section three times from Grann's biography, which is well against WP:3RR and WP:BRD. First you removed it without providing any source for the case dismissal, and your third removal was of a section which I had considerably trimmed and provided with the citation of the court decision. These were unreasonable reverts; you should have raised the matter instead on the article's talk page. I stronly suggest you revert your edit from August 7. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:40, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Sorry was not able to reply sooner. Thanks for your thoughtful response. But I guess I still fundamentally disagree with you and what I feel are wikipedian's biases toward more information. (I think editing/trimming is just as valuable, particularly as I note for context.) How to resolve at this point? In the meantime, I made slight edits again to put in appropriate context. Hope you can reply about a next step.

Wjcohen (talk) 17:18, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

I can't understand the point of your three edits today (12-Aug); they seem to include a self-revert and a self-revert-revert. The end result seems in substance very little different to my last version (11-Aug), except for a formatting error where The New Yorker is not italicised, where WP:REFPUNC is not observed, the problematic change from "defamation" to "libel" (the sources call it "defamation"), the omission of the judge's name, and the repositioning of the award nomination for "Masterpiece". Nor am I convinced that calling the judge's ruling a "summary dismissal" is supported by any sources. I can't see how your edits change the substance of the episode as I put it, or even improve its style or narration. I suggest again to return to the version from August 11. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 09:55, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Let's bring this to a higher authority than continue this edit war. I don't agree with your characterizations at all about my edits and feel you have no substantial basis for your recent talk note aside from wanting to have the last word. Responses and explanations:
1.) I already wrote in my earlier note about how I believe the lawsuit is out of context in this career section. We disagree on this - I still feel the lawsuit casts undue aspirations and it takes up excessive space - so my edit attempted a compromise. Repositioning of the award allows the lawsuit to be a mention in the career section versus your edit where it is the final word (and thus, has undue emphasis, in my opinion.) Feel this is an important change and was an effort to find a middle ground. 2) Feel your version was wrong to say Grann "portrayed him as a forger" - the article gives a lot of evidence to this effect but is not as direct as your characterization of it.
3) "Summarily dismissed" is to dispose of a case without a trial, which is what exactly happened.
4) Defamation and libel are identical legally - libel is defamation by the written word. How is this problematic? (If you felt strongly for some unknown reason, I am happy to revert to either word you want.)
5) What relevance does the judge's name have? A person can view it in the links.
6) I will however fix the italics.
Can we end this now?
166.77.6.9 (talk) 16:59, 12 August 2013 (UTC)