Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-06-18/Brandt merger

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The Wikipedia Signpost


Wikipedia critic's article merged

By Ral315, 18 June, 2007

An article about Wikipedia critic Daniel Brandt was merged this week with a few related articles, after its 14th deletion discussion.

On June 9, Durova nominated the page for deletion, citing concerns regarding the biographies of living persons policy:

With respect for the editors who’ve contributed these pages, it’s always been my belief that ethical decisions where good people disagree should be placed in the hands of the people who live with the consequences. No one could have more at stake in this request than these articles’ subjects. We ask notable people not to edit their own articles; we insist that they don’t own the content and we stand by other site policies. On a human level – setting any personal antipathies aside – it’s fair that we extend one courtesy in return.

The request attracted nearly 200 KB of discussion, and was edited over 500 times. Consensus was difficult to determine, with nearly equal numbers of users arguing for keeping and for deleting the articles, and a minority of users arguing for a merge or other solution. In his closure, A Man In Black said,

We have a handful of conflicting interests, namely:

  1. Brandt's activities are subjects of significant commentary, and as such should be covered in this encyclopedia.
  2. This article causes Brandt distress, largely because of previous and potential coverage of minor things he'd rather not have discussed in public but which have been mentioned in minor self-published publications Brandt has mostly tried to bury. (I'm aware of some examples but I won't be mentioning them here out of respect for Brandt; they're strictly comparable to the urinary tract infection example given by 81.62.) The potential for vandalism is also a factor, but a lesser one; any WP article can be vandalized.
  3. This article cannot hope to be complete, due to incomplete coverage in the sources, which largely treat him as a private figure. "Daniel Brandt, 57, of San Antonio, who makes his living as a book indexer" in NYT is a prime example.


I feel this compels us not to treat Brandt as a biography subject. What then, do we do about our first interest, completeness? We merge this info to the subjects we want to cover, then redirect this article somewhere. ... Hopefully, this will serve both the needs of Wikipedia and the needs of Brandt, while allowing us to move past this wasteful, internecine fight.

As a result, the article was redirected to NameBase (later changed to Public Information Research), and the content of the article was merged to the following articles:

The closure itself was placed on deletion review almost immediately. Nominator JoshuaZ said, "I'm really sorry to have to do this. If this had closed as almost any form of keep or delete I wouldn't be doing this, but the current close just doesn't work." The DRV itself attracted over 300 edits and over 150KB in discussion; by the numbers, about two-thirds of commenting users endorsed the closure, with about one-third voting to overturn the opinion. The deletion review was closed early Tuesday by Ryan Postlethwaite, who said:

The question that is asked at deletion review is simple, was the initial closure at AfD correct? Obviously there are two sides to this deletion review debate, on one side, the people wishing to endorse the closure. Many of these users would have preferred to see the article outright deleted, but accept A Man In Black's middleground merge, they make it clear that the AfD closure was an attempt to balance the views of both parties wanting to delete and parties wanting to keep. What it widely quoted is AMIB's closing notes (User:A Man In Black/Brandt) and the thought process put behind his closure. On the other side, there are many comments from the parties wishing to overturn the AfD result that still attempt to show that Daniel Brandt is notable - this is not what deletion review is for, there is also very little in the way of explaining why the close was wrong, with just simple commenting that there was no consensus for for the merge. I have therefore come to the conclusion that the close is endorsed as a complex merge.

The AFD was actually one of two deletion requests made by Durova at the time; the other was a request to delete Seth Finkelstein, also at the request of the subject. Finkelstein is a computer programmer and co-founder of the Censorware Project. That request, closed as "delete" by Sean William, is also being reviewed at DRV.


Also this week: From the editor

Article mergedBoard electionsAccount compromisedRfA withdrawnWikiWorldFeatures and adminsTechnology

Arbitration