I bet they were feeling really good about the "story" they had collaborated on, a long awaited review of Wikipedia's war against the Daily Mail. More on the actual story here. This will be more of a meta analysis. A journey through space and time, looking for meaning in this crazy universe. So hold onto your butts.
Also, I was biding my time so I could properly savour the glory. So what? I'm only human, after all.
Anyway, TO THE META ANALYSIS BUS!
So the story dropped on July 1st. Unfortunately for them, reality had already spoiled the party. Big time. Who knows, maybe it wasn't even a coincidence. Floquenbeam working with the Resistance? Stranger things have happened.
For reasons only he will ever know, Harrison chose to print this line......
I'm not saying Harrison can't quote a Wikipedia editor if he wants, but if he's a journalist, he should be wary of committing the words of a fantasist, in print.Macon told me that he was able to brush off the attack, writing, “I have been on the Internet since the days of USENET and have reached the point where the trolls are either amusing or boring.”
Maybe Macon really is in denial, maybe he is just a born liar, but the sad fact for him, and for us all, is that reality doesn't care what he thinks about himself. Because this isn't a matter where he gets to own his truth. This is a matter where there is an objective truth to be found. And he should support that, given his dislike of pseudoscience and general quackery.
For Harrison's benefit, let's remind him of reality. Because this quote is so untrue even a majority of Wikipedia editors recognise Guy Macon as anything but the person to be put in the same room as a troll. He is someone widely known even among his peers, who are generally no saints, for his lack of civility. For his questionable temperament, his snark, his domineering nature. His total inability to let shit go.
Because boy oh boy, this was most definitely not the week to be daring reality to make a fool out of you. Not that it's hard to find examples of Macon failing to uphold the minimal standards of civility, especially when he feels under attack. Accepting of course, that the current minimal standard is a long way from the written policy, which has essentially been deprecated in practice, and carves out a clear exception where users are obviously being "baited". But still Macon stands out in his field. Like a scabby scarecrow.
For this was the same week Macon absolutely lost his mind, and he lost it over being blocked for 48 hours for a gross violation of civility. He had allegedly mocked the gender of another editor.
I say allegedly, but this is Wikipedia, where they're bizarrely quite proud of the fact there is no justice in wikiland. So if someone says you mocked someone's gender, and they block you for it, and that block is neither immediately undone or appealed on the grounds you did not do that, well, like it or not, you did it. You have limited options to restore your good name once the block has expired, which I'll come to in a minute.
And he most assuredly took it as an attack. Him, a man who has never been blocked in fifteen years of editing? How very dare they.
What followed can be seen here.....
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... 1031609738
As an aside, regarding Macon's ongoing disputes with objective measurable reality, this is a good time to remind people that between 2006 and 2009, Guy Macon only made 30 edits to Wikipedia, and in 2010, arguably his first year as a Wikipedian, he only made 310 edits. So you do the math. Not that 10 or 11 years unblocked is anything to sniff at. It's just not fifteen.
For background, as an old white straight geek (I know, what are the chances of a veteran Wikipedia editor meeting that description?), Guy Macon has struggled with the use of singular "they" as a preferred pronoun. Back in May 2019, he was advised by Wikipedia Administrator Floquenbeam that if he couldn't handle User:Fae's stated preference for "they", he should just avoid mentioning Fae ever again. But if he couldn't, he was given a clear warning that "if Guy does choose to refer to Fæ again, he'll be blocked for personal attacks/harassment for using anything besides the singular 'they'".
It was a mark of Macon's overall reputation, that this shameful rebuke didn't even really feature as a specific talking point in his application to become an Administrator that Harrison somehow missed. It perhaps just blended in to a broad backdrop of snark and aggression and a general love of drama, that somehow Harrison also missed.
It obviously stuck in Floquenbeam's mind, since when Macon decided he had more to say to Fae some years later, he was Johnny on the spot. And it was very much a two footed lunge from Macon, with a post to Fae's talk page that rather over-egged Guy Macon's apparently new approach to the "they" problem - just call Fae by his username.
Floquenbeam saw that as a deliberate act, ignoring his previous warning, hence his immediate application of a block. And this is quite standard on Wikipedia, even if it was a little surprising to see such an established user being subjected to the usual educate, warn, short block for a first offence, longer block for further offences, disciplinary cycle.
Floquenbeam at least, and perhaps others, have seemingly quite rightly decided that not even an excuse of autism can really explain why someone would craft a post as pointedly ungrammatical as that. For he refused to undo the block. It was eventually undone, but only because an alternative measure that achieves the same result, was enacted. A permanent ban on Macon ever mentioning Fae anywhere on Wikipedia.
It is certainly curious gjven what followed in his post block testimony, that Macon found himself having to agree to a binding order to avoid doing something he apparently could and should have taken under voluntary advertisement way back in 2019. Is that explained by autism? I'm not a doctor, but I have my doubts. Someone who doesn't have autism but simply has the sort of temperament that sees them unable to control themselves in the face of trolls or attacks, would of course also feel that urge to scratch that itch.
An open and shut case then, certainly given Wikipedia doesn't do diagnoses, no? Of course not. It's Guy Macon, so there was to be drama. Or to be fair, an attempt to create drama, before a largely disinterest audience. For in context, as things go on Wikipedia, while some have objected, and certainly in the very serious context of what Guy is claiming Floquenbeam is doing to him, the number and tone of the objections marks this out as an exceedingly uncontroversial block.
It is a sad reality of the Wikipedia community's inability to govern itself properly, that a block of any veteran, if it's not for literally shooting someone in broad daylight in Wiki Fifth Avenue, is usually contested. Some believe such things should never even happen. A compete opposite to the idea everyone is equal under the wikilaw.
Guy Macon tried his hardest to get a bigger and hotter reaction. He took quite the journey all told, in pursuit of a storm. In just a couple of days, he went from holding the Wikipedia community hostage, to wishing to move on with his life. Even though nothing of substance really happened in the mean time.
The hostage situation began when he retired, stating he was withholding his edits unless or until Floquenbeam admitted he had acted rashly, with emotion, or the Wikipedia community decides to formally vacate his given reason for the block. Both being designed to remove the suggestion that Macon was acting with malice or even cruelty, and agreeing with the version of reality that Macon put forward, that this was all just some giant misunderstanding, a failure to assume good faith or take into account his autism, or indeed that he is just an old duffer who is struggling with the shifting stands of society.
Shall we gloss over the parts where he even seems to think everyone is out to get him, inventing made up rules that only apply to him, and that some mysterious cabal is trying to force him off of Wikipedia? Oops, I guess I just mentioned it.
While a handful of users have agreed, to one extent or another, that really is, relatively speaking, a sign of community disinterest. Floquenbeam is a scary dude, a real hard nosed bastard, so there was never a realistic chance of him admitting fault, but he's not so powerful someone wouldn't at least try to go the other route and ask the community to consider the request to vacate. But nothing. Crickets.
A little embarrassing, even. And as Macon seems to at least know, being a veteran and all, that if you have to actually ask for something like this yourself, as in literally draft the request and ask for it to be posted to a noticeboard from wiki prison, or post it yourself post release, you're unlikely to succeed. You have already lost. Wikipedia being the ultimate game of how to make friends and influence people.
He has seen the writing on the wall, it seems. His demands will go unanswered, his retirement, regretted by some, but ignored. And so he has swiftly changed tack. In a post that seems to imagine some great tumult has occurred, bearing in mind this is a community that can and will have actual genuine revolts if need be (see Framgate), he now calls for calm.
It really is quite ridiculous in context, well worth quoting, for humour purposes.
Let it go.....let it go.....fucking Disney.Let me end with this;
To those who have expressed support; please don't escalate this. That is not what I want. Just let it go.
To those who have criticized me; you got your way. I have stopped editing. Please let it go.
To Floquenbeam; please consider what a number of editors have told you and consider walking away and letting other administrators deal with any future issues. You really can trust the other administrators to do the right thing.
I appreciate the emails I have received and would welcome more like them. I will reply to every one, but I want to take a break from this and move on with my life for at least a couple of days. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:51, 2 July 2021 (UTC)
This is the man Harrison immortalised in print, and used as source for many things about how Wikipedia works. Someone incapable of ignoring or laughing off any kind of attack, even though that is how he sees himself. Someone incapable of acting calmly and rationally, of recognising when someone has a different interpretation than you, and finding a reasonable resolution. Not because they're just angry, although that never helps. It's because of their thin grip on reality. Or their love of a fight, or attention, or drama. Or worst of all, a desire to be the thing they claim to resemble the least. A troll.
Someone who could not and should not be trusted with fairly and accurately describing the reliability of a newspaper. Someone whose claims should always be fact checked. Always.
Because it is no accident that the wide gulf between perception and reality that you see when Macon is discussing himself, is also readily seen when he is discussing the reputation of the Daily Mail.
He is, in a word, a fire starter. A twisted fire starter. And they're not known for their value to society. They're not known for their ability to hold down responsible jobs, like holding Faculty at a Journalism School.
Someone whose own sense of self importance, genuinely seems to think the Wikipedia community was just about to reach DEFCON ONE to rectify this terrible injustice, until he stepped up, Jesus like, and called for calm. Telling them to wait while he wanders off into the wilderness to await advice from the man upstairs. Or whatever the mythology is for whatever crackpot belief system he ascribes to. Because he for sure as shit isn't welcome at Atheist Club any time soon. Not with that Messiah complex.
He's moving on with his life. Denying the reality, that for the last ten years, being a professional Wikipedia bastard, is his life. And he can't quit now. Not while he has just got journalistic recognition for his works!
I mean, fuuuuuck. There's not doing your job very well, and there's just, well, SUCKing. Eh Stephen?
That line of his about Macon's fantasy idea of how he thinks he deals with trolls, was followed swiftly by this line.....
Not that I've seen. But they do tend to be whiny little bitches whenever their patently half-assed efforts to build an encyclopedia are criticised, that's for sure.Still, there is plenty of evidence that one reason people are discouraged from editing Wikipedia is because of past issues with harassment of its contributors.
I have seen studies that show a lot of people, a large majority of the potential workforce of Wikipedia, either choose never to engage, or soon leave after only a brief period of engagement, due to one really massive problem. Civility. Or a lack thereof, among the established Wikipedia editors. Women in particular, are turned off by snark, aggression, intolerance, and just plain rudeness.
At its extreme, is the inarguable fact that most people would choose not to work with lunatics. Why collaborate online with people you would cross a street to avoid?
Oh, and I nearly forgot. There is indeed a renewed interest in protecting Wikipedia editors from harassment, and the increasing incidence of people like Guy Macon being advised by Wikipedia Administrators to stay away from people like Fae, was an example of it. But they are thankfully rare.
On a final note, there's this line too.....
....all I can say say is, thank you for your interest.Well, ronsmith7, today is your lucky day because this journalist is interested in those issues.
For those who don't know, the stunningly handsome and wonderfully insightful ronsmith7 had noticed quite a few interesting things that seemed to be holding up the Wikipedia editor's sluggish implementation of the Daily Mail ban.....
Stephen seems to have overlooked all of that. Which begs the question, was he writing for the benefit of Ron at all? Or was he writing at the behest of someone who really hates Ron? Some daft bastard who thinks Ron works for the Daily Mail, perhaps? A right fucking lunatic. Who can know. A journalist must protect their sources, right?1. The widely held assumption among Wikipedia editors that if something only appears in the Mail and nowhere else, it can be assumed to be not relevant to Wikipedia, is probably false.
2. The widely held belief among Wikipedia editors that 1. can be worked around if a reliable source reprints material "according to the Mail" and can thereafter be presumed to be reliable, is also probably false.
3. Disagreement among many Wikipedia editors over what is the presumed cause of the Mail's unreliability for the purposes of Wikipedia, whether it is specific journalists, departments, titles, or the entire organization, from the editors all the way to the ownership (an alleged deliberate business model, if you will). Even a presumption of historical reliability, is now disputed.
4. Disagreement among Wikipedia editors as to how to actually deal with an instance of a piece of information being found in Wikipedia, that is only sourced to the Mail. Do you remove it all, or only remove the link to the source (leaving the information), or only remove the source and tag the information as needing a better source.
I wonder if he wants another go?
Or shall we try and find Ron a serious journalist?
Maybe we can find a journalist so good, they take Stephen's job working Slate's Wikipedia beat, and Stephen has to go work for WikiTribune. That's still open, right?
Fucking sucks, eh Stephen? People fucking with your livelihood. Especially when they're a cracker short of a Wikipicnic.
You take care now.