Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wilber fundamentalist on Wikipedia?

I'm going to leave off my usual musing on Integral matters to address a bit of a drama that's been happening lately. But in itself this is also important, because no amount of accessing the higher worlds and transpersonal states of consciousness matters if the situation and groundwork on the physical plane isn't done too!

The situation is this. Recently a Wilberian propagandist joined Wikipedia and began selectively attacking and deleting all the links he could find to my pages on the Integral movement, as well as trying to delete all references to Matthew Dallman, and nominating for deletion Michel Bauwen's biography (the motion was narrowly defeated)

Here's his user page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Backface

Here's the discussion on my talk page
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:M_Alan_Kazlev&redirect=no#Not_Notable.3F

Here's his nominations for page deletion
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Michael_Zimmerman&diff=prev&oldid=93570248
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Timothy_Wilken&diff=prev&oldid=93569711
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Peer-to-peer_%28meme%29&diff=prev&oldid=93569278 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Michel_Bauwens&oldid=90661021

(Note that I am the author of all of those pages.)

From what I gather and the opinion of a friend, BF is much more likely to be a solitary Wilber fundamentalist rather than someone affiliated with an organisation like, say, the Integral Institute.

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but it seems that this guy's main gripe is with me, possibly as a result of my essay on Integral Esotericism on Frank Visser's site, as he refers to my work as "self-published drivel from self-declared esotericists". It is possible also that Wiki references to Matthew may have been targeted because I was the author of his now deleted bio (you can find Backface's comments there too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Matthew_Dallman (scroll down)) and I added links and references to him on the Wikipedia Integral Art page. Interestingly, I was also the author of Michel's wikipedia page.

Anyway most of his edits have since been reverted, so there's no harm done there, although unfortunately pages that are deleted stay deleted. And here Backface is able to manipulate Wikipedia's current appallingly one-sided policy regarding biographical essays, against which I have argued passionately but with very little effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Notability_%28people%29#Current_bio_notability_guidelines_adding_to_systematic_bias.3F (and yes BF even has to have his say on that page too. Yet only on the issue I'm talking about!)

In any case, like bullies everywhere, BF is good at dishing it out (deleting links etc) but not so good at taking it, as indicated by the fact that he ran straight to the Personal Attack noticeboard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Personal_attack_intervention_noticeboard#User:M_Alan_Kazlev when I marked his edits as pov vandal (actually he is right on a technicality, Wikipedia vandalism doesnt include POV, and I was happy to admit my breach of wikinette, but why go to all the trouble of trying to list me there?), as well as using my first name rather than Kazlev and even giving me a compliment as if trying to suck up to me. Yet at the same time as he's trying to be friendly to me, he's harassing one of my supporters http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Dseer&diff=prev&oldid=95648444

So why am I saying all this here? Especially since Backface, having been challenged, has (at least at the time of writing) stopped attempting to delete pages and links relevant to the Integral movement? Because this sort of abuse of Wikipedia, which is by no means rare, should be brought out into the open. It is all too easy for people with specific agendas to push their pov.

A few closing comments (and disclaimers) in regard to this whole affair.

I have no idea what BF is like apart from his activities on Wikipedia. For all I know he may be a really swell guy, very sincere and well-meaning in what he tries to do, but, through lack of self-knowledge, not aware of his own biases and shadow-projection. I don't know. And I certainly don't want to judging him as a person. I'm only judging what he does on Wikipedia, and the attitude with which he judges it. The reader is free to come to their own opinion on this and other matters, indeed I certainly don;t think you should form an opinion about something or someone just because I said something regarding them. It is important to always make one's own inquiries and then, guiding by one's inner intuition and Light, come to one's own conclusions with sincerity.

Secondly, those Wilberians I have met have come across as very decent and principled people. So I am not trying to imply that Backface's actions are in any way representative of the Wilberian movement. This is not to deny that some Wilberians do act in a reprehensible manner (e.g. the antagonism some commentators show to Frank's posts on Wilber Watch is disappointing), but on the whole I find this community to be a high principled one, my criticism of certain cultic tendencies not withstanding. The very fact that there is the ability to look at and question things, as indicated for example by these blogs on Zaadz, is an encouraging sign

Thirdly, Wikipedia itself, despite its many glaring faults, has built into it an admirable transparency. Indeed, it is this transparenmcy that prevents Backface from hiding his real agenda, as anyone who takes the trouble to follow up on his edits on his user page can see.

Finally, I must say, all of this has been a very big incentive and encouragement for me to get my books written! I've decided that the first one will be a revised version of my material posted on Frank's site.

9 Comments:

Blogger Tom said...

This is hilarious, not some sort of tragedy.

Dallman was written up in the Washington Post regarding the contretemps of To Be Wikified or To Be Wikifried.

Patience. Let Dallman [aka, Wiki User:Curlygoose (now deleted)] do a few more notable things and THEN he'll get in. Where's that book? Where's that concerto? Chop, chop. Get busy.

-- Tom, aka Enkido in the Wiki world

8:48 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

C4 seems to now think that I am BackFace the rascal on Wiki who is causing Kazlev grief.

Nope. Not me. It is disappointing that C4 would think that anyone who disagrees with him on some topics is necessarily capable of firebrand tactics. [You're starting to become paranoid, like Ken, C4.]

I did read the discussion relating to the Dallman article and the WashPost article and I have come to the conclusion that MD's case looks pretty bleek to save the article, because of the Wiki rules, as explained in the discussion.

But I think y'all should relax. Wikipedia is not the arbitor of what is important. Besides, it is certain that MD's status will grow/improve and that Wiki will open its doors wider to allow in more in the years ahead such that in a couple years it would be a scandal if MD isn't in Wiki.

6:09 PM  
Blogger ~C4Chaos said...

i think you're the one who should relax, Tom. i linked-back to M. Alan's post and not you. i didn't even notice you're comment. you're reading between the link too much. stop being so paranoid, it's the holidays.

~C (for Christmas balls)

7:22 PM  
Blogger m alan kazlev said...

Tom I agree with you that MD will most certainly eventually have his wiki bio restored, when he has had more work published. However the reason for my posting wasn';t to do with MD, but rather was to point out how a single vandal or propagandist (in thsi case BF) is able to selectively target material by, as well as removes link to any of the pages he disapproves of, on Wikipedia. Fortunately the Wikipedia system is pretty good at handling this sort of thing. A few of us challenged BF and so far he is behaving himself. Nevertheless it does illustrate the potential of a single individual to abuse the wikipedia system. I dshould say that in this regard BF is very minor concerned to the activities of some others. I am however concerned that all perspectives re Integral get a say on WP, and that any attempts at censorship be exposed and made public.

And btw what's this trip you have with ~C? Since when did he accuse you of being BF?

Out of curiosity, after reading your comment here, I did follow the link he gives on his blog comment (where he very generously helps publicise the situation) and it simply led to my blog posting; it isn't directed at your comment (as he himself points out). If you aren't sure, check the link again yourself.

7:29 PM  
Blogger m alan kazlev said...

Ah, I see that ~C himself posted (while I was composing my more long-winded reply)

Yep, exactly :-)

7:31 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Sorry. I copy & pasted the comment URL in notepad from both sources and thought I had a match, in addition to thinking the URL in C4's post went to the bottom of your post. My error.

9:17 PM  
Blogger m alan kazlev said...

Tom, that's cool, no harm done :-)

9:22 PM  
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