Kenny Klein: Tales Of The Rambling Wren.
Follow Kenny from the levees of New Orleans to the whirling chaos that is the Pagan festival circuit and beyond. Musings, rants, and just plain Pagan talk.
Wikipedia Vs. Pagans: A New Hope
Many Pagans, especially those with a presence on Facebook, followed with interest the battle being fought earlier this year between well known resource site Wikipedia and the Pagan community. Pagan efforts were lead by a prominent Pagan festival organizer, who saw numerous Wikipedia entries of Pagan notables up for review and deletion (see one article here on the situation). The deletion reviews charged that these Pagan leaders were "not notable enough" and had no secondary sources linked to their pages. Indeed, my own Wikipedia entry was called out for deletion: fortunately I am cited as an expert on Mythology in several journals including that of the American Film Institute, and I have played fiddle on numerous recordings by well known musicians: so my own entry was spared. Other Pagan notables did not fare as well. In fact the entry for Starwood, one of the oldest and most respected Pagan-oriented festivals in North America, was deemed unworthy and was taken down.
One of the leaders who was spearheading the movement to stop Wikipedia from its war on Pagans noticed one particular editor's name appearing again and again in the criticisms of Pagans, an editor calling himself Qworty. The Pagan leader suggested several times that this Qworty had a vendetta against Paganism in general. In fact, Qworty made statements in his criticisms of Pagan pages like these:
- 1) People who promote "witchcraft" are either charlatans or severely mentally ill
- 2) A good number of these Strega folks are Satan worshippers, for whatever that's worth
- 3) The rest of them are a bunch of New Agers who have gone way, way, way over the deep end, spending too much time sucking on water pipes in Santa Cruz and imagining that their deceased Italian forebears are going to drop down out of the sky (or rise up out of Hell) with advice on imagined medical problems, real financial problems, horrible self-created relationship problems, etc [bullet points are part of quote]
When challenged for these statements, Qworty responded:
"Geez, how'd you "witches" find this obscure little talk page so dern fast? Did you use your tarot decks, did you consult your dead ancestors, or did you simply cyberstalk your way over here? Nice to see how you're just a bunch of innocent gals who are always minding your own business. Qworty 01:00, 11 May 2007 (UTC)" [All quotes taken from Qwerty's discussion here].
There was a good deal of criticism on our side that Qworty's statements were not founded in editorial scholarship, as one would expect from an encyclopedia editor, but in deeply personal feelings. Other editors of Wikipedia supported Qworty, saying these types of comments helped to strengthen Wikipedia. I for one could not see how calling us "mentally ill" was strengthening the site.
What has just come to light is that this Qworty has been fighting a one-editor hate campaign for six years, using Wikipedia as a vehicle for slander, lies and gossip against anyone he simply did not like, often targeting people whom he saw as professional competition. Here is the article just published by salon dot com:
What is amazing to me, in hindsight, is that this one weird, egotistic little editor managed to steer Wikipedia all by himself into deleting pages, changing articles and fighting a campaign of ego, hatred and religious intolerance. That other Wikipedia editors agreed with this guy, and supported points that he made, says a good deal about the feasibility of the Wikipedia concept.
Qworty himself seems to have been deleted from Wikipedia in light of these findings. His user page reads "This page has been blanked as a courtesy." While this article's findings may lay the problems of Pagans on Wikipedia to rest, it proves that anyone can now rise up and take Qworty's place. We must keep a watch to see that this does not happen.
5/22: I've been watching as this issue explodes over the Pagan Internet. Here are some follow up articles:
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