Michael Z Williamson’s Wikipedia page has not been deleted

For those keeping score, the Michael Z Williamson article on Wikipedia has not been deleted after a long and fractious discussion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Log/2019_July_21#Michael_Z._Williamson

The outcome of the deletion discussion was ‘no consensus’ i.e. notability wasn’t decided one way or another. This was mainly because of the brigade of trolls who descended on the discussion at Williamson’s request.

The finding states:

“The result was no consensus. Wikipedia deletion discussions are not votes, but attempts at establishing whether there is a consensus among editors to delete an article in the light of our applicable inclusion rules, notably WP:GNG and in this case WP:ANYBIO and WP:AUTHOR. As such, while the numbers of people advocating for keeping or deleting the article do matter, the strength of their arguments in light of established Wikipedia policies and guidelines matters more. Our rules require a rough consensus for deletion; absent such consensus, the article is kept. I conclude that this is the case here.”

Ironically the strongest reason for deleting the article was Michael Z Williamson’s tantrum/reverse psychology demand that the page be deleted:

“Given that Williamson himself has requested deletion, I need to determine whether WP:BIODEL applies. According to that policy, “biographical articles of relatively unknown, non-public figures, where the subject has requested deletion and there is no rough consensus, may be closed as delete”. I find that the first criterium of this policy does not apply here. Williamson is a published author who has publicly promoted himself as such; accordingly, he is a public figure. His view on the existence on the article about him is therefore not determinative. “

So the anarcho-encylopedic consensus is that Williamson is notable enough to be a public figure but maybe not notable enough to have a Wikipedia page.

John Scalzi’s surprise cameo also gets a mention:

“I do give weight to the professional opinion of the author and Wikipedian John Scalzi, who, while clearly no friend of Williamson’s, makes a persuasive case that we have routinely accepted articles about authors of comparable apparent notability. While this opinion, as well as other thoughtful “keep” and “delete” opinions, can’t establish a consensus that clearly does not exist, they weigh against attempting to find a consensus for deletion here. “

The possibility of a sequel has not been ruled out:

“Consequently, the article is kept for now. It can be renominated for deletion after an appropriate time. Any new deletion discussion should probably be semi-protected from the beginning, as this one has now been, to prevent the recurrence of canvassing and sockpuppetry.”

Thus ends yet another chapter in the annals of “supposed libertarian throwing a tantrum because others are using their free speech in ways he doesn’t like”.

21 responses to “Michael Z Williamson’s Wikipedia page has not been deleted”

      • Being in Oz, you may not have caught Mike’s pop-cultural reference: During the initial few years of NBC television’s groundbreaking Saturday Night Live programme in the USA, there was a long-running gag during the ‘Weekend Update’ parody-news segment where someone, usually Chevy Chase, intoned ‘In other news, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.’

        It was probably much funnier in the context of the times, because, to us children of the Cold War, it did seem for a while that said bastich would never die, and an unlikely miracle when he did.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. In future, I’ll assume American ephemera remains known worldwide for 43 years. ;->

    Anecdata: Two years back, a staffer posted to a con staff mailing list a bafflingly obscure comment. Rather than saying ‘Eh?’ or ‘Are you smoking the funny stuff?’, I rejoined, ‘The owls are not what they seem.’ Nobody appeared to get that joke — and that was 1990 American ephemera, that in 2017 puzzle (young) American con staff in 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dropping references is an art. It matters that some get a reference but not that everyone gets it. If in fact nobody gets it, then it’s like dropping a rock in a bottomless well — no harm done, not even to the ego of the maker. Unless somebody jumps in unbidden to show off his fabulous knowledge. Because the right response to a reference in any case is to play it back — not to explain it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll try to avoid pleading good intentions, that road being of ill omen, but will mention that I’ve ended up needing to explain Americanisms to Brits, Brittishisms to Yanks, etc.*, that it tends to become a reflex action. In this case, however, I went straight over the line from that to diagramming someone’s joke. You’re right that it was gratuitously annoying, and I regret giving offence.

        * If hitchhiking across Ireland, for example, it’s unwise to ask a lorry driver for a ‘ride’ unless you’re sure you’d be wanting that. (It matters that some get that reference, but not that everyone get it.)


      • The reference was funny, even if you didn’t know the origin. It reminded me of the swedish newspaper that had on its headline: “NOTHING HAS HAPPENED”.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. In our current times, I for one welcome the news that the Generalissimo is set on remaining dead,
    even as his legacy appears to be making a zombie-like return…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Ironically the strongest reason for deleting the article was Michael Z Williamson’s tantrum/reverse psychology demand that the page be deleted.”

    He did what now? He’s not the brightest goldfish in the bowl, is he.

    Again, we have a situation where the author is involved in the hearing about whether to delete his page or not and that this can be a factor in decisions. It’s a very weird situation to be in, but Williamson didn’t make it any easier.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. In the recent revision history there is an extended (like 100 item) battle over iinclusion of the fact that MZW’s time in the army was as a technician fixing air conditioners. Keeps getting put in and then immediately taken out and one of the editors says that facts should not be omitted just because they are inconvenient to the subject and his self-image and the public person he wants to create.

    “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp/ Or what’s a heaven for? “

    Liked by 2 people

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