John Clark Pro Se Blog Actor, Producer & Writer

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The Proof for Wikipedia

Posted in A SPACE FOR NOSTALGIA, Wikipedia

Monica Thapar of the BBC’s archives, has responded with the request from the Just Willliam Society to come up with a full cast list of the Nov. 6, 1946  radio broadcast, the details of which were questioned and contested by the editing folks at Wikipedia. I cannot upload it to Wikipedia, so I need to do it here. We will see if they will apologize to me. Meanwhile, I forgive the BBC for destroying the old wax records of post wartime period favorite radio shows, and making amends by going the extra mile for us researchers.

I’m glad to be closing the books on this subject. Now on to more important things.

 

Wikipedia, the Lying Encyclopedia

Posted in A SPACE FOR NOSTALGIA, Wikipedia

The storm in a teacup I inadvertently started has now become a veritable Mt. Etna. I do this for Notable People everywhere, of which I am deemed to be one.

As I’ve said, notable people are discouraged from editing pieces written about them by others. References from published sources are provided by WP contributors, and I have maintained that the choice of these references are biased, and contravene their own set of rules all the time. These editors cross the boundaries of “Maintaining a neutral point of view”, of “Never claiming ownership of an article”, and “Avoiding conflict of interest.” It is clear that the subject of an article on a living person, or a dead person, lies in the area of “Biographies.” Such was the featured article on my old friend, John Le Mesurier, best known from the “Dad’s Army” British TV series, repeated I believe on BBC in America.

I was accused of manipulation, making threats, advertising, lying, and making vain claims. They tried to expose me by ridicule and insult, and have blocked me from editing, which I’ve been happily doing for three or four years, creating harmless other type articles. I can still, however, express myself on my talk page, where I am linking to this. This is what SchroCat (a pseudonym hiding an identity) said to prove I was guilty of all of the above sins. He published as follows:

Having spent a chunk of my own personal time traipsing up to the British Library because of the ridiculous questioning of whether a respected and proven biographer is reliable or not, I am very happy to say that I found in back issues of the Radio Times the information that at 20:15 on 26 November 1946 Episode 10 of Just William was broadcast on the BBC Light Programme, ending at 20:35. It was subsequently repeated on the same wavelength at 16:30 on 1 December 1946.

Clark, There is no hearsay, so stop trolling. I have provided sufficient information. If you want to see it in black and white, buy the McCann book. Scans are not possible for microfiche records at the BL: I asked and was told that I would have to get it transferred to the rare book section for electronic processing. You want to do that, then you can foot the bill. If you are too parsimonious to do that, then look elsewhere. I have contacted the author to ask him: he has provided an answer. If you also want to hear it directly from him, I suggest you contact him directly. If not, then you will have to [[WP:AGF]]. If that is beyond you, then go to the reliable sources people and ask them to make a decision on the matter. I care not what you want to believe or not believe, your pointless trolling on this matter has gone far and beyond any normal or natural behaviour. – [[User:SchroCat|SchroCat]] ([[User talk:SchroCat|talk]]) 09:03, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

I then contacted Graham McCann, the author of the book from which the information came and asked about the connection between Just William and Le Mez. He confirmed to me that “the information came from the BBC’s written archive records and Le Mesurier’s personal files.”

Consequently I am more than happy that what we have in this article is an accurate reflection of what is available in the reliable sources, and that those sources have provided archival information from unimpeachable sources.

Fortunately, I am a member of the Just William Society, deemed by these fellows not to be a reliable source, and one of their volunteer historians by the name of Robert Kirkpatrick went down to the library to find out if Wikipedia was telling the truth, or allowing a lie. I cannot download this to Wikipedia, because I am blocked. So I am downloading it here, on my website, to prove that lies about people are permitted at Wikipedia. He had this to say to me, before supplying proof that lies are to be found on Wikipedia. He said

 Herewith a copy of the page from the Radio Times showing episode 10 of Just William broadcast on 26 November 1946.  As you can see, there is no mention of John le Mesurier.

The episode was repeated on Sunday 1 December 1946  –  cast list wasn’t given.

So, we all agree that this Wikipedia chap is correct, in that there WAS an episode on JW on that date (which was never in doubt anyway), but if he’s saying that John le Mesurier was in it and that Radio Times proves it then he’s 100% in the wrong.

As I said, my own suspicion is that le Mesurier’s biographer got it wrong (after all, we all make mistakes  –  and in any case perhaps it was le Mesurier himself who got mixed up) and that the reference should have been to the live broadcast of the stage play from the Granville Theatre on 23 December 1946.

PS  I should add, for accuracy’s sake, that I wasn’t allowed to photocopy the page from the Radio Times at the British Library, as it was too large (i.e larger than A4).  I could have paid for it to be scanned and copied, but that would have taken 24 hours. So I went to Westminster Reference Library and was able to take the photocopy from their bound volumes of the Radio Times.

I can, of course, assure you that both copies were identical! I hope this helps and you can get your life back!!!!!”

Robert

Here’s the visible scan of the Radio Times entry:

 

I hope Jimbo Wales acts on this information, and takes steps to free up a notable’s ability to edit freely, alongside other contributors. And there are at least 3 of these lying pseudos who should be banned forever from contributing to what is otherwise a fine encyclopedia.

 

 

 

 

 

Wikipedia

Posted in ACTORS' & DIRECTORS' CORNER, Wikipedia

I’ve been a contributor for many years now. I guess it started when I needed a means to rehabilitate my name and reputation after the onslaught from the court, the press, my wife, my children, my in-laws, and, ok then, if you insist, the nanny. Doing this enabled me to show that I did have a life, and a professional one at that, well before becoming a part of my wife’s life. And access to the site being free, and knowing the laziness of many journalists and other media folk, I felt that they would check me out there, and leave me alone.

Here I should mention that I love the concept, and admire it in action. They have extraordinary software which takes a while to learn, very specific rules, and on the whole there are built-in safeguards to protect against advocacy. Neutral Point of View, one of their 3 core principles. The others are Verifiability, and No Original Research.

This is all to the good, until it comes up short in their big weakness. How to deal with the BLPs. That is the Biographies of Living Persons. As many of my friends in the industry know, reputations have been shattered, as well as undeservedly exalted, by editors, some of whom are what I call fanboys, and others the exact opposite. Combine that thought with the fact that they actively prevent the target subject from having any hand at all in the creation or editing of the page. I fought long and hard to create my page, and finally I think they got fed up with me, and let it stand, so I got away with it. I haven’t touched it again in years, and now others have taken over, treating me better than I would have done for myself, so thank you!  I detect some inaccuracies, but what the heck, they do me no harm! Here, check it out.

Things had been quiet on this front until recently, when a firestorm erupted.

I noticed a featured entry on my old friend, John Le Mesurier, long passed on. The creators of the article linked to many of his co-workers, and it mentioned that he started his radio career with the series Just William in 1946. My name wasn’t mentioned, and I thought, what the heck, I’ll put in my name because I was the first William, he worked with me, was my friend, and link it to the article on me. Well, it was immediately deleted, so I put it back, and this started an edit war, a no-no at Wikipedia. Often article talk pages are more interesting than the articles they discuss. The irony is that when I asked the Just William Society to look into the matter, they found that the biographer of the book which was their source was wrong, he never was in the radio show! And I certainly don’t remember him in the broadcast studio either. So their sourcing policy has serious flaws in it anyway.

What began as a storm in a teacup has blown up to be a big issue at the Wikipedia website, and has even drawn in the founder, Jimmy Wales. As I said, it has to do with the fact that they don’t allow celebrities who have their own entries known as “Biographies of Living Persons” to in any way edit their entries. A “Conflict of Interest” rule. So even if they are misquoted, or sourced to an unreliable mention in a newspaper or book, there’s nothing they can do about it.

Does all this matter? I think it does, because Wikipedia is usually, one might say always, at or near the top of search engines. And because it’s royalty free, the press quotes freely from it all the time. I am campaigning for them to change this rule. “Celebrities” and other sentient groups, should be able to edit too. If Wikipedia claims to be democratic, i.e. for “all the people”, then all the people should be able to edit anything anywhere at any time.  And if they continue to ban celebrities? By way of illustration of possible legal outcomes, I made up the following courtroom scenario, and posted it on Jimbo Wales’s user page:

Celebrity vs. Wikipedia, does 1-30 (The does will cover senior editors, founders and 30 users)

CELEBRITY ATTORNEY: My client has been libeled in the pages of Wikipedia in an article written by users who operate under assumed names.

JUDGE: Libeled? Does your client claim privacy privileges which are quite broad?

CELEBRITY ATTORNEY: No your honor, he knows that he is vulnerable to general criticism and accepts that. He is what they call a Notable, and as such becomes part of a category called “Biographies of Living Persons”, and any content may only be changed at the discretion of other users, but not him. That is the crux of this action. He does not accept statements that hold him up to ridicule, scorn, and contempt.

WP ATTORNEY: My client claims immunity as a public website. It merely passes on what is being said elsewhere. All statements are sourced.

JUDGE: Does Wikipedia discriminate against any users?

WP ATTORNEY: Absolutely not. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site, as we proclaim publicly.

JUDGE: Can’t the plaintiff remove the offending language then?

CELEBRITY ATTORNEY: No your honor. Under Wikipedia’s restrictive rules, celebrities cannot change anything in articles detailing their lives, beyond possibly a fact here and there. It contravenes what is known as their Conflict of Interest rule, which is a core principle, and which conflicts with their own rules which my friend just stated.

JUDGE: I see. Then can you state your problem with individual users?

CELEBRITY ATTORNEY: They don’t always provide a source for their unpleasant remarks, and many are the celebrities’ fans, and in this case haters. Often-times untrue statements remain unchallenged.

JUDGE: Then I grant permission for you to bring any such users into court, as I rule they are not exempt.

CELEBRITY ATTORNEY: But how do I find them?

JUDGE: That’s your problem. (raises gavel)

WP ATTORNEY: (Quickly) May I confer with my clients?

(After a short interlude.)

WP ATTORNEY: I think we can settle this, your honor. My clients are willing to change the rule. They will henceforth include the celebrity and notable BLPers as regular users. Of course, they will then have to conform to the same rules as everybody else.

JUDGE: Sounds good to me. I will sign an order to that effect. Case dismissed.

************************
We will see what happens next. I think that the high ups, whoever they are, will think about making the change, and I predict that it will happen in the near future. Will WP fall apart? No, it will carry on in a much more acceptable way. I would hope to see the living celebrity actors, the sports heroes, the academics, the scientists, the music makers, the artists, the writers, the health specialists, yes even the politicians contribute to their spaces, and that they will become a lot more readable. There will be original research, indeed there will, but so what? Lies will come tumbling down, and truth will prevail in the long run. Because no one wants to look stupid, and the liars will eventually be caught out. Self-correcting. No longer can they blame their publicist or lawyer or agent or manager or friend for “getting it wrong, not my fault.” They can say what they want, and the burden will shift to others to prove if they are lying or outrageously stretching the truth, and so Wikipedia will become more transparent. I’d give it a new name. I’d call it WikipediaPLUS.
LATER
Oh dear, I’ve been BLOCKED! Not banished, mind you, but blocked from editing. Well, I am still allowed to express myself on my talk page, which I am doing. Here is my talk page. Start at the bottom, if you’re interested. And if you’re a “celebrity” or a “notable person”, you should be.