Is Tony Pierce notable?

Anti-blog militia has LAist editor in its crosshairs

An organized gang of Wikipedia users are waging a self proclaimed “War On Blogs” to have certain blogger’s articles deleted from the online encyclopedia. Currently under attack are the Freeway Blogger and Tony Pierce, editor of LAist and writer for his own site, the Busblog.

Wikipedia user “Timecop/The war on blogs” has a page that outlines the plan for “Blogs Under Termination from Us Queers (B.U.T.F.U.Q.)” that explains:

So, there are hundreds of utterly worthless blog-related pages on Wikipedia. My goal is to get rid of a lot of them.


In order to have a Wikipedia entry deleted from the site it needs to be “nominated for deletion” then voted on by other Wikipedia users. User Femmina listed Pierce for deletion for the following reason:

Vanity and self-promotion. Apparently this guy did nothing in his life except writing in blogs.

As of this writing, the votes look unfavorably on Pierce, with ten votes for deleting the entry and five to keep – one of the keeps being Tony Pierce himself.

Most of those voting to delete Pierce’s question his “notability”, the main criteria for inclusion on Wikipedia. However, Wikipedia’s definitions of “notability” include the following:

The person has been the primary subject of multiple non-trivial published works whose source is independent of the person.

The person made a widely recognized contribution that is part of the enduring historical record in their specific field.

Pierce defends himself by listing his accomplishments, including appearances on G4TV, mentions in the New York Times and Washington Post, having a word he coined (“blook”) a nominee for Oxford’s word of the year, and is the number three result when you Google the name “Tony”. This doesn’t mention the hundreds of additional bloggers who credit Pierce with inspiring them to write, or influencing their style. Rank wise, of the millions of blogs online, Technorati has listed his Busblog in the top 500, and Blogebrity ranked Pierce an “A List” blogger when it launched almost two years ago.

It would seem that within the field of blogging, Tony Pierce is doubtlessly notable – so is the notability of the field of blogs a legitimate issue, or coud this be a coordinated attack on blogs by Wikipedia users who don’t like the medium and some of its players?

On a related note, Timecop also lists a fellow Metblogger, San Francisco’s Violet Blue, as being next in its queue for attempted deletion.

(photo by Doc Searls)

30 Replies to “Is Tony Pierce notable?”

  1. There’s a real need to police vanity pages all over Wikipedia, but there’s a definite fine line between cutting the fat and losing valuable content. Tony is definitely notable in his field, which qualifies him, even if it’s only a tiny stub of a descriptive page.

    Bloggers tend to have rough relationship with Wikipedia because they are “internet native”. It’s a problem with two horns. Because of their “native status” they often appear more notable or relevant than they are offline, and they also seem to have a lot of trouble understanding that they have little to no role in writing Wikipedia entries relevant to them. When it comes to blog or blogger related entries, there’s a higher percentage of questionably notable, outright self promotional self promotional bs, or blatant re-postings of non-objective bios by fanboys than in any other are of WP that I can think of.

    There’s a lot of crap out there, but Timecop is going about it in the wrong way and with a bad attitude.

  2. I can certainly understand the problem and I’m all for shutting down vanity wiki pages. So what makes a wiki page vanity? Someones opinion.

    Case in point. The wiki dudes decided that a stub someone had added about a company I used to work for – iAmaze – that did DHTML and JS dev work – the first of it’s kind – before the new millennium was not worthy and axed it – twice. To me, that is way more history/newsworthy than any blogger. But not according to the wiki dudes.

    So what.

    Do you need a wiki page to show your relevance to the web or the world?

  3. One of the five KEEP votes here.

    Femmina and Timecop,

    How can you have a problem with 54 million sites?
    Why can’t you see that blogging is a HUGE medium that isn’t going to go away just because you and your three friends don’t like blogs. If Tony and other bloggers do get deleted from Wikipedia it will just give Wikipedia less credibility to 54 MILLION readers.

  4. Heather – the working definition of a vanity page is when the subject of the page or members of the public associated with or extremely sympathetic to the page become involved in the creation or editing of the page. There are two really big no-nos on Wikipedia, autobiographical edits and “original research”. Vanity pages violate both of those policies right off the bat. If things are working properly, vanity pages are policed in a pretty objective and policy backed manner.

    Notability is a separate issue, but one that is often related to the vanity pages. Dealing with the notability of persons who’s work exists primarily on or as a result of the internet is really tough, especially since most Wikipedia editors use Google as their sole point of relevance and research, which is not to their credit. Debates regarding an individuals notability tend to be ugly and trollish, as everyone’s objectivity drops and the name calling starts. People’s egos get involved and behind the scenes E-mails and phone calls start flying – Wikipedia is nowhere near as transparent or objective as it aspires to be.

  5. So some big babies who have some vendetta against bloggers go on a rampage to clear out pages that they — and they alone, in their infinite wisdom — deem unworthy of being on Wikipedia. What a great way to undermine the efforts of people who are actually cleaning out pages for legit reasons.

    Sounds like someone is on a power trip, and should spend some time reading the Get a Life entry.

  6. Ah. Wait. This all makes sense now. This Timecop douchebag is one of those GNAA trolls. I’d bet a dollar that every user (who isn’t a sockpuppet) is also one of the GNAA Trolls. Ignoring is too good for these shit heads; they should be set on fire and left in a lake of gasoline.

    I hope Wikipedia comes up with a policy on abusive deletes quickly (if they don’t have one already) because these childish losers have nothing but time on their hands, and could wreak havoc by simply overwhelming the system with spurious delete requests.

  7. Bad news: Looks like the trolls from 1990s Slashdot found a new hangout.

    Good news: The Internet has a way of adapting much faster these days to cull the trolls from damaging things.

  8. Right after I sold Upcoming.org to Yahoo, someone created an entry for me. References to Waxy.org (my blog) were added, and the anti-blog contingent immediately streamed in and voted to delete it. The cited reason made me laugh, so I printed it up as my nameplate next to my office: “Non-notable guy who runs a blog and is starting up a web-site.”

  9. People still care about Wikipaedia? How many times has it been found inaccurate, specious, partisan, clique-fueled, and guilty of so many other problems?
    They can hack it apart for all I care. Tony and his ilk will go on being far more important than a “gang” of Wikians with Ego problems.
    Why is this news? This is no less vain and self-inflating than any bloggers articles about themselves.

    Pot=Kettle.

  10. Wow, so much drama for a single page in online real estate. On the other hand, this is the kind of drama that has kept spammers from taking Wikipedia. Anyway…..weird.

  11. It is clear to me that Wil Wheaton is a dangerous individual, possibly a terrorist, who believes that gay black men who are simply voicing their opinions on blogs (which are indeed a threat to America with their loose and unverifiable journalistic pollution) should be, in his own words “set on fire and left in a lake of gasoline.” This is a dangerous mindset and if he takes himself seriously he should be placed behind bars so he can’t harm minorities and freedom-lovers.

  12. Wikipedia blows anyway. Its a great place to find a miss-match of terrible information! SO MUCH THAT YOU CANT EVEN USE IT AS A CREDIBILE SOURCE FOR A COLLEGE PAPER!

  13. “…including appearances on G4TV, mentions in the New York Times and Washington Post, having a word he coined (“blook”) a nominee for Oxford’s word of the year, and is the number three result when you Google the name “Tony”.”

    That should be the beginning and end of his article if he has any on WP. If people want to learn more, there are other resources. And no one wants to learn more–except for Tony Pierce and his wannabes.

    There is very little of value in blogging. There are some real journalists who have an online newsletter, and real writers who post articles independently — that they happen to be classified as blogs flatters the sycophantic self-indulgent blogosphere at large.

    Imagine if you serialized your blog and emailed all your friends with it every time you updated it? If they wouldn’t welcome such a diary, don’t bother with your blog. The people who care are the people no one cares about.

  14. Oh, fuck, heh. The trolls got me with one of those “Last Measure” links. I rebooted, but it opened up a bunch of email from Thunderbird. Please tell me it didn’t send anything.

  15. Can’t say I’m happy about it but there is a lot of junk out there in Wikipedia. I do think the volunteer editors are discouraging a lot of new content that some may find useful.

  16. It sounds like Timecop needs a life. Seriously, doesn’t he have anything better to do? Like, get a job? Go to school? Masturbate? Because he sounds like a pathetic loser with way too much time on his hands.

  17. The GNAA might be a bunch of twats.

    But that doesn’t excuse the fact that there’s an incredible amount of shit irrelevent blogs on Wikipedia which should be deleted.

    I’m not saying that this particular one should be deleted. But it’s not to say that Timecop hasn’t deleted a heck of a lot of blogshit from Wikipedia.

  18. I’m not saying that this particular one should be deleted. But it’s not to say that Timecop hasn’t deleted a heck of a lot of blogshit from Wikipedia.

    To use your own parsing, Timecop may have deleted plenty of irrelevant blog-related items on Wikipedia.

    But that doesn’t excuse the fact he’s also attempting to have relevant and important information deleted. He’s also clearly doing so based on personal bias and to be a troll, not based on some kind of academic concept that the blog content is not appropriate.

    It bothers me less that he and the GNAA are professional trolls than it does that people validate their behavior.

  19. Oh, the painful irony!

    Basically, Wikipedia is contributed to by people who consider themselves notable because of an internet presence. There are plenty of notable people not included on Wikipedia. For instance my partner, who has authored two books, is an IMDB listed cinematographer, an award winning fine art photographer, and previously wrote columns for Seattle’s alternate rag, The Stranger–is conspicously and purposely absent. So while we have people like the Boing Boing crew and Violet Blue–who only now that she has a real journalistic gig has become remotely notable–are on Wikipedia, plenty of notable people aren’t.

    This is because Wikipedia is usenet 2.0, and certainly a vanity resource for bloggers and their ilk. Having an entry does not change reality, it just provides text on your screen of suspicious accuracy.

  20. Does having a blog make you notable? Only if the blog is itself notable–and I would suggest that “notable” would have to mean “having some effect on the culture outside the blogosphere.” By that measure, John Aravosis of Americablog would be notable; he and his readers have orchestrated boycotts and raised large amounts of money for political candidates, to such an extent as to have demonstrably had an effect on events in the real world. (Substitute a blogger on the right with comparable influence jif you think I’m being politically biased.)

    The Freeway Blogger, I think, would also qualify, if just barely, because his freeway signs have spawned numerous imitators worldwide, and could be said to have a recognizable style (handmade “typeface” lettering, black text on white background) that has also been adopted by those with the skill or resources to do so.

    Tony Pierce? Mmm, not so much. No offense.

  21. There’s no fine line here, really anything related to blogs can go and the world will just be a better place. Timecop as leader of the GNAA has a great vision and blogs are just one of the stepping stones in overthrowing the global zionist conspiracy (or Zog).

    About Blogs: worthless.

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