User:Bryan Derksen/Old RfC summary

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This summary was originally posted on Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Bryan Derksen back in February of 2004. That page has since been deleted beyond the ability of a sysop to recover, so I've reposted the text I wrote on February 14 here so I can refer to it. This is an old issue and mediation was completed successfully at the time, so it's just for historical reference. See notes at the bottom for some updated information. Any edits to this page other than by myself are likely to be reverted without comment.

I first "met" Jack on January 11 in the atheism article. Jack made the following changes: atheism diff And I reverted them, with the edit summary "reverting; changes removed important links and other details, and also possibly reduced NPOV." From that point on, all hell broke loose on the Atheism article. the past 160 edits of atheism shows the entire history of the conflict there (as of February 14, the offset will need to be updated as future edits are added).

Jack responded to my reversion on my talk page. I've since deleted the section of user talk: (I don't create archive subpages, instead relying on the article history to keep track), so you can find my first "conversations" with Jack at my historical User talk: page (skip down to the header "Atheism"). He quoted guidelines at me saying that reverts were for vandalism, and I countered that I stood by my revert because every change he'd made to the article was for the worse. Not vandalism, per se, but if I'd rewritten it all to fix the problems manually the result would have been the same as a revert anyway.

As my talk: page indicates, the discussion of Jack's edits went over to talk:Atheism; the talk in question is now located at Talk:Atheism/Archive 5. As you'll see both from this talk page and from the edit history of the Atheism article itself, I was far from the only one who had major problems with the things Jack was trying to change. Jack tried to support his changes with a variety of external links, which I found to be either of very low quality, hopelessly POV, or as far as I could see actually supporting the argument against what he was proposing to change. Others who participated in this early part of the argument included MikeCapone, Mrdice, Salsa Shark, Lord Kenneth, Johnstone and James Day. The argument also slopped over into the agnosticism article, see Talk:Agnosticism/Archive 1 for the talk that went on over there. It was mainly just more of the same of what was going on on Atheism, since the two articles often made statements about the same things Jack wanted to change.

I think the point I finally decided that Jack was impossible to reason with was around January 21. In my user talk page he wrote "You comments here make it clear that you have an agenda and are "stalking" me on the wiki, attempting to prevent me from editing. Back off, or I am going to take necessary measures." This was in regards to the agnosticism article; the article had NPOV dispute headers at that point, and Jack had uniltaterally removed them when he changed the article back to his preferences despite the fact that there was clearly still a dispute going on. I reverted that, and got accused of stalking. He created his first "official complaint" against me at this point: Wikipedia:Conflicts between users/JackLynch. The history of this page is muddled due to various archivings and blankings, an earlier version can be found here: historical Conflicts between users page. Jack removed his original complaint against me and tried moving the discussion into an archive subpage shortly after posting it. Tannin contested that move and the complaint eventually morphed into one against him instead. Jack also attempted to delete my response to his accusation, which Tannin caught and restored. past 100 to 250 edits of conflicts between users covers most of these events, again only guaranteed as of Feb. 14.

Jack resumed editing the atheism article again on Jan 28, again attempting to make the same sorts of changes that had been argued about from the very beginning. We had seemed pretty close to a compromise on avoiding the issue altogether [1], but Jack moved the whole discussion into the archive 5 subpage at that point and carried on changing things "his way." There was a brief flurry of edit warring over it not just by myself, and then he went quiet again on that article until February 9 when he changed his name to Sam Spade and picked up the battle right where he'd left off. Jack (now Sam) then registered a complaint against me at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Bryan Derksen. My user talk: picks up again at this point, see User talk:Bryan Derksen#Do not use my name (apparently Jack had a major problem with me pointing out that he'd changed his name to Sam Spade, he threatened to sue RickK [2] and Tannin [3] over it at about the same time - see the bottoms of those two historical user talk pages).

Earlier on in this conflict Jack was also butting heads with Lord Kenneth; on the athiesm article Kenneth and I were "on the same side", in a sense, in that we both felt Jack's changes were incorrect. A little while later, during one of the lulls in the atheism dispute, Kenneth invited me over to scientific skepticism where he claimed a similar problem was ongoing; he wanted my assistance. When I got there, however, I found that I disagreed with what Kenneth had been doing there (deleting a discussion of failures of skepticism rather than working to NPOV it) and for a little while I wound up in conflict with him instead. (see the "scientific skepticism" header at [4]). At this point Jack, apparently deciding I was an "enemy of his enemy", complimented me (see the header "a digression from the above" at [5]): "I must say, I am impressed with your new perspective. My first impression of you as a reasonable, academic editor able to see beyond his personal prejudices appears to have been more correct than I have been giving you credit for as of late. My compliments." (Jan 27). Of course, as soon as I was back to disagreeing with him again about his edits, it was back to the personal attacks about how unreasonable an edit warrior I was.

An even clearer example of what I'm talking about: Jack wrote the following on the atheism talk: page [6]:

Um.. the guidelines are pretty simple Bryan. Check out wikipedia:revert. It says to make improvements, rather than simply undoing imrpovements made by others. Your ment to be a writer and an editor here, not a saboteur. Jack 02:23, 31 Jan 2004 (UTC)

When on 19:41, 30 Jan 2004 he had just finished reverting the agnosticim article back to a version from several weeks previous, undoing a great deal of work that had been done working on that section both by myself and by Banno. [7] (see Talk:Agnosticism#Logic and neutrality) As I see it, any revert that goes against Jack's POV is called an "accusation of vandalism" and "against Wikipedia policy" whereas any revert Jack does is called an improvement.

If I may now descend into speculation and opinion, I feel that this incident is an excellent illustration of the pattern I've seen from Jack. He is intensely POV (eg, redirected Rejection of God to Amalek and then used the redirect in the basic definition of atheism, and on Jan 19 recommending a blatantly biased source as good "study material" for writing about atheism), and will try to exploit every mechanism he can to advance his views; if there are rules of Wikipedia ettiquette that get in his way he'll ignore them, but if some other user gets in his way he'll dredge up every link he can use to rules-lawyer against them. I consider this mediation request to be just another example of this tactic.

I've spent about an hour writing all this up, but if it allows me to finally put to rest a month of this nonsense from JackLynch/Sam Spade then I figure it's worthwhile. Hopefully I've included enough specific links to get interested mediators up to speed quickly.

Note: for some reason the link to the legal threat against RickK isn't working any more. Use [8] instead. All of the links to article history ranges are long obsolete, of course. Also, I don't archive my user talk: page, instead relying on article history to preserve old discussion; you'll need to go back to one of the versions from around early February to see some of the stuff I refer to here. There are links to historical versions at the top of my current user page to help make that easier.
For some reason the updated link to the historical RickK talk page stopped working yet again. It's from February 10, I'll reproduce the original comment here (there's a short thread of responses that followed):
I have every right and reason to remove my surname from this website. If you disagree, lets look into the matter legally. I have an attorney, and might very well sue if a website is using my name in an offensive manner. Sam Spade 07:06, 10 Feb 2004 (UTC)