Office actions

Office actions policy receives renewed debate

A recent invocation of the new office protection policy has attracted attention, with some questioning the process altogether.

An article on Jack Thompson, a Florida attorney who has garnered considerable criticism in gaming circles for his views on violence and obscenity in video games, was removed on Friday, and replaced with a one-sentence description of Thompson. In blanking the article, Danny, an assistant to Jimbo Wales, cited the new office protection policy, implemented by Jimbo Wales last month. The policy allows Danny to protect an article when the Foundation deems it necessary (usually relating to legal matters.)

The article had been criticized for its overwhelmingly negative portrayal of Thompson, and its lack of sources. In its last version before it was blanked, the article contained at least 21 uncited statements. Danny stressed that the move was temporary, and in response to complaints about the action, said "An article about Jack Thompson will be created. It will, I hope, be a very thorough article. It will also be properly and fully cited."

This is not the first time that the policy has been invoked; Harry Reid was protected for a time in February, and Brian Peppers was deleted through the office actions policy (see archived story). However, the high profile of the article within the tech community has led to a renewed debate about the issue.

Many editors on the article criticized Wikipedia for blanking the article. Silensor called the action "censorship by way of litigation threats." However, Mindspillage noted that the article would be unprotected, and rewritten, after a short period of time. Nortelrye said, "I've not seen them capitulate in the face of legal threats, and I don't expect that they will do so in this situation. ... If you really care about Wikipedia and its mission, you'll let them handle it according to their policies."


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