The Signpost

In the news

Wikipedia users name "superinjunction celebrities"; brief news

Contribute  —  
Share this
By Wackywace and Tilman Bayer
Andrew Marr, presenter of the BBC's political programme The Andrew Marr Show, this week revealed he had taken out a superinjunction three years ago.
+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

These comments are automatically transcluded from this article's talk page. To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.

This is actually kind of garbled - "However, Wikipedia's servers are based in the United States, meaning they cannot be held liable for publishing content which breaks the terms of a superinjuction.". First, in terms of the sentence itself, rarely are servers held liable :-). I think you're trying to say that Wikimedia is a US-based foundation, with no assets in the UK, so no UK court injunction could easily be enforced on it. The question of liability under UK law for user-generated content is another issue. Also, you might want to mention Kidnapping of David Rohde#Role_of_Wikipedia, where information was successfully suppressed from Wikipedia by collaboration -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 08:40, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for the note about the servers, it has been fixed (I assume you were aware that you were commenting about a draft version before publication). I didn't quite understand why you put "successfully" in italics - the suppression of the injunctions was "succesful" in a similar sense as in the Rohde case, as noted in the article. (Admittedly, the subtitle may be a bit brief regarding that aspect.)
Regards, HaeB (talk) 22:36, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, I was aware I was commenting about a draft - I thought this was the best place to put the comment, so someone might correct the problem before final release. If there's a better place to put such comments, what is it? (P.S. - there's also many misspellings as "injuction"). I stressed "successfully" about the David Rohde case because it still amazes me. The received wisdom about such situations is That Cannot Happen. That all such attempts fail, rebounding to the extreme embarrassment and humiliation of the would-be imprisoner of information (Cry Streisand Effect! And slip the mobs of net.). But it didn't work out that way. You only see the unsuccessful ones, and rarely hear about what you didn't hear about. So it's very much a touchstone for me on that topic. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 23:03, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Usually the Newsroom page is used for discussion of stories before publication, but it surely is better to point out errors on this talk page than nowhere at all ;) I just wanted to avoid the impression that the error had made it into the finalized version.
I think serious scholars of the Streisand effect would observe that it only occurs if there exists a sufficiently strong (minority) public opinion against the suppression of the content. (There is not Streisand effect for child porn.)
Regards, HaeB (talk) 08:28, 3 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Has this censorship of information in these articles been discussed and approved by the community or are these admins acting unilaterally because of feared reprisal from a country that really can't do anything against Wikipedia itself? SilverserenC 22:43, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I believe there have been strong arguments against using Superinjuctions as sole justification for removing content, but the BLP concerns about tabloidy gossip were sufficient to justify removal on several occasions. At least, that is what I hope is going on. Ocaasi c 22:57, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I find the possibility of it being just gossip is diminished by the fact that superinjunctions were taken out at all. Most of the time, that seems to be claiming guilt in regards to the incident. But, regardless, if it was just normal tabloid stuff, I don't believe that that type of info is normally revdeleted unless it is overly defamatory, which this isn't necessarily. Do the articles at least say that the people took out superinjunctions? Because that would be highly relevant and not gossip. I'm going to go check now and, if they don't, i'm going to add that in. SilverserenC 23:11, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Okay, at least for the one I found, the injunction is discussed. So that's good. I'm still trying to find out who the other three are. SilverserenC 23:18, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I'd be a bit careful about the idea of "really can't do anything against Wikipedia itself". I'm hesitant to get into a detailed discussion, as I'm not a lawyer. But I think the Wikipedian phrase here is Wikipedia:No_climbing_the_Reichstag_dressed_as_Spider-Man. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 23:22, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Except, as has been pointed out, there is past precedent for not caring about British laws in this regard unless the Foundation says otherwise. Hopefully, they end up getting rid of super-injunctions as it is in the future. They're essentially the rich man's tool. Quite literally, in this case. SilverserenC 23:25, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Well, these matters can get complicated. Just be careful. One of the aspects of Wikipedia which really bothers me is risks for The Movement where if it all blows up, somebody else may end up paying the price -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 23:32, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
It's nice that I can confirm my guesses on the identity of the men by seeing if the history of the article has redacted edits. So Ryan Giggs and Ewan Mcgregor are two. One left i'm still trying to find. (I'm listing the names here to see if it is really just BLP issues, which means i'm allowed to speculate all I want here as long as i'm not defamatory, or if it's more than that, which means this will get redacted and I get to complain more) SilverserenC 23:50, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
If the edits are being removed because they are poorly sourced, then why are they being oversighted and/or admin deleted? Most BLP violations are simply reverted. If admins are trying to enforce a UK court ruling, they need to explain what makes them feel that they have an obligation to do so. Cla68 (talk) 07:52, 3 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Because they're not verifiable. Stifle (talk) 07:56, 3 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
That doesn't actually answer the question. Even if they aren't verifiable, that means they would just get reverted as OR, but being oversighted is a far level beyond that and does not seem appropriate for this situation. On a separate note, I just can't figure out who the fourth person is. Maybe because they're so generic, a "television presenter with two kids". I don't think we would have been able to figure out Andrew Marr if he hadn't outed himself. In comparison, a Premier League footballer and a high level actor are easy to figure out (as I presented above). SilverserenC 22:21, 3 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I was the spokesman who was sort-of-quoted by the Telegraph. I chatted to the journalist for about half an hour covering just about every aspect of this rather complex issue (I did emphasise that we don't do things from legal threat, but because we're trying to actually do the right thing); what ran was three disjoint sentences apparently from his notes, tacked on the end. Ah well. The story was then copied by every other paper in the country, without anyone bothering to call and even get a new quote (they just copied it from the Telegraph). I credit it to last week being one of the most paralysingly slow April news weeks in the UK that I can remember - David Gerard (talk) 23:07, 2 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Had they checked the most obvious sources, even excluding David, there was an ANI thread on this which closed with "BLP issues for admins qua admins, legal issues for WMF counsel and individual contributors." Rich Farmbrough, 11:32, 3 May 2011 (UTC).[reply]
FYI, that sentence is complete gobbledegook to virtually all journalists. And it's not a net positive to be among the few to whom it is comprehensible. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 12:38, 3 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I won't argue about how much jargon is stuffed in that sentence from ANI, but I would like to think someone on Wikipedia knows what that sentence means. (Maybe I'm just too optimistic in some ways.) My guess, to put it in plain English, would be that "material covered by superinjunctions should be handled by Admins & other editors in the same manner any content about living persons is, & leave the legal aspects of that material to the WMF & the individual it is about." (Crap. My version is almost as convoluted as the original.) -- llywrch (talk) 20:13, 3 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I read Rich Farmbrough's comment to be saying that journalists should check ANI ("Had they checked the most obvious sources ..."). I've inveighed many times against the sins of journalism, and have even committed a few myself to my great dismay, but expecting knowing about and checking ANI is not reasonable. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 22:37, 3 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I do expect journalists covering Wikipedia to have some knowledge of Wikipedia, just as I expect science journalists to know something about science or sports reporters to know something about sports. That's what they are paid for, after all. Perhaps not to the level of understanding ANI, but to the point where they could talk to an experienced Wikipedian explaining things to them slowly and patiently and then writing something marginally better than this. —Tom Morris (talk) 13:13, 7 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
This is less about Wikipedia per se, than the issue of law concerning liability as it pertains to freely editable sites, over different jurisdictions. That's a very specialized topic which requires significant expertise. And unfortunately, there will be no benefit to getting it correct, as there is no reward for that vs other factors. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 20:31, 7 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0