Personally I think there should be a bid. Going for the Queen Mary
solution may make a lot of sense as much of the preparation has
already been done and we could concentrate on improvements on the
previous attempt. However, before we settle on the location we should
probably consider why East London was not attractive last time around
and decide if these problems (whatever they were) could be overcome.
I also think we should be careful not to let a wikimania bid get in
the way of the charity registration and setting up the UK chapter.
While the chapter could lend support to the bid, I think it would be
good to have it lead from outside the board. I would be very happy for
Gordon to take the lead on this.
On 4/4/06, Gordon Joly <gordon.joly(a)pobox.com> wrote:
> Shall we consider a bid?
> I am happy to take the East London bid based on "Queen Mary,
> University of London" and carry the ideas forward.
> Gordon Joly
> 116, Hind Grove
> London E14 6HP
> Wikimedia UK mailing list
According to the MetaWiki website, I am the putative Company
Secretary for Wiki Educational Resources.
It is also states that I could be a Director/Trustee. On reflection,
I would prefer to be Company Secretary only, subject to approval, and
neither a Director nor a Member.
I lost my phone last night while out being profoundly drunk and having
a fantastically good time. Oops. It may be found before the end of the
weekend, but if it isn't I'm going out now to get a new SIM and hence
a new number, which I'll let you know if I don't find the old one. In
the meantime, this email address is the best way to contact me.
This is the story of a real case on en: Wikipedia, prompted by a
journalist query on the subject. I'm sending it to wikien-l and
wikimediauk-l as it's on topic, and Aphaia suggested wikipedia-l would
benefit from it as well.
Full credit to en:user:Average Earthman on this one - he did an excellent job.
This shows how Wikipedia deals with hoaxes: patiently and carefully
the first time around, less patiently the second, shoot-on-sight the
The (Glasgow) Daily Record articles:
The eventual Times article barely mentions Wikipedia:
- but I got a nice thank-you note back from Mr Lister and I think we
can say another journalist has successfully been informed.
I also blogged it: http://reddragdiva.livejournal.com/307381.html
My name is David Lister and I am a journalist for The Times. I am
doing a story today about a man called Alan McIlwraith, a call centre
worker in Glasgow, Scotland, who has been passing himself off as an
Iraq war hero. Mr McIlwraith, who claimed he was a sir and had
received the Military Cross, was exposed by a Glasgow tabloid
newspaper today; the British Army says that he has never even served
in its ranks. He also had an entry in wikipedia - which I am assuming
he wrote himself - in which he was described as someone who "can get
things done and is thought of as a hero…by the UK and NATO". His entry
has now been deleted: can you please tell me when it was removed? I am
assuming that he wrote this entry himself - what are the procedures
that one has to go through to submit an entry on your website?
Creating an article is easy - the only requirement is that you
create a WIkipedia user account, which is about thirty seconds'
effort. (This requirement was put into place in November last year,
which is actually after the Alan Mcilwraith article was first
created.) This means it's very easy to create something. The figures
as of November last year were about 4000 new articles a day, 2000 of
which were deleted within 24 hours. We've become ridiculously popular
since then, so I'm sure the numbers are much higher now.
We get a lot of rubbish, but we operate on the principle of "keep
it open and clean up later" because it generally works well enough and
*most* jokes and hoaxes are easily spotted. Ever since the John
Seigenthaler hoax late last year, we've kept a *particularly* close
eye on the biographies of living people, which helps in areas such as
the current case.
The article "Alan Mcilwraith" was created and deleted a few times.
I have administrator powers on English Wikipedia ("administrator" =
"janitor", rather than any sort of "senior editor" - an admin has
various cleanup powers, the ability to block vandals, delete and
undelete articles, etc.), so I am able to look up the history of the
It's actually a pretty typical example of how Wikipedia deals with
people putting rubbish or hoaxes in, so I'll detail exactly what
happened for you to give you an understanding of the process. We get
this sort of thing all the time, and we have reasonably effective
procedures for dealing with persistent hoaxers.
The article was first created 18:28 GMT, 5 October 2005 by an
anonymous IP-address user. It was a badly-spelt and ungrammatical
article detailing Mcilwraith's improbable heroics, and reads like
something a high-school student would create as a prank - a lot of
deletable articles are of that description, and we're used to this
sort of thing. The creator kept working at the article, also creating
a username (User:MilitaryPro) to continue working on it - that
username doesn't appear to have written on any other subject.
(MilitaryPro did add Alan Mcilwraith to "List of honorary British
Knights" on 21:18 GMT, 4 October 2005, but someone removed him two
hours later, at 23:19 GMT, with the comment "del Alan Mcilwraith -
Google has never heard of him - pretty good for someone supposedly
knighted this year". Lists of this sort tend to be on a lot of
MilitaryPro uploaded a purported picture of Mcilwraith:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Alan.No2.jpg , uploaded 22:36 GMT,
9 October 2005. Note that he marked it "may be reused for any
purpose", so if MilitaryPro is Mcilwraith and he owns the image, he
has in fact legally released it for free reuse if you need a pic :-)
The article triggered the suspicions of Wikipedia editors in
fairly short order. One user, "Average Earthman", tagged it
"cleanup-verify" at 17:49 GMT, 10 October 2005, with the comment "This
smells like a hoax to me. What year was he made a CBE then?" The
"cleanup-verify" tag not only warns the reader, but adds tagged
articles to a category for dubious articles, so others can easily look
over what needs an unforgiving eye.
Ten days later (19:48 GMT, 20 October 2005), with no verification
having been added to the article, another editor (user "RussBlau")
marked it for deletion. You can read the deletion debate at
- typical for an obvious hoax or joke article with no-one coming
forward with anything to verify otherwise. So it was deleted at 11:50
GMT, 26 October 2005.
Interestingly, the same IP address that had created the article
had come back on 24 October and blanked the article, before its
deletion but after the first two comments on the deletion debate.
MilitaryPro came back and created the article again at 18:39 GMT,
21 December 2005, working on it for a few days further, both as a
logged-in user and as an anonymous IP address. (The same IP address
also tried twice to delete the previous deletion discussion from the
list of old discussions, though these changes were quickly spotted and
"Average Earthman" spotted the recreation at 12:44 GMT, 22
December 2005 - presumably he had the article on his watchlist - and
tagged it for deletion again, then re-tagged it 24 December for speedy
deletion as recreated deleted content, with the comments: "No, forget
the AfD, it's already failed in the past. Same lies again. It's a
hoax. And in case it isn't speedied, I still think it's a hoax. Uni at
14? Advisor to Generals at 22? No google hits? Really?" It was then
deleted the second time at 17:50 GMT, 24 December 2005.
MilitaryPro came back to create the article a *third* time at
10:53 GMT, 17 February 2006. It was tagged two minutes later, at
10:55, for speedy deletion as "patent nonsense." MilitaryPro then
blanked the page at 11:00; "Average Earthman" tagged it for deletion
*again* at 11:09. (The more persistent the hoaxer, the easier they are
to deal with.) It was deleted for the third and final time at 16:19
GMT, 17 February 2006, and the page was locked with a "do not
recreate" notice (as you can see at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Mcilwraith ) a few seconds later.
Interestingly, the hoax has been noted on the talk page of the
article (the "discussion" tab at the top):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Alan_Mcilwraith . Now that he's
making the papers, we have the question of whether his newfound fame
as a hoaxer makes him notable enough to have a Wikipedia article!
At 22:46 +0100 11/4/06, David Gerard wrote:
>On 11/04/06, Rob Church <robchur(a)gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 11/04/06, David Gerard <dgerard(a)gmail.com> wrote:
>> > I've added it to the front of www.wikimedia.org.uk - 07990 822 568.
>> > Usually goes to message, but I do listen to my messages ;-)
>> Time to arrange putting this up in places which will result in
>> some...interesting calls, methinks. ;)
>I shall practice my best Universal Wikipedia Bore routine! %-D
>"Did you knowwww ... you've got four miles of tubing in your stomach?"
Cuts no ice with me!
On 4/6/06, Gordon Joly <gordon.joly(a)pobox.com> wrote:
> At 13:33 +0100 5/4/06, Andrew Walker wrote:
> >Personally I think there should be a bid. Going for the Queen Mary
> >solution may make a lot of sense as much of the preparation has
> >already been done and we could concentrate on improvements on the
> >previous attempt. However, before we settle on the location we should
> >probably consider why East London was not attractive last time around
> >and decide if these problems (whatever they were) could be overcome.
> >I also think we should be careful not to let a wikimania bid get in
> >the way of the charity registration and setting up the UK chapter.
> >While the chapter could lend support to the bid, I think it would be
> >good to have it lead from outside the board. I would be very happy for
> >Gordon to take the lead on this.
> I am happy to put in the work. But I would like the charity to be
> able to operate the money side of things. Is this possible?
> As for the East End.... how about "2012 London Olympics? Why not
> visit the Olympic Village five years earlier?" - good slogan eh?
I don't see a problem with the charity looking after the financial
side of the event (but I am not the treasurer) but it would have to
fall within our objects. I don't think we have money available to
subsidise things though. We have a board meeting in the next few weeks
- I'll add a discussion on this to the agenda.