Wikipedia kills legendary journalist
Points deletion-gun at sadly departed Swells
Say what you like about Wikipedia, you can't accuse it of lacking tact. Within 48 hours of the untimely death of music journalist Steven Wells, his entry has been summarily marked for deletion on the grounds that he isn't famous enough.
Swells, as he was known to readers of the NME, began his career as punk poet Seething Wells and snuck into music journalism as Susan Williams. He became infamous for his provocative writing, which took the form of uniquely splenetic, caps-augmented splutterfests crammed to bursting with swears. Fans of Sonic Youth and the Smiths, into whom he laid with great vigour, would be incensed, but many readers were thrilled by his unapologetic screeds - and far from simply hating everything, Swells would shout just as loudly and swearingly in support of the music he loved.
In recent years he wrote regularly on sport for the Guardian and was a columnist for the Philadelphia Weekly, wherein he wrote - harrowingly, but hilariously - about his illness and treatment having been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2006. He continued writing until his death from the disease on Tuesday, aged 49.
None of this, however, made Wells a sufficiently notable figure to be worthy of his own Wikipedia page. As at time of going to press, his entry - freshly updated in the past tense - is awaiting possible deletion. The article's worthiness has been in question for some time now on notability grounds, but it has been rather brutally updated to the effect that death doesn't suddenly make him all that.
User Mikerichi comments in support of deletion that "Notability [is] unestablished, page almost entirely unsourced. Recent death does not establish notability."
As an old colleague and mucker of Swells', we're pretty sure he wouldn't give a flying shitarse. Still, nice to see the hive mind showing such touching respect for the dead, eh?
For anyone who has heard of the obscure git, and indeed for anyone who hasn't, here is Swells' last hurrah. ®
A heartening note was placed on the discussion page last year by 'AuntFlo': "I fail to see why anyone would query Wells's notability; he's written for years for the NME and The Guardian, two internationally known publications; many appearances on TV and radio; a number of books; directed videos; political activism; poetry... compared to some of the nonentities who get Wikipedia articles, he's a bloody titan."
Wikipages not marked for deletion as of this date include those of Perez Hilton and Tanya Gold.
Update: After a flurry of 'keep' support, including citation of this article (excellent Wikifeedback-loopage), the deletion notice has been removed. Quite right too.
Read what ACTUALLY happened.
In truth, what happened is that some idiot posted a note to "Articles for Deletion" (which they are entitled do to on grounds of free speech, etc) and almost every person who responded to it said that the article should be kept. How on earth does that justify the sensationalist title of this article?
Wikipedia behaved responsibly...the outcome is as it should be.
The comment from one editor that death doesn't imply notability is true. About half a million people die every day - the vast majority of them are not notable enough to have a Wikipedia biography written about them.
Wikipedia is fascist right wing horseshit
Uneducated dolts agreeing that the truth must be half way between two opposing viewpoints. The Holocaust has a museum but there are also holocaust deniers therefore 3 million people were possibly killed.
Irish has been renamed goeidilic which noone has ever heard of by some student with a mania for rewriting articles. Edison was the greatest inventor of all time and didn't steal anything according to some arsehole who calls himself, that's right, edison. The english empire were lovely friendly chaps who just wanted to build roads and free the poor from slavery.
The amount of politically motivated revisionism is disgusting
Ronnie Reagan "He ranks highly among former U.S. presidents in terms of approval rating.", which is funny because I remember him as being a criminal with the iq of a fencepost who almost got us all nuked.
I'll put on the brakes and he'll fly right by
First, RIP Swells.
To continue: come on, Sarah, to paraphrase Goose from Top Gun, do some of that journalism shit. The user Mikerichi's first act on Wikipedia was to rock up to the Sons of Ben (MLS supporters association) article (they're a supporters club for Philadelphia's MLS football team) and submit it for deletion. Now the same guy tries the same thing with Philly resident Swells' article, which at that time happened to claim Swells was a "staunch proponent" of the Sons of Ben. Two edits after that, Richardrj removes that claim as being "unsourced and irrelevant".
This all feels like an idiot with a grudge against the Sons of Ben, rather than against Swells himself. Nor does it feel like Wikipedia as an entity is responsible.
As for the deletion notice, it's back: SOP on Wikipedia is to let the discussion run its course, but as you say, the resounding response of "Keep" should ensure the article will be around for a long time to come.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Mikerichi (Mikerichi's contribs)
http://tinyurl.com/mrbgbf (Richardrj's edit removing mention of Sons of Ben)
http://tinyurl.com/lf9azt (Wikipedia article on Sons of Ben, citing Swells Grauniad article)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2007/jun/06/sport.comment (Swells article on Sons of Ben)
Fail, because ... well, you know, do that journalism stuff!