Ira Matetsky

Discussion of editors, particularly Wikipedia administrators, who have become notorious, often for the abuse of Wikipedia policy to further an agenda
Renée Bagslint
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Ira Matetsky

Post by Renée Bagslint » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:23 pm

Ira Matetsky, perhaps better known as User:Newyorkbrad. He is a New York lawyer, editor-in-chief of a law journal, a fan of the Nero Wolfe novels of Rex Stout, and last but not least "On Wikipedia, he is known by his username Newyorkbrad, and is a member of the site's Arbitration Committee". We all know that can't be strictly accurate, because there are a hundred or so Wikipedias, and he's a member of the Arbitration Committee of only one of them, but that what it says in the Reliable Source ("He is a member of Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee"), so it's verifiable if not actually true. (We await the inevitable rows in which Wikipedians use their own Original Research to correct this.)

There is no doubt whatsoever that a lawyer whose claim to fame consisted of being on the committees of any two other hobbyist organisations, and whose connection with them has been mentioned once each in a newspaper, would not have ther own article. But he's a Wikipedian, and therefore to be rewarded with his own article. Whether this reward, this accolade so highly regarded by the cult members, is quite so rewarding after all will transpire when Brad discovers the joys of monitoring his own article round the clock to protect it, and him, from libel by every passing crazy, disgruntled Wikipedian and losing litigant. Let us wish him joy of it: fifteen minutes of fame and a lifetime of defamation.

Renée Bagslint
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Re: Ira Matetsky

Post by Renée Bagslint » Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:38 am

Hooray! There is no consensus that Brad is not notable. Sanstein opines that "The arguments on both sides pertaining to the subject's role as a Wikipedian are not relevant". Of course not.

Proabivouac
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Re: Ira Matetsky

Post by Proabivouac » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:02 am

To clarify for non-Wikipedos, "no consensus" means that the biography will be kept. The biggest danger for Brad isn't that the article will be vandalized or contain defamation – not as long as he's involved with Wikipedia, it won't. There will be no shortage of people looking to curry favor with him by defending it.

No, the biggest danger is that his obiturary will read, "Ira Brad Matetsky, best known for his work on WIkipedia…"

In these past ten years, he could have easily created a substantial academic-quality website of his own in his field of expertise. I hesitate to share my theory about why he prefers Wikipedia. Maybe I shouldn't.

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Dysklyver
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Re: Ira Matetsky

Post by Dysklyver » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:55 pm

As someone who prefers publishing in places with actual readership, I can say for sure the massive readership of Wikipedia is a big draw over my own site. I can write an article on wikipedia and have 30k people read it a month.
Editor of the The Wiki Cabal. I live at www.wiki.org.uk.

Proabivouac
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Re: Ira Matetsky

Post by Proabivouac » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:55 am

Dysklyver wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:55 pm
As someone who prefers publishing in places with actual readership, I can say for sure the massive readership of Wikipedia is a big draw over my own site. I can write an article on wikipedia and have 30k people read it a month.
What are you writing that you need so many readers (really pageviews) even though you don't get paid for them? If it's academic work, wouldn't it be better to start with a few dozen readers who are active in the relevant fields and find your signed work useful enough to cite?

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Dysklyver
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Re: Ira Matetsky

Post by Dysklyver » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:35 am

Technically yes, but that's kind of the idea behind Citizendium. I personally like having more influence with normal people reading something rather than trying to be a second or third rate academic writer.

Matetsky may feel the same, or he may not be particularly up for running his own site for other reasons, to be honest I would only recommend it to someone who has a niche interest.
Editor of the The Wiki Cabal. I live at www.wiki.org.uk.

Proabivouac
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Re: Ira Matetsky

Post by Proabivouac » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:46 pm

Dysklyver wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:35 am
Technically yes, but that's kind of the idea behind Citizendium.
No, that's the idea behind scholarly journals. Citizendium articles are signed only by "Citizendium." As on Wikipedia, you relinquish the rights to your writing the moment you hit "edit." Seems to me that it was based the theory that most academic scholars don't contribute to Wikipedia primarily because they are not treated with respect or have to share the room with the rabble. Maybe those are problems, but the much bigger problem is the combination of no signature, no pay and worst possible license which leaves them without any compelling reason to.

You know when the original research patriol shows up and tells contributors that they have to get their ideas published elsewhere for them to be included? That is actually the best possible advice. And there is a certain rationale to their presumption that anyone who wants to use Wikipedia instead is pushing something which wouldn't make the cut elsewhere. They have set it up so that the most legitimate motives for contributing at a professional level are ruled out from the get go.

Or course I'm not saying that all hobby editing is illegitimate, but you're better off doing it on topics you don't expect to be funded for. Frankly, once people are using pseudonyms you know right there that you won't be getting their very best work. I suspect there are a lot of practicing academics who contribute precisely in areas which are not their professional work. If the signature and license regimes weren't enough, there are also the conflict of interest and original research policies.

In the big picture, why does Wikipedia set things up this way? The goal from the beginning was to disempower their contributors, and in this respect it's been a huge success. They wanted to never have to negotiate with anyone, never have to credit anyone, and most especially never have to pay anyone besides themselves (programmers.) That so many contributors use pseudonyms and live in fear of being "outed" is that much better: such people will never organize or ask for anything more than the ability to continue participating, which is an easy thing for the WMF to provide. All this was more important to them than the quality of content.
Dysklyver wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:35 am
I personally like having more influence with normal people reading something rather than trying to be a second or third rate academic writer. Matetsky may feel the same, or he may not be particularly up for running his own site for other reasons, to be honest I would only recommend it to someone who has a niche interest.
Wikipedia is not Matetsky's only gig. He has a lucrative professional practice, which for the purposes of this conversation might be counted as "running his own site." He also writes for publication signing with his real name and thus receiving credit for it. It is not really research or writing which draws him to Wikipedia.

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Dysklyver
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Re: Ira Matetsky

Post by Dysklyver » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:11 pm

I never contribute in my area of work, Wikipedia's coverage of it is irreparably shite, I could not fix it all in a hundred years. Instead I alternately write long detailed list articles about my hobbies and tiny stubs about every redlink I see, peppered with lots of Drahma and talking about stuff because I obviously don't have a real life.

I see what you are getting at on the scholarly journals front, and on the subject of Ira's highly paid job, so I guess that his interest in Wikipedia is purely for gratification. There is great joy in getting published in a journal, but it's also an advert (for your brilliance), so really essential in his job, it could almost be said it is part of his job. This does not leave much opportunity for creative expression.
Editor of the The Wiki Cabal. I live at www.wiki.org.uk.

Proabivouac
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Re: Ira Matetsky

Post by Proabivouac » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:27 pm

Dysklyver wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:11 pm
I never contribute in my area of work, Wikipedia's coverage of it is irreparably shite, I could not fix it all in a hundred years.
What is your area of work?
Dysklyver wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:11 pm
I see what you are getting at on the scholarly journals front, and on the subject of Ira's highly paid job, so I guess that his interest in Wikipedia is purely for gratification. There is great joy in getting published in a journal, but it's also an advert (for your brilliance), so really essential in his job, it could almost be said it is part of his job. This does not leave much opportunity for creative expression.
Yes, publications are advertisements in a sense, and that is one reason why removing signatures is so damaging to content. The other is that readers can't evaluate the veracity of the writer(s). Even if the aricle were written by a famous academic, you wouldn't be able to see that, and there would be no guarantee that someone else hadn't added or changed some crucial points. It's not true that these features are needed for collaborative writing – people coauthor things all the time. They are though essential to the depersonalization and disenfranchisement which are at the core of Wikipedia's intentions towards its contributors.

This leaves them with contributors whose participation satisfies them in some other way. Probably usually psychological, but let's take a look at PR writing or sociopolitical propaganda. Suddenly the inability to sign the article is a huge plus, as the intention is pass off promotional writing as the observations of an disinterested third party. Here "WIkipedia" actually adds to the credibility of the article. The license, too is favorable, since you will actually want your materials mirrored as far and wide as possible. Being plagiarized is the biggest win of all, since your spin is now backed up by "reliable sources." And pseudonymity, what's not to like? All the features which make Wikipedia such a terrible venue for legitimate work make it the ideal venue for manipulation, especially if performed on behalf of third parties who, unlike Wikipedia, actually pay their writers.

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Dysklyver
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Re: Ira Matetsky

Post by Dysklyver » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:06 am

Proabivouac wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:27 pm
Dysklyver wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:11 pm
I never contribute in my area of work, Wikipedia's coverage of it is irreparably shite, I could not fix it all in a hundred years.
What is your area of work?
I draw your attention to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia ... candidates

My Arbcom candidacy was pretty doomed from the point of being indef blocked, but being disqualified kind of closed it down, I am actually the only candidate to ever be disqualified, I had the organisers make that category especially for me because I point blank refused to withdraw. ;) I am not the only person to be indeffed due to running for Arbcom though, there was another who was before me, they actually got some votes.
Editor of the The Wiki Cabal. I live at www.wiki.org.uk.

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