Caught! Guido Fawkes puffs up Wikipedia entry


10:01 am - August 17th 2012

by Tim Fenton    


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How does the blogger who specialises in accusing others of spin pass the time? Well, for the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who styles himself Guido Fawkes, there is always the temptation of checking out your own Wikipedia entry.

That entry had, after all, contained items such as the incident outside the entrance to London Bridge tube station, when a camerawoman was knocked over as Staines and his tame gofer Henry Cole barged into a gathering of hacks and snappers attending a photo-op for Ken Livingstone.

Staines got very sore at the suggestion he had knocked over the camerawoman. Staines is also known to be sensitive about his past career which ended in acrimonious litigation and his being declared bankrupt.

Late last Thursday, someone with the same name made a whole raft of changes tohis Wikipedia entry, the first one being annotated “removed false claim that I [note first person] knocked over a camera woman”.

This was followed just three minutes later by another edit, marked “Adds context for bankruptcy declaration”.

And, as the man said, there’s more: “Updates business activities from 2006 to 2012 with links” brings a whiff of vanity, then “Elaborates on circumstances of litigation” looks like more self-justification. And then look: “removed reference to BIJ story as too trivial”.

There then follow another six significant edits to the Staines entry, taking the length of the exercise to a not insignificant 95 minutes.

And a previous session of edits, including such turd-burnishing items as “Cites Guardian Media 100 and GQ Most Influential 100 rankings” and “Amends Guy News TV info adds Guidogram email”.

All this points to a deliberate revision of history from someone who is rather more thin-skinned than they like to pretend.

UPDATE: Staines has owned up to editing his Wikipedia entry, and has excused his selective re-writing of his own particular history by asserting that he had “been invited to by the editors”.

That’s an interesting one, given that there was no sign beforehand that those same editors were unhappy about the content of the entry. And there were, as I’ve shown, two batches of editing several months apart.

UPDATE 2 (by Sunny): It has been pointed out on Twitter that Wikipedia’s own rules strongly discourage people to edit their own entry. Hilarious.

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About the author
Tim is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He blogs more frequently at Zelo Street
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Reader comments


Staines has owned up to being the editor of his Wikipedia entry, and explained this on Twitter by saying he “had been invited to by the editors”, and had decided to “factually correct the record”.

I’ve updated the original post, which is here:

http://zelo.tv/Pr5oVV

And will leave others to draw their own conclusions.

Wouldn’t you, though?
It’s hardly news. Must be a Friday.

I very much doubt that ‘the editors’ (whoever they may be) asked him to edit his entry. Editing your own entry, or that of an organisation you work for, is strongly discouraged on Wikipedia.

I suppose left wing hacks are always above burnishing their own wikipedia credentials though…..lets not name names shall we?

@Tyler (Comment #4) : I assume you’re meaning Johann Hari’s self-editing? If so, wasn’t Paul Staines one of the bloggers who had a total field day about the low morality of Hari doing such a thing? Wouldn’t like to think that Staines has double standards here, oh no!

Maybe the whole blog thing is falling apart for him and Cole because everyone knows they’re tossers and refuses to speak to them. He’s indulging in some cheap reputation management as he looks for a new job.

@ 5 Martin

Johann Hari is a slightly different case as he used an alias to ammed his (and other peoples) sites…Staines is editing his own, for all to see.

I was actually thinking more about the hypocrisy of people like Medhi Hasan, who had whole sections of his wiki (the stuff about calling all non-muslims cattle etc) deleted or even LC’s own Sunny Hundhal, whose wikipedia entry has also been edited by himself and also has more than a touch of a “whiff of vanity”, “self justification” and “turd burnishing”.

I guess he’s just jealous than Staines’ site does so much better than his own.

Regardless, it’s a little bit rich to suggest that Staines is doing something wrong, when he does exactly the same things, and he only attacks those he dislikes whilst ignoring the same transgressions from those on his “team”. In short, he is a nakedly and purely party political animal, whereas Staines, whilst nominally right-wing, is happy to launch viscious attacks on the political establishment of all colours.

Who says you can’t polish a turd?

if i was interestimg enough to have a wikipedia page on me…id change it too.

also was this filed under ‘news’ as a joke?

It seems remarkable that any Wikipedia editor would invite the subject of an article to edit it when the subject is as, um, NPOV as Guido.

Here are the guidelines:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ/Article_subjects#The_information_in_your_article_about_me_is_wrong._How_can_I_get_it_fixed.3F

Such invitations basically don’t happen, ever.

It is possible that Staines has misread something as an invitation. I have asked him for a link to the actual text (he says it’s somewhere on a talk page), as he is making this extraordinary claim. If we know what he’s talking about, it may be possible to evaluate it.

12. Michael Smith

You claim: ‘Wikipedia’s own rules strongly discourage people to edit their own entry’

Why not tell the truth about what they say:

‘Editing a biography about yourself should only be done in clear-cut cases.’

Bit different, eh?

Michael – editing an article about yourself is not strictly against Wikipedia’s rules, or even guidelines. It is, however, considered an inadvisable idea that frequently doesn’t work out too well in practice.

For the moment I’m assuming good faith and presuming Mr Staines mistook some comment as an invitation to edit. It would help understand what happened if he could actually produce said comment for the many, many people who have asked him, but nevertheless I think a mere confusion is a sufficient explanation for now.

I stopped reading at “his tame gopher”. This site is alright sometimes, but this writer is awful and only concerned with attacking people he wishes were his enemies (and he probably looks up to really).

Isn’t Paul Staines merely referring to this comment in the Talk section of his Wikipedia entry:

“Paul, feel free to edit your own article if you wish, this is no longer a taboo given the current revision of Wikipedia policy on biographies of living persons. If there is a comment which you contend is untrue, and in the article it is either unsourced or the source is wrong, then correct it. Personally, I can’t see anything terribly controversial or unbalanced myself at the moment, whether it be from the ‘scribblings of journalists’ or not, however… Whilst you may be right in stating you are a private individual with no official role, you undoubtedly are notable in Wikipedia’s terms as the author of one of Britain’s top-ranking blogs. If you’d prefer that this article be located at Guido Fawkes rather than under your own name, I assume people would be happy to consider that request. DWaterson 18:18, 17 September 2006 (UTC)”?

This DWaterson guy calls himself an editor on Wikipedia, so presumably that is where Staines got his impression that he was invited to edit his own entry by the editors. Can someone please explain why he should not have got that impression?

16. Shinsei1967

Out of interest what is the correct form if your Wikipedia entry has information about you that is clearly incorrect ?

If you actually read the changes that GF has made many seem to be just simple sub-editing – eg “adds quotations marks”. Is that acceptable ?

Newspapers are required to print corrections if factually inaccurate, how does Wiki deal with this ? I presume in this case GF must have any number of tame gofers who could alter the more controversial bits.

Tyler: or even LC’s own Sunny Hundhal, whose wikipedia entry has also been edited by himself and also has more than a touch of a “whiff of vanity”,

I’m sorry, you what? Where’s your proof for this? You can’t even spell my name right let alone make proper accusations.

18. therealguyfaux

“Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy.”

In other words,” You, poster, ought to engage in civility, but I, Sunny Hundal, can engage in snark about Paul Staines, through Tim Fenton.”

Got it in one?

19. Just Visiting

Sunnyy

Your wiki page says:

“Sunny Hundal (born 1977) is a British journalist and blogger.”

But I can’t see anywhere in it where your journalist jobs are listed?

I’m not sure this counts as Journalism does it:
“He has written articles for The Guardian, The Financial Times and The Independent, and other publications.”

Lots have people have written occassional articles for those papers, because they are active in a field the paper wants to report on – but that seems too little class as journalism?

What editors?

@ Ari

Doesn’t sound like an invitation to me. Certainly not in the way Staines presented in. Sounds more like a withdrawl of prohibition rather than an “invitation” as Staines contends. Saying “I’m not stopping you from doing this.” is a whole lot different from “Be my guest, come and do this please.”

Also Staines says he was “invited” by EDITORS – plural. I can only see one person involved in this so-called “invitation”.

After someone like Staines had such a go at Hari then, he leaves himself open to criticism of hypocrisy.

BTW; In my opinion he is a mysogynist, at least he made derogatory remarks about my appearance when responding to my tweet. But that does not surprise me.

22. Shatterface

But I can’t see anywhere in it where your journalist jobs are listed?

What do you mean he isn’t a journalist? Look at this:

Late last Thursday, someone with the same name made a whole raft of changes tohis Wikipedia entry, the first one being annotated “removed false claim that I [note first person] knocked over a camera woman”.

Only an investigative journalist of Woodward and Burnstein-like perserverence could have deduced that Paul Staines was responsible from subtle clues like the use of the name ‘Paul Staines’ and his seamingly accidental use of the first person pronoun.

23. Paul Cunt Staines

Meh.

Stop focusing on this anti-woman ass-backwards neo-con future serial rapist and actually report something or atleast go back to doing op/eds

24. Paul Cunt Staines

@tyler:

Shut up and go pack your things for the “promised land”

Meh, at least Staines doesn’t claim to stand up for the disabled then call posters on his own site “window lickers” eh Sundeep…

26. Chaise Guevara

@ 19 JV

“Lots have people have written occassional articles for those papers, because they are active in a field the paper wants to report on – but that seems too little class as journalism?”

This site counts as journalism. (And yes, I can predict the response to this, but it’s still journalism even if you consider it to be bad journalism.) I know it says “blogger AND journalist”, but not all blogs are journalistic – I’m sure there are thousands of What My Cat Did Today blogs, for example.

Oh, and unless Sunny wrote his own page, which I bloody hope he didn’t given this article, I’m not sure why he’d be answerable for Wikipedia content anyway.

27. Chaise Guevara

Incidentally, I assume that when Wikipedia says it’s ok to correct information about yourself in clear-cut cases, it means if someone spelled your name incorrectly or got your DOB wrong or something. Not in cases where the facts are debateable, and certainly not in such a way as to make the facts reflect better on you.

28. Just Visiting

Chaise

> This site counts as journalism… but not all blogs are journalistic

So what makes LC ‘journalism’ in your view ?

In terms of trying to come up with a more solid definition of what makes a Journalist – wouldn’t the rules of membership to the Journalists union – the NUJ – be relevant: does Sunny fit any of these categories:

If you earn at least 50% of your overall income from journalism then you qualify for Full Membership…

If you’re trying to establish or re-establish yourself as a full-time journalist, and you don’t have another full-time job, you can apply for Temporary Membership…

If you’ve got a full-time job but also do journalism, because you want to contribute something to a public audience, and support trade union rights and journalistic standards, then you can apply for Associate Membership….

29. Chaise Guevara

@ 28 JV

I don’t see that that’s relevant. That union doesn’t get to define “journalism” and I doubt it’s trying to: odds are those rules are to prevent the union being co-opted by people who get membership on a technicality.

Sunny runs a large, active blog that reports and comments on the news of the day. It would be weird NOT to call him a journalist.

30. Mediocrates

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk%3APaul_Staines&diff=507880615&oldid=507874023

===

OPEN LETTER

Dear Wikipedia,

I am so sick and tired of people trying to use the authority of this site to take a pop at me.

Today various article editors repeatedly claimed that I had knocked over a woman, I repeatedly removed that claim. In exasperation I said that if it was repeated I would have no option but to sue for defamation. I was then told threatening to sue would lead to me being blocked from using Wikipedia. It is a lie frequently repeated on here, what the hell am I supposed to do?

Sort it out and make this more neutral.

regards,

–Paul

===

That’s hilarious. The man who’s been blasting the Leveson Inquiry for trying to stifle the freedom of speech of newspapers, which lie and manipulate facts for profit, threatened to sue someone on Wikipedia, a free site which empowers the common person to pursue truth for themselves.

The man obsessed with paranoid delusions about the imminent advent of Communist thought policing is actually threatening to sue Wikipedian dissenters into silence. The irony is delicious.

The fact that he originally published this addition at the top of the article’s talk page just makes it that much more pompous, too.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Rhys Needham

    Has Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/hDl9PsJs via @libcon

  2. Peter Hague

    @tommorris Seen this? How do you guys normally deal with it? http://t.co/gulRM5iv

  3. sunny hundal

    Has blogger Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? http://t.co/T4TpgQBG – by @zelo_street

  4. Noelinho

    Bit sad tbh “@sunny_hundal: Has blogger Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? http://t.co/3fmzZ7yt – by @zelo_street”

  5. Jason Brickley

    Has Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? http://t.co/rtc8eSN1

  6. Rosie R.

    Has blogger Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? http://t.co/T4TpgQBG – by @zelo_street

  7. George Bodie

    Has blogger Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? http://t.co/T4TpgQBG – by @zelo_street

  8. Antonio Dorileo

    Has blogger Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? http://t.co/T4TpgQBG – by @zelo_street

  9. Jacob Williamson

    Has blogger Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? http://t.co/T4TpgQBG – by @zelo_street

  10. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Has Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? http://t.co/1I3S5mI8

  11. Alex Braithwaite

    Has Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/732vp3J5 via @libcon

  12. Gareth Davies

    Could @GuidoFawkes explain why Wikipedia would invite him to puff up his own entry when its discouraged at Wikipedia? http://t.co/T4TpgQBG

  13. Marie-Noelle Loewe

    Hah! Blogger @GuidoFawkes admits to puffing up his Wikipedia entry, claims he "was invited" to do so http://t.co/T4TpgQBG

  14. Natacha Kennedy

    Could @GuidoFawkes explain why Wikipedia would invite him to puff up his own entry when its discouraged at Wikipedia? http://t.co/T4TpgQBG

  15. Citizen Ember

    Could @GuidoFawkes explain why Wikipedia would invite him to puff up his own entry when its discouraged at Wikipedia? http://t.co/T4TpgQBG

  16. Chris Spyrou

    Caught! Guido Fawkes puffs up Wikipedia entry http://t.co/GSlNoy8p

  17. Beth Granter

    Hah! Blogger @GuidoFawkes admits to puffing up his Wikipedia entry, claims he "was invited" to do so http://t.co/T4TpgQBG

  18. Syed Choudhury

    Has blogger Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? http://t.co/T4TpgQBG – by @zelo_street

  19. Natacha Kennedy

    Rightwing creep & professional hypocrtite @guidofawkes caught editing his own Wikipedia entry and then lying about it. http://t.co/W7MhLoU4

  20. gareth evans

    Rightwing creep & professional hypocrtite @guidofawkes caught editing his own Wikipedia entry and then lying about it. http://t.co/W7MhLoU4

  21. Mark Carrigan

    Caught! Guido Fawkes puffs up Wikipedia entry http://t.co/FCvcpZox HA! 🙂

  22. T May

    Caught! Guido Fawkes puffs up Wikipedia entry http://t.co/FCvcpZox HA! 🙂

  23. Definitely Moley

    .@jacka92 Gudio Fawkes updates his own Wikipedia page: http://t.co/4kMDOsji

  24. thejamesweston

    Caught! @GuidoFawkes puffs up Wikipedia entry, claims invitation by @wikipedia editors. Yes, it smells bad. http://t.co/Kr5x3U3j

  25. Chris Spyrou

    @DavidAllenGreen Interested to hear why you've not commented on this… http://t.co/pRb9Rcj5

  26. heather smart

    Oh Deary,Deary Me ! RT @libcon: Has Guido Fawkes been puffing up his Wikipedia entry? http://t.co/9bY9muam





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