The banning of Gregory Kohs from the Wikipedia conference May 30-June 1 has sparked an "edit war" of 10,000+ words on WP. Defenders of Kohs say he was "condemned without a trial" and start petition.
Defenders noted that Ira Matetsky of Ganfer & Shore, a director of WP/New York, e-mailed Kohs the day before the conference that, “based on a number of considerations,” Kohs would not be admitted to the conference and “The decision is final and is not subject to reconsideration or appeal.”
G&F, located at 360 Lexington ave., two blocks from O’Dwyer offices, handles commercial and securities litigation and real estate law. Matetsky signs as “Newyorkbrad” on WP.
WP contributor “Wil,” writing in a discussion that has reached tens of thousands of words, said WP administrators are “playing with a man’s reputation” and are “condemning him without a trial.”
Change.org is circulating a petition headlined, "Make Wikipedia conferences truly open to all by allowing Gregory Kohs to attend."
The petition is by “WS of Los Gatos, Calif.,” who has been identified as Wil Sinclair, the live-in partner of Lila Tretikov, who recently joined the WP Foundation as executive director. Sinclair and Tretikov are parents of a son, according to published statements.
What Is a “Reliable Source?”
The issue that has roiled the Wikipedians is whether an “unreliable source” has been made “reliable” if it is cited by a "reliable source."
WP considers New York magazine, which linked to the O’Dwyer article on the banning of Kohs, to be a “reliable source,” but calls O’Dwyer's "a blog" and not reliable.
WP contributor "alf laylah wa laylah" says the reference to O’Dwyer’s by New York mag makes O’Dwyer’s a “reliable source” and calls on WP to accept that.
WP, laylah adds, should also realize that the New York Times has called O’Dwyer’s “the bible of PR” and that “articles from O’Dwyer’s magazine are cited in scholarly journals.” O’Dwyer’s magazine is “taken very seriously by sources universally agreed to be reliable” including the Mondo Times, says laylah.
How WP Operates Is on Display
The debate on WP over whether the banning of Kohs should be covered in the regular area of WP and not just on the “Talk” pages that few see is a window into how WP handles information.
With few exceptions, it only wants to reference materials that have been carried by “multiple reliable sources.” It normally will not accept original materials or materials from a source writing about itself.
A Wikipedian attending a baseball game, for instance, would not post the score on WP but would wait for local “reliable” media to do so.
Supporters of Kohs are demanding a “trial” of whether he was rightly banned from the May 30-June 1 conference in New York. Such a trial could take “months,” say participants in the WP discussion of this issue.
'Reliable' Status Sought for O’Dwyer’s
WP administrators and editors including Kevin Gorman, WP’s first “Wikipedian-in-Residence” based at the University of California at Berkeley, are being sent O’Dwyer’s Directory of PR Firms, O’Dwyer’s Magazine, and O’Dwyer’s PR Buyer’s Guide, as well as access codes to odwyerpr.com, in an effort to win status as a “reliable” source on PR and related subjects.
WP’s 1,701-word entry on PR Society of America has some basic facts about the Society but leaves out much material including controversies that have been documented by the O’Dwyer Co. “The world’s largest association of PR professionals,” as the Society refers to itself, deserves a much more extensive examination of its history, policies, governance and press relations. Reporters are not allowed to join and for the past three years have been banned from covering its annual Assembly.
Members can lose their rights to the Society’s web by the unilateral action of the staff and board. There is no right of appeal, no hearing or trial, which is the main issue behind the discussion about Kohs’ banning from the New York WP meeting. Supporters of Kohs feel he has been treated unfairly and denied due process.
There are no entries at all on PR Seminar, whose members include about 150 blue chip corporate executives and leaders of about 15 major PR firms; Arthur W. Page Society, 400 executives of major companies and PR firms, and Council of PR Firms, 110 PR firms including many of the largest independent firms and almost all of the firms owned by conglomerates.
The O’Dwyer Co. could work with WP administrators and editors to fill this huge gap about PR. Perhaps Matetsky will visit the O’Dwyer offices and experience the O’Dwyer PR library which has 46 years of PR and media materials.
IABC Drops PDF of Mag, Gets Beefs
The Int’l Assn. of Business Communicators said June 9 that it will no longer make its magazine Communication World available in PDF form. The mag had gone online-only in May 2013 after 50 years of print publication.
Senior editor Jessica Burnette-Lemon, replying to a request by “Donna” for the current magazine in PDF form, said the PDF is no longer available for several reasons such as it “streamlines our production process, allows us to publish more timely information, and makes it easier to read articles on any device without downloading an app.”
Burnette-Lemon says IABC will be including “a mix of shorter articles as well as more in-depth features as appropriate to the topic, and will optimize articles for web reading with subheads, sidebars and relevant links.”
She said that “if there is demonstrated interest in making full issues available in printable format, we will investigate that possibility.”
Donna had written that online “is great for a quick read, but I prefer to read longer articles on paper (call me old-school, although I’m not that old). I always download and print the magazine so I can read it cover-to-cover.”
“Joy” told Burnette-Lemon that the web is for updates and quick reads but a pdf is needed for longer articles. “Andrea” wrote June 10 that she also want a PDF option. “I like to print them off and read them cover to cover at my leisure,” she wrote. Michael Becker also asked for a printable version, saying printed articles are “easier to share and discuss than online articles.”