New York magazine, a "reliable source" to Wikipedia, has upset WP editors by linking to the coverage of WP critic Gregory Kohs being banned from the May 30-June 1 conference.

kevin gorman

Kohs received an e-mail May 29 from New York lawyer Ira Matetsky of Ganfer & Shore saying he was banned not only as a panelist but as an observer. The e-mail said:

“The organizers of Wikiconference USA 2014 have determined that based on a number of considerations, you are not invited to attend the conference. Your name has been removed from the list of registered attendees and will not be included on the list of attendees being provided to the venue.
Please note that this is not any one individual's decision but a group decision, for which I am acting as messenger/scrivener. The decision is final and is not subject to reconsideration or appeal.”

The banning of Kohs caught the attention of New York magazine Intelligencer reporter Jessica Pressler, who referred to it June 6 by saying Kohs was "allegedly" banned from attending.

This upset supporters of Kohs who wrote on the "Talk" pages of Wikipedia that there was nothing "alleged" at all about the banning and WP was remiss in not reporting it in its regular pages since it was referenced in a "reliable source."

Arguing against allowing the Kohs incident to make it to the regular pages was Kevin Gorman, WP's first "Wikipedian-in-Residence at a U.S. university" (The University of California at Berkeley).

Gorman helps students to be "more responsible and effective users" of WP. He is also working with the archives, libraries and museums of UC Berkeley to have their content released under a free license so it can be used in the WP Commons, the WP Foundation’s image, video and audio library.

Gorman notes that more than 550 million people view WP every month and 30,000 edit the English version of the site more than five times a month. Most are “white folks with tech backgrounds,” he says. “They write about what they’re interested in and have introduced a systemic bias into WP. If something isn’t on WP, it’s approaching a form of erasure, so we want to combat that by bringing in more editors.”

Gorman: One RS Not Enough

Gorman argued on the Talk pages that more references in “reliable sources” were needed besides the New York mag piece that referenced He said the O’Dwyer story had “multiple factual errors” but did not name any. He also added that O’Dwyer’s “is a “source fairly well known to not like us.”

Kohs’ criticism of leaders of the event, while not named, could be unfair to them, Gorman further noted, raising the issue of WP:BLP (Biographies of Living People).

WP policy is to be extra careful about damaging the reputations of living people

Several Wikipedians took issue with Gorman on the Talk page, saying refusal to report the boycott against Kohs “smacks of self-censorship and cover-up” (Alison).

Another contributor (alf laylah wa laylah) said it was a “shame” that WP interfered with “an ongoing discussion and you’re removing sourced material.”

Wrote Ian Thomson: “New York mag is a reliable source so when it chooses to cite an unreliable source [O’Dwyer’s] we may rely on their judgment that the incident is controversial. That is the only question at stake here: do reliable sources see it as controversial?”

Gorman commented, “I love the number of people who are trying to get Kohs included as a controversy on an article with a scope this large who are not bothering to make any policy-based comment on this Talk page (or frequently any comment at all). “

He said more than one “RS” should be required "or at least substantial overage in one good RS (and one line is not substantial").