Censure & Wikipedia: The first occurrence

We are currently blocked from adding netage.org links on Wikipedia on subjects like “Book of Job”, “Superman “, “The Da Vinci Code” and “Mary Magdalene”, just to mention a few.

We would like the reader to decide if these links contribute to the understanding of the subject matter. And if this censure does not contradict the open source nature of Wikipedia. Our concern is not about netage.org but about the future of Wikipedia.

It appears that Wikipedia is being overwhelmed by entries related to popular culture. As it happens  some of our links contain a critical analysis of popular culture, especially about the “media” as a speudo-religious medium.

We will be posting the episodes of the blocks and the different the reasons that Wikipedia editors have used to justify such bans. The entry below is the first attempt made to block an external link to “Spider-Man”. The ban was subsequently remove:

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“Netage.com links (sic)

I rolled back your link on the Spider-Man page becuase it appears to be either self-promotional and/or just another essay on Spider-Man, rather than a site about Spider-Man (and I suspect that’s why the Batman link was rolled back). Check out Wikipedia:External links for more information on what to link here. — Ipstenu (talk|contribs) 16:08, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Hi, I rolled back your link again. Please talk to me on my talk page if you want to discuss this, but one non-notable essay on a topic doesn’t really lend for it to be linked. — Ipstenu (talk|contribs) 18:34, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Regarding your email

I believe in the Wikipedia community, so I’m replying here. This way, other editors who come looking this up will know what the heck went on.

Emailing me off the site, without mentioning your websites, made me take about 30 minutes to figure out you had written an email to me about edits from a month ago. Let me address the most serious concern I had with your edits: Self-Promotion. The rules are simple, you shouldn’t ever add your own site to a page. You’re reading too much into that if you’re taking it as a censure. Check out WP: Conflict of Interest for details.

Regarding why I removed your sites, which you call idealism in your email to me, links to pages that are essays on certain superheroes do not add anything helpful to article. An external link should (per Wikipedia:External links which I linked to before) be a link that adds merit to the page. This does not mean I think your essay was bad, I rather liked it, and I took a moment now to re-read it. The issue is that your site falls clearly under Links normally to be avoided. That is ‘Links to blogs and personal web pages, except those written by a recognized authority.’ and ‘Sites that are only indirectly related to the article’s subject: the link should be directly related to the subject of the article. A general site that has information about a variety of subjects should usually not be linked to from an article on a more specific subject. Similarly, a website on a specific subject should usually not be linked from an article about a general subject. If a section of a general website is devoted to the subject of the article, and meets the other criteria for linking, then that part of the site could be deep-linked.’

Frankly, your site does indeed make valid criticism. On a religious site. That has little to do with superheros, and it’s notable. The goal of your website (from here) espouses that “The web site proposes articles about how traditional forms of religious expressions have shifted into alternative forms of spirituality.” Which is great. But having two articles on superheros does not a notable site make. Having two, little read articles (if a google link-back search is any indication) makes it less notable.

If you had a Batman site, that contained the history of Batman, the movies, the TV shows, etc, and these essays, then your site would be perfect to add to the Batman page. That’s what we’re looking for. Everything else? Not really needed. I honestly don’t know where on Wikipedia your site would fit best, probably somewhere in the religion sections there’s a spot for this sort of site, but it’s not superheroes. Otherwise, we’d be adding every Tom, Dick and Harry site in the known world with one article on Batman, and before you know it, we’d be a link farm. And no one wants that.

If this is still vexing you, or you still don’t understand why, I suggest bringing this up in the proper forum- The talk page of Talk:Batman or Talk:Spider-Man would be a good start. There’s also the Comics Project, where people are wise about the ways of comics. I hope I’ve helped you understand why I deleted your link. — Ipstenu (talk • contribs) 23:50, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
[edit] My reply to Ipstenu

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My reply:
“I apologize for sending you an email and for not going through the proper channels. I am new at this and I am not very familiar with Wikipedia’s protocol. I am also sorry for not including my web page link in my email, I am so into self-promoting myself that if forgot to include it.

By reading your reply I can see that you have completely missed the point of my email. That’s why I have decide to post it here. I have also posted your reply that I consider rather impulsive and kind of harsh.

“To the editors;

I had linked several of my articles on subjects like Superman, Spider-Man and Batman. I am writing to challenge the censure of my links by Ipstenu and other editors. My links were removed on the grounds that they are not “about” but “on” the subject of these super-heroes, whatever that means. I am also accused of self-promotion. This is non-sense because these super-heroes are the epitome of self-promotion by the media.

My articles make a legitimate and valid criticism of these mythical heroes. I am sorry that Ipstenu’s idealism is being shattered by my discourse. And I plead on behalf of the reader, young and old, who will benefit from a valid criticism of our post-modern mythology.

I would like to stress that I have dedicated my life to study of religion and spirituality. I thrive to apply a critical analysis on the subject of mythology and ideology. My goal is to promote intellectual criticism for the benefit of the reader. From an open-source perspective, of which Wikipedia should be the embodiment.

I would like to remind you that the etymological meaning of encyclopedia is; a general education that include all branches of knowledge. The French Encyclopédistes were part of an intellectual group that promoted the advancement of science and secular thought. They advocated tolerance, supported rationality and open-mindedness. They were responsible for the Enlightenment.

Their primary goal was to make knowledge accessible to everybody. By emphasizing the importance of linking the different branches of knowledge. To show that knowledge comes from the scientific study made by “individuals”. Not from the doctrines or dogmas of provided by the Church in Rome. They applied themselves to bypass ─déjouer─ any “censure” from the Church or the State.

Wikipedia must object to any form of censure and defend its role as a bottom-up provider of education. It should promote any valid contributions to the understanding of a shifting world view ushered by the Internet. As you know, linking is the essence of the Internet. It is because of this linking that the unprecedented development of the Internet was made possible.

To conclude, I would like to add that I contributed in my writings the idea that these super-heroes are mythical American icons. An idea that is commonly accepted today. I would like to emphasize the importance of any linking contributions like mine to the advancement of knowledge and to critical thinking for the benefit of a healthy public debate.

Respectfully, Michael A. Rizzotti BA in Theology, Loyola MA in Religious Studies, UQAM Author of: God, Myth, and Metaphor (I can provide you a copy of my diplomas upon request)”

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“Ipstenu’s email reply:

You’d be best served bringing this up on the talk pages. Seriously, emailing me to bitch that I deleted a site that was in clear violation of the wiki rules (self-promotion) is rather against the idea of a community.

In that regard, I have replied here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ User_talk:Netage

I will not be replying to further emails on the matter.

As you can see from my reply months ago, I did direct you to talk pages (including my own). If you still need help figuring out how talk pages work, put {{helpme}} on this page and someone who is good at that can help you out 🙂 You have yet to address my assertions that this is a personal website, or a case of self-promotion as defined by Wikipedia’s standards. I strongly urge you to take up your case on the individual talk pages for the articles in question, as I linked to above. — Ipstenu (talk • contribs) 20:47, 10 July 2007 (UTC) “

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