Can you get banned from Wikipedia? Almost!

You want your name in as many places as you can get it right.

That’s what all the experts say. The more places you appear, the more cross references are made, the higher your online visibility, the better result in Google. We thought that we would try and get a Wikipedia entry for SeeSaw Advertising. What we didn’t realise is that we would be opening up the Pandora’s Box of disgruntled editors who in between battling the hostile cybernetic Strogg civilization in Quake and romancing their virtuagirlfriend, would find the time to have the following little discussion with me. Ahhhh banter with strangers…

Stick with it, it’s quite the gem.

Welcome to Wikipedia. Because we have a policy against usernames that give the impression that the account represents a group, organization or website, I have blocked this account; please create a new account with a username that represents only you. If your username doesn’t represent a group, organization or website, you may ask for a review of this username block by adding the text {{unblock|Your reason here}} below this message. Thank you. – Dank 22 January 2010

This blocked user  has asked to be unblocked, but an administrator has reviewed and declined this request. Other administrators may also review this block, but should not override the decision without good reason (see the blocking policy). Do not remove this unblock request while you are blocked.

Request reason: “I was unaware of the rule against using a company name as a username. I understand and respect the necessity of this rule. However, I had done a reasonable amount of work on a contribution prior to being blocked. I am quite happy to change my username if given the opportunity. If this is not possible, may I please have a copy of the article I was working on? I would prefer not to have to start it all over again. Thank you.”

Decline reason: “Can you tell us what topic(s), other than that article, you would be interested in working on here? I ask because the SeeSaw Advertising article would not be allowed under several of our policies. Please see this message for more information and advice. Thanks. —DoRD 27 January 2010

This blocked user has asked to be unblocked…yada, yada, yada

Request reason: “We would be using Wikipedia to discuss the Advertising Industry; Advertising Campaigns, Relevant Brands, Relevant Identities, New Media etc. We would also talk about other Advertising Agencies. I am in no way attempting to misuse Wikipedia as a medium through which to market SeeSaw Advertising. I would be happy to make any necessary changes to the article.”

And here is where it begins to get silly…and just a little bit personal.

Decline reason: “”we” means that you’re not the only person using account, which means that we will not unblock you because we do not allow people to share accounts Jac16888 28 January 2010

Now I have left Jac16888 as a link because it is so vitally important that you go check out his editing page to make the rest of this story make sense…All we want is our content and I think that to date we’ve asked that pretty nicely!

This blocked user has asked to be unblocked. blah, blah, blah

Request reason: “That is fine. May I please have a copy of the article I was working on then?”

Decline reason: “No. I am declining your request for unblock because it does not address the reason for your block, or because it is inadequate for other reasons. To be unblocked, you must convince the reviewing administrator(s) that

  • the block is not necessary to prevent damage or disruption to Wikipedia, or
  • the block is no longer necessary because you understand what you have been blocked for,
  • will not continue to cause damage or disruption, and will make useful contributions instead.

Please read our guide to appealing blocks for more information. Sandstein 31 January 2010

This blocked user has asked to be unblocked, blardy, blardy blar (I’m starting to run out of these variations on etc!)

Request reason: “Happy for the block to be there, but before we delete our account entirely we would like the text that was placed in your system extracted and sent via email to us. We expect that as we are following your conditions with the best of intentions, you will also do the same. The semantic excuse from Jac16888 about the reason for the block was not a valid reason both for it’s simply purile tone as well as your complete inability due to the technology used to enforce it. I would think that an editor in operation since 2007 would learn how to talk to people – what with a wealth of experience that 3 years has given them along with a virtual bronze star (wow we were all really, really virtually impressed with that one). Looking forward to you wasting our time again. Maybe if you waste it really well we’ll give you a silver star – one not from the Order of Hermes you big old bad inquisitor of light you.”

Here’s where they start really working together as a community!

Decline reason: “Rather than actually read the username policy, the policy on shared accounts and conflict of interest policy, you’re badgering the people who protect Wikipedia from problems – not the right strategy to be using. If you can show the community that you understand these policies, then you may possibly use the unblock template – you’ll have a lot of convincing to do, however. BWilkins 2 February 2010

Accounts cannot be deleted, both for technical and attribution reasons. Jeremy 2 February 2010

What I was trying to say, which I thought was pretty clear, was that your use of the term we makes it clear that this is either a shared account, which we don’t allow, or an account representing a company, which we also don’t allow. I am so sick of you people who think that this being a free encyclopedia means you can use to advertise your companies. You’re the one wasting our time, not the other way around, go pay for advertisements like you’re supposed to Jac16888Talk 2 February 2010

I think we upset him…

This blocked user has asked to be unblocked, etc etc etc (there I used it)

Request reason: “Thanks Jeremy. Simple enough reason. If it is possible to get the text that we inputted it would be appreciated…Jac16888 seems to have ignored this request. In response to you Jac and to BWilkins, we made a very simple request which you have been unable to respond to professionally and in a timely fashion. We have no issue with the account not being allowed so there really is not much point in us reading the documentation that you have suggested (Jac, maybe check the state of your links on your page – none of them work and I am sure that links that don’t go anywhere contravene one of your policies…somewhere) , nor are we attempting to use any strategy. I mean how could we combat an editor that deletes more pages than he approves (I still think the star should read sheriff…lose the latin and give the place a more mexican feel) with no apparent academic or professional background. Sick of ‘us people’? Obviously you do not place Cisco in that basket as their largely marketing entry is a veiled very thinly with historical details – obviously Wikipedia is not as egalitarian as you would like it to be.”

I thought I’d throw that in (I understand that Cisco is a company of note, however there’s more than just historical stuff there!)

Decline reason: “No valid unblock reason given; Wikipedia is not a vehicle for advertising a non-notable company. OhNoitsJamie 3 February 2010

And then this finally (and yes I did receive an email, an actual email from him!! I’m putting him on my Christmas card list.)

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that we have to honour your request and email you the article, we were more likely to do it for you if you’d asked politely. (I’m pretty sure we even said please!) Since that doesn’t seem very likely, and in the hope that it will shut you up I’ve sent you the content. As for the links on my page, did you check past the first one? Which is the only one not working, due to the tool on the other end being broken. Grow up. And when your company becomes a multi-billion dollar compamy like Cisco, email me and I’ll write you an article myself–Jac16888 3 February 2010

Now just to give you a little idea of Jac1688 and his general demeanor (I found him grumpy…didn’t you?), here is the little welcome message on his personal “talk” page.


Should I receive information by private means I shall consider that the sender has waived any claim of copyright or privacy on their part of the message and has obtained such permission on the part of any third parties whose post(s) form part of the message. By communicating with me outside of Wikipedia spaces you are giving me permission to disseminate the content of any message in the manner of my choosing, and you hold yourself liable for any violation of law, Wikipedia policies, service providers Terms of Service, and other consequence of my making public of such information. I would note that this is a reciprocal undertaking, in that I release all claim of confidentiality in relation to Wikipedia related communications sent by me, and only request that the recipient act with all due care and good faith. You may request privacy, and I may honour such a request, but I am not bound by it.

Lesson learnt? Beware the empowered Wiki editor but make sure you use their little rant to improve your Google search results! And when we do become a big company like Cisco, I may very well ask him to write our entry…and then block it.


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4 Responses to “Can you get banned from Wikipedia? Almost!”

  1. The Swashbuckler Says:

    Nice one rhys. Sounds like you’ve had a productive day – and made a few friends in the process! bronze stars? really? and more power to them for admitting they change their rules depending on your turnover… nice one. (altho i suspect you may be breaking code 2.3a subsection B, paragraph 3.2ii by reproducing their messages in this blog)

  2. So little to do, so much time Says:

    Very Entertaining!
    I only wish it could have been adapted into a tele-series.

  3. Niki Says:

    Rhys, just thought you would like to know Jac16888 is now in possession of a Silver Editor Star. All hail Jac16888.

  4. Stan Pomeray Says:

    Getting banned from Wikipedia is easy – just write something they don’t personally agree with, or make them you’re trying to prove you’re smarter than their editors are (which isn’t difficult) and they throw their eggy soldiers out of their high chair and ban you.

    Mind you I suppose the comment “if we met face to face Id rip your fucking throat out and piss down your neck you scum” was a little provocative.

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