Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Teresa Was Right - Darn It!

I was amazed today to see a comment on my entry from two nights ago, from none other than Teresa Nielsen Hayden of Making Light. She wrote, in part:

Making Light is not the first venue that's kicked him out. It's not the second or third, either.

What you have to understand is that (1.) since Mrk . Yrk has opinions, we're all obliged to listen to them and find them interesting; (2.) anything less is simple injustice; and (3.) he's never wrong. If Wikipedia doesn't have a mechanism for removing intransigent posters, this could turn into a long fight.

Mrk Yrk, or Mark A York, Mary48 on Wikipedia, is the man whose anti-TNH, anti-Absolute Write edits have so taxed my time and patience recently. Teresa sounds even more exasperated with him - and possibly with me for trying to negotiate with him.

When I read Teresa's comment, I looked over my blog entry to make sure I hadn't been unfair or unclear about anything. I was horrified to discover that there was an ambigious paragraph, that seemed to imply I thought Mark was 10% right about Teresa Nielsen Hayden being unfair to him. That wasn't what I meant at all! Too late, I did a quick edit, adding the following sentence:

(She wasn't.)

And it's true. Mark was right that the article should acknowledge that not everyone is in favor of disemvoweling. Unsurprisingly, most people who are disemvoweled aren't happy about it. However, Mark is wrong about whether it's applied unfairly on Making Light, whether it's a precursor to inevitably being banned completely, and most of all, whether he was banned just for disagreeing with the crowd. He was banned after months of comments, most of them unpleasant, after warnings and disemvoweling, and, the last straw, after sending in a "sock puppet," and posting the same accusations and unpleasantness under a different name. Sorry, Mark. It's not just because you resent Absolute Write for banning you also, and dared to speak out repeatedly about Jenna of AW's treatment of you.

But I digress.

Everything Teresa wrote about Mark tallies perfectly with my experience with the man. Everything, that is, except the outcome. As of last night and this morning, the edit war appeared to be over. Mark accepted the edits, and that seemed to be that.

Then tonight I read this, from Mark to someone with a bit of authority at Wikipedia:

Well they did it too is what I'm saying, and I had no knowledge of this rule. The article has been completely rewritten by a fourth party
Zack preserving enough of my language that I'm washing my hands of it. The same two ganged up on me at the Barbara Bauer entry over a link that is now defunct since it left the owner JC Hosting in a bad light. That was my beef at the time, yet they won by repeatedly adding it back in. The users are JulesH and Mavarin. This is chronic partisan buying by forum members at Making Light which banned me for persistence in voicing my opinion. It looks like it's over but you want to take a look at that page as well. Thanks.Marky48 15:22, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

So he accepted my edits, but he's still trying to get me in trouble? Drat, Teresa as right about that, too. I've been trying to report on all this without calling him names (other than Mrk Yrk, which has become a convention on Making Light), or otherwise attacking him personally. I've done my best to be patient and cordial, reasonable and logical. I've tried to come up with Wikipedia edits he could live with that were nevertheless fair and accurate - no easy task, I assure you. I've tried to de-escalate things by calling in a mediator, and even tried to help him arrange for an advocate, the next step up in Wikipedia dispute resolution. What I get in return is attacks and accusations and name-calling.

So tonight I wrote to the Wikipedia advocate guy, and did my best to explain without attacking Mark in return. I'm sure that if he looks over the Talk pages, he'll see how I've tried to be fair. Oh, how I've tried!

And here's the answer to the question I posed the other night. If there is no Them, and Mark is not an enemy by my definition, then what is my obligation to him, as an Us and a non-enemy? Where does he fit into my philosophy?

Hmm. Tricky.

Well, first of all, Mark is a human being. He has his "own spark of divine fire." He also falls under this provision:

Does that mean I have to confirm his distorted self-image? No, of course not. Does it mean I should allow Wikipedia articles to turn into attacks? Not that, either. Does it mean I need to be polite to him, and honestly consider his point of view? Bingo. How about leaving out certain links Mark doesn't like when I edit Wikipedia? Erm, um, well...I'm not quite sure on that one. But regardless, I feel I should treat him with compassion and respect, even if he treats me badly, even if privately I think he has some kind of personality disorder. There. I said it. Should I have admitted that, even here on my blog? Is Mark going to turn up here, as Teresa did? If so, will he hound me forever? Is my comment an attack?

I don't think it's an attack. I think it's true, and it makes me sad. It means that he's never going to admit, even in his own mind, that "This Mavarin person, Karen, actually treated me pretty decently. Maybe I was wrong after all." Not gonna happen. But I still feel obligated to treat him as if he were a reasonable adult human being. It's the Golden Rule and all that.

Do I think he shouldn't have been disemvoweled, or banned? No, I think that was perfectly justified. Do I want him to be able to endlessly accuse me of bias and trolling? No, but I don't see how I can stop him, without abandoning the stance I have taken. Should I abandon that stance as ineffective and counterproductive?

I'm not sure yet. I'll get back to you. This blog entry is already a crack in that wall, I'm afraid.

Oh, by the way. Julie pointed out that I used the term "them,"at least tangentially, in writing about my fictional characters. Okay, yes. I supposed they are "them," since they really can't quite be "us." On the other hand, within their reality, they are all "Us" after all. Huh. Interesting.

Or maybe I'm just tired. Good night!


P.S. The Jace Letters installment is finally posted.

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julie said...

Hey, looks like you got some cheese for your efforts! Blessed be the cheesemakers, indeed.

I applaud you for sticking to your principles and being willing to listen to his POV. A willingness to listen does not automatically infer that either party is right.

Personally, I don't think you need to accuse him of anything. Anyone who wants to look at the talk page should be able to follow the record and form an opinion for themselves. Whether they agree with you, or Mark, or any of the others in this disupute (or choose not to) is out of your hands.

Now I'm off to purge my frustrations by throwing a ball at some sticks of wood.

TNH said...

Karen, I have nothing but sympathy for you. I'm working on answers to your list of questions.

TNH said...

I've now posted a long response to your questions in the same Open Thread where you posted them. It's here. Feel free to reproduce and re-post it anywhere you please. (Note: this grant of rights is made only to Karen Funk Blocher. Everyone else can settle for the normal rights.)

Let me know how it works.

Cheers --