Friday, May 24, 2013

Wikipedia's Magick War Ends

Last week Salon reported on the antics of Wikipedia user "Qworty," idenfied as writer Robert Clark Young, who engaged in an online vendetta against rival authors by in some cases "revenge editing" their Wikipedia entries and in others simply marking them for deletion. Young also appears to have had a grudge against alternative spirituality, waging a one-man war against Pagans and occultists. Abusing the "notability" standards as defined by Wikipedia, he argued that Pagans, occultists, and other esotericists, even those with a significant media presence, were not "notable" enough for inclusion. As explained in this follow-up to the original article, one of these individuals was David Jay Brown, a writer with published works on psychedelics. Brown apears to have been targeted because of his association with the organizer of the Starwood festival, a large Pagan gathering that has been running for many years.

As Qworty, Young denounced Brown as a “self-appointed spiritual savior” who had styled himself “a modern-day messiah who combined all of the powers of Jesus and Freud and Einstein and Marx and, oh why the heck not, Timothy Leary, lol.” Young also resorted to his go-to critique for Wikipedia pages he found wanting: he accused Brown of repeatedly editing his own page in violation of Wikipedia’s conflict-of-interest policies.

Brown contacted me soon after the publication of my first Qworty/Young story, but I didn’t examine his story close enough to figure out Young’s real gripe against him. Then, a week later, I started receiving emails from members of “the Pagan writing and publishing community” thanking me for unraveling the mystery of Qworty’s identity. According to them, Young had been guilty of waging a vicious and nasty war against prominent Pagans throughout 2012.

Just a few days before Brown’s page was deleted, Tony Mierzwicki, a specialist in the practice of “ceremonial magick,” published an anguished alert at (“Witch School International: Your Online Pagan Education Starts Here”):


At least a dozen “important Pagan” leaders had been marked for deletion by Young on grounds of insufficient “notability.” Included on the list was the author David Jay Brown.

Tony, by the way, is also the editor of Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy and my upcoming Mastering the Great Table.

At any rate, "notability" is a somewhat flexible notion when applied to fringe interests like occultism, and Young took advantage of this gray area to promote his own anti-magick agenda. Any page he came across for individuals involved in Paganism or occultism he appears to have marked for deletion on notability grounds. This was even the case for authors with many published works, media appearances, and so forth that in any other subject area would clearly constitute grounds for notability. Salon's efforts to uncover Qworty's identity and in effect end Young's magick war are much appreciated, by both occultists like myself and members of the overall Pagan community.

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1 comment:

Imperator David Griffin said...

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha Omega was one of the pages that was removed from Wikipedia as not notable enough. This whole nonsense has not been without casualties.