Talk:Further Confusion/Eyes of the Night

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This discussion is now archived. The result of the discussion was to remove the name of the buyer while preserving relevant information about them (that they were a local appreciator of furry art).

Further discussion of the general privacy topics raised may be found at WikiFur talk:Personal information#Definition of "Personal" / Policy on total content

Contents

Eyes of the Night

The purchaser of Eyes of the Night has requested that their name be removed from references about the item, specifically that their name not be connected with the fact that it sold for $10,000. The page about them has also been blanked at their request. They believe this information is used as an excuse for people to pirate their works. They feel that it is a matter of private privacy, and that they should have the right to have such information removed. They also assert that the Further Confusion Media/Press policy should restrict its inclusion. They have asserted that they will use the means available to them to have this information removed.

Note: The buyer is not requesting removal of the information about the price, only the buyer's name.

The source that was used to find this information was this livejournal post. If we agree to remove the buyer, I intend to remove this link as well. --GreenReaper(talk) 21:47, 29 Sep 2005 (UTC)

This is my personal feeling: that the information about the auction result was made public, and as such, is public information, even if the person involved "should not" have made this information public. I disagree that they should be able to remove this information without consensus, as they have asserted.
I also do not feel that the policy governs us, as we were not at Further Confusion, and it's a stretch to consider us the media - we may report facts, but only as part of publishing a website. In that view, everyone's a member of the media. If the policy governed anyone, I think it would be the person who wrote the text, who I do not believe to be a member of the media either.
Having said the above, I am open to the removal of this information on grounds of respect for personal privacy, if the community believes that this should come under our "removal of personal information" rule. Please make your opinions known below. --GreenReaper(talk) 21:47, 29 Sep 2005 (UTC)
It's too well known within fandom history just to bury it dismisevely, as at the same time, privacy is a primary right to any individual, and well above almost any argument. Verily, a hard balancing act. As many have pointed out, it happened, and it's be written about it so extensively, that it would be a disfavor to this Wiki just blank it out. As for myself, I say aye on the person's request of anonymity regarding his name, no/maybe on the auction info. Here could a rewording of that paragraph:

Further Confusion has the largest art show of any convention in the fandom with sales routinely exceeding US$50,000. Indeed, one piece alone (Eyes of the Night by Goldenwolf) went for $10,000 at Further Confusion 2004, the result of a close, fierce bid battle between Flint Otterhallthe and a local furry art philanthropist. 63.204.227.202 23:02, 29 Sep 2005 (UTC)

As a matter of opinion, I disagree with the concept that such extensive privacy (to include the result of an auction that, as far as I know, was open to anyone interested in attending) is an inherent right. I'm aware it's viewed as such in some parts of the world, but this is not the case everywhere, and I do not feel that "privacy above almost any argument" is an appropriate rule to use for a worldwide website - it's too broad. Instead, I believe that the community has to decide what can be held to be private or not, based on the merits of the case. Of course, we are still a young community and I for one do not know exactly what the consensus is about this, and that's why we're here now.
Generally speaking I oppose the removal of information because that tends to lessen the value of the wiki, and it makes it easier to "hide" things that are of interest to the community, for the purposes of an individual.
If consensus is to remove the name, the wording above looks fine to me (obviously, further edits might be made to improve it beyond that without specifying the name). --GreenReaper(talk) 00:53, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)
I am the person in question. All I asked is that my NAME not be associated with the purchase. At no point have I requested that the amount paid be removed. My concerns are with my privacy, with conclusions people reach about me because of such purchases and perceptions of my income, and with security issues ("come steal it HERE!") that have arisen since a stalker has begun harassing me (stalker name withheld due to pending legal action). It is my belief that there is no "right" for anyone here to know the contents of my home, my income, my spending habits, or any other information disclosing personal financial or property information. It is also my belief that the policy under which this site operates, and its stated promise to remove reference to individuals upon request, is not being honored. I have taken this up with senior Wiki administrators who agree with me (I will post relevant portions of the logged chat if need be), however there is still a refusal on the part of local administrators to comply with either the senior Wiki administrator's recommendation or my request. --The Buyer
Firstly, thank you for contributing here. I believe the process of debate is the best way to find out the opinion of the community. Over time, decisions on things like this help make future decisions on similar topics easier.
The policy proposal referred to, currently in trial, has been a contentious topic of debate since its inception. We have only had a few cases so far, so they are not entirely clear. Some would prefer that no rights were granted to anyone to remove any information at all - as long as information is truthful, it should be left alone. Others feel it is the right of anyone to decide for themselves that they should not be mentioned at all, including their actions in relation to other topics, overriding the community. As 63.204.227.202 said, it's a balancing act.
In response to your assertion that the current policies are not being applied . . . well, I wrote those, so I'm fairly sure I know what I meant, and what I did not mean. If you feel any particular phrasing is misleading, please feel free to point it out. I inserted the "information on other pages" section specifically regarding this fact - the application here depends on whether or not the information is felt to be under the category of private/personal or not. --GreenReaper(talk) 01:12, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)
I would like to know what you believe your legal and moral basis is for having a band of strangers with no legal privilege decide how much privacy I am allowed or denied. If you found my credit report or tax returns online, do you believe you or anyone else here has the right to disseminate that information?
I believe (from what little I've read of it) there may be specific laws against dissemination of that particular information, which implies that by default, there is not a law against the general dissemination of information. As I've stated on IRC, if you can actually show me some law that actually applies to this situation, I would be bound to remove it. I don't think you can do this, and in any case, I'd far prefer to have it removed as the result of community consensus here. --GreenReaper(talk) 03:12, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)
As for not following your own policies... you are creating links and going out of your way to increase the pointers to the dispute. I view this as a personal act of revenge and reprisal by yourself. Even the Wikia community manager believes you are in the wrong. I quote from the chat session:
<Angela> GreenReaper: do you think the price could be mentioned without saying who bought it?
<Angela> rather than needing to name the buyer?
<Angela> It would seem to fit with the policy of locking people's articles to also not include the information about them in other pages.
<Angela> Otherwise, there wouldn't be much point in locking them if people could just write it elsewhere.
The "Angela" in question is Angela Beesley, a vice-president of Wikia Inc. http://www.wikicities.com/wiki/User:Angela#Contact Why are you overriding her take on this? I am seriously beginning to wonder about your motivations here.
She did indeed say that - phrased as a suggestion, not as a command. Just after that, I explained that this applied to personal information, and that I felt our definition of personal information might not include merely associating your name in relation to what I (and others) considered to be public actions. Once I had explained that, she understood why I was taking issue with your request. I can post the entire log, if desired (although part of it is on my work computer, so there'll be a delay while I fetch it, and I'm not going to be at this computer for an hour from now).
My motivations are to ensure that the community of this wiki decides what goes on the wiki. When you came onto IRC, and asked for the page about you to be blanked, I agreed with that, as per our policies, and having outlined the alternative options available to you. When you asked for complete removal, I diagreed to do so without consulting the members of WikiFur. You then started an argument with me where you made various assertions about what you would do if this was not done, and that you did not accept that the community had the right to decide. Well, I disagreed with that. The result of any motivation to get the community involved here is as a result of that.
To your specific statement about my actions, I have added one link to this page, from the previous discussion about this very topic. I think it is only fair to let the people who had already talked about it be aware of the current situation, as they were the ones who decided to put it back on your page in the first place, for reasons that they explained on the relevant page. I could have just posted a link on the WikiFur livejournal, but I decided that this was not an appropriate thing to do at this time. I'm not out to damage your reputation, steal your art, or otherwise cause you trouble. I'm just interested in answering the question - what information is considered private by the community? is this information relevant to the article, and if not, should we remove it anyway out of respect to the buyer's privacy? --GreenReaper(talk) 05:04, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)


I have a hard time understanding why the buyer's name should be censored. He bid on the piece openly, at auction. Furthermore, as has already been noted, discussions of the matter appear on Livejournal, and also on alt.fan.furry, with full names and amounts. Google's group archive is publicly searchable. The information's been available for anyone who's interested for more than 18 months now. IIRC, it was also discussed on several mailing lists soon after the fact. If it were private information that had never been intended for public consumption (e.g., a secret told to a friend, or something that happened in a room party) I could understand quashing it. Why should WikiFur have to censor information that can be easily found elsewhere, though? --Ostrich(talk) 03:49, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)


Just to throw my two cents in - in context, I don't think the information on who the bidders were is all that relevant. The statement that one piece went for $10,000, in relation to how much the FC art show brings in regularly, should be enough.

From my reading of it, FurCon's Press policy does not apply to WikiFur; this is an encyclopedia, not a news site. That strikes me as akin to making a legal threat, to be honest. Carl Fox 04:52, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)

Obviously, I support retaining the "controversial" information. It's factually correct, verifiable, and already in the public domain. On the general issue, I don't feel that WikiFur should have a policy of censoring information or adopting a revisionist approach to historical events. If "The Buyer" does have the legal rights to _force_ us to remove the information, that's a different matter; however, I hope that the American legal system is more sensible and democratic than this.

To answer your specific questions: 1. The information is definitely relevant to the article. 2. We should not remove it, or any other information, out of "respect" to anyone. We should only remove information that we're not legally entitled to publish - if it's not public domain, inaccurate and derogatory, reveals _confidential_ information, etc. The fact that a known individual, making no attempt to and expressing no request to remain anonymous, made the winning bid on an item in a public auction does not, to me, come into this category.

And, if we _do_ decide in favour of "The Buyer", I don't think philanthropist is the best word to describe him, considering his behaviour over the past few years and over this incident in particular. :) Tevildo 07:01, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)

And here we have the most powerful argument possible against disclosure of personal private information: people like the above who want to use it to harm others, with a complete lack of respect for others in the so-called "community". He said it himself.
This site is going to devolve into the "poison pen" site-of-choice for people like the above. So be it.
I see which way the winds are blowing. The "community" is bound and determined to do what it damned well pleases, harm whom it damned well wants to harm, regardless of anything resembling law OR morality. To hell with the consequences to anyone except their precious selves. The stated intent of inflicting harm and distress just confirms what I had suspected about the users and administrators of this site. This is not a "noble" attempt to "preserve history"; it never was and never will be. It's a mechanism for defamation, stalking, and inflicting distress on others. It will be dealt with as such.
Pitchforks and torches for all. Mob-think rules. No regard for the impact your actions have on others. This is your "community". None of these people have met me. None of these people know me. But suddenly, I'm the bad guy, just because I don't want a roadmap for burglars and stalkers published here. In this entire discussion, not a single one of you has expressed even the slightest concern over whether the disclosures in question are in any way harmful; it's all about what YOU want, and not one word has been spoken by any of you concerning whether what I want has even the slightest bit of relevance or weight. Understand this: because of incidents like this, I do not want to be associated with any of you, I do not want to talk to any of you, I do not want to be the subject of your lurid speculations, and I do not want to have to waste time keeping an eye on your activities with regard to me. I want OUT.
How on earth does repeating information that's available on other publicly viewable sites constitute "disclosure"? --Ostrich(talk) 09:02, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)
I'm yet to comment on this entry, but my own interpretation of our own rules is that while WikiFur is not intended to hurt anyone, this doesn't mean it couldn't hurt someone accidentally. That I think is the key point here. The other major thing I'd like to draw to peoples attention is that our own proposed policy states that a real name is an item that technically can be removed at request even if it is publicly find out able elsewhere. Therefor one possible suggestion is that if possible, we could replace the real name with the person in question's fur-name, online handle or other related pseudonym, that furname article can then be locked as the current realname one is from further details being posted. Such names should provide a somewhat greater level of protection to privacy without violating our policy of providing factual truth. If people bother to search past that well, we can't stop the determined. To the subject I'd like to again point out that while some of us may appear hostile, this is a community and some are bound to feel protective of it and its ideals when challenged by someone who wishes to go against them, however this is a community and therefor not the view of all, myself being an example. Ready as always to except expansion on my ideas. Hope this can be sorted out soon. --Nidonocu - talk Nidonocu 15:47, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)
I think what we need is a comprehensive and rigorous definition of what constitutes "personal information" and what constitues "public information", and which is to have priority in disputed cases. For example, a person's real name is undeniably "personal information", and when someone chooses to go entirely by an alias within the fandom, revealing their real name is obviously unacceptable. On the other hand, when someone is apparently happy to go by their real name, and when information about them has been published in "official" locations (such as a conference newsletter - or, to take the extreme case of Sibe, in official police reports), it might be arguable that it's become "public information" and is therefore legitimate to include in WikiFur.

Incidentally, I apologise if my comments earlier were rather more forthright than prudence would dictate. I freely admit that my opinion of the person in question is not too high, and his opinion of me is doubtless similar. If I crossed the line between expressing my opinion and a "personal attack", I'm quite happy to withdraw any part of my posting that's considered objectionable. Tevildo 16:06, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)

I think the shot in the last paragraph was uncalled for, IMHO, but I'll leave it to GreenReaper, et.al. to call if something needs to be withdrawn. (I also am of the opinion that "The Buyer" overreacted to it, but that's just me.)
I'm also thinking this discussion needs to be moved to its own page, so it doesn't overwhelm the talk page for the convention that, to be honest, the event in question is only a historical footnote. Carl Fox 20:29, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)


A sort of summary recapitulation:

The accusations that our Man of Mystery (tm) is making are (if I understand correctly) as follows:

1. That Wikifur is revealing information.

This is completely wrong. As someone else pointed out, there are unlocked posts on LiveJournal giving the same information. Searching Google's alt.fan.furry archives for the name of the painting will yield a thread with the purchaser's legal name and the amount paid. Additionally, discussions took place afterward on a number of mailing lists, including (IIRC) BAF, GayFur, and OhioFur. The information is already public knowledge.


2. That this information would otherwise be private.

The information is widely available - See #1. Additionally, the purchase took place in a room filled with several hundred people, and the purchaser bid on it in person, without even attempting to use a proxy. It's difficult to understand how there could be any expectation that the purchaser's identity would remain a secret.


3. That this information is helpful to a stalker.

If the stalker is from the furry community, he'll know about it already from general gossip and from alt.fan.furry. If he's not furry, he's as unlikely to see this article as he is the discussion on AFF. In either event, I'm at a loss to see how knowing what someone paid for a painting would benefit a stalker.


4. That this information sets him up for a potential robbery.

No offense intended to Goldanthrowolf, but the fact that $10k was paid for the painting at a charity auction doesn't imply a general market resale value anywhere close to that. First, it's a charity auction. Prices are supposed to be inflated at those. Secondly, art values are notoriously market-dependent. Something that would sell high within the furry art market is unlikely to sell for an equivalent value outside of it.
Much of the value of the painting at this point comes from its history. Consider a Jackson Pollack painting cut from its frame, and tossed in the back of a housepainter's van. Without knowing its history, would the average person consider it worth more than the other used dropcloths? That's a clumsy illustration, but I hope it gets my point across.
We meet here with the usual double-bind for art thieves: The painting is worth big bucks only to those who know what it is. However, those who know what it is are also going to recognize it, and know it's stolen. This is why art is generally stolen only by those who want to possess it, or by those working on contract for those who want to possess it. Ordinary thieves avoid art - it's just too risky to resell. That leaves only theft by crackheads, who neither research their victims nor plan their crimes in advance. I don't think the idea that we're exposing him to a security risk holds much water.


5. That Wikifur's motives are malicious.

I think it should be pretty clear that this is incorrect. In any event, I know of no way to conclusively prove motivation, so there's no real point in trying to resolve an argument over this.


6. That Wikifur's actions violate FurtherConfusion's press policy.

I've read through the thing twice now, and while there's a great deal there pertaining to reporters visiting the con, I don't see any prohibition against people later repeating truthful accounts of things that happened there. Even if such a prohibition existed, it's difficult to see how there could be any expectation that it would be binding against entities (such as WikiFur) who had no representatives at the con, and signed no agreement. Even if FC does believe that such a prohibition exists, and is binding on the general public (not just con attendees) this would mark the first time since 1999 that there's been any effort made to enforce it.

What I'm left to wonder is why is it a problem if WikiFur posts information that others have already made public? --Ostrich(talk) 21:31, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)

I give up. I can see that any possible justification to intrude into my (and eventually others') private lives will be made, and that the potential trouble it causes will be swept aside. Congratulations, furry paparizzi. I have had enough of this, and of you all. I have resigned my position as Art Director at Further Confusion because of this and other endless demonstrations of the inability of this fandom to show even the most basic consideration of others, and will not be creating any more material of any sort for you people. If any of you think that this is carte blanc to do whatever you want with my existing material, think again. It just means that I have nothing to lose by harming people who attempt to harm me.
Leave me alone. Especially you, Laurence. Especially you.
And to those of you who are feeling smug right about now... your turn will come. You won't like it when your "friends" turn on you. Do not think for one moment that for some reason they won't treat you the way they have treated me and others who want out. Your turn will come, with no help from me. This is something that you will all eventually learn. Don't expect me or anyone else here to be sympathetic. They'll just be looking for someone new to harass.
You say private lives but well, last I checked. Private has a definition which is doesn't in anyway match any of the points raised above. --Nidonocu - talk Nidonocu 23:52, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)

Vote

This vote is now closed. The general consensus was to remove the name of the buyer out of respect to their wishes, while keeping relevant information about the buyer to preserve the usefulness of the article.

I would like to draw this to a close here, one way or another.

Relating to this specific article, should we:

  • Leave it as it is, making no attempt to remove the name or hide the person involved
  • Mention the person, and give some general information about what they were at the time, but not a name
  • Modify to state the price without the name of the person (optionally, without the runner-up)
  • Remove the section about the painting entirely
  • Something else?

I am recusing myself from this vote; as as the above suggests, I've become too personally involved with this to have an unbiased opinion. --GreenReaper(talk) 22:39, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)

If having formed an opinion is reason to abstain from voting, Wikifur's going to have some pretty sparsely-attended elections. --Ostrich(talk) 01:57, 1 Oct 2005 (UTC)
Well, let's just say I would rather have other people's opinions rather than my own on this. I've said plenty about it already. :-) --GreenReaper(talk) 03:24, 1 Oct 2005 (UTC)

Leave as is, with names

Leave the name there. WikiFur is supposed to be a reference work. He bought the painting openly, without making the least effort to hide his identity, and the information is readily available elsewhere anyway. --Ostrich(talk) 01:50, 1 Oct 2005 (UTC)

Modify to remove name, leave relevant info about buyer

I don't believe real names should be used, if the person doesn't wish it. --Rat 23:17, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)

I agree with this statement. 63.204.227.202 23:31, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)
VOTE - I think this is the closest to my own suggestion. --Nidonocu - talk Nidonocu 23:46, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)
I'll vote for this one, too. Tevildo

Modify to remove mention of persons entirely

  • They ask it be removed, we have no legitimate or compelling reason to include it, so we remove it. Simple. Almafeta 23:38, 30 Sep 2005 (UTC)

Remove section about painting

Something else . . .

Comments After the fact

Sorry I missed out on the discussion and vote. RL had kept me busy over the last week. Anyway, if I had voted, I too would have voted to leave the relavent info, but remove the name of the buyer.

On a related note, I also think that the behavour of "the buyer" was unecessarily rude, aggressive, and abrasive, and only served to make the situation worse. I also feel that his comments about "questioning our motivation" were unecessary and uncalled for. Had he been a little nicer about the whole thing, instead of literally demanding that we remove all mention of his name, I think the situation could have ended with less brused feelings all around. --Dmuth 18:26, 1 Oct 2005 (UTC)

You are not privvy to what went on "behind the scenes". Your assumption that I went straight to the big guns is unwarranted and incorrect, and is an example of the tendency this fandom has of immediate deominzation of anyone who wants out. This fandom functions like a cult: it is based upon fantasies, with (relatively) charismatic individuals as its leaders, and the "heretic" who wants to leave is considered a threat to be attacked at every turn. I do indeed question the motivations of many of these people; given the way I am being treated I have good reason to. There ARE malicious people here. Not all of them, certainly... but enough. More than enough.
I asked politely. I was refused. I explained this was causing me trouble. I was told that that was my problem. I quoted the policy stated of complete removal. It was ignored. I asked under what legal and moral basis (BOTH are important, but the latter has been completely ignored) "the community" has to make decisions about others' privacy and desire to leave "the community"; no answer was ever forthcoming. I asked a senior Wikia employee (vice president) for help. She agreed with me but nothing was done. What was I supposed to do? This incident is exactly the kind of reason I want out: there is a complete disregard for others in this "community", where politeness fails, where mob-think is the rule of the day, and where nothing short of heavy-handed brute-force approaches can be used to defend against the "your life belongs to us" mindset that is prevalent and is being so clearly demonstrated right here.
Yes, I tried politeness. I tried to be discrete (which is why you never saw that portion). I was given the proverbial middle finger. So now I'm left with this. I have only two choices left to me: to submit to the mob, or to fight back by whatever means necessary.
You'll understand when your turn comes.
I am privy to what went on "behind the scenes". I will say that compared to (few) other people that have requested information to be removed, you made things far more complicated than they needed to be. You made several assertions about your rights that you failed to back up, and made it clear that you were, in general, unwilling to abide by the will of the community. That is what caused you trouble.
I would (and did) answer your request for a legal basis for inclusion by stating that you did not provide a legal basis for the removal of the information. If you want to be legalistic about it, I would say that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution would apply here. I assert that we did have the right to post your name in relation to the purchase, as it was the truth. You provided a moral basis for its removal, and that was eventually what people made their decision on - as, I believe, you wished from the start. Your error was in assuming that you had the right to demand such a decision from myself, or the Wikia administration. In a very real sense, you were talking to the wrong people.
For that matter, everyone has their own moral code. I happen to believe that it is immoral to attempt to go around the established procedures of a community. As Angela said, I was not saying (and did not at any point say) that you would definitely not achieve your desired changes. I said that the decision was not one I was prepared to make by myself, and that your attempts to force myself or Wikia to do so would not achieve your goals any faster; indeed, they only hurt your cause. Going to the administrators and asking them where to send a Cease and Desist before the question had even been posed to the community is going to the big guns, in my opinion. We both told you what you should do to achieve your goals most easily - talk to the community and ask them nicely to see your side of the story - and you ignored it.
The truth is, the "means" you suggested using were not necessary. You first contacted me about this on Thursday afternoon. It is now less than two days after that point (or three days if you want to count it from your previous edit on another page), and you have achieved your goal. I fail to see how this is an unreasonable schedule for a decision which was, as is shown above, at least somewhat contentious. If you had been more patient you would have discovered that people were, in fact, willing to do what you wanted without needing to "fight back".
You are right in one thing though - here, the community rules. Ultimately, if you think that you have the right to tell people that they cannot state something that is true, on their own website, then you will find that you have few backers, here, elsewhere, or in law. If you ask them not to, then you will find people are far more willing to accommodate your wishes. Perhaps this is not what you believe, but I see respect as an agreement between two parties - a two-way street, and not a given. If you ask people to respect your wishes, you should be willing to respect their processes for doing so. ----GreenReaper(talk) 21:01, 1 Oct 2005 (UTC)
I merely make the comment that, despite his request being acquiesed in, The Buyer continues his diatribes against the fandom in general and individuals that dare to question him in particular. The word "philanthropist" was not used in the article. I feel that no more needs to be said on the subject. Tevildo 20:50, 1 Oct 2005 (UTC)
I wouldn't say I know the buyer well, and doubt he'd remember me, but we've met a few times. I visited his home to buy copies of a comic to which he contributed and hung around for a little while (although I left before Bab5 :) ). His behavior here puzzles me, as it seems out of line from someone I consider a thoughtful and reasonable person. Perhaps the stalker has added unusual pressure on his life; perhaps there are other pressures at work. If that's the case, Buyer, I hope any such difficult matters resolve themselves soon.
(To make the implication plain: I thought Buyer first overreacted, then acted badly. I hope it's an aberration from his usual behavior.) --Tom Howling 04:18, 2 Oct 2005 (UTC)
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