Saturday, August 15, 2009

Brent A. Webb

I had a somewhat interesting experience today. As I've blogged before, I'm pretty active on Wikipedia, especially now as I wait to hear on job openings and likely wait for subbing to begin in a few short weeks. There are days I am far more active than others, depending on what else I have scheduled for the day and other activity on the site itself.

A few days ago, I noticed an article had been created about a particular Ravenna High School graduate named Brent Webb. In reading the article, I noted it was written like an advertisement, had a grand total of zero outside sources, and featured someone that at least had claims of performing on national networks and in notable places with notable people, but his notability didn't particularly stick out to me. Notability is a tricky subject on Wikipedia because it is so subjective. Usually, in the case of a person, if several reliable sources can be found which mention the person and their accomplishments or contributions, they can at least establish limited notability. That usually involves sources outside that person's hometown and the only sources I could find about him were in the Record-Courier (the local paper here) and in Cleveland news (Ravenna is part of the Cleveland media market). Seeing this article in such poor condition, I did what most editors do and asked other editors to look at the article and see what they thought and placed tags on it. Tags are ways to let the author and other editors know what problems the article has that need to be addressed as soon as possible. Well, hardly any of the issues were addressed, particularly the sources (if an article has no sources, it won't last long at all) and notability, so I nominated it for deletion, which is usually discussed before it happens. No sooner had I done that than the original author (who I just discovered is Mr. Webb's manager) "blanked" the page, which caused an administrator to "speedy" delete the article because the author had erased all the content. Well, that wasn't the end of it. The author re-created the article the next day; a much shorter article but with all the same problems as before. I placed the same tags on it and left a message for the author on what to do to keep the article from being deleted again. Well, other editors also saw (plus I let some who had previously been involved know the article had been re-created) what happened and investigated and nominated the article for deletion again. This time it was discussed more with three other editors supporting deletion and zero in support of keeping it, but during the discussion the manager again blanked the page, so it was deleted by an administrator. One reason the editors gave for deleting it was it appeared to be making a false claim about being inducted into the Ravenna High School Hall of Fame. I thought that was a pretty unimportant fact, but it turns out he was inducted, but the page hasn't been updated yet (not that it would've made a difference in what we all thought about the article). That was 2 days ago I think. I figured that was the end of that. Well, not so fast!

I got a message today on Facebook from none other than Mr. Brent A. Webb himself. He took the time to search me out (probably on AOL or Google judging by the traffic tracker I have on the blog), read this blog, and sent me a pretty seething message as follows:

"My manager tells me you really get off on editing Wikipedia. First of all..a few facts you need to know.... I am being inducted into Ravenna's hall of fame THIS year...that may be why I'm not on an old list of inductees. Second... I would certainly argue that someone who has performed around the World with major recording stars, for Fortune 500 corporations, and for private events for celebrities, politicians, etc. and has appeared NOT JUST on local TV, but on NBC, CNN, MTV, etc at least a bit notable. There is really a World outside your computer monitor. Maybe you should look into it?

I have asked Doug to pull my entry...don't worry about it. I know you have so much non paid work to do on Wikipedia.

And I know it's only local...

But try and catch me on "That's Life" Aug. 20th at 10 AM on Fox 8.

Sorry to hear about all your trauma from your forced move, and the fact that you are jobless.... wait...THAT explains the free time. No girlfriend (or boyfriend) either? And judging by your musical theater photos..I would say the latter is probably true.

What is the Mormon view on homosexuality?

All the best----


So, I was pretty taken aback, but not all surprised to learn his manager was behind the article creation. That's a common problem on Wikipedia, and is known as "conflict of interest." Not only did he take the time to search me out, but read the blog and made some pretty evil comments about my life, my interests, and my situation. And heck, he even threw in stereotypes about gay people! This was my reply:

"Wow, thanks for all the judgements. While it is true I played a role in the deletion of the Wikipedia article, I was not alone. Perhaps you should get the entire story before making such mean-spirited, hurtful, and untrue comments. Other editors also felt that you were not notable enough for inclusion since the only outside sources were small local newspaper blurbs, which is why the article was deleted TWICE. Also, your manager is most to blame as he did a poor job of not only writing the article (it was written like a press release or advertisement, which aren't allowed on Wikipedia), but defending it as well. I did not initially nominate it for deletion; I placed tags on it asking for sources and only after those requests were ignored was the article nominated for deletion in accordance with Wikipedia policy the first time. Another editor found the same problems and nominated it the second time. And no, I cannot delete Wikipedia articles; only an admin can do that. I also sent a message to your manager the second time letting him know what to do to keep the article from being deleted (he has deleted the message on his talk page). Glad I made the effort. I also did *not* note the absence of your listing on the Ravenna Hall of Fame; that was another editor and to be honest, it didn't make much of a difference to me. Being part of a local hall of fame is not reason to make someone notable or not notable.

Refrain from messaging me and making such stereotypical, hateful, and untrue comments about me because you're upset you didn't get your way. It says a lot about your character, especially that you would use incredibly painful experiences of another as a weapon like that. What did I say about you or your career that was so insulting besides you aren't notable enough at this time to merit a Wikipedia article (like 99.9% of the population)? Is your ego really that bruised that you have to search me out on Google, read my blog, message me on Facebook and lash out like some teenager? Seriously? Wow. I wonder what you hope to accomplish from that? Hope you read the will be featured soon."

If you'd like to see who this person is, check out his website at He can be e-mailed at Meanwhile, I'll go back to editing Wikipedia since I'm SUCH an obvious loser with no life, but maybe I should consider changing my username!


SwissCelt said...

So LDS aren't allowed to participate in musical theater? Alert the Osmonds! (Yes, I know that's stereotypical as well, but I'm going for satire here...) When doing research on this guy, I did start to think that maybe there was some notability I was missing, particularly when I read the R-C article. But then I went to the Raven Hall of Fame page, saw that Mr. Webb was missing, and decided that if they couldn't even get that much right, the other claims likely are inflated as well.

Now, it may be that he was recently inducted into the Raven Hall of Fame... but then, with all this fame and wealth, perhaps he should help the Reed Memorial Library to raise funds to update their website instead of complaining to you about it. And it may also be true that he will appear on That's Life this week. I won't be watching, as not only do I consider Robin Swoboda to be the single most annoying person in Northeast Ohio media, but I do happen to be employed right now... thus shooting down another of Mr. Webb's stereotypes. In any case, none of this sways me to change my mind on his notability. Robin Swoboda herself doesn't have a page yet. I don't see how we can say that Brent Webb is more notable.

Jon said...

I had seen an R-C article (a brief mention) when this first started, but like we've both said, you and I have been mentioned in local papers before too multiple times and we're not notable! Bottom line is if anyone's to blame, it is the manager who wrote the "article" and ignored the warnings and suggestions and instead blanked the page TWICE. Mr. Webb's obviously had a good career, but notable enough for a Wikipedia article? Not quite yet it seems.