Talk:Andrew Gilligan

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Davidpatrick - Your contributions are rhetorical, not factual, are clearly slanted in favour of the Government and against Gilligan, and read much like the alterations previously made by Kevin Marsh. There is a consistent tone of belittlement of Gilligan and an attempt to paint the activities of the Government and Alastair Campbell in a better light. For instance, "a series of aggressively critical articles" - actually most were factual and none have been denied. "Gilligan broke a number of stories about what he claimed were the British military's shortcomings" - as the following sentences make clear, they were real, not claimed shortcomings, supported by MoD documents and the National Audit Office. "Government press officers followed the strict letter of the law" - nobody has ever argued that their actions were illegal, but that they were both unprecedented and highly questionable. As the version you changed put it, they participated in an elaborate exercise to ensure Kelly's name came into the public domain, providing journalists with a series of clues and confirming the name to any who deduced it.

Your contributions also contain a number of significant factual inaccuracies. For instance: "Susan Watts' tape of the conversation would prove that Gilligan's assertion was a lie" - untrue as well as slanted. "For some reason Gilligan did not explain, two versions of Gilligan's notes were found, only one of which mentioned Alastair Campbell." In fact, Gilligan did explain the reason - at length - to the Hutton inquiry. The claim that Lord Butler "stated that the Government had not acted as Gilligan claimed" is also false - Butler made no mention of Gilligan at all. "This totally disproved the primary assertion... that Campbell had been responsible for the suppressions." Again, it did nothing of the sort, and again, the kind of thing that Alastair Campbell himself could have written. Sockpuppeting - denied by Gilligan and not supported by any hard evidence, subject of a previous revert-war in this entry. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Craig142 (talkcontribs) 03:38, 20 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Craig142 Re sockpuppeting - read archived discussion of previous revert war. Concluded there was sufficient evidence to include in biog (as allegation), sockpuppeting was highly relevant to biog, allegations reported in several reliable sources. As the section made clear, Gilligan's "denial" was that his 'partner' -who used Associated Newspaper (Gilligan's employer at the time) IP addresses who shared Gilligan's well-documented late night working hours and who apparently Gilligan copied large parts of his Evening Standard articles from was responsible. A little far-fetched no?

Let's not go back to revert warring - look at previous discussion and explain what has changed —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:09, 25 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Removal of unsourced material[edit]

I've removed quite a bit of material that was entirely unsourced and which seemed to have a worrying POV tone to it. At the same time, I recognise that the material was salient in terms of an overall consideration of Gilligan's career; therefore, I suggest that it be reinstated, gradually, with proper sources. Jprw (talk) 06:55, 22 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]

The revelations about sockpuppeting, widely reported including in the mainstream media, are certainly relevant in the context of a well-known journalist and blogger. It is important they are included as they are properly sourced, but in a neutral manner which refers to his comments about the accusations. Indeed, I note they have been part of this article for over 3 years. Rather than removing all references to the matter, perhaps you can find a way to improve the presentation and balance.

On a separate note, the article is very thin on Gilligan's work since moving to the Telegraph, especially on his coverage of the recent campaign for London mayor. I hope someone will find time to do justice to this. UsamahWard (talk) 16:09, 6 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

You make some very valid points, but at the same time I think we need to exercise some caution, as the subject is on record as saying that his Wikipedia entry is one of the main propaganda vehicles used against him by his opponents. The sockpuppeting allegations to me seemed minor in an overall consideration of his career, and sourced to one opinion piece in The Guardian. Regarding Gilligan's work since moving to the Telegraph, I agree – the article is very thin. It should be easy enough to include well-sourced material of his coverage of the recent London mayor campaign. In the Newsnight debate between the four candidates, I also remember Ken Livingstone stating he considered that Gilligan's Telegraph column served as the propaganda wing of Johnson's campaign (or something similar). Cheers, Jprw (talk) 05:23, 7 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Keith Vaz employment as intern[edit]

An editor wishes to add a statement reporting an allegation made by Keith Vaz about Gilligan's misconduct when working as an intern. The allegation was apparently made by Vaz in the course of a question and answer session at a Labour NEC meeting in 2010. The only source for Vaz's statement is the perosnal blog of someone who attended the event. Vaz has not repeated the allegation elsewhere and it has never been mentioned by writers on Gilligan. In my opinion this therefore falls foul of WP:BLP which requires controversial statemetns about living people to be well-sourced, WP:UNDUE in giving undue weight to a off-the cuff remark, and [WP:RS]] in using an unverified account of a verbal statement, written by an audience member prefaced with the words "The following report is my account of an emergency item about the Mayoral selection process in Tower Hamlets that came up at September’s NEC meeting." I believe that unless it can be shown that Vaz has made the allegation in a more formal way, that the allegation has been seen by others as notable, and that this can be shown by secondary sources, then it should not be included.Martinlc (talk) 08:57, 12 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The source, which cannot be described as poor, is an uncontested transcript that appeared on the website of Christine Shawcroft, the Labour NEC member who routinely reported such meetings. There is no record of any question raised over the accuracy of this transcript by Keith Vaz or anyone else who attended or otherwise. There can be little doubt, then, that Keith Vaz made the allegation in the Labour NEC meeting. It is highly relevant to Gilligan's entry for 3 reasons: it confirms links to Labour in his early life; it underlines the influence of Gilligan's reporting of Labour politics in Tower Hamlets at a national level in the Labour party; and it a further example of questions being raised openly about Gilligan's veracity. We cannot say whether the allegation is true. It is wrong to say it has never been mentioned, it was reported by Paul Staines in his political blog ( Indeed, this report claims to have a denial by Andrew Gilligan of the allegation; this could be referenced in the Wiki entry. It should be noted that there is no record of Gilligan making any legal challenge to the statement, though it is well known (as he has reported himself) that he would challenge libel or slander. Finally, as it is not an issue of adding a statement, rather one that has been in the entry for 3 years, I am reinstating it until a compelling reason for its rephrasing or removal can be made here in the talk pages.UsamahWard (talk) 07:21, 14 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Blogs are not reliable sources. Wikis are definitely not reliable sources.
If you can provide a reliable source that is independently reporting it, fine - go for it.
If not, no.
See WP:V. (talk) 07:28, 14 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The source was not a blog, and no question as its accuracy of reporting of the NEC meetings has been raised anywhere. The issue here is not whether the allegation is true, as we cannot say, but the fact that such an allegation was made in a Labour Party NEC meeting and then reported in the public domain. Please do not remove again relevant, properly sourced material.UsamahWard (talk) 08:53, 14 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

You said yourself, "it was reported by Paul Staines in his political blog". You've not shown any credible source reporting it; therefore it falls foul of original research, and is a serious BLP concern. Unless you can show appropriate independent reliable sources (such as newspapers) stating the allegation, it simply cannot be included. (talk) 17:34, 14 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Your claim about original research shows a serious misunderstanding of the issue. The original, uncontested source was Christine Shawcroft, as given in the source reference. The fact that this was quoted by Paul Stains disproves the claim that "it has never been mentioned by writers on Gilligan". However, Paul Stains has not been cited as a source in the Wiki article. If you are still not satisfied, you can take up the issue on Wiki's BLP noticeboard, where such matters are discussed and resolved.UsamahWard (talk) 18:20, 14 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

For linkage here, note I did take it up on BLPN, and others agreed it is not suitable; [1] (talk) 13:47, 16 October 2013 (UTC) [reply]

The sentence that has been removed was in two parts: the first mentioned Gilligan's placement as an intern, the second contained an allegation. As it is only the allegation that has been objected to, I propose reinstating the first part without the allegation; the issue of the allegation can be left for any further discussion for resolution here. UsamahWard (talk) 10:18, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

No, you shouldn't reinstate it. Why do you think this fact is worthy of inclusion, any more than that he was a member of the Tufty Club or that he buys his milk in Tesco?
You've not shown any newspaper or other appropriate coverage of this information, so no - inclusion just is not appropriate. We're supposed to document what other reliable sources have written about people, not discover information ourselves. It's appropriate on a blog, it's not appropriate on Wikipedia. (talk) 13:46, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
If you cannot discern a difference in relevance between working as a political intern and buying milk from Tesco, especially for an aspiring journalist, then you're probably not ready to make editorial changes in Wikipedia. Wikipedia allows the careful use of primary sources, but does not allow contributors to "analyze, synthesize, interpret, or evaluate material found in a primary source"; this would have to come from an acceptable secondary source. In this case, the material was used without interpretation. And we are referring here merely to an internship, not the accompanying allegation. UsamahWard (talk) 14:14, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Please don't decend to ad hominem attacks.
Wikipedia does not need to decide which facts are worthy of inclusion, because policy says we only present balanced content based on coverage in appropriate secondary sources. This fact you are presenting has been extracted from a non-standard primary source which no other commentary about him has chosen to elaborate upon. (talk) 14:51, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The entry "He was also a member of Cambridge Organisation of Labour Students and stood as one of its candidates for the Cambridge delegation to the National Union of Students conference in 1994", which had no citation, was removed. Gilligan himself refers to his activity in the Cambridge University Labour Club ( and his candidacy on its behalf at the NUS is mentioned in a book (

As this is not contentious, and can now be properly sourced, I will reinstate it later unless other editors show a reason not to. UsamahWard (talk) 20:02, 15 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

My assistant can produce for you the Cambridge University Students Union election addresses booklet from 1994 including a COLS advert with a picture of Andrew Gilligan in support of his candidature. And in fact the picture was taken outside his then rooms in St John's, if memory is correct. Would have been covered in Varsity as well. Sam Blacketer (talk) 22:35, 15 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
User:Sam Blacketer Thanks, if that could be made available online as a source acceptable in Wiki terms, it would help establish what really is not a controversial matter. — Preceding unsigned comment added by UsamahWard (talkcontribs) 13:03, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The first source (from G) doesn't say he was a candidate at all; just "As campaigns manager of the Cambridge University Labour Club, I ran [Forbes’s] successful bid for [..] the student union presidency".

That book source you've stated is one of those kinda 'fake books' copied from Wikipedia - copy-pasted from this article! - see Books LLC. Beware WP:CIRCULAR.

Please take care with the references you're using. (talk) 12:07, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

As his membership of the Cambridge Universities Labour Club is not contentious, and is referenced not only on the CULC's Wiki entry but also in Gilligan's article cited above, I propose reinstating the first part that was removed: "He was also a member of Cambridge Universities Labour Club", leaving the second part until a suitable source is available. UsamahWard (talk) 13:07, 21 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

In the interests of concluding this discussion, allow me to summarize: the sources are not sufficient for inclusion in a BLP. A fair number of people have now agreed with that, so I really hope you will accept it and move on.
Re "other issue at the top of this page" - I am not sure what you mean; perhaps you can point me to it, and I'll take a look - or, start a new section to discuss it. (talk) 08:03, 7 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
At the top of the page there are three This article has been mentioned by a media organisation entries which you may wish to look at. And are you seriously still concerned about the current CULC entry and its sourcing for a BLP? UsamahWard (talk) 12:26, 7 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

An editor removed the reference to sockpuppeting, despite the citation of not only the primary source, but importantly two secondary sources, both UK national newspapers (Guardian and Independent). The editor in question has called it a pseudo-allegation, whatever that means. I will reinstate it, mindful that views and further discussion can be posted here on the talk page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by UsamahWard (talkcontribs) 13:11, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

It's poorly sourced to blogs, and of very dubious notability. The words make it sound like he committed some crime, whereas all he seems to have done is posted on blogs under other names. Those 'references' are not mainstream news articles, they're commentary blogs. It's giving undue weight to a non-event. (talk) 13:31, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
They're blogs in newspapers - not news stories. What, exactly, is he accused of? Posting on a damn website under different names? As far as I know, that's not a crime. It's totally undue weight on something that no actual news source seems to have bothered even mentioning. (talk) 13:40, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I'd definitely disagree with that, there is substantial coverage in reliable secondary sources about that to make it a notable incident. "I don't like it" is not a valid argument. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 14:12, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
The first of those 'reliable secondary sources' is a personal blog-site, not affiliated to a newspaper. And even there he puts 'sockpuppeting' in scare-quotes. The second is a commentary, not a news story - and actually says "just a prank, albeit one that can make perpetrators look egotistical and silly when they're exposed".
As I said on BLPN, do we report every tiny fact, just because it was mentioned in a commentary somewhere? Of course we don't, otherwise the article on Maggie Thatcher would run to 200 pages, and explain that she is fond of Gorgonzola cheese.
In an article this size, that paragraph is substantial, making bold claims that sound like he did something terrible. As far as I understand it, he was alleged (in blogs) of posting to blogs under an alternative name. Is that really appropriate as a substantial part of a biography about this person? (talk) 14:39, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm afraid I sympathise with the IP on this one. Can we leave it off the article while we thrash out a compromise? I could live with a shorter mention; but is this really important enough to put onto a biography? Oh, and Thatcher doesn't like any kind of cheese now as she is dead. Point taken though. --John (talk) 15:47, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • I note that the second source is a blog as well, but it's hosted by the Guardian. It does strike me as a valid addition (perhaps in a different form/wording?) but if there's consensus that it should go, then fine. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 15:55, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
It's also worth noting that the blog on the Guardian isn't even making the allegation - it's just saying that another blog called "the Tory Troll" did. So we could debate whether the Guardian blog is or is not reliable but, even if we accepted that it was, we'd be saying "X claimed that Ys blog claimed to have found out <the fact>". And I think it is telling that even The Guardian itself has never actually reported about it. (talk) 17:17, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
    • In terms of notability, the IP's dismissal of sockpuppeting is hard to reconcile with the Wiki entry on that topic, or indeed with Wiki's own guidelines WP:SOC. Whilst the primary source is quoted by numerous online commentators, only two secondary sources were used in the entry: the first, a substantial commentary on the matter in a blog by a Guardian journalist on its own website, which of course is subject to editorial control and the jursidiction of the Press Complaints Commission; the second, a brief comment piece in the Independent, another national newspaper, and again subject to editorial control. The entry was balanced in its presentation as it noted merely that it was reported, and included reference to Gilligan's own comment on the matter. UsamahWard (talk) 17:38, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
The key parts of that telling response are, a) a commentary in a blog, b) a brief comment piece in the Independent.
Including it, and making such a fuss of it, gives undue weight to a trivial non-event which actual newspapers/media have disregarded entirely, and has only been discussed by the chattering classes who do not need to worry about trivialities of verifiability when making their sweeping accusations on the internet.
A discussion of the Wikipedian sock-puppetry policy is so far wide of the topic that there's no point responding. (talk) 19:10, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

I note this same issue was discussed at great length in these talk pages back in 2009 (; reference to sockpuppeting was retained. As the editors who removed it on this occasion have brought nothing new to the discussion, it is wrong to remove it again. Indeed, User:FreeRangeFrog has drawn attention to a further source from the mainstream media. Material should not be removed by editors at their whim when the issues have already been fully discussed. In view of the previous discussion, this should be reinstated and not removed again unless a new compelling argument acceptable in Wiki terms can be brought. UsamahWard (talk) 20:27, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

If there's a consensus here in talk that this material meets our strict criteria for inclusion on a BLP, then we may re-include it. Until then, let's leave it off, ok? --John (talk) 20:38, 16 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
No, not ok. As the material is not a new addition and has been discussed on the talk page several times before, there are no grounds for its removal, even temporarily, as no new reasons for removal have been offered. UsamahWard (talk) 13:08, 17 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Look just above and you will see a couple of valid reasons for removal. I came here because I saw the noticeboard report about your behaviour in relation to BLP. I am acting as an admin and enforcing our rules. What is your motivation for wanting to add negative material here? --John (talk) 13:52, 17 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Please don't make this personal; I didn't add the material about sockpuppeting, I reinstated it after an anonymous editor removed it on weak grounds that have been discussed at length before. Please check previous talk, including the archived page. UsamahWard (talk) 14:33, 17 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

I've read over the previous discussion, and can't see any consensus there.

Now, I'm only hearing one person saying it should be included, and several saying it should not - with policy-based reasons. (talk) 16:53, 18 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Unless you're not the same IP who deleted the material, then so far in this discussion you're the only person to say it should be removed, and with very weak reasons. I disagreed with you, as has FreeRangeFrog; please don't misrepresent the discussion, it's open for all to read. UsamahWard (talk) 18:15, 18 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

"I didn't add the material" - that is irrelevant, see WP:BURDEN.

This is a WP:BLP, so contested material needs removing immediately whilst it is discussed.

I can't see prior consensus for inclusion, and I certainly can't see consensus for inclusion here now. (talk) 17:05, 18 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Of course it's relevant to say I didn't add the material if someone has said I did.
It's not always possible to reach consensus. It was discussed in the past and retained. The only new information on the table is a further secondary source from a mainstream publication. UsamahWard (talk) 18:21, 18 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I'm sorry if you did not understand what I meant by that; ie, this part of that policy;
Sometimes editors will disagree on whether material is verifiable. The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material, and is satisfied by providing a reliable source that directly supports the material.
Key phrase, "burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material".
In other words - the fact that you hit 'undo', instead of typing it into the article, is irrelevant.
If you hit 'undo' on a fact in a BLP then you take responsibility for the verifiability and worthiness of inclusion of that fact.
I hope that clarifies, (talk) 01:21, 19 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The material concerning the sockpuppeting allegation was removed by an editor on the grounds that it is a "pseudo-allegation", "poorly sourced" and not significant enough for inclusion: "... making such a fuss of it, gives undue weight to a trivial non-event...". Further, "The words make it sound like he committed some crime, whereas all he seems to have done is posted on blogs under other names."

Sockpuppeting is not merely posting under a pseudonym, as the Wikipedia entry makes clear. Indeed, the Wikipedia entry includes specific allegations concerning several living persons.

In the case of Andrew Gilligan, it is not the role of Wikipedia editors to decide whether the allegation is true or false, merely whether the reporting of the allegation was such that it merits inclusion, in terms of notability and reliability, with particular attention to BLP policy.

The allegation came to public attention through Adam Bienkov, a freelance journalist and political blogger, who posted first on his own website (;, then later on the Guardian website (

The allegation was picked up by Guardian journalist Dave Hill on his blog on the Guardian's website (, and by Mehdi Hasan on a blog at the New Statesman ( It was also mentioned briefly at the Independent (; this source was used in the entry for Gilligan's claim that, at least in one case, the alleged sockpuppet was actually his "partner". There are further sources (e.g.; on their own they would probably not be suitable for BLP inclusion.

In respect of using newspaper blogs as a source, Wikipedia says: "Several newspapers, magazines, and other news organizations host columns on their web sites that they call blogs. These may be acceptable sources if the writers are professionals, but use them with caution because the blog may not be subject to the news organization's normal fact-checking process." Further, in the policy on reliable sources, Wikipedia notes: "One signal that a news organization engages in fact-checking and has a reputation for accuracy is the publication of corrections."

The Guardian is a mainstream British media organisation, used extensively as a reliable source in Wikipedia. It has a daily Corrections and Clarifications section which includes coverage of its online content, such as blogs and Comment is Free ( The New Statesman is a mainstream "British political and cultural magazine published weekly in London". The Independent is a national British newspaper.

The original entry was as follows (without inline references): In October 2008, it was reported that Gilligan had engaged in sockpuppeting. Guardian journalist Dave Hill wrote about the allegations. Gilligan stated that one of the alleged sockpuppets was his "partner".

The second sentence seems superfluous. I propose a revised entry, with appropriate inline citations to include the original source, and secondary sources comprising the articles mentioned above from The Guardian, New Statesman and The Independent: In 2008, it was alleged that Gilligan had engaged in sockpuppeting. Gilligan stated that one of the alleged sockpuppets was his "partner".

These talk pages are for contributors to discuss such matters. I invite others to give their views on this so that the matter can be resolved. UsamahWard (talk) 09:42, 21 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The sources you are describing are not, in any way, news articles; they're blogs. We specifically avoid blogs on BLP articles.
The allegation is utterly insignificant in a fair representation of the life of this individual - the 'fact' that some blogger wrote something negative about him once. It is not for us to decide whether the claim was significant - instead, we look to news sources - who have all failed to report it, which is why the only sources you can site are blogs. It does not add to an encyclopaedic understanding of the subject.
You then say there are other sources, citing "boriswatch" - yet another blog that would never be considered an appropriate reliable source for information in a biography of a living person.
It doesn't matter how many poor sources you find - they're still poor sources. Unless a genuine news article publishes it, it absolutely does not belong in the article. (talk) 13:30, 21 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

There has been no progress on this matter, which has essentially been a disagreement between me and the IP editor who removed the material. My reasons for restoring the material are given above, citing Wiki guidelines. I have been looking elsewhere to see how similar sources are used in BLP cases. There is a clear issue at the top of this talk page, where at least two of the press citations have far more serious BLP issues, both sourced, coincidentally, from the blog of Andrew Gilligan. There are similar sources is the entries for Boris Johnson (Adam Bienkov, Dave Hill's Guardian blog), Rod Liddle (who has the distinction of having the first mainstream media blog - The Guardian - to be censured by the PCC -, Lutfur Rahman (Dave Hill's Guardian blog, Andrew Gilligan's Telegraph blog), and Azad Ali (Andrew Gilligan's Telegraph blog). No doubt there are more; these have the distinction of all being linked in some way to Andrew Gilligan. If these sources are deemed acceptable in those entries, they should not be less acceptable in this entry. — Preceding unsigned comment added by UsamahWard (talkcontribs) 14:44, 31 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Your logic is incorrect. There's a lot of crap on Wikipedia; saying something is used on another article does not make it legitimate. If you actually have concerns over the other articles, go edit them or raise it on an appropriate noticeboard, etc. (talk) 04:28, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
It is certainly not illogical to raise issues of consistency in Wikipedia. And surely the onus for editing the other articles, or even this talk page, is on those who will not accept even newspaper blogs as sources for BLP. UsamahWard (talk) 08:05, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
No, it's not unreasonable to raise issues of consistency. But however reasonable it may be, it's not persuasive: see WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS (ostensibly only about arguments against deletion of articles, but also widely applicable elsewhere). ¶ As I understand the matter (and I'm a newcomer to it), the original allegation was made on a personal blog. The blog is arguably that of somebody whose opinions carry weight, but for a purpose such as this it's insufficient. It's cited by Dave Hill in a column (these days more trendily dubbed a "blog") within the Guardian. This is a lot more impressive. A problem is that this is written in an arch/jokey way. Is Hill serious? And, in places, what does he even mean? (Though perhaps my befuddlement merely results from having been away from London for too long.) It's also cited in a column ("blog") in the Independent, but only passingly -- and this too looks jokey (though I think it's serious). The Statesman citation is similar. What's a lot more interesting, though, is this in the Guardian. It's a column ("blog") that's clear and sober. (That it's by the person who wrote the original blog entry doesn't matter.) -- Hoary (talk) 14:31, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Indeed, that is one of the sources I listed above. As for the consistency issue, I agree it's not there to make a decisive argument for inclusion. Nevertheless, the similarity of sources is interesting, and I was keen to see if the IP editor or others who were so eager to remove negative comments about Gilligan sourced from newspaper blogs would show the same enthusiasm if other BLP issues appeared elsewhere, like the top of this page. Apparently not. UsamahWard (talk) 17:24, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

"I agree it's not there to make a decisive argument for inclusion. Nevertheless, the similarity of sources is interesting"

-yeah, it's interesting - but not verifiable.

Your 'interest' belongs on blogs, not Wikipedia. (talk) 18:23, 7 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The comments were about consistency between Wikipedia entries, not verifiability. Please try and follow the discussion. UsamahWard (talk) 20:47, 7 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Andrew Gilligan and the London Evening Standard[edit]

Recent edits have left the entry with no mention whatsoever of Gilligan's career as a journalist at the London Evening Standard. In my view, this is a serious omission from his biography, not least because of his widely noted role in the reporting of the mayoral elections; the award mentioned in the entry was for his work at the London Evening Standard. UsamahWard (talk) 13:13, 21 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

BLPN discussion[edit]

FYI, there's a discussion about this Wikipedia article at the Biographies of Living Persons Noticeboard.Anythingyouwant (talk) 07:24, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Introduction and Leveson[edit]

An IP editor is again removing strongly sourced, relevant and appropriate content. The first removal, the description in the introduction that Gilligan is best known for his Radio 4 report, is hardly contentious; indeedn, it is now supported by a strong source quoting Gilligan himself as having this view. The second removal is Gilligan being cited in the Leveson Inquiry (which is given as a source), along with a citation from the Telegraph concerning the removal of an article; these are strong sources, not those the IP editor misleadingly indicated at WP:BLPN#Andrew_Gilligan. After the most recent sourcing and explanations, the IP editor has continued to delete the content, but now without any explanation at all. UsamahWard (talk) 17:44, 13 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

  • That he is "best known" for the Today interview is a) non-neutral, b) demonstrably untrue, if you Google his name.
  • The section regarding the case of child abuse certainly does not have strong sources, as has been explained here on the talk page and on the BLPN; nobody else has supported adding these weak claims about a non-issue.

Please respect WP:BLP policy, and obtain consensus before re-adding, thanks. (talk) 18:24, 13 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

How could it be non-neutral, it's strongly sourced to a claim made by Gilligan himself! As for the section on the case of reporting of child abuse, once again you make a false claim, it has never been discussed on this talk page - I note you have never initiated a discussion on this talk page. At BLPN you cited the wrong sources from a historical version, not the sources that were used when you removed the text - why, it's deliberately misleading?
You should stop removing material just because you don't like it. Today you have broken WP:3RR, which is serious. You have not respected policy, nor does consensus mean waiting for people to agree with you; in the matter of the introduction, you haven't even sought consensus, just repeatedly deleted it despite WP:LEAD and the strong source. You have an opportunity now to undo your 3RR violation, by reverting your own recent edits; I advise you to do so without delay. UsamahWard (talk) 18:57, 13 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Listen up - first of all, you're disputing two things. Please don't keep reinstating them unless/until a consensus can be reached.

Now, can we please discuss them?

1. That he's best known for the Today interview. You (re)inserted that here [2], and I removed it [3] with an edit summary of, "no agreement about lede; reference doesn't support it; simple google of the name shows he isn't "best known" for that. WP:POV".

The reference you added to supposedly support the claim is, The man who wants Ken's scalp.

Could you please explain why you think that reference supports the claim that that is what Gilligan is best-known for - because I've read it, and cannot see it. Perhaps you could quote the phrase or something.

2. Re case of child abuse - you (re-)added it here, and I removed it [4] with an edit summary of "There was no agreement to include this on BLPN, in fact everyone else questioned the sourcing and validity".

I've explained pretty thoroughly, several times, why I am certain that this claim does not belong in the article. Others have come to a similar conclusion - that it is a non-event, about a newspaper article that was retracted, and has only been commented about on blogs; that no mainstream news source even mentions it.

You said in the edit summary that you "Restored strongly sourced text, as discussed at WP:BLPN#Andrew_Gilligan" - however, the only source you provided was the newspaper retracting its earlier story (ref), which doesn't even bother to mention Gilligan. The only people you've shown that ever discussed this were blog sites.

It's true it was discussed on BLPN - but there was certainly no consensus to add it (the discussions can be seen on this BLPN link). (talk) 20:27, 13 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

1. Penultimate paragraph in quoted source: 'He has described the mayoral campaign as "the second biggest story of his life", after Hutton.'
2. Your argument on BLPN was based on the wrong sources, a point you refuse to address. You still have given no reason why the Leveson Inquriy is not a reliable source.
I have tried to improve this article by adding or changing content whether positive, negative or neutral, adding sources where appropriate. You have only removed what you regard as negative content, regardless of sources. Today you have breached 3RR, I again advise you to undo your last reversion without delay, then use this talk page for meaningful discussion. UsamahWard (talk) 21:14, 13 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
The Leveson citation is a weak source. The Leveson inquiry was open to submissions from any individual or body that wished to supply one, and the submissions mounted unedited on the inquiry website. Therefore the submission gains no additional credibility from its association with the inquiry. It would seem that the only reason to cite this rather than the mosque's own web statement is to obscure the WP:PRIMARY nature of it, and therefore WP:UNDUE since this has not been considered significant by uninvolved sources. It appears to me that the urge to include it based on as desire to raise the profile of an error that has been been corrected in order to discredit Gilligan's professional reputation, paradoxically by repeating an erroneous allegation against the mosque. I can see no legitimate reason for its inclusion beyond the existing well-sourced summary.Martinlc (talk) 22:28, 13 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
This is hard to reconcile with your own edit of the article, as the text I restored was exactly as you left it, with the sources you had deemed as sound. It is hard to see how Gilligan's comment about the BBC's false linking of child abuse to Lord McAlpine should be retained to illustrate his own submission, but no explanation is included, even in summary, as to why Gilligan was himself cited in a submission, despite the similarities. As for commentary concerning what the Telegraph published, this is summarised here. UsamahWard (talk) 23:33, 13 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

1. Gilligan implying that Hutton was the biggest story of his life does not, in any way, prove that he is best known for his "sexing up" quotation. You are inferring a great deal. In order to make such a bold claim, you would require at least one good, reliable source that clearly stated he was best-known for that event.

If I say I've just eaten the best pizza of my life, does that equate to my being "best known for eating a pizza in November 2013"? Even if I'm a chef?

It's a ridiculous conclusion, and perfectly illustrates the problems you're having with sourcing.

Please add clearly-referenced factual information - do not draw your own conclusions.

It is extremely important, in biographic articles, not to draw such conclusions.

If several newspaper articles introduced him as "Andrew Gilligan, the journalist best known for saying claiming a report was sexed-up" then you'd have a case. But they don't - they introduce him as, for example, "London editor of the Sunday Telegraph" or similar.

If you google for "Andrew Gilligan" "best known" you'll find lots of websites making this same odd claim - why? because they copied from Wikipedia.

If you search Google News, it's a very different story.

2. Of course the Leverson Inquiry is a 'reliable source' for some things; the problem is, once again, you are inferring information that other (ie newspapers) have not stated. In the reference [5], the article was used merely as an example. You're joining that with the telegraph's retraction of the story [6]. In other words, you're making 1+1 = 3.

In order to show this fact was significant to this biography, you'd need to show - for example - a newspaper writing about it. You have singularly failed to do so. Some politicized blogs have written about it, but we've already discussed why those are not appropriate.

Please stop shouting at me about 3RR. If you want to report something that you think is disrupting Wikipedia, use WP:3RRNB or WP:ANI or whatever. You might wish to consider WP:NOT3RR first - admittedly, admins often don't. (talk) 09:41, 14 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

You should not make ridiculous comparisons ("pizza"), instead why not try to improve the content, not merely delete and delete and delete. WP:LEAD explains: "The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points—including any prominent controversies. The notability of the article's subject is usually established in the first few sentences. The emphasis given to material in the lead should roughly reflect its importance to the topic, according to reliable, published sources." Your original edit of the introduction left it saying: "Andrew Paul Gilligan (born 22 November 1968) is a British journalist." If you really can't live with "best known for...", despite the source, then change the wording, rather than leaving an introduction that fails to meet Wikipedia guidelines. UsamahWard (talk) 11:32, 14 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
OK, done, as requested, [7] (talk) 12:52, 14 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I'm sure you know that wasn't what was meant. So I have done it, putting in the reference without the word "best" that seems to trouble you so much. However, I also did what you suggested, which was to Google "Andrew Gilligan" "best known"; it returns several sources, such as National Review, Intelligence Squared, Frontline Club (watch their 76 minute interview with Gilligan, it's very informative), amongst others. UsamahWard (talk) 13:38, 14 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Despite the rewording, the sourcing and the guidance in WP:LEAD, the IP editor has reverted my edit again. How can it be alright to say he's award winning or a TV presenter but not that he's known for the 'September dossier'? UsamahWard (talk) 14:59, 14 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

If you honestly cannot tell the difference between those two things, then you really shouldn't be editing BLP articles at all. However, I will try just one more time to explain;
The first claim - that he is an award-winner and TV presenter - is a simple, neutrally-worded statement of verifiable fact, fully supported by references within the body text.
The second - that he is "known for" the Hutton issue - is entirely a matter of opinion, and is not supported by any references.
Of course, he was involved in the Hutton enquiry - that's absolutely fine, and worthy of mention within the article. However, nobody except you is claiming it is a defining part of his life.
An example; Britney Spears is known for shaving off her hair. It was certainly a significant event in her life, but is not a defining part of it. Thus, that article covers it within the body text, but it doesn't begin with "Spears is an American singer known for shaving off all her hair". Instead, it is mentioned appropriately within the body of the article.
I sincerely hope that that clarifies things, and you will begin to accept it. If you simply cannot accept it, I suggest you create an WP:RFC so consensus can decide; I hope that will not be necessary, because it is perfectly obvious that you are the only person pushing to include these things. I will absolutely revert it if you re-add it without consensus, in accord with the applicable policies. (talk) 19:10, 14 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
You are the only editor who has said that the text in question, which was added to the article in 2004, should be removed. It is untenable to say, as you have, that his being known for the Hutton issue is entirely a matter of opinion, as there are so many, many strong sources that refer to the matter, included in this article, that there is not the slightest doubt that he is known for this issue. Your original argument was that he wasn't 'best' known for this issue, although I then produced sources above where precisely that claim is made. However, I restored the text without the word 'best' and you still removed it. You are welcome to refer the matter to WP:RFC. UsamahWard (talk) 07:51, 15 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
As I said above, Britney Spears is known for shaving off her hair, but we don't put it in the lead part of that article - she, and Mr Gilligan, are known for lots of things. (talk) 16:49, 15 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Stop making ridiculous comparisons. You are removing text from the introduction without any valid reason, and wrongly hiding behind WP:BLP which only seeks removal of weakly sourced material. The text in the introduction reflects what has been accepted in the main body of the article, which is very strongly sourced beyond any reasonable doubt. As for the appropriateness, the WP:LEAD guidance quoted above is very clear. As shown above, Gilligan himself refers to it as the biggest story of his life. Also, despite giving sources confirming Gilligan is "best known" for this story, in an attempt to find middle ground I first removed the word "best", then the word "known", leaving the most simple, neutral statement of fact. The repeated removal is indefensible. You cannot remove content just because you don't like it. UsamahWard (talk) 17:12, 15 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I'm unclear why the material removed here is being described as "contentious". As written, it simply observes the fact that he filed the report. He did and, in fact, it probably is very much what he is "best known for". Nevertheless, as explained above, that phrasing had already been removed, thereby taking away the last vaguely plausible justification for any complaint about this content. N-HH talk/edits 11:35, 16 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
The "sexed up" story belongs front and centre in Gilligan's bio. Together with his friendship / working relationship with Boris Johnson. Please could somebody explain the contentious nature of the section that has been removed, otherwise it should go straight back in, as before. --Roxy the dog (resonate) 12:18, 16 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I appreciate the first part, but beg to differ on the second. Although their lives overlap, I don't think his relationship with Boris Johnson merits inclusion in the lead. He was better known not so much for supporting Boris, but rather investigating Ken Livingstone. I recommend Gilligan's long interview at the Frontline Club (cited previously in this talk section) for some insight into the two main stories of his life, i.e. the BBC report, and his work investigating Ken Livingstone. UsamahWard (talk) 12:44, 16 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Can anyone who thinks that mention of the Hutton stuff be included in the lead section please a) say exactly how they think it should be worded, and b) provide references?

I've yet to see any appropriate reference saying that "Gilligan is known" for this specific issue more than other things he's done, and I'm worried that the sites that do say such are things are not RS like e.g. [8] who have obviously copied from this article.

I'm really concerned that Wikipedia says things in a BLP like "X is best known for <y-very-minor-incident-in-their-life>, and forever become known as "Oh, X, the dude who did Y". This is an honest, genuine concern; sadly we must accept the fact that lots of people get their info from wikipedia - and in this, as other cases, we're in great danger of circular referencing.

I'm not 100% sure, but I do not currently believe that this person is generally "known" to be "the dude that lied during the Hutton enquiry" - and I've not seen any reliable sources that support it.

I know we could perhaps word it more appropriately in the leader section, but it still kinda draws attention to something he said, once, briefly -so putting it in such a bold location seems really non-neutral. (talk) 18:35, 16 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

I really hope people will understand what I'm trying to get across here.

If Wikipedia puts something into the leader section of an article about a living person, then a great many other websites simply assume it is true, and so it almost becomes true; if we say "Bob Randomname is an actor best-known for <some dodgy porn film/sex tape>" then a zillion other websites pick it up, so we get e.g. [9] saying "Andrew Paul Gilligan (born 22 November 1968) is a British journalist best known for a 2003 report on BBC Radio 4's The Today Programme in which he..."

-which is bloody obviously copy-pasted from Wikipedia.

If he really is best-known for that thing, I wouldn't have a problem at all; for example, "Jimmy Donal "Jimbo" Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur best known as the co-founder and promoter of the online non-profit encyclopedia Wikipedia" - I think that is fair enough, because it's demonstrable from Googling that Wales is by far best-known for Wikipedia, and not for any of the other things he's done in his life thus far.

But with people like Gilligan, it's not so clear-cut; he's not an incredibly well-known person.#

I totally admit that, if you asked 1000 people who "Andrew Gilligan" was, a few might mention the Hutton thing. A few. A few others might say "er, doesn't he write for the Telegraph or something?".

That's my point. If you asked 1000 people who "Jimbo Wales" was, then I suspect a reasonable amount might say "isn't he the Wikipedia dude?" - and that's why I find it acceptable in the leader section of the article about him.

I think we (Wikipedians) need to be really careful about the leader sections of living people, because it really truly has an affect on the lives of the individuals concerned.

<sorry for length, thanks for reading> (talk) 18:46, 16 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

If it wasn't for the "sexed up" story, Gilligan would barely be notable at all, and probably shouldn't have a page of his own here at the wiki. I still feel that nobody has answered my question on why that was removed from the lede. Questions that I didn't ask have been answered however. So, specifically, why was it removed? (Hint - I think it should be there.) --Roxy the dog (resonate) 19:29, 16 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I'll try to put together reasons why it should be mentioned in the lead. WP:LEAD states: The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points—including any prominent controversies. The notability of the article's subject is usually established in the first few sentences. The emphasis given to material in the lead should roughly reflect its importance to the topic, according to reliable, published sources. This is the Wikipedia guidance which should help us to form the lead.
The most recent text I proposed was: "In 2003 he produced a report on BBC Radio 4's The Today Programme in which he said a British government briefing paper on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction (the September Dossier) had been 'sexed up'." I included at the end a reference to a BBC report, though I don't think this is necessary in the lead.
I provided a very strong source (in addition to what's already in the main article) to underline the significance of this issue, an interview in the Guardian which says: He has described the mayoral campaign as "the second biggest story of his life", after Hutton. This is very clear; and these were two parts of his life in the lead until the part about his biggest story was removed.
Although, in an effort to move forward, I reworded the lead without the qualifier "best known", as others have said he is indeed best known for this; and I provided sources. The Frontline Club says this: Andrew Gilligan, former BBC Radio 4 Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent and the man in the centre of the Hutton Inquiry and the 'sexying up of the dossier' scandal, tells his side of the story. Gilligan is best known for his report about the government's dossier about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction which was published ahead of the invasion of Iraq and contained the infamous '45-minutes claim'. He resigned from the BBC following the publication of the Hutton Inquiry report, which among other things criticised Gilligan’s journalistic standards. (my emphasis) The page includes a video of a lengthy session where Gilligan answers questions almost entirely on two topics: primarily the BBC report, then the mayoral elections. (Watching the video it is hard not to sympathise with Gilligan because of the way he was treated in the wake of his BBC report.)
The National Review says: ... Andrew Gilligan, an investigative journalist best known for his examination of the way that the British government “sold” the Iraq war,...
These are not the only sources, but they're more than enough. Several editors have stated that this issue should be mentioned in the lead. For my part, I'm sorry if the way I've discussed this matter or others for this article has not been as constructive as it could have been. I hope this matter can be put to rest and we can all move forward. UsamahWard (talk) 19:59, 16 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah so, I'm kinda sceptical about the "frontlineclub" one because it seems to rely too much on Wikipedia - just glancing at their front page showed me [10] them copy-pasting from Wikipedia without necessarily fact-checking.
And the 'frontline confidential" quick summary is of course trying to raise the profile of the specific interview, with "man in the centre of the Hutton Inquiry and the ‘sexying up of the dossier’ scandal, tells his side of the story" - seriously, was he really the man in the centre? I'd have thought that'd be David Kelly? (talk) 21:18, 16 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I think you've confused two separate sources there. The Frontline Club is a London members' club which is aimed at international journalists, especially war correspondents, and hosts events where they tell their stories. The link you provided is to an article from the National Review website. Sam Blacketer (talk) 21:42, 16 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Sexing up the lede - neutrality tag[edit]

I have restored the "sexed up" tale to the lede. There doesn't seem to be a valid reason to leave it out of the bio. I would also suggest removing the neutrality tag - the only reason I haven't done so myself is that I would like some other opinion on this. --Roxy the dog (resonate) 08:46, 17 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Completely agree on both. The "sexed up" report is pretty much the only thing he's known for. DeCausa (talk) 09:07, 17 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I won't restore the tag, but the whole complicated episode needs clarifying by expansion. If it was just AG expressing his own opinion there wouldn't have been anything like the fuss there was. Johnbod (talk) 12:35, 17 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Quite so. It neertds its own sub-section with a full explanation. The comments trying to down play it in his career the above thread are ludicrous eg in this "10 years later" retrospective in The Independent, it talks about the incident propelling him to instant fame and "he has spent years where 'my first wish was to be known for something other than the Hutton Inquiry' ". DeCausa (talk) 14:14, 17 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Gilligan's entry was created solely on the basis of his BBC report, and this article used to be more substantial, but over the years editors appear at regular intervals to give him a positive makeover. The attempt to remove his claim to fame from the lede just shows how far people will go, and it won't end there I'm sure. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:32, 17 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Personally I don't see a censored entry as "positive" especially as the vast majority of people looking will realize there's something missing. Gilligan certainly didn't handle things perfectly, but I'm one of many who think he was more sinned against than sinning. Some people are evidently trying to forget the whole thing, but that won't work. 01:15, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Looking through the article history, I see that there used to be much more on this. Apart from seeing a steady filleting of the article to cut it out, the other interesting trend is that SPA's regularly show up to monitor what's said about it. DeCausa (talk) 16:45, 17 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
So true, the recent IP88... being yet another example of such highly suspicious behaviour you'd expect an army of bots and seasoned editors to be all over him/her. Good luck though, I gave up years ago, it eats into your soul, every time I check back it gets worse. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:08, 17 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
What it really needs is rock-solid sourcing, preferably to books. Then a firm line taken to defend the good version. Johnbod (talk) 01:17, 18 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal for new sections[edit]

I think the article would benefit with the addition of two sections: the first expanding the BBC report and the implications for Gilligan - it doesn't need to go into great detail, there are already substantial articles on the Hutton Inquiry and David Kelly; and the second on his reporting of the 2008 election for London Mayor, to give the reader a sense of why his reporting was considered an important factor in Ken Livingstone's downfall, and merited the accolade of Journalist of the Year. There are plenty of strong secondary sources for both, I don't think it would be hard to develop. UsamahWard (talk) 20:08, 18 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Good luck with that, the first will get ground down, until it's a shadow of the second. Like the sock-puppeting, it was debated to death 4 years ago, finally some editors arrived to say of course it should stay, now it's been deleted again and nothing's changed, same old dodgy excuses, and it looks like you gave up. Sorry for the total downer! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:54, 18 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Being so negative doesn't help, why not try to contribute instead? And the sockpuppeting issue is simply unresolved, maybe more people will add their views. I certainly haven't given up, there's just nothing I can add to the discussion that I haven't already said. UsamahWard (talk) 18:32, 19 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Agree, & repeat my comment in the previous section re sourcing. Johnbod (talk) 21:45, 19 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Agree too. DeCausa (talk) 22:07, 19 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

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