Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Wikipedia's War Of The Words.

Upstream may have inadvertently contributed to the Wiki War over Alan Chartock that Albany Eye discusses in his post today when I posted comments by Glenn Heller this past Monday. 78 of the 118 changes to Alan Chartock’s entry were made after my post. The war had started before then, but it really heated up after my post with its link to Wikipedia.

In defense of Heller, he at least signs his real name when he contributes to Wikipedia. Other contributers include Fungible, Zr2d2, Bing Cherry, Chiploe, Zotdragon and HamiltonFish, a famous New Yorker who has been dead a long time. Furthermore, after May 2 Heller made no further contributions to Wikipedia. The Wiki War was carried on by Fungible and Bing Cherry.

As far as comparing entries in Wikipedia to latrinalia, I attended SUNY Albany while Alan Chartock was a professor there. I saw many names and phone numbers on the bathroom walls, but Professor Chartock’s was not among them.

Since you cannot comment directly on Albany Eye, feel free to comment here about his post. I am very much interested in how other people view and use Wikipedia.

8 Comments:

  • Mr. Weaver,

    A few points of clarification about the current Pinhead Wars on Wikipedia over the 'Alan Chartock' and 'WAMC' entries.

    The only UserName I have been using when I update my Wiki postings is 'Fungible'.

    Unfortunately, all the other postings that are made to look like me (including the post using the name 'Glenn M. Heller' -- my real name) have NOT been me.

    Further, at least one poster was able to post using my 'Fungible' Username.

    When these masqueraders have posted in my name, I have so indicated in the Discussion page accompanying the Wiki entry.

    I hope this clarifies things a little.

    What all this really shows is to what extent Alan Chartock and his supporters will go to keep legitimate information about the radio exec out of the public domain.

    One could not make-up the kind of information that I post on the WAMC Pirates' Web site. Nearly all the 'scoops' I have written about are brought to my attention by either former or current WAMC employees. Even then, I have been careful to get confirmation from other sources whenever possible.

    If anyone has questions about any of the above, I will be happy to answer. My e-mail is editor@wamc.net.

    By Anonymous Glenn M. Heller, at 2:11 PM  

  • Oh, about Albany Eye.

    I enjoy reading his blog entries yet I don't understand how he can lob critical bombs but not see his own hypocrisy in not identifying who he/she really is. Also, he/she doesn't allow people to post replies.

    You will note that not only do I fully identify myself in the articles I post to my Web sites, but also I enable and even encourage readers to post their uncensored (within reason) replies on the Blogs I operate.

    By Anonymous Glenn M. Heller, at 2:31 PM  

  • Also, notice how Albany Eye 'demonizes the messenger' instead of taking the time to examine exactly what the messenger is saying.

    Can anyone bring forth any information whatsoever that would undermine a single one of the allegations I make on my version of the Wiki entry, or on the WAMC Pirates' Web site (www.WAMC.net)?

    You mean Chartock did NOT get a 45% raise from WAMC? You mean he does NOT make personal use of WAMC's new Subaru?

    You mean he did NOT sexually abuse a woman who worked at the station and then get the station to pay her off for $20K? (Try telling that to her!)

    You mean SUNY does NOT have an 'anti-moonlighting' policy for its professional staff?

    In other words, Albany Eye is 'stuck on stupid' and is as plagued with 'Shoot the Messenger' syndrome as his peers in the Albany media that he claims to be Eye-ing.

    By Anonymous Glenn M. Heller, at 3:02 PM  

  • Albany Eye is definitely a he. Glenn, (and please call me Dan), have you ever received any threatening e-mails, phone calls, etc. because of the information posted on your web sites? I am also curious as to why you think Alan Chartock hasn't sued you if he thinks your information is wrong?

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 3:21 PM  

  • Gee Dan,

    Maybe -- just maybe -- what's holding back Chartock from filing suit is that the allegations and charges that I publish on the WAMC Pirates' Web site are true!
    Gee, do ya think it's possible?

    I should also add that the best defense against a charge of defamation or libel is 'truth'.

    By Anonymous Glenn M. Heller, at 4:26 PM  

  • I think everyone would be less critical of Mr. Heller if he produced a little evidence about the sexual harassment case and had actual criticism of Mr. Chartock instead of personal beliefs and feelings. Who are these people you claim as sources and why do they only talk to you? If the listeners of WAMC are satisfied with Mr. Chartock’s performance isn’t he allowed to be compensated? Donations seem to be pouring in at pledge time which would indicate satisfaction to me. If a CEO of a company performs his or her job well no one criticizes them for receiving a raise. Just because WAMC is a non-profit organization does not mean the employees don’t get paid or aren’t entitled to raises. As for the company car accusation it is my understanding that Mr. Chartock resides in Great Barrington but has to work in Albany. Therefore, if he is commuting back and forth wouldn’t it be logical to see the company car parked in his driveway? Maybe if you had a picture of Alan joyriding around Great Barrington I would be more understanding but your assertions seem somewhat ridiculous. It is also my understanding that a political commentator usually discusses the politics of the day as they see it. Mr. Chartock offers his opinions not as fact but as how he views the facts. Again, if you were to criticize him for changing or slanting the facts and offer evidence I would be more supportive of your cause. Basically, WAMC and its supporters offer their money willingly and if they are happy who are you to criticize? I don’t see how a company car or raise impact WAMC as a station. In fact you seem to only focus on Mr. Chartock which further discredits your argument in my eyes. Mr. Heller if you don’t like what you hear and have some axe to grind with Mr. Chartock why don’t you just turn it off?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:57 PM  

  • Well I was hoping to get a few more comments on Wikipedia. Anyway, it's a little disturbing to find out that not only is wrong information posted on Wikipedia sometimes, but that people impersonate other people on the site.

    As far as WAMC, Alan Chartock and Glenn Heller are concerned, I think Alan Chartock has done a great job at WAMC. I listen to a number of shows on it. I take issue, however, with people like Bill Sheehan who wrote an op-ed piece for The Sunday Gazette, saying that WMHT should become more like WAMC. I also think there is some credence to Glenn Heller's allegations. He may be obssesive about Alan Chartock, he may have skeletons in his own closet, but that doesn't take away from the credence or strength of his arguments.

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 11:45 AM  

  • Hi Anonymous,
    All good points and questions deserving of a reply. Your lengthy inquiry necessitates this lengthy response, so please bear with me:
    1. RE: The sexual harassment matter:
    I have posted as much data as I reasonably believed could be posted that would leave the lady, at her request, unidentified. What further 'evidence' do you suggest
    is necessary to produce? (I have today included on Chartock's Wiki entry a link to a letter posted on the WAMC.net Web site from an individual who makes reference to this subject of Chartock's unwanted sexual advances towards women at WAMC.)
    2. RE: Who are the people claimed as sources and why do they only talk to me?
    The people who tip me off concerning 'inside-stuff' at WAMC are people who are either current or former WAMC-FM employees. The reason they contact me is
    because they know I will not try to withhold or cover up the information. It is certainly possible that these folks have approached Albany media types with the same
    material, but when I myself have notified Albany media people about less-than-savory stuff going on, no one ever seems to take the time to look into it and write
    an in-depth article. Chartock's wholesale violation of SUNY's anti-moonlighting policy for two decades is one glaring example of that.

    The reason so many current and former WAMC employees ask to remain anonymous is because frankly there is a lot of Fear and Loathing at WAMC. I kid you
    not! These people tell me that if Chartock knew who they were, he would absolutely retaliate and either make life very difficult for them at the radio station or for
    their friends who may still be employed at the station. So the deal is they tell me information on the condition of anonymity and I pass it on. Because I maintain their
    confidentiality, they trust me. But the greater issue is just why does Chartock engender so much fear and loathing in the first place? And how did this situation come
    to pass at a public charity that broadcasts to seven states?

    3. RE: Isn’t Mr. Chartock allowed to be compensated? Should not those working at a non-profit organization get paid and be entitled to raises?
    The answer to both of course, is yes. Yet, what we are speaking about here in the case of WAMC is the matter of 'self-dealing', the matter of absolute control of a
    public broadcaster by a single individual, and the matter of no direct involvement by the public in actually choosing those whose decisions control the running of the
    organization, i.e.. the board of trustees.

    If this were a public corporation, the shareowners would be allowed to vote at an annual shareowner meeting for or against the corporation's directors. Not so at
    WAMC. Chartock hand-picks those who would serve on 'his' board, whereupon the trustees vote annually either to re-elect themselves or to elect those who Chartock sanctions to be on 'his' board. That is the board that ends-up rubber-stamping Alan's raises and perquisites. Many people who pledge dollars aren't pledging to give Alan a raise or
    because they necessarily like his management style, but rather because they want to keep hearing Garrison Keillor's 'Prairie Home Companion' or some other
    popular radio program.

    If there were annual elections wherein pledge-contributing members were allowed to vote for individual trustees and thus had a say in the issue of executive
    compensation and other matters of corporate governance, then I would say, "Hell yes, let members vote to compensate the boss any amount they see fit!" since obviously it's their money. Unfortunately for
    those interested in public-accountability, WAMC's by-laws, written by Chartock and four other 'corporators' back in 1981, do not allow for member participation
    in determining who sits on the board of trustees, or the degree of executive compensation.

    Besides, be honest here! Since when is it considered 'reasonable', in a time of 2 1/2% inflation, to give a 45% raise to the CEO of a tax-exempt public charity?

    4. RE: The WAMC-owned car parked in his driveway in Great Barrington.
    First off, why is WAMC, a not-for-profit public charity, giving Mr. Chartock use of a company-owned vehicle to commute to work? It is not as if he is a traveling
    salesman that would require use of a vehicle in the course of his employment. Maybe you can tell me how a company-owned vehicle is necessary for Mr. Chartock's
    job description? Remember, this is a public charity and he sits behind either a desk or a microphone; when was the last time you heard Alan file a news report from
    the field? Further, why does Mr. Chartock require a company-owned vehicle at all? Should he not be driving his own vehicle to the office at his own expense like other employees of
    the charity? (There is even a secured parking area for employee and company vehicles.) Last time I checked with IRS, the cost of commuting to work was not tax deductible (unless one makes the commute in a van pool with at least three or
    four others, and on a regular basis).

    5. RE: The political commentator discussing politics as he sees fit:
    The fact is that WAMC is a 'public' broadcaster receiving tax-exempt public dollars from individuals and government. The station is not Mr. Chartock's private
    soapbox. Last time I checked though, he was the only political commentor the station has ever had on staff. The station rakes in $6 mil per year. Why not have
    someone of an opposite political bent on staff to balance out Mr. Chartock's too obvious political points of view. I suggest a Hannity and Colmes scenario:
    Chartock the Liberal Left nut, and someone who honestly can represent the Conservative right-wing nuts. (And I don't mean a middle-of-the-road so-called
    'moderate' wimp, but rather someone who would truly balance Alan's extremism.)

    6. RE: WAMC's supporters offer money willingly, who am I to criticize?
    WAMC's contributors give money for a lot of different reasons. Isn't it possible that many contribute because WAMC's positive aspects outweigh even Chartock's
    negatives. That, plus the fact that given the local hilly terrain, WAMC is the only NPR station that comes in strongly in some areas, and for that reason alone people
    feel it is worthy to support.

    7. RE: If you don’t like what you hear, why don’t you just turn it off?
    That's certainly valid. And, if you don't like what I have to say, you should certainly logon to a different Web site -- or just ignore me altogether. I can live with that! :)

    By Anonymous Glenn M. Heller, at 1:05 PM  

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