Am I a Bad Wikipedia Editor?

As I look deeper into the issue of anti-youth bias on Wikipedia, I find that I am frequently the target of these AfDs and TfDs. An editor called Herostratus called me out directly in a recent AfD, writing,

It’s a Freechild special, and it’s an advocacy article (a particularly noxious form of advocacy to my mind…) Freechild is nobody’s fool and he’s an energizer bunny when it comes to digging up enough refs for these things. He’s done his homework and he’s got us over a barrel. If his hobbyhorse was global warming denial or Scientology or whatever he’d have his head handed to him, but that’s not going to happen given the subject and the Wikipedia demographic, so I’d say we have to let it go.

In responding to me calling them out about their personal attack, Herostratus replied by saying, “If you’re going to be a radical and POV-pusher here you’d best have a thick skin.” I appreciate that, and according to another editor not only do I have thick skin, but I must be fat. Describing a photo of me during a 2005 AfD focused on the Wikipedia page about me, a user called Ashley Pomeroy got ugly and waged a personal attack, writing,

“I am also overweight, and I have pondered whether a goatee beard would help hide this, but I’ve never really had the courage to just let it grow.”

The editor called Herostratus has an axe to grind against me, as they have called me out repeatedly in the past. In 2007 they slammed me during an AfD for pedophobia, writing,

“Your essay (and this is what it is, not an encyclopedia article) transparently attempts to conflate medical and sociological terminolgy for advocacy purposes. Scholarly journals don’t fall for that. Sorry to be harsh, but there it is.”

During an 2008 AfD for Fear of youth, Herostratus continued by writing,

The main protector of this article is freechild and this is no coincidence, this article was designed and is maintained as an unsubtle POV hammer. Sure it has a lot of citations; good original essays do.

Calling something original research on Wikipedia is a way of calling out it’s illegitimacy; calling it a “POV hammer” is a way of saying that it’s someone’s personal point of view and that they’re using Wikipedia to drive the point home. Herostratus has established a 4-year-old pattern of haunting my edits and accusing me of bad editing behavior.

However, with widespread response and the continued concern of more than one editor, perhaps there is more for me to learn about editing on Wikipedia. A user called orlady has commented on my AfDs and talk pages related to articles I have created or edited repeatedly. Her concern repeats throughout, and is generally summarized by this comment from a comment she wrote on the Youth Empowerment template talk page in 2007,

I don’t see the point of this template, except perhaps as a way to gather/advertise the personal interests of one particular Wikipedia contributor.

Maybe I’m a bad Wikipedia editor. Thoughts?

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker and writer who researches, writes and shares about youth, education, and history. Learn more about me at

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