back to article Wikipedia kills legendary journalist

Say what you like about Wikipedia, you can't accuse it of lacking tact. Within 48 hours of the untimely death of music journalist Steven Wells, his entry has been summarily marked for deletion on the grounds that he isn't famous enough. Swells, as he was known to readers of the NME, began his career as punk poet Seething Wells …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    and this garbage is considered notably

    "Based on a true story that unfolded on Usenet bulletin boards, this new opera is a gripping portrayal of a paranoid mind that raises unsettling questions about a society under surveillance"

    And most probably self-written by the self same victim of MI5 'persecution'. Some Usenet nutter and former Private Eye mag advertiser ...

    Wikipedia verification - USENET !!! GOOD GRIEF !!!

  2. Smallbrainfield

    RIP Swells

    Used to like his stuff in NME, turned me onto the Manics but he failed to convince me about the musical merits of Bis. Though they did do the theme to the Powerpuff Girls.

  3. John 203

    so long and thanks for all the fish

    As a Sonic Youth loving NME reader during the 80s I'm sad to here of Swells' passing as he used to simultaneously give me a laugh and leave me infuriated on a pretty regular basis.

    I can hardly see why he doesn't deserve his entry in Wikipedia given some of the inane and only very very minimally important information it deems worthy of chronicling.


  4. dunncha

    was he kidnapped by aliens????

    They he doesn't need a page on Wikipedia and as for NME that was read by space cadets so maybe there is a connection there.....

    a bit tenuous thought

    So long SWELLS. You can take your complaints up directly with management now.

    icon: I'll enjoy this for you

  5. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Oh Good

    Then can we mark the George W Bush entry for deletion since he's not President any more and therefore irrelevant ?

  6. dreadful scathe
    Paris Hilton


    i've heard the name Perez Hilton, probably Paris's sister no doubt! No idea who Tanya is.

    ...but is your worthyness not worth something to wikipedia ?

    to quote a comment after his last ever column ...

    “Goddamnit this sucks. Why you? Why not Perez Hilton or some other twat ?”

    ... quite !

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good thing, too

    Deleing *any* article from Wikipedia can only be a good thing for its subject. The sooner information is taken out of the hands of these agenda-driven nutjobs, the better.

  8. amanfromearth
    Thumb Up

    Wish I'd heard of him before

    Thank you for showing me this. He was a truly great person.

    This quote killed me:

    ".. for about a week I sport a huge, fluid-filled fringe under the head of my penis, making it look like some weird skinhead Gila-lizard from hell."

  9. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    He's not American...

    how can he be notable?

    PS - like the new icons!

  10. Tom 13

    Gotta agree with AuntFlo

    I'm an absolute nobody in the grand scheme of things, with one letter to the editor published way back when I was in college, but I'm quoted on a wikipedia site (or was at some point) with my real name. If I deserve that level of recognition, surely a published author deserves an entry in wikipedia.

  11. Duncan Hothersall

    The question is will he really get the funeral he wanted?

    He is on record as having asked for an open coffin in which he is sitting upright, with a mechanised arm moving his hand up and down gripping his artificially engorged deceased todger. I really, really hope he gets this.

  12. William Anderson


    Ha, in the space of time it took me to write my comment, Swells' article has been saved per WP:SNOWBALL. Sounds disgusting, I'm sure he'd love the sentiment!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    :-( and so farewell

    Bye Bye SW .

    Didn't realise til just now. Rarely has there been a writer I enjoyed disagreeing with so much.

  14. Estariel

    Spontaneous Generation

    Let me get this right....

    The difference between being not worthy of a wikipedia page, and becoming worthy, is to be mentioned on El Reg.

    As I am now mentioned (by virtue of this comment) can I have my own Wikipedia page now please?

    Or shall I just go an make my own?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Re : Duncan Hothersall

    Class. Pure class.

  16. Peyton

    What's their problem?

    Are they running so low on disk space that a few k of text makes a difference? Why the f*** would you delete anything that isn't wholly inaccurate? Sounds like some wikigit had an axe to grind.

    I'm off to recommend all the articles relating to "peyton" for deletion simply on the whim that one "peyton" is more than enough.

  17. JP Sistenich
    Dead Vulture

    Power to the Reg!

    El Reg has made a difference in the world!

    Well, on Wikipedia.


  18. Anonymous Coward

    marked for deletion by a nobody

    methinks someone is jealous.

    @Version 1.0

    irrelevant then, irrelevant now. no change that i can see.

    Didn't know him, but if his writing pissed off some folks, more power.... and a hoisted one!

  19. Dave 31

    Wikipedia, can be good

    Can be toss, and is for a great deal of the time. Its major problem is that it has a very pronounced Amrican bias, and that means if the subject isn't recognised by 'Merkins it doesn't truly exist

  20. Anonymous Coward

    As long as the most minor of minor Star Wars characters has a page

    there can be no justification for deleting any article on grounds of notability.

  21. Lotaresco

    The Weird and Whacky World of Wiki

    Wikipedia rules are the most bizarre and bizarrely implemented set of rules/guidelines that I've ever encountered. I have seem, for example, individuals refusing to accept that in a description of a book that a reference to the book is adequate evidence that the content referenced exists in the book. A link to a web site that any loon could have knocked up in five minutes is taken as hard evidence.

    In a recent dispute over notable Usenet personalities, individuals were judged not to be notable if their posting history lay almost exclusively in the UK hierarchy. A touch of cross-pondian NIH syndrome creeping in there, I suspect. Probably this is why Swells is considered not to be notable, after all he only worked in "Yoorp" or more properly "Yoo-Kay" so he can't have been notable, ever.

  22. Steven Jones


    In wiki-speak you are an inclusionist. whilst others are deletionists. If you want to join the debate there is, of course, a Wikipage on it with links off to the opposing camps' manifestos and principles.

  23. anarchic-teapot

    Bugger Wikipedia

    They're not worth wasting your time on, I mean they quote *me* as a reference for heaven's sake.

    Damn you, El Reg, for not mentioning this guy before. You'd better set up a pressure group to get his collected articles published.

  24. Anonymous Coward


    Why would dying suddenly render the information invalid?

    I thought it was an encyclopedia?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Non-notability is a political statement.

    You can't argue that someone or something is not notable enough. I live in a small village, certainly not notable to most of the World's population, but very notable to all that live here. Likewise, there are not very notable countries

    Yet Wikipedia has articles on every fictional character in the Simpsons (are they ALL notable?), every single known asteroid (isn't one chunk of rock much like another?), and just about every chemical you can imagine.

    Non-notability is a political statement.

  26. Steve Taylor 3

    Doesn't make sense

    Surely one of the strengths of Wikipedia is that *does* give detailed coverage to things that many people would consider trivial or unimportant? For all of Wikipedia's failings, I know that I can pretty much always find information on some snippet of pop culture that's passed me by. So why delete articles about the insufficiently grand?

  27. J 3
    Thumb Up

    Respect for the dead

    I'm not really for respect for the dead, unless they actually deserve it. But I digress, since this shouldn't have anything to do with respect.

    I had never heard of the dead bloke in question, but surely "AuntFlo" is quite right. And even if there weren't much less relevant people than him on Wikipedia anyway, it seems Swells still had enough accomplishments in cultural life to be deserving of reference, from what was written in this article here on El Reg.

    I hope his family is coping well with the loss.

  28. William Anderson

    I'll put on the brakes and he'll fly right by

    First, RIP Swells.

    To continue: come on, Sarah, to paraphrase Goose from Top Gun, do some of that journalism shit. The user Mikerichi's first act on Wikipedia was to rock up to the Sons of Ben (MLS supporters association) article (they're a supporters club for Philadelphia's MLS football team) and submit it for deletion. Now the same guy tries the same thing with Philly resident Swells' article, which at that time happened to claim Swells was a "staunch proponent" of the Sons of Ben. Two edits after that, Richardrj removes that claim as being "unsourced and irrelevant".

    This all feels like an idiot with a grudge against the Sons of Ben, rather than against Swells himself. Nor does it feel like Wikipedia as an entity is responsible.

    As for the deletion notice, it's back: SOP on Wikipedia is to let the discussion run its course, but as you say, the resounding response of "Keep" should ensure the article will be around for a long time to come. (Mikerichi's contribs) (Richardrj's edit removing mention of Sons of Ben) (Wikipedia article on Sons of Ben, citing Swells Grauniad article) (Swells article on Sons of Ben)

    Fail, because ... well, you know, do that journalism stuff!

  29. Anonymous Coward


    What a silly non-story. Some random idiot nominates an obviously notable article for deletion and you blame the entire project? Do you see a single person in that discussion who agreed with the nomination? A single 'delete' vote? The guy who suggested deletion was already being accused of trying to stir up trouble before this article was even brought up. But here I see people responding to your article as if 'Wikipedia' as an entity wanted to get rid of the article.

    There was never any chance that Swells's article would be deleted. Is the fact that one moron suggested it should be and was quickly shouted down really news?

  30. Seán

    Wikipedia is fascist right wing horseshit

    Uneducated dolts agreeing that the truth must be half way between two opposing viewpoints. The Holocaust has a museum but there are also holocaust deniers therefore 3 million people were possibly killed.

    Irish has been renamed goeidilic which noone has ever heard of by some student with a mania for rewriting articles. Edison was the greatest inventor of all time and didn't steal anything according to some arsehole who calls himself, that's right, edison. The english empire were lovely friendly chaps who just wanted to build roads and free the poor from slavery.

    The amount of politically motivated revisionism is disgusting

    Ronnie Reagan "He ranks highly among former U.S. presidents in terms of approval rating.", which is funny because I remember him as being a criminal with the iq of a fencepost who almost got us all nuked.

  31. SteveBaker

    Read what ACTUALLY happened.

    In truth, what happened is that some idiot posted a note to "Articles for Deletion" (which they are entitled do to on grounds of free speech, etc) and almost every person who responded to it said that the article should be kept. How on earth does that justify the sensationalist title of this article?

    Wikipedia behaved responsibly...the outcome is as it should be.

    The comment from one editor that death doesn't imply notability is true. About half a million people die every day - the vast majority of them are not notable enough to have a Wikipedia biography written about them.

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