It's just a hobby

John Byrne

Johnbod is one of Wikipedia's most prolific and genuinely pleasant editors (we have that on the basis of a private communication we trust and respect). He's also a pretentious twat who basically knows fuck all about anything (bear with us, this information comes from an impeccably reliable source). Thus the contradictions of Wikipedia. On the whole, we tend to the former view, but there are issues.

We know of him. John is extremely knowledgeable about art prints and belongs to a group of visual arts editors who have done sterling work on Wikipedia and with whom we have no quarrel whatsoever . Curiously enough, an uncharacteristic slip (so we assume) of his at the article on Paul Gauguin led C1cada to embark on his monumental series of edits that so gripped the attention of security services the world over (but he never did get the chance to deliver the Crown Jewels and that's entirely down to Aaij).  As at 14 February 2015 the article  stated (in connection with Gauguin's visits to Tahiti): "Gauguin left France again on 3 July 1895, never to return." Johnbod, one of Wikipedia's 500 or so most prolific editors ever, so one gathers from his Talk page, intervened here to delete the "never to return" with the edit summary "but it's just wrong". A couple of minutes later he clarified the issue further by remarking Gauguin returned just the once after 1897 to paint at Pont-Aven.  These are instructive examples of the sort of  WP:BOLD edits Wikipedia encourages us to make, in this case surely scarcely impacted by the trifles Gaugin actually never did return after 1895 2  to Pont-Aven or anywhere else in France. C1cada corrected the edit, probably sealing his fate by so doing. Master editors have long memories, but they really ought to pause and consider the implications for world peace their actions might imply.

Johnbod was apparently unphased by the sentence immediately following in the  Gauguin article at the time, which was not very pleasant about Gauguin's sexual activities in the fragrant isles: "He was known to have engaged in sexual relations with several young native girls, some of whom appear as subjects of his paintings." C1cada in fact deleted this as too pointed, giving the lie to Aaij's "shall we say" smear, in which he implied that Cicada entertained a prurient interest in underage sex. We are grateful to our new researcher Amy (pictured, of whom more later) for providing this extra zero in our final cheque. Meantime we are all ears of course as to what Aaij's sexual proclivities might be (we suspect something involving leashes and obedience training, he looks just like the sort of sad cunt into German scat and shit like that).

John Byrne's distinguished career in Wikipedia is documented in multiple sources (not least his user page). Basically he runs (or at least did run until recently) a care home with his wife. He also runs a business Bodkin Prints (hence Johnbod), which he advertises on Wikipedia (for example at the article Print room) as a virtual print-room with links to over 10,000 online images. The images were removed in 2009 (copyright concerns must have been a problem because the site is registered in the UK and UK copyright law doesn't allow you to disregard "sweat of the brow"), although he continues to sell books. His advertising on Wikipedia was discussed on Jimbo's Talk page in 2012 in connection with a German court ruling that such advertisement on Wikipedia is illegal. Notwithstanding this, he continues to revert sockpuppets who remove these advertisements.

He was the first to receive the coveted UK Wikipedian of the Year award in 2012 for his role in getting the Wikimedia Foundation charitable status in the UK (he wrote a letter asking for it perhaps?)  In 2013 he was Treasurer and a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation (introducing the very latest version of Sage accounting software amongst other innovations). He had to step down from this role when he accepted posts as Wikipedian in residence at Cancer Research UK and the Royal Society, these posts presumably being more lucrative and liable to conflicts of interest than the mere advertising of failing business enterprises on Wikipedia.

We could hope his internship duties at Cancer Research UK extended to protecting the interests of terminally ill cancer patients being trolled on Wikipedia.

At the Royal Society his duties included advancing the achievements of women scientists on Wikipedia. This latter appointment attracted the interest of the Wikipediocracy forum, who in the first place debated whether Johnbod actually happens to know anything about science (but he's a Wikipedian for heaven's sake!) This was when  Fat Eric (who ought to know) opined Johnbod was a pretentious twat who basically knows fuck all about anything. Since Johnbod's ingestive talent (noted at some length on the forum it has to be said)  at least matches Eric's, he should have been able to fetch him a fair clout were this opinion delivered somewhere fair and square like down at the pub or even at a Wikimania conference. The sources are silent as to whether such an altercation ever took place, but we are surely not the first to observe that sooner or later something dreadful of the sort is bound to happen.

A more ("shall we say") sober assessment is provided by an experienced and respected member of the forum. It's worth quoting in full

The one time that I encountered Byrne at an article, it became apparent that he's the kind of man that thinks he can push other people around online. It was an unpleasant experience. However, from this thread I can draw a more accurate picture. He is clearly a man large in neither mind nor import - just gut. A risible character. I feel sorry for the people at the Royal Society who will find themselves having to deal with him.

That was our assessment too arising out of our experience at the article Power of Women. This article is a relatively recent article contributed by Aaij and Johnbod. As we note (to clarify - as one of us notes) in the forum, it is an extremely poor article where enterprising and valuable contributions from a new editor were reverted. We devote a page to itself to the article in these pages, noting that one of its most striking features is how it essentially ignores (other than quoting inadequate secondary or encyclopaedic sources) the work of Susan L. Smith, the art historian who more than any other is responsible for the wave of research into the group of literary and artistic themes that consitute the subject of the article. In an article in The Guardian  describing an "editathon" that was conducted to further the Royal Society project, Johnbod urged editors to contribute "so you too can make sure women's achievements are written up, not written off".  But that is exactly what happens to Susan Smith in his article.

Time now to introduce our new researcher and chronicle her brief career as an editor at Wikipedia. Amy hails from the Mars hub at the University of California, Los Angles, where she majored in English, Arabic, Sanskrit and Chinese literature. Presently she's writing her doctoral disseration titled "Perverted Love Involving Amorous Trajectories of Plums in the Jin Ping Mei and its Deleterious Effect on the Goolies" (as near as we can transcribe the Chinese characters). She also does a certain amount of spying for the intergalactic federation and the CIA, but that's just like a hobby thing, to keep her hand in as it were, she doesn't take very seriously except of course when she's actually got her hand in, so to speak, when she does indeed become quite disarmingly serious fuck yes. Literature and passion are her first love, of which passion certainly has endured over the centuries good news.

 She opened an account KIC 8462852 with Wikipedia, planning in the first place to edit on Emily Dickinson, whom she got to know quite well the last time she was down. She contributed most of I taste a liquor never brewed  and then moved on to Power of Women, where she proposed to contribute on the various stories that were illustrated in medieval decorative arts in objects, such as the so-called composite caskets  where she spent considerable time tracking down the surviving examples from the Courtauld Gothic Ivories Database. To be fair she was ably and pleasantly assisted by Johnbod in that latter task, but that can not really be said of her contributions at the main Power of Women article, where Johnbod came close to harassing her, although not actually reverting her at this stage. That's a pity because they would have made a good team and a rapport built up that might have eased the passage (oh dear) of what came next ...

Amy contributed a BLP (Biography of a Living Person) on Susan L. Smith, the noted art historian we mention above most responsible for developing interest in the Power of Women theme. She then thought to contribute one of Aaij (copied here). It was meant as a Sinterklaas present (Aaij of course come from The Netherlands) and moved into article space precisely at midnight Amsterdam time 4th/5th December. Whether Aaij is actually notable enough to merit a BLP is a moot point. From an academic point of view plainly not, but his gaining tenure on the strength of his Wikipedia edits surely is  notable. It was reported in multiple sources at the time. At any rate the BLP was immediately tagged for speedy deletion. At this stage Amy should have been able to plead her cause, but what happened was that Aaij then deleted the article himself, as well as the notification on Amy's Talk page. When she apologised and retired, he reverted that, and when another editor interceded, he reverted him as well. Amy herself was blocked as a sock and Johnbod reverted her edits at Power of Women.

One can only surmise why Aaij was so vehemently opposed to his BLP. It's worth noting we think, that while others who find themselves in that situation have little recourse, at least immediately,  Aaij was able to use his powers immediately to delete all trace of the BLP, and thought nothing of using them.

Pa Wong is displeased. The word on the Belt is that he has ordered extra-terrestial aspirations. These work pretty much like the Hogwarts' version but they're a lot messier and in this case especially they carry significant waste disposal issues that our esteemed capo colleagues will be hard pressed to manage. Be very scared shitless.