Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Whitfield Shows How to Get Suspended by Wikipedia for Idiocy [UPDATED]

Following a post about his campaign-finance sketchiness last September, I started keeping my comments about Dan Whitfield on Twitter, since most of his ongoing idiocy and repeated failure just was not worth writing an entire post about. After all, there are only so many times that you can point out that someone is clueless about campaign-finance law, the law in general, or the office he claims to be seeking before it starts to become redundant as far as material for a blog post.

So why a post today? Because today, friends, we have visual evidence of Dan Whitfield making a fool of himself in a totally new–yet somehow still very familiar–way: by screwing around with Wikipedia and baselessly threatening them until he got suspended.

It all started, best I can tell, on June 5, when Whitfield, using the Wikipedia account “Danwhitcongress,” removed some information about himself from the Wiki page “2022 United States Senate election in Arkansas.” Specifically, Whitfield removed a description of him as, “Dan Whitfield, activist and Independent candidate that failed to make the ballot for the U.S. Senate in 2020,” and he changed it to, “Dan Whitfield, working class activist.”1

Whitfield’s reason for this edit? Because the deleted material was “irrelevant information that was derogatory.”

No, seriously. Dan Whitfield thinks that pointing out that he tried and failed to make the ballot as a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2020 is somehow derogatory. I’m starting to think Whitfield is not the sharp legal mind that he purports to be.

ANYWAY, a minute later, Whitfield made a second edit and changed his description of himself to “husband, father, student, and working class activist.” Two minutes after that, one of Wikipedia’s community editors stepped into undo Whitfield’s ridiculous edits, noting: “Wikipedia is not censored. Please provide reliable sources for including or deleting content.”

Now, for you or me or anyone with an ounce of self-awareness, that should have been the end of it. But not for Dan Whitfield. No, sir. This past Sunday,2 Whitfield did the exact same thing once again, removing the previously restored description and replacing it with “Dan Whitfield, activist.”

Whitfield’s reason this time? That the accurate description of him as failing to make the ballot in 2020 was “irrelevant information that should not be on” Wikipedia.

Less than an hour later, a community editor called Bass77 again undid Whitfield’s edit, referring to Dan’s change as a “bad faith edit.” The editor also directed Whitfield to read Wikipedia’s guidelines on censorship.

A few minutes after undoing Whitfield’s edit, Bass77 posted the following to the “talk” section of Whitfield’s Wikipedia account:

Now, again, a normal person would likely be sufficiently chastened by this and would, at the very least, not try to make the same edit a third time. But Dan Whitfield–unrelentingly self-entitled pantload that he is–is not a “normal person” when it comes to such things. So, once more he made the same edit, this time with the description of “This information is not relevant to the 2022 AR Senate race.”

Never one to miss an opportunity to display his ignorance a little more clearly, however, Whitfield also responded to the note from Bass77 on the “talk” page:

Dan Whitfield, non-candidate in the 2020 Senate race, will not be told what to do by Wikipedia! He “will continue to remove the irrelevant information,” and if Wiki editors don’t like that, Dan wants to speak to their manager!

Another Wiki editor, SHB2000, undid Whitfield’s edit a minute later and tagged the edit as “Vandalism.” SHB2000 also posted to the “talk” page, giving Whitfield far friendlier advice than Dan deserved at that point.

Oh, yeah, Wikipedia?? ARE YOU NOT AWARE THAT DAN WHITFIELD IS A VERY IMPORTANT AND SERIOUS CANDIDATE?? Well, if his demand that a “supervisor” email him was not sufficient to inform you of his status, Whitfield decided that he was going to make it clear to Wikipedia that he was not one to be trifled with.

First…holy hell, how delusional does someone have to be to think that a threat to “never again send traffic to your site” would result in anything but laughter from Wikipedia, which boasts more than 1.7 BILLION unique visitors per month?

Second, threatening to have his lawyer send a cease-and-desist letter to Wikipedia because they wouldn’t let him violate their terms of service by deleting factual information about himself is such a very Dan Whitfield way to react. He loves claiming that he is going to take some kind of legal action against any perceived slight, but he never seems to have the stones to follow through with any of those baseless threats.

Rather than having the effect on Wikipedia that Whitfield hoped, his “I’ll contact my lawyer” threat resulted in this:

[Author’s note: Pause for laughter.]

Whitfield–paragon of bravery that he is–immediately backed off from his position and begged Wikipedia to unblock him. He even admitted that it was only after he was blocked that he bothered to read the Wikipedia rules that Bass77 had told him to read a day earlier. But he stopped short of admitting that he was not going to “contact [his] lawyer,” so Wikipedia denied his pleas and kept the ban in place.3

I can’t decide which part of this story is my favorite. There are so many options:

  • The initial repeated efforts to replace a factual description of Whitfield with “working class activist” is very on-brand for Whitfield and his unimpressive résumé;
  • “I’ll continue to remove things and, if you don’t like it, I want to talk to your manager” is exactly what you would expect from someone whose sense of self-importance is untethered from reality;
  • “I’ll never send traffic to your site again” when the site in question is Wikipedia and you’re a failed candidate is the most impotent threat anyone has ever sent;
  • “You’ll hear from my lawyer” is funny on its face–since Dan never follows through with those threats–but also doubly hilarious since that hollow statement is what triggered his ban; and
  • Admitting that he had never read what they told him to read before he got banned, but then trying to use “I read the rules and now I understand” as part of his begging to be reinstated is some truly MAGA-ass behavior.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think a viable candidate for U.S. Senate would go to such great lengths to make a fool of himself on Wikipedia. He could have stopped at any time prior to his absurd legal threat and admitted that he was wrong, and it would have shown the tiniest bit of growth from Whitfield. Instead, he stayed true to his track record of not knowing when to just shut the hell up and take the loss. That is legitimately embarrassing behavior, even for a thin-skinned blowhard like Dan Whitfield.

UPDATE: 6/16/21

Some people never learn. Dan Whitfield is one of those people. Apparently, his communications person, Janey Peugh, is as well.

Yesterday, some time after this post initially went live, Peugh again returned to the “2022 United States Senate election in Arkansas” page and tried to edit the same part about Whitfield. In front of “activist,” Peugh wrote “Progressive,” and she changed “who failed to make the ballot” to the Whitfield-esque “who suspended his campaign as an Independent candidate (due to the COVID19 pandemic and to keep his staff/volunteers safe).”

This is demonstrably false. Whitfield did not suspend his campaign due to COVID. He suspended his campaign after he failed to get a court date with the 8th Circuit that would occur prior to the election. The only thing he sort of suspended due to COVID was in-person signature gathering, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found that he had other options available as far as gathering signatures, such that he was not entitled to be on the ballot merely because COVID made signature gathering somewhat more difficult.

Thankfully, Wiki community editor Bass77 runs a tight ship, and, shortly after Peugh’s edit, Bass77 undid those changes. Further, Bass77 noted that Peugh’s edits were “still unsourced” and that Peugh possibly had a conflict of interest4 or that her account might be a “meatpuppet” (aka a friend recruited by Whitfield to take up his side of an argument over edits on Wikipedia). Based on Peugh’s record of Wiki contributions, I’d say both of Bass77’s assertions were correct.

Imagine being so blithely devoid of self-awareness that you had already seen Whitfield’s edit be undone and had seen him make a fool of himself in arguing about those edits, only to then decide–after a post about what idiots you and Whitfield appeared to be–that you’d go ahead and make another attempt at those same edits. It’s a literal miracle that someone that clueless doesn’t routinely wander into traffic.

  1. I wasn’t aware that showing up in an ill-fitting suit and tacky tie to random events made one an “activist,” but I digress.

  2. June 13, also known as Mattmas in certain circles

  3. Whitfield’s communications person, Janey Peugh, subsequently tried to make a similar edit to the page, but that looks to have been undone by someone else earlier today.

  4. By Wikipedia’s definition, she absolutely does.

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