Talk:Bob Black

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Evidence of being a police informant[edit]

This section is especially relevant as Black claims he is an anarchist and his work with police informs those who read his writings. Black himself appear to have repeatedly sanitized this biography ("I deleted, as I have several times before, the libelous account of my conflict with Jim Hogshire. I can't be bothered to replace it." ~Bob Black) which I call for more highly-placed editors than myself to lockdown. He is a wiki-editor as evidenced by his (long) writings here in the talk page.

As is often done on controversial wiki bio pages, I moved the deleted content that offers well-sourced evidence of Black's work with police to a [Bob Black#Controversy]] section. It contains no unsourced negative information about living persons, either Black or Hogshire. A well-sourced and brief version of the text read:

Black created controversy when, in 1996, he authored an informant letter to the Seattle Police Department Narcotics Division against Seattle author Jim Hogshire[2]. Black's letter alleged, among other things, that Hogshire operated a drug lab, advised police that Hogshire owned firearms, and brought attention to Hogshire's publications about illicit drug properties. Black's informant letter triggered a drug raid on Hogshire's home, police investigation, and over a year of trial. Hogshire eventually was cleared of all drug charges[3].

With two decent sources:

  • "Bob Black's Letter to Seattle Police". See Sharp Press. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  • Goldberg, Carey (May 25, 1997). "Author of Book on Poppy Cultivation Cleared of Drug Charge". The New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2017.

Corrections to proper Wiki form are welcome. Deletions however, I trust will be adequately explained here.Rico (talk) 20:07, 28 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Revisiting this. An editor is repeatedly inserting reference to this incident in the lede with a See Sharp Press citation. I don't believe it belongs there, not being a defining moment of his life or career, but I do think it warrants mention below, e.g., under "Personal life".

Following an altercation during a stay at author Jim Hogshire's house in 1996, Black wrote a letter to the Seattle police informing of a drug laboratory there, which led to a raid authorization. They found no such lab and their charges were later dropped.<ref name="Pollan2021">{{cite book|last=Pollan|first=Michael|title=This Is Your Mind on Plants|url=|year=2021|publisher=Penguin Publishing Group|isbn=978-0-593-29691-2|page=35}}</ref>

The fact that this is in a Michael Pollan book takes it beyond a niche incident, imo. My addition was reverted with the edit summary "WP:BLP" but I'm missing the actual argument there. I don't see a reason to warrant mention in the lede paragraph though. czar 18:31, 30 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I’m fine with it being mentioned in the body but def not in the lede. The phrasing “police informant” is also POV. Volunteer Marek 06:43, 31 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Citations and notability[edit]

This article is incredibly poorly sourced. Out of the 5 citations in the current version,[1] three of them are primary sources - two of Black's articles on post-leftism (cited in the infobox) and one on the Church of the SubGenius (cited for a brief sentence at the end of the biography). Another source is an interview with David Graeber, which doesn't have any issues.

I then looked at the remaining source, cited for information about Black's activities in the 1970s, listed as Uri Gordon, "Bob Black", in The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, Wiley-Blackwell 2009.". I thought this might be a reliable source that could help with improving the article's sourcing... but then I searched through the Encyclopedia and found no such article about Bob Black.[2] There's also no such entry in the Encyclopedia's physical edition and I can't find anything about this on WorldCat either. So it would appear that this "source" doesn't actually exist.

So in its current state, there is only one reliable source and it only contains a brief, passing mention to Black. The others are either Black's own work, or a source that doesn't even exist. This begs the question of how notable this article really is. I see that Czar (talk · contribs) found a source on an altercation Black had with Jim Hogshire, but doesn't appear to be in the article.

Are there any reliable sources that we can use to flesh out this article properly? Because if not, this may be subject to deletion, due to its lack of reliable sources and notability issues, least of all as this is a biography of a living person. If anyone can find reliable sources, please bring them up here or add them to the article. But right now, this isn't looking good. -- Grnrchst (talk) 21:55, 17 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Looking through my own sources:
  • I found a very brief passing mention in Peter Marshall's Demanding the Impossible, pp. 680 & 693. It mentions that Black criticised Murray Bookchin in Anarchy After Leftism and... that's it. Literally doesn't give any further detail.
  • In The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies, Benjamin Franks also very briefly mentions Black's criticisms of Bookchin in Anarchy After Leftism.
  • In The Palgrave Handbook on Anarchism, Rhiannon Firth and Benjamin Franks go into slightly more detail... on Black's criticisms of Bookchin in Anarchy After Leftism.
  • In Purkis & Bown's Changing Anarchism, Dave Morland again makes a passing reference to Black's Anarchy After Leftism.
So all I've been able to find so far are brief discussions of Black's 1997 book, which range from a single sentence to maybe a paragraph long. Am I missing something? This looks barely enough to cover a stub for the book itself, let alone its author's biography. -- Grnrchst (talk) 22:21, 17 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've added two sources to The Abolition of Work and here's another one that discusses Black outside the context of that one essay: Williams, Leonard. "Anarchism Revived". New Political Science. 29 (3): 297–312. doi:10.1080/07393140701510160. ISSN 0739-3148 – via Taylor & Francis.
I haven't seen any biographical discussion of Black and agreed that almost all of the coverage is in context to his anti-work essay. I think it would be sufficient to cover the author summary style within the book's article or, if need be, within a paragraph of contemporary anarchism (which itself I think will be eventually merged) on internecine warring among "contemporary" factions (which is also a context in which Black is covered, including how he's mentioned in The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, the reference volume you cited). czar 05:23, 18 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Czar: Ok, so would you object to me opening an AfD? Because if our sources only cover one of his books (either The Abolition of Work or Anarchy After Leftism) then I really see no need for a biographical article. I could write a wee stub for AAL but honestly it could just as easily be worked into one of our articles about Bookchin, or as you suggested, on contemporary anarchism. -- Grnrchst (talk) 09:24, 18 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we're planning to redirect/merge, we can just do that boldly as that is a preferable alternative to outright deletion/AfD. czar 19:37, 18 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Aye I think maybe redirecting this to The Abolition of Work would be the best course of action. Maybe move the image of BB and any relevant info over there too. Then if someone does find sources about Black himself, and not just about his work, they won't have any problem restoring the article. --Grnrchst (talk) 20:04, 18 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]