The Expert

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I just stumbled on Richard Silverstein’s Wikipedia user, which he intended to use “in an attempt to maintain better balance in politically contentious articles.”

And by “better balance”, we can assume he meant “more anti-Israel content.”

But the really interesting part is where Silverstein objects to having links to his blog – which he placed in various Wikipedia articles – removed, on the following basis:

I’ve removed a number of links to your own blog. Please see WP:V and WP:COIDuplicity (talk) 14:21, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Please see WP:V again, specifically the section: Self-published sources (online and paper) WP:SPS. The policy states “Anyone can create a website or pay to have a book published, then claim to be an expert in a certain field. For that reason, self-published books, newsletters, personal websites, open wikis, and blogs are largely not acceptable as sources.” I believe you when you say you are an expert in the field and have many articles published in the L.A. Times, The Guardian, American Conservative Magazine, and that you are quoted in the NY Times. However, it is important that you link to those articles and not to your own blog. With that in mind, I will begin removing links to your blog again. Duplicity (talk) 21:24, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Here’s Silverstein’s hilarious response:

I am not CLAIMING to be an expert in my field. I AM an expert. My blog is not a vanity enterprise nor is it designed to enrich me personally. It is a resource based on original research in a field in which I was trained academically and have earned advanced degrees. There is no difference between work I publish in my blog and in publications like the L.A. Times, Haaretz, etc. In fact, I often publish works in my blog which I’ve published in publications.

Clearly, no-one familiar with Silverstein’s blog would consider him an expert – except in making an arse of himself. But let’s look at his claim of expertise.

Given his blog mainly deals with the Middle East conflict, of what training and advanced degrees is he speaking?

He earned a Bachelor of Hebrew Literature degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary and an MA in Hebrew Literature at UCLA.

(see also LinkedIn)

Yes, apparently learning Hebrew Literature renders one an expert on the intricacies of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Who’d have thunk it?

So there you have it, folks. Silverstein couldn’t tell the truth if it bit him on the arse.

And if it did, he would blame it on Israeli aggression, and claim he’s an expert on such bites.

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