Charles “Tex” Watson was unhappy with the Wikipedia entry relating to his name and he sent very specific requests for edits from behind bars in California.
The website The Wikipedian explained that the killer’s requests include:
- The article to be returned to Charles “Tex” Watson; it was moved to Tex Watson about two years ago following a short discussion.
- The nickname “Mad Charlie” removed from the infobox, which he claims is inaccurate.
- The restoration of a paragraph in the introduction, deleted in August 2013, mentioning his book about the murders.
- Basically a complete rewrite of his “Early life” section, including details about working at an “onion packing plant saving for college” and as a bag handler for Braniff Airlines.
- At one point he wasn’t satisfied with the section heading “Cielo Drive murders,” but then changed his mind.
- Watson asserts that fellow Manson family member Patricia Krenwinkel was the primary killer of Abigail Folger, although he says he “assisted,” and denies taking $70 from Folger’s purse. He also disputes Sharon Tate’s last words.
- To omit the gender of four children he fathered through conjugal visits with his then-wife.
- To delete an entire paragraph relating to a citizen signature drive to oppose parole following the commutation of his sentence from death to life in prison. As he notes in the margins, the section is unsupported by citations.
- Watson disagrees with many citations. He suggests including the book Helter Skelter, written by the late Vincent Bugliosi, the attorney who successfully prosecuted Charles Manson, the ringleader for the murderers. He suggests removing a 2009 CNN web story.
The Wikipedia volunteer who originally obtained the request from Watson subsequently posted a blog entry regarding whether or not incarcerated people should be able to request changes to their pages.
“But should prison inmates be permitted to edit Wikipedia? Should there be a special rule which keeps certain people out of Wikipedia, based on their off-wiki behavior? Perhaps, but in this case, I pass no judgement on the person making the request. They are incarcerated, which is where their society wants them to be, and they are free to write letters. I treated them as I would treat anyone else making a request,” the volunteer, who goes by the name Blue Raspberry, wrote.
“I want fairness, even though I do not always know what that means. When I processed the Watson request, I wished for it to be taken for what it was – a Wikipedia request in a community that tries to treat everyone equally – and not for anyone to consider this case specifically any more deeply.”