Talk:National Association of Scholars

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"Prior to 2017"?Edit

Prior to 2017, the NAS had denied the conservative label. Writing in 2007, NAS's current president Peter Wood said: "Both Left and the Right produce their share of intellectual obtuseness."[11]

This wording seems leading. The source is dated to 2007; the phrasing strongly implies that NAS stopped denying the label in 2017, yet no source is provided for such a claim. None of the sources used to establish the conservative tendency of the organization in the first place appear to be more recent than 2009 or so, at a quick browse. I can't see anything on the website to indicate that they have embraced such a label in 2018; in fact, the FAQ still has that quote: The NAS has no political affiliation. As NAS President Peter Wood has written: "Both the Left and the Right produce their share of intellectual obtuseness. The NAS is not a partner with either. We are not a political organization, but a body of scholars who hope to sustain a vision of the university as a fundamentally good institution that deserves to be sustained." There also doesn't appear to be any news story in a reliable source about them doing so.

Strongly recommend that this be reworded. Frankly, the general tone of the article comes across as trying to "prove" that the institution is "conservative", despite their previous but supposedly- (even though not actually-) abandoned protestations. In my mind, that violates WP:NPOV and also WP:UNDUE. Clearly the important thing about NAS's policy advocacy is the advocated-for positions themselves, not how to classify them as "liberal" vs. "conservative", "Democratic" vs. "Republican". 76.64.32.21 (talk) 22:58, 4 May 2018 (UTC)

rolling back recent expansionEdit

Leaving this message here prior to rolling back this recent expansion.

The additions look to come almost exclusively from NAS-related and other primary sources. Please keep in mind, NovFireFly, that Wikipedia articles don't function as an extension of the organization's website, but as a tertiary source summarizing what other people have said about the subject. If an aspect of the subject hasn't been covered elsewhere (in sources that meet our reliable sources guideline) it probably shouldn't be included.

This article has seen promotional editing in the past, so I'm surprised this hasn't already been undone by someone else. Please bear in mind that the content you added is still there, in the history of the article, such that if there's a consensus to restore some of it, you will not need to repeat the work you've done.

If there are specific factually incorrect statements in the content that I've inadvertently restored, please let me/us know. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:21, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

Pinging Doug Weller, who looks to have seen some of these edits already, for a second opinion. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 18:22, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
Busy, but this is nonsense: "The NAS describes itself as non-partisan while some observers describe it as politically conservative." There's no conflict between being non-partisan and being conservative. In fact the link states "Nonpartisanism is a lack of affiliation with, and a lack of bias toward, a political party." The word "while" makes it appear that nonpartisan means they can't be conservative. I don't have more time right now, sorry. Doug Weller talk 18:32, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
In response to Rhododendrites, I should note that I'm rather new to Wikipedia, as I'm sure you noticed. Also, I didn't realize such a ban existed on primary sources. Anyway, going through the past history, you're right; the page definitely had promotional editing in the past. My intention was not to repeat what is available elsewhere (namely) but to re-organize the page using information already provided while adding in primary information from the primary source, namely publications by the NAS. — NovFireFly (talk) 20:02, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
That said, I'd be grateful if Rhododendrites or another editor could go through my edits (I was making further ones whenever you reverted all of my past edits) and check the sources and grammar. I didn't thank Doug Weller, but should have, for clarifying my grammar in the edit mentioned above. The edits made before today include almost entirely secondary sources (or what you called "tertiary source[s]"). Particularly my past addition in the "History and Organization" subsection that discussed NAS's role in the creation of other organizations. — NovFireFly (talk) 20:02, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

NPOV January 2020Edit

I edited the short description for accuracy, and rewrote the lede (lead paragraph) to reflect a neutral point of view (diff). Let's discuss improving the article—particularly with regard to NPOV—here. Thanks!   - Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) (I am a man. The traditional male pronouns are fine.) 04:26, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

I added the {{Debate}} (Template:Debate) cleanup tag to the article ("This article is written in the style of a debate rather than an encyclopedic summary"). Please share your thoughts here.   - Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) (I am a man. The traditional male pronouns are fine.) 09:45, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
I read a Commentary in the Wall Street Journal Opinion section today that included this sentence: "Wikipedia describes us as a 'conservative' organization." That mention prompted me to look at the article. I did not know about the National Association of Scholars before today. I reviewed other Wikipedia articles about nonprofit (or trade union) educational organizations and none of them used an adjective denoting a political ideology in the article's short description or in the lede (introductory paragraph). Calling the National Association of Scholars a "conservative" organization struck me as neither consistent nor neutral. ¶ Citation: Peter W. Wood, "‘Cancel Culture’ Comes to Science", Wall Street Journal (January 13, 2020): A17.   - Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) (I'm a man—traditional male pronouns are fine.) 11:10, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
Is there a problem with the sources in the article that support this claim? ElKevbo (talk) 14:18, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
by removing the suggestion that it's conservative you actually violated both WP:NPOV and WP:LEAD. Note that NPOV does not mean being neutral. The lead needs to be expanded, but it also must contain the fact that it's been described as conservative as that is clearly sourced in the article. You probably read only about organisations that aren't considered politica. This one is. I've kept some of your changes, removed or reworded others. Doug Weller talk 14:20, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
(edit conflict) ? So you read an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal written by the NAS President and edited the article so it reflects that the NAS says about themselves, even replacing summaries with direct quotes. I agree this is an NPOV problem, but the opposite of the one you're presenting. Reverting pending discussion. Looks like it already has been, in part. I still don't know that the net change sin the lead here are for the best, since it removes some summary material (which should indeed be reworded). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:23, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
@Rhodedendrites: as I said, the lead really needs expanding. I just don't have the time. Doug Weller talk 16:09, 14 January 2020 (UTC)


*OP's (Mark Worthen's) response: If I were pushing a political agenda I would not have noted my concerns here on the talk page, where I was open and transparent about my edits, and I would not have posted a notice about this discussion on the Talk pages of WP:USA, WP:UNI, WP:RYT, WP:ORGZ, and WP:EDU, where I clearly and specifically asked for other editors' thoughts on this topic. For example, on the WikiProject United States talk page.

Here is what I posted, without any hyperlinks:

National Association of Scholars - Your thoughts requested on Talk page

I created a section on Talk:National Association of Scholars titled, "NPOV January 2020". Would you share your thoughts on the article there? (Or edit the article to improve it.) ¶ I read a Commentary in the Wall Street Journal Opinion section today that included this sentence: "Wikipedia describes us as a 'conservative' organization." That mention prompted me to look at the article. I did not know about the National Association of Scholars before today. I reviewed other Wikipedia articles about nonprofit (or trade union) educational organizations and none of them used an adjective denoting a political ideology in the article's short description or in the lede (introductory paragraph). Calling the National Association of Scholars a "conservative" organization struck me as neither consistent nor neutral. What do you think? Thanks! ... Cite: Peter W. Wood, "‘Cancel Culture’ Comes to Science", Wall Street Journal (January 13, 2020): A17.

You all have persuaded me that it's not inconsistent to reference how others characterize NAS in the lede. I don't have a problem with the edits Doug Weller made to the lede. Also, when I looked at other Wikipedia articles I missed the discussion of NEA's political advocacy in the lede of that article. I did not see anything similar in the lede (or the body) of the AAUP article, but it's not a great article to begin with, and I don't see a "political agenda" in the way the article is written.

On a personal note, I strive to "first seek to understand before I seek to be understood". I do not always fulfill that commitment, and I aspire to do so. I entreat you—meaning any editor reading this sentence—to do similarly, particularly when an editor exhibits transparency and actively solicits other viewpoints. Thank you.   - Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) (I'm a man—traditional male pronouns are fine.) 06:00, 15 January 2020 (UTC)

Questions and discussionEdit

I will ask some questions here that might sound "confrontational", but that is not my intention. I intend to ask clear, direct questions; engage in a collegial debate; and (eventually) achieve consensus.

(1) I had added a Debate cleanup tag to the article, which has since been removed. It seems to me that the article reads as an opinion piece, where the goal is to convince the reader that NAS is a conservative political advocacy group that really doesn't care about academic freedom, liberal education, the value of scholarly debate to arrive at truths, etc. Help me understand how the article as currently written does not have an agenda. Stated a bit differently, why is this an encyclopedic article, not an editorial?

(2) Along those lines, why is it important to emphasize that NAS "has received funding from politically conservative foundations", as opposed to noting the foundations that have helped fund the organization and letting the reader decide what that means?

(3) I sought to achieve balance by adding the following sentence and its accompanying reference.

The National Association of Scholars established a quarterly journal, Academic Questions, in 1988. The journal, published by Springer, is "... dedicated to strengthening the integrity of scholarship and teaching, [examining] issues that arise from the interplay between politics, ideology, scholarship, and teaching in higher education." Citation: "Academic Questions". Springer. ("Among the questions explored in the journal are the maintenance of scholarly standards, the quality and even-handedness of peer review, the preservation of intellectual tolerance and civility on campus and within academic associations, and the relationship between government and education. A critique of the academy by academics themselves, Academic Questions upholds the traditions of humanism and intellectual freedom.")

Note that in the body of the article, I quoted one sentence from the journal's Aims and Scope, and I relegated another quote, which provides additional information about the journal's subject matter, to the footnote. However, all most of the above has been removed. (This part was retained: "... dedicated to strengthening the integrity of scholarship and teaching."). It seems that some editors want to persuade the reader to adopt a particular opinion about NAS, rather than presenting objective information about the organization and letting the reader draw his/her/their own conclusions. Help me understand how my perception might be inaccurate, or why you see the article as balanced and encyclopedic.

φ That's all for now. Thank you for your kind consideration and insights.   - Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) (I'm a man—traditional male pronouns are fine.) 07:00, 15 January 2020 (UTC)

But that's not how we work. See WP:NPOV, one of our three core content policies. NPOV "means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic." Note the word "views". Doug Weller talk 17:53, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
I understand the policy. We have a fundamental disagreement. I believe that my edits (with the exception of those edits I have changed based on other editors' feedback) have been fair, proportional, and unbiased, and that the article currently does not fairly and proportionally represent all the significant views. You believe that some of my edits have not been fair or proportional. My post (message) above was an attempt to discuss our disagreement in a respectful, civil manner. As I wrote above, I intend to ask clear, direct questions; engage in a collegial debate; and (eventually) achieve consensus. I still hope to engage in such collegial debate and to hopefully achieve consensus. Thank you.   - Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) (I'm a man—traditional male pronouns are fine.) 18:38, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
Then you accept that the article cannot contain only what you call "objective" information. Doug Weller talk 19:02, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes. "Objective" was not a good word for me to use since one person's objective is another person's subjective.   - Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) (I'm a man—traditional male pronouns are fine.) 19:07, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
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