Talk:The Coddling of the American Mind

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Why is there no *Part II*? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:24, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

undue detail, pov and clunkyEdit

There's a lot of opininon and undue detail in here. And as another editor has asked: "Why is there no *Part II*?" why selectively include sections and chapters. The summary should sumerise, not promote, push or critique...this is an encyclopedia. Bacondrum (talk) 00:45, 8 September 2019 (UTC)

Bacondrum The mass deletions of the content I have added below was done without any prior discussion on the talk page. I have therefore included the deleted text here on the talk page. Sridc I invite others to make suggested improvements. If there is no discussion, I will re-insert content and await the responses of other editors, while respecting the reverting protocol.
Re: a "lot of opininon" In which of these phrases below that you deleted, could you show evidence of the editor stating anything but the "opinion" of the authors in the sources? Are you aware of the opinions this editor holds on these authors and/or their publications? Could you please point out where there the personal opinion of this particular editor is obvious? What is the opinion of this Wikipedia editor? (because he has not decided how he feels about many of these topics that are current and complex).
"Promotional" In which of these instances do you see promotional content?
"push" Where is there an example of a sentence that is "pushing" an idea, a product, a person?
"Except for the direct quotes, where is the content not " sumerise[d]"
"selective inclusion" All inclusion/exclusion is selective. This is only a problem when it biased. No editor is responsible for writing or owning an entire article nor does he have to explain why he did not do more. If more is needed for Part II, other editors are invited to add content.
"undue" is a highly subjective term. What is "undue detail" to one editor is much needed content to another. Wikipedia articles grow organically and unlike their print counterparts are not under the same spatial constraints. I look for content that is referenced in other Wikipedia articles as the interconnections make each article more valuable.
"clunky" My focus is on ensuring that each statement reflects what was said in the source, is adequately referenced so that readers can find the exact source—including exact pages—consult the RS, and confirm whether a statement is true or not. If smoothing the clunky results in deletions, I prefer the former.
Sorry for pointing out your spelling mistakes, I am guessing you are working mobile on a small screen. :)
Kind regards, Oceanflynn (talk) 18:04, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
The overview sections went into way too much detail, and it still contains massively undue detail. The article reads like a promotion rather than an encyclopedic entry due largely to the overly detailed breakdown. Prose matters, clunky writing should be rephrased. Bacondrum (talk) 21:14, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
I'm not particularly in agreement with the deletion. Please explain why you would delete this, but not the gigantic two-volume summary in The Second Sex. If that book can have such a long overview, what prevents this one from having it? - Sridc (talk) 20:11, 6 November 2019 (UTC)
I explained why. This is meant to be an encyclopedic entry, not a promotion or a blow by blow breakdown of every chapter. The amount of detail that was there was beyond WP:UNDUE it was straight up promotion. I know nothing about The Second Sex, never even heard of it, but if the page contains a heap of undue detail and reads like a promotion then that content needs to be removed. Bacondrum (talk) 20:53, 6 November 2019 (UTC)
Better explain to User:Oceanflynn (I see that you have not at all addressed their points). I look forward to User:Oceanflynn re-inserting the deleted content. - Sridc (talk) 02:58, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
Here are more examples that totally contradict your action of deleting content: Outliers_(book), Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, The_Tipping_Point, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking ... and that's just a few. Anybody who reviews these book pages, will surely wonder under what basis you had to delete the content here? Here's more: Guns, Germs, and Steel, Thinking, Fast and Slow, I_Am_Malala, The God Delusion, The Power of Habit ... - Sridc (talk) 03:04, 7 November 2019 (UTC)

Deleted content with related RSEdit

Part I Three Bad Ideas
  • The authors cite the work on intergenerational differences by Jean Twenge, who says that the generation that came after the Millennials or Generation Y, which Twenge calls Generation 'iGen'—more widely known as Generation Z—are "suffering a mental health crisis because of smartphone addiction and the paranoid parenting style of the upper middle class."[1]The authors use of the concept antifragility in Chapter 1, "The Untruth of Fragility: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Weaker", was inspired by Nassim Taleb's 2012 book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder.[2][1]
  • They listed nine common cognitive distortions in Chapter 2, "The Untruth of Emotional Reasoning: Always Trust Your Feelings", which can be corrected by using basic techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Lukianoff says that CBT helped him survive and recover from depression.[1]
  • Common humanity identity politics is a "more positive and loving approach" such as that used in the United States by Martin Luther King and in South Africa by Nelson Mandela following his release from prison. The approach to the more inclusive, non zero-sum common humanity identity politics, is one in which the circle drawn "around the relevant community" says 'we're all Americans', "we're all British', 'we're all human beings'. Common humanity identity politics says, "we have differences in our community and we need a political process to adjudicate them, but it can be done in the spirit of 'we're all in this together'.[3][4]
  • Haidt said that the common enemy identity politics, in the United States[5] and the United Kingdom, is based on binary thinking, and results in the zero-sum us versus them in which polarized groups fight for a slice of the pie. He says that this subtype of identity politics within communities, universities, and groups "leads to intractable conflicts." They include intersectional identity politics as part of this subgroup. The authors say that the problem is with this "subtype or the flavour of identity politics".[4]
Part III How Did We Get Here?

  • Jean M. Twenge's 2017 book, iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What That Means for the Rest of Us is cited in Chapter 7, "Anxiety and Depression". Twenge says that iGen spend too much time alone in front of screens, instead of interacting face to face with others, including spending unsupervised time with others, and getting jobs. The authors see this as another aspect of safetyism.[6]
  • "Parent paranoia" is described in Chapter 8, where their over protection of their children from everything from accidents to environmental threats, has become a danger itself, according to Lenore Skenazy who promotes the Free Range Kids movement. The authors say that by being "paranoid", parents keep their children indoors and prevent them from "opportunities to learn skills, independence, and risk assessment."[7]: 169 
  • The phenomenon of children spending too much time doing homework and not enough time in free play with other children, is introduced in Chapter 9, "The Decline of Play". If people do not adequately develop "skills of cooperation and dispute resolution" in free play situations they will lack skills in the 'art of association' "upon which democracies depend." The authors conclude that these people will more likely call on authorities to settle everyday conflicts instead of dealing with them directly, which extends the use of the bureaucracy of safetyism.[7]: 194 
  • In Chapter 10, "The Bureaucracy of Safetyism", traces how "bad intellectual habits" were encouraged by campus bureaucracies for many years through overreaction and overregulation.[7]: 197, 200, 203 
  • In Chapter 11, "The Quest for Justice", the authors promote what they call "proportional procedural social justice". This combines "distributive justice" which in their terms is "the perception that people are getting what is deserved" and procedural justice, which refers to "the perception that the process by which things are distributed and rules enforced is fair and trustworthy."[7]: 217  The authors say that because of the extraordinary times in which we live, many students "have developed an extraordinary passion for social justice."[7]: 216  These student social activists act on truth claims with a "preferred narrative and preferred set of remedies" promoted by "politically dominant" groups.[7]: 229 
Part IV Wising Up
  • In Chapter 13 "Wiser Universities" they call on university and college administrators to identify with freedom of inquiry by endorsing the Chicago principles on free speech[7]: 255, 257  through which university and colleges notify students in advance that they do not support the use of trigger warnings or safe spaces.[8]
  • In their conclusion, the authors predict that there will be positive changes in the near future as small groups of universities "develop a different sort of academic culture—one that finds ways to make students from all identity groups feel welcome without using the divisive methods." They say that "market forces will take care of the rest" as "applications and enrollment" surge at these schools.[7]: 268 
  • In Chapter 12, "Wiser Kids" in Part IV "Wising Up", the authors offer advice on countering the three great untruths. They suggest specific programs, such as LetGrow, Lenore Skenazy's Free Range Kids, teaching children mindfulness and the basics of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).[7]: 241  They encourage a charitable approach to the interpretations of other peoples' statements instead of assuming they meant offense.
  • On this point they cite Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"[7]: 243 


  1. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference theguardian_Weigel_20180920 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Taleb, Nassim Nicholas (2012). Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. Random House. ISBN 0679645276.
  3. ^ Taylor, Matthew. "Identity politics, social media, and tribalism: an interview with Jonathan Haidt" (Interview). Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). {{cite interview}}: Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help)
  4. ^ a b Shield, James (December 7, 2018). "Identity politics, social media, and tribalism: an interview with Jonathan Haidt". Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  5. ^ Iyengar, Shanto; Westwood, Sean (2014). "Fear and Loathing Across Party Lines: New Evidence on Group Polarization". American Journal of Political Science. 59 (3): 690–707. doi:10.1111/ajps.12152.
  6. ^ Twenge, Jean M. (August 22, 2017). iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What That Means for the Rest of Us. Atria Books. p. 352. ASIN 1501151983. ISBN 9781501151989. {{cite book}}: Check |asin= value (help)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Cite error: The named reference Lukianoff_Haidt_Coddling_2018 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ Kingkade, Tyler (2015-05-15). "Purdue Takes A Stand For Free Speech, No Matter How Offensive Or Unwise". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
ALL MASSIVELY UNDUE DETAIL. We are not here to promote, analyze or review the book. Bacondrum (talk) 21:16, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
Let's continue the discussion in above section. - Sridc (talk) 20:06, 6 November 2019 (UTC)
There's not really a discussion to be had, read the guidelines. The article still contains too much undue detail, the overview should be reduced to an actual overview. We're not here to review the entire content blow by blow. Does it read like an encyclopedic entry to you? Bacondrum (talk) 21:12, 6 November 2019 (UTC)
Sridc,Bacondrum I think you are both coming from a good place as you work towards improving Wikipedia content. "What is too much detail in a Wikipedia article?" is probably already an essay somewhere. I am sure that I, as an inclusionist, and others, who are deletionists, would still disagree on quantity, etc. I think there needs to be more compromise on this talk page that takes the least amount of time for those involved in the conversation. Bacondrum, there is always consultation until a consensus is reached. Speaking louder and simply repeating the phrase, does not give your arguments more validity. "We are all intelligent here, be kind". Which of the above statements are the best examples of what you consider, in your opinion, to be too much detail? Which are the most egregious "promotional" statements/phrases, in your opinion? Sridc, which of these statements do you feel benefit the article the most? Would you re-insert them, with some copy editing along perhaps, with the comment summary, "See talk page". I spent a lot of time reading the book and its reviews in order to add to this article, but I in no way feel any sense of ownership. All the content we contribute is under the most generous Creative Commons license, so literally anyone can use it and adapt it. I use these Creative Commons licenses for all my Wiki activities and many outside the Wikiverse. The best Wikipedia articles have resulted from clashes of opinion. (I think there is an essay about that too). Oceanflynn (talk) 17:09, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
Hi Oceanflynn, thanks for the considered comment. I think the chapter by chapter breakdown was too much detail. An overview should overview. If people want to read the book it's available for purchase. One of the problems with the excess detail is that it appears to be promoting the book or pushing the authors views. It's also undue detail. It's not like I've removed the entire overview, just getting into who the authors referenced (Nassim Taleb and Solzhenitsyn are great writers, but this article is not about their books, but a book that references them), chapter by chapter content's not like this book is a literary masterpiece worthy of detailed analysis like Dostoyevski's Crime and Punishment or Gogol's Dead Souls. I'm willing to compromise, but not reinstate a chapter by chapter breakdown - it's simply not encyclopedic - a more detailed overview would be okay. Bacondrum (talk) 21:36, 7 November 2019 (UTC)
Oceanflynn, I'd definitely reinstate the *essence* of the deleted content if not all of it in its current verbosity. At minimum, the 'concepts' in the book--such as common humanity vs common enemy identity politics (which I came across while reading this article some weeks ago, before it disappeared)--should be mentioned. I haven't read the book in full, only parts here and there ... so I'm not sure I'm qualified enough to do that, though. - 02:43, 8 November 2019 (UTC)
The preceding paragraph was mine. Not sure how my username got lost. Oceanflynn, if nobody gets around to resurrecting the essence of your summary, I might get to look into doing it by piecemeal. - Sridc (talk) 00:06, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

RFC undue detail, pushingEdit

Hi, I'm interested in getting uninvolved editors to comment on this article about the book The Coddling of the American Mind. I believe this version, that an editor is arguing should be reinstated contained undue detail, made little sense as it was missing chapters (I believe chapter by chapter breakdown is completely undue), then gives a chapter by chapter breakdown of other sections. I believe there is a degree of pushing going on. Thanks in advance. Bacondrum (talk) 00:34, 9 November 2019 (UTC)

I personally would not revert to the old version. But work on top of the current version, reinstating parts (for example, common humanity identity politics) of the previous summary that got lost in your edits. I agree that a chapter by chapter breakdown is overkill. - Sridc (talk) 01:26, 9 November 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't necessarily object to that. Bacondrum (talk) 23:29, 9 November 2019 (UTC)
I'm on holiday right now for Thanksgiving but, if it is still up, will read the article and make comments on Monday 12/2. I just got notified by the bot last night that you were looking for comments. I'm not sure why it takes so long for RFC's to get to those of us that are willing to comment. Strange. StarHOG (Talk) 15:18, 30 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks! Bacondrum (talk) 00:54, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

Reviews of reviewsEdit

This is ridiculous, it's literally Friedersdorf's critique of Weigel's critique of the book:

"Weigel's review, however, was critiqued by Conor Friedersdorf who, writing in The Atlantic, notes that Weigel herself admits that the book has merits but that Weigel is nevertheless more concerned with speculating upon Lukianoff's and Haidt's psychological motivations rather than seriously engaging with the book's arguments."

Its inclusion reads like a Monty Python skit "It's a negative review of a negative review that I felt quite negative about". A couple of positive reviews and a negative review demonstrate the view of detractors and supporters, a further critique of the criticisms is just silly. Bacondrum (talk) 02:29, 14 December 2019 (UTC)

"That's just, like, your opinion, man." Reading it makes clear that it does substantively comment on the book itself, while also commenting on the Weigel review. It is WP:DUE to include by any reasonable standard. Per WP:RSP The Atlantic is a generally reliable source, and the author of the review is notable and has their own Wikipedia article (unlike even the Guardian reviewer - to be clear, I think that should also be kept). I see no reason except cherry-picking to exclude it. Just because someone tried to add an unneeded Quillette review does not mean you get to remove this preexisting content without consensus. -Crossroads- (talk) 03:20, 14 December 2019 (UTC)
and "That's just, like, your opinion, man", I reckon a few reviews either way is totally due - a range of mainstream views - further critique of criticisms is tendentious, let the reader assess the main pro/con arguements. The article being cited is not being cited as a critique of the book, but as a critique of another critique and as such is not due, IMO. I'd like to see what other editors think. Bacondrum (talk) 06:14, 14 December 2019 (UTC)

RFC - reviews of reviewsEdit

In the article for this book The Coddling of the American Mind there is a odd addition, a negative review of a negative review of the articles subject. Conor Friedersdorf's critique of Moira Weigel's review of this articles subject is really excessive. We have included two positive reviews, a mixed review and a negative review...and then someone added a negative review of the negative review. I believe this negative review of a negative review is tendentious and undue. Bacondrum (talk) 00:52, 21 December 2019 (UTC)

I'm ending this per points 1 and 2 of WP:RFCEND. The opener has departed Wikipedia and no one else yet has interest in this discussion, which leaves me as the only participant. -Crossroads- (talk) 04:34, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Bacondrum's comments are spot-on. --JBL (talk) 03:37, 27 January 2020 (UTC)
It's clearly a review of both the book and another review so leave it in. Pelirojopajaro (talk) 06:18, 27 January 2020 (UTC)
In principle I would not object to using that review to include discussion of the subject of this article, but that's not what was done. --JBL (talk) 12:25, 27 January 2020 (UTC)
P.S. Wikistalking me here is not charming, and I request that you not repeat it elsewhere. --JBL (talk) 14:12, 27 January 2020 (UTC)