neutrality in editingEdit


  • Lets get back to principles. This is an article about the events in a person's life, and WP is writing about them because at least part of the story is known to many people, & they find it important & interesting for a variety of reasons. What people want to know is what happened and why, the deeds and the motivations. If there is evidence, the deeds are matters of judging the evidence and trying to see what actually occurred, and this is usually done by establishing a chronological sequence and when. In this instance, its possible to establish it--it is much more difficult with historical figures. Establishing it has basically been a matter of simplifying--of removing the details and the justifications and straightening out the chronology. There are still a few parts I find need clearing up, but the basic story is there.
As for why: the reasons for the deeds are the connections between the various events, and the motivations of the people. Aside from stating the obvious sequence, WP does not decide on this. This is considered a matter of primary research, and a subject for historians, and when such interpretations are available, WP reports the major different ones and gives some idea of the current state of understanding. I have not included this, because I am not aware of sufficiently reliable interpretive accounts. There will be, and then they will be added, representing all responsible points of view, including many which have not been heard from in the discussion here. I have therefore tried to at least provide the right chronology at the right level of detail, which is the basis upon which people interpret.
The motivations of those involved are similarly not for WP to judge. What WP can do and does do, is to provide for those involved in the controversy to speak for themselves. The subject of a controversy has a right to have representative quotes on a page about him, no matter what those views may be. This is one of the basic requirements of fairness in writing about anyone. His views on what he did must be objectively presented as well as his deeds. The only way open to us as humans to do this is by quotation.
In this article, I have tried to do this with as brief quotations from all sides as possible, including concise statements of what K.though was happening to him, and why. If too concise, they get reduced to catch phrases, as may be happening here. I cannot decide what was thinking of when he said "They stripped my uniform from me", which he probably said on more than one occasions. The version he choose to give as his understanding of the cause, was clearly "because I pray(ed) in Jesus' Name." The details of how he said it on each occasion are beyond the depth of this account. The degree of self-understanding that he possessed, I can not tell, nor can i tell the degree to which he truly reported his understanding. It is generally the case that these matters are never indisputably established, despite the years of centuries devoted to their interpretation.
Neutral is neutral: it describes what happened and what was said. What was said is easier because direct quotes can be used. It does not matter in the least whether his opinion of the events is true or false, in bad faith or good. In an article about someone's actions, if there is an available quote, he must be allowed to say what he wants to about what he is doing. There are no exceptions to this whatsoever. I don't often use absolutes: I do here. To act otherwise is to engage in propaganda, of reporting what will most advantage ones position.
In fact, I am not happy with such a brief quote. It is normal in articles about controversial people to give at least one full paragraph excerpt of the view they want to present, without comment or interruption. It is understood by the reader that this does not represent the view of the encyclopedia, the editor, or anyone else. If there is no agreement about the representative nature of the brief quotations, there is no other way. If it is done, there is usually the presentation of the alternative view, and since there are more than one, then balance becomes a problem. But the general rule is that the majority of the quoted material comes from the subject of the article if possible, or from his supporters.
There is often discussion in WP articles of the fairest way to give the exchange. In some particularly heated matters with dozens of opinions, the various parties insist on a refutation and couter-refutation for each sentence or concept. This tends to favor one side or the other--whichever can arrange the quotes. My model for the power of this technique is Aquinas. Without a point of view, it tends to give a chaotic presentation, and multiple secondary disputes arise about the balance.
In this instance the intention of each party to interrupt the narrative with interpretation is obvious. To maintain an understandable article, I think the way to do it is to have a separate section of opinion at the bottom. I ask K. to find me a 2 or 3 sentence opinion that can be attributed to a named source , and that has been reported in public. In this case it may be possible for me to find myself a good paragraph in the material he has himself published., and there is no problem is attributing it.
And I ask one or two of you to do likewise, and find me a 2 or 3 sentence opinion that can be attributed to a named source , and that has been reported in public.This cannot be done from the statements here, which are both pseudonymous and unpublished--but you are more likely than I to know of one that may be usable.


  • I came here after a RfC over the use of the Lithuanian vs. the Polish languages for teaching in some minority enclaves. I left them with what i considered an acceptable article, but I have deliberately not looked to see what they did with it. As here, it is the use of particular words which is usually the hardest part--in that case, whether a particular political leader could be validly described as a "terrorist". I have a firm opinion of my own on both that and the fundamental controversy from reading the translated sources, but they do not know what it is, it is not in the article, and they would all agree in opposing it.

Social pseudoscienceEdit

(IAT) I judged it fair. The theory was presented in a straightforward way, and then the objections were raised. I consider it POV pushing when the opposing editors do not let the theory be actually presented without putting in denials of it ever paragraph, In the Out of India article, to be perfectly frank with you, I do not think the presentation fair. In every individual section the theory is quickly presented, and then a thorough refutation is given. This is not giving them a chance.

To the extent I know anthropology, it is obvious that the out of india theory in any of its forms is a peculiar misreading of the evidence, and I think any chance to let the theory be expounded will appear so weak that those who are not politically or intellectually involved will come to the same conclusion. I strongly dislike most fringe theories, even those that are clearly absurd pseudoscience-- both in science and in social science. In many cases I suspect the motives and the intelligence of those who support them. (this obviously does not mean that some of them may turn out to be correct after all)/ I am aware of my general bias, and try to counter it by sympathetic editing for all such theories. I thus frequently arouse the ire of those who think just as I do about the theory, but think it unworthy of what I consider to be a fair hearing. There are some subjects that I would like to edit where I do not edit at all because of this.
I also see the obvious connection between Hindu nationalism and the OIT/IAT. I have no love for nationalism in any form, and India is one of the places which serve as examples of why I think it destructive. I think it excusable perhaps in small minorities--i think it despicable as coming from a majority populations against their neighbors or fellow-citizens. In real life I fight against such positions as affect me, and consequently my fellow nationals think people like me to be traitors. In WP we am trying to write an objective work, and the way to do this is to give full presentations of what we most hate. I consider this in the tradition of scholarship, and particularly of my own profession as a librarian. I derive it philosophically from the tradition of John Stuart Mill, though I am one of the rather rare libertarians of the left -- the far left by US standards.
So I agree totally with what I take to be your political views,and I even understand how you may feel very differently in the heat of the struggle. But I think of editors as reporters, and we have the duty to report what people say and what they think. We have the duty to keep our own beliefs out of it. See WP:Writing for the enemy. That essay presents it as a strategy for better writing, and indeed it is. But it is also for me a principle.
I am not sure you expected such an elaborate defense, but I have honed this argument in many previous debates on many previous topics. DGG 10:24, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Religion and FringeEdit

Summary: I certainly support your edits of Wilbur and associates, but I think you are totally off the track with the Theosophists. I'm writing this because you may see my different positions on this as totally peculiar--but i think I know what I'm doing and my distinctions are the right ones. (And I want to make clear that I accept that you equally honestly think your way.) To me, there's peculiar pseudoscience, born in wishful ignorance. And the same for social science, for there is real social science to compare it with. When it gets to anything involving the spiritual world, everything is equal. (art is a little complicated of course; so is politics-- if I had to word in a phrase, art is about what is personally meaningful; politics is about morality. As for morality, that's really complicated--besides being the most important thing in life, and as it doesnt arise here I defer that discussion. DGG (talk) 04:39, 16 December 2007 (UTC) (from User talk:Fireplace)

There is no true or false in religion in the same way there is on some other topics--there are beliefs and opinions, but some think their beliefs rise to the level of truth confirmed far beyond the level of mere empirical evidence. Therefore we can report only what people think and say, and what they do. For the thinking and saying part, their own religion's primary sources are the Reliable sources.DGG (talk) 04:39, 16 December 2007 (UTC) Fringe theories noticeboard.


  • WP:A , & fetishes, continued

I apologize, but it is impossible not to recognize the name, and anyway you talk about it right here on your user page. I do intend to fight for every sexuality related article (almost), & so we will inevitably come in conflict, as I think you intend to delete a good many more -- & I do not accept your argument about keeping only what we think to be the major ones. I'd even keep the fictional ones, if there were two or more films or stories about it. To continue, the reason people at AfD don't do the documentation is that it's work. Even on subjects where the bibliographic tools work, it takes about an hour to really upgrade and document a bio, longer for a subject, and I can't do more than one of those every other day or so. In human sexuality articles of the non-medical sort it takes much longer, because these things tend not to be in indexes. I've done one or two--it took all day. I cannot take responsibility for upgrading that whole section: I think others should share the dirty work. (pun intended).

For what its worth, you'll see me saying the same about web-related documentation in general. Enough blogs make notability, and I know you disagree here too. I intend to try to keep at it, patiently and I hope politely, till the consensus changes or WP becomes obsolete. I wish our apparent biases were close enough to work together more. (to Lotusduck)
  • That is your interpretation, and also the prevalent one, but not the only one. I do not think we will convince each other about the correct interpretation, because I think there is no single correct interpretation. You think WP will best develop done one way, and I think another. Fair enough. I intend to keep trying slowly and gently but in various places for a change in interpretation. I do not consider straightforward description from primary fictional sources OR, although I know many people do (to use your example, to see if the DD were popular enough for an article, I think this can be shown as well by blogs as by magazines. I think even advertisements are evidence, used very carefully.) Some agree with me, most don't yet. I think the interpretation may change. I hope I am patient, persistent, but not obsessive. I can accept being in the minority--sometimes things change, and sometimes they don't--- I don't get angry or even upset when I lose. I expect to convince sometimes, but not always. It may take a while. I wouldn't try if I knew there was no chance, but I think the interpretation will move to a more liberal interpretation.
As for what's policy, Jimbo has just reverted the unified WP:ATT, so everything will be up for discussion yet again. Policy too changes, sometimes. I think the people who were merging to ATT were trying to move too fast, and that's why they failed.
Accept that we'll disagree; we will each make the most persuasive arguments we can, modified by previous discussions. People who disagree are not necessarily opponents in any personal sense. Can you accept that? As we are likely to disagree a good deal, it would be helpful if we agreed not to fight about it. If you think I,m really out of line sometimes, says so; I will do the same. Quietly. My email is enabled, by the way, if you prefer. DGG 05:02, 22 March 2007 (UTC)


  • Comment ( from WP:Articles for deletion/Collusion Syndicate-- if our standards don't recognize this as notable, it's time to adjust our standards to meet reality. A full array of sources appropriate to the subject--if we don't recognize them as suitable, we haven't adjusted to the internet. Seems a strange thing to say about WP, but in its quest for respectability, it's gotten stodgy. DGG (talk) 03:03, 25 January 2008 (UTC)


  • Keep per wwwwolf. Combination articles for slightly notable characters are such an obvious way to do it, that I continue to be surprised anyone would want to delete them. I don't hold with IAR when not necessary, and it's not necessary here either--the appropriate subdivision of content on a notable subject is already well provided for. (If the list & main article are short, it makes sense to combine the two, but there are still good technical reasons against long articles when avoidable) By now I interpret the opposition to such articles as a dislike for articles on these subjects, and a desire to reduce them as far as possible. that's AGF, for everyone has their right to their own view of what WP should be. Myself, and I think most of us, I think it should be a contemporary encyclopedia, comprehending the popular and the scholarly, arranged to facilitate use, not by theoretical schemes of notability.DGG (talk) 03:03, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

argument in wikipediaEdit

feeling and strategyEdit

You asked me to explain why my "feeling" that the page should be abandoned was a rational response.

  1. With respect to the truth of the underlying subject matter, it's not a question of feeling: I agree that the Hinduvista scientific claims discussed in that article are wrong because I know that they contradict the well-established data of anthropology and linguistics, and I think I know enough of those subjects to tell--it doesn't take much to show they are wrong.
  2. I have also learned to distrust claims for similar widespread roles of ethnic groups in general, as I have seen many others, and the ones i know enough about to judge, I also know are wrong. This does not mean they could not be right in a particular instance, but it would take unusually strong evidence, and they have unusually weak evidence.
  3. I have some doubts about relying on scholarly reputation,as I know many cases of scholars in all fields being dramatically wrong, as the result usually of prejudice but sometime perversity. I therefore think it is the responsibility of educated people to learn enough about the world to decide themselves what is reasonable. (It is in fact one of the principles of my religio-ethnic group that only an ignoramus is justified in relying on someone else's opinion; people able to learn how to judge for themselves are obliged to learn, and take the responsibility for their own decisions.
  4. How to express opinions is also something to be learned. Rhetoric is a subject to be studied, either formally or--more often-- informally through careful observation and experience. It is a complex skill, and individual people should each know their own abilities. I, for example, know by experience that I am most effective in a teaching situation.
  5. How a particular situation can best be dealt with is also learned by observation and experience. As applied to wikipedia, I have seen and judged many times that excessive zeal to coverall the bases tends to produce relative weak arguments. I have learned this in subjects of immediate personal concern to me (as this is not) involving my own deeply-held beliefs. One of them is Darwinian evolution. I have seen how people adopting my position exactly can sometimes produce weak arguments by attempting to reply to every point of a foolish hypothesis wherever it is raised, when they could best reply by patiently explaining the correct hypothesis and relying on their audience to understand.
  6. In interpersonal settings, judging this can never be completely scientific. We cannot rely completely on rational understanding to judge people's motives. we cannot completely rely on a knowledge of rhetoric to known when enough is enough. Fortunately, in addition to our rational facilities, we also have the emotional facilities for living with other people--developed much further back in biological evolution. All the higher primates spend most of their time and energy in complex social interactions.
  7. In a particular situation, I could conceivably use the methods of social science and communication theory --of which I have some knowledge-- to judge how far to carry an argument. I could use the methods of content analysis to determine and present graphically when an argument changes from discussion of the subject to discussion of the personal motives. I could use related quantitative methods to analyze how much argument it took to convince different percentages of the overall people, and how much argument it took to convert dedicated opponents. But I can also use my sense of when a discussion becomes counterproductive--feelings honed through selection through many millennia. In practical life, I use my feelings for this.
  8. Thus informal experience and common sense tells me that it is usually better not to try to squash one's opponents completely, and that it is usually impossible to actually convince someone with a strong emotional commitment to a position and supported by others who share that commitment. It also tells me that those most deeply involved in n argument are often not able to determine when this applies, and there is often occasion for the friends of one of the parties to intervene and bring about a truce.

Popular cultureEdit

I am not particularly interested in popular culture., and I have a low tolerance for trivia. I came here to write about what interests me, which is very much the academic side of things. I soon saw that there was a general misunderstanding of the importance of these areas. In trying to defend them, I realised the only practical way was for general acceptance of a certain tolerance for minority interests. This was intensified when i came to see the persecution of articles on political and religious and sexual grounds, and how readily lack of notability and difficulties in conventional sourcing could be used to eliminate many such articles. And simultanously, I was from the first discouraged at the general acceptance of low quality content and low quality sourcing, when better could be done.

But it's interesting we see the trend differently--I think I am fighting against all odds to try to retain notable content. The reason this problem is so difficult is, in my view, the over-zealous actions of those who tried and are still trying to delete everything resembling popular culture. If there had been a reasonable effort at removing clearly inappropriate content, it would have gone much more smoothly.

Back this Spring, I offered one of the most fervent deletors the opportunity to compromise -he expressed a willingness to work with me to get the worst of the material deleted. But when I suggested that if he would not try to delete more than an article or two a week , we would try to improve them--he never answered me again. I saw him continuing the attempt to repeat AfDs until one succeeeded. and to use the technique of first splitting off sections as articles and then nominating the splits as not independently notable. I saw other people join him in this, and use similarly unfair tactics. I saw another one decide to engage in continued personal attacks when I or anyone stood up to his arguments.

For some people, I now see it as either irrational stubbornness, or a fanatic desire to see some content as unimportant, or perhaps being trapped into a position from which they cannot gracefully withdraw. in the continued attacks on these articles. I came very close this summer to deciding to abandon the articles, and work elsewhere in WP, rather than try to deal with this. (There's at least one other topic where I did in fact decide to not participate for similar reasons.) But I decided it was not decent of me to withdraw my support, as some of the content was central to an encyclopedia-- & I was influenced by the optimism of some of the newer people.

Not all of these allies are sensible, and I do what i can to restrain their desire to look for fights--I have made very plain to them the limits of my support. But I have decided to continue this as long as it takes, at the level of policy, at the level of defending articles, at the level of helping write them. It is interfering with what I think is my true role in WP, but I think the attempt to remove this content will remove the base of the project. I'd as soon remove all B of LPs to avoid disputing what counts as attacks.

I do not play much in the way of computer games (actually I used to do a little more, until I found WP to be more satisfying & decided I didnt have time to do both this and Civilization at the proper level--the first article i rescued here was one on a weapon in that game) , and I have no interest whatever in manga or pornography or rock or YouTube or even video. The little I know about any of them, I've learned from browsing at Wikipedia, and I rely on the plot summaries for what awareness I have.

Q&A on characters and seriesEdit

(from Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Soren (Guardians of Ga'Hoole):

  • Question for clarification. Are you saying to spin out the existing section into a new article, or to merge these into the existing sections on characters and locations in the series article?--Fabrictramp (talk) 13:29, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
answer: Looking at some of these and also the sections in the main article, I would judge that the one-line descriptions in the main article are most of them inadequate, and the long ones in the separate articles most of them excessive (as is usually the case for series such as this). I do not defend the writing of articles in the manner of some of those nominated here--but I also want to see enough information to understand the interrelationships. I can understand why those who want adequate discussions support separate articles, when i see the extreme reduction of material that usually takes place after a merge.
And thus I suggest the compromise solution of an combination article for the characters (and similar ones for other elements of the series) that will be intermediate--with possible separate articles for a few of the most important if the series is important enough for there to have been some third party material on them. The problem in these discussions is that the choice is usually between two extremes. In a group project, where there are incomptible strongly held points of view, the only long-term solution is a compromise--but a fair one, no tone that will be subsequently distorted. DGG (talk) 15:12, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

true notability and the basis for inclusionEdit

(with respect to [1], the first man in Iowa to climb mt everest. I do not think he's notable in any real sense, but according to WP:V, there is no exclusion of local sources. Nor is there in WP:BLP, or anywhere else. If we mean that Notability is judged only or primarily by the ability to write an objective article, there is no basis in policy for excluding this one. We judge "worthy of notice" by whether people have noticed it in RSs, and the newspapers in the search [2] are RSs. (Personally, I think it's absurd not to have specific criteria instead of WP:N, but so it is. Meeting the general notability criterion is enough, even though it gives rather odd results.

encouraging and discouraging contributorsEdit

Although his work is of immense value here, I have not forgotten [3], [4] and their edit summaries. This is the recurring question of how much we are to tolerate in order to retain our best contributors--whether our tolerance might lead to an atmosphere of incivility or self-aggradizement that might prevent yet others from joining or remaining.

re. DS.


not actually posted where it applies.

I'm going to take a look, but speaking of reality, the place where we finally solve the problems of the area is not going to be at Wikipedia. I decline to commit myself on whether it will be be anywhere in this world, but it certainly won't be here. It can not be expected that views that involve people's real and justified fears for their real and essential interests can be kept from affecting articles. It can not be expected that people who see threats to the existence of themselves and their children will avoid propaganda that will might possibly avert it, or will feel any obligation to observe rules, or laws, or decency. When there is a genuine conflict between two groups who think each others' existence imperils their own, there is no way of settling this by discussion and neutral presentation of historical and political facts. Neither will take the chance that the facts if known fairly will bring about events that will destroy them. I've looked at some such situations here in the past, and if I edit from a NPOV, it is because I think both sides similarly dangerous. And because I stubbornly hold to the proposition that one tells the truth about the world,no matter what may follow. No one who understands a situation like this will think the NPOV editing is actually possible otherwise.