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Racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobicEdit

There seems to be consensus to include these terms in some form, though there might be some concerns about which terms are best included in the long run (i.e., is there a point at which it might be inferred as a prescriptive listing of all explicit value-laden judgements rather than a guideline of examples from which others can be inferred). --slakrtalk / 09:34, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

WP:RACIST says (obviously!) that it's not good for a Wikipedia editor to decide whether someone is racist. Instead, that view should generally be attributed to specific reliable sources. It seems to me that we should probably mention sexist, homophobic, and transphobic in the same section. They're all value-laden labels and should normally be treated the same way (i.e., avoided unless the label is widely used, and attributed to sources rather than to editors' personal views). What do you think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:53, 8 June 2019 (UTC)

Strongly support this idea. This kind of "my personal socio-political assessment" OR and PoV is already a mounting problem both in article content and in CIVIL-transgressing internal posts.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:02, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Completely agree and strongly support. CThomas3 (talk) 09:19, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Maybe also "misogynistic"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:16, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Support. There are editors adding these words in Wikipedia's voice simply because a number of opinion pieces use whichever term. Some of these editors think that engaging in citation overkill makes the statement in Wikipedia's voice better or valid. Opinion pieces are called opinion pieces for a reason. And WP:WIKIVOICE couldn't be clearer about avoiding stating opinions as facts, or facts as opinions, or seriously contested assertions as facts. We all know that people don't always agree on what is racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic. If we go by some men at Talk:Sexism, the Sexism article mostly focusing on women and girls because the literature overwhelmingly does is sexist. That stated, I think that society has a better grasp on what is racist, sexist or homophobic than it does on what is transphobic, as transgender issues have only recently started to get more attention. The term transphobia has recently been criticized as being too broad because now, for instance, we even have some people saying that a cisgender person not being sexually attracted to a transgender person (binary or non-binary) is transphobic. For some using the term in this way, this also applies to a cisgender person not being sexually attracted to a transgender person who has not undergone sex reassignment therapy that might result in the cisgender person being sexually attracted to them; this view is problematic because the biology of sexual orientation is about sexual attraction to physical attributes. And by this, I mean sexual characteristics, especially secondary sex characteristics. It's not about sexual attraction to one's gender identity, which cannot be seen. Gender identity cannot be measured, at least not in the way that sexual attraction to sexual characteristics can. No scientist thinks that people are wired from birth to find a certain gender identity sexually attractive. Even me stating this might be deemed transphobic by some, but what the sexual orientation literature is focused on and why is a fact. There are many transgender people who understand this and who wouldn't use transphobic in such a broad way. When it comes to WP:LABEL, I've had somewhat of an issue with the "in which case use in-text attribution" part, though. This is because if the news media overwhelmingly labels something "racist," for example, I don't think we should attribute that to one author, as though one author has stated it. That is misleading WP:In-text attribution. I think the text should state something like what the lead of the Roseanne Barr article currently states. And on a side note: I know that we don't need an RfC for everything, but I think that WhatamIdoing's proposal should become an RfC. People are more inclined to heed something like this when it's not just a few editors in a non-RfC who agreed to add it. But then again, the same editors not heeding WP:WIKIVOICE are also unlikely to heed WP:LABEL. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:32, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Support. These terms are way too broad and should not to be used on wikipedia by any editor as if they are the deciding party. If one Wikipedia editor thinks something is homophobic, transphobic, etc that does not necessarily make it so. These are indeed value-laden and subjective at best and is just juvenile name calling at worst. I would also add mysogynist like it was mentioned above. Another gender or sexual based terms could be added. Huitzilopochtli1990 (talk) 02:09, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Support per above comments. I agree that these terms are often applied by parties wishing to stigmatize other parties and lack nuance. Springee (talk) 16:38, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
Since there has been unanimous support over the last few weeks, I've added this. If someone objects (actually changing the guideline is often a more effective method of gaining attention for a proposal than any discussion on the talk page, so maybe someone who didn't see this discussion will see the change now), then we can start an RFC then. I don't think that's very likely to happen, though, since this is really codifying long-time practice. Hardly anyone is likely to say that "He's a racist" needs careful treatment but "He's sexist" doesn't. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:18, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm a bit late, but for the record, I support your 16:12, 27 June 2019 edit which added these terms—it would be extremely unsatisfactory to label a person or a group with these terms on the basis of what editors think. I recently commented regarding an assertion that "... is best known for ..." did not need a citation per WP:BLUESKY. We can't list every bad idea but the contentious labels definitely need highlighting. Johnuniq (talk) 05:35, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Support It seems so obvious that we should do it, that I'm surprised we don't insist on it already, although I suppose BLP will cover a proportion of articles. - SchroCat (talk) 17:44, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Why do we need to explicitly list all of them? If we make an extensive list, does that not then imply that anything not forbidden is permitted? Instead we need to trust our editors a bit and emphasise the fact that any "value-laden" label could be included similarly. Andy Dingley (talk) 21:12, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Could it be that you are asking this after defending the use of "transphobic" at the TERF article? At that article, Aeusoes1 has it right. The only way "transphobic" should be used in that article is with in-text attribution, such as "[So and so writers] have characterized them as transphobic." or "[So and so writers] have characterized some of their views [such as this and that] as transphobic." As made clear at the end of the paragraph in this section and the "the bar to being called a 'terf' is remarkably low" commentary in this section, "TERF" can be broad in its meaning, and not everyone (not just those who the term is applied to) agrees with every way it's used, especially when it's applied to lesbians who can't force themselves to find the trans women who are male in appearance, like Alex Drummond (who hasn't undergone sex reassignment therapy) is, sexually attractive. There are trans women who object to Drummond being called a trans woman. We should explicitly mention these terms because of the kind of thing currently going on there at the TERF article. At the Men's rights movement article, we don't even say "they are misogynistic." We currently say, "The movement and sectors of the movement have been described as misogynistic." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:18, 24 July 2019 (UTC) Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:37, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
And please, never again, write other editors' opinions for them. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:02, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
That's not really a defense of yourself. He She wasn't writing your opinion. He Shewas asking, and with good justification. You're expecting us to accept it to be pure coincidence that the very term you object to including here as something that is so obvious as to not merit inclusion is one you personally argued in favor of including there in defiance of this guideline. In other words you have already personally demonstrated the need for including transphobic here.
You're arguing in bad faith and we can all see it. You don't get the moral high ground when someone calls you out on it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 16:07, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Aeusoes1. And I'm female/a she, by the way. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:13, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
I have no reason whatsoever to "defend" myself from you. And do not ever take such an accusatorial tone with another editor. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:52, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
You do if you want to convince anyone. Otherwise, there's no reason to take you or your commands seriously, no matter how many words you italicize. Regards. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 01:15, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree TERF needs some work. I had trouble understanding what it says as worded, and how factual a description of "transphobic" is. Did it really mean to say that not thinking trans women are women is transphobic? Under whose expertise? What opposing experts would be allowed? Only trans advocates are experts being they are the only ones who work with the term transphobic? Needs attribution, perfect example of why we might want to list a few examples here. —DIYeditor (talk) 16:25, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, I suspect that article's going to stay messy for a long while, because terf may be turning into one of those words that doesn't mean what it says on the tin. One might have thought that a trans-exclusionary radical feminist was a radical feminist who excludes trans folks (or at least trans women), but that doesn't necessarily seem to be the case any longer. In particular, the "radical" part seems to be optional in common use, and "progressive-ish woman who doesn't embrace transwomen in every context" might be just as accurate a definition.
Andy, on your earlier question, this page adds whatever terms seem to be the source of difficult disputes. That's quite a bit less than "all of them". We might want to consider removing some of the old/stable ones, if people think the list of examples is getting to be too long. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:04, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Would any of these terms in a title be considered a problem?Edit

Would the terms that indicate the final results of a conflict be a problem: victorious, failed, triumphant, unsuccessful, etc. Examples: 2018 Ugandan failed coup, or 2020 Moroccan victorious referendum. Would any of this term be recommended? I think it is preferable to use other terms like attempt or none of these terms at all "2019 Ugandan coup attempt" or "2020 Moroccan referendum". Is there any guideline related to this issue?--MaoGo (talk) 03:42, 12 August 2019 (UTC)

Given your examples, it depends. I typically wouldn't use "victorious," "failed," or "triumphant" in biographies about people, in the heading or otherwise. They might be okay in fictional character articles with appropriate context. That stated, "failed" is certainly direct and can be appropriate. Your "2018 Ugandan failed coup" example could also be changed to "2018 Ugandan unsuccessful coup." If something was unsuccessful, I don't see an issue with using the word unsuccessful for that matter as part of a heading, as in the case of an unsuccessful political run. As for "victorious," I think I've occasionally seen that in the case of articles about historical figures. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:11, 12 August 2019 (UTC)

RfC: terrorist incidents list criteriaEdit

  You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:List of terrorist incidents#RfC: List criteria. Levivich 17:34, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

In-text attributionEdit

I'm not sure that Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Words to watch#Contentious labels provides a clear enough description of when to use WP:INTEXT attribution. It says that certain labels are "are best avoided unless widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject, in which case use in-text attribution", but "widely used" labels/terms/claims are what we normally don't use in-text attribution for.

On the other hand, if people aren't getting screwed up here, maybe I'm worrying for no good reason. It's okay to just tell me that, if you think this wording is working in practice. (Also, I'm pinging User:SlimVirgin, because I always think that she is one of our best when it comes to in-text attribution.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:42, 4 September 2019 (UTC)

Back in 2015, I attempted to change "in which case use in-text attribution" to "In some cases, in-text attribution might be a better option." As noted in my edit summary, I did this because "in-text attribution is clear that it might give WP:Undue weight. If the term is widely accepted among sources, it can be very misleading to attribute that term to one source." I was then reverted by PBS, who went on to voice disagreement with the change. This is seen at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Words to watch/Archive 6#Words labelled as labels. Sunrise also weighed in. In that discussion, there was also disagreement about WP:LABEL stating "and are best avoided" instead of "and may be best avoided." I supported "and are best avoided." SMcCandlish weighed in on that. I mentioned that I would continue discussion of my concern about "in which case use in-text attribution" at a later date, but I never did (although I have been planning to bring it up again at some point).
How do I feel now? Well, it's still the case that WP:INTEXT can be misleading when in-text attribution is used for something that should simply be stated in Wikipedia's voice because it's a consensus matter in the literature. But these days, I have seen a number of editors trying to take the "widely used" aspect of WP:LABEL to mean that Wikipedia should also definitely call someone or something a contentious name in its own voice, including when it's only or mainly opinion pieces calling that someone or something that contentious name. And it's despite the fact that the WP:LABEL says "in which case use in-text attribution." The "in which case use in-text attribution" aspect has helped somewhat in these cases, however. And I've seen editors use it loosely, to, for example, state "are considered by feminists [to be so and so]" rather than attribute the matter to just one person or a few people. And that helps the concern I have about misusing WP:INTEXT. But it's certainly still being misused to attribute a widely accepted matter to just one person or a few people. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:59, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, thank you for the ping and the kind words. I would use in-text attribution in the examples offered on that page, depending on how I was writing the sentence. In "X is widely regarded as a cult", I would added citations to mainstream sources that used the term. In "X is a cult", I would say "according to professor Y". But even with "widely regarded as", editors sympathetic to that group would probably insist we find a source saying "widely regarded as" and use in-text attribution there too. I like in-text attribution: it distances Wikipedia, helps the reader decide whether to trust the information, and gives credit to the original author. We should of course be careful not to imply there's disagreement where there's very little or none: "2 + 2 = 4, according to X". There will always be cases on the edge of widespread consensus; in those cases, I favour some form of in-text attribution. SarahSV (talk) 00:03, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
What do you all think about changing it slightly, perhaps like this?
Current Proposed
Value-laden labels—such as calling an organization a cult, an individual a racist or sexist, terrorist, or freedom fighter, or a sexual practice a perversion—may express contentious opinion and are best avoided unless widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject, in which case use in-text attribution. Value-laden labels—such as calling an organization a cult, an individual a racist or sexist, terrorist, or freedom fighter, or a sexual practice a perversion—may express contentious opinion and are best avoided unless widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject. If used, it may require in-text attribution.
WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:13, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
You started by worrying whether the wording "provides a clear enough description", but you propose something which is less clear -- instead of saying use it, saying maybe use it. I believe the current wording is more in keeping with the WP:BLP requirement that contentious statements must be well sourced, and if more than one person is name-calling then the wording does not preclude saying "A and B and C said X is a nogoodnik.[1][1][3]" Peter Gulutzan (talk) 13:37, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
I don't think that we could sustain that in all cases, though. Imagine "A and B and C and D and E and F and G and H and I and J and K and L and M and N (and a lot of other people, but we're getting tired) said X is a nogoodnik.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]". Terrorist is in the list here. Try applying "Thou Must Always Use In-text Attribution" to a statement like "ISIL is a terrorist group". This is a widely held POV. That exact quoted phrase gives me 16,000 ghits. It appears in more than a thousand news articles and a dozen books. Do you think we should provide a list of all the people who make that claim? That is what the current text says: don't call them a terrorist group unless that's a widely used term, and when it is (very) widely used, then include a list of the people who use that term, even if, realistically, you can't put hundreds of names into the list, and putting in only a tiny fraction of them could mislead people into thinking that the view is not widely held. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:45, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
There's no part of the current wording that says or implies the in-text citations must be exhaustive. Still, if there are cases where in-text attribution is unnecessary, how do we make that distinction? Your proposed wording isn't providing clarity on the matter. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 20:49, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Well, I think that saying that you might need to use in-text attribution and you might not is more accurate than saying it should always be used. If you need to figure out whether in-text attribution would be appropriate, then it's linked.
Can you think of a better way to communicate this? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:01, 8 October 2019 (UTC)
The current version suggests that certain terms can never be used without attribution, which is incorrect as a matter of core policy, so I would agree with this change. If (for example) every RS we have refers to ISIL as a terrorist group, then using attribution is a violation of WP:ASSERT: the sources demonstrate that the contentious term does not in fact qualify as contentious in this circumstance, and acting otherwise would be a breach of neutrality. Certainly there are some terms for which we'd expect that such an agreement among the sources would never happen, but if it did then we would be expected to follow it, as a matter of WP:V - we would either use wikivoice, or in some cases a construction like "widely regarded as" would also be appropriate. This is the same reason that pseudosciences can be described as such, the reason the Holocaust can be described as racist, and so on. To counter the issue of inappropriate non-attribution, I would also support versions with an additional clarification along the lines of "if there (are/are not) substantial differences of opinion among the sources", since that is the ultimate threshold for making this sort of decision. Sunrise (talk) 04:00, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
I do think this wording is working in practice. I think any change to the wording is unnecessary, and could lead to more problems than it solves, per Flyer22 Reborn's recent comment, SlimVirgin, Peter Gulutzan, and Aeusoes1. Like Flyer22 Reborn, I have seen some editors try to put contentious labels in Wikivoice based on cherry-picked opinion pieces.
In-text attribution can be very broad. With the example of ISIL, it is noteworthy that it uses attribution when describing it as terrorist, saying, The group has been designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations as well as many international organisations and individual countries. This wording is powerful; I think much more powerful than simply stating "ISIL is a terrorist group". -Crossroads- (talk) 22:24, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. I think the OP is misparsing the material, and that the suggested rule revision actually creates a loophole. The original says, in summary:
  • Avoid by default.
  • Maybe use, if frequent in RS.
  • If used, attribute.
The revised proposal boils down to the same thing except – crucially – the final point becomes "If used, maybe attribute", which is completely meaningless noise as a guideline. It fails to guide, and just throws up its hands. It means, between the lines, 'do whatever the hell you feel like'.

Basically, the OP has sort of missed the forest for the trees, seeming to focus on local phrasal interactions without looking at the big picture of the entire passage. That picture is that subjective labels frequently interpreted as judgemental should be attributed even if they're common or even dominant in the RS. In practice, they often don't need to be attributed in the lead as long as the material explores the matter in depth in the main text of the article. But it will vary on a case-by-case basis; an article's talk page becoming a hotbed of labeling-related dispute is generally an indicator that attribution is needed immediately even in a lead that is pushing length/detail limits already. As the ISIL article shows, attribution doesn't mean 'just cite one single source as if it's the be-all and end-all on the matter'. Nor does it mean 'stack up a citation-overkill bludgeon of 10 op-ed pieces'. It means provide some (i.e., multiple but not excessive) highly influential, reliable, strong-reputation sources generally interpreted as balanced rather than as advocates. Three is probably a good rule of thumb. And if not all RS that fit that description agree, then use part of the article body to lay out the conflict. This really isn't any different from any other topical issue on WP. The job of the project is to give readers a digest of everything encyclopedic about a topic, including a summary of noteworthy real-world controversies surrounding it and even meta-controversies about how that subject is publicly analyzed.
2601:643:867F:5370:E44A:534:D1D4:338C (talk) 07:30, 14 October 2019 (UTC)


This page seems to indicate that one should avoid weasel words, as they might make it seem that a statement is more true than it actually is. However, sometimes I need to make a statement less exact than it seems. For example (not an actual example), one my state that there are billions of stars in the universe. That might be seen to imply that there are between one and ten billion, otherwise it might have said tens of billions or hundreds of billions. Since we can't count them, and if we did it would only be the visible universe, the intent is for a vague but large number. I need to imply that the value isn't meant to be exact. Gah4 (talk) 02:21, 24 September 2019 (UTC)

Your example isn't related to weasel words. Do you have one that's more closely related? — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 16:07, 24 September 2019 (UTC)

"Wikipedia:TERRORIST" listed at Redirects for discussionEdit

An editor has asked for a discussion to address the redirect Wikipedia:TERRORIST. Please participate in the redirect discussion if you wish to do so. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 12:34, 8 October 2019 (UTC)

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