Talk:Politics

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Worldview[edit]

This article needs a worldview tag. It seems to deal with politics from an almost exclusively Eurocentric aka Western perspective. Politics certainly pre-dates the Greeks and the pre-history of political discourse (etc etc) seems missing. --Inayity (talk) 17:02, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

RfC re use of the term "assault weapon"[edit]

Responding to the request at WP:AN/RFC. Nearly all of the participating editors agree that the issue is complex, and either !vote "unclear"/"contextual" or acknowledge that the opposite of their preferred response may be the correct one under certain circumstances. In other words, there is a consensus that the context needs to be considered. (So, to the extent that the original question was whether it is ever acceptable to use the term, the answer is yes, but in specific cases other wording may be better.)

Opinions varied as to which uses of the term should be acceptable, although several suggestions were made. Several editors cited the vague definition of the term as their main concern, and nearly all editors acknowledge that the definition varies or is otherwise problematic, so I interpret this as a consensus that the term should not generally be used in cases where the definition is unclear. Continued discussion may be useful to refine this conclusion further. Sunrise (talk) 20:59, 18 May 2014 (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.

Is the use of the term "assault weapon" appropriate in articles related to gun politics and guns in society? Lightbreather (talk) 17:03, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Find sources: "assault weapon" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR · free images

Survey[edit]

  • Yes. (RfC author) Of course context is everything, but the term is used by/in a preponderance of reliable sources. Lightbreather (talk) 17:03, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
  • complex Certainly the term is notable and can be discussed. Legislation and pushes for legislation applying to the term are notable and can be discussed. Saying the term applies to a particular item, or set of items is complicated, especially when the items are being discussed before and after certain proposed legislation. (eg, Adam Lanza's gun was not an Assault Weapon according to either the old AWB, the then in force Connecticut AWB, but would be under the 2013 bill, and is under the CT revised bill). There are a multitude of AR15 variants that are legal under all AWBs (CA, CT, Feinstein 2013). (For example, this variant is not covered under the new NYSAFE law, the CT law, Feinstein's proposed ban. [1]) Saying something like "Bill X bans Assault Weapons" is circular, since the bills DEFINE some weapons as assault weapons, and then bans them. We cannot use the terms as if they have defined meanings, outside of the laws which are creating those definitions. Gaijin42 (talk) 17:30, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Unclear To the extent that "assault weapon" is generally used to mean "any weapon that would not normally be used for defence or sporting purposes" it is likely not the best term, as it is now viewed as primarily a political term of art meaning "any weapon which we think should be restricted." [2] The New York Times states Even Defining ‘Assault Weapons’ Is Complicated and the term has become so politicized in recent decades that where people stand on the gun issue can often be deduced by whether they use the term. . In such a case, Wikipedia should not use the controversial term of art as a "fact" in Wikipedia's voice, IMO. Collect (talk) 17:58, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Absolutely not This is a politically charged, and largely a media-defined, term. Using it while speaking in Wikipedia's voice would give credence to an already slippery definition. Name the guns, name the manufacturer, give facts about them, and let the readers do a little work by figuring it out for themselves. Unless they are sold as an 'assault' weapon, the term is meaningless here. GenQuest "Talk to Me" 00:57, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes The term is pervasive in American politics. To not use the term at all would be one way of taking a strong POV on the subject of gun laws. Of course, some discussion in individual cases may be necessary, but if the question is "Can the phrase be used?" The answer should clearly be "Yes." And we should monitor inappropriate uses as the arise. Thenub314 (talk) 16:22, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes There should be inclusion of the argument made by anti-gun control advocates that "there's no such thing as assault weapons" (because it's a vague definition), but the term is widely used including in legislation so of course it should be included. Useitorloseit (talk) 21:27, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes - The term has been widely used. It can be used if it is clearly defined. No if used without clear definition. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:25, 26 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Depends on the context. The most precise term should be used whenever possible. However, in the context of gun control, media coverage of gun violence, and other situations where usage of "assault weapon" is common, we should discuss and describe the term. It is an important part of the debate and needs due coverage. When used to describe a specific weapon, however, it is too imprecise. Say "semi automatic rifle with a pistol grip" or whatever instead of "assault weapon". NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 01:18, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Depends on the context, but generally not, except when quoted & cited. There's overwhelming evidence that the term is bogus (vague, overly broad, and mostly a PR buzzword with no clear definition), and extremely politically charged, as well as used in a factually misrepresentative way by opponents of firearms and/or proponents of increased controls on firearms. Even where it has a definition that can be cited, the definition varies wildly from source to source (mostly US state statutes that conflict with one another). There is no use, except when referring to the terminology used by particular statutes and organizations (see Use–mention distinction), that cannot be replaced by something both more accurate and more neutral. In most cases where use is retained, it should have quotation marks around it, with citations to the definition in play in that exact context, if not a parenthetical explanation of that definition at that spot in the article as well.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:40, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Threaded discussion[edit]

  • Comment - So this may be the single most bastardized term in the media and political circles. It has a very clear (absolutely definitive) definition within the military, arms trade, and reasonably knowledgeable (yet, non-professional) firearm communities as a selective fire long gun (Assault rifle). But yet almost no one outside these groups makes the distinction that every firearm labeled an "assault weapon" is NOT an assault rifle. To those that are anti-gun or gun ignorant its simply been used to mean "big bad military looking gun" and has almost nothing to do with its function. The 1934 NFA actually tried to address this as it was intended to stem the flow guns specifically used by criminals; machines guns and previously long barreled guns (shotguns and rifles) that had been cut down to make them concealable. This is still illegal, but those complicated or antiquated terms lacked the media punch that the politicians needed and the mass media has since latched onto the term. So we can either fall victim to media hype/rhetoric/etc or make clear distinctions in our editing. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 17:59, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Gaijin42, I hear you on the complex thing. Context is everything. But, as a hypothetical, suppose one is working on an article about a shooting. And say part of that article is about the responses that shooting elicited from gun rights and/or gun control supporters. Suppose one of the responses was that numerous legislative bodies decided to propose new assault weapons bans, or strengthen existing gun bans. Each of these bodies might vary in the specifics of how they define an assault weapons - but they all define assault weapons. The lead would use the term assault weapon, and the details would go into the body of the article - just as a preponderance of WP:V, WP:RS sources do. Lightbreather (talk) 18:54, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
    • Read the NYT cite. The term is intrinsically loaded depending on POV and thus ceases to be of much use here. Cheers. Collect (talk) 19:18, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Howunusual No, I'm not asking if it should be banned. I'm asking if it's appropriate to use in the context of general discussions about assault weapons. There are actually some editors who say that there is no such thing as an assault weapon. Or that it's an invention of (depending on who (whom?) you ask): the media, Josh Sugarmann, politicians, or the gun industry. I say, it's been a part of the English lexicon for at least 20 years now and assault weapons are real things. Granted, like speed limits and speeding, they're defined differently in different jurisdictions. That's where context comes into play.
For example, the lead sentence of the narrow-topic Bushmaster M4 Type Carbine article does not say "The Bushmaster M4 Type Carbine is an assault weapon." That would lead with a POV misrepresentation. (Though, if applicable, an editor might WP:NPOV add to the lead or body of the article, "It is classified as an assault weapon in the states of X, Y, and Z.")
However, in the broader topic article about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, an editor might write, "The shooting prompted renewed debate about gun control in the United States, including proposals for making the background-check system universal, and for new federal and state assault weapon and high-capacity magazine bans." Different jurisdictions might define assault weapons differently, but the public understands that there are assault weapons... just like the public understands that speed limits and speeding can differ, but there really, legally are speed limits and speeding. Lightbreather (talk) 17:00, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Give a direct cite of any editor who has said "there is no such thing as an assault weapon" please. Otherwise, kindly redact your apparent attack on such non-existent editors. Cheers. Collect (talk) 17:18, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
I will get started and add as I'm able today:
Try giving a straight and specific answer to what I asked - or redact the attack. Directing me to an archive is less than helpful, the onus is on you to back up your stated claim here. Cheers. Collect (talk) 17:36, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
I said that there are editors who say there is no such things as an assault weapon. I gave three links to discussions where editors say there is no such thing. Lightbreather (talk) 17:40, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Comment: It depends. As an author of over 2000 articles about firearms, shooting, etc that are primarily focused on self defense, tactics, officer survival and bonafide full automatic assault rifles; I have used the term less than a handful of times and in those cases it was in direct reference to legislation or poorly written laws. The facts are that both sides use the term. It was coined by an anti-gunner, but has been used by Gun Digest for over 25 years as a title for one of their most popular comprehensive annual publications. I see no problem using it in most of the political articles. Referring to semiautomatic clones of military rifles in those articles I find problematic, however. An encyclopedia should inform by design, not persuade and definitely not dumb-down its readers. --Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 23:51, 23 April 2014 (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.


RfC re use of the term "high-capacity magazine"[edit]

No consensus. Number 57 11:29, 22 May 2014 (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.

Is the use of the term "high-capacity magazine" appropriate in articles related to gun politics and guns in society? Lightbreather (talk) 17:04, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Find sources: "high-capacity magazine" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR · free images

Survey[edit]

  • Yes. (RfC author) Of course context is everything, but the term is used by/in a preponderance of WP:RS. Lightbreather (talk) 17:04, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
  • No - The term is a classic misnomer turned political buzzword. NY defines "high capacity" as greater than 7 rounds. California uses the limit of 10 rounds. Some firearms were designed to hold more than this such as the Beretta 92, Browning Hi-Power and M16. Standard capacity for those firearms in question would be 15, 13 and either 20 or 30 respectively. If anything it reflects a basic lack of knowledge of the subject matter.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 17:46, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
  • No - I could not agree with Mike more. Its a well put explanation of the situation. I'd like to add that technically any magazine that is capable of holding even a single round more than the "standard magazine" that Mike mentions would be considered "high capacity". The term is quite simply an abuse of hyperbole in order to generate a desired reaction from a target audience. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 18:07, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Mike Searson and Scalhotrod, but context is the variable, and it matters. For instance, suppose you are working on an article about a shooting, and part of that article is about the responses that shooting elicited, and one of the responses was that numerous legislative bodies decided to propose new or strengthen existing high-capacity magazine bans. Though each of the bodies might define high-capacity magazine differently - they all define them. The lead would use the term high-capacity magazines, and the details would go into the body of the article - just as a preponderance of WP:V, WP:RS sources do. Lightbreather (talk) 19:02, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
LB, do you realize that you just suggested a methodology for misleading Readers? You proscribe using the term in the Lead (which by yours and others admission does not have a standard definition, its relative from gun to gun) and then say that we should bury the details in the article. Many WP visitors read a Lead only and most decide whether they are going to read the article based on the Lead and to some extent the Infobox if one is present. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 13:54, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Scal, have you read MOS:INTRO lately?
The lead section should briefly summarize the most important points covered in an article in such a way that it can stand on its own as a concise version of the article. The reason for a topic's noteworthiness should be established, or at least introduced, in the lead. It is even more important here than in the rest of the article that the text be accessible. Do not hint at startling facts without describing them. Consideration should be given to creating interest in the article. Editors should avoid lengthy paragraphs and over-specific descriptions, since greater detail is saved for the body of the article.
See the lead paragraph of James Dean. It mentions that he died in a car crash, with a Wikilink to that term. In the section titled "Accident and aftermath" it gets into details about his car and driving speeds. (Oddly, there was no WL to "speed limit," which I just added.) The point is, if the topic of the article is high-capacity magazines, you can launch into details pretty early on - just as speed limit launches into details after a MOS:BEGIN paragraph. BUT, if the topic of the article is a shooting that, among other things, prompted discussions at federal and state levels about AW and HCM bans - you don't need to, and MOS:INTRO tells you not to, get into the details of those bans in the lead. Lightbreather (talk) 21:41, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Nope -- just like we could not have an article about "large" sodas. The phrase as a "term of art" has no established meaning. Collect (talk) 19:19, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Personally I find the term as offensive as the "N" word in most contexts. 9 out of ten times the person using the word is not an authority on firearms, but would be a good source of information about veggie burgers, sandals, foot lotion and scented candles. There are exceptions, of course. For example SureFire manufactures a 100-round AR15 magazine that they market as a "high capacity magazine" because the capacity is higher than the standard 20 or 30 round magazine. Internet retailers are fond of the term because a majority of potential customers know only what the media feeds them. The term, itself, has no place in professional journalism. A true journalist would give the facts and let the readers decide for themselves. Case in point, my standard Wilson Combat 47D magazine for my 1911 holds 8 rounds. In New York City this would be considered a "High Capacity Magazine", in California or 7 of the other places that have such laws, it would not. Following your logic, one could rightfully call a 10-round Browning Hi-Power magazine a "restricted capacity magazine". It goes back to Collect's statement about "large sodas". It does not inform the reader and only serves to further ignorance about a specific event. I thought you were a software developer. Have you ever been given unclear requirements? Did it not frustrate you then?--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 19:33, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
  • While NY would seem to be alone in defining 7 as "high-capacity", the number 17 is found in a bunch of sources. It is sort of like defining how many ounces are in a "large soda" I suspect - at some point pretty much everyone will say it is "large" but some view anything more than the old 6 ounce Coke as "large" <g>. Better to specify actual numbers, I suspect. Collect (talk) 18:04, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes as per Scalhotrod. However, if there are other terms which are more precise in context, these should be preferred. And this term should never be used unless sources use it. Homunq () 00:47, 23 April 2014 (UTC) ps. Please comment on other RfCs such as this one.
  • No per Mike and User:Scalhotrod. This is another meaningless, media-speak phrase that can't help but be POV. Just state the number of rounds as found in the source(s), and let the reader figure the rest out. Regards, GenQuest "Talk to Me" 01:08, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes The term concisely conveys a situation in which a magazine holds more then a few rounds. The term doesn't describe the relation to a standard magazine, in many of the examples listed above the standard magazine is High Capacity. While there may not be a universal definition of the term in all states, there is not a universal definition of imaginary number (or any one of thousands of terms in WP) but if an article is clear and uses the term consistently there is no problem. I fail to see how a purely descriptive term like "High Capacity" is politically charged. Thenub314 (talk) 16:18, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
    • Actually, in mathematics there most definitely is a single widely accepted definition for "imaginary number" going back to Heron of Alexandria. Physics and other hard sciences use the term regularly and without any problems at all. Why did you arrive at such a poor example? Cheers. Collect (talk) 17:49, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
      • Well, he is probably not a mathematician. Some people can't see the forest when all those trees get in the way.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 17:54, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
      • Which probability measure are you using to determine I am probably not a mathematician? But to return to Collect's question, the definition of the phrase is not uniform. Some authors take the term to be a synonym with complex number, while some take it to be a synonym with a "purely complex number". The issue being whether or not the term covers numbers whose real part is not zero. There is sometimes disagreement about what a term means, you make a decision, explain it and live with it. For example see the second to last sentence of the lead section of Trapezoid. These types of distinctions in my opinion are the same as whether you define a high capacity magazine to more than 7 bullets, or 10, or standard clip + 1. Make a decision, explain it, live with it. Thenub314 (talk) 18:53, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
        • It's just an expression like "He's probably not a rocket scientist". Now by clips do you mean strippers?--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 18:59, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
        • I was using the colloquial usage as a synonym for magazine. But no, I did not specifically mean stripper clips. Thenub314 (talk) 19:05, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
  • No Per Mike. This is an undefined term. It would be, therefore, misleading to readers. Capitalismojo (talk) 21:03, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes if it is clearly defined, e.g., by reference to a law restricting high-capacity magazines. No if just used without definition. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:26, 26 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Depends on the context, but generally not, except when quoted & cited. There's overwhelming evidence that the term is bogus (vague, overly broad, and mostly a PR buzzword with no clear definition), and extremely politically charged, as well as used in a factually misrepresentative way by opponents of firearms and/or proponents of increased controls on firearms. Even where it has a definition that can be cited, the definition varies wildly from source to source (mostly US state statutes that conflict with one another). There is no use, except when referring to the terminology used by particular statutes and organizations (see Use–mention distinction), that cannot be replaced by something both more accurate and more neutral. In most cases where use is retained, it should have quotation marks around it, with citations to the definition in play in that exact context, if not a parenthetical explanation of that definition at that spot in the article as well.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:40, 17 May 2014 (UTC)


Threaded discussion[edit]

  • Thenub314: There is nothing concise about it. What does "more than a few rounds" mean to you? What does it mean to me? or the next guy over? It's the same thing with the term "high capacity." Some may feel anything over one round qualifies, while others may thing anything short of 50 rounds wouldn't. Using such ill-defined terms consistently and repeatedly in an article makes the article unclear and actually makes it problematic from the perspective of POV.
In the United States right now, such terms are regarded as extremely politically charged, as some here are using these terms in an emotional, though really undefined, manner (especially certain news groups). We have to use language in Wikipedia that is supported by reliable sourcing and is balanced too. It's best to remove all that from the equation by not using esoteric phraseology by specifically stating the facts and not using inconsistent, ill-defined hype words. GenQuest "Talk to Me" 18:25, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
  • GenQuest: I would agree we need to be clear about what we mean within an article. But honestly, the term is used repeatedly by people who are pro/anti gun legislation, as well as gun manufacturer's/seller's. The term appears in pear reviewed reliable articles. If I oppose the statement that is being back above then I would be saying that "high-capacity magazines" is not acceptable in any article on guns in society or on guns in politics. Really? If the term is used by news media across the political spectrum, by politicians, by social science researchers are we supposed to ban the phrase? It would be more reasonable to make sure we are using the phrase in a NPOV manner, and hash it out as we use it, rather than to ban the phrase entirely. Thenub314 (talk) 19:31, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
What good is the use of a term if you have to define it each time you use it? We could call it a high-capacity magazine, a gizmo, or a flabber-gasket for all I would care. It really does not matter, as long as the term is uniformly definable. So, what is the definition of high capacity? P.S.: (I would contend that the same arguments hold true with the use of the term assault rifle also.) (See above discussion.) GenQuest "Talk to Me" 07:40, 26 April 2014 (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.


Introductory section[edit]

"Furthermore, politics is the study or practice of the distribution of power and resources within a given community (a hierarchically organized population) as well as the interrelationship(s) between communities. " (in intro paragraph)

Wouldn't this definition of "community" mean that left libertarians (who want to 'flatten' hierarchies, so to speak) aren't political in their study and practice? Also, as a reader, you need to tell me in this intro what the relationship between politics and economics is, considering that the word "resources" is in there.

I'd put a 'citation needed' on this (except that it's in the intro), but it does also seem a little poorly explained. Thennicke (talk) 01:14, 7 August 2014 (UTC)