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/Archive 1


I am taking a break for a bit. The 3rd paragraph of the lede is a bit repetitive, especially the part about justifications & purposes. Perhaps someone else would like to take a crack at it. --JimWae (talk) 04:52, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Collective Punishment[edit]

Collective punishment is not an abuse of justice all the time. In the U.S. military's bootcamps, this technique is effectively used as a learning tool for all. It is very important to realize that one person's behavior can impact the group. Group in this case can mean "squad" or even batallion. On a naval vessel it can effect a division, or the entire ship. For example, opening a door to the outside of the ship where it is white light on the inside can give a away the position of the ship. For a different example, when taking on fuel the smoking lamp is out. From the horses mouth so to speak - the U.S. Navy - pertaining to the smoking lamp :

"The exact date and origin of the smoking lamp has been lost. However, it probably came into use during the 16th Century when seamen began smoking on board vessels. The smoking lamp was a safety measure. It was devised mainly to keep the fire hazard away from highly combustible woodwork and gunpowder. Most navies established regulations restricting smoking to certain areas. Usually, the lamp was located in the forecastle or the area directly surrounding the galley indicting that smoking was permitted in this area. Even after the invention of matches in the 1830s, the lamp was an item of convenience to the smoker. When particularly hazardous operations or work required that smoking be curtailed, the unlighted lamp relayed the message. "The smoking lamp is lighted" or "the smoking lamp is out' were the expressions indicating that smoking was permitted or forbidden.
The smoking lamp has survived only as a figure of speech. When the officer of the deck says "the smoking lamp is out" before drills, refueling or taking ammunition, that is the Navy's way of saying "cease smoking." ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 04:55, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

I can agree that sometimes it is not an abuse. If it is part of training or discipline of a group, it could be justified. It is also abused as a justification sometimes. --JimWae (talk) 05:08, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, Jim ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 05:15, 16 September 2010 (UTC)


The words "something negative or unpleasant" are vague. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 20:28, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

This wording is derived from the sources. I recognize them. Hence, I suppose these are intentionally vague to "paint with a broad brush". In any case, what words would you prefer to put in their place? Also "something negative or unpleasant" is a very ordinary way of expressing whatever is being expressed. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 01:12, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Let's look at it this way: Punishments, even financial ones, are often not simply "negative" or "unpleasant" - they are severe. From the authority's point of view, "negative andor unpleasant" is just not effective. This is not to say that punishments should be more severe, just that this is their most notable property - not simply "unpleasantness." I think the wording I found was superiour because it simply said punishments → penalties → consequences, which is more general than Jim's wording. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 05:01, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Defining "punishment" in terms of "penalty" is cicular because "penalty" is defined in terms of "punishment". Sometimes circularity is unavoidable, but in this case it is avoidable. "Something negative or unpleasant" is not circular & defines punishment in terms of simpler concepts. Linking to penalty does no good since it is a disambig page. Also, the sources themselves say "something negative or unpleasant". Something negative and unpleasant CAN be SEVERELY negative & SEVERLY unpleasant - or not. If anyone has a better wording that clears all the hurdles, let's hear it. JimWae (talk) 05:56, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

  • I have to agree with JIm. The phrase "something negative or unpleasant" is from the sources, which is how it wound up in the introduction. Hence, there is no need to add more, or less, to this wording. Jim has aptly shown that severity is included in this phrase (as well as its opposite). I doubt that there is better wording which "clears all the hurdles" ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 06:28, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't know why Stevertigo is bothering even having this discussion. He keeps changing the text and keeps changing the text, and keeps changing the text, and keeps changing the text - against consensus. How many edits did he make on Sept 16th, yesterday? A very large amount. There is a consensus agreement as to what the lede, and this article is supposed to be. I have changed it back to the consensus lede. Stevertigo, please leave this lede alone. It was written weeks ago by agreement. Stop bothering me about it, and stop bothering other people about it. Please stop trying to impose your point of view on this article. I think you style of editing is disruptive. And please stop trying to hi-jack this article. I will contact the other editors recently involved with this article. And, I will take this to a stronger venue if I have to. I am close to bringing this situation to ANI. If this editor alters the lede again I am going to ANI. This is slow motion disruptive editing in an attempt to impose a Point of View. As simple as that. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 07:10, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
First of all I didn't make all that many changes since Jim came back, in fact I only made three small edits. Steve's ire probably means he need to take a break from this article. Jim and I can deal with it ourselves. Taking a Wikibreak can be a good thing, particularly from someone who swore that he was done editing this article and that I should not bother him with updates on his talk page. If Steve wants to remain involved in our recent editing he can pick something from my recent edits.
Secondly, Jim's point about "punishment" and "penalty" has some merit, but the main issue is 'severity'. I will consider submitting other language to the committee, but the point being is that punishment consists of penalties and penalties are often severe - beyond what is connoted by the terms used. "Unpleasant" is an itch. The penalties required for our most prolific murderers exceed those terms in both scope and meaning. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 21:37, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
  • I am talking about 23 seperate edits made by Stevertigo on September 16, 2010, after a one month, and one week haitus. First, there were 16 edits, , [1] in a row (see middle of page), until Jim Wade finally stepped in. And it appears to be the same situation as when I stepped in over a month ago - Jim Wade doing his best to counter Stevertigo's unorthodox editing style. By the third Stevertigo edit, two sentenes were added, which were a creation not supported by any added references or those references already part of this article [2]. When Jim Wade finally steps in (after Stevertigo's 16 rapid fire changes), what are Jim's first edits?
Edit number one: "destructive" is not in sources, is not part of def & is not necessarily so + consequences & corrections vague - and not in sources) [3]. Jim Wade has had to counter content, which is not supported by sources.
Edit number two: source says retribution [4]. Again, Stevertigo has added content not attributable to a source, and has to be countered.
Edit number three: no support for "destructive" ditto - same as the other two.
Edit number four: the boundaries of such consequence originally added by Steveritigo and is removed. Why? Because, Jim Wade has had to counter content which is not supported by sources - again. (for the fourth time)
This is the same story we went through in the now archived talk page. This type of editing is a drain on Jim Wade's time, and now it is drain on my time. It is also a drain on any editor's time, who follows policies and guidelines, when another editor does not. The constant explaining, illustrating of points, and having to diffuse editing not supported by reliable sources. This is then followed by the constant refusal of one editor to "get it" ,i.e., to realize that unsupported content (or material) cannot be accepted. As an aside, the time I spent writing this could have been used for working on something else. --- Steve Quinn (talk) 03:40, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
I think you need to take a break, Steve. And no one appointed you the defender of this article or any other. I understand that you wish to counter my "unorthodox style," but perhaps you will be more successful after you've taken a break and recovered. Your reverting the article back to a version before the one integrating our edits is a clear sign that you've lost your sense of the basics. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:05, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

PS: To better illustrate the problems with your writing, I've made a spoken version of the introduction (my first):

-Stevertigo (t | log | c) 04:16, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Disassembly/point by point critique[edit]

  • "Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person or animal in response to behavior deemed wrong by an individual or group."
  • "unpleasant" is besides the point. Because punishments are often severe, causing one to lose their freedom or their property, the wording "something negative or unpleasant" is generic. The wording "by an individual or group" is also generic, as it covers everyone - what else is there but individuals or groups?
  • "Inflicted unpleasantness without authority is not punishment, but is characterized as something else."
  • "Characterized" as what? What is the proper term for "inflicted unpleasantness without authority?"
  • "Punishment may be inflicted as a result of a formal process, or informally within any organized group, for example, a family."
  • Punishments are imposed, not "inflicted." Only corporal punishments may have the connotation of an "infliction." A family is not an "organized group," and the issue of punishment within a family has a clear purpose (which the lede does not mention), namely Corrections.
  • "Punishment does not automatically cause deterrence, prevention, or reform, and hence, is not a guarantee these outcomes will occur."
  • Punishment doesn't "cause" anything in a direct causality sort of way, hence saying it doesn't do certain things (ie. idealistic goals) is oblique.
  • "Furthermore, punishment can be part of a process of disciplining."
  • No kidding. Punishments have something to do with disciplining, ie. corrections?
  • "Punishment also has justifications."
  • Really.
  • "For example, in the western societies there are four fundamental justifications: retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and incapacitation."
  • There is no basis for an East-West schism here. The four listed things, retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and incapacitation are goals, not necessarily of punishment, and certainly not "justification[s]."

-Stevertigo (t | log | c) 21:49, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

I agree with Stevertigo that all of the above are examples of bad writing and not suitable for a definition.·Maunus·ƛ· 02:28, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Maunus - I am not sure what you are talking about. What you are seeing is sourced statements vs. a critique off the top of Stevertigo's head (not derived from sources). Please do not encourage an edit conflict here at this time. Stevertigo is beginning to see agreement with guidelines and policies, and let us allow this step forward to take place. I really don't want to have to revert unsourced statements again. If you have more or better reliable sources, please present them here on the talk page. Believe me I am interested. And I am sure other editors are interested as well. Currently we have a consensus lead. Also please review the Archived Talk page, because we have been through many discussions regarding this issue. Thanks.---- Steve Quinn (talk) 03:00, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Also, this is not my writing. I did not invent the descriptions, I am reporting on sources. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 03:11, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Well if what is there is lifted directly from sources then we have a copyright problem. If it is not lifted directly from sources then some one paraphrased it and something was supposedly lost in the paraphrasing so that we now have a lead that doesn't work textually. In any case it is simply not very well written and can be greatly improved by giving attention to textual coherence. I disagree that Steves ideas are OR here - he is critiquing the writing not the ideas.·Maunus·ƛ· 11:57, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
There is a difference between sourcing your writing and parroting the sources in a way that becomes increasingly decoherent. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:30, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Maunus - I don't recall you mentioning "if this...then copyright problems", before in your second statement. I don't think saying this off the top of your head is conducive to a "collegial atmosphere" of conferring with other editors. In fact this type of behavior appears to be combative at the very least, so please don't do it again. Thanks. In fact I find statements like that very offensive when not based in any kind of fact. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 01:20, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Definition: A source[edit]

Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials by Diana Kendall uses a definition of Punishment as "Any action designed to deprive a person of things of value (including liberty) because of some offense the person is thought to have committed". This definition gets around some of the problems with the current lead definition: One of the problems with the current lead is the way it doesn't explain "authority" and its relation to punishment. The authority involved is in fact the ethical or legal system that the one applying the punishment is appealing to. This is already inherent in the statement "deemed wrong" - if something is "deemed wrong" it is deemed wrong in relation to an ethical or legal system. The authority part is redundant, and makes the passage unclear. The phrase Punishment has justifications is doubly redundant - because punishment cannot be applied if it is not thought to be justified - that is if it is not based on a legal or ethical value system. Also the four "justifications" are not justifications they are goals. Sociology in our times (p. 204) describe the deterrence, retribution, incapacitacion and rehabilitation as being historically traditional, but it also describes new goals of punishment in modern societies e.g. restoration. So those four are not the only goals of punishment in western societies. Also the phrase "punishment can also be part of a process of disciplining" this is also redundant because it is inherent in two of four goals of punihsment - rehabilitation and deterrnce - both of which are aimed at making the punished person conform to social norms in future behaviour i.e. disciplining him. ·Maunus·ƛ· 02:42, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Authority doesn't have to be explained in the lead, nor its relation to punishment. First, it is very clear what the relationship is. Second, any further explanation can be dealt with in the text. This is the lede - the introduction - in depth arguments and describing complex relationships are not necessary in the lead. It is nevertheless necessary to include "authority" as part of the lede description, because without authority it is not punishment.
If the ethical or legal system is inherent in the term "deemed wrong" then those systems are covered by the words "deemed wrong". In addition, "deemed wrong" is apparently a general overview describing these systems and, hence, appropriate for the lead.
I don't see the authority part in lede as redundant at all. Authority is an intrinsic part of punishment - or its not punishment (as the sources say, and as the lede says.)
No, the justifications, are justifications. Read through the first pages of the references - it is right there. I agree that restoration is a goal, and not one of the justifications.
No "punishment as part of the process of disciplining" is not redundant. This is again a description taken from one or more of the sources. It is very clear that punishment can or is part of disciplining. At the same time, discipline does not have to be involved for punishment to occur. Apparently, punishment can occur outside the scope of discipline, otherwise why bother making this distinction, which is what the source does.
Thanks for your input. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 03:26, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Also, "deemed wrong" is from the sources. I didn't invent it. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 03:35, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
It is redundant because it is mentioned in different forms in four places - "deemed wrong" implies a value statement that hinges on authority. It then mentions and specifies that authority is necessaty (we already know that because otherwise something couldn't be deemed wrong) it then says that punishment can have justifications which is wrong - punishment must have a justification in order to be carried out with authority. Look, the lead is simply not well written. I'll give it a shot and you can comment.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:03, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Ok I read the sources given now and they all come across more clearly than the lead. It is the writing that is the problem.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:23, 24 September 2010 (UTC)


I note that the lede has improved a bit. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:22, 25 September 2010 (UTC) -

It still uses the word "authoritative" in a wrong sense and fails to distinguish that the authority comes from an ethical system and that it is the ethical system that provides the punishment with authority. I think my version was considerably better and JimWae didn't provide any arguments for his changes to it. The wording "somthing negative or unpleasant" is so weak as to be ridiculous (and the sources all phrase that in a much better and more concrete manner) the notion of "to a person or animal" is ridiculous as well as it is much too specific "individual" is precise enough the instances of punishing animals for wrongdoings are of course existant but isn't really an exception to the rule that requires such special treatment in the first paragraph of the lead. It is simply not well written. ·Maunus·ƛ· 00:30, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I didn't really get all that - got other things going on. Will come back in a bit, but here's what I originally wrote before Jim and Steve. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:36, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
PS: I agree of course that it needs work, but I think, given our issues, its important that I express appreciation for any progress or improvement. JimWae's current writing seems much more in the form of a proper lede. There are still some essential concepts missing from the lead, for example consequences and corrections. It may help him to employ a concept cloud of the most relevant topics. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 00:55, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think the lack of concept clouding is the problem. ·Maunus·ƛ· 01:15, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, I'll recuse myself for now. -Stevertigo (t | log | c) 01:56, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

According to Peters - metaphorical punishment is not the only alternate condition for experiencing unpleastness ,i.e., a negative experience, such as "taking a lot of punishment from their opponents". Experiencing unpleasantness can occur from another person's spite, for example - and that is according to Peters. Also, with his three criteria, I think Peters has actually given the best general description of punishment, so far. In any case, I am altering this sentence slightly, I think it gives the wrong idea. Other feedback to follow. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 00:45, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

·Maunus - I believe this team of editors will need more from the source you added in entitled "Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials". At least provide quotes with the source, as we have done with the six other sources. This way we can ensure that all of the material grounded in the source. Also, I notice that this book is available online in a limited fashion here. In this case, if you can provide page numbers that would be great. Personally, I prefer both quotes and page numbers for this aricle. With the quotes it is much easier to actually read where the statement is derived from. If necessary create more than one reference with this one source, using different quotes. Thanks. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 01:32, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
OK - retribution being central is very good. I did not pick up on that, before. The only problem I have right now with the lead is describing negative consequences without authority is not punishment. There is a metaphorical use of "punishment". Also in this category there is "spite" and "revenge". Perhaps we should use synonyms? ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 01:50, 27 September 2010 (UTC)


(Without authority) I suppose this is my last thought on the matter for the time being, until others come along to give feedback. The only way I can see to crack this nut is for two or three explicit statements. Looking at what we have in this category:
  1. Revenge - " -Punishment- ... involves the intentional infliction of pain or of something unpleasant on someone who has committed a breach of rules... by someone who is in authority, who has a right to act in this way. Otherwise, it would be impossible to distinguish 'punishment' from 'revenge' . "
  2. Spite - "People in authority can, of course, inflict pain on people at whim. But this would be called 'spite' unless it were inflicted as a consequence of a breach of rules on the part of the sufferer".
  3. Reward - "Similarly a person in authority might give a person £5 as a consequence of his breaking a rule. But unless this were regarded as painful or at least unpleasant for the recipient it could not be counted as a case of -punishment- "
  4. Metaphor - "...about boxers taking a lot of punishment from their opponents, in which only the first condition is present. But this is a metaphorical use which is peripheral to the central use of the term" .
  5. Without a breach of rules - negative consequences administered without a breach of rules is not punisnment.
  • The passages above are quoted from the sources in the ariticle. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 23:35, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Improved lede[edit]

I think the lede has improved and I suppose thanks goes to Maunus, Jim Wade, and Maunus seems to find Stevertigo's input helpful. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 02:13, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
In fact the lede appears to have really good coverage of punishment. I am sure whoever wrote the last part is knowledgeable (beginning with: "Punishments differ in the degree of severity....") The coverage here is remarkable, and it has neutral wording. I think the only thing missing is sources to completely back it up. I am guessing that this is derived from sources, so it's just a matter of matching sources with the material. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 05:53, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Spoke too soon[edit]

I spoke too soon, when I wrote (in the edit summar) "go from the three criteria and build from there". I think the coverage of the lede is sufficient. It is just that I was impressed with the concept when I read it this last time.---- Steve Quinn (talk) 04:13, 27 September 2010 (UTC)


I couldn't help noticing that alot of this article appears to be original research. I am not saying that it is - only that it appears to be that way. I think a rewrite after the lede is in order. The lede is still in good condition. I removed text from one section - please see the edit history of the article. I might look for an earlier version that is better. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 04:24, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

I removed more text from the article (after the lede). It may be a question of not knowing the scope of misinformation that was contained in the article. In any case, I removed unsourced statements that may be or may not be WP:OR, WP:MADEUP, WP:SYN, speculation, random thoughts, or essay material. Now we can write a much better, and sourced article. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 04:48, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Requested quote[edit]

From Stohr et al. p. 2. The emphasis is in original. By the way, I'm uncomfortable with large amount of quotes used in this article. They may be considered WP:COPYVIO given that practically every source had a paragraph quoted verbatim. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 01:40, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Thank-you. That quote does not support "most often". It supports corrections being a term for penology (not punishment) -- "corrections" usually referring to criminal imprisonment. This article also covers non-criminal punishments, less formal punishments, and punishments other than prison
Most of the quotes are there because they were requested to verify the statements made in the article. Only Peters is longer than a sentence or two. Peters is referenced 5 times in the article now - in 5 separate places and different sentences support different refs. I looked, but have not found any wiki-policy on what constitutes copyvio in refs. Peters work is also referred to by one of the other sources.--JimWae (talk) 10:27, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't really understand what this fuss was about. You changed "but now is more often called corrections" to "or, often in modern texts, 'correction'" [5]. In the same diff you remove the part about punishment being called correction with a hard-to-understand edit summary; I assumed you objected to the fact that I omitted the "process" suffix present in the source cited, so I've added that [6]. I agree that adding more context is/was better. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 01:50, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

Requested quote (2)—evo bio[edit]

I see you've requested a quote on that as well, here it goes:

Hope this helps. Have mörser, will travel (talk) 10:48, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

The first sentence of the article is awfully convoluted[edit]

Simplify, man. Vranak (talk) 05:40, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

But shortening it the way you did makes the first sentence a terribly incomplete as a definition.--JimWae (talk) 06:22, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
I think you'll find it is now much less convoluted, and the 1st sentence is still quite a complete definition.--JimWae (talk) 09:10, 30 October 2013 (UTC)