Talk:Tennessee Democratic Party

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Recent edits by Mcberli[edit]

I've just removed some material added by Mcberli, who is a student working on this article as part of Professor Gelbman's class. There are a couple of problems with it but I think they're fixable; I see Ground Zero has already removed a version of it, so I thought I'd explain what the problem was. Here's the removed paragraph:

Tennessee Democrats believe in putting America first when it comes to national security. They also believe in a strong national defense and supporting the resources necessary to keep the nation’s military strong. Jim Cooper currently serves as a chairman of the Panel on Roles and Missions and the Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform. The Panel on Defense and Acquisition Reform has investigated why weapons the Pentagon purchases are always over budget. This work helped to orchestrate the passing of the Weapons Acquisition Reform Act of 2009.

This is sourced to http://cooper.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=307&Itemid=94. That's actually the wrong page -- it points to the "Children and families" page. The right page is http://cooper.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=310&Itemid=105, which includes this text:

My main question when considering any national security issue is “How do we keep America number one?” Like my fellow Blue Dog Democrats, I believe in a strong national defense and supporting the resources necessary to keep the nation’s military strong ... I also served on the Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform, which investigated why the weapons the Pentagon buys are always over budget. Our work was instrumental in passing the Weapons Acquisition Reform Act of 2009.

This is very similar to the original text. WP:Close paraphrasing gives some more details on this. I've highlighted the phrases that are identical; in fact, since the text is public domain, there is no copyright problem here, but it is still preferable to restate the material independently if there is this much similarity in the text; or at least make it into a direct quotation if the original form of words is preferable for some reason.

Another issue is that the statements are very much in Jim Cooper's voice -- for example, "Tennessee Democrats believe in putting America first when it comes to national security" is a statement that would no doubt be disputed by Tennessee Republicans, and "always over budget" is not neutrally phrased either. At a minimum these should say something like "Cooper's position is that ..." or something like that, but I would suggest that on a page like this there's really no need to give Cooper's point of view -- all we need is the facts. I would suggest that the useful material here is just his membership of the two panels -- he is a sitting member of Congress in the Tennessee Democratic party, and that defines his current involvement, so it's relevant information. If this were the article on Cooper, then of course more detail would be needed.

I've looked briefly at the earlier history of the article, and it looks like Ground Zero already removed a version of this material. I don't see why the pictures were removed though; they're public domain and illustrate the current Tennessee Democratic congressmen, so I think they could be readded.

Looking at the "Children and families", "Healthcare" and "Energy and environment" sections, I can see similar concerns -- I won't remove those, but I think similar comments could apply there, so please review those paragraphs with that in mind. The TDP's current platform is going to be very similar to the national platform, and I suspect what's interesting about it is going to be where it differs from the national platform (if it differs, that is). If the platform is essentially the same, I would suggest just saying that. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:40, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for this discussion, Mike. I should have provided more explanation. I agree with you about the "Children and families", "Healthcare" and "Energy and environment" sections. I was looking at these from the broader neutrality perspective. These do not provide a balanced or neutral approach to these issues. They really present Congressmen Cohen and Cooper in the most positive light possible. The pictures can probably be returned. There was no particular reason to remove them, except that they were being adding as part of the apparent hagiography. Ground Zero | t 11:48, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for the tips. I will try to read through things again and make some edits to improve the sections. I just ask that "ground zero" keep in mind that I am a student doing this for a class project and am not as familiar with all of the formatting requirements and other things on Wikipedia that he is when viewing this page and making edits. (Mcberli (talk) 19:26, 16 November 2011 (UTC))

I'll let Ground Zero reply to that if he wants, but I agree he should know you're a student. I'm one of the ambassadors for this class and I'm happy to help with this article.
I see you've readded the paragraph with some changes. I still think there are real problems with this material, but rather than remove it again let's discuss it here. If there are disputed parts of an article it's common to work it out on the talk page before making changes, but this isn't so bad we have to eliminate it immediately.
The research you've done is about the positions of the Tennessee democratic delegation, not the party organization; and in fact you can't assume that either the party organization nor the rest of the delegation specifically approves of the actions or positions of the individual representatives. I can think of plenty of examples; Joe Lieberman, when he was a Democrat, was probably not aligned perfectly with the Connecticut Democratic party, for example. In addition, you're still using language drawn from the websites of those representatives to describe these positions. This is irrelevant if we delete this material, but it is scarcely neutral to say "Jim Cooper has one of the strongest environmental records in Congress". See Wikipedia's neutrality policy if you would like more details, but I would expect an article like this to say, at most, "Jim Cooper is regarded as friendly to environmental issues", citing a neutral source such as a newspaper. However, as I say, I don't see why this is relevant in this article, and I'm afraid much of what you've added has the same problem.
I had a look in Google Books and found a book that might be helpful to you: Lyons, Scheb, & Stair: Government and Politics in Tennessee. Take a look at the section from p. 195 onwards -- it covers the structure and functions of the Tennessee parties. I think this is much more encyclopedic than what you have now, and I think you could use that book as a source and add a lot of good information on the TDP. Let me know what you think. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 03:01, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Thank you. I will definitely have a look at that book.I have been having trouble finding some reliable sources, and the party's website does not have much information other than who the people involved are from what I have seen. (Mcberli (talk) 04:19, 17 November 2011 (UTC))