Talk:Werner Erhard

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Portait updating[edit]

Anyone got an updated commons picture as seen here our pic clearly requires updating as it is from 35 years ago and he is seventy six years old now. Off2riorob (talk) 22:03, 4 November 2011 (UTC) Can you use this: ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:35, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Updating Article[edit]

It seems to me that this article is not very current and up to date in regard to the work Erhard has done in recent years. It's a good suggestion to update the picture as suggested above, but I also think that adding some information about the work he is currently doing would be good too.--MLKLewis (talk) 00:10, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

  • I added a few of Erhard's current papers to the PUBLICATIONS section, which starts to update the article. That's a good start. More is needed.--RecoveringAddict (talk) 21:58, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Weasel wording[edit]

Hi Sensei48. If you don't like the minor edit I did, I'd prefer that you discuss it here rather than high-handedly doing an instant revert. You say in your edit summary "The fact that the book was approved by Landmark is important, not weasel." Well, tht is your opinon and you are entitled to it. My opinion is that mentioning it in that context is clearly weasel wording, as it carries a clear implication that the book and its content is in some way compromised or suspect. If the content of the book is suspect, it should be possible to say so clearly and unambiguously, with appropriate citations.

I have two other concerns about bringing in the alleged "approval by Landmark Education". Firstly, the only source for that assertion is a throw-away line in the New York Review article "Pay Money, Be Happy", which is an entertaining op-ed piece with a generally flippant and disparaging tone, rather than a serious piece of factual reporting. Unless something more compelling in the way of a citation can be found, I suggest that is not enough to include in an encyclopedia treatment. Secondly, even if true that Landmark Education "approved" Jane Self's book, what does that mean? Does it mean that they previewed it and vetted the content, or does it just mean that they didn't object to it? The former meaning is clearly implied by mentioning it in the context, which is why I think the clause should be omitted unless there is more compelling support for the assertion and its implied slur. DaveApter (talk) 15:12, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Hello DavidA: First, you offered no defense for your assertion of "weasel" until AFTER I had reverted it. Second, my revert was no more "high-handed" than yours - above you say "My opinion is that mentioning it in that context is clearly weasel wording...." - nothing makes your opinion on this superior to mine, except that the material I reintroduced was sourced. The NYM piece is more correctly referred to as a feature article, not an op-ed, and it is published in a reputable and long-established journal. It is no less a WP:RS than many of the est/Landmark/Erhard-oriented publications cited in this article.
The larger issue is that Self's book is highly suspect as a RS. As you know, Self has taken Landmark courses and was and remains an advocate of the program, not an objective or academic analyst of it. The "approved by LM" establishes the suspect objectivity of the book, which was the point in the NYM article. That needs to be done in an encyclopedia article. If you prefer, Self's personal involvement with Landmark can be sourced form 3rd party publications and from her own pronouncements. In any event, whether the NYM article or another source is used, this section cannot reputably present Self or her work as disinterested. Her involvement with the program is a fact, not a slur. Sensei48 (talk) 17:00, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the prompt response. Firstly, I hadn't thought that the description of weasel-wording needed any justification as it genuinely seemed to me that the sentence was a clear instance of that. The whole passage had a clumsy and convoluted feel to it.
Secondly, I don't subscribe to the view that anyone who has done Landmark courses is automatically disqualified from being able to write truthfully and objectively about it and related issues. Her book strikes me as being fair and thoroughly researched and annotated with full citations of the sources of her claims (have you read it?).
Thirdly, yes - I would agree that the NYM piece should more correctly be described as a "feature article" than an "op-ed", but I think this is splitting hairs. My point is that it is not in any sense a news report. It is an article that is infused with the opinions and viewpoints of its author. It is an entertaining and mildly satirical description of the Landmark Forum written by someone who deliberately chose not to engage with the course for its intended purpose of empowering her to live life more fully.
Fourthly, the main point, is how to improve this article. I'd be happier if the entire two sentences relating to Self's book were removed completely, and we just leave the ones drawing on material from the Los Angeles Times, which is presumably an uncontroversial WP:RS? What do you think? DaveApter (talk) 18:40, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I too would be happier without any reference to the Self book. The fact that her self-description includes an endorsement of Landmark and that adverts for the book included the comment that "After being maligned on "60 Minutes" in 1991, Werner Erhard told his version of events exclusively to Jane Self..." (italics mine, of course) prevents this book from being an acceptable RS. That engagement with the subject of the book does in fact render it unreliable as a source; the intent of the work is advocacy, not scholarship - not surprising since Self's academic background is in educational administration, not a relevant discipline like history, sociology, or psychology.
Your critique of the tone of the NYM article is well-taken, and I agree that that tone disqualifies it as a RS also. I would, however, take cautious exception to something you note above - that the author "deliberately chose not to engage with the course for its intended purpose of empowering her to live life more fully." In the context of a less flippant article, your point there would be a qualification, not the opposite - it would point to an objectivity, a disinterest, that an adherence to the principles of the program or accepting it on its own terms would prevent.
The parallel, and not I think an unflattering one, would be to an article on a major religion. What communicants believe about the religion should be included in the article, but as beliefs, not as objective facts. Academic objectivity does require a non-involvement with the subject on its own terms. Here, that might mean that the author of the NYM article should perhaps have taken a course or at least attended a seminar - but to investigate its nature, operation, and claims objectively, not to "engage" with it for its "intended purpose." Sensei48 (talk) 19:16, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
That's a good point, and I think there are some subtle matters to debate, maybe another time. I do think the Landmark Forum makes little sense from the viewpoint of someone who is determined to remain a "disinterested observer". The Amelia Hill article seems to me impressive, written as it is by someone who came with an agenda of doing an expose but who saw what there might be available.
Anyway, as regards improving this article, I'll take out those sentences and we'll see where to go from here. best. DaveApter (talk) 19:33, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

/* Disputes */ Restating harmful allegations unacceptable in a BLP[edit]

It is not appropriate to repeat allegations that are harmful to a person in a WP:BLP. The language in the disputes section is harmful to the subject of this article and I am replacing the injurious allegations with neutral language. Given that "Biographies of living persons ("BLP"s) must be written conservatively and with regard for the subject's privacy" and "The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia rests with the person who adds or restores material," I ask that discussion take place here and editors come to consensus before anyone adds back the contentious material. Specifically I am referring to the sentence: "The program, which CBS later removed from their archives for factual inaccuracies, featured allegations, which were later retracted, of sexual abuse, incest, and physical abuse made by Erhard's daughters and associates." I have replaced this sentence with "The program featured serious allegations about Erhard which were later retracted." It is neutral in tone and it is sufficient to say that there were serious allegations without going into the details. Restating the nature of untrue allegations serves only to do further harm to the subject of the article.

Furthermore the citations being used to support their inclusion are not good sources. They are two newspaper articles published two days after the original (and withdrawn) 60 minutes piece aired. Given that that piece was removed by CBS "for factual inaccuracies" it is obvious that the two newspaper articles being cited here were based on factual inaccuracies themselves. The BLP policy states that "Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced — whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable — should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion." A source that removed its own material for factual inaccuracies is not a good source and the pieces that used that false material are clearly poor sources as well. Without a reliable source themselves, the two newspaper pieces amount to nothing more than tabloid journalism which is not good sourcing for any Wikipedia article, and especially not a BLP. The only citations for these allegations are these two questionable sources and BLP policy clearly states that "If you cannot find multiple reliable third-party sources documenting the allegation or incident, leave it out. For these reasons I am removing the contentious material and request that it not be added back in. Thank you --MLKLewis (talk) 01:00, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

This is absolutely unacceptable behavior. You have chosen to remove sourced material simply because you do not like what it says, and your attempt to justify it with your misinterpretation of the BLP dictum twists the meaning of the dictum, as my prior comment linked below indicates. I am reverting back to what the original and long-term stable article reported with sources.
You have chosen to ignore previous discussions on the matter. In archive 3 above, I provided a link to Erhard's own website in which he himself posts the Time Magazine article which refers to the allegations of incest, using that word. Again with emphasis - Erhard's own site includes the historically factual false accusation. You cannot maintain that information posted by Erhard himself on his own site is injurious if it is included in the Wikipedia article.
Here is my response, unanswered by you, to a previous rv:
Included within is the link to the article on Erhard's site, which I will add as a 3rd source. It is logically impossible to justify the removal of information in this article that Erhard's own site posts publicly.
I am reverting to the long-term stable version of the article. The proper course of action at this point is an appeal to an administrator for arbitration, not unilateral reversion.Sensei48 (talk) 18:38, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

I removed material that was poorly sourced and causes harm to the person this article is about, which is completely within the parameters of WP:BLP (I did not intend, btw, to remove the Believer reference, that was an error in my editing, I appreciate you adding that back in.) I did not misinterpret the Biographies of Living Persons Policy. I simply copied and pasted what was there. It says exactly this: "Biographies of living persons ("BLP"s) must be written conservatively and with regard for the subject's privacy." Your argument that because the Time article is on the friends of Werner Erhard site then Erhard must approve of the allegations being repeated is a gross misinterpretation and a completely illogical argument. Aside from the fact that that it has no bearing on Wikipedia, as websites are not good RS, you should also note that it is a site by the "friends" of Erhard, not Erhard's own site. But even if it were his and even if websites were good RS the Time Magazine article that is posted there (which is in fact already used in this article as a reference) says is that the allegations were false. There are no good sources that support the scurrilous language of the allegations being included. What sources are used here are based on a known falsehood and amount to nothing more than tabloid journalism. That there were allegations is indeed part of the historical record and should be in the article, however the nature of those false allegations should not be included and allowed to continue harming the subject of this BLP. My point was and remains that restating the nature of the false allegations does further harm to a living person and should not be allowed. He was already injured by the original false allegations and should not be further harmed by those false allegations being restated. BLP clearly says that "The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia rests with the person who adds or restores material". You have not provided any evidence for restoring the wording you want to include. And I strongly disagree with your justification for keeping harmful language in a BLP. Other editors opinion in the matter would be welcome.--MLKLewis (talk) 22:34, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

I agree that some adjudication would be appropriate, but since the only active participants in this discussion appear to be you, me, and David Apter, the best course is probably to submit the dispute to arbitration with an objective administrator. Prior to that, however -
1) Of course websites can be RS on Wikipedia - the criterion is the quality of the website itself, just as that would be the criterion for a book or any or any other sources.
2) The Friends of Werner is a site that uses Erhard's name, which is his intellectual property and which could not be used on a website without his permission, tacit or active.
3) Your proposed substitution of "serious allegations" is utterly useless as information and betrays a profound bias on your part, which is why such edits have been referred to as an attempt to whitewash. Further - you say above that "that there were allegations is indeed part of the historical record and should be in the article, however the nature of those false allegations should not be included and allowed to continue harming the subject of this BLP" and "There are no good sources that support the scurrilous language of the allegations being included" because from your POV daily newspapers and a national newsmagazine are not RS when they state something of which you do not approve. Let this be absolutely clear: Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Charlotte Observer are old and respected publications in the U.S. and are absolutely valid as RS. That point and your attempt to pre-empt the edit restoration point to a serious bias on your point: you would suppress information that is a matter of public record because your intent appears to be to defend Erhard, not create a good article about him. Your sentence above - "He was already injured by the original false allegations and should not be further harmed by those false allegations being restated" is a clear indication of bias and does not reflect any objectivity whatsoever as to the subject of the article.
4) Most importantly, you have failed to respond to the two similar cases I have cited above, the Kobe Bryant rape accusation and the Duke lacrosse team incident. In both instances, damaging allegations of rape were made against living persons who were public figures. These were widely and extensively covered in the media. The allegations were both dropped or disproved. In the case of Bryant, the fact of the charges and incident remains in the Wikipedia article about him because of the fact that it happened. In the Duke case, the charges were dropped and proven to be completely untrue - yet we have a complete and thorough Wikipedia article on the incident - and all of the principals involved are living persons.
Here again is the previous edit from archive 3. You need to explain why Erhard's article should be exempt from the kind of specificity of the Bryant article especially.

":::== Edit 4/30/11 ==

The operative section in WP:BLP reads as follows:
In the case of public figures, there will be a multitude of reliable published sources, and BLPs should simply document what these sources say. If an allegation or incident is notable, relevant, and well-documented, it belongs in the article—even if it is negative and the subject dislikes all mention of it.
The sources remaining in the article detail the unpleasant allegations, and "made allegations" without specifying is worthless as information. The article on Kobe Bryant, for example, details the 2003 rape charges though they were dropped. Should this be left out of that article because, as the previous edit summary said, it is "harmful to repeat unproven allegations"? In the Duke lacrosse case, names of both the accuser and the players are included though the accusation was proven false. Should the article be deleted?
The site, run by the group Friends of Werner Erhard, includes mention of the allegations here [1]. Though recanted and untrue, as the Wiki article demonstrates, the Erhard site itself makes mention of them."

Sensei48 (talk) 04:15, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

I agree with Sensei48, though I loathe the calculated, vomit-inducing attack on Mr. Erhardt. However - "You have chosen to remove sourced material simply because you do not like what it says, and your attempt to justify it with your misinterpretation of the BLP dictum twists the meaning of the dictum, as my prior comment linked below indicates." (Sensei48) is a nasty personal attack on my fellow Wikipedian MLKLewis's wiki-integrity, and is unacceptable. You owe Lewis an apology for that, Sensei. Please. Ratagonia (talk) 19:28, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
I must disagree with your assessment. The sentence you quote here is a comment on the edit, not a personal attack on MLK, with whom I have had a lively conversation going for some time. MLK wrote above, "Your argument that because the Time article is on the friends of Werner Erhard site then Erhard must approve of the allegations being repeated is a gross misinterpretation and a completely illogical argument" - and I take no umbrage at that whatsoever because MLK is making a vigorous comment on my position. In the interests of consistency at the very least, you ought to be upbraiding MLK for a personal attack on another fellow Wikipedian. However, no comment at all about an ongoing, lively and civil discussion between MLK and myself would be the best option. I will, however, be happy to apologize to him should he feel it necessary - and providing he likewise apologizes to me. You might consider doing the same to both of us.Sensei48 (talk) 02:04, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Now I will insult you, Sensei. You said "simply because you do not like what it says, and your attempt to justify it with your misinterpretation of the BLP dictum twists the meaning of the dictum," which is a personal attack, not a discussion of the issues. Perhaps you should look at what the words SAY, rather than defending your position with false claims. As a wikipedian, I take the opportunity to chastise whom I choose - I make no claim as to chastising all over-steps from all players. Ratagonia (talk) 16:49, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

And that last sentence is precisely what makes your whole interpolation here unworthy of attention and unworthy of the code of civility on Wikipedia. Your sense of what constitutes a "personal attack" indicates either an unwillingness or inability to understand the nature of the comment and the discussion overall. I suggest further that an impartial reader of the exchange above would find only you guilty of incivility - which is best dealt with by ignoring it, which I will henceforth do.Sensei48 (talk) 06:03, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Further comments on allegations in the 'Disputes' section[edit]

Firstly, I agree with Sensei48 that it would be good to submit the issue to arbitration by an independent administrator; I feel that all of us who edit on these topics (myself included) may have difficulty in distancing ourselves from our own viewpoints.

Personally I find it distastful that unsubstantiated (but not unambiguously disproven) allegations of serious illegal and morally obnoxious behaviour should be repeated ad nauseam. I'm more inclined to follow MLKLewis' interpretations of BLP policy on this than Sensei's. It also seems to me that the whole of the 'Disputes' section is convoluted and so riddled with claims and counter-claims that the reader is left confused about what has been asserted and how much substance there is behind the accusations. I have the impression that much of it is the work of editors who wish to disparage Erhard, and who follow the principle that if enough muck is thrown some of it will stick.

I feel that there is a substantial difference with both the Duke University and Kobe Bryant cases. In both of those, the accusations were the subject of court proceedings which resulted in a conclusion of sorts, whereas here we are dealing with hearsay and gossip.

The reference on the 'friends of Werner Erhard' website is a verbatim re-print of the Time article and the relevant passage reads: Then, after two decades and two divorces, the self-help messiah vanished amid reports of tax fraud (which proved false and won him $200,000 from the IRS) and allegations of incest (which were later recanted). If we must refer to these matters at all, I would suggest that the entire section could be replaced by something as succinct as that.DaveApter (talk) 15:29, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

OK, but but the point here is not the unpleasantness of the allegations but rather the fact that they were made, there were publicized in RS, they were (contrary to your differentiation of them from Bryant and Duke, David) advanced to court action with a substantial filed lawsuit, and then disposed of without trial (in which there is a strong resemblance to both Bryant and Duke).
While perhaps some former editors here wanted to besmirch Erhard and that must be rectified, the answer is not to avoid major matters of public record in an effort to sanitize the information in the article. Erhard was and remains being a controversial character, widely derided and disrespected in the main stream media and public perception. There is not nearly enough of this in the article, and the tenor and tone of "Impact" must be re-edited to reflect this, following its gutting to slant it toward WE.
Having so said, though, I agree with you and reiterate that neutral arbitration is probably the best course. Replacing some of the matter pertaining to the lawsuits with a blockquote from Time might help.Sensei48 (talk) 17:45, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Hi Sensei, and thanks for your ongoing contributions to the debate. Firstly, I'd like to make it clear that I dispute the charaterisations of my suggestions as "an effort to sanitize the information in the article". The issue as I see it is the question of whether it does or does not meet the Wikipedia BLP guidelines to extend the currency of scurrulous accusations made over 20 years ago in what appears to have been an orchestrated attempt to undermine his reputation and his credibility. You are entirely correct in stating that it is a fact, and reported in mainstream media, that the accusations were made and retracted. The difficulty is that simply reporting that leaves a degree of doubt in the reader's mind as to whether this is a case of "no smoke without fire". Time magazine et al are doubtless reliable sources for the fact that the 60 Minutes program aired these accusations, but it appears that the program itself was not an adequately reliable source by Wikipedia BLP standards for the substance of the accusations.

Nor would I wish to obscure the undoubted fact that - as you put it - "Erhard was and remains being a controversial character, widely derided and disrespected in the main stream media and public perception". This is not surprising but tells us little about the man himself or the merits of his work. Public perception largely follows what the mainstream media tells it, and the media fulfil a function which is substantially to entertain, to titilate, to perpetuate the status quo, and to avoid challenging the prejudices of its readers and viewers.

My suggestion is that we proceed in collaboration as we did successfully on the Werner Erhard (book) article - by proposing and discussing a revised content for the Disputes section here on the Talk page. If we cannot reach a consensus, then it would be useful to refer it to Arbitration.DaveApter (talk) 10:55, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

I continue to think that repeating false allegations when the reporting organization does not stand by their reporting is harmful in a BLP. But I'm also interested in working together and coming to consensus to improve this article. In regards to the cases you mention Sensei, there are some clear differences. There were no charges filed against Erhard, only allegations that were later retracted made on a tv program that was later withdrawn. It seems pretty clear to me that when a news organization does not stand by the factual accuracy of their own reporting the matter should be treated with exceptional care in any BLP. Otherwise we are really only talking about hearsay and gossip. But I also get your point Sensei that the phrase 'serious allegations' may not be sufficient here. In reaching agreement perhaps DaveApter's suggestion that we use the phrasing of the Time magazine reference might be the way to go. So I propose replacing the first sentence with this - On March 3, 1991, CBS News broadcast an episode of the program 60 Minutes titled "Werner Erhard"[40][41] featuring allegations of incest made by Erhard’s daughters (later retracted)[44], which allegations CBS determined to be false and removed the program from the CBS archives due to factual inaccuracies.[42] --MLKLewis (talk) 02:23, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Hello MLK and David: I'm happy to be conversing with both of you on these points again, and I'm sorry that some time has elapsed since David's comments above. MLK, you and I understand that we have very different ideas about this, and I also think David's idea is a good one. I still like the idea of a block quote for about the last two sentences from Time - and that could be followed by an additional sentence based on MLK's above, starting with "allegations" so as to clarify and emphasize the untruth of the incident and the extent to which CBS nullified its original show. How does that sound? BTW - my other comment about perception that David responds to is really an entirely different point that I should have made elsewhere - it can wait until we settle this one. regards, Sensei48 (talk) 03:17, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Thanks to both for the continued constructive suggestions and civil tone. I'm broadly in agreement with the direction these suggestions are going in.

Regarding the other point - the one about the general public perception of Erhard, I agree that this is a separate topic of debate and one that we should deal with after reaching consensus on the more thorny 'Disputes' issues. What I will say at this point is that I'm a bit surprised at your characterisation of the 'Impact' section as having been "...gutt[ed] to slant it toward WE." I'm open to suggestions, but my reading of it is that it presents a concise and balanced neutrally phrased summary of the attitudes that were expressed both for and against the validity of Erhard's ideas. I put this forward as food for thought for the time when we discuss it in more detail. DaveApter (talk) 22:38, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Here is my proposal based on comments above to replace the first two sentences of the Disputes section:

In 1991, Werner Erhard “… vanished amid reports of tax fraud (which proved false and won him $200,000 from the IRS) and allegations of incest (which were later recanted).” [ref to Time] The March 3 1991 60 Minutes broadcast of these allegations was later removed by CBS due to factual inaccuracies.--MLKLewis (talk) 20:30, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

IMPACT section edit removal[edit]

I added the study by Rabow because this paragraph needed more balance of objective, positive reactions to Erhard's work. As it is now written, the paragraph states that "The validity of Erhard's work and his motivations have been met with mixed reviews." Then it goes on to give examples of those reactions. Six out of seven of these reactions are at best skeptical, and mostly highly critical. I agree with you that this paragraph needs "re-phrasing towards actual balance." Citing the Rabow study is a valid addition here. --RecoveringAddict (talk) 00:33, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Hi RA: Perhaps you misunderstood my removal and the nature of the section as it existed. In the stable edit, the first paragraph was designed - through a process of collaborative editing - to establish the positive reactions to Erhard's work. The second paragraph was designed to counter-balance that by presenting the predominantly negative responses to WE's enterprises in academic circles and mainstream media. The primary necessary edit is to restore the original sentence in this second paragraph about withering criticism, which is a statement of fact and which has already and unacceptably been watered down to "mixed reviews." The overwhelming reaction outside of the est community itself has been negative to the point of derisive, and that is the perspective necessary to be represented in the article. Your recent edits are not establishing balance; rather, they are upsetting the balance which originally existed in this section and must be restored - which will also involve a rewrite of the first paragraph. The article is now far from objective and appears to be approaching a whitewash of this very controversial and by no means widely respected personage. Sensei48 (talk) 10:32, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
Further and pursuant to the above: "objective" and "positive" are not at all the same things. The article that existed here two years ago was IMO rightly criticized as aggressively negative toward WE. But the solution is not to make aggressively positive an article about a personage who is controversial at best and widely regarded as a charlatan at worst, especially outside of the relatively narrow confines of the population cohort who subscribe to his programs. Balance and neutrality require that both sides of the question be adequately represented, and much of the article now slants toward a non-objectively positive presentation. Much more needs to be done here to balance this toward objectivity...much, much more in every section. What was unacceptably too critical before is now unacceptably and non-objectively too positive. Sensei48 (talk) 11:08, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
I would respectfully disagree with the opinion expressed by Sensei48 that the article as it stands is "agressively positive" towards Erhard. I have just re-read it after a gap of several months since I last looked at it, and it appears to me to be essentially fair, well written, and balanced. The majority of the article deals accurately with factual matters. It rightly covers the fact that opinions regarding the man and his work are highly polarised and gives what seem to me to be an appropriate, balanced summary of the views from commentators at both ends of the spectrum. I am slightly at a loss to understand why Sensei seems to take it for granted that the views of those in "the relatively narrow confines of the population cohort who subscribe to his programs" should be discounted. The people who had taken his training courses are surely the ones who are in the best position to evaluate their merits? Although Erhard's critics in the media made a great deal of noise and no doubt had a signifcant influence on public perception of him, their numbers are minuscule in relation to numbers who participated in his programs (now numbering well over two million, including derivative products) - the overwhleming majority of whom expressed a high level of satisfaction.
Whilst it is undoubtedly true that Erhard is "a personage who is controversial at best and widely regarded as a charlatan at worst", it seems to me that this opinion is held by only a tiny proportion of the individuals who were actually acquainted with him or with his work. The assertions to that effect come principally from commentators who were either happy to base their pronouncements on gossip, speculation and hearsay, or who had a deliberate agenda to defame him. The article gives due mention of these views, but I cannot agree that any greater emphasis would be appropriate. DaveApter (talk) 09:44, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Fix sentence fragment, or delete?[edit]

Mention of Valerie Harper, a notable person (not sure if notable for her participation in est, but may be) is a sentence frag at end of Impact section. Delete, reword, or attach to previous sentence? Oh, wait, citation may be needed? (talk) 11:34, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

I am deleting it and the paragraph immediately above, which crept back in somehow, to the more stable edit that created a balanced pro/con assessment of WE. As above in the extended discussions on impact, there is a strong element of controversy about Erhard that has been all but removed from the article, and the previous careful edit (including "skepticism," which is mild and kindly compared to some of the vitriol out there). Further additions to this section must be balanced; each endorsement should be balanced by a criticism to maintain a balance to that section which was arrived at painstakingly.Sensei48 (talk) 17:31, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Hitler's Last Weapon[edit]

User:Thomas Ptarmigan has edited the article to say that rather than Erhard intentional adopting the name "Werner" after Werner Heisenberg, it may also have been a deliberate reference to Werner von Braun. The edit cites Jerry Rubin's biography and states that this explanation "was bantered as Hitler's Last Weapon by his despotic way of the seminar".

If this just means "Jerry Rubin once joked that judging by the nature of Erhard's seminars, perhaps he took his name from a Nazi war criminal!", we should not be presenting it as "Erhard chose his new name either from Heisenberg or von Braun". --McGeddon (talk) 12:52, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

I am sorry that I could not reply to you sooner. I think that there are two points of argument.
1) Why did he declare himself Werner Erhard? From when did he give the name?
Did he abandon the first wife and four children and bear his assumed name like illegal immigration? Do you remember the name of the present German economy minister?
2) "Werner Heisenberg" or "Werner von Braun"?
I have the book written by Jerry Rubin. If you can borrow at a library etc., a description part of Warner von Braun will be caught in easily. This is a generation gap. Our generation thinks that it is Werner von Braun, and the talk of Hitler's Last Weapon was also famous.
The restoration of the contribution entrusts you. Yours sincerely. --User:Thomas Ptarmigan 14 December 2013‎ —Preceding undated comment added 11:07, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't understand what you're trying to say. Perhaps you could quote the text of the Rubin book for us so that an English speaker could judge its context? --McGeddon (talk) 11:10, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
<Notes> Jerry Rubin “Growing (Up) at Thirty-Seven”(1976) ISBN 9780871311894 --User:Thomas Ptarmigan 14 December 2013 —Preceding undated comment added 11:40, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
I meant that you should quote the part of the book where Rubin says whatever he says about von Braun. --McGeddon (talk) 10:36, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

Editing & Revising est Section[edit]

Today's edit to the est section replaces a stable, long-term text with a completely different one. In the process of so doing, all references to Kay Holzinger's article have been removed and replaced by references from Erhard himself. If the tone of the long-term edit is perceived as too dependent on a single source, fine - let's collaborate to improve the section. However, the net effect is to remove descriptions that were third-party and occasionally critical and replace them with the subject of the article essentially making an argument for the program itself. A careful, deliberate re-edit may be in order, but not one that again has the effect of promoting the subject and muting descriptions that are critical. At the very least, an analytical source objective in nature needs to be employed here. Sensei48 (talk) 05:54, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for your suggestion, Sensei48. I found another reliable source, the Chicago Sun Times that gives a description of the est training that is factual. I removed "estholes" because it was not in Kay Holzinger's article. --RecoveringAddict (talk) 19:30, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

And a very good edit I think it is, RA. That line always bothered me and seemed to me to be gratuitous. I'm sorry that I haven't gotten back to this due to real world issues. But I do think we can collaborate to create a much better section on est than is currently there, one carefully balanced and sourced. Much of the original article was created by an editor or two who really wanted to do a hatchet job and not an article. I think that the phrasing in this section needs to be carefully dispassionate, and somehow we need to get both the positive responses to the program and the critiques of it into the section without unbalancing it. I'd like to see the basic framework of the current text remain - a sort of point by point dispassionate statement of the elements of est - and then if it seems appropriate - to add some compound sentences (with sources) that could be of the tenor like "The program's long sessions were designed to create a positive mindset through immersion (source), though some participants and critics found this approach to equate to thought control."(source) I don't mean this edit literally; rather it's just symbolic of what could be there. I also think that some of the est processes needs expanded explanation. Both the "danger process" and the conclusions reached on the fourth day need better explanation in terms of what the program wanted to accomplish, IMO. It's all a bit too abbreviated and blunt as it is. I really believe we can enhance the article while avoiding any kind of slant. regards, Sensei48 (talk) 21:26, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

Lead Paragraph[edit]

User Zambelo's recent edit to the lead paragraph and reason for adding the catagory "Organizer of a new religion" to the Werner Erhard article is flawed. First, Erhard was not a founder of a new religion, second, the references user Zambelo uses to back that up are not stating that as a fact, but merely that someone, at some time considered this, but it was never concluded as a fact. Since it is an erroneous statement and not a fact, it does not belong in the article and certainly not in the lead paragraph of a BLP. Using conjecture and opinion rather than factual information is not suitable for an entry into an encyclopedia. --RecoveringAddict (talk) 21:22, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Ok, so it should be attributed to the authors who state it? The fact is, it has been studied as a New Religious Movement, and multiple sources describe it as such. To omit this from the article would be to omit cardinal studies of the movement. Zambelo; talk 22:18, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for contributing your ideas. However, we must be very careful and rigorous about what we put into a BLP. I went to look at the references you cited and in looking at the first one ("Dictionary of Ethics, Theology and Society," by Clarke) "among the movements referred to as NRMs one might also include...est (Erhard Seminars Training)." The use of the word "might" is hardly a statement of fact. This is not about a study that has come to this conclusion and it certainly does not constitute establishing a fact about est actually being an NRM.--RecoveringAddict (talk) 23:14, 28 September 2014 (UTC)