User talk:Martin Hogbin

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Earliest discussions are found at /Archive0. For later discussions see /Archive 1 and following archives.

Monty Hall problem mediation[edit]

A request for formal mediation of the dispute concerning Monty Hall problem has been filed with the Mediation Committee (MedCom). You have been named as a party in this request. Please review the request at Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/Monty Hall problem and then indicate in the "Party agreement" section whether you would agree to participate in the mediation or not.

Mediation is a process where a group of editors in disagreement over matters of article content are guided through discussing the issues of the dispute (and towards developing a resolution) by an uninvolved editor experienced with handling disputes (the mediator). The process is voluntary and is designed for parties who disagree in good faith and who share a common desire to resolve their differences. Further information on the MedCom is at Wikipedia:Mediation Committee; the policy the Committee will work by whilst handling your dispute is at Wikipedia:Mediation Committee/Policy; further information on Wikipedia's policy on resolving disagreements is at Wikipedia:Resolving disputes.

If you would be willing to participate in the mediation of this dispute but wish for its scope to be adjusted then you may propose on the case talk page amendments or additions to the list of issues to be mediated. Any queries or concerns that you have may be directed to an active mediator of the Committee or by e-mailing the MedCom's private mailing list (click here for details).

Please indicate on the case page your agreement to participate in the mediation within seven days of the request's submission.

Thank you, Rick Block (talk)

Request for Amendment to Arbitration[edit]

Hello, Martin Hogbin. This is to inform you that there is a request for amendement regarding an arbitration case that you have commented on.Likebox (talk) 05:03, 8

?oygul's contributions[edit]

These diffs represent the sum total of ?oygul's contributions to WP apart from subjects directly related to the arguments concerning Tree shaping.

[1] [2] [3] [4] Martin Hogbin (talk)

Superluminal Aether[edit]

Your hrash words indicate that you need to acquire more intellect. Read the peer-reviewed publication. Sir-Restriction (talk)

List of vegans[edit]

Do you want to open the discussion or should I? J Milburn (talk) 09:23, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

I have just done so. Let is stick to BRD.Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:28, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
I've no intention of reverting again until there's been some discussion of the issue. J Milburn (talk) 09:55, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm getting a little tired of this now. If you've not got anything more than what you've already said, I think it's time to add Thornton back to the list. J Milburn (talk) 22:36, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Oversight request[edit]

I have removed that information from the talk page, and oversighted all the edits up to that removal. I have also spoken to iNic, who I assume was unaware that was a violation of the outing policy. Daniel Case (talk) 15:19, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Thanks. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:32, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

TEP - Two envelopes[edit]

Martin, thank you for your comments on the TEP talk page. Please consider:

"If A is the smaller amount, then the other envelope contains 2A." To be exact, this means for the ORIGINAL VARIANT: "if A actually is 1/3 of the total amount of both envelopes, only then the other envelope contains 2A (2/3 of the total). And likewise:

"If A is the larger amount, then the other envelope contains A/2" means for the original variant "if A actually is 2/3 of the total amount, only then the other envelope contains A/2 (1/3 of the total).

The conclusion "Thus the other envelope contains 2A with probability 1/2 and A/2 with probability 1/2." clearly is a non-sequitur, it ignores the aforementioned restrictions "if" and "if". So the correct conclusion has to be:

"Thus the other envelope contains 2A (ONLY in case A actually is 1/3 of the total, otherwise not) with probability 1/2 and A/2 (ONLY in case A actually is 2/3 of the total, otherwise not) with probability 1/2."

The "imperfect conclusion" addresses only the Ali Baba variant of a pre-fixed A with its dependent B. Regards, Gerhardvalentin (talk) 06:29, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Gerhard, thanks for your message. Firstly, I agree with you that the Ali Baba version is completely different and was not the originally intended problem. This should be in a separate section of the article. Let us disregard it in our conversations.
Secondly, before we get on to discussing the points you make above, it is important to realise that, unlike the MHP for example, there is no inherent paradox in the TEP. At first sight, to almost everyone, it seems that there is no advantage in swapping, and turns out, when the problem is properly analysed, to be correct, thus there is no paradox. The paradox has to be artificially created by proposing a bogus line of reasoning which suggests that you should swap. The problem is then to find the precise error in the proposed bogus line of reasoning. This is the only paradox. Without a bogus line of reasoning there is no TEP. An argument showing that you should not swap is not a resolution of the paradox, it is just a restatement of the obvious. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:38, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Also, proposed resolutions which find the flaw in an argument for switching that they themselves put forward are not answering the question as originally posed or as put in the article. To resolve the paradox it is necessary to find the flaw in the argument given in the article for switching.
To get to your argument above, it is not wrong but you need to say exactly where the error in logic lies in the argument for switching given in the article. That is not so easy because there are many ambiguities in the argument as given. To resolve the paradox, we have to first decide on exactly what argument for switching is being proposed. For a start, we have to decide exactly what kind of quantity 'A' is.
iNic seems to believe that there philosophical arguments that can show the flaw in the argument for switching without going into mathematical details but he a failed to convince Richard Gill or myself of that fact or to produce any sources to support his position. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:57, 25 October 2014 (UTC) Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:57, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. concerning "... to find the precise error in the proposed bogus line of reasoning." I'm going to repeat:
4. "If A is the smaller amount, then the other envelope contains 2A." is incomplete, it should read:
     If A actually is the smaller amount of 1/3 of the total amount contained in both envelopes, then the other envelope contains 2A, i.e. 2/3 of the total amount.
5. "If A is the larger amount, then the other envelope contains A/2." is incomplete, it should read:
     If A actually is the larger amount of 2/3 of the total amount contained in both envelopes, then the other envelope contains A/2, i.e. 1/3 f the total amount.
6. "Thus the other envelope contains 2A with probability 1/2 and A/2 with probability 1/2." is flawed, it should read:
     Thus the other envelope contains 2A with probability 1/2, namely ONLY in case that envelope A actually contains 1/3, and it contains A/2 with probability 1/2, namely ONLY in case that envelope A actually contains 2/3 of the total amount.
A conclusion could approximately read: "Switching envelopes is equally likely either to win 1/3 of the actual total amount (if envelope A contains 1/3 of that amount) or to lose 1/3 of the actual total amount (if envelope A contains 2/3 of that amount)." – That's what all serious sources say. By clarifying the mistakable lines of reasoning, the contradiction will be eliminated.
Can you see the mistakable lines of reasoning that do not address the original scenario, but in fact address the Ali-Baba scenario? These lines must be clarified. And please have a look to my correct formula (1/2 remains 1/2). Kind regards Gerhardvalentin (talk) 13:35, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree that the argument you present above is correct. I also think that it is important that any argument for not swapping in the standard version of the problem should clearly show that you should swap once in the Ali Baba version.
Where I disagree with you is that I do not see how you have clearly identified the flaw in the given argument for swapping. All I think you have done is to present a parallel, and perfectly correct, argument for not swapping. Let me go through the three statements above to show what I mean.
4. "If A is the smaller amount, then the other envelope contains 2A." is incomplete, it should read:
If A actually is the smaller amount of 1/3 of the total amount contained in both envelopes, then the other envelope contains 2A, i.e. 2/3 of the total amount.
You have not shown an error in the statement, you have shown that there is an alternative way of looking at things. The proposed statement is, in fact, correct. Regardless of what sum is, or may be, in the first envelope, if it is the smaller amount, the other envelope will contain 2A, that is how the problem is set up.
A problem does arise when we ask ourselves exactly what kind of quantity A is intended by the proposer to be. Is it a constant (which it is if you look in your first envelope), an ordinary variable (which is not really applicable here), or a random variable (in which case we may need to ask about conditions and the distribution from to which it belongs)?
5. "If A is the larger amount, then the other envelope contains A/2." is incomplete, it should read:
If A actually is the larger amount of 2/3 of the total amount contained in both envelopes, then the other envelope contains A/2, i.e. 1/3 f the total amount.
The same points as for 4 apply here.
6. "Thus the other envelope contains 2A with probability 1/2 and A/2 with probability 1/2." is flawed, it should read:
Thus the other envelope contains 2A with probability 1/2, namely in case that envelope A actually contains 1/3, and it contains A/2 with probability 1/2, namely in case that envelope A actually contains 2/3 of the total amount.
What you are doing here is, rather than showing what is wrong with the stated line of reasoning, you are suggesting an alternative, and correct way to look at things.
A conclusion could approximately read: "Switching envelopes is equally likely either to win 1/3 of the actual total amount (if envelope A contains 1/3 of that amount) or to lose 1/3 of the actual total amount (if envelope A contains 2/3 of that amount)." – That's what all serious sources say. By clarifying the mistakable lines of reasoning, the contradiction will be eliminated.
But you have not clarified the mistaken lines of reasoning, you have just replaced them with better ones. I agree that, according to some resolutions, the line "Thus the other envelope contains 2A with probability 1/2 and A/2 with probability 1/2." is incorrect but we need to explain exactly why that is so. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:16, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

we need to explain exactly why that is incorrect[edit]

Thank you so much.

"Thus the other envelope contains 2A with probability 1/2 and A/2 with probability 1/2" is a false conclusion, simply because it's an irrelevant conclusion, it's simply a fallacy. "Untruly" it takes the variable A (or the actual contents of envelope "A") to "be capable to decide resp. to determin" what the other envelope actually might contain. But this is not so. In the standard variant, the other envelope B simply doesn't contain with "any" probability 2A or A/2. Fallacy! It will contain 2A ONLY if A actually is 1/3 of the total amount, otherwise not, and it will contain A/2 ONLY if A actually is 2/3 of that amount. OTHERWISE NOT.

Just take a pencil and draw a very big sign "<" on a paper sheet A4 cross, use the full size of A4 cross. Then write an "A" at the left "edge", and a double sized "B" on the right upper end, and a half sized very small "B" on the right end below. That's the Ali-Baba version, where A "determined" the contents of envelope B, say where A "decided" the contents of envelope B.

And on another sheet, A4 cross draw a big "X", use the full size. At the upper left end of the "X" write a very small "A", and to the left low end write a very big "A". Then, at the upper right end a very small "B", and right below a very big "B". This depicts the standard version, where A never is capable to "determin" anythng. It's just an error to believe that as to the standard version the contents of envelope A can "decide resp. determin" what envelope B contains. How to express those two quite different scenarios? Regards, Gerhardvalentin (talk) 12:16, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

I think the problem here is that we have to decide what kind of quantity 'A' is so that we can decide what operations on it are valid.
If we consider the version of the problem where the player looks in their envelope before making their decision, then A becomes a simple constant. Suppose the player sees £100 in their envelope. How do you argue against the statement "Thus the other envelope contains £200 with probability 1/2 and £50 with probability 1/2"? Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:26, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. The value (in £ e.g.) is irrelevant for the mathematical problem, it's just of relevance for philosophers who found not £200, but one nickel only, or a cheque of an incredible large amount of hundreds of million £. As to mathematics, the actual amount in $ or € is irrelevant, and the fragmentary statement: "Thus the other envelope contains £200 with probability 1/2 and £50 with probability 1/2" is an ignoratio elenchi. Such fragment is pure nonsense (did you draw those two designs?), because for the standard version, the "X-Version" you only can guess to have actually picked either the LARGE end:
  • LARGE 2/3 ------versus------small 1/3    or to have picked the small end:
  • small 1/3------vs.------LARGE 2/3.
Only after having considered WHICH end you actually might have picked, you can start to reason: In case I picked the small amount, then the other envelope will contain twice the small amount. And if I actually picked the large amount, then the other envelope contains the LARGE/2 amount. Using one single variable called A for both values, for the "small left end" you might have picked AND for the "LARGE left end" that you might have picked, is pure nonsense in maths. Please help to express this "more perspicuous". Gerhardvalentin (talk) 13:33, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
You are now moving towards a correct resolution that we already have in the article, which is that the statement "Thus the other envelope contains 2A with probability 1/2 and A/2 with probability 1/2" is not true for every value that might be in the initial envelope. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:44, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

Too bad, I'm really disappointed. The article is a mess. As to the standard version and as to maths, envelopes A and B are equally likely to hold the small amount of 1/3, and equally likely also to hold the large amount of 2/3, no difference. Period. Irrespective of the actual size of "amount" in envelope A. And yes, mathematically this is valid for any actual value of A.
Only if envelope A contains a penny only or if A contains a very large amount, philosophers will conclude that it is better to switch resp. to stay.
As to maths, the "value of envelope A" is completely irrelevant.
You are quoting an incorrect statement. You say 'that the statement "Thus the other envelope contains 2A with probability 1/2 and A/2 with probability 1/2" is not true for every value that might be in the initial envelope.'
This is not correct, because the "absolute amount of envelope "A" is mathematically irrelevant. Mathematically the other envelope contains with exact probability 1/2 the double contents of envelope A, irrelevant of the "absolute value of A", namely ALWAYS if A is 1/3 of the total amount, and therefore the smaller of both, true for EVERY value of envelope A. And vice versa. Mathematically the probability is ALWAYS 1/2, always 1/2. That does never depend on the "actual value" of A. What matters is whether A actually holds 1/3, because only if A actually is only 1/3, then this small amount can be doubled, or whether A actually is 2/3, because only in that case this large amount A can be halved, otherwise not. Probability 1:1, probability does not depend on the "absolute value" of A. And in both cases size of difference will be exactly the same: (+/-) 1/3 of the total value.
IMO it is misleading to start the article with the false arguments and the incorrect formula

{1 \over 2} (2A) + {1 \over 2} \left({A \over 2}\right) =  {5 \over 4}   without simultaneously showing the correct arguments and the correct formula:

{1 \over 2} ( 2a ) + {1 \over 2} \left({A \over 2}\right) = 1 : 1.
Otherwise the rest of the article will remain an incomprehensible mess. Gerhardvalentin (talk) 18:33, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that you have now gone back to giving an argument why you should not swap. We all know you should not swap and that the argument given is misleading becuase it leads you to the view that you should swap. To resolve the paradox you need to pinpoint exactly where the problem lies in the argument for swapping given. It is no use just saying that it leads to a contradiction, that is the whole point of the puzzle; to present an argument that leads to a contradiction.
The trouble with the new paper is that it does not show where the error lies. If you enhance it, as you have done, that is not only OR but it brings it into line with existing resolutions. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:59, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
So you still didn't read what I say, it's what the literature says (e.g. Léo Gerville-Réache, Bruss (1996), Bartz (in German only), Bliss, Federico O'Reilly, Tom Loredo or Tom Loredo and many many others). The statement "Thus the other envelope contains 2A with probability 1/2 and A/2 with probability 1/2" is just only an incomplete fragment that perforce leads to driveling false conclusions. "This mistake is adding apples and oranges" as mentioned by Schwitzgebel and Dever.
(I guess you still didn't draw those two figures.) The correct approach: firstly, you have to consider that there exists the total amount of both envelopes. For the standard version, in 50% you have EITHER picked the smaller one: 1/3, or in the other 50% you have picked the larger one: 2/3. Now the correct consideration is (above I have asked you 'Please help to express this "more perspicuous"'):
  • in 50% I will have picked the small amount (a), and if so, the other envelope contains 2*small (B), but having picked
  • in 50% the large amount (A), then the other envelope contains large/2 (b).
For the standard version, "2A or A/2" is a furtive nonsensical false conclusion, just to lead us up the garden path. A false result, due to incomplete fragmentary reasoning. Gerhardvalentin (talk) 15:20, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
Gerhard, your two links seem not to work. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:22, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
The picture: Standard version and Nalebuff's Ali Baba variant. Regards, Gerhard --Gerhardvalentin (talk) 23:02, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
I see your picture but it does not explain the error in the given line of reasoning.
You don't? This discussion lasts already for years, now. The cryptic article should clearly say what the literature says. Ruma Falk e.g. says on page 19 "Fault finding":  "This reasoning is faulty. The fault lies in the formulation. Because the other envelope contains the double amount ONLY THEN, IF mine actually holds the smaller amount, and vice versa the other envelope contains half of mine ONLY THEN, IF, my envelope actually holds the large amount. So each term in formula item 7 represents another value, but both terms are denominated by A. As per Rawlings (1994, p.100) this means committing the cardinal sin of a double seizure of an algebraic variable."  IMHO this error should be shown as early as possible, and as clearly as possible, in a comprehensive way. Gerhardvalentin (talk) 17:43, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Your Léo Gerville-Réache link is quite extraordinary. It is an arXiv preprint directly addressing a Wikipedia article. Presumably the author is not aware that WP articles can be edited by anyone, including himself, and therefore the contents is subject to arbitrary change.
Federico O'Reilly would appear to be an unpublished private paper written by an academic whilst on leave and Loredo is a paper on a the staff section of an academic site. Unfortynately, I cannot read German.
Richard Gill has contributed to this article and has a good understanding of the published papers. I will try to contact him to see if he can help. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:49, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

unproductive Talk page discussion[edit]

about this, see my note to albinoferret here: User_talk:AlbinoFerret#TPG. there are lots of sources that talk about risks; society (regulators, doctors, other folks) have a legitimate interest in considering risks of new technologies. instead of discussing what weight to give sources in the article (very legitimate Talk page discussion), albino accused other editors of soapboxing/speculating/scaremongering. that is not legitimate and worse, poisons the discussion and leaves no way to respond. on top of that he seemed to be claiming that we should the article based on what "users want". that is not how we structure articles - there is no basis for that in policy or guideline. there was literally nothing i could write back to him other than what i did. Jytdog (talk) 18:41, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

You seem to have forgotten one basic policy of WP, which is that it is intended to be an encyclopedia not a WP:soapbox. That to me would seem to be his main point. You will often find me pursuing that point too. Using WP as a vehicle to support or oppose some great principle or right some great wrong is not its main purpose.
As you know, I gave up editing the BP article not because I am in any way a BP supporter but because it had been turned into a vehicle for attacking BP. This attitude is one of the most serious threats to the future and integrity of WP. It occurs regularly on a large scale (as in BP) and on a much smaller scale (for example an article on a US fraternity); someone wants to complain or make a point and they think it is OK to abuse WP to get publicity for their opinion.
AlbinoFerret wrote [with my comments added], ' An Encyclopedia is about information, not guesses, possibilities and worries'.
Exactly correct.
'What the health section has t is o much of to me a lot of speculation looking 5 years down the road before the evidence presents itself. Its scare tactics'.
Scare tactics (even if the threat turns out to be true) is not the purpose of an encyclopedia.
'But construction, and history is not speculation but about concrete things and developments. It appeals to people looking at the device, which is what the articles name implies should be its focus'.
In other words the article should be about the subject in its title.
'There is a large and growing community of users who have already made up their minds on the health aspects of them and has decided to use them. Writing to the concerns of the health community, which for the most part are not users has me concerned on the direction of the article'.
Our audience includes ES users who may want to know more that that ES will kill them (if indeed that is so).
'Other editors have even been against splitting the health section out to a article devoted to the health issues. This screams of not wanting to inform, but wanting a soapbox where they can force their views up front'.
No personal attacks here, just a comment on the direction that some editors seem to be taking. Let us keep it encyclopedic; this is, after all, an encyclopedia. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:03, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
whew. you completely avoided my point that instead of discussing sources albino personalized it to choices other editors were making. this is destructive and ends conversation. we discuss content, not contributors.' we base articles on what reliable sources say, not on what editors think readers want to read. if you or other editors have ideas about WEIGHT, 'you discuss your ideas about WEIGHT, not other editors. and again, there are a shitload of reliable sources that discuss the risks of e-cigs. institutions that make society go have a legitimate interest in discussing and understanding new technologies that become widespread. sometimes those institutions help new technologies go (internet) sometime they try to stop them (crack cocaine) and sometimes they seek to regulate them (fracking, e-cigs). that is entirely legit. discussing risks is not "scare tactics". one can argue about weight sure. but again that discussion comes down to what you or other editors think weight should be - NOT what other editors think weight should be. WE DISCUSS CONTENT, NOT CONTRIBUTORS. period. Jytdog (talk) 10:04, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
SHOUTING does not make you right and is rather uncivil. I have included all of the pertinent contributions from AlbinoFerret, with my comments, above and there are no comments at all about other editors, only about the editing of the article in general. In fact, your comments, addressed to individual editors, are more against WP rules than anything that AlbinoFerret has written.
We can discuss what we like. There are no restrictions on what may be discussed on the talk pages (unless they are personal attacks or other banned comments). Our aim is to write an encyclopedia and sources do not tell us how to do that, that is decided by civil discussion on the talk pages about whatever is needed to improve WP.
No one is saying that stating known risks (supported by reliable sources) is scare tactics, only that the way they are currently presented (by editors in general) is. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:35, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Clarification motion[edit]

A case (Monty Hall problem) in which you were involved has been modified by motion which changed the wording of the discretionary sanctions section to clarify that the scope applies to pages, not just articles. For the arbitration committee --S Philbrick(Talk) 21:49, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Reference Errors on 21 November[edit]

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Martin, Regarding the discussion on the Maxwell talk page, I can see now that you are dealing with an editor who has an agenda to ban the word British, and who is willing to edit on the main article against a consensus. An admin called Dave Souza agrees with you but says on his talk page that he hasn't got time to go into this. I suggest that you take the matter to some kind of opinion forum. The question needs to be asked in general terms "Does the nationality field in the info box refer to sovereign nationality?". If this is not tackled generally, the Scottish nationalists and the 'ban the word British' groups will systematically remove the word 'British' from all articles. As regards that essay which was produced as guidelines, it is total piffle, written by somebody who wants to ban the word British. The editor FF-UK is very keen to close the discussion down on the Maxwell talk page, but I suggest that it is only temporarily adjourned rather than closed down, until an opinion forum is consulted. I can't see why anybody other than an anti-British person would try to argue that nationality refers to sovereign nationality except when that nationality is British. (talk) 15:33, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

Yes we should address the issue globally, I could start an RfC on the one-man essay page on the subject but I see no reason to stop discussingthe specific case of Maxwell onb that talk page, that is what the talk page is for.
By the way, can I suggest that you register. There is no need to use your real name (although you can if you wish, as I do) and your IP address will not then be shown publicly. There is no real disadvantage to registering. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:34, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

Maxwell was a British subject and not a British citizen. The nationality field should therefore read 'British' and not 'Scottish'. Here is a government link which explains how the pre-1983 status was 'British Subject' . British citizenship was only introduced for the first time with the 1981 act. (talk) 16:32, 5 December 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Yes, we all know that, but some editors insist on claiming Maxwell for Scotland by the abuse of the 'nationality' field in the infobox. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:40, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

FWIW, I agree with using British/United Kingdom in the UK biographies. Just pointing out that you're going to face strong resistance. GoodDay (talk) 14:42, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

If you look in the Village Pump page you will see that I am only trying to limit the use of the term 'nationality' to a well defined and usually very clear legal meaning. So long as the insistence of using the formal nationality is limited to just that useage I think it can be justified.
One of the biggest threats to WP's integrity is the embedding of opinions into articles. Using anything other than the well defined legal/international meaning of 'nationality' can only be an attempt to claim ownership of the subject. No one should be doing this; we should just state the facts. Nationality should be a simple fact like age, date of birth etc, not a word that tries to describe the whole national identity of a person. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:07, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
Good luck, in your NPOV quest :) GoodDay (talk) 16:23, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. You can contribute to the RfC when it comes. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:34, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

I've suggested a poll on the Maxwell talk page. (talk) 21:24, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Hi, your !vote seems to appear both under oppose and support in the RfC you just created. You probably did not mean it. WarKosign 13:31, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

No I made a mistake. Thanks for correcting it. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:14, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Here's a link you may find useful,_James_Clerk I'm sorry I can't find a link for James Laidlaw Maxwell. (talk) 20:36, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

And in the 19th century, the Americans looked upon him as being English,_James_Clerk This goes to show the need to get the nationality correct. (talk) 20:45, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

And here's more evidence from the year 1880 that he was considered to be English in his own time All the more reason to describe his nationality as British in order to avoid controversy. (talk) 20:49, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Conclusion to be drawn from the rfc at the village pump regarding the definition of nationality[edit]

Martin, I can see that quite a few editors have shot you down in flames and baulked at your very reasonable idea that the term "nationality" in an info box should have a clear meaning that readers universally understand. Some of your opponents seemed to be thoroughly affronted at the whole concept of nationality, so much so that they wouldn't contemplate the idea that the word could have any concise meaning. That now leaves you in a bit of a limbo. On the one hand, the guidelines for biographies advise that the subject's nationality be stated in an info box at the beginning of the article, while on the other hand there seems to be strenuous opposition to defining what we actually mean by nationality in an info box. Your proposed definition was very much in line with what most reasonable people would understand the term to mean, but most of your opponents were adamant that nationality definitely doesn't mean what you had suggested, yet they failed to provide any alternative definition, baulking at the whole idea of having it defined at all. Since they are putting obstacles in the way of having the readers understand what is meant by nationality, then the only conclusion that I can draw is, that the nationality field in the info box must be deleted altogether, because it refers to a piece of information about which we are not allowed to be clear on the meaning. The uncertainty about the meaning leaves the door wide open for fudging and exploitation by separatist movements, so the term needs to be removed altogether in order to remove all doubt. On the subject's talk page, you were chased away to the wider forum. On the wider forum, they passed the buck back to the talk page again. So that's where it needs to go now, with a view to removing the nationality field altogether. I'm sure you'll get the full support of all your opponents, who are so affronted by the term nationality. They'll back you to the hilt when you remove it, because they don't like that term. (talk) 07:14, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

That was a suggestion that I was considering making. It is absurd to have a field in an infobox where no one knows what it means. I am not sure that all respondents undestand what I mean so any way you could help make this clear would be useful. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:00, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

As I've predicted, your commonsense proposals are not going to be adopted. PS: As you can see, Wikipedia is not perfect. But, it's the best we've got. GoodDay (talk) 17:17, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

You may well turn out to be right but the argument is not lost yet. It seems that most respondends have no understood the proposal correctly and that they are talking about descriptions and ignoring what sources say. If there is any way that you can help explain that I am only referring to 'nationality is XXX' statements that would be helpful. If a person's nationality is to be decided by a small bunch of editors, based on their own personal beliefs and feelings, then WP will loose all credibility.Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:00, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

Well absolutely. They totally misunderstood your point, but I don't think they wanted to understand it. They were carried away by wave of emotion. It was the "how dare you foist a nationality upon me!" attitude. They would say "let the subject decide his own nationality" while ignoring the fact that the subject in question that began the debate is long dead. They would assume without question that a Scotsman is naturally in rebellion about being British, and of course we just had to have the anon IP server 71 come along wearing his Sporrins eschewing the idea that anybody would consider him to be British. They recited the old mantra "stick to the sources" while ignoring the fact that there are multiple sources in existence citing Maxwell to be British, Scottish, and even English. They told you to deal with each case individually, yet they refused to discuss the particular case that started it all. There was the assumption that Maxwell was like an Armenian in Turkey who wouldn't want to identify with Turkish nationality. I think that you have said all that needs to be said at the village pump. They are ignoring you. It's just become a wild party of people expressing phony outrage at the whole concept of nationality having a definition. Anything sensible that you say will swiftly be buried in a sea of spam. I think the next move should be to remove the nationality field in the info box on the grounds that there is no consensus about a definition of nationality, and so the field cannot be allowed to be abused by separatists. (talk) 19:01, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

It's impossible to know for certain why the editors who are opposing usage of British, are opposing the usage of British. What's more important is that they simply are opposing & because of that fact, there'll be no consensus for inclusion. GoodDay (talk) 17:16, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
PS - As you can see with my latest proposal, some editors are going to oppose anything that replaces, accompanies or deletes the usage of Scottish, Welsh, English & Northern Irish/Irish. GoodDay (talk) 15:44, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes indeed, I can see exactly that. Some kind of (inapproprate) point is being made but I am not going to speculate about what it might be. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:52, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

National Identity[edit]

Please have a look at the latest proposed compromise on the talk page of James Clerk Maxwell. It notes the distinction between nationality and national identity. If the proposal is not acceptable then the reference to nationality in the info box will have to be removed altogether. (talk) 08:19, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

Sports Country[edit]

I think the most ridiculous thing that I heard yet was the argument that Andy Murray's country is Great Britain as opposed to the UK, because he played for Great Britain in the Davis cup. A person's country is fact and not decided by what sports team he plays for. It gets worse all the time. All references to British and the UK are to be eliminated by consensus, under the guise of any pathetic argument that suits the particular circumstances. (talk) 18:29, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

The problem is that many people do not understand how the UK works. It is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but the associated nationality is 'British'. The country is 'UK'; the nationality is 'British'. The problem is that some editors either do not know this or do not like it and want to change the world through the medium of WP. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:17, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Yes indeed. They want to use wikipedia to describe things how they would like them to be, and the system allows them to do that, because consent over rides sources. Did you notice at the village pump how there are many editors spending a lot of their time there making up rules, yet the one thing they hate most when it comes to the crunch, is a rule. Also did you notice how an editor deleted the fact that Maxwell was born and died in the UK. He claimed that UK amounted to excessive disambiguation, yet I have just sampled a selection of Hollywood actors whose info boxes describe them as having been born in the US, along with their state. I haven't noticed anybody going around removing the initials US on the grounds of 'too much disambiguation'. Then notice how editor FF-UK insists on a source to state that Maxwell was British, but when it comes to 'Scottish' he is happy enough to infer that without any need for a source. Under wikipedia's rules, if four or five editors came together, they could insist on calling France 'Pretty Polly'. (talk) 16:23, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Yes it is crazy and it seriously degrades the credibility of WP. Soon it will all be just stuff that people have made up. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:28, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Editor FF-UK and[edit]

For your information, each of these two editors have reverted at the Maxwell article. They both edit on the same articles about electricity mains supplies. (talk) 19:22, 18 December 2014 (UTC)


I think you've had a pretty good run for your money there. With this edit you are pushing it. I am now asking you nicely to let it go. The essay that explains all this is at WP:UKNATIONALS. Please ask at the talk there, at project talk, or maybe at the village pump for any further help with nationality. --John (talk) 18:16, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for asking me 'nicely' but WP:V is not subject to limitations, it is a fundamental policy of Wikipedia.
The essay that you point me to is nothing but the opinion of a few editors, with all dissenting opinion ignored. There is no nationality of 'Scottish' and certainly no authoritative sources saying that Maxwell's nationality was Scottish. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:24, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Be careful that you don't push commonsense on these articles, too much. My attempts in the past, help led me into a 2-yr topic ban from British & Irish articles. GoodDay (talk) 14:47, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
I do not think that I have done anything that warrants a topic ban so far and I do not intend to do anything that does. As I said to another editor, if Arbcom are not going to support my compromise proposal, which is based on NPOV and verifiability then there is no hope for WP anyway. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:49, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

British Nationality[edit]

For your information,

Until 1st January 1949, the status of 'British subject' was a class of British nationality throughout the entire British Empire. From 1st January 1949 until 1st January 1983, this status continued in conjunction with a local citizenship that took primacy for administrative purposes. In the case of the UK and colonies, it was "Citizen of UK and Colonies". New Zealand, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and Southern Rhodesia introduced their own citizenship in conjunction with the umbrella British subject status. From 1st January 1983, the 'British subject' status was phased out, now only used for special situations. British citizenship was introduced for the first time. Here are some links you may find interesting,

This one in particular is a very compelling government source. See section 1.2 (talk) 21:11, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for those sources. I have started a page at User:Martin_Hogbin/MWB for the collation of sources showing that Maxwell had British nationality. Arbcom will not arbitrate on this but it is important to show that there is a good case for listing his nationality as 'British' in the infobox and that those who want 'Scottish' are asserting page ownership and violating WP:V and WP:NPOV by insisting on keeeping 'Scottish'. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:24, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
On further reading of those sources they seem definitive now. Perhaps you could help me present the argument clearly on my User:Martin_Hogbin/MWB page. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:51, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Especially the last of the four sources, and especially the bit in section 1.2 about Scotland and England uniting in 1707. Just as an aside, my understanding is that when the two crowns united in 1603, Scottish subjects became English subjects ( ). Then in 1707, they all became British subjects, and that being a British subject meant having British nationality. Anyway, I see your point now which is that this tribunal will not rule on content, and that you will be putting the case that since sources can be found to support the point of view of either side in the dispute, that it amounts to page ownership if one side insists on having their point of view prevailing. You will be asking the tribunal to rule according to an existing policy, that being that in such contentious issues, the contentious material should be removed altogether. (talk) 15:26, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Yes that is right. The forced retention of the contentions and unreferenced 'nationality' in the infobox is completely against the core Wikipedia policies of WP:V and WP:NPOV and suggests page ownership by one editor. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:41, 23 December 2014 (UTC)


A heads up. Adam Cuerden (talk) 22:28, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure if you wish to revise your latest comment there or if I am misunderstanding. The version I was referring to as the "compromise" puts nationality in the infobox as both British and Scottish - not just one or the other. Or are you saying you don't consider this a compromise at all? That isn't to say your proposal wasn't made as a compromise either; just that this is a newer proposal which seems to have been enacted by another editor in the meanwhile. Ncmvocalist (talk) 15:55, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Ncmvocalist, the version you have seen was edit by Richard Gill quite recently. It was quickly reverted. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:32, 24 December 2014 (UTC)