User talk:MastCell

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Welcome to Wikipedia![edit]

Dear MastCell: Welcome to Wikipedia, a free and open-content encyclopedia. I hope you enjoy contributing. To help get you settled in, I thought you might find the following pages useful:

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Hi MastCell. I responded a bit impulsively today in the heat of the moment in the thread that alleges misrepresentation of sources. I sort of wish now that I'd held off, since I really appreciate your suggestion that we get back to the process we started. I think that's a good suggestion. TimidGuy (talk) 00:29, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

OK. But since you're here, I want to ask you something. Our content on the purported health benefits of Transcendental Meditation is heavily influenced by editors affiliated with the TM movement. Do you think that raises questions about bias (either conscious or unconscious) in our coverage? I think the best practice (one that is recommended, but not demanded, by WP:COI) would be for editors with close connections to the movement to participate in talkpage discussion, but for independent, unaffiliated editors to manage the actual editing of article content.

I'm not a big fan of analogies, but let's say that our coverage of an antihypertensive drug from Merck were dominated by a small group of single-purpose accounts closely affiliated with Merck. That situation would rightly raise concerns about our ability to present accurate and unbiased medical information. I see a similar problem on the TM articles, at least as far as they intersect with medical claims. Do you?

Finally, I'm sort of disappointed in the lack of restraint shown by TM-affiliated editors. Frankly, there are a number of Wikipedia articles, both medical and biographical, which I avoid because I want to manage any potential conflicts of interest on my part. These are areas where I believe I could undoubtedly improve our coverage, but I recognize that my connections (which are not financial, but rather personal or professional) would potentially bias me. So I don't edit those articles, as a simple but healthy form of self-restraint. I sort of wish that some level of introspection would take place here so that people wouldn't need to beat the drum confrontationally about it. MastCell Talk 17:53, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Apology on ABC sourcing[edit]

I apologize, I should have taken your objections to primary sourcing more seriously and done my due diligence on reviewing Wiki-policy. Particularly on "reliable primary sources may be used in Wikipedia; but only with care, because it is easy to misuse them" to make exceptional claims. - RoyBoy 19:13, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

People at home all day with nothing else to do[edit]

Yes, I know that some of our editors are mentally ill. However, please don't try to diagnose such issues with regards to specific editors. Could you refactor your recent comment on User talk:Jimbo Wales? We want to set a good example. Jehochman Talk 22:27, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

I think your concern is badly misplaced. You saw this threat from The Devil's Advocate that I was responding to. If you feel compelled to talk to people about their behavior, maybe you could take that up with him? I think threatening people with some sort of real-life exposure and harm is a bigger concern than my abstract statement that Wikipedia can be held hostage by anyone with a personality disorder and an Internet connection. To be clear, I don't feel threatened—based on his behavior here, I doubt TDA can tie his own shoes, much less actually collect information about my IRL identity and blackmail me with. But it is nonetheless a threat, and frankly I think my response was if anything excessively temperate under the circumstances. MastCell Talk 22:40, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
TDA is being obnoxious, but I don't read that as a thread to expose you. If I did. I'd block them forever. In any case, there's an old saying by Mark Twain, to the effect that you shouldn't argue with a fool because an observer can't tell the difference. Why don't you try asking TDA to explain exactly what they meant. Perhaps they will clear up the confusion, or else they might make a proper, over threat that would expose things so that they can finally be resolved. Jehochman Talk 23:24, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
As it seems I am being discussed here, let me weigh in: I was not threatening to expose anyone. When I presented a simple opinion about whether we should block people on the basis of personal opinions held off-wiki and MastCell called me an extremist I responded with what I said as a reminder of that verse from the good book saying "Judge not lest ye be judged." Simply put, MastCell should be more wary of advocating this approach in relation to on-wiki action since he himself may find that coming back to bite him. The fact that the people most interested in having people banned for their personal opinions also happen to be the ones who most often let their personal opinions get in the way of policy-compliant editing is #JustWikipediaThings.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 03:16, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
If Mastcell wants your opinion, I am sure he can go to your talk page and ask. Unless that happens, please remember another saying: better to remain quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. Jehochman Talk 11:58, 22 September 2014 (UTC)


Where the heck is that statement that used to be on your talk page about how "we're all eventually going to lose it and get indef blocked, the goal is to do the most we can before that"? Except it sounded classier than that when you said it. As a prolific creator of such insights, you have a certain obligation to the rest of us to organize them and make them available for others to quote when we need them. Having a bunch of collapsed sections, not one of which is labelled "Floq, what you're looking for is in this one", does not help me at all.

Although it's also possible it's right there staring me in the face and I'm going to be embarrassed when you point it out. --Floquenbeam (talk) 11:50, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

It's currently #2 on the Cynic's Guide. I move them around from time to time, mostly to force people to expand the collapsed sections and read through all of them. :P I definitely feel like I've moved pretty close to the point of no return over the past year or two here. I used to deal more effectively with the constant background hum of fuckwittery around this place, but as you can see even just one section up, my patience is running pretty thin. In any case, it is always a pleasant surprise to hear from you, and I hope you're well and enjoying your escape from the ArbCom Catch-22 (if you're sane enough to be a good Arbitrator, then you're sane enough to get the hell off the Committee as soon as possible). MastCell Talk 15:18, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Did you miss that he escaped the committee? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 15:35, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
No, in fact he's a good illustration of the Catch-22—elected on the basis of his sanity, but as a result quickly realizing that only a crazy person would want to serve on the Committee. MastCell Talk 15:39, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
I fixed a typo (added a missing "a") to one of the quotes. (The "Lit" portion of my personality sort of requires me to do such things.) LHMask me a question 15:22, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks - much appreciated. :) MastCell Talk 15:25, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
And who knew that my above post would also demonstrate the literary technique of Irony, albeit unintentionally? LHMask me a question 15:28, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
If you like unintentional irony, then you will love the Wikipedia "community". :) MastCell Talk 15:35, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Oh, believe me, I've been around here long enough (started in late 2006, as a constructive IP) to understand that our "community" is sort of an amalgam of Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, and Nineteen Eighty-Four, with a splash of Lord of the Flies mixed in just to keep things interesting. LHMask me a question 15:44, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it's that complicated, and I'm wary of the loss of perspective that comes from assigning cosmic significance to the goings-on at one particular privately owned website. It's a simple matter of incentives. Look at the incentives Wikipedia provides, and you can understand why the "community" ended up the way it is. Whatever pleasing fictions we tell ourselves at WP:DR, content disputes on Wikipedia are resolved only when one side wears down the other. Rationality, perspective, empathy, a willingness to compromise and see other people's points of view—all of these are weaknesses in the Wikipedia model. On the other hand, obsessive tenacity, tunnel vision, pedantry, and an eagerness to fight are all highly incentivized here. We've systematically driven away smart, interesting people in favor of pathological obsessives capable of spending 5 years fighting over the capital "T" in (T|t)he Beatles. All of this is dictated by incentives. ArbCom cases are the worst example: "You enjoy verbal combat more than editing? Here's a six-month-long steel-cage match against your least favorite editors!" If we changed the incentives, we'd change the community... but I'm pretty sure it's too late for that. MastCell Talk 15:56, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Ah, Arbcom. One of my earliest Wikifriends was once a member of that august body. I learned my lesson on that forum long ago. Just recently, my name was mentioned there as someone who should have been listed as a party to a certain pending case. I made a fairly brief statement, removed the page from my watchlist, and absolutely refuse to get involved in the back-and-forth that I'm certain is happening there as I type this. LHMask me a question 16:03, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
One of my wikifriends also was a member of that august body. Where is he now? I should have done as you described in the infoboxes case, but where would one of our best editors be then? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 20:48, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
There was an entire case about INFOBOXES?!? That's just--I don't even know. LHMask me a question 21:11, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
It was called that name, but was more about ownership, only I didn't understand. The arbs thought some conflicts would go away if only one person was banned. It didn't work ;) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 21:20, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
LHM, I think you may have violated 4 corollaries of Godwin's Law there... MC, thanks for the link. I was right, it was just me being an idiot. --Floquenbeam (talk) 19:52, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Neil deGrasse Tyson RS[edit]

Rather than removing the material and asserting that it was only on "partisan blogs and websites", you might look further at the talk page. In the discussion there are articles on this from WaPo, Tampa Tribune, Weekly Standard, The Daily Beast (formerly Newsweek) etc. The edit/summary is inaccurate. The WaPo and Daily Beast refs should have been added not the material discarded. I generally agree and fall on the most protective side of BLP discussions, but this is no longer on blogs it is mainstream RS. (The discussion at talk on this is quite active as well.) Thanks! Capitalismojo (talk) 16:04, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

The material may be reinserted with proper sourcing (assuming such sourcing exists) after the protection expires, or sooner if consensus is achieved on the talkpage. However, the material that was in the protected version of the article was an obvious and unequivocal WP:BLP violation. Per WP:PREFER, such violations can and should be removed through full protection. It is categorically inappropriate to use low-quality partisan blogs to level defamatory accusations—in Wikipedia's voice and presented as fact—against a living person. Editors who don't get that shouldn't be editing biographical articles. MastCell Talk 16:19, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Gosh, yes. I agree defamatory attacks from partisan blogs should not ever be in BLPs, sourced only to blogs the removal was appropriate. I am hoping you are not suggesting that I was in any way proposing that ill-sourced and defamatory material be included. Legitimate criticism found in major mainstream media accounts are another matter. An editor (an admin) had posted a table of the refs for the information several days ago at talk. They included RS mentioned above (although not the WaPo article from today). They Daily Beast ref in particular is defensive of the subject's reputation. That is what I was pointing you towards. Capitalismojo (talk) 19:05, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
I have not, by the way, edited the article ever and came to talk by way of the noticeboards. Capitalismojo (talk) 19:05, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Honestly, I would delete the entire thing until consensus can be established for its inclusion. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 00:12, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Meh. I will say that I learn something new every day on Wikipedia—in this case, I had no idea that Neil DeGrasse Tyson was such a high-priority target for right-wing types. No doubt more editorial energy will be spent arguing about these allegations than will be spent on covering the Ebola epidemic, because that's how things are done here. MastCell Talk 18:40, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
See here for a very small sample of the attacks. Basically, they've been attacking him every day since the rebooted Cosmos aired. Viriditas (talk) 05:29, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
Did he make up those "quotes"? The speechwriters say yes he did. The press secretary says yes he did. Therefore I think there's a pretty strong chance that he made up those "quotes". David Newton (talk) 21:19, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I have no idea whether he made up the quotes, and even less interest in arguing with a bunch of Wikipedians about it. The faux outrage surrounding the subject is a good indication that it's a waste of time. MastCell Talk 04:08, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
No, it is not appropriate to claim this was a WP:BLP exception to the rule about getting consensus. While blogs are questionable sources, the Weekly Standrd is not. Some people find it partisan, but that does not make it an unreliable source in this context. Please revert.--S Philbrick(Talk) 23:15, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
Editing through protection without a valid argument is a serious issue. I'll AGF that you think the Weekly Standard doesn't qualify as a reliable source, but I reviewed RSN, and posted the link in the article talk page, so there is little excuse for not knowing. I'll continue to AGF and assume you didn't read the talk page, but please read it, then revert.--S Philbrick(Talk) 23:19, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
For reference, the edit in question is here. I view the removed material as a clear WP:BLP violation and an inappropriate use of sources. The material made a factual claim (with the negative and potentially defamatory implication that Tyson had fabricated quotes), but was sourced only to low-quality partisan websites. Those sources are inappropriate to support a factual claim in Wikipedia's voice; they clearly meet the criteria defined in WP:BIASED, and at most could arguably support a claim with in-text attribution (e.g. "according to conservative websites Weekly Standard and The Federalist, there is no evidence that Bush said X").

Whether to include such a claim with in-text attribution now, or whether to look for and prioritize higher-quality independent reliable sources, is a decision that editors will have to make at Talk:Neil deGrasse Tyson. (I prefer the latter approach, but I'm realistic enough to recognize that editors are determined to run with the low-quality partisan sources, BLP or no). In either case, though, one thing that cannot happen is to use low-quality partisan sources for a statement of fact in Wikipedia's voice. Doing so is inappropriate under any circumstances, and particularly so in a BLP article, hence my removal under WP:PREFER. MastCell Talk 00:19, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Please read the RfC about the inclusion of the incident. More than 30 editors weighed in. Not a single one said, "hold on, why are we debating this, it is an out-and-out BLP violation so it must be removed." None. I see only there people even using the term BLP. One of whom changed a vote because it no longer was a BLP problem. One editor invoked BLP to remind us that we should be cautious when editing a BLP. I concur. One editor said we need strong sources when editing a BLP. I concur. If this was so obviously a BLP violation that it warrants editing through protection, wouldn't some one of the thirty plus editors mentioned it before now? Did you review the RFC? Do you see anyone alleging that Tyson didn't make the claim? Did anyone even hint that Bush meant what Tyson claimed he meant? I've seen hundreds of Wiki-debates over the years, and frankly cannot recall another one where virtually no editor, not even a drive-by IP, was on the other site of the claim. I suggest that if we had a debate about whether the sky is blue, we would have less of a consensus. There is, to be sure, a valid debate about weight, but save your one edit, not a single editor has questioned the underlying incident, which is that Tyson made an error. For that matter, you haven't challenged the facts, you've simply removed a statement that had a blog source and a reliable source. If you want to challenge the blog source, I'm on your side, but you can't throw out the whole things, simply because one of the sources might be dicey.--S Philbrick(Talk) 00:41, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
I reiterate my request that you revert your edit. Your mere assertion that it is a BLP violation is not supported by the facts.--S Philbrick(Talk) 00:43, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Your construction argument fails. We don't use a construction such as "according to liberal websites such as the New York Times." (If my search string is properly formed, that phrase has never been used in a Wikipedia article.) That construction might be valid if we were talking about some extremist publication, but that is not an issue here.--S Philbrick(Talk) 00:48, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
You appear to be harassing this editor. I suggest you move back to the relevant Talk page. But, you will most likely lose as all sources trace back to one source that has used extremist hyperbole. Just my opinion. And for that, I may find myself ridiculed in the press as the original source is ridiculing numerous Wikipedia editors in the press for disagreeing with his articles. Even comparing Wikipedia editors to beheading jihadists and the crucifixion of Christ. This is not how a reliable resource acts. Again, in my opinion.Objective3000 (talk) 01:18, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Sphilbrick the source where all the rest trace back to is, which is a joke. What MastCell removed was indeed a BLP violation, the entire mention of this "incident" should go next since it suffers from the same issue: non-notability, not based on WP:RS. Lastly I agree with Objective3000, this discussion should be taking place in the article TP. not here. Regards. Gaba (talk) 01:46, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
@Sphilbrick: If you're seriously equating the Weekly Standard with the New York Times, then I think I see where the problem is. I think most people can tell the difference between the two; one is a reputable straight-news organization and one is a partisan journal which publishes only ideologically driven opinion and commentary. Now, it may be that the group of editors currently imbroiled in Tysongate is enriched for people who can't tell the difference between these two sources, but that means I have all the more responsibility to act to enforce our standards. When I see WP:BIASED partisan sources as the sole support for a potentially defamatory statement of fact in a BLP, I don't need to look at an RfC (unless I want a rough count of how many editors don't grasp our sourcing standards). MastCell Talk 02:32, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
The NYT clearly has a broader scope of coverage, and far richer content when it comes to arts, science and other areas. But in the realm of politics, both are partisan, so yes in that very narrow circumstance, I am comparing (not equating) them. Are you seriously unaware of this? Can you cite the proportion of Republican endorsed by the NYT? I don't have that stat, but I'll bet it is comparable to the proportion of democrats endorsed by the Weekly Standard. But that's a side issue. We aren't here to debate the reliability of the NYT, the issue is the Weekly Standard. And if that is an issue you have to raise it. The publication has been discussed at RSN and accepted. If you would like to raise it again, and a consensus agrees with you, then we can revisit this edit, but until you take that step you have removed a reliable source over protection with no consensus. I request again that you self-revert.--S Philbrick(Talk) 12:42, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
The Weekly Standard is an American neoconservative opinion magazine. The New York Times (NYT) is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since September 18, 1851. It has won 114 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. The political spectrum does not end at the US Democratic Party. Where did you find TWS at RSN? I found two discussions, one ambivalent, one clearly against accepting it. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:01, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually, the NYT regularly endorses Republicans, including the last two NYC mayors and NYS governor. Objective3000 (talk) 13:58, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
@Objective3000: good point, but if I may, I would like to clear up one misconception. The NYT has a historical tendency to act as a supporter of whomever is in power or is likely to be in power. What this means on the national level, is that if there is a Republican in office, the left will complain about the conservative bias of the NYT, whereas if there is a Democratic administration, the right will complain about their leftist bias. There are a few exceptions here and there, but I believe most media scholars have noticed this, and the publishers have said as much. As a result, the NYT is often "late" to the party, since their position makes them highly risk averse. For example, their editorial position on federal cannabis legalization was expressed more than two decades after public opinion, policy, and health science had already solidified. For this reason, namely their close relationship to the slow momentum of the status quo, their editorial opinions are often considered as too little, too late. Viriditas (talk) 20:03, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for telling us the "truth", in your mind. But, this is an encyclopedia, not a forum. Objective3000 (talk) 23:56, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
To be clear, I'm opposed to presenting contentious claims as fact in a BLP when those claims are sourced solely to opinion pieces. That's true whether the opinion pieces in question are New York Times editorials or Weekly Standard pieces. The difference between the two, as I think we agree, is that the Times carries quite a bit of high-quality news reporting in addition to its editorials, while the Weekly Standard has no journalistic aspect at all and consists solely of partisan opinion pieces. I will review links to WP:RS/N discussions if you provide them. However, I don't need to look at RS/N to know that potentially defamatory statements of fact about a living person cannot be sourced solely to partisan opinion pieces. That's WP:BLP 101. MastCell Talk 15:02, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Can we focus on the real issue? You removed three sources. I support the removal of two of them. However, you also removed a Weekly Standard source. That publication has been discussed at RSN. It is an RS, until and unless a consensus of editors concludes otherwise, so the removal of that source was a violation of policy. Please restore it, or I will. Your edit summary rm unequivocal WP:BLP violation per WP:PREFER; a serious and potentially defamatory factual claim (that tyson fabricated quotes) must be properly sourced - that is, not to partisan blogs and websites conflates a valid removal partisan blogs and websites whose removal I support, with no justification for removal of the statement supported by a Reliable Source. If you can provide evidence that the community has deemed it not an RS, please point it out. If you can demonstrate that the sentence is not supported by the RS, please explain. Otherwise, your removal is a violation of policy.--S Philbrick(Talk) 13:07, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Sphilbrick as I pointed out 5 days ago here, both sources being used to reference "No evidence exists that Bush said that", failed verification completely. That includes the unquestionably non-WP:RS and The Weekly Standard. The third source was, as you said in the TP, a comment in a blog and thus not suitable for inclusion in a WP:BLP. Regards. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gaba p (talkcontribs)
Sphilbrick, I think you know as well as I that reliability is not a binary attribute. The Weekly Standard is a partisan opinion journal. As such, it is reliable for describing the opinions of its contributors, with proper in-text attribution. It is not reliable for broad statements of fact with potentially defamatory implications against a living person. I removed an instance of the latter. This distinction is covered in WP:RSOPINION and WP:BIASED, and (one would hope) by common sense. I don't believe my action violated policy; in fact, I think these sorts of actions are encouraged by policy. MastCell Talk 15:11, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
No, I do not accept your assertion. You personally don't get to decide that the Weekly Standard doesn't meet your personal criteria. We have a process for determining this. The Weekly Standard is an RS for this purpose. You are free to bring it up at RSN, but until you get a consensus of editors supporting you, your edit is a violation of policy. Last chance to revert on your own. I don't believe I have ever reverted an admin before, because most admins are willing to follow policy, so this will be new ground for me. I don't take it lightly, which is why I have given you multiple chances to revert yourself.--S Philbrick(Talk) 01:02, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, sources are not reliable by default. I have not found anything in the RSN archives to establish the WS as reliable. If you disagree, please give us a link. The RfC about inclusion is ongoing. The conservative approach is to leave potentially damaging material out of BLPs unless there is substantial consensus for inclusion, not the other way round. I fully endorse the deletion. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 01:11, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Sphilbrick that would be a gross mistake on your part and I strongly advise you don't proceed with your threat of restoring content that unmistakably fails verification. If the RfC in the TP is clear on keeping this "issue" we can discuss on the wording, until then what is currently up is more than sufficient given the coverage this thing has had.
The original edit introducing the claim you intent to restore was added little over a week ago (refactored after an IP added an entire and obviously WP:UNDUE section the day before) and has been under constant dispute since then with editors reverting back and forth. If anything, and particularly given the very large and heated discussion that has ensued in the TP, the article should be restored to the version before that edit until/if consensus is achieved. Regards Gaba (talk) 02:21, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

@Sphilbrick: It sounds like your intent is to restore the material unless I comply with your demand to do so myself. I think it would show incredibly poor judgement on your part, for at least two reasons:

  1. You would be restoring an unambiguous BLP violation. WP:RSOPINION is quite clear that opinion pieces "may be considered reliable for statements as to their author's opinion, but not for statements asserted as fact without an inline qualifier". The Weekly Standard source is an opinion piece. It is therefore not suitable for statements asserted as fact.
  2. Perhaps more importantly: Editing through protection is an administrative action. You are obviously deeply involved in the content dispute in question and as an editor of the article more generally. It would be grossly inappropriate for you to take an administrative action because you're involved.

As a third matter, you've asserted that there is a consensus at WP:RS/N that the Weekly Standard is categorically reliable. I'm not sure exactly which RS/N discussion you have in mind (it would be helpful if you provided a link). I found two such discussions after a quick search: one from early 2010 and one from 2013. In neither case do I see a clear consensus that the Weekly Standard is reliable for statements of fact. (In the former case, there is arguably support for its use to back anodyne, non-contentious facts, but I don't see that precedent as applicable here since we're talking about a contentious and potentially defamatory claim. Also, our overall standards for appropriate BLP editing have tightened dramatically since 2010 so I would caution against relying heavily on that discussion here and now). The more recent discussion seems to come down 2-to-1 against using the Weekly Standard as a reliable source.

If you restore this material through protection, I'm not going to wheel-war with you. But I will immediately take the issue to ArbCom, because your threat to restore a poorly sourced potentially defamatory claim through full protection while deeply involved as an editor of the article in question shows extremely poor judgement. MastCell Talk 03:52, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

I'll hold off for the moment, pending clarification from you on one point. You asked for a link, which puzzles me. Did you actually revert through protection without looking at the talk page, where I created a decent sized table of resources, an indication of the reliability. and links to RSN discussions?
While WP:RSOPINION is clear about how to handle opinion pieces, some media sources aren't as clear as they could be about identification. Here is the WS TOC. There is a clear demarcation of the editorial section, containing two pieces, neither of which are the piece in question. The source is from the Scrapbook section. Can you point me to the evidence you examined, or already knew about declaring that the Scrapbook should be considered an opinion piece?--S Philbrick(Talk) 12:22, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
To answer your first question, I looked at the talkpage before removing the material in question. I asked for a link to make it easier to review the discussion again here, as a courtesy, and because I wanted to confirm explicitly that we're talking about the same discussion since we clearly interpret it rather differently. I do think it's important to consider the second, more recent RS/N discussion as well, which I hadn't noticed until doing my own search just now. Does it affect your interpretation of the RS/N consensus at all?

As for the Weekly Standard piece... Regardless of whether it's billed as an "editorial", or a "Feature", or a "Scrapbook" (whatever that means), I think it's clear from an actual perusal of its tone and content that it's an opinion piece. You don't think that a serious source—the New York Times, for instance—would publish a piece like that and call it "news", right? More generally, regardless of the headings that the Weekly Standard chooses to use, it is a partisan opinion journal. It publishes opinionated takes on current events, from a well-defined ideological perspective. It does not have a serious journalistic operation or a reputation for independent journalism, so focusing on their perceived demarcation of "Editorials", "Features", "Scrapbooks", etc isn't really to the point.

Since we're doing the loaded-questions thing, I have one for you: do you view yourself as WP:INVOLVED when it comes to the Tyson article? MastCell Talk 17:50, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Re Involved. I have only two edits to the article, one to identify a deadlink, the other an administrative action when I reverted an edit by Second Quantization who removed material even while the issue was being actively discussed on talk.(light goes on, I was taken aback by the intensity of SQ's edits in another place, now I understand) That said, I have participated in the talk page. I thought there was an exception for BLP issues - while you invoked BLP to edit through full protection, it is my opinion that your edit created a BLP issue. Prior to your edit, there was a claim and a phrase explaining that the claim was false. IMO, it is so watered down now, it reads as if the claim might be true. That's a BLP issue and should be addressed. INVOLVED obliquely refers to exceptions, but doesn't specific them. I'll have to check.
Your response regarding the Weekly Standard is quite insufficient. Your edit summary ...unequivocal WP:BLP violation ... uses the term "unequivocal" which implies you confirmed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the source was an opinion, not a statement of fact. Now you refer to perusal of its tone and content which means, ironically, that you are relying on your opinion of its status. That's not good enough. It is not labeled opinion, or editorial. There may be other labels which are clear identification of opinion, but you haven't identified that this was an opinion. You keep coming back to your opinion that the Weekly Standard is partisan, which is not relevant, as you must know. I get that you don't like it, but I don't get to remove references just because I do not personally agree with the politics of a source.
I will have to confirm that correctly a BLP violation is an exception to the INVOLVED restriction. --S Philbrick(Talk) 13:40, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Update: You may be off the hook. Tyson has admitted be blew it. Now we need to figure out whether a Facebook post works as a source, or if a better source is needed. Frankly, if Tyson apologies and the Planetarium removes the quote from their site, I might support overall removal of the incident.--S Philbrick(Talk) 21:08, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure I was ever on the hook, but thanks, I guess. I think the conversation had pretty much run its course, anyway, and we'd reached the soup-spitting phase. I do think you're going to run into serious trouble as an admin if you believe that this is an "administrative edit". I didn't realize until now that you were the one who restored the BLP violation in question, but that explains some of your motivated reasoning here. The idea that you would consider restoring that material as an involved admin speaks very poorly to your judgement, and trying to make an end run around WP:INVOLVED by claiming that BLP somehow mandates presenting poorly-sourced negative claims as fact is even worse.

I'm especially disappointed since I've always had a high opinion of you in the past and unreservedly supported your request for adminship. Here I get the impression that you don't understand WP:BLP and its mandate to err on the side of caution, nor basic sourcing policies, nor the distinction between news and opinion sources, nor the difference between editorial and administrative involvement. I understand you're not likely to give my opinion much consideration, but I would strongly urge you to have someone whom you trust, and whose views you respect, review your actions and posts in this matter and give you offline feedback once the dust has settled, because if this incident is indicative of your approach to adminship then there are going to be more problems down the line. MastCell Talk 22:28, 27 September 2014 (UTC)


Hi. I'm reading up on esophageal cancer with a view to preparing our article for peer-review by an expert chosen by CRUK. May I ask you some questions, as I go? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 04:09, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Of course - just let me know what I can do to help. MastCell Talk 14:47, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. :o) So far, so good. I might ask about some undefined terms later today if I haven't resolved them by bedtime. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 01:20, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm very committed to making Wikipedia a reliable source - at the least our medical offering. I'm meeting Lila on 30th October to try to persuade her to evangelise for us, to start cajoling experts into taking responsibility for the veracity of Wikipedia.
Jimbo approves of a badge at the top of expert-reviewed articles, pointing to the reviewed revision. Which is good. But he's not an evangelist for this idea. Frankly, he hasn't earned the right to argue for expert-review now, since he's been silent on the issue as long as I've been here. I haven't read the Nupedia epistemology discussions; perhaps that silence is explained there.
I was hoping to have Esophageal cancer ready for expert-review before I arrive in San Francisco - in fact, before I arrive in London in a couple of weeks, but I have good days and bad days. On bad days I can't do that kind of work, and I'm having a lot of those lately. I'll keep working on it, but it could take some time at my present rate.
I don't suppose you'd consider taking on the upgrade, or asking some oncology mates if they'd be interested, would you? If you explain to them their version, once it passes expert review, will be prominently linked to at the top of the current, "dynamic" article, they may be more inclined to chip in. It'll be one of the first five reliable (per WP:RS) Wikipedia articles. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 02:58, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
MastCell, I keep getting the sense that you're not having much fun. There are all these noticeboards and disputes in your contributions, and not much article editing. What would it take to get you to spend a week away from disputes and admin stuff, and just editing articles? Anthony's suggestion is a good one; you could get a lot done with him and the IP there. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:37, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure you're right. I dunno. Wikipedia forces us to choose between playing a primarily "editorial" role or a primarily "administrative" role. It takes a lot of effort to do either one well, and I certainly don't have the time, energy, or interest to try actively fill both roles anymore. And I feel like I have a more important role to play on the administrative side. I've been sort of appalled at the level of attrition among clueful, mature, reality-based people here. I'm even more appalled at what passes for serious discussion of meta-issues and project-level dilemmas.

And finally, I've dealt with a lot of tendentious axe-grinders and nonsense-peddlers here, and I recognize the corrosive effect that such people have on the time and goodwill of well-meaning editors. I feel an obligation to deal with problem editors in order to preserve the editing environment for people who actually care about creating a reputable online reference work. And because I've got an admin bit (and a lot of hit points, and a solid armor class) I feel especially responsible for taking on these kinds of cases, because not a lot of other admins can or do. After all, anyone can join and edit, but not many people are in a position to deal with problematic situations from an administrative perspective.

There used to be a group of admins who were smart and had good judgement and could wade into these situations, but their numbers have dwindled to the point that I feel pretty alone in that regard. There really isn't any roadmap for someone like me - I honestly don't know of anyone who's been active as long as I have in editing and adminning primarily controversial topic areas. I've outlived my natural wiki-lifespan. :) I don't think it's as simple as going back to editing articles more, because that's not as fulfilling as it used to be. The people who made this place fun for me are mostly gone, or else they're still here but burnt-out shells of their former wiki-selves. (Present company excluded, of course). :)

That said, I'd be happy to work on the esophageal cancer article. I'm not sure I'll be able to work on it in a timely fashion; I've been contributing fairly little for a while now because of real-life demands. Anthony, I'll follow up with you by email. Thank you both for the notes—they are genuinely appreciated, and it's always good to hear from both of you. MastCell Talk 04:13, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

I'd miss you—a lot—if you stopped doing admin-y things in the long term. But I think I'd be happy to see you take a vacation from it just for a short, defined period. I think that the same reasons that people recommend real-world vacations apply: a change of scenery, a bit of rest, meeting new people, a chance to explore something new, etc. Please think about it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:10, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I think the model Wikipedia is based on is fundamentally flawed. Articles can reach a stage where they are ok, they give some basic information, but they also contain plenty of bias and mistakes from amateurism. Further, the reliance on newspapers as sources of information means the notability criteria is ridiculously low meaning almost anything is notable (and the inherent notability granted to nearly every place in the world); so we have a massive proliferation of article on crud that someone has to maintain, but also all the political nonsense that goes on (ideologues battling each other) wasting time and energy, inserting bias throughout the encyclopedia.
If newspapers were barred as sources, I think most of the drama would disappear. It's much harder to POV push when you are limited to academic and similar sources. The pace of change would be slower, but it'd be steadier. Getting amateurs to write articles leaves articles only gets quality so far, and that's mostly because the editors just regurgitate sources without really understanding them. The only thing useful I actually see Wikipedia bringing to the fore is verificationism, that idea things which can be backed up with evidence should be, even if it's unwieldy and completely over the top. The general quality is poor, but the editors seem content, self satisfied and clearly deluded with how things are. This comment from 2008 is the most egregious example of that: [1]. In general, Wikipedians have actively avoided any associations or contacts with actual experts to improve content. The highest we get to is generally a PhD student, or the odd academic who actually edits under cover.
I know I'm a burnt out shell. I now hope Wikipedia will collapse. I can't imagine Wikipedia existing in 5 years in any reasonable state, at the very least I think quality will have dropped. We can fork the ruins. if the topics of traditional encyclopaedias (albeit in greatly increased number) where forked; the classics and science, and verified identities for editors where used (ideologues and anti-intellectuals not being invited), a more professional and less drama filled encyclopedia would probably exist. Second Quantization (talk) 23:36, 29 September 2014 (UTC) (Formerly IRWolfie-)
Well WP might be going down the toilet, but the good news is that black holes don't exist, so we've got that going for us at least... a13ean (talk) 02:23, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Hmmmm... "In a new paper submitted to the non-peer-reviewed online research paper repository ArXiv..." Is this something that physicists can do? Can you really upload a paper to ArXiv in lieu of publishing it in a peer-reviewed journal and have it "count"? Maybe I'm in the wrong field; I'm definitely tired of dealing with both sides of the peer-review process. MastCell Talk 19:11, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

On the brighter side of things, see Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Endometrial cancer/archive1 - as we don't treat much of this in my area I am a bit at sea about current thinking, though am familiar with the base cancer template that can be applied to most cancer articles. This is a chance to help 'set' a consensus article anyway.... Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:54, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Please have a look at the Greg Orman article when you have a chance[edit]

I've placed a second warning on user:AnonymousGANGSTA2568's talk page. -- Somedifferentstuff (talk) 02:27, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Murder of Alex Spourdalakis[edit]

I don't know what to think about this article. Maybe you have an opinion, possibly that it should be deleted, since I'm not sure about notability. I know about Alex, because I'm in the pro-vaccine, anti-Wakefield world. You're more unbiased, so I'll trust how you move on this one. It reads to me, and I could be off, that Alex's caretakers were just a bit stressed by Alex's behavior. It's almost parrots what I've read on certain anti-vaccine websites. But again, I'm too close to the subject. SkepticalRaptor (talk) 08:32, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

--> Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Murder of Alex Spourdalakis Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:39, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
From a Wikipedia perspective, I think it should be deleted. The article serves no real encyclopedic purpose and falls under WP:BLP1E. From a personal perspective, it's an incredibly sad story and feel immensely sorry for everyone involved. MastCell Talk 19:14, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

ANI sanctions withdrawn, unfortunately[edit]

@TParis, MastCell: You have both been involved with Factchecker atyourservice at ANI. I would have supported the sanctions on edit-warriors, including him, that MastCell proposed at ANI, which were withdrawn. I've tangled with him before and he doesn't show any signs of willingness to cool down his combative tone and work with others civilly, even though he's been given a "final warning" in a prior ANI by TParis. He's been recently warned of specific, really vile language at User talk:Factchecker atyourservice#Strike it! by me and another editor. My last ANI experience was like the rack (for me), with an embarrassing boomerang, and his latest reply indicates he enjoys another combative forum, so I'm not thrilled about a retry. Any advice is welcome. — Brianhe (talk) 15:36, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

That entire argument is conservatives and liberals throwing crap at each other. I've never seen people so open with their political biases and hatred of the other party before. I wouldn't touch that with a containment suit and a flame thrower. I'd have liberals calling me conservative and conservatives pissed off because they think I'm one of them and not toeing the party line. There are a lot of people that could be blocked and Factchecker is only one of them. I smell an Arbcom case.--v/r - TP
I'm a centrist, TYVM. It just so happens that there are plenty of lefties on WP to fend for themselves, whereas the right-wingers often find themselves alone, outnumbered, and facing unfair arguments or procedures. Also, Brianhe forgot to link to the rest of my comment. (Next-day edit): also, my "latest reply" indicated merely that I found Brianhe's threatened ANI case to be pointless and of dubious value to WP. Centrify (f / k / a FCAYS) (talk) (contribs) 18:25, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
Everyone on Wikipedia thinks they are centrist or moderate. See WP:MPOV.--v/r - TP 19:15, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
Not actually true, but even assuming it were, what's your point? Feel free to snark back at my talk page. Centrify (f / k / a FCAYS) (talk) (contribs) 14:59, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Your denial only seals my case. The only person capable of some resemblence of neutrality is the person who can admit their own biases and point of view. Everyone else is either dishonest or delusional. The WP:MPOV refers to the delusional ones. There is just no denying the truth for a rational person and there is no convincing an irrational person.--v/r - TP 19:38, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
"Seals your case?" That's some questionable reasoning you've got going on there, sir. Actually my denial just matter-of-factly observes that your above statement was clearly false. Not everyone on WP self-identifies as a centrist. Moving along, I think I have very little trouble admitting my own biases and I believe I have some insight into how they affect my editing. You seem intent on making some dramatic but unlikely statements about "irrational" people; I think this speaks volumes. Centrify (f / k / a FCAYS) (talk) (contribs) 14:48, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I have participated in that... "discussion", or whatever it is. While there is plenty of vitriol being bandied about, I think page protection has been the right call in this case, rather than blocks. It has allowed cooler heads to prevail, and a couple of proposed compromise texts to emerge, without the hard feelings and ill will that blocks tend to engender. And I do hope that an Arbcom case can be avoided, though I do agree, that is the direction it seems headed. LHMask me a question 18:26, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
If you think I should be hit with major sanctions, better to raise the issue at a proper noticeboard location than privately confide in an admin who is a comrade in partisanship. Centrify (f / k / a FCAYS) (talk) (contribs) 14:50, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
What "private" communications are you referring to? Are you referring to the public post I made above where I stated that if there's continued misconduct on your part, it should be taken to WP:AE? If so, I think you need to do a better job reading and understanding what I wrote as your reply has little relationship to what I actually wrote. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 15:20, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
So, in your own words, what was your rationale of coming to a friendly admin who you know has the same political leanings, instead of simply taking it to the appropriate board? Centrify (f / k / a FCAYS) (talk) (contribs) 18:07, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
Many people who interact with you seem to find your approach to editing problematic. I guess there are at least two possibilities: a) it's all a partisan conspiracy against you, or b) your approach to editing actually is problematic. To help differentiate between these possibilities, it's worth nothing that I'm pretty sure A Quest For Knowledge and I don't share many political viewpoints. And I know that TParis and I don't. In that light, your efforts to play this off as partisanship make you look lazy and uninformed. I think that what's actually happening is that most everyone you interact with—regardless of their political views—finds you to be an unpleasant, combative, and tendentious editor. MastCell Talk 02:13, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
@Mastcell: You're wasting your breath. On a related subject, I don't keep track of people's politics. Have we ever been at opposite ends on something?--v/r - TP 02:50, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
I think so, but I can't recall the specifics. Getting old and all. I find that if I make room in my brain to remember some old Wikipedia interaction, I forget something that's actually important. :) It's a zero-sum game for me. MastCell Talk 03:37, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"Partisan conspiracy"? Oh I get it, you're trying this silly "conservatives are conspiracy theorists" rhetoric that has helped Democrats lose the respect and confidence of the American people. How cute.

But you're right, if I'm accusing someone of political bias I must be talking about a shadowy, foreboding conspiracy and not just a couple of lefty hens clucking at each other behind the hedgerow. Of course, when I get a template warning about special BLP sanctions in response to talk page comments trying to prevent a user from violating NPOV in order to trash a conservative politician, there is no reason to suspect politicial bias is at play. Because the purpose of special BLP sanctions is to keep editors from having their feelings hurt while committing obvious BLP violations for political purposes. Right?

And of course, no concerns when that same warning editor slips away to the talk page of another left-wing user who is also an admin, and confides that he wishes a sanctions effort could be mounted to ban that same a conservative editor who insists on not violating content policies to make right wing politicians looks bad. And then there's the fact I only heard about this conversation because WP automatically notified me my name was dropped in conversation, but I'm sure that's nothing to be worried about, because there's no way a clear-eyed invdividual like MastCell, whose efforts at reasoning are evident above, would ever be part of an improper admin action.

"Lazy and uninformed"? Hah. I bet that sounded good while you were typing it. Anyway, I can't deny that I am sometimes combative. I don't believe it is acceptable to allow egregious content policy violations just to make another editor happy, and this results in conflicts. Centrify (f / k / a FCAYS) (talk) (contribs) 15:55, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

If you have a point to make, surely you can do so politely or at least non-combatively. Ronald Reagan was always polite. So was George H. W. Bush. Why don't you follow their fine examples of civility? Jehochman Talk 16:35, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
Sure, and if the above folks had a point to make, surely they could have done it without questioning my motivations, overtly implying that I'm unwittingly an extremist nut who only thinks he's moderate (whereas TP by contrast seems to insist he sits wisely atop a mountain and is able to accurately tell the lefties from the righties) , implying I'm "irrational" or "delusional" — sorry, I am having trouble identifying the tone of politeness I'm supposed to be emulating; is it possible you're employing a double standard or perhaps not paying close attention? Also curious about the mention of Bush/Reagan; what has that got to do with anything discussed here? This was my very first comment here; was there something combative about it or did the combativeness first surface in the replies? Centrify (f / k / a FCAYS) (talk) (contribs) 17:28, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
Let's be very clear. You are on the fast track to a permanent block. Why? Because every time you reply, it's combative. You are incapable of discussing without getting on a pedestal. When you get blocked, no one at all is going to care about your claims of double standards. I'm probably considered one of the most conservative admins on this site and even I am ready to block you. If you need to take a break for awhile, get yourself together, and then come back with a new approach - then do it. However, if you keep going like this then a block is imminent. When you get blocked, you will rail on about how partisan this place is and how it is filled with liberal bias. I have no doubt that there are areas on this project that have a liberal bias. But no one will care. The media won't care, Wikipediocracy won't care, your blog won't care, your real life friends won't care, and most importantly we won't care. So, instead of trying to 'fight the power' all by yourself, how about you try to mold yourself into the crowd and then change it from the inside.--v/r - TP 20:04, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
Look, I came into this discussion in very good humor and you folks turned it nasty very fast. I realize I wasn't invited to the discussion, but since the gist of it is that I should not be here I felt I should respond. Thereafter, without apparent provocation, I was being painted as irrational and deluded as to my own partisan alignment. And your latest reply is replete with unpleasant stereotypes which you appear to think I match. I didn't deny that I have made confrontational comments during content disputes, but who is being combative here? Centrify (f / k / a FCAYS) (talk) (contribs) 22:55, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
Well now, that's the most reasonable and self-reflective comments I've seen from you. Yes, I was combative. Jehochman tried to make his point politely and it didn't work. Figured I'd take the other approach. We're not trying to make you feel unwelcomed, we just want you to get a bit of perspective before the arguing. You are welcome to have a minority viewpoint. I've held several minority viewpoints at different times on this project. As long as you are open to being introspective at the same time as you are making your points, everyone gets along. In the past, your comments haven't really shown that you are considering what people are saying. In other words, you haven't shown you are open to different viewpoints and instead were only trying to convince us of yours. Once people feel that you are open to hearing their viewpoint, they will become less defensive and be more open to hearing yours. As far as I've seen, this post here is the best example of you listening as much as you are speaking. Not trying to be rude, I mean that as a good thing.--v/r - TP 00:22, 28 October 2014 (UTC)


Hello, MastCell. Please check your email – you've got mail!
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-- Colin°Talk 19:53, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

BLPN edit summary[edit]

I didn't look at the merits of the issue, but your edit summary ("committing a blp violation to express your zeal in upholding blp... this is what makes wikipedia special") was great.--Bbb23 (talk) 22:54, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Thanks! At this point in my career, bemused and sardonic edit summaries are my main form of contribution to Wikipedia, so it's nice to be recognized for them. :P On that note... Collect and I have had sufficient run-ins—often over this particular issue, namely his approach to WP:BLP—that I think he rejects anything I say without considering its merits. Would you be willing to chime in here (assuming you review the underlying issue independently and conclude, as I did, that there's a problem)? You're more naive patient than I, and might have better luck breaking through to him. If not, no worries, and thanks for the note. MastCell Talk 23:16, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
It's nice to have a hobby. :-) Collect is a self-proclaimed virulent defender of BLPs. Frankly, I often agree with his opinions, although he's sometimes too aggressive for me. In this instance, though, I agree with you and said so at BLPN. Meanwhile, keep up the good edit summary work!--Bbb23 (talk) 00:29, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Still hanging in there ?[edit]

I came over when I found the old OM Alzheimer's article to be a wreck, but also found deterioration at PANDAS ... not back, but wish PANDAS would not go to heck. Not that it has ever been correctly written, but some recent edits were POV and self-serving. Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:29, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Shaky article[edit]

I know you edit medical issue articles. I read this and it just seemed wrong, not written like the good articles, and more like peseudoscience. I don't have any idea where to begin and I thought I would get your opinion. Thanks (talk) 18:30, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

Ernst request[edit]

I just noted the lede has "social security for seniors" where it should be "Social Security" as a proper noun referring to a specific program AFAICT. Cheers. Collect (talk) 12:05, 27 October 2014 (UTC)


Hello, MastCell. Please check your email – you've got mail!
It may take a few minutes from the time the email is sent for it to show up in your inbox. You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{You've got mail}} or {{YGM}} template.
@A Quest For Knowledge: I'm afraid I haven't received your email. There are two possibilities: either Obama broke the Internet (just like Ted Cruz warned us he would), or you may have sent the email to an old email account (I've changed accounts once or twice). Do you mind re-sending using the "Email this user" button on the left of the screen? Sorry for the inconvenience. MastCell Talk 00:12, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Hi, can you make a comment about my new project[edit]

hi, Hi, can you make a comment about my new project


I think you're being talked about somewhere.[2] (But not as much as SlimVirgin and WAID.) --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 14:24, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads-up. I guess it's like Oscar Wilde said: the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. :) Cheers. MastCell Talk 17:35, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Anthonyhcole don't forget to check your control group... I picked a couple other editors entirely outside our typical areas, and looked at their stats, and it looks like nearly everybody who's an active editor has seen a User-page view spike in the past few days. No idea why, maybe system maintenance, maybe a few people WP:FORK-ing off WP for their own purposes?? Zad68 17:51, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
    • You and your control groups. Can't you just leave me to enjoy the illusion that I'm still relevant?  :P MastCell Talk 19:25, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
      • There there, there there... I can't can't change the number of hits coming in to your User page but what I CAN do is move everyone ELSE's User page without redirect so they all fail, giving you a relative bump. Zad68 19:48, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
        • That's all I'm asking. Since you're here, though, and since so many people are viewing my page: I'm formally begging Zad68 (talk · contribs) and Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs) to run for ArbCom. There's still about 24 hours left to get your nominations in. If you don't run, I will likely find myself in the novel position of supporting zero candidates this year. MastCell Talk 20:05, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
          • You should do it yourself, MC. It's easy! and fun! --Floquenbeam (talk) 20:28, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
            • Agreed, MastCell for President ArbCom, 2014! Yobol (talk) 20:41, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
              • Heh. If you told me that I had to be on ArbCom, I'd quit Wikipedia. That's not an exaggeration; I'd rather not edit at all than serve on the Committee. Since I edit pretty widely, I'd have to recuse myself from basically everything except road-naming disputes and the Hundred Years' War over the capitalization of (T|t)he Beatles.

                In any case, I'm unelectable: the minimum support threshold is 50%, and I've probably personally blocked or quarreled with >50% of currently active editors. While I lack Floquenbeam's facility with statistics, even I can see that those numbers don't look promising. Finally, I'd have to disclose all of my alternate accounts, and the world isn't ready yet to know that Orangemarlin (talk · contribs) was my bad-hand sockpuppet account. MastCell Talk 22:30, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

                • Bwaahaha ... now that's a good one. Well, it oughta keep someone going for a while ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:23, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
Insert spit gag gif here. — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 00:32, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
Sure. If you'll put your hand up for the WMF board, on a quality improvement ticket. Cc me your email to Ewen McAlpine. We need people serious about content quality on that board. Presently, they barely pay lip service to it. (They fly you places and you might get to meet Bono.) --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 03:07, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
Meeting Bono would be cool. Maybe I could even upload a bunch of music onto his iPhone without his consent, as instant karma for Songs of Innocence. :P Actually, the Board thing sounds really interesting—although I have no experience in non-profit work and no real technical background, so I'm not sure I'd be a strong candidate. Anyhow, it looks like I can at least vote for Dougweller (talk · contribs) with confidence, and I'll probably vote for Salvio and PhilKnight because they were previously on ArbCom and don't seem to be insane. As for the rest... oy. The high point of this election is probably going to be reading the amusing ways in which editors try to repackage their grudges and resentments in the form of "ArbCom Candidate Questions". MastCell Talk 18:23, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
Seriously, don't make excuses, just throw your hat in the ring if you're interested! The only caveat is anonymity, although perhaps you could still maintain it. I'm pretty sure you've written more useful code than the vast majority around here. I've been pretty checked out of this place for a while, but I'm hoping that will change in six months to a year after I've figured out a career transition. Moving to San Fran to go to Hack Reactor ( and join the tech gold-rush in a couple months, which means I can drop a couple time-sucking volunteer obligations (a couple boards). I may be dropping my anonymity here myself especially since I signed up for a related WMF volunteering activity not too long ago. II | (t - c) 05:07, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, weird - me too with the page views. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 04:57, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
AOL. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:47, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
I beat MastCell, and I don't even have a user page. Yobol (talk) 19:50, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
This is weird. Maybe we should ask at the Village Pump. Funny you should mention Bono, I just ordered his DVD Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea. Dougweller (talk) 21:45, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

Just in case you're interested/amused[edit]

I was amused to create this article: International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology. I thought you might also be amused by it, although conversely you might be appalled. It's a marginal article I know, and whether the article should exist, whether it should be AfD'd to find out, and whether it would survive an AfD... these I don't know. But if the answers are in the positive, it'd make a fun DYK hook anyway. Herostratus (talk) 23:24, 22 November 2014 (UTC)

WP:AN discussion[edit]

The initial 'oppose' editors take you as neutral at the discussion. Would you be willing to make a null block for the note to clear out the core issue, the blocks that were blockshopped by the sockpuppet? The arbitrator has also deferred to consensus regarding the ArbCom warning (interestingly, the second and third editors insupport of DS that got me the arbcom warning have also been caught as a master and his sock recently... looks like my good days and bad days are well divided - years apart). --lTopGunl (talk) 05:45, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

  • @TopGun: I've placed a 1-second block with an addendum to your block log, noting that you were in many cases antagonized by an abusive sockpuppet. Hopefully this resolves the matter. Take care. MastCell Talk 19:15, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
    • Thanks.. it helps alot. Also thanks for the neutral insight you originally left at WP:AN without previously being involved in any of my conduct disputes. --lTopGunl (talk) 03:14, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

I voted![edit]


... in the ArbCom election, that is. I even managed to support a non-zero number of candidates. Best of all, I didn't have to show photo ID, although I'm sure the Republicans will get right on that. MastCell Talk 19:39, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

Well, I managed to forget about this election. Guess I better start reading... NW (Talk) 21:45, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
i've barely started ... User:SandyGeorgia/ArbVotes2014 ... thinking it is so not worth it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:20, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm not going to bother with writing a guide this year; then again I have less than 500 edits this year so I can't imagine that anyone would actually want to listen to anything I say anyway. Probably just going to rely on gut instinct and some combination of User:Worm That Turned/ACE2014, User:HJ Mitchell/ACE 2014 and maybe User:Rschen7754/ACE2014. Nothing can go wrong there I'm sure. NW (Talk) 22:40, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Well, you should at least support User:Dougweller. And PhilKnight definitely deserves to win by a landslide, simply for refusing to answer any questions (seriously—the only rational response to the contrived parade of narcissism that passes for candidate Q&A is to refuse to participate). The rest... meh. Some of them would be less likely than others to be disastrous, I guess. MastCell Talk 00:19, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I like Dougweller a lot. User:Courcelles was excellent when he was on the Committee—though I disagree(d) with him a fair amount, he at least didn't even pretend to care for bullshit. Had no qualms voting for PhilKnight either, and I only voted against one person who I'm more confident than not will be elected this year. All in all, I'll call that a successful election. I'm also a tad distressed that I spent as much time researching these candidates as I did in my ballot earlier this November. Here's hoping that I voted for fewer felons for ArbCom than I did for local government. NW (Talk) 00:42, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

On WP, Checkuser takes the place of photo ID. Equally likely to prevent any kind of actual fraud. Photo ID requirements are instead imposed on the winning candidates. Does anyone know if Republicans believe in that? --Floquenbeam (talk) 22:26, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Well, there's that whole "birth certificate" thing... NE Ent 23:40, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Um, if wiki elections were run on American Democratic party guidelines IPs could vote early and vote often. NE Ent 23:39, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

NuclearWarfare was always a guide guidewriter, and the three editors he recommends above usually had solid criteria as well. If we look at the three guides recommended by NW:

  • A YesY means the guide writer supports the candidate,
  • A N means they oppose the candidate.
  • A grey dot means they stated no view, or were neutral.
Candidate Worm HJ Rschen Number of
Courcelles YesY YesY YesY 3
Dougweller YesY YesY YesY 3
Guerrillero YesY YesY YesY 3
Salvio giuliano YesY YesY YesY 3
Yunshui YesY YesY YesY 3
DeltaQuad YesY Pastille grise.png YesY 2
DGG YesY Pastille grise.png YesY 2
Euryalus YesY Pastille grise.png YesY 2
Ks0stm Pastille grise.png YesY YesY 2
Thryduulf YesY YesY N 2
Kraxler Pastille grise.png Pastille grise.png N 0
Wbm1058 Pastille grise.png Pastille grise.png N 0
Hahc21 N N Pastille grise.png 0
Stanistasi Pastille grise.png N N 0
Technical 13 N Pastille grise.png N 0
Calidum N N N 0
Dusti N N N 0
Geni N N N 0
Isarra N N N 0
PhilKnight Withdrawn YesY YesY YesY 3
Number of
10 8 10

That should give us something to talk about, at least. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:58, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

One down. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 10:26, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I was disappointed to see that PhilKnight dropped out. He was a good choice. Aside from him, I think the best of the other choices are Coucelles, Dougweller, Yunshi, DGG, Euryalus, and Thryduulf. I supported a couple others too who I think would do OK, but I think these are the best of the lot this year. NW (Talk) 17:40, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
As I sort through the pros and cons of each, I'm not finding the summary chart above to be highly helpful (except on the clear opposes). At the moment, I'm trying to sort what to do about DGG. He is someone I'm highly inclined towards supporting for a huge host of reasons that most old-timers here know, but a) this is a big stumbling block, and b) is my vague impression that he is soft on child editors inaccurate? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:18, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

AN close[edit]

Re [3]; the block log thing is good, but there was 4 to 1 support for removing the logged warning, which your close statement doesn't mention. NE Ent 23:36, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

I don't feel strongly about the logged warning one way or the other, but then, removing it is something that anyone can presumably do. MastCell Talk 00:10, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Neither do I, but TopGun does, and he actually edits (I think, the edit counter is broken right now). I'd just remove it if it would fly, but that's really doubtful, especially after Seraphimblade's comments (his role here being the admin who logged the warning). On the other hand, if the closing admin on the AN notes there was a consensus to remove the warning... NE Ent 00:22, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm editing regularly (if that's being considered here for the warning to 'matter'). I also do feel there's a strong support of removing the warning independently in the section as well and all have given reasons (or have explicitly referred to their comments in the main section). Since NE's good faith contact with the admin to just remove the warning on the fly resulted in him deferring to the consensus here (which is in support), it may better respect the consensus if it was not done under IAR. --lTopGunl (talk) 03:22, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
The reference to editing was meant as a self-deprecating reference to my own lack of mainspace contributions and that editors are what's important here (see Wikipedia:Zeroth law of Wikipedia) NE Ent 11:20, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
I took the liberty to remove it myself with the diff in editsummary as per MastCell's comment above. It's quite apparent that it was going to be removed and a closing admin's further clarifications are often dealt with 'anyone' going ahead, but I guess NE's suggestion was even better for it to be there in closer notes to avoid any one reverting. Thanks every one. --lTopGunl (talk) 13:14, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
MastCell, the warning was a discretionary sanction (as a final warning rather than a notice) so is covered by the appeals and modifications section of the discretionary sanctions procedures which require a "clear and substantial consensus of ... uninvolved editors at AN", my opinion would be that 3 editors in favour and 1 against (just in that sectiondoes not reach that standard. In any case there is a procedure for modifying the sanction which you (as the admin modifying the sanction) need to complete (also in that section). Having said that, given you commented in the discussion I don't believe that you are uninvolved as required by DS procedures to modify the sanction. Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 09:51, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
At first I thought this post was a joke, satirizing the absurd bureaucracy which has grown up around the supposedly "streamlined" process of discretionary sanction enforcement. Then I realized that you're totally serious. I can't imagine why anyone would want to spend their volunteer time negotiating a willfully overcomplicated system like this. I already regret getting involved in the first place. I hereby authorize you to do whatever you think is in keeping with the appropriate set of rules and regulations, while I slink off into a corner rocking back and forth and muttering: "WP:NOTBURO... WP:NOTBURO..." MastCell Talk 16:24, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
The only reason I brought it up is because there is currently an enforcement request against TopGun and we've been referring to the final warning so I wanted to check that you understood the level of consensus required and whether you still believe it was there. I've fixed up the log for now, whether it stays struck or not is up to you. Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 06:40, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

AN Close of GamerGate sanctions[edit]

What did the user do within the capacity of the AN to deserve from a 30 day expiring topic ban to that of an indefinite topic ban? Specifically, what conduct and preferably in diffs did you see to incur more drastic sanctions? I believe it's out of process to incur harder sanctions just because someone wanted to appeal their topic ban. Tutelary (talk) 19:09, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

An editor's behavior in appealing their topic ban is typically taken into account, and sometimes leads to extension of the sanctions. In this case, Cobbsaladin was evasive and misleading in presenting his appeal and in response to questions. The deceptive feigned-ignorance approach is rarely successful, and contributed to my decision to extend the topic ban. The account was clearly created to target another editor in the context of the "Gamergate" shenanigans. As such, it was relatively straightforward decision to extend the topic ban, especially in the setting of existing discretionary sanctions in the topic area. MastCell Talk 00:45, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Please, pretty please ?[edit]

Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Pancreatic cancer/archive1 was submitted by Johnbod, who's a good guy. Your feedback would be so nice to have! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:14, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

How can I refuse such a polite request? I'm not much on the technical and stylistic aspects of FA, but I can do some copyediting and look over the details. MastCell Talk 22:23, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
well, that has turned into a fine mess. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:29, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

PANDAS again[edit]

The usual Template:Recruiting is going on again (off-Wiki message board and commercial advocacy site). This entity has been mentioned. Since there is no such diagnosis, how can they be coding (for billing) here? What does the word "diagnosis" mean when no official diagnosis exists? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:32, 5 December 2014 (UTC)


Do you want to respond to any of the new comments that came in since your original filing? EdJohnston (talk) 20:06, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

@EdJohnston: Well, I guess it's a moot point now, but I'm sure I'll be back to WP:AE before long. Two other agenda accounts have taken up right where BoboMeowCat left off, removing the same set of reliable sources which they find so unpalatable. The article is a) obscure and low-profile and b) of great interest to a set of agenda accounts who, in aggregate, outnumber me and pay no attention to sources or policy. That's a bad combination. I'm torn between principle (that a small set of agenda accounts shouldn't be able to excise well-sourced material by virtue of numbers) and pragmatism (as summarized by the 4th law and rule #1 here). Anyhow, I do appreciate your input at the AE thread. MastCell Talk 22:48, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Anyone can issue discretionary sanctions alerts. The rules are at WP:AC/DS#Awareness and alerts. It looks like you haven't issued any alerts yet under the new system, which began 3 May 2014. The sanction log at WP:ARBAB#Log of blocks, bans, restrictions, and semiprotections is still fairly quiet for 2014. Either this shows there are few abortion-related problems or that nobody is watching the articles. EdJohnston (talk) 20:15, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Those are only two of many possibilities, perhaps not even the most likely ones. Another is that people are unaware of the notification process. Or have forgotten about it. Or aren't sure if they have the authority to issue warnings. Or don't want the hassle of an agenda account blowing up at them and the resulting noticeboard/talk page drama. Or... Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:13, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Misuse of talkpage and email access[edit]

Can you revoke these two privileges of DS as he's not using them to request his unblock rather canvassing / puppeteering [4] another user who reported me frivolously over a content dispute by sending him emails and pinging him in his talkpage to make him look. I've also asked it at the report venue but it might take much time to another admin who will first have to see the report itself where as this is an old matter. Thanks. --lTopGunl (talk) 14:51, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Cobbsaladin topic ban[edit]

I presented evidence regarding you at the ArbCom case, in case you wish to respond.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 23:29, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

I don't see that you've presented anything resembling evidence. It looks like a simple statement that you disagree with an administrative action that I took. I'm not sure what sort of response you'd expect me to make. Thanks for the heads-up, though. MastCell Talk 02:05, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Homosexuality article bans all editors except a select few[edit]

I think we should continue our discussion on homosexuality. You got me completely wrong. I am not prejudiced towards homosexuals. On the contrary, many homosexuals discriminate towards others the same way they get discriminated. This is what's happening at wikipedia. It has come to the point that no-one can include any edits that says the slightest thing negative about them. Yet this doesn't conform the the true facts as expressed by many psychologists and psychiatrists. Shouldn't an encyclopedia contain reliable information that attempts to be as truthfull as possible? Otherwise, it is just a pack of lies to conform to political correctness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:24, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Of all the ways I could spend my day, having a discussion with you about homosexuality is pretty near the bottom of the list by any measure of utility. I've said everything I have to say already, here. MastCell Talk 16:26, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Unfortunately, wikipedia is run by arrogant pro-gay editors with no desire for quality content. (talk) 16:37, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
If you believe that to be true, then all the more reason not to waste any more of your time here. MastCell Talk 16:40, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Je suis gay. Drmies (talk) 20:18, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
You know how I know you're gay? ... MastCell Talk 20:21, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Oh that's hilarious. I am TOTALLY gay, except for the monogrammed towels. Drmies (talk) 20:30, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Please tell me you don't like Coldplay, at least. MastCell Talk 20:32, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
If my daughters like Coldplay but I don't, does that count? I've tried to discourage it, and get them interested in real music, but that always seems to backfire. --Floquenbeam (talk) 20:35, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Never listened to Coldplay. Floq, with "real music" you mean Adam (band), right? Drmies (talk) 20:43, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm surprised that article hasn't been illustrated yet. You'd think that the good people at Commons would be all over it, since it's right in their wheelhouse. MastCell Talk 20:49, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
@Drmies: No, I know MastCell disagrees, but the correct rule (with only a few exceptions, which I know them when I hear them) is: if the band existed prior to 1989, they are allowed to continue performing and still be acceptable, but no newly created band after that date counts as real music. --Floquenbeam (talk) 20:51, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── "A million million people, are happy bright and gay": "Mickey's Son and Daughter"[5] Now that's real (gay) music! . . dave souza, talk 21:24, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

  • I'm sure that's real funny if you're British...(or English, maybe). Floq, you just killed Sigur Rós and Nashville Pussy, at your own peril. Or are they too straight for you? Zing! Drmies (talk) 22:35, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, perhaps it is rather a British thing, don't know if the Bonzos had spread across the pond in '67 but at that time most people in the UK took "gay" as simply meaning happy and bright, as in The Gay Gordons. You young folks probably don't appreciate the context. Musically, the Bonzos collected 78s and took them as inspiration, and "gay" was still mostly innocent in 1935 when the song was written, Catalog of Copyright Entries: Musical compositions. Library of Congress, Copyright Office. 1936.  By Edward Lisbona and Tommie Connor. In a way, the Bonzos followed on from The Temperance Seven, don't know if they made it in The States. Perhaps the Tom Robinson Band's "Glad to Be Gay" is more your era? . . dave souza, talk 00:41, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
The Bonzos were something of a cult fave over here. "Urban Spaceman" was a minor hit IIRC. I have most of their albums, but it wasn't until very recently that I cottoned on to what "The Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse" meant! Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:09, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

Formal meditation has been requested[edit]

The Mediation Committee has received a request for formal mediation of the dispute relating to "America: Imagine the World Without Her". As an editor concerned in this dispute, you are invited to participate in the mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process which resolves a dispute over article content by facilitation, consensus-building, and compromise among the involved editors. After reviewing the request page, the formal mediation policy, and the guide to formal mediation, please indicate in the "party agreement" section whether you agree to participate. Because requests must be responded to by the Mediation Committee within seven days, please respond to the request by 24 January 2015.

Discussion relating to the mediation request is welcome at the case talk page. Thank you.
Message delivered by MediationBot (talk) on behalf of the Mediation Committee. 19:19, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

You don't say! A chance to engage in a protracted, unstructured, and non-binding "mediation" with some of the project's most blindly hyperpartisan zealots on a subject which no one in his right mind cares about? I'll put it on my to-do list, right between "Make follow-up dental appointment" and "poke own eyes out with sharpened stick". MastCell Talk 22:33, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Ha! If you want to attract attention to your Talk page, use edit summaries like the one you did here. You should probably poke out your own eyes first. That way you won't be able to see to make the follow-up dental appointment.--Bbb23 (talk) 22:52, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
I have to disagree here. Hopefully without running afoul of the WP:MEDRS brigade, I'll suggest the dental appointment would likely be a net positive to your overall health, whereas the eye poking thing is unlikely to. NE Ent 18:41, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Definitely eye-poking first. But only one eye. "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." Writegeist (talk) 03:09, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
No, no, the dental appointment first. Trying to explain why sub-group analysis of a randomized controlled trial does not prove that flossing twice a day reduces blood pressure, while your interlocutor is poking at your mouth with pointed pieces of metal, should really not be delayed. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:40, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Taking on positive psychology![edit]

I updated the critical positivity ratio with the 2014 response. There are various articles here that still mention this uncritically, such as Flourishing. That entire article relies on the debunked paper. More drastic measures may be in order. I am more concerned about the overall lack of high-quality reviews in positive psychology. Consider again Optimism#Health, which I guess is the empirical backing for the US army's pouring money into positive psychology. I'm actually not sure what to believe about optimism, because cultivating it may be tremendously useful not just for the US army. Most studies seem to be positive and optimistic. Unfortunately, as far as I have found, the systematic reviews in the optimism article are conducted by the same people who are involved in the research. Consider how different Orme-Johnson and the AHRQ reviews are about TM. I would have thought that systematic reviews are conducted by independent people specializing in evidence-based medicine. Since you mentioned Jerry Coyne, I assume you have seen his critique of the meta-analyses in positive psychology, but what can be done here that is consistent with Wikipedia's sourcing policies? How much weight would you give these systematic reviews versus the critique of those reviews? There is also internal criticism (PMID 20358319) of one of the main optimism reviews. I guess the normal thing here is to mention all of these sources, until the day that a proper review has the decency to conclude "nothing can be said about the health effects of optimism", or after years of pouring money into this, maybe an APA task-force is formed to see if it actually works, as was done for self-esteem... Vesal (talk) 12:53, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

@Vesal: I think it will be a tough nut to crack. The issue is that there is an extensive peer-reviewed literature promoting the benefits of optimism. I think that much of that literature is suspect, if not totally bereft of scientific value, and I'm hardly alone in that opinion... but Wikipedia doesn't really have a good way to convey that. In Wikipedia's hierarchy of sources, a systematic review will almost always trump a thoughtful criticism, even if the systematic review is crap and the criticism is on point. In the case of the critical positivity ratio, the whole thing was so transparently risible that it collapsed under scrutiny and the paper was withdrawn (sort of), but most cases are not so clear-cut.

As you mention, optimism is undoubtedly a good thing. But the problem is that a whole scientific industry has arisen which attempts to quantify the role of optimism (most notoriously, to 5 significant figures in the case of the positivity ratio) in a way that makes absolutely no scientific sense. Worse, there is a commercial, money-making enterprise built off of these allegedly scientifically proven benefits of optimism—retreats, popular books, seminars, and so on. Given the highly dubious quality of the underlying science, these marketing efforts—often arranged for the profit of researchers in the field—raise some significant ethical questions in my mind (speaking only for myself, as a matter of personal opinion).

Of the statistical trappings in the field, the less said the better. A whole sub-field of literature has been written on the ways in which academic psychologists misuse statistics. For example, virtually none of them understand basic statistical concepts like confidence intervals or experimental power, a problem which extends to those at the top of the field who serve as peer reviewers and journal editors. Many don't see why it's problematic to keep sampling a population until you discover a statistically significant finding. And the problem of "researcher degrees of freedom" is well-described, to say nothing of the startlingly high prevalence of outright fraud at the highest levels of the field. Virtually every time in recent memory that someone has tried to independently replicate a high-profile finding in social psychology, they have failed. That last point is a pretty powerful indictment of the current state of the field.

Anyhow... since you mention James Coyne (I assume that's who you meant, rather than Jerry Coyne), I do find his blog to be a refreshing dose of sanity. Likewise Andrew Gelman's, at [6]. As for Wikipedia... meh. It will get there eventually. MastCell Talk 19:10, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Thank you for the lengthy response. Fortunately, there are signs social psychology is in the process of sorting out some of these issues. I did indeed mean James Coyne; the situation is hopefully not as bad to require Jerry Coyne... As for Wikipedia, maybe the "meh" response is exactly right. After all, if you want Wikipedia to be a mainstream encyclopedia, I guess you have to accept cases where the mainstream literature is suspect. Vesal (talk) 11:59, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

Cynical comment about guides[edit]

Even though both are mostly equally on point, I often prefer the wording of CGTW to OWB, but find OWB formatting much more user friendly, cause I can simply link WP:OWB#16, but have to use a more awkward "WP:CGTW, number 19."

Also, while I'm here, this indicates to me you're more of a pseudo cynic than an actual one; us actual cynics are rarely surprised by anything wiki. NE Ent 18:46, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the compliment, and the suggestion. At some point, I'll go back and convert the Cynic's Guide to an {{anchored list}}, like Antandrus' page. I tend to rearrange the list and add and remove items pretty liberally, but if other people besides me actually cite it then I should probably make an effort to stabilize the numbering. As for pseudocynicism, that's probably a fair point. I've always thought that WP:AE was the most back-asswards of the many back-asswards institutions on Wikipedia. The point is ostensibly to streamline the handling of editorial malfeasance in contentious areas, but instead it greatly complicates such efforts. It's an example of a tool which accomplishes the exact opposite of its intended purpose. That said, I was still surprised at the sheer level of process wonkery in that particular incident. Volunteering to admin in those areas is sort of like volunteering to work at the DMV. I'm sure there must be people who enjoy spending their volunteer time immersed in these sorts of bureaucratic tasks, or who think that such bureaucracy is essential to the operation of the project, but I'm not one of them. MastCell Talk 19:51, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Please don't feel you have to stabilize the list on my account. That'd make me part of the "bureaucratic problem," wouldn't it? NE Ent 11:04, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Steven Emerson[edit]

Thank you for participating in the BLP noticeboard discussion concerning Steven Emerson. If you have the chance, could you take a look at the Steven Emerson page, there seems to be some continuing dispute regarding BLP interpretations. Cheers! Coffeepusher (talk) 03:31, 22 January 2015 (UTC)


If somebody has the propensity for socking it is very useful to keep their main account active so that there is always fresh data. Checkusers can only access the most recent 90 days of server log data. If you ban that account they will inevitably pop up with a new one and it will become much harder to connect them. My position is pragmatic not philosophical. Jehochman Talk 18:09, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

I understand how checkuser works, but I still don't think this is a useful approach. It is trivially easy to avoid detection by checkuser, and I would assume that someone schooled in the basics of SEO is technical enough to understand this. Checkuser catches only the dumb and the lazy (as one of our best used to say), and this user is clearly neither. If the only reason to pass up a siteban is to create a paper trail of IP data, then I think you've already made the argument against that approach. MastCell Talk 19:42, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Reviews of Environmental Health[edit]

Thanks for commenting at WP:BLPN. As you may have seen, Mr. Dell has disagreed at length with the 3 opinions there. In any case, he has now inserted the biased allegations into the journal article, albeit without naming the editor-in-chief this time. Diff[7]. Since you are an experienced admin, perhaps you could think about whether this merits intervention? Or perhaps you could advise me how to proceed? I enjoy contributing to articles and doing some dispute resolution, but so far I'm not finding a way to converse with Mr. Dell in a way that is constructive, yet his problematic edits continue despite the input he is getting from other editors. Thanks! HG | Talk 03:02, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

Request for mediation rejected[edit]

The request for formal mediation concerning America: Imagine the World Without Her, to which you were listed as a party, has been declined. To read an explanation by the Mediation Committee for the rejection of this request, see the mediation request page, which will be deleted by an administrator after a reasonable time. Please direct questions relating to this request to the Chairman of the Committee, or to the mailing list. For more information on forms of dispute resolution, other than formal mediation, that are available, see Wikipedia:Dispute resolution.

For the Mediation Committee, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:07, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
(Delivered by MediationBot, on behalf of the Mediation Committee.)

Mercola article[edit]

There are a few Thimerosal typo errors in the article. I can't edit, so I was hoping you could. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobwhiz (talkcontribs) 16:58, 5 February 2015 (UTC)


I deprecate your reversion. Even though the source in question is a review, it is not from a reliable source. RotaTeq is not an accredited institution. The sources in question are all through RotaTek, which means that negative findings may be screened. The second clue for me to make this accusation is that the final numbers are a round figure of ninety percent success. For a live-virus vaccine, this is low, so I want to know about adverse events. User_talk:Jmh649 answered the question as though he were reading something other than my links. User_talk:Formerly_98 did not address my problem with the source in any terms but a ringing endorsement for consensus on vaccination in general. The third guy to join the discussion does not seem to understand long sentences in abstracts, even when they are clear. Please join the discussion about Bias fault regarding self-promotion before you make any more reversions. Silence from active users implies hidden information. (talk) 16:59, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

I dunno; I read your comments at Talk:Rotavirus vaccine, and they seem to have very little to do with appropriate article content. Instead, you seem to be using the talkpage to expound a series of false or mistaken beliefs about the vaccine and the supporting medical literature. That may be why you're not getting the response you want from the other editors there, not because they're unable to read or understand abstracts. For example:
  • You claim that PMID 21734466 is "*not* peer reviewed". This is a false statement; it is published in a peer-reviewed journal, Human Vaccines. It was submitted on 10 Dec 2010 and accepted on 17 Mar 2011. During the interim between submission and acceptance, peer review took place.
  • You claim (here) that PMID 21734466 is "not from a reliable source". This is false; it is a recent systematic review published in a reputable medical journal, and thus meets our definition of a reliable source.
  • You claim that "maternal antibodies interfere with a vaccination, so enable the vaccination to infect babies", citing Moon 2010. This is a false claim. Moon 2010 says says nothing of the sort. Instead, it finds that maternal antibodies (passed on through breastfeeding) block the immune response to the vaccine, rendering it ineffective. This is completely different—and, in fact, diametrically opposite—from "enabl[ing] the vaccination to infect babies". This is a very fundamental misreading and misrepresentation of the literature on your part. I see that someone already called you on it, and you responded nonsensically.
  • You claim (here) that an efficacy of 90% is "low" for a live-virus vaccine. I will leave it as an exercise for you to produce efficacy rates for other live-virus vaccines to substantiate your claim that 90% is markedly "low"; suffice to say I think it is false as well.
So in this case, silence from an active user may not imply that he is part of a vast pharma-industrial conspiracy to hide information from the masses. It may simply imply that he considers discussion with you, under these terms, to be an unproductive use of his time. MastCell Talk 19:30, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
If that is your definition of peer review, then there is a second phase in it regarding citations from other authors. If any of them confirm my critique in that lack of replication, withheld data, or ignored data shows lacking integrity, then your lack of requirements for independent replication are a weak definition. PubMed has been open to comments from published authors in their field for at least a year, now. I've never seen the facility used. Perhaps the first time I do, it will be regarding one or both of the materials we are discussing here. (talk) 00:00, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
We means you and me. Who are we? Speak for yourself. One compilation of industry-funded sources filtered through RotaTeq does not get my trust, because RotaTeq is not an accredited institution, so they do not stand to lose public funding if the government or the public loses faith in their integrity. I would like to think that I know more about the subtle arts of bullshit detection, evasion interpretation, and arrogant, offensive flat-out denials of things that people do not know, than you and five hundred other people can put into fifty kilobytes. (talk) 00:00, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Aha. Questions are nonsense. That means you do not like thinking, Grasshopper. Many words; little meaning. Diametrically opposite? Really? How would a live vaccine safely induce an immune response? (talk) 23:58, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
When cows showed the same symptoms of disease as humans, someone had an epiphany. I believe it was Louis Pasteur. [I wonder if the microbe that causes disease in cows is related to the human variant] he might've thought. He did not have micrographs of isolations and immunological stains for evidence. How would he prove it? (talk) 23:58, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
All of the evidence anybody needs is before you. If the vaccine were sufficiently effective, then Moon 2010 would have no motivation to propose a method of making it more effective. Suppose that 300 million people were to be vaccinated in the next twenty-five years. That would be 30 million people at risk for either infection from the vaccine, or natural infection. That would be tremendous market penetration. What if the number is in fact only accurate to one digit; nine out of ten; 85% to 95%? What if it is inflated? (talk) 23:58, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I said nothing about any vast conspiracy to hide information from the masses. I am talking about one paper from one government body, and one paper with nothing but results from one corporation. If you give them that much power in your words, then corporate media power over conglomerate media channels will drive wikipedia; not you; not independent thought. (talk) 23:58, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
This discussion properly belongs where it started. What is your purpose in arguing with me, here? (talk) 23:58, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Good question. I guess I just wanted an illustration of The Fourth Law in action. MastCell Talk 04:47, 7 February 2015 (UTC)


Nuvola apps edu languages.svg
Hello, MastCell. You have new messages at Roscelese's talk page.
Message added 21:19, 10 February 2015 (UTC). You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

Roscelese (talkcontribs) 21:19, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

And thank you, by the way, for your help on this case. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 20:45, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Sorry for the confusion and apologies if I have used the wrong pronoun in referring to you at some point - I must have been thinking of another editor, though it will frustrate me until I figure out who. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 23:10, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Old friends?[edit]

Are you reminded of anyone? Guettarda (talk) 05:07, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

I'm going to mention this just in case there is a "gotcha!" down the road. The hectoring and the "cow toe" stuff is out of control. I hear the German Wikipedia does not suffer fools gladly, with this kind of nonsense being blocked outright. Here on enwiki we give WP:ROPE until maximal damage is attained, whereupon we hope that someone will have the patience to collect the debris and present it as evidence in a bureaucratic procedure to demonstrate the obvious. Manul ~ talk 07:58, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
@Guettarda: The sad thing is that I can think of at least 4 or 5 editors who could be operating this account. Manul, you're absolutely right about Wikipedia's perverse and dysfunctional approach to tendentious editors. Just remember the Fourth Law of Stupidity. MastCell Talk 18:21, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that there were quite a few viable options other than the first one that popped into my head (that is, our old friend Ken). Guettarda (talk) 05:37, 12 February 2015 (UTC)


I enjoyed our chat/debate and hope I didn't come off as snarky, as I fear I may have here. Cheers. CorporateM (Talk) 21:19, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

No worries; I didn't think you were snarky, and you have nothing to apologize for, although I appreciate the note. Likewise, I was probably more aggressive than I meant to be. My comments weren't meant to imply anything about you personally, only about my general feelings on paid editing, and I appreciate your willingness to discuss my concerns. MastCell Talk 17:20, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

C...... s...[edit]

Hi, MastCell, and thanks for volunteering to help with the article Chicken shit. In case you aren't following the discussion at User talk:Dennis Brown, that article got expanded into a agricultural-themed article about the manure, with the slang expression tagged on at the end. Some of us are attempting to re-hijack the slang term, starting in a sandbox at User:MelanieN/Chickenshit. Please join in, especially if you are able to lay your hands on that book (which is cited already, but only from an online preview). We'll teach them to make a nice clean encyclopedic article out of our naughty little stub! --MelanieN (talk) 18:20, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Correction: they thought better of it. The article is at Chicken shit. --MelanieN (talk) 18:25, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
I've got a copy of Wartime laying around, so I'll take a look as time permits. I think Fussell is the best writer on military history that I've come across. Obviously his chapter on chickenshit made an impression on me. Thanks for the note, and I hope you're well. MastCell Talk 00:48, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I am well, thank you. No infection taken from disposing of the sandbox; I was careful to wear cyber-gloves. You can never tell what might be in a sandbox. --MelanieN (talk) 15:36, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

FYI SPI opened[edit]

Since you recently made a short EW block of an IP, I'm providing an FYI that I have filed an SPI complaint. Please comment here, if you wish NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:53, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

This smells like canvassing to me. I don't know who asked MC to block me, but I have zero hard feelings about being blocked since I deserved it, and since it is a routine admin. task. Are you sure that you alerted everyone that had any interactions with me NewsAndEventsGuy? Yeah, I didn't think-so, and I don't think it is the job of admin. to take your back in your over-the-top editor harassment campaigns.2601:C:67C0:F8:35B5:3331:DAB7:A60E (talk) 05:16, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
To show WP:Canvassing you'll have to demonstrate that I selectively pinged people. In reality, I attempted to ping everyone with essentially identical messages who spoke at
The suspected socks were templated, and the blocking admin got a tweaked version of the msg. But I don't think I missed anyone, do you? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 09:01, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Just to be clear, no one contacted me about blocking your IP, and no one asked me to do it, either on- or off-wiki. I noticed the edit-war because the article in question is on my watchlist, and intervened. I don't have any interest in participating in the sockpuppet investigation, so whether or not this post was "canvassing" is largely academic. MastCell Talk 17:25, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Elephant in the room[edit]

X is either Y, or a performance artist doing a remarkably precise impression of Y's pathological online personality. Or are we not supposed to mention the elephant in the room?

(Names changed above to prevent drama). I fought against this notion for a while. However, recent events have led me to revisit it. You may be correct. Several things she has said recently remind me of Y. Viriditas (talk) 01:45, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Oh, sheesh. I think the evidence might be staring right at us and I just noticed it for the first time. I don't want to give away any "tells" (per BEANS), but I think I may have nailed her. More later. Viriditas (talk) 01:53, 28 February 2015 (UTC)