Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countering systemic bias

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WikiProject Countering systemic bias
WikiProject icon This page is supported by the Countering systemic bias WikiProject, which provides a central location to counter systemic bias on Wikipedia. Please participate by editing the article, and help us improve articles to good and 1.0 standards, or visit the wikiproject page for more details.
 

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Please read the associated WikiProject Page before posting here. If you notify the project, please be prepared to show how any potential bias could be resulting in a lack of balanced coverage, or some other omission, as described on the WikiProject Page.

Contents

Wikipedia:WikiBigotry[edit]

Based on recent experiences and my impressions of this project, I was inspired to write this essay. Your comments (good, bad, or indifferent) are welcomed. I will admit to borrowing some passages (in support of this project), but substantial portions are mine. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 21:43, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Good job, I can endorse that! Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 22:46, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
You might want to add something like "Be careful linking other editors to this essay as direct accusations of bigotry can be interpreted as hostile, even when justified" I have seen that on some other comparable essays Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 22:49, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Ah! Excellent idea, disclaimers never hurt. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 23:21, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
With regard to systemic bias (mentioned in the above linked essay), I see it more as a WP:Due weight matter...which is a part of WP:Neutral. Too many editors forget (and too many don't know) that with regard to sourcing a topic, Wikipedia gives priority to the majority (how a topic is generally reported in WP:Reliable sources). But I suppose one can state that the sources are an aspect of systemic bias. Flyer22 (talk) 23:00, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree with your observation. My example of source based "WikiB" refers to how the source is used, abused, or if its diligently avoided or bashed. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 23:21, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I left some comments on the talk page about bigotry against people with certain ideas and against women, leading to the gendergap in Wikipedia. FYI. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 03:34, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

{{Anthropic Bias}}[edit]

Template:Anthropic Bias (edit|talk|history|links|watch|logs) has been nominated for deletion; this appears to be for discussion and not articles? -- 76.65.128.112 (talk) 05:54, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

This is a completely different use of the word 'bias', isn't it? Sionk (talk) 12:12, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
It depends on whether countering bias based on being human versus non-human is something needing countering. (ie. the current discussion occurring at talk:overpopulation (biology) is a human v non-human bias consideration) -- 76.65.128.112 (talk) 01:38, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
This Wikiproject is concerned with human (i.e. Wikipedia editors) bias. No non-humans or inanimate objects edit Wikipedia, as far as I'm aware. Sionk (talk) 02:11, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
True, but that does lead to bias, as is a "femur" a bone in animals, or a specific human anatomy article on the human version? And should articles be structured to present the general form first, before delving in depth into human forms, or should human forms, where much more information is present, become subarticles of a more generalized form? And other such issues dealing with a human-first world view versus a human-agnostic world view. (The Earth is the only world for humans, but the Universe is not centered on Earth. Thus the scientific debate with geocentric views of the universe and bias resulting from such.) -- 76.65.128.112 (talk) 01:49, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
This topic was discussed in a WP:RfC at WP:Anatomy; see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Anatomy/Archive 5, though, as that Close discussion shows, I'm not in complete agreement with that close. Flyer22 (talk) 18:04, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Reference given to a reference that doesn't apparently exist[edit]

In the second paragraph of the lead, a reference is given to <ref name="Simonite-2013" />. However, there appears to be no such reference name within the page, and no link or other bibliographic information is given for this essay. I mention this as I was interested in reading the essay, only to find that the reference contains no actual reference information. Can someone update this by providing a proper reference, or a link to the essay instead of the reference? Or, if I'm completely blind and somehow missed it (entirely possible), please point it out to me? MrMoustacheMM (talk) 18:17, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

WP Countering Systemic Bias in the Signpost[edit]

The WikiProject Report would like to focus on WikiProject Countering Systemic Bias for a Signpost article. This is an excellent opportunity to draw attention to your efforts and attract new members to the project. Would you be willing to participate in an interview? If so, here are the questions for the interview. Just add your response below each question and feel free to skip any questions that you don't feel comfortable answering. Multiple editors will have an opportunity to respond to the interview questions, so be sure to sign your answers. If you know anyone else who would like to participate in the interview, please share this with them. Have a great day. –Mabeenot (talk) 00:52, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Help at Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/Representations of Latinos in media ?[edit]

The comment below is reposted from Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Latinos. Djembayz (talk) 21:55, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

This article is a great idea, something we're really missing (unless there is such an article I'm just overlooking) but the submitter has written more an essay than an article. If anyone is willing to drop in and help him out, it'd be great to get this article up and running rather than let it fall due to a novice writer's unfamiliarity with Wikipedia. MatthewVanitas (talk) 00:12, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Wikiproject proposal[edit]

I would like to invite members of this group to this discussion Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Proposals/Neutral Editors. Serialjoepsycho (talk) 02:05, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

"Plymouth"[edit]

The usage of Plymouth (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) is under discussion, see talk:Plymouth -- 70.50.151.11 (talk) 05:32, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Calling African history wikipedians[edit]

Dear all,

I have recently come across what I believe to be the worst, high-importance article in WP:Africa - the History of Liberia. Not only is it badly sourced, but much of the prose is extremely poor and it does not cover the topics it should. I have hacked away at the section on the period 1847-1980, but that it where my sources and expertise run out. The rest is pretty much as-was. Can everyone have a look and see if they can do anything to improve it? Brigade Piron (talk) 09:16, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Are we a "no action, talk only" WikiProject?[edit]

When this WikiProject was featured in the SignPost, my answers to the interview questions included the following:

Reading the WikiProject talk page may give the impression that this WikiProject is a NATO (Singlish for "no action, talk only") that only exists for people to rant. That the explanation of systemic bias was moved to a subpage makes the main WikiProject page far less helpful. Of course, we want more editors to get involved in countering systemic bias, but the WikiProject already has four hundred members. To me, the most urgent need is meaningful communication between the four hundred members, to set concrete directions and goals that can be worked towards.

Collaboration is needed to coordinate efforts to counter systemic bias, but there is hardly any. Other WikiProjects should conduct CSB drives. For example, WikiProject Film could compile a list of 100 historically significant movies from Asian countries, or WikiProject Schools could identify 50 highly notable special education schools, then aim to bring at least 10 of their articles to GA status within a year.

Perhaps you should ask, and we should discuss, which policies are more prone to systemic bias. One obvious example is the policy against open proxies, which hinders editors living in countries where such proxies are needed to circumvent government censorship. That the policy on the use of sources in languages other than English is also unclear may lead to uneven notability guidelines and unfair deletions. In addition, the policy that Wikipedia is not censored has been interpreted in a manner that deters participation by editors from more conservative Asian cultures. Policy pages should also be rewritten to be more understandable by contributors for whom English is a second language.

I hope that members of this WikiProject would act on the above feedback. --Hildanknight (talk) 04:24, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Start with Admins. I had to point this out to an admin:
"Seriously? You took part in a discussion here Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard#Branding individuals as bigots via Templates. Did you happen to notice the irony of condoning "Branding individuals as bigots" on a Neutral point of view/Noticeboard?" USchick (talk) 02:04, 14 September 2013 (UTC) --USchick (talk) 05:13, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
You may also be interested in this discussion [1] USchick (talk) 05:23, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
One question which I feel this project should wrestle with is how far should it go. Is it enough to identify problematic articles/policies, or should it go further and suggest recommendations, or even further and become a major player when issues arise? My personal feeling is that as a start, it would be nice if the project could formulate a checklist where editors could do a self-check to examine whether their (or others') points of view might contain bias. Other ideas? -- kosboot (talk) 14:41, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I suggest we start by cleaning up the key pages of our WikiProject. As mentioned above, moving the explanation of systemic bias to a subpage made the main WikiProject page much less helpful. Some key subpages are horrendously outdated. With our policy against open proxies colluding with the Great Firewall of China, I highly doubt that Wikipedia covers East Asian topics better than Latin American topics. The idea of a checklist to examine views for bias is an excellent one and could be included in the cleanup of key WikiProject pages.
In the long run, I would like our WikiProject to make policy recommendations and coordinate article writing drives. For that to happen, we need to foster meaningful communication and collaboration between our members. --Hildanknight (talk) 17:37, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
If nobody objects within a few days, I will readd a summary of the explanation of systemic bias to the main WikiProject page. --Hildanknight (talk) 17:50, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
I also intend to create two pages for developing the proposed article writing drives and policy reviews. Should I place them in my user space, as subpages of this WikiProject or as regular Wikipedia space pages? --Hildanknight (talk) 18:39, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

All Action No Talk?[edit]

Contradicting my own point: The editors who are taking action are not in discussion here ... they are out stopping systemic bias. On Saturday you will see only females mentioned on the main page Did You Know section. All the way through March you will find that there are slightly more females than usual for Women's History Month. I'm off to do some more editing .... could you help those who are taking action? Talk to me or @Rosiestep, @Ipigott or @Mandarax and others. If you dont have time then at least have a look on Saturday and this month and hand out some barnstars. Someone could give a barnstar to every female based hook on the main page this month??? Victuallers (talk) 17:04, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

@Victuallers: Well done and keep up the excellent work! I am also out there, writing Singapore-related good articles and polishing potential Singapore-related GAs written by others. In fact, I believe editors from the Lion City have done an excellent job of countering systemic bias against our little red dot and in future, may share about how we do so. --Hildanknight (talk) 17:35, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Hildanknight, please forgive my ignorance but is Singapore actually badly covered? Compared to its neighbours for instance? Brigade Piron (talk) 21:13, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
@Brigade Piron: Singapore is certainly better covered than other countries in the Malay Archipelago and the rest of Southeast Asia, but badly covered when compared to Western countries where English is the dominant language. --Hildanknight (talk) 02:04, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks @Hildanknight "Little dots" are a good way of spreading the good news. When the volunteers wrote 1,000 new articles about everything? notable near Gibraltar they also did the nearby "red dot" of Ceuta, the north coast of Africa and the southern tip of Spain. IN the same way WMAU's Freopedia has spread to two nearby towns. Victuallers (talk) 17:53, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
@Victuallers: Just to clarify, "little red dot" is a nickname for Singapore. --Hildanknight (talk) 08:07, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Hilda - the vidence of the hundreds of articles this month is here Victuallers (talk) 08:52, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
@Victuallers: You deserve a hundred barnstars! I hope effort has been made to include Chinese, Indian, Muslim and African women (in short, women from all over the world, not just the Anglosphere). --Hildanknight (talk) 09:06, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
Oh there are quite a few of us, but thank you. You will see lots of unusual countries - I use this list but there are lots of international dancers. If you are familar with DYK then have a go at approving some hooks or maybe someone reading this will dish out some barnstars to the main editors. Victuallers (talk) 09:13, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Is Connecticut a country?[edit]

As a Singaporean reading Congress Street Bridge (Connecticut), I almost thought so. --Hildanknight (talk) 12:37, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

I guess one has to know that in the US, states are given a lot of freedom to rule and express themselves as if they are independent countries (and Texas and Hawaii once were independent countries, and Puerto Rico seems as if it is). -- kosboot (talk) 14:19, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
We shouldn't assume special knowledge on the reader's part. I'm no fan of nationalism but a substantial article on a piece of infrastructure really ought to mention what country it's in. bobrayner (talk) 16:13, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree 100%. This is a global encyclopaedia. We should always include the country in the first mention of any location in an article. HiLo48 (talk) 18:02, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I informed the primary contributor and he added "United States" to the first sentence of the lead section. There seems to be consensus here that the first mention of a place name should mention its country. Is there any policy or guideline which states that? To avoid being a "no action, talk only" WikiProject (see above section), could we propose a policy change? Of course, there would be exceptions where the country is obvious from context. --Hildanknight (talk) 23:50, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm absolutely with you on this. One of my primary irritations here are biographies which have just the state/county and town in the infobox as birth and death places...Brigade Piron (talk) 00:03, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
@Brigade Piron: Then could we propose a policy change? How about identifying articles with this problem and going through them to add the country? --Hildanknight (talk) 08:35, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
@Hildanknight: In regards to policy I believe Wikipedia has naming conventions. Where they are hidden is another question, LOL. Maybe in wp:MOS? Or maybe contact User:B2C. XOttawahitech (talk) 22:50, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
@Ottawahitech: The issue is not naming conventions, which deal with article titles. I am arguing that first mentions of places in the article itself (usually the first sentence of the lead section) should mention the country. --Hildanknight (talk) 02:32, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Misnomer "St. Patty's Day" in article infobox[edit]

As this is English language Wikipedia, not American Wikipedia... Could use some more eyes on this: Talk:Saint Patrick's Day#St. Patty's Day. - CorbieV 16:41, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Nurse scheduling problem[edit]

Can somebody that a look at this debate, and add some input? Bearian (talk) 19:56, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

James Arthur Ray[edit]

Could use more eyes on James Arthur Ray. I have attempted to clarify that what Ray led was not an actual Native American ceremony. Putting the same name on it doesn't make it the same: what Ray led was a heat endurance event by non-Natives, for non-Natives, that violated all sweatlodge protocols. This is supported in the WP:RS and WP:V sources where Natives wrote or were interviewed. But as there are also WP:V sources, often more mainstream ones, that didn't bother to talk to Natives, in some places the article has been based more on Ray's self-reporting than on reliable sources on the topic. As often seen in articles in this area, what may be WP:RS for non-Native issues may not be a reliable source on Native cultures. - CorbieV 19:15, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Women Scientists Worklist[edit]

Hi all, I'd love some help clearing the worklist of possibly notable women scientists without articles! I'm getting through it slowly but some help would be great. Sam Walton (talk) 20:36, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Here are links to several different lists which contain sometimes overlapping names of women scientists, fyi. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 13:58, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Countering systemic bias kit[edit]

Hello, I thought you all might be interested in the systemic bias kit development that I'm currently working on. A draft of the kit will be posted on Meta/Commons very soon, and results will be in the midpoint report that is being published now. I would love to involve the members of this project in tweaking the kit! Thanks for your attention, Keilana|Parlez ici 04:12, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

"Merging" (aka Deleting) categories[edit]

There is a discussion on merging Category:American women philosophers, Category:Asian American philosophers and Category:African-American philosophers into Category:American philosophers which would, in fact, lead to their deletion. If you would like to weigh in on the conversation (pro or con), go to Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2014 April 17#Category:American (x) philosophers. Liz Read! Talk! 21:12, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Darlene Johnson[edit]

I happened to see this article is up for deletion and was wondering which systemic bias WikiProject would be appropriate for it? It is about Darlene Johnson, an Australian filmmaker and actress from the Dunghutti tribe. XOttawahitech (talk) 22:41, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/History[edit]

A new page that not everyone here might have noticed. Dougweller (talk) 13:07, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the pointer. I'm a little disappointed that the discussion focusses on World War 2; of all conflicts, we already have most high-quality content on this one. Systemic bias? Hmmm. bobrayner (talk) 11:06, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Bikini image for Wikipedia photo of the day.[edit]

Just letting ya'll know about this discussion: Wikipedia_talk:Picture_of_the_day#Discussion_regarding_possible_picture_of_the_day:_Michele_Merkin. SarahStierch (talk) 16:12, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

Some are using the need to avoid the impact of our systemic bias as a reason to oppose the use of that image. I'm a massive opponent of systemic bias here, but support the use of that image. HiLo48 (talk) 17:25, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
There is an issue here.I think this project is about countering systemic bias - not stopping it per se. We need to get more positive images and biographies on the main page. We cannot pretend that the world does not include glamour models and that there is a bias towards female models - and we have mostly male editors. What we can do is help to counter this. If we have a dozen glamour models queueing for the front page then that is a bias that this project should counter. One picture is not systemic. Victuallers (talk) 12:51, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

History of Malaysia[edit]

The image has been changed (thankfully) since I posted. The image shown here is not the one I originally referred to. Red Slash 04:42, 6 June 2014 (UTC)Hey all, could you have a looksee at History of Malaysia.png? I'm pretty sure it's inappropriate but would appreciate your feedback before I send up an RfC... Red Slash 20:07, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

maybe you can explain why it is inappropriate? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.255.1.159 (talk) 18:14, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Umm, because it uses the British flag as its primary visual motif, and it was a British colony for less than a tenth of its history? Red Slash 03:01, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
This is a systemic problem on Commons, where people can create any picture they want without any references, and it's not considered OR. They even invent maps that never existed before and then claim it as a new reality. According to policy it's perfectly appropriate. This needs to be addressed at the policy level. USchick (talk) 14:38, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Forgetting the existence of the image for a minute, the real problem is the image's presence at Template:History of Malaysia, where I would support its removal. Sam Walton (talk) 16:19, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with both Samwalton9 and USchick. bobrayner (talk) 20:42, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Why does it need a picture at all? Most countries (Indonesia is a notable exception) just use the flag. IMHO, it is just unnecessary.Brigade Piron (talk) 21:07, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

The image may not be perfect, but I disagree that the image is as inappropriate as claimed. First of all, I'd like to ask where the estimation of % history is coming from. I assume the end of it is now, but at what point did history begin? Red Slash argues that having a Dutch flag for Indonesia is more acceptable because for "1/5 of the history of Indonesia, it was a Dutch colony". That gives history a beginning point of about AD300 (taking Dutch presence to be 1602-1949 , roughly 350 years), for which Britain controlled parts of Malaysia for just over a tenth (1786-1963, 177 years). I find two issues with this, firstly I don't understand why history here starts at AD300, or anywhere at all. I also don't see why 2/10 is somehow acceptable but 1/10 is cause for such "disgust".
As history doesn't really have a clear start date (start of human habitation perhaps, or the introduction of writing?), we should look at Malaysia. Malaysia's borders are defined by colonial borders. Its northern limits are where Britain established protection from Thailand, and its southern limits are where the British met the Dutch. The separation line east was where Spanish claims met British claims. The modern form of Malaysia (along with some of its legal systems, much of its Ethnic composition, the prevalence of English etc.) is a product of the history of British (and other) colonialism. That West and East Malaysia are united at all has a lot to do with British pressure for this to happen.
Does this justify a union jack background? It's clearly not a motif many like, but it doesn't entail the instant removal of the image just because it exists either. The picture was an attempt to emulate the (apparently acceptable) Indonesia template by creating an interesting header, and such attempts are positive and worthwhile. It's worth having a discussion about improvement and replacement if anything better exists of course, but that's different from just taking it out. I prefer it to a simple flag; it at least shows a bit of history (colonialism and independence), and a map. CMD (talk) 22:35, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree that it's highly inappropriate. If there is any flag in the background, it should be the flag of Malaysia. Malaysia is wonderfully multicultural, combining Malay, Chinese, Indian, Nyonya, indigenous Borneo, etc. cultures. Having a British flag in the background of that is an embarrassment. Good catch. Softlavender (talk) 07:12, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Not sure exactly how the country being multicultural is directly relevant to a history template, but anyway, what would you suggest replace the flag map of Malaysia if the background was the Malaysian flag? What would a Malaysian flag in the back convey about history? CMD (talk) 12:06, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
All those are tangential questions. The fact is, the image is very inappropriate and should not be used and should be deleted. There is no real need for an image on the article(s) and template; a mere flag will do if someone wants something there at present. Softlavender (talk) 22:35, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
They're less tangential than multiculturalism. Can you elaborate on the reasons you feel it's so inappropriate it should be deleted? It is because, as Red Slash notes, the area was British for 1/10th of the time since AD300? CMD (talk) 23:45, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
It's that the topic is the history of Malaysia -- which as you can see from the History of Malaysia infobox on the right, stretches from 100 BC to the present -- not the history of the UK. If any flag should be in the background, it must be the flag of Malaysia. Compare History of Indonesia, History of India, History of Hong Kong, History of Kenya, History of Ghana, or history of other country or territory that was a protectorate, territory, or colony of the British Empire for some fraction of time. It's preposterous (and embarrassing to Wikipedia) to have the British flag as the background for this topic. Softlavender (talk) 05:40, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
If you read the above, you would note that this picture is based on the Indonesian one which you bring up as an example. It just uses a forwards-in-time motif (colonisation --> independence --> modern Malaysia) rather than Indonesia's right-in-time motif. They both even use the same idea of colonial flags and modern flags, the difference being Malaysia places the modern flag on top of the colonial flag, whereas the Indonesian one places the modern flag around a central colonial flag. CMD (talk) 11:57, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
My error, strike that example, as Indonesia was for a time a Dutch colony, not a British one. That image needs to be changed as well; thank you for bringing it up. (However, the Indonesian one does not "place the modern flag around a central colonial flag".) Softlavender (talk) 19:29, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Well that's a more standardised position than expressed above. What do you mean by "the Indonesian one does not "place the modern flag around a central colonial flag" "? That's exactly what it does with the Dutch and Indonesian flags. CMD (talk) 20:06, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't, really. There is some sort of synthesis between the two which is unclear except upon close and knowledgeable analysis ... the white "blending" or "airbrushing" or "cross-fade" effect at the lower corners just looks artistic; there is no specific indication that it is intended to be part of a flag and no distinct indication that there are two separate flags in the image. Softlavender (talk) 21:45, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Well that's what happens when you have a white flag. There definitely are two flags there, however airbrushed at the bottom, with the Dutch one in the middle around the VOC logo, and the Indonesian one surrounding it on both sides. That is why the red goes further down on the sides than in the middle. CMD (talk) 22:04, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
This discussion is silly. Sure, the region has a history going back at least 10,000 years and the Malay people have been there for at least two thousand, but if we are talking about the history of Malaysia, that is a post-colonial nation with less than a hundred years of history. See the post above from User:Chipmunkdavis for a good summary on border questions. Much of the multiculturalism of which Malaysia is rightly proud was also created by migrations in colonial times. A Union Jack in a historical article is entirely appropriate. Pashley (talk) 16:47, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Americans[edit]

At the top of this article there is a gallery with images of 24 Americans. Only one woman, Marilyn Monroe. Input would be useful at Talk:Americans#Women?. Thanks. Dougweller (talk) 08:55, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Very unfortunate. I also notice that every African-American other than Martin Luther King is a late 20th century entertainer, and that none of the images depict native Americans. Some suggestions off-the-cuff include Jane Addams, Sacagawea, Billie Holiday, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emily Dickinson, Mary Cassatt, and Louisa May Alcott. Many of the current choices seem arbitrary or worse; why Cobain and not George Gershwin or Scott Joplin? Why Spielberg and not Groucho Marx or Charlie Chaplin? Why Henry Ford and not Booker T.Washington, Henry Ozawa Tanner, Louis Brandeis, Thurgood Marshall? Why Ronald Reagan and not Teddy Rooselvelt? MarkBernstein (talk) 14:03, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Those "pictures of famous people that represent country X" are a systemic bias nightmare, I think we should do away with them completely, or use a randomized algorithm that would look at articles of people from country X with page views greater than Y. They are a constant topic of dispute and it's frankly time-wasting, especially since we're trying to sum up Americans with 20 photos.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 14:13, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
While visually attractive, I also lean towards removing all images of people from the head of that article. The vast majority of Americans are neither famous nor as affluent as the people depicted. -- kosboot (talk) 16:02, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

additions to intro[edit]

Thanks for the additions to the intro but I have some concerns about them - wouldn't it be better to put such material in a mainspace article about systemic bias and let the larger group of editors hone them rather than having that exposition live here - and potentially exposed to the systemic bias of participants in this very project?--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 01:27, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Actually, the WikiProject page used to have an explanation of systemic bias, which was later moved to Wikipedia:Systemic bias. I would prefer the explanation be merged back. If that is not possible, then a summary of that explanation would be better than the introduction that was just added. --Hildanknight (talk) 13:14, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
I think some of that content is problematic. It reads more like some POV article with cherrypicked examples, than a dispassionate discussion of what we can do to improve wikipedia. bobrayner (talk) 13:58, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
These additions to the intro have just been trimmed by another editor who removed politics and big-business as two sources of possible bias. Separately, the difference between 'selection bias' and 'systemic bias' is an important one which is not presented on this project's page. The subsection just added on the topic of this difference is a short summary to add some referenced information about which one of these two forms of bias is more significant to this wikiproject. LawrencePrincipe (talk) 14:39, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Research idea of interest and a request for help[edit]

You may be interested in my idea at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)#Extracting_biographical_data_from_Wikipedia. Should be able to produce some nice graphs, illustrating the "gender inequality in country x" series, and more. I do need some help extracting data from Wikipedia dumps, however. Cheers, --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 09:49, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

The mainstream press has been covering the gender-gap Wikipedia events over the last two or three months, publishing that the current gap is at about a ten to one ratio for English Wikipedia. If you need these url's then let me know. Do you know what the current variation is for the Wikipedia gender gap in Germany, Italy, etc? Could you list any of them here for reference. LawrencePrincipe (talk) 14:44, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
That's the thing, we don't know since nobody as far as I know did the breakdowns per country. Or century - both of those are what I am proposing to do, if someone can give me a data dump boiled down to relevant parameters in a csv file... --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 17:29, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Here are some of the urls for the gender equality edit-a-thons[2] and the gender articles from the NY Times[3] which elsewhere mentioned a Maastrich University study on gender. I am assuming you are doing this as part of Susan's project to attain 25% female enrollment by 2015, which does not seem possible unless a pro-active plan is adopted at this point. The only active program being pursued now seems to be the "Mobile edits" program with similar demographic issues. Interwiki Language Projects may also have some data if you post on their messages board. Maybe this will give some sources. LawrencePrincipe (talk) 23:52, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Leaflet for Wikiproject Countering Systemic Bias at Wikimania 2014[edit]

[[

File:Project Leaflet WikiProject Medicine back and front v1.png|thumb|right|550px]]

Hi all,

My name is Adi Khajuria and I am helping out with Wikimania 2014 in London.

One of our initiatives is to create leaflets to increase the discoverability of various wikimedia projects, and showcase the breadth of activity within wikimedia. Any kind of project can have a physical paper leaflet designed - for free - as a tool to help recruit new contributors. These leaflets will be printed at Wikimania 2014, and the designs can be re-used in the future at other events and locations.

This is particularly aimed at highlighting less discoverable but successful projects, e.g:

• Active Wikiprojects: Wikiproject Medicine, WikiProject Video Games, Wikiproject Film

• Tech projects/Tools, which may be looking for either users or developers.

• Less known major projects: Wikinews, Wikidata, Wikivoyage, etc.

• Wiki Loves Parliaments, Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves ____

• Wikimedia thematic organisations, Wikiwomen’s Collaborative, The Signpost

The deadline for submissions is 1st July 2014

For more information or to sign up for one for your project, go to:

Project leaflets
Adikhajuria (talk) 17:31, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Discussion, requesting your input[edit]

Hello. Editors are welcome to comment on a discussion re: scope of a task force at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Countering_systemic_bias/Gender_bias_task_force#Keep_categorization_in_scope_for_this_project --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 20:25, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Discussion about "she" for ships[edit]

There's a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#A much gentler proposal about changing the Manual of Style to deprecate the use of "she" for ships. As it concerns the intersection of grammatical gender with actual gender, I thought some of you might be interested. --John (talk) 07:42, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Signpost article: Indigenous Peoples of North America[edit]

Members might be interested in looking at the July 2 Signpost report on Indigenous Peoples of North America. --kosboot (talk) 12:28, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

Systemic Bias? Stoners allowing their articles to "go to pot"[edit]

I was reading the Marijuana article and see many issues with it. First off, it has multiple notice tags at the top and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. The article is critically lacking in many areas and is fraught with issue after issue. It appears that potheads are the only ones who care about the article, but are too stoned to do anything about it. When edits are made, it's non-drug users doing the editing, so, of course, they come at it from a completely different perspective. LesVegas (talk) 15:20, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

I'm actually being serious, by the way. LesVegas (talk) 15:21, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
If I may kindly suggest for the future, perhaps eliminating characterization of people ("potheads," "too stoned") might be appropriate. (Btw, I'm a virulent anti-smoker of any kind.) -- kosboot (talk) 19:13, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes LesVegas, your post is effectively a slander of everyone whose name appears in the editing history of this article. It could be deleted under WP:BLP. If you can make well sourced improvements yourself, please do so, but keep the commentary on other editors out of it. HiLo48 (talk) 22:13, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Hey man, come on, I have a joking style. Where's everyone's sense of humor? Perhaps, on Wikipedia, there's systemic bias against humor and sarcasm itself since all of our communications are text-based and devoid of inflection and tone! By the way, I smoke every now and then myself (always in licensed and purely legal situations) and have edited the article recently and, for the record, I'd never, ever insult or slander myself. But in all seriousness, I think it only stands to reason that many editors might be chronic chronic smokers. If there's conflicts and arguments about whether a sentence ought to end in an exclamation point or a period, there's probably an interesting and vociferous debate on the far reaching cosmic effects of punctuation, but I'd imagine the non-smokers would see their edits through, no matter how "right" they may actually be. Perhaps I'm wrong, perhaps I'm a fool, but that's why I think there may be systemic bias. Anyway, I did make some edits, but it's has a long way to go, and there's only one of me and many pounds of Grade A Blueberry Yum Yum on my living room table...(calm down, only joking, only joking)....LesVegas (talk) 23:58, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Systemic bias in Wikipedia guideline[edit]

I have illurstrated that WP:TITLE has WP:NPOV issue in Wikipedia talk:Article titles#RfC: When COMMONNAME depends on country, culture, or demography (this link will soon become Wikipedia talk:Article titles/Archive 46#RfC: When COMMONNAME depends on country, culture, or demography or there abouts) that consideration to minor view points is lacking in the guideline. I am convinced that a change to WP:Title will not succeed through a proposal because of systemic bias coming from Wikipedia editor demography, so am not proceeding. This is just to call your attention to the matter for the record. Yiba (talk | contribs) 04:35, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Systemic bias in Eastern Medicine subjects[edit]

Hello all, I was just reading the article on acupuncture and noticed an interesting example of systemic bias. Many strong claims are made, sometimes supported by reviews from good peer-reviewed journals. On Western medicine related subjects, articles/studies from such publications are considered the gold standard in sourcing. However, when it comes to a subject like acupuncture, I think they actually fall quite short. There are reporting standards, for instance, such as STRICTA which, if followed, mandate that studies/reviews note things like "who is performing acupuncture? Is it a nurse? Is it an MD? Is it a non-healthcare professional? Or is it an acupuncturist with more than 10 years experience?" or "depth of needle insertion" or "needle retention time". Western journals, because they are ignorant of attributes such as these, often don't care about these details. They can often, perhaps unwittingly, publish low quality studies and reviews because it is not their field of expertise. While we may regard these journals as high-quality on topics ranging from albuterol to zygomycosis, I would suggest editors here to take a look at the page and join my efforts in making corrections to it, as necassary, so as to avoid systemic bias on topics such as these. 166.147.123.168 (talk) 22:07, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Hey bro, I know quite a bit about eastern medicine. I studied Chinese in college and lived in China for a little over two years, then wandered around in various parts of Asia for several more. Their medicine is legit, it saved my butt on more than one occasion. People in the US live in a tiny bubble and haven't experienced the rest of the world. They have opinions, but don't know what they don't know. I haven't heard of stricta but I'll look into it. I just looked at the acupuncture page you're talking about and it does have a strong western bias. I'll give me my 2 Lincoln's. LesVegas (talk) 18:37, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Be careful not to conflate bias with correctly dealing with pseudoscience and fringe theories. Reliable scientific journals are what medical articles MUST be based on. Sam Walton (talk) 18:54, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
I think the point was reliable scientific journals aren't reliable at all when it comes to subjects which their editors aren't familiar. If we're not gonna have systemic bias, shouldn't sources meet a better standard for reliability? I was reading about STRICTA today and here is the Stricta checklist which is all common sense. If studies can't meet those standards, they're not reliable. I'll read about this some more before I edit. There's idiots everywhere on wikipedia attached to their opinions, I want to make sure I'm not one of them. LesVegas (talk) 02:56, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
Chinese research tends to be ignored, both by Wikipedia editors and Western journals. --Hildanknight (talk) 03:12, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
On what basis are you assuming that the scientific journals used in, for example, the acupuncture article are not familiar with the subject? Because that's quite a big claim. Sam Walton (talk) 09:11, 18 July 2014 (UTC)
What Sam Walton is saying is quite reasonable from Western common sense, and a part of me agrees with them. However, this is the talk page for the project to fight systemic bias. As such, we need to take a step back and examine if what we take for granted are colored with systemic bias. From this stand point, I support 166.147.123.168, LesVegas and Hildanknight.
Moreover, WP:MEDRS is a guideline, and its first line says "It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense". (and WP:COMMON says " Wikipedians come from diverse ethnic, religious, political, cultural and ideological backgrounds and have vastly different perceptions") On the other hand, unlike a guideline, WP:NPOV is a policy all editors MUST follow, which requires us to recognize and present minor view points (including Chinese common sense). Japan has over 120Million population, and China has over 10Million English speakers. Yiba (talk | contribs) 07:59, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Well I've been doing research on the subject of STRICTA and came across this review from the British Medical Journal, who has adopted STRICTA's reporting standards in acupuncture research. It showed how even Cochrane Reviews are sub-par. Not when it comes to Western research, it's the gold standard there. But Eastern medicine, specifically acupuncture, they don't value robustness in reporting. And that's a problem in a field like that. You've got to have some sort of reporting standards, and if you don't then it's clear you don't understand the subject. LesVegas (talk) 20:10, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Be aware that there has been systematic boosterism of various areas in medicine and science, and some of these we know about but are still picking up the pieces of. All the best: Rich Farmbrough20:18, 20 July 2014 (UTC).
May be we should add the subtitle "boost the knocker" to this project, or use it as the slogan :) Yiba (talk | contribs) 04:18, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Yeah man, boost the knocker! I like it. Now, as for what Rich said, I just noticed how an active editor on the acupuncture pages has just been topic banned. The only real thing I could see he did wrong was to edit war, although other editors were doing this as well and have emerged unscathed. On the one hand, I see many problems on that page and while I want to help, I don't want to be bullied by some of the editors who have seized pages like this and act like they own it. On the other hand, I think bias will only get out of control if we don't stand up to it. Is there another way of proceeding, other than going over there and getting into an edit war and eventually getting topic banned ourselves? That article, and articles like it, need major work to free them from bias, but there has got to be a better way than fighting to go about it.LesVegas (talk) 12:54, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
No evidence for any systematic bias by "western journals" has been presented here. The STRICTA list of participating journals is over 50% published in countries traditionally considered to be "Western" culture. One of which is PLoS, one of the largest "western journals". And editor LesVegas said that British Medical Journal, one of the most respected "western journals", has also adopted STRICTA. It would seem obvious to me that any favoratism of "Eastern Journals" over "Western Journals" would only lead to systematic bias. Dkriegls (talk to me!) 19:12, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Hey DKriegls! Thanks for contributing to this discussion here bro. I appreciate your comments and you're right about Plos and BMJ. Now, you said no evidence has been presented here, and I can see how you would certainly come to that conclusion if you didn't notice this link I posted previously. And sorry, man, I've probably also talked too abstractly, but anyway the argument I've come to understand here is extremely complex, and it didn't make complete sense to me either at first. But basically it's this: reporting standards exist, for example, for acupuncture. This ensures that we, or the reviewers of studies or of systematic reviews, know exactly what occurred in a study. For instance, some studies don't report how long needles were left in someone's body. Or they don't report who did acupuncture and what their qualifications were. Or they don't report how deep the needles were inserted, or what the retention time was. Or all or even any details about the placebo control. Now, I can certainly forgive some Western journals for publishing studies that don't have this information. They aren't as familiar with acupuncture as western medicine, and to them a study that says, "acupuncture on these points yielded x result versus sham placebo" seems reliable so they publish it. Afterall, that's how Western studies are designed. A drug is a drug is a drug. And we don't need to know if the sugar in the placebo came from refined cane sugar or from beet sugar or was a crop from Cuba or from the Honduras. It doesn't matter. But deeper details matter in something like acupuncture, and they could matter a lot. So anyway, we've got Cochrane Reviews that don't even adopt reporting standards for acupuncture. That's a problem and it's not just us saying it, the BMJ even says Cochrane is publishing subpar information on acupuncture. It stands to reason that we need evidence of the highest quality to make our claims. So Western journals like Plos, BMJ, etc and respected Eastern journals which also subscribe to these reporting standards would be the ones we should use to make our boldest claims, and perhaps most claims. So you're right in a sense, Western journals could be good ones too, we just have to make sure they're reporting with robust evidence. LesVegas (talk) 03:28, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, I did actually read that link and as a researcher myself, understood it fine. I don't see where it demonstrates bias, only that there are different (and possibly less rigorous) science standards. Asserting that Western Journals "aren't as familiar with acupuncture as western medicine" is an actual assertion of bias, but you have not provided any evidence of that as there are plenty of "Eastern Journals" that also don't report STRICTA standards with their publications. Since STRICTA standards are not a standard research practice, our Wikipedia NPOV approach would be to include reference to all current research on the topic, but add mention of the difference in STRICTA reporting. As there are no current systematic reviews which only look at STRICTA reporting studies, the best systematic reviews out there are what we report. On a side note, I would think this is a discussion better suited for the Acupuncture talk page where editors are more familiar with STRICTA and Acupuncture; and would only make sense to bring up here after editors at said talk page rejected the inclusion of STRICTA reporting methods due to some apparent bias. Dkriegls (talk to me!) 20:05, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Hey DKriegls! Thank you kindly for giving us your insight as a psychology researcher. That's exactly why I didn't want to take this topic to the acupuncture talk pages just yet. I thought about it, but to me, it's better to get these insightful and broader views first. Now, when I said "Western journals aren't as familiar with acupuncture" I should have qualified it by saying they aren't as familiar if they don't use well accepted reporting standards, which STRICTA clearly is. If a Western journal publishes a study on acupuncture which says x, but it doesn't say how long needles were retained, or if they were stimulated or not, or who inserted them, then our argument is there's a problem with reliability. Or Eastern journal for that matter! To me, what matters most is: is the study or review reporting all the facts or not? If not, I don't see how we could allow the source to make a bold claim. Neutral claims, yes, but bold claims one way or another should only be made with sources using some sort of reporting standards. Since you're an expert in the psychology research field, I'm curious if you value more robust reporting or is it not that important to you? If a bold claim were made about, say cognitive behavioral therapy not yielding any results for patients with, say, anxiety when administered weekly over the course of 1 year, would you be skeptical of the claim if they failed to report whether or not they used psychologists actually trained in the method? If you're busy, I understand, but hopefully you can provide some expert nuance here because now I only see it black and white,(and that's notable since I'm an ENTP to the extreme!) Anywhoo, I thank you again for offering your valuable insight!LesVegas (talk) 23:04, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Oh,sorry, I just noticed where you said you didn't see the demonstration of bias. This is a specific type of bias we're claiming here, systemic bias, which I'm sure you know is the inherent tendency of a process to support particular outcomes. As Yibal said, MEDRS is a guideline not a policy. By using just peer reviewed journals to support any claim, journals without reporting standards, we create systemic bias. Or at least that's what we're thinking is going on here. LesVegas (talk) 23:25, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
There's a lot to respond to here, not sure I will get to it all. Perhaps your last statement is best addressed first. Yes, there is lots of bias in research. However, citing non-uniform (even poor) standards is not evidence of systemic bias. It makes it harder to prevent bias, but even STRICTA standards are likely to leave room for the type of systemic bias currently found in scientific reporting. Bias in science can be identified in many ways. For instance, STRICTA in no way limits a widely recognized systematic bias currently troubling scientific publican. Called Publication bias, it has wide ranging implications and is the bane of every researcher trying to improve scientific reporting. But it does exist and we identify it through statistical trends like the Decline effect. So for instance, if you were to argue that studies reporting STRICTA (and to be clear, STRICTA is just about reporting and not reporting doesn't mean not using) were more reliable than non-STRICTA reporting studies, you would need to demonstrate that by discovering a difference in outcome between the two groups. This study on publication bias in video game research is an example of what that would look like. In contrast, this study you refer to from PLOS doesn't show anything like that. In fact, it actually shows that randomized controlled trials (RCT) published after 2005 were extremely likely to used STRICTA reporting standards. Your referenced study's critique was that the Cochrane Reviews of those very RCT studies were "16% less likely to report the acupuncture-related items of STRICTA than RCTs". Meaning Cochrane Reviews used STRICTA compliant studies, but 16% of the time didn't report all the STRICTA variables. This is not evidence of any systematic bias and is actually counter evidence to your claim that STRICTA isn't being used as even the Cochrane reviews were only 16% less likely to use it. While I don't see any evidence that a distinction actually exists between "Eastern" and "Western" journals in general, I do know that studies originating in certain countries do have a well know publication bias on the subject. This review of 252 acupuncture studies found that "No trial published in China or Russia/USSR found a test treatment to be ineffective". Statistically speaking, this is an improbability even for a highly effective treatment. Just by chance some studies of very effective treatments statistically vary from the norm. This study suggests similar "highly positive" publishing by Chinese journals in other medical subjects as well, so I assume this is a systemic publication bias, and not just a preference to accept acupuncture as effective. But even given this publication bias, I would not assume systematic bias in research until I had a solid set of higher quality studies that showed significantly different results. Publication bias does not equal research bias. A scientific conclusion is like a brick house that you never finish and can't discard the bricks you start building it with. You only build a stronger base round the weaker base, and you always live in an unfinished house. --Dkriegls (talk to me!) 06:13, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Now with that said, this list originally think that STRICTA wasn't widely excepted. However, after more closely reading the STRICTA/Cochran review, reading the BMJ uses it even though they weren't on the STRICTA list of users, and inclusion by NIH here, I think you made the case that STRICTA is widely accepted. However, this apparent wide acceptance makes me now doubt if it isn't already included in all the articles cited on the acupuncture page. I think the next step would be to review the studies cited and see if they are not. Unfortunately, after reading the STRICTA/Cochran review study, this isn't guideline they say they have followed, they just follow it and you have to find the data points to see if they have. I could be wrong, but that was the impression I got. Better to ask someone on the Acupuncture page. --Dkriegls (talk to me!) 06:13, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you again DKriegls! You have given us some excellent things to think about. I have run across some stricta content you might not have been aware of which addresses some of your concerns, it'll just be a matter of me sifting through them. There's a lot of data there! Anyway, I again appreciate you lending us your expertise! LesVegas (talk) 03:57, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Just read through this thread. Some comments. Please excuse the length. Feel free to ignore, of course. First, overall tone. While it is very true that WP has systemic biases, in my mind it would be a mistake to conflate the general controversy in the field of medicine over the validity of acupuncture, with systemic bias in WP. Those are two separate issues and the relationship & distinctions between the two should be discussed carefully.

I want to say a bit more about controversy in the field of medicine over the validity of acu and what that means in WP. Acu is grounded in traditional, pre-scientific notions of the body. Because those notions of the body (qi, etc) are not grounded in science, the same is true for interventions based on those notions of the body. Specific interventions can be tested using the scientific method for sure, and there is scientific research underway to determine scientific bases for why acu could work. But (and here it comes) the lack of grounding means that in WP, the field is defined as pseudoscience. This is a serious and important thing in WP. Efforts to address systemic bias without acknowledging that, and trying to address the pseudoscience classification in inappropriate venues (article Talk pages are not appropriate for that!) will, in my view, probably lead to failure, frustration and drama all around, and even topic bans. I'll return to this at the end.

Along those lines, LesVegas mentions the editor who was recently topic banned. The description of why Herbxue was topic banned is wrong. The actual AE is here, and you will see that Herbxue was topic banned for more than edit warring - mostly for uncivil behavior, losing his temper.. things like that. If you go and actually study his interactions, you will see that H refused to really grapple with the "pseudoscience" issue and this often led to him getting angry and frustrated. (I was trying to help him grapple with it, when he wrote something here about how "outsiders" choose to interpret things that I still don't understand. (I tried to discuss it with him here)) But in my view, one of the reasons he crashed and burned is that he looked only at bias and didn't deal with the problems with pseudoscience and got frustrated with editors who were dealing with it.

That said, there are editors who work on TCM on the "skeptic" side who are incredibly difficult to work with. For the most part I have stopped working on TCM articles because the POV-pushing from both sides makes it impossible to get nuanced content into WP. Anyway, enough on that.

I also want to discuss STRICTA a bit. If you study the evolution of STRICTA... it came into being in 2002 (see here and it only became an official extension of the overall CONSORT standard in 2010 (see here). It is still fairly new, and there are many published trials that didn't report according to it, and some that still don't report according to it. Here is a published editorial by a guy who led the Cochrane review of acu in fibromyalgia who describes how much work it took to get information required by STRICTA from authors, that they didn't include in their publications, so he could do his review well. Things are messier than LesVegas would make them out to be.

And I want to point out that when LesVegas writes things like "BMJ says X" this is ... unfortunate (more on that in a minute). The corresponding author of the article in BMJ Open (which is not "The" BMJ) is Professor Jae Dong Lee of the Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea. It is accurate to write that BMJ Open published an analysis of Cochrane reviews written by professors of acupuncture and to later refer to it as "the BMJ Open article". Something like "BMJ says X" would only be accurate if the editors of the actual BMJ wrote and published an editorial and said X (which would indeed be a powerful thing), but is just not the case here. On the "unfortunate" thing - this way of describing published work -- which arises from ignorance, sloppiness, tendentiousness, or a combination thereof, - and deploying the mangled description to make strong rhetorical points -- discredits those who do it and inflames people "on the other side". It is profoundly unhelpful.

As I wrote, I pretty much stopped working on TCM-related articles due to POV-pushing on both sides. There is too little space in the middle for careful, nuanced work that would lead to really good WP articles. It is a great thing to address systemic bias, but beware becoming a POV-pusher for acu. Acknowledge the lack of scientific basis for acu; describe sources and what they say carefully and accurately; deal honestly with the messiness all around - what we know and what we don't know, and overall, with the limitations of any human editor and with all human endeavors, including medicine and TCM. Addressing systemic bias is important and will cause drama. Please don't undermine those efforts by POV-pushing for acu at the same time, in a conflated way. That will doom the efforts to failure and cause confused, unnecessary drama. The last thing we need is more POV-pushing editors who view themselves as righteous and the world as black and white. Anyway, those are my two (really twenty) cents. You can do with them as you will. Jytdog (talk) 11:36, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Jytdog gives great advice here, and I agree with most of it. A couple things I would like to clarify (and I will bring it back to systemic bias). I was banned for uncivil behavior and failure to AGF. In regards to my failure to grapple with certain issues, my reading of the source used to establish using a pejorative label in WP's voice was supported by several impartial editors at two separate noticeboards. I disagreed with the dominant POV of the culture in those articles, and was actually getting traction with neutral editors at places like project medicine and reliable sources noticeboard. I blew it because I wasn't keeping track of how much snark and anger I had been putting out there, and kept doing it.
To tie it back to systemic bias, I was banned (rightly) for being a jerk, but other editors who added and defended a misrepresentation the conclusions of a systematic review did not get as much as a warning. The literature may be imperfect, but I agree with those that say we cannot privilege, for example, Chinese literature because it will create bias (we cannot exclude that literature either). The real bias we have that could be addressed is the occasional misreading and misapplication of reliable sources, or inflating the message of certain sources, or giving certain sources undue weight to push a POV. I will not comment further, but wanted to clarify why I was banned because you guys brought it up. Herbxue (talk) 15:26, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

LesVegas, I haven't had time to read through all the comments here, but If you are concerned about systemic bias against eastern medicine, I'd think you’d need evidence beyond just acupuncture related. I don’t follow eastern medicine pages closely enough to comment on any potential systemic bias there, but will add a few to my watchlist. However, I do have several noticeboards on watchlist, and seem to recall reports regarding Traditional Chinese Medicine page, so you might want to look into any similar bias issues/concerns there, if you are interested in pursuing this. Also, Technophant was apparently recently blocked indefinitely for what appeared to be relatively minor infraction, so can understand what you say regarding wanting to avoid getting “bullied”. Unfortunately, that might be legit concern. --BoboMeowCat (talk) 16:37, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

A lot of good advice from Jytdog, Herbxue and BoboMeowCat. I have one comment on Jytdog's "the lack of grounding means that in WP, the field is defined as pseudoscience. This is a serious and important thing in WP". I am not disputing the comment as a fact in en.wikipedia, but from the traditional Chinese common sense, or point of view, TCM is validly grounded (as LesVegas stated, "they don't value robustness in reporting" and value other grounds more). The concept of 'science' and 'grounds', etc. have different meanings in different cultures, and the fact en.wikipedia uses English language does not mean it can always apply English meaning or definition on the concepts (as it is often illustrated in the handling of American, Irish or Scottish concepts). It is in violation of WP:NPOV to ignore and not present the relevant point of view (Traditional Chinese point of view in cases of TCM subjects) even if (especially if?) it contradicts Western (or American, Irish, Scottish, or any other country) belief or common sense.
It is this "doubting our own common sense" side that I value in this project to fight against systemic bias. Yiba (talk | contribs) 10:13, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
I am sorry but Yiba, this is a dangerous mythology. Science is science, including in China and other developing countries. China is striving to excel in science. See this article for one tiny example of reporting on this. The mythology is dangerous, as you would have China (and other developing countries that are now emerging) remain in some kind of prescientific backwater drowning in poverty and ignorance, and is basically a form of Orientalism wrapped up in a confused nationalism. Jytdog (talk) 13:47, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
There is no reason why properly referenced Eastern claims should not be included as claims, i.e. not as "the Truth according to Wikipedia." Subject matter should be properly balanced, and since acupuncture came out of the east, the eastern viewpoint should at the very least be summarised in the article. Simon Burchell (talk) 14:44, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
This is accurate yes - describing how things work in various TCM and other traditional modalities is good and appropriate, with inline attribution (e.g. "In TCM, "qi" is ......"), not in WP's voice (e.g. ""Qi" is ..."). Jytdog (talk) 14:58, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
We are not talking about modern day Chinese science or modern day Chinese medicine. Please take a look at Traditional medicine, and hope you'll see it is far away from mythology. As I so stated, I am talking about "Traditional Chinese point of view" in the articles on Traditional Chinese Medicine subjects. What Simon Burchell stated is not only agreeable or 'fine', but is required by WP:NPOV. We need to present views on the subject based on all the relevant points of view with due weight. In my mind, the difficulty in finding good sources aside, traditional Chinese view should carry a considerable weight in the Wiki articles on TCM. Wikipedia article on TCM should not be "TCM as viewed or judged by Western standards, or common sense", but rather it should be "TCM as viewed by traditional Chinese view point, modern day Chinese view point, Western view points and all other relevant view points in a balanced manner." I am not a Chinese speaker, and so I am not claiming that I can do this difficult task on TCM articles (I would guess there are many people in HongKong who could help.) I'd think that this basic NPOV requirement (which carries more weight than any Wiki guideline) is ignored too often, and the ignorance is creating a serious systemic bias. Yiba (talk | contribs) 17:44, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
If you are talking about discussions of TCM or other traditional medicinal practices and theories from an anthropological/historical perspective -- sure those should be discussed as clearly and sympathetically as possible, like any anthropological matter. It is a different story if are talking about claims of actual efficacy of TCM and other traditional medicinal approaches. Those are subject to science, which is the same anywhere you go. Jytdog (talk) 18:06, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
"talking about claims of actual efficacy of TCM" is a very good example of the problem I am talking about. Wikipedia is not a scientific journal or research paper, and as an encyclopedia, we the editors should leave the judgments on efficacy or true/false to reliable sources. So "if the claimed efficacy is valid" is not, and should not be, our primary concern. Instead, we should pay more attention to "are the points of view presented in the claims by reliable sources balanced?".
Meaning of 'science' has evolved over time. The earliest teachings of European universities were monastic, then scholastic science acted as the precursor to modern day science. It is well known that Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton had strong alchemy backgrounds. Some claims of acupuncture efficacy may be proven or disproven in the future, but so are the claims of efficacy on today's modern medical practices in the advancement of technology. "Proven valid" is always within the limitation of the proving methods used. So encyclopedia editors should not be concentrating on right/wrong, but rather on balancing the presentation of claims made by reliable sources, which may or may not be 'valid'. WP:NPOV applies to all Wiki articles regardless of context or perspective. Yiba (talk | contribs) 04:57, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Yiba, yep, acu may or may not be shown to have a scientific basis in the future. As of 2014, for no lack of trying, there is none. That is what we report here. That is how things work here - what you are describing is not a matter of bias and is indeed not a matter of right/wrong. If you don't want to hear, there is nothing more I can do. Best regards, Jytdog (talk) 05:20, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Yiba, Jytdog is correct. Wikipedia is not a crystal ball. We depend on RS, not on speculations about the future. We are, and must be, "behind the ball" at all times. We report after the fact. -- Brangifer (talk) 05:31, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
I am saying we should stay behind the ball. Judging everything according to the currently accepted common sense is refusing to accept that the ball has been, and will be showing new things at all times, and that common sense has been and will be evolving, and that there are and has been many versions of common sense in the world. We need to accept the fact what we believe in will change in the future, especially in discussing topics based on the past or foreign points of view. Refusal to accept that is taking the future in our own hands, and is like placing ourselves above the ball, or history. Wikipedia:Systemic bias#The nature of Wikipedia's bias says "Notability is more difficult to establish in non-Anglophone topics because of a lack of English sources and no incentive among anglophone participants to find sources in the native language of the topic." We need to take that statement to the heart. Choosing to ignore the entire Wikipedia:Systemic bias may be left to the freedom of Wiki editors, but not to those of us who participate in the discussions on this talk page for Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias. Wikipedia is not in the business of making judgments. Yiba (talk | contribs) 07:41, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
How is the quote you provide above relevant to the discussion about TCM and science? Jytdog (talk) 09:24, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

A1candidate's observations[edit]

I have been closely following this thread for the past few days, and I think now is the time to drop some observations since the discussion above appears to have gone off course.

My first observation has got to do with the remarks of Simon Burchell, who says that:

"Acupuncture came out of the east, the eastern viewpoint should at the very least be summarised in the article."

This is an entirely reasonable position and it is what Wikipedia's policy of WP:NPOV requires us to do. However, the Eastern viewpoint is extremely difficult to represent because there are often conflicting views even among Eastern researchers themselves. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the main philosophical theories behind Traditional Chinese medicine are inadequately summarized in our TCM articles. If you compare the difference in length and content between official Chinese sources on TCM philosophy such as this one and our main article on Traditional Chinese medicine, there are indeed remarkable differences as well as many instances of crucial philosophical theories being left out completely and ignored.

So, the question is why is this happening to our TCM articles? Are Western sources doing a poor job of objectively investigating the field of TCM? Is Yiba correct to make such a statement as shown below:

""Wikipedia article on TCM should not be "TCM as viewed or judged by Western standards, or common sense", but rather it should be "TCM as viewed by traditional Chinese view point""

The simple answer to this is a straightforward "No". I deal with Western medical literature everyday and I can honestly tell you that a perceived "bias" against TCM in Western sources is much less common than you would like to think. In fact, the mainstream scientific consensus in the Western world is actually for, not against, the traditional medical beliefs of the Eastern world.

It's difficult to present the most widely accepted Western viewpoint on a topic that still remains controversial, but the Journal of the American Medical Association (one of the most highly regarded medical journals) recently made a very good observation about the general attitudes in the in the United States towards non-Western medical therapies:

"For some mind-body approaches, however, there is mounting evidence of usefulness and safety, particularly in relieving chronic pain. A few examples include acupuncture for osteoarthritis pain; tai chi for fibromyalgia pain; and massage, spinal manipulation, and yoga for chronic back pain.
Increasing comfort with this emerging evidence is reflected in practice guidelines from the American College of Physicians, the American Pain Society, and the Department of Defense. (link)"

Outside the United States, the mainstream scientific consensus is just as strong, if not even stronger. In Great Britain, you can literally see the scientific consensus changing when it comes to the empirical validity acupuncture, as demonstrated by the country's National Health Service (NHS):

How the NHS viewed acupuncture before 15 July 2014[edit]

What is acupuncture?

"Acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine"

Can acupuncture be considered a part of mainstream Western medicine?

"It is a complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). This means that acupuncture is different in important ways from treatments that are part of conventional western medicine."

Is there a mechanism for acupuncture?

Some scientists and acupuncturists believe that acupuncture may stimulate nerves and muscle tissue, and that this may be responsible for any beneficial effects.

What are the indications for acupuncture treatment?

"Currently, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture as a treatment option only for lower back pain."

Source: (Archived link)

How the NHS views acupuncture after 15 July 2014[edit]

What is acupuncture?

"Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine"

Can acupuncture be considered a part of mainstream Western medicine?

"It is often seen as a form of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), although it is used in many NHS general practices, as well as the majority of pain clinics and hospices in the UK."

Is there a mechanism for acupuncture?

"Western medical acupuncture is the use of acupuncture after a proper medical diagnosis. It is based on scientific evidence that shows the treatment can stimulate nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue."

What are the indications for acupuncture treatment?

"Currently, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) only recommends considering acupuncture as a treatment option for chronic lower back pain, chronic tension-type headaches and migraines."

Source: NHS

These guidelines are also supported by the text of many authoritative medical textbooks, such as Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine and Practical Management of Pain. (In fact, health authorities must stick to scientific consensus otherwise there will be a horrifying publish backlash if they issue a statement that turns out to be quackery)

And finally, the scientific theories of acupuncture discussed by the NHS have been discussed in numerous mainstream medical journals, including the The New England Journal of Medicine (link), but surprisingly, none of these findings can be found on Wikipedia, so we finally come to the crux of the problem: The true source of systemic bias are not "biased" Western sources, but those who despise the process of scientific inquiry and adhere to pseudoskeptic beliefs.

There are people who have spent their entire careers fighting quackery (or what was once perceived as quackery), and they have every incentive to disprove what they originally fought against. If you write a book claiming that acupuncture is a fradulent treatment, your entire reputation is at stake when you fail to persuade mainstream scientific consensus to agree with you.

And these are the people that are the true cause of what OP incorrectly describes as "systemic bias in Eastern Medicine subjects". It is not about "Western" medicine against "Eastern" medicine. It is about mainstream science being usurped by WP:FRINGE blogs and self-published sources such as Quackwatch and the personal website of Steven Novella, as well as those who view themselves as quack fighters and quack experts.

The fact that meta-analyses and reviews in high impact factor journals are repeatedly removed by Wikipedia editors who cite the lowest quality, self-published sources speaks volumes. If there are systematic biases to be found in Eastern medicine, they are certainly not caused by Western sources but rather those who oppose the process of scientific inquiry and have an utter disdain for mainstream scientific consensus. -A1candidate (talk) 18:18, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Above you make a claim about JAMA, but it's not the AMA who made what you call "good observations", but two people expressing their POV in a "viewpoint" article. Those two people are very strongly invested (their income is dependent on promoting AM) in alternative medicine (AM):
Viewpoint | August 21, 2013
Perspectives on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research
Josephine P. Briggs, MD1; Jack Killen, MD1
Author Affiliations
1National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
So, we have an unsurprising opinion. Big deal. -- Brangifer (talk) 22:07, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Sigh, what a weak argument... NCCAM is a part of NIH. Every researcher's income is dependent upon their research. -A1candidate (talk) 00:17, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
A1, just as LesVegas did above when he cited "the BMJ" and attempted to leverage the prestige of the journal itself for his argument, you did the same thing with "JAMA" (and you do the same thing with NEJM). That is not valid, and Brangifer rightly called that out. I think your main point is very worthy of discussion, but you shoot yourself in the foot when you overstate things like this. It is unfortunate. Generally the best thing to do to is acknowledge mis-steps, strike the bad bits and turn the focus back to your main point. Your choice to give a dismissive response to a valid critique undercuts your effort yet further. Unwise. I am also not sure that you can support your claim (which is a strong one) that "meta-analyses and reviews in high impact factor journals are repeatedly removed by Wikipedia editors who cite the lowest quality, self-published sources speaks volumes." (I am pretty sure that if high-impact meta-analyses or reviews have been removed, it has been with justification such as WP:INDY and isn't completely arbitrary as you make it seem) I am also pretty confident that your claim that acupuncture, broadly speaking, is now within "mainstream scientific consensus" is unsupportable. (the quotes from Harrison's being discussed at the acu article do not support this claim, for sure, and neither do the NHS quotes above, which support limited use only) And really, is this, which pops up in the first page of a google search for "cancer acupuncture", mainstream medicine in your eyes? (that is a real question)
Both statements (removal of good sources, acu is within mainstream consensus) are too starkly black and white and will collapse when dug into. Again, I think your main argument is important... but to the extent you distract from it with unsupportable claims that put a pro-TCM advocacy dress on it, you are 1) distracting your key audience - your opponents - from your main argument and 2) being part of the problem, not part of the solution. The terrible irony is, that the harder pro-TCM advocates push in an advocate-like way, the more they justify the stance of quack-fighters and support for them (even the most abusive of them! see the last paragraph here). These quack-fighters are committed to remaining on the front lines to keep quackery out.
I am grateful for the handful of editors who man the front lines. The amount of quackery that people push into WP every day is mind-blowing - a key problem we have to deal with in this "encyclopedia that anyone can edit". In my view, project medicine takes its responsibility (created by huge readership of health-related articles) seriously, and generally is conservative and cautious, and the underlying consensus there seems (to me) to be that it is better to have a crappy health-related article with a cautious, pro-science bias than a crappy article that pitches health woo. To the extent that you, A1, and other TCM advocates refuse to deal with that larger picture and refuse to acknowledge that wider problem, and again - to the extent that you make unsupportable arguments and advocacy-like claims - you make it way more convenient for project medicine to pick the low-hanging fruit off your statements, discredit them and thus the whole argument, and move on to deal with the next advocate pushing woo, of which there is an exhaustingly endless supply. Can you not see that? (real question!!) If you want to be taken seriously and open space for a different kind of coverage for TCM related topics, your argument needs to be conservative, limited, and reasonable, and you must deal with the bigger picture of keeping quackery out of WP, including TCM-based quackery, of which (I hope you can acknowledge) there are mountains. You must show you are here to build an encyclopedia, not just to push your POV, and your solution cannot open WP to buckets of woo (acu as an actual treatment for cancer, magnet therapy, homeopathy, "detoxification", etc etc infinity). Jytdog (talk) 12:30, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
You appear to have a strong point of view against non-western medicine but perhaps it might help to consider that it would be pretty easy for a group of editors with a POV against western medicine to use reliable sources to present it unfairly as "Quackery". Consider that it is not uncommon for the mechanism by which a pharmaceutical product works in the body to be unknown. Additionally, off label non-researched use of pharmaceutical products are currently common practice by physicians. Also, there are instances where Western medical research is corrupted by conflict of interest. Safety studies of medications tend to be funded by the corporations that manufacture those medications and concerns have been raised regarding the practice of publishing studies with favorable results in terms of medication safety and efficacy while not publishing the unfavorable studies. Additionally, Western medicine is often described as an art not a science. If someone with a POV against western medicine were to cherry-pick these facts out of reliable sources they could produce an article very biased against western medicine and the concern appears to be that something similar might be happening with respect to eastern medicine due to groups of biased editors.--BoboMeowCat (talk) 19:15, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
I disagree BoboMeowCat and I think it will be impossible for you to support your assertion that I have a "strong point of view against non-western medicine". I reject the notion that "non-western medicine" even exists (as I reject that there is "non-western science") and that is not a phrase I have ever used, or would use. Please provide difs or strike that. Thanks. There are lots of pre-scientific "traditional medicine" practices and notions of the body from around the world, some of which have survived to our time (TCM among them). Some of the interventions that arose from them have been transformed by science into medicine (willow bark for pain became aspirin) or into pretty broadly accepted complementary medicine practices (acupuncture for some kinds of pain); the rest is pretty much pseudoscience/quackery today in the developed world. In places that are underdeveloped and these traditional prescientific "medicines" are still all people have to rely on... well that is part of the broader tragedy of problems in the developing world. As for the rest of what you write, not sure what your point is. You will find content like that in WP. Some of it sticks, some of it doesn't, depending on how it is stated and sourced. Jytdog (talk) 10:27, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Western medical companies send people to less developed countries to obtain medical knowledge from the natives. Then they patent this knowledge for profit, with no compensation to the natives. If traditional medicines were useless, would the Western medical companies be able to do this? You can "reject the notion that non-Western medicine even exists" due to such exploitation. According to Wikipedia, quackery is the "promotion of fradulent medical practices" and a quack is "a person who pretends to have medical skill, knowledge or qualifications that he does not". There are valid doubts whether TCM is effective, but calling it "quackery" (based on the above definition) would be deemed racist by many Chinese, including myself. Unlike fake cures invented one day by someone to cheat others, TCM has over two thousand years of history and is associated with the largest racial group in the world. TCM is recognised and regulated in many countries, even Western countries where Chinese are a tiny minority. --Hildanknight (talk) 13:13, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I hear your opinion. It is not how WP works, as has been explained above. Health claims that are not based on sound science have no place here. If you want to try to lock China into some pre-scientific era and way of thinking, you are free to try, but China has broken hard toward science and the modern world, and is investing more money in its people, their education, and its medical infrastructure more than any country on the planet. It is not racist for me to say any of that, nor for me to say that interventions based on pre-scientific notions of the body and disease, are quackery. I am sorry you are offended, but I cannot help that. I do understand that every culture has its Luddites. Jytdog (talk) 22:11, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

@Jytdog - You asked a question that deserves an honest response, so here it is:

And really, is this, which pops up in the first page of a google search for "cancer acupuncture", mainstream medicine in your eyes? (that is a real question)

Ultimately, whether this article is mainstream or fringe depends on which part of it you're referring to. I would say that the article is largely promotional, based on anecdotal evidence, and certainly not good enough for MEDRS, but some of the things it says aren't entirely inaccurate.

After all, the fact that "cancer thrives when the immune system's defensive action can't or won't react effectively" isn't that far off. See immunoediting for more details. And it's also true that some integrative therapies do modulate the immune system. There's a recent meta-analysis about this in PLOS ONE.

As for acupuncture in cancer care, see what the National Cancer Institute says about using acupuncture to manage cancer-related symptoms. For a recent review, see PMID 23868190 in Supportive Care in Cancer. -A1candidate (talk) 14:05, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

thanks for replying, i really appreciate it. the article you cite and the NCI page are clear about using acu in CAM as per Mayo, etc (to help manage pain and nausea). that is the mainstream use which has nothing to do with the article i cited. to the extent that you cannot come out and say something like "that article suggests patients should use acu instead of medicine to treat cancer, and to the extent it goes there, it is dangerous quackery ("While some patients elect to move on to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, Fuda says these patients are often much harder to treat successfully with acupuncture." and other comments throughout, that suggest that acu is better than medicine at treating cancer and attempts to persuade patients to choose acu over medicine to treat cancer).... as long as you will not draw that bright line between mainstream uses and quackery, you are going to continue being part of the problem, and more importantly, your own worst enemy; quack-watching editors will never trust your edits and will remain hyper-vigilant and concerned that opening the door a little, will lead to dangerous ideas like those in that article, getting into WP. I know I said that somewhat harshly, but do you see what I mean? Jytdog (talk) 15:30, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
I hear you loud and clear - The article unduly promotes acupuncture as a fringe treatment for cancer, based on anecdotal evidence alone, but:
1.The part of the article that says "Our body's immune system routinely quells renegade cells and would-be malignancies before they ever take hold" is correct. See article on immunoediting.
2. The part of the article that says "Some scientists theorize that cancer thrives when the immune system's defensive action can't or won't react effectively." is correct. In fact, this was proposed more than a century ago by Nobel Prize winner Paul Ehrlich. For a recent review, see PMID 21436444.
3. The part of the article that says "Dr. Fuda believes that acupuncture, employed correctly, can retrain the body's immune system to defeat cancer" is supported by some experimental evidence, but it is too early to make a definite conclusion. See NCI page, which makes reference to the "the anticancer effect of acupuncture" under a section titled "Effect of Acupuncture on Immune Function".
4. The part of the article that says "Yet even as an adjunctive therapy, acupuncture also can help cancer patients endure and recover from the ravages of cancer treatment." is correct. See NCI page and review article at PMID 23868190.
I want to repeat myself so that this is crystal clear to you - Acupuncture as an anti-cancer treatment is not part of mainstream medicine. It is also not pseudoscientific quackery, at least not until multiple lines of evidence for acupuncture's immunomodulatory effects (see NCI page) are outweighed by any evidence suggesting otherwise.
-A1candidate (talk) 19:23, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
happy that you recognize that it is not mainstream. we disagree, pretty violently, on that article. the author is speaking to people who have cancer and their families. i think it is evil to try The author tries to persuade cancer patients that they should forego medical treatment for something that has no mechanism of action we can explain and no evidence that it works to treat cancer. the clinical persuading, is what makes it quackery. (did you notice the heartbreaking comment at the bottom of that article? it is exactly because of people like that - desperate and in a terrible situation, wide open to anybody who says they can help - that I say, evil that this bothers me so much). I called attention to this persuasive element twice now. to the extent you cannot see that huge, glaring thing - the evil of trying how terrible it seems to me and others, to try to pull people away from the best that science can offer them when they are most in need of it -- we are not in same building, much less on the same page. (it is a very different conversation from kicking around possible avenues for research.. in general I'd be happy to talk about research and preliminary findings -- outside of the context of discussing how to treat cancer now) i was hoping you might join me in a reasonable middle to get the acu article put on a more reasonable middle ground. i have no hope, and will no longer try. like WAID, I am outta there. Jytdog (talk) 01:44, 11 August 2014 (UTC) (toning down language Jytdog (talk) 14:05, 11 August 2014 (UTC))
Wikipedia is not a scientific journal. If it is, then I'd agree with the opinion "Health claims that are not based on sound science have no place here." Encyclopedia should not make judgments if something is Quackery, Fringe, Unsound or Evil, but instead should report with neutral and balanced point of view, and on the grounds if not insignificant number of reliable sources exist. So no matter how much something is quackery, unbelievable, unsound, fringe or evil in my (or someone else's) mind, the subject/claim/concept deserves a place on wikipedia as long as there are significant reliable sources behind it. This is why there are Wiki articles on breatharianism (which lacks the presentation from believers' point of view, so is short of meeing WP:NPOV yet) and many other articles like Smoking, which appropriately presents the description "a form of drug intake" from the then-major view. This is how Wikipedia works. We do not promote a notion, push or pull people into/away from/to concepts/belief/practice. The reasonable middle ground in someone's mind is not reasonable for Wikipedia if it clings to one belief (I believe in science, but that doesn't matter) without recognizing other view points. Significant sources say "Jesus walked on water", then we should say "OK, let's find a way to present it in a neutral and balanced manner", not "That's BS, it has no place here." Wikipedia is not in the business of making judgments if accupuncture is effective for something or not. Yiba (talk | contribs) 05:23, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
As described in the preface to WP:MEDRS, millions of people look to WP for health-related information. While we are very careful to provide no guarantee that our information is accurate, this means we have a responsibility to provide reliable information to the public about health matters and we have to keep quackery out. It is our responsibility. Working with your example... it is indeed to fine to say that "the Bible describes Jesus walking on water" or "some christians believe Jesus was able to perform miracles" but I very much doubt that anywhere WP says, in its own voice, "Jesus walked on water." Likewise, on health related matters we need to be very careful to describe reality as defined in MEDRS-defined sources; it is more-or-less OK to ascribe altmed beliefs to altmed practitioners "Some acupuncturists believe they can cure cancer" but statements about reality and best practices need to carefully and responsibly made - we would have to follow that up with "But there is no evidence that this is true" (with reliable sources) - and unlike religious topics, in health topics, if the topic is so "out there" that we cannot provide a reality based statement, then we say nothing. Most importantly, as I wrote above, we cannot work to create a reasonable article if there are not boundaries, if we cannot say what is "in" and what is "out". Right now the articles are dominated by quack-fighters who believe (and apparently rightly so) that if they give an inch, acu-proponents will take a mile and will fill the article with speculative and unvalidated uses of acupuncture. I don't have a sense that A1 and others would draw a bright line in describing what are valid uses of acu in medicine, but instead, would keep pushing to include uses that are not validated today. I can't see a way forward.Jytdog (talk) 14:05, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
I understand the logic, and am sympathetic to the position. However, when the average Wiki editor (college kids or slightly older) thinks the well-intended notion "It is our responsibility" justifies taking main/fringe, good/evil, definition of altmed, etc. judgments into his own hands, the article steps out of encyclopedic into editorial, thereby violates the Wikipedia policy. These editors cannot work to create a 'reasonable' article without a boundary may be, but the boundary is set within Wiki policies to be 'verifiability' to judge 'in' or 'out'. Within the boundary, editors do need to make judgments on weighting and balance, not main/fringe, reality/fantasy, reasonable/unreasonable, quackery/legitimate, good/evil or any such judgments. So may be it is not the way forward after stepping out of the boundary we should seek, but rather the way back to these basics. If quackery or alternative medicine article gives someone the impression that what's written is Wikipedia's position on the topics described in its "own voice", then there are problems in the articles, and/or problems in the way the reader perceives Wikipedia articles to be, because they are not meant to be editorials. If WP:MEDRS gives the impression that editors can violate WP:NOTJOURNAL on health topics, then there may be a conflict. And in conflict situations, Wikipedia policy is clear on the priority (core policies on top, then other policies, and then guidelines and others) that WP:NOTJOURNAL as a policy wins over WP:MEDRS as a guideline. Editors may be "very carefully" violating Wiki policies without recognizing it, without ill intentions. Yiba (talk | contribs) 14:34, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Though it is of course core policy that any treatment of notions that have been established as fringe needs to make plain those notions are indeed fringe by relaying the reliably-sourced mainstream counter-view: "Any inclusion of pseudoscientific views should not give them undue weight. The pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such. An explanation of how scientists have received pseudoscientific theories should be prominently included. This helps us to describe differing views fairly. This also applies to other fringe subjects ...". So if some treatment (e.g. squirting coffee up your backside in an attempt to cure cancer) has a following, but is discredited by mainstream science & medicine, WP has (yes) a "responsibility" to make that plain. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 14:57, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Copernicus' theory was banned by the Catholic Church in 1616 because it was deemed to be 'pseudoscientific' and many reputable 'scientists' supported the decision. The ban was then removed in 1820 because the church accepted that facts have proven the theory and therefore it became 'scientific'. By that time, the reputable scientists were long gone. More recently, scientists believing in Inductive logic once insisted that "inductive probalility" defines the difference between science and pseudoscience before refuted by David Hume and much later by Karl Popper. (See Problem of induction for details.) And the question of science vs. pseudoscience still remains to be answered after Thomas Kuhn's respected work that concluded that science can never reach full objectivity (due in part to limit in knowledge). So a blank belief in a statement by a 'scientist' that something is pseudoscience is naive. I state it again, let's go back to basics. Let's fight the urge to impose our own common sense onto others. Yiba (talk | contribs) 17:56, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
At the time, Wikipedia would have aligned its view with that of the Catholic Church. We reflect the mainstream view as reflected in the best reliable sources, anything else opens the floodgates to editorializing and OR. WP:VNT is an interesting essay that touches on this topic: "... before Pasteur everybody considered the spontaneous generation theory to be true, and they were mistaken. Even so, if Wikipedia had existed before Pasteur, it should have treated it as an accepted theory." (And WP:FLAT is another interesting essay that ellucidates how our WP:NPOV policy interacts with fringey things.) Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 18:07, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I am so glad the tone of this discussion is becoming much more civilized. I agree with "Wikipedia should have treated spontaneous generation as an accepted theory at the time." Thank you for pointing out WP:FLAT. It is a well written piece, I agree with many points raised in it, and I feel I could be friends with the authors, and might even think about doing a counter essay (or a parody) if I find a good counter example by inheriting most, if not all, of its arguments applied in opposite direction. Come to think of it, "Why Wikipedia cannot claim the earth is round" could work for this discussion. If Wikipedia claims the earth is round in an article, then the article becomes an editorial. "Wikipedia claims the earth is round" is completely different from "'Earth is round' has become widely accepted since the 17th century" and the former violates WP:NOTADVOCATE whereas the latter could become a part of a good article depending on how it is balanced, sourced, styled, etc. The core of the issue may have become clear as "Wikipedia's voice" and "Wikipedia's view" have come up several times. Wikipedia articles are not written with Wikipedia's voice (Wikipedia editors should not and can not represent Wikipedia unless your name appears on Wikimedia Foundation, or you're in a contractual relationship with it to do so), and Wikipedia's views, while being expressed by Jimmy Wales et al. on other venues, are not expressed in regular articles (as opposed to essays or policy/principle articles with the title starting with 'Wikipedia:') with few exceptions (e.g.User:Andrewa/creed). Wikipedia's views reflected on regular articles are (or, should be) those described on policy pages, such as on verifiability, balance, style, etc. and not on issues, ideas, practices, beliefs, or topics. As to Copernicus and Wikipedia, I feel that his views would be treated and presented as a minority view by Wikipedia at the time, and I strongly disagree that his views would be excluded from Wikipedia articles if 'aligned' means to have gone along with the ban. His controversial book was published in 1543 (276 copies remain today), and by the time Catholic Church banned it, it had become so popular that the second edition (325 copies remain) was already out, and three more editions followed despite (because of?) the ban. It was one of the earliest examples of best seller. Yiba (talk | contribs) 11:14, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia most certainly would say the earth is round, and in her own voice, for the reasons set out in WP:ASSERT. As is explained there, couching it as merely as today's point of view would not be neutral, as it would unduly imply there was some doubt about it. Ideally, we'd also add a citation even for simple facts like this. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 11:56, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
You might feel being tricked into this, if so my apologies. As explained in WP:ASSERT, a statement is an opinion when the matter is subject to dispute. So according to WP:ASSERT, fringe/mainstream, legit/quackery, etc. judgments on controversial topics are not assertions but are opinions, correct? Yiba (talk | contribs) 13:54, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
As it says in the definition of fact: "serious dispute". There is no reasonable dispute over the roundness of the earth or that homeopathy doesn't work: consequently Wikipedia should (and indeed does) simply assert these as facts. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 14:04, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Homeopathy was subject to serious disputes for over 100 years. 'Serious' and 'reasonable' are both subjective, and are totally different concepts. I don't know how many people make living in homeopathy field (whom we can't exclude as Wikipedia readers), but to many of them, I'm sure it still is subject to serious dispute. Well, we digressed.
The concept "Earth is round" was 'proven' by Juan Sebastián Elcano(see this article for details) on September 6, 1522, before the publishing of Copernicus book in 1543. Many scientists studied the book hard and collected additional 'evidences' first mostly to question, then scrutinize, and finally to support the theory. The theory became somewhat 'mainstream' sometime around 1600, and then became almost 'undisputable' around mid-1600s with small number of scientists still having 'serious' reservations (The Copernican Question is a good place to start, if anybody is interested). The acceptance of the theory that said the Earth is spherical except for bulges of land/mountains led to 'disproving' previously accepted 'facts', and the height of Mount Everest became 29,028ft(8,848m) in 1954, from 29,002ft(8,840m) that had been accepted for 98 years. 21 years later in 1975, it became 29,029.24ft, and then it is "currently accepted" to be 29,035ft(8,850m) from 1999.
During the mean time, the generally accepted shape of the Earth became from sphere to oblate spheroid (flattened top and bottom), then the GPS became available and equator (sea surface, not land) was 'proven' not to be circular, and it was suggested that the shape is triaxial ellipsoid with ellipse equator, which became an accepted theory for a while (See Figure of the Earth for details). Then, the Northern half was found to be flatter than the triaxial ellipsoid, and the Southern half is bulged for about the same degree (i.e. a Pear shape). Today, in line with the improvement in GPS accuracy, it is 'proven' (again) that the shape is more complicated than the calculations based on the "Pear shape" theory, and the description Geoid is used in generally accepted scientific 'fact' that says "Earth is not round" (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-is-not-round/). It took much longer than I thought, but this shows what 'facts' and 'proven' mean in science, that 'facts' evolve, that 'proven' is always "within the limits of the proving methods available", which has become the common sense among mainstream scientists with Thomas Kuhn's work as the theoretical backbone.
This is why seemingly mundane 'facts' are stated with references (i.e. being treated as 'opinions') on scientific papers, because they are more difficult for scientists to assert than for ordinary people. This is also why Wikipedia should not assert the Earth is round (if it does in articles on topics in science, those articles should be corrected. I can see the view they are OK in non-scientific context, but then those articles are editorials perhaps without the authors being aware of it.). This is also why the scientist is not mainstream, has personal interest invested against the subject, is second-rate showing the lack of common sense in science, or combination thereof, if he/she describes something controversial to be pseudo-science. Yiba (talk | contribs) 13:08, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Here's why Copernicus is both a good and a bad example. It's a good example because his theory was considered maverick by mainstream science at the time. It's a bad example because at the time there was no such thing as science, it was natural philosophy, people had not got close to working out what was real and what was religious dogma. Hooke and Boyle had not published the first experiments with real versus expected results tabulated. The Baconian and the Cartesian school were both seen as potentially valid, there was no calculus, no epidemiology, no understanding of the atomic nature of matter, very little anatomy by dissection. Phlogiston theory was still considered valid, Harvey had not yet documented the circulation system, Hooke had not yet demonstrated tot he Royal Society that candles went out in a vacuum. So in that respect it's like saying a theory of magic carpets is valid because in the early days of powered flight, nobody knew how to build an aerofoil.
Today, we know a vast amount more than we knew back then. We know there is no such thing as qi. We know there are no such things as meridians. We know that it makes no real difference where acupuncture needles are placed. It's pretty likely it doesn't even matter whether they are inserted or not. We know that there are a steady stream of adverse events form acupuncture (pneumothorax etc) based on the fact that practitioners have been taught a belief system rather than a proper empoirically-founded understanding of anatomy.
Acupuncture is a belief system. Poeple believe it does this, that and the other. There is some evidence for some of this, but it's weak. Science is a system of knowing and understanding. Science understands the numerous biases, counfounders and other factors which can cause an intervention to appear to work even when it doesn't. Homeopathy survives only because of these, and there is no reason to think acupuncture is uniquely immune to them.
The problem is that people take the positive studies and the studies form China whihc start by assuming acupuncture works and go on to prove that based on this assumption, it works - and use these to assert that the entire field of acupuncture is valid. In reality there is no reason to believe in qi, meridians or acupoints, and in terms of needling itself the jury is still out but leaning towards it, too, having no particular effect. Consider chiropractic: it is entirely plausible that this has real and specific effects for musculoskeletal pain, but chiros insist that if you accept that then you must also accept the baggage: claims to heal based on nonexistent "chiropractic subluxations" disturbing a nonexistent "innate", implausible claims to cure organic disease unrelated to the mulsculoskeletal system, assertions of safety based on denial rather than systematic recording of adverse events.
The response of Wikipedia is and should be the response of science: "no". We accept that which is robustly supportable, and we document scientifically implausible and unsupportable beliefs as just that. We have long articles on creationism, we still document evolution as fact.
As an electrical engineer I am comfortable with the concept of complex numbers, and that is absolutely what's going on here. Medical claims are like complex numbers: they have a real component and an imaginary component. Proponents view them as scalars and ignore the fact that in some cases the vast majority of the scalar value is in the imaginary plane. Guy (Help!) 08:06, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
"Although considerable controversy surrounds the legitimacy of acupuncture as a treatment, a growing literature on the physiological effects of acupuncture needling in animals and humans is providing new insights into basic cellular mechanisms including connective tissue mechanotransduction and purinergic signaling"
Acupuncture, Connective Tissue, and Peripheral Sensory Modulation (2014) in Critical Reviews in Eukaryotic Gene Expression
-A1candidate (talk) 10:55, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Guy, for keeping the discussion on track, could you tell me what part of my argument is "like saying a theory of magic carpets is valid ... build an aerofoil"? I know you're using magic carpet as a metaphor, err, simile, so I'm not being insulted or anything like that, but I can't tell what part of my argument you meant it to apply. Yiba (talk | contribs) 14:23, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
@A1candidate You appear to believe that the "growing literature" represents actual progress towards validating acupuncture. It does not. The "growing literature" is exploring the small subset of acupuncture whicih might have a core of validity. Until acupuncturists as a body corporate drop the concepts of qi and meridians form their training and practice, and focus solely on those conditions for which there is robust and specific evidence, (see Ioannidis for why the occasional positive Western clinical trial result can be ignored in this case, all Chinese sources are worthless on this subject sadly) then you are engaged in POV-pushing. You have done this consistently, in fact, asserting that acupuncture as a whole is valid based on studies that validate, often only tentatively, a tiny subset of acupuncture practice.
@Yiba, I already explained that. I suggest you go and read the article on cognitive dissonance, this will explain why you are unable to put it in context.
To both of you: I do not believe in acupuncture. That is a neutral position, whereas your belief is not. In science, neutrality is not some midpoint between belief and skepticism, skepticism is neutrality. In science, any compromise between a correct statement and a false statement, is a false statement. I am agnostic, prepared to be persuaded by evidence, you are the faithful, seeking evidence to support your belief and bringing it here in the apparent belief that any evidence that supports any claim related to acupuncture, validates it in its entirety. Neither science nor Wikipedia work that way. You need to stick within the narrow limits of what is supported by robust evidence replicated by those without a vested interest in the practice, and in the case of acupuncture that is a very small body of literature as almost all studies are written by believers.
This is not systemic bias. It is just a milestone on the road from the mediaeval to the modern approach. Medicine uses whatever can be proven to work; by proven, that means it has to be specific, repeatable and to be inconsistent with the null hypothesis, which includes placebo effects, expectation effects, regression to the mean and natural course of disease. The world of medical science does not care if a treatment comes from Eastern mysticism or the bleeding edge of gene therapy, all that matters is whether it repeatably works, or whether it offers only weak and nonspecific results that are not consistent with other knowledge. You want your claims to stand above those of homeopathy, which is completely bogus, so you need to do it by following the proper standards of proof and evidence, rather than by wailing that all those horrible materialists are biased against you. We aren't. We're biased against woo. Show that you're not peddling woo. Guy (Help!) 16:59, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I can only be persuaded by hard evidence, the strongest of which are reviews and meta-analyses. For example:

  • This review found biological differences exist between a placebo response and an analgesic response during acupunture

If you want to convince me otherwise, may I respectfully ask that you show me meta-analyses that conclude that acupuncture is a placebo (not just sham needling) treatment? Thanks. -A1candidate (talk) 20:52, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

Guy, you already explained that where? cognitive dissonance does not explain why, and further it seems to me to suggest why you can't, or reluctant to, tell me what part of my argument your statement was meant to apply. Could you be more specific? To both of you part says "your belief is not", and now what belief of mine is not? Belief in science? Yiba (talk | contribs) 00:53, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

Another article to watch[edit]

LesVegas, another article to watch to see if there is such a trend with respect to Eastern medicine might be Naturopathy, which is a western discipline which incorporates eastern disciplines such as acupuncture in a science based model. http://www.bridgeport.edu/academics/graduate/naturopathic-medicine-nd/curriculum-and-program-requirements/ The current article appears biased.--BoboMeowCat (talk) 18:48, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Actual systemic bias in "Eastern medicine" articles[edit]

There is a tendency to peddle the false notion that "Eastern medicine" is being "suppressed" by the evil materialists. This is based on the false idea that medicine is different in the East. It's not. There is no such thing as Western medicine or Eastern medicine, there's only medicine. And there's no such thing as alternative medicine, there's medicine (which has been proven to work) and the rest (which either hasn't been proven to work, or has been convincingly shown not to).

This much is common knowledge.

However, there is a definite systemic bias in terms of subjects like acupuncture and Chinese herbalism. It's not in Wikipedia, it;s in the journals published in China especially. Chinese journals publish virtually no disconfirming results. It is hard to find any examples in Chinese journals of studies that show things not to work. This is cultural, and it's a form of systemic bias, as a result of which we have to be very careful in assessing a source per WP:MEDRS. In essence, a Chinese journal that claims efficacy for a biologically implausible therapy, is not reliable unless confirmed by studies in journals with no ideological investment in the subject.

Wikipedia is not biased against acupuncture or TCM as a matter of systemic or cultural bias, we are biased towards robust scientifically supportable fact. We treat acupuncture with exactly the same critical judgement that we use on statins, aspirin, homeopathy or anything else.

If people want Wikipedia to say that acupuncture works by releasing endorphins or whatever, then they first have to go out and do the science that provides robust and repeatable evidence that this is so. If they want to assert that meridians or acupoints are anything other than delusional then they need to provide robust scientific proof, along with the associated anatomy, and they have to show in the literature where the large number of studies showing needle placement to be irrelevant, have been contradicted, and provide competent unbiased review articles that document the new consensus.

Skepticism is not bias, it is the default position in the scientific method. As Feynman said, in science, the first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. A skeptic is your friend because a skeptic questions your assumptions and forces you to review your beliefs against fact.

In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion

Carl Sagan

If you want to demonstrate that a field is scientific, one great way is to show examples of ideas it has discarded as wrong. Some chiropractors have ditched the idea of subluxation, many others have not. Chiropractic is not a scientific field because the evidence has not resulted in a consensus against the non-existent subluxation. Show us where practitioners of Eastern medicine have formed a consensus that the humours are not a valid medical concept, that yin and yang do not exist, that qi is a metaphor and not a reality, that there are no meridians. Show us progress towards these things, and we'll accept that the systemic bias in "Eastern medicine" is breaking down and it's moving away from a quasi-religious movement and towards being a science. Guy (Help!) 16:15, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

What is systemic bias and what is not[edit]

@Yiba: @LasVegas: @Dkriegls: @Jytdog: @A1candidate: @BoboMeowCat: @Alexbrn: @JzG: For context, I am an ethnic Chinese, but have lived in Singapore for my entire life. Having used TCM, I do know a fair bit, but am not a licensed practitioner, expert or researcher on TCM. Other than ethnic pride, I have no personal or financial conflict of interest regarding TCM.

  • Stating that the TCM model of the body and disease is incompatible with modern scientific knowledge is accurate and is not systemic bias. TCM practitioners themselves do not claim that TCM is based on modern science.
  • Stating the findings of scientific studies on specific TCM treatments is not systemic bias, unless the article misrepresents the findings or its selection of studies is not representative of studies on TCM treatments.
  • We should point out potential sources of systemic bias in scientific studies of TCM done in the West. Are such studies done by researchers with adequate knowledge of TCM, practising it as TCM experts would? Of course, discussion of these should be reliably sourced and kept relevant.
  • The exclusion of Chinese studies, whether due to accessibility barriers (including language) or the points Guy raised above, is indeed systemic bias. Include them and mention their conflicts of interest, per my third point.
  • Perhaps we are putting too much focus on the efficacy of TCM. Poor explanations of core concepts and treatments is indeed systemic bias. Inaccurate or inadequate coverage of the history, adoption, regulation and cultural impact of TCM is indeed systemic bias.
  • Mentioning relevant negative issues, such as the environmental impact of certain remedies, is not systemic bias, unless such details are given undue weight or the coverage is slanted.

Systemic bias against Chinese topics is a real and serious issue on Wikipedia. For example, we have a grand total of three articles (all stubs) about Xiangqi players, compared to ten good articles about chess players. My fifth point above similarly applies to the lack of other articles about TCM, such as notable practitioners and institutions. We do have to question our assumptions and be aware of issues such as lack of Chinese representation in the "mainstream scientific community". However, we have to be careful about developing a siege mentality that leads to misuse of the "systemic bias card".

--Hildanknight (talk) 15:08, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Hebrew Bible v Tanakh[edit]

Can I encourage interested parties to weigh in on this merge discussion. Personally, I can't see that the term "Hebrew Bible" implies anything other than a Christian spin on a Hebrew field of study, which already has a perfectly good name. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 00:46, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

in the scholarly world, it is called "Hebrew Bible" which i understand evolved as a way to a) avoid any religion's name for the field and b) avoid limiting the field to any particular canon. It's an entirely appropriate title for an encyclopedia article. "Tanakh" is a particular canon of books for Judaism, just as the Roman Catholic "Old Testament" is, and just as the mainline protestant "Old Testament" is. I don't know why you post this here but I am glad you did or I wouldn't have seen it.Jytdog (talk) 01:26, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Disruption of Gender Gap Task Force[edit]

We're just getting organized and already having problems at WikiProject Countering systemic bias/Gender gap task force with individuals who obviously don't like the project and/or some of the individuals involved.

One participant had known Mens rights issues and he and others have been warned that Community Sanctions on that topic does apply narrowly. But the admin who warned them said it did not necessarily apply to others who have not been involved in that issue previously and/or may have other disruptive agendas. Any help encouraging them to cut it out appreciated.

Also, is there some sort of guideline applying to this sort of thing? Upon a quick skim, Wikipedia:General sanctions doesn't seem to have anything that applies. Or should it just be taken to WP:ANI for community sanctions and pray the community doesn't OK disruption of Wikiprojects in general and this one in particular. Thanks. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 23:16, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

After discussions there about disruption and our options, which some of you may have got involved in, and Admin input, things have calmed down, thankfully!! Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 17:08, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Proposal to remove non-demographic ideological/etc. listings from Open Tasks[edit]

First, this is a bloated page with questionable entries, outdated tags and probably lots of out dated links to articles that have been fixed up quite a bit since.

Moreover, the purpose of this task force is "systemic bias that naturally grows from its contributors' demographic groups, manifesting an imbalanced coverage of a subject, thereby discriminating against the less represented demographic groups." So I'm wondering if ideological and just hodge podge groupings should be in there. I know further wording on the main page tends to water down the meaning from just demographics, and thus these other areas have been entered. But some seem way afield of purpose here and more relevant to the specific Wikiprojects covering them. (And I say this as a libertarian; but if you think a "Libertarianism" open tasks section is appropriate, I'll be glad to put it in. ;-)

I'd propose we remove from Open Tasks these sections: Art and Design, Agriculture and horticultural studies, Limited geographic scope (a hodge podge of dozens of articles), Non-neoclassical economics, Giving undue weight to heterodox economics and pseudoeconomics, Merging overrepresented content, Nature (biology, chemistry, physics and related), Perspective biases (another hodgepodge), and and Soviet history. Articles that belong in the remaining categories - and many are bios of women - can be moved there.

Thus remaining would be these sections and all relevant articles under them: Geography, Developing World, Labor issues, Women and women's studies, Non-English language literature, Linguistics, Ethnic minorities or majorities, Religion, People with disabilities/disability studies, Underrepresented occupations. (I'm going to merge "Women and non-English-speaking Scientists" with existing women's section.)

I'll be glad to do this myself. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 17:03, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Need "Wikproject Minority views"??[edit]

Per above, it looks like this wikiproject's goal of dealing with minority representation of demographic groups has shifted to dealing with mistreatment of minority positions on a variety of issues, mostly scientific/medical in this thread. I seriously do think there is a place for a "Wikproject Minority views" that would deal with topics that are not the majority views in any field (including libertarianism, as I mention below). I'm pretty sick of people screaming "Fringe" and removing perfectly NPOV sentences, paragraphs, sections with WP:RS sources because it offends their mainstream views.

IF "minority topics" is a perview of this wikiproject then let's make it far more explicit because at some point I will want to clean up the Open Tasks list. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 14:08, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

When editors take "systemic bias" personally[edit]

And editor at an AfD took my comment about systemic bias personally and I answered him thusly. I wonder if we need language to make this point more explicitly. (I have been meaning to go through main page and check it out but haven't had a chance.)

Mentioning a factoid about bias, is not to say that a person is consciously biased vs. women or Africans. Their only bias may be that they hate bios without 15 solid WP:RS. However, in the overall scheme of the project, it tends to reinforce a systemic bias to remove articles about minorities and women when generally articles about white males will not receive as much scrutiny. Systemic bias is not necessarily a personal charge against a particular editor, unless one fully investigates their AfD history and finds it, which I'm not interested in doing. (Though I'm not against someone doing an across the board study of such a thing, and the Wikimedia Foundation has been funding all sorts of projects like that.)

Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Carolmooredc (talkcontribs)

Some Wikipedians argue that something isn't sexist without a sexist intention. This overlooks that most sexism and racism is functional, not intentional, which speaks to the issue you've raised, Carol. Maybe an essay on functional v. intentional would help. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:18, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately, such arguments don't merit much weight, as there is no 'affirmative action' for AfD. You're more than welcome to start the RfC to change that, so I had to !vote in accordance to policy. Tutelary (talk) 19:23, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, your point isn't exactly clear. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 14:00, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Basically you can't talk about systemic bias without defining the system. If there is a systemic bias in the Fields Medal committee, then we cannot render our coverage of Fields Medal winners gender neutral (without deleting all but two articles about Fields Medal winners, which would present a distorted view of the world). If, on the other hand, there is a systemic bias in Wikipedia, we can address that by increasing coverage of the under-represented portion, by robustly defending all AfD's to the same standard, and so forth.

There are ancillary questions, though. This article I created on an Australian female author, which, without extra references (which probably exist on paper) fails WP:Notability, achieved almost no page views other than those related to the deletion. Once our coverage of any subject is down to this level, there is little to be gained in terms of advocacy goals in going any further. All the best: Rich Farmbrough22:03, 15 August 2014 (UTC).

  • To Carol: Note that systemic bias is not about individuals, it's about numbers. There are far less editors on Wikipedia who are females, minorities, and of certain age, income, or nationality groups. That's why its "systemic" rather than individual. It's important not to confuse the two. Softlavender (talk) 22:22, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
I guess these two comments are addressed to my comment above "Systemic bias is not necessarily a personal charge against a particular editor, unless one fully investigates their AfD history and finds it, which I'm not interested in doing."
If so, remember systems are made of individual parts, in this case individual editors. And if a large number of editors are hostile to any group/class (women, disabled, people of color, Asian medical practitioners, etc.) to the extent they add negative material to articles while removing evidence of notability/credibilty from articles, call for AfDing articles, and act in hostile ways towards individual editors who they perceive as being part of that group/class on any or all articles, those individuals are creating a systemic problem. And dealing with those individuals on a one by one basis is one way of solving the problem. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 13:30, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Of course, we have to deal with specific editors who intentionally discriminate against certain groups, but more often, we have to deal with editors who hold equally damaging subconscious prejudices. Making personal accusations would not help us educate the latter group about their prejudices (this is a lesson I learnt the hard way). --Hildanknight (talk) 13:42, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree. However, sometimes people don't realize that they appear prejudiced to others (no matter what's going on consciously or unconsciously) unless it is pointed out to them. It's really a matter of how you do it. Plus there may be legit issues raised by the discussion. For example I've had problems with people yelling antisemitism just by wanting NPOV in BLPs about critics of Israel and transphobia for wanting NPOV in BLP on "gender critical" feminists (i.e., the accusors didn't raise the issue diplomatically). Many people would be scared away from opining at a noticeboard or talk page by such; but even when done non-diplomatically some will look at both sides of the argument and thus realize they themselves were prejudiced against the critics in a knee jerk fashion. Discussion of issues should not be forbidden because some people might take offense, especially when there is none personal is intended. (As in the original topic of this thread, general discussion of systemic bias or even more specifically sexism.) Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 13:58, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

"The Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Cultural Appropriation"[edit]

"The Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Cultural Appropriation" is an interesting article in the online magazine Everyday Feminism. I thought some members might want to read it. -- kosboot (talk) 17:01, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

WP:ANI on “disruption of Wikiproject”[edit]

Here is an ANI posting regarding problems at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/Gender gap task force. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 04:53, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

Proposed addition to "Avoiding personal attacks"[edit]

There is a proposal to add a short paragraph to the "Avoiding personal attacks" section of the No personal attacks policy page. The discussion is Proposed addition to "Avoiding personal attacks". Your participation is welcome. Lightbreather (talk) 01:22, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Wife of Prime Minister of India[edit]

Hello. I re-started an article on the wife of the Prime Minister of India. There is some question about the sources I am using as references, but I wonder a bit if there is a bias about her not being well liked and about her husband not wishing to acknowledge her. I would appreciate any comment about the extent to which this person meets Wikipedia's inclusion criteria at Talk:Narendra_Modi#Article_on_Modi.27s_wife.2C_Jashodaben_Chimanlal. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:35, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Comment on the WikiProject X proposal[edit]

Hello there! As you may already know, most WikiProjects here on Wikipedia struggle to stay active after they've been founded. I believe there is a lot of potential for WikiProjects to facilitate collaboration across subject areas, so I have submitted a grant proposal with the Wikimedia Foundation for the "WikiProject X" project. WikiProject X will study what makes WikiProjects succeed in retaining editors and then design a prototype WikiProject system that will recruit contributors to WikiProjects and help them run effectively. Please review the proposal here and leave feedback. If you have any questions, you can ask on the proposal page or leave a message on my talk page. Thank you for your time! (Also, sorry about the posting mistake earlier. If someone already moved my message to the talk page, feel free to remove this posting.) Harej (talk) 22:47, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Exploring the idea of distinguishing between countering systemic bias and POV-motivated false claims of bias[edit]

I've recently been involved in discussions about another WikiProject, not this one, possibly encouraging edits in a non-NPOV fashion while claiming that they were simply correcting systemic bias against a particular political point of view. Please understand, and I want to make it very clear, that I am not concerned about that being an issue with this WikiProject, and I agree with this Project's goals. However, I am worried about editors who are POV-pushers misusing the term "systemic bias" to camouflage other agendas. In the future, I might want to make a formal proposal to address that problem, but for now, I'm just exploring ideas informally. My specific reason for posting here is that I want to "do no harm" with respect to projects such as this one.

So I'd like to ask editors in this Project what ideas you might have about how to distinguish between legitimate countering of systemic bias, and disruptive insertion of bias under the claim that it's countering the opposite bias. Thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:23, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Since the focus here is "demographic groups," the question is, is the political issue relevant to that or not. For example, an ethnic group that had a separatist political agenda, or women addressing ovarian cancer, or African Americans interested in police racial profiling would have legitimate systemic bias issues. However, Marxist or libertarian or Green viewpoints may be held by members of a variety of demographic groups and therefore not really covered.
Of course, members of a demographic group may claim that a political view or ideology or goal represents that of most of the members of that group and be wrong or be misrepresenting their position. And they also may claim that some political grouping that only disagrees with them on political issues is biased against them as a demographic group. Specifics are what matters. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 23:16, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. That's a very helpful answer. So having a particular political leaning and believing that the "mainstream media" are systemically biased against that political viewpoint is not necessarily the same thing as being concerned that Wikipedia fails to give adequate coverage to notable content that is of particular interest to a demographic group of people – and the distinction can be tested by evaluating whether or not the people who have the concern share a particular demographic identity other than the political belief itself. --Tryptofish (talk) 14:05, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Now I'm a little lost. You say in effect: Mainstream media bias does not equal Wikipedia failure to give adequate coverage. It's not the same, but obviously if the mainstream media isn't covering a topic there will be less RS to use to show it's notable. However, you'll have to explain the last section. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 21:12, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Sorry. I'm not actually arguing for anything at this point. It's more like I'm feeling the subject out, and looking for other editors to point me to where my thinking is still unclear, which is exactly what you just did (thanks!). I agree with you about media and RS.
I came to this question from seeing editors arguing, not so much that mainstream media do not cover a topic or do not provide sources for a topic, but that mainstream media are biased about a topic. See, for example, how the term "mainstream media" is used by politically conservative commentators in the US. I'm trying to figure out how to differentiate between an editor who is pushing a POV (for example, arguing that Fox News and Breitbart.com are sources that need to be cited because the New York Times carries a systemic liberal bias), from editors who are doing what this WikiProject does. I've been seeing editors frame the conservative news source argument as countering Wikipedia's systemic liberal bias, and I've become concerned that this formulation may be becoming a misuse of the systemic bias issue.
Based upon your earlier comment, I was sounding out the possibility that advocates of conservative media in the US are not a single demographic group, outside of their shared advocacy of conservatism. Of course, my point isn't unilaterally about conservatism or liberalism, and anything that might eventually be part of a policy or guideline at Wikipedia should be generally applicable. I think it's similar to what you said above about Marxist or libertarian or Green viewpoints. My point would be the same if someone were insisting on emphasizing leftist sources in order to counter a supposed conservative systemic bias at Wikipedia.
Ultimately, I'm exploring whether it is possible to differentiate between POV pushers who claim that they are correcting Wikipedia's systemic biases (one editor's bias could be another editor's NPOV), from legitimate editing that is intended to counter real systemic bias – I don't want to argue for something that would interfere with the latter. Perhaps, if there is a demographic group of people, defined by something other than the specific belief that is the subject of an editing dispute, then providing content reflecting their experiences is genuine countering of systemic bias – whereas if there is a group of people whose only shared characteristic is a particular opinion, then they are not the basis for claiming systemic bias, and that particular opinion is just one POV? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:56, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
In the end you have to go on a case by case basis and if there's a stalemate on talk page get a third opinion, do an RfC, go to the relevant noticeboard etc. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 01:20, 12 October 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Yes, I know how those things work. But in terms of setting guidance about such cases, before they arise, do any other editors active in this WikiProject have any thoughts about what differentiates genuine countering of systemic bias from someone who is simply pushing a POV and claiming that the opposing POV is a systemic bias? --Tryptofish (talk) 14:12, 12 October 2014 (UTC)

Framing the question another way[edit]

I remain interested in this issue, so I'd like to ask what is pretty much the same question, but framed in a different manner.

Let's say that a hypothetical editor shows up at this WikiProject, and says something like the following on this talk page:

I believe that Wikipedia has a systemic bias against [insert here a political party, one that has an ideology that might be discussed as a matter of WP:NPOV, but one that is not populated by any particular group of people who might be considered to be under-represented in English-speaking culture; also a political party that has a talking point that the news media are biased in favor of its opponents]. I'm joining this WikiProject in order to correct this bias in Wikipedia articles.

Subsequently, the editor posts on this talk page, asking other editors in the WikiProject to join him/her in editing various pages, where the edits seem to be about making that political party look good, or the opposing party look bad.

How would editors in this WikiProject feel about that? How would you respond to that hypothetical editor, and what reasons would you give for your responses? Thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:02, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Since you are being sufficiently specific, I can (merely) opine. That's called old fashioned POV pushing. You'd have to see archives to see if people have done it here. I've complained about a couple of the categories in the Open Tasks list seeming to do just that and said I was going to clean them out. No one objected. But got too caught up in other things to do.
What pov pushers usually do is go to/create articles and just edit; maybe let a few others who agree know, including through subject oriented wikiprojects; or canvass like hell if they think they can get away with it; create meat and sock puppets; talk it up on their talk page if they have a lot of talk page followers (a trick I've noticed that seems to be quite successful for some!) Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 23:10, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for caring about this subject. I used to wonder about what would happen if people would gang up in a WikiProject or offline and try to influence an article. Fortunately, I didn't have to wonder long because it played out in real life. Over the course of three years or so, there was a big effort to create an article Jewish Bolshevism. Several people offline got together and tried to create it. it was based on propaganda in their part of the world that has been completely discredited everywhere else. I came in at the end of that fiasco and participated in deleting it. Eventually it was redirected to something much more acceptable. One of the original creators retired from Wikipedia as a result. The article had been created and deleted and recreated over a period of 3 years. The rest of us left over tried to decide what to do after it was deleted. Some people considered forming online groups, some people wanted to create offline vigilante groups, but we decided at the end that we would all watch this space and maybe a few other locations as a Bat-Signal and if anything unusual popped up, we could swarm in since we already knew the history. And that's what led me to this question. USchick (talk) 23:22, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Here's another example that played out on a large scale [4] [5] [6] USchick (talk) 23:29, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
While Russian government employees editing is obviously a problem, it's also obvious they haven't gotten as good at it as US government employees who've learned to use untraceable IPs. In English-speaking Wikipedia, however, there is a systemic bias against Russian ethnic nationals/nation by a lot of rah rah US/British/etc. nationals, so in general getting more articles about Russia that are more NPOV is relevant here. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 00:19, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, both of you, for very interesting comments! I agree with you both that what I initially described is POV-pushing, as opposed to countering systemic bias. I also agree that having more complete coverage of, for example, Russian ethnic subjects would be a valid editing effort under this WikiProject, whereas the stuff about making a particular government look good, or a particular group of people look bad per propaganda, is instead disruptive. So that leads me in turn to ask how one can define what it is that makes the former different than the latter. (Obviously, the POV-pushers will deny that they are POV-pushing, and might well claim that Wikipedia has a systemic bias against the Russian government to which they are merely trying to restore NPOV.) --Tryptofish (talk) 18:45, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
If government was somehow separate, that would be great. Government employees are people with their own thoughts and opinions. If you want to be a fly on the wall and watch a real cluster#ck, I invite you to a talk page about a current event (a plane crash) that contains real life drama: ani-Russian sentiment, US propaganda, The New World Order, and lots of histrionics from editors who want to get their way. It got so bad, that an admin refused to enforce sanctions because he said he was afraid of what might happen to his kids. I am involved, so this is not an invitation to participate, only to watch. :) Talk:Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. USchick (talk) 19:22, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
With a description like that, I don't even want to look at it! Face-smile.svg I think we all know intuitively how those kinds of things are not the same as countering systemic bias, but how can we define the difference? Although politics might be part of it, I don't think it's merely a matter of whether or not a government is involved. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:36, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
I think it has to do with the individual, who is a member of a household, that makes up a neighborhood, that's part of a city, that's part of a country, which has a set of rules completely different from the country next door with a totally different set of rules. So when I walk out of my household, with a certain set of rules already in my head, and walk across the street to my neighbor's house, where a different set of rules apply, I encounter systemic bias, because I like my towels folded differently, and I hate the colors they used, and I don't approve the way they raise their children, and they may hate me if I happen to be of a different race/sexual orientation/whatever. USchick (talk) 19:47, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
OK, so when a POV pusher says that their POV is like one of those houses, how are they getting it wrong? Is it that a particular set of opinions is different than a particular cultural identity? --Tryptofish (talk) 20:07, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
They're absolutely correct in their own mind. And if enough people agree with them, they can form a group. The guy who said the world is round became an outcast even though he was correct. Do you want to be right, or do you want to be accepted by your peers? There lies the question. USchick (talk) 20:10, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
A POV pusher, and the group of POV pushers who agree with them, can genuinely believe that they are just like one "house" whose customs are different than the systemic norm at Wikipedia. I'm trying to figure out how to compose language that would define people doing that as disruptive, without creating problems for people who are genuinely countering systemic bias. There has to be some kind of way to express the difference, but what is it? --Tryptofish (talk) 20:18, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
That's a very noble effort! In my opinion that comes from experience. As soon as you walk outside and encounter other people doing things differently, you run into a conflict. What was helpful to me, was the idea where you and I are in a room, facing each other. You tell me the room is blue and I see a white room. I think you're crazy. So I walk over to your side and stand with you to look in my direction where i was standing before. It turns out someone painted the room in two different colors, and the wall behind me was blue. Maybe there's an essay or a visual representation of this somewhere? USchick (talk) 20:30, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
OK, I'm thinking out loud here (and truly, I am grateful for the way you are helping me through this thought process). That difference in having seen, or not having seen, the blue wall arises from a difference in previous experience. When those differences in previous experience are systemic, then that is what gives rise to systemic bias. On the other hand, when we both look at the same blue wall and one of us says "I like blue" and the other says "I dislike blue", those are differences in POV that are independent of any systemic differences in previous experience. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:53, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Are we assuming that the the systemic norm at Wikipedia and a group of POV pushers cannot be the same thing? Could it be that, in some areas, the majority of Wikipedia editors share a bias? Of course every POV pusher will say yes, they are biased against my POV, but is it really that inconceivable that there could be a real bias? It seems to me that the only reasonable solution is to neutrally report what is in reliable sources whether we like the results or not. This is rather hard to do, but editing in areas where you have no strong opinions helps. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:34, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Guy Macon is wise. I agree completely. bobrayner (talk) 22:04, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't help that in many parts of the world, media is state owned. Editors on English language Wikipedia have made it a point to eliminate these sources from the RS list. That eliminates more than half of the population on earth and silences their opinion. Systemic bias. USchick (talk) 03:45, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
State-owned media, per se, do not attract so much attention by enwiki editors. However, where a state uses media to spread propaganda &c., it's quite right to avoid presenting those claims as fact. To the extent that half the world's population actually believes claims made by systematically unreliable sources, I have a lot of sympathy for them, but that doesn't mean that we should degrade our own content to match. bobrayner (talk) 13:26, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
A case can be made for non-state owned media being just as unreliable. They chase ratings and advertising dollars. The conversion to a digital format caused a massive firing of reporters, so it's no longer profitable to get your own story. It's much cheaper to grab something off the internet, that someone else has already reported and to talk about that. Stories get pulled if they might upset a major advertiser, all the time. For the chance to be "the first" at reporting something, facts aren't being checked and contradictory reports are presented, but that's not a problem because it creates sensationalism and ratings go up. So media in general is not reliable, but over half the world's population is silenced never the less. USchick (talk) 18:02, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Let's stick to what reliable sources say. bobrayner (talk) 18:12, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Reliable sources say "even the poorest 5% of Americans are richer than two-thirds of the entire world. Something to think about." [7] USchick (talk) 18:19, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'm happy to see this discussion, and I agree that sources always matter more than editor opinions – so long as we look sufficiently widely for our sources. But I want to ask Guy and Bob about part of what you said. Are you saying that the systemic norm at Wikipedia could, itself, be a non-neutral POV? I think that you are saying that it's a possibility, and that the way to deal with it is to set aside editor opinions in favor of reliable sources. Do I understand that correctly?

If so, I'm OK with that. But what I'm concerned about is when somebody comes along and says yeah, the systemic norm is indeed a POV, and I'm here to correct it, when in fact that person is the one pushing a POV against consensus. For example, in one strain of present-day US politics, there's a talking point about the "lamestream media" (coined, I think, by Sarah Palin). An editor can show up here saying that Wikipedia is biased against the view of the world as Fox News sees it, and call that systemic bias that needs to be countered. Or, it could be someone making an analogous complaint from the left. I'm trying to see if we can draw a distinction between that, which I think is plain old POV pushing, and legitimate countering of systemic bias. I'm interested in picking up from what USchick and I had been discussing, about the room with blue and white walls. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:18, 19 October 2014 (UTC)