Category talk:2004 United States election voting controversies

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Opening comment[edit]

This category seems pointless. Bonewah (talk) 01:39, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Scope of category[edit]

Otto4711 has removed from this category almost all the articles that were in it, with rationales like "a person is not a controversy". We have many, many instances of categories that include bio articles about people related to the subject of the category. For example, at Ken Blackwell, Otto4711 removed the link to this category, but left in Category:Wilberforce University. One could just as well say that a person is not a university. The unilateral removal is, in effect, an attempt to undo the result of the CfD, in which the community did not accept Otto4711's personal opinion. Furthermore, the unduly narrow interpretation of this category is not consistent with our category policy and has not been preceded by any discussion, either here or on the talk pages of affected articles, so I am restoring the inclusion in the category (or, at least, as many as I have patience for). JamesMLane t c 18:28, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps a name change could alleviate this problem, something more inclusive of people involved and technologies used, etc. Bonewah (talk) 19:51, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
We'd need a name that covers the summary article, a court case, politicians, activists, and a voting machine manufacturer. Any suggestions?
Another option (at least for the longer articles) would be to create redirects to the relevant parts of these articles, and put these redirects in the category instead. For example, Senate objection to certification of Ohio's 2004 electoral votes could redirect to Barbara Boxer#Objection to certification of 2004 U.S. Presidential Election electoral votes. -- Avenue (talk) 22:27, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
This seems like needless complexity, given that no such hairsplitting is applied to other categories. Should Category:University of Chicago be changed to Category:Individuals, groups, buildings, publications, academic programs, and curricula having some sort of nontrivial connection with the University of Chicago? My point is that, on a subject that isn't politically charged, no one goes around pointing out that "a person is not a university" or "a student choral society is not a university". People who aren't trying to pursue some political agenda realize that category titles are not interpreted with narrow literalism. JamesMLane t c 23:22, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
It seems to me like a very simple solution to implement, compared with the prospect of generating pages of uncompromising arguments for each perspective. It is not a common approach, but it has been used elsewhere. One example that I came across lately is Category:Silurian volcanism, where almost half the category members are redirects. I realise it's probably no one's preferred option, but would it be a compromise everyone could live with? -- Avenue (talk) 03:33, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
I could live with that. I guess if other similar cats are as loosely defined, then no great harm in having this one be the same. Bonewah (talk) 03:52, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
I've reverted a couple of the category removals, but I'll try out the redirect approach on Barbara Boxer's article, partly because I feel her article less clearly belongs here than Cliff Arnebeck's, say, and partly because an apparently uninvolved editor (South Bay) has removed the category from her article. -- Avenue (talk) 09:17, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, perhaps that is not going to work out. Otto4711 has already proposed its deletion here. -- Avenue (talk) 09:56, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Otto4711 has made a helpful suggestion in that forum, namely that the relevant part of Boxer's article could be incorporated into the main 2004 United States election voting controversies article, where it wasn't mentioned. This seems worthwhile even ignoring this categorisation dispute, so I've gone ahead and tried it. (I've left out the bit about the roses.) -- Avenue (talk) 00:31, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Individual people are not controversies. Including members of Congress and other similarly situated politicians in every "controversy" or "scandal" category that intersects with their time in office or even that they spoke out about vociferously will result in dozens of categories on such articles, leaving us with a solid mass of such categories which will make those categories to which they should belong more difficult to locate on the listing and less useful to navigation. That there are other categories in which similar biography articles are also incorrectly included doesn't mean that this category should be appended to every person associated however tangentially with the scandal. Otto4711 (talk) 00:20, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
First, I see that you've resumed unilaterally removing articles from the category, evidently not caring one bit what anyone else says, and certainly not waiting for consensus here. This is a very bad course of action, in my opinion, which is of course meaningless to you because your opinion is different and only your opinion matters.
As to the details, I agree that there are borderline cases concerning the degree of the nexus between the category and a particular article. I restored Barbara Boxer to the category because she was the only Senator who voted against accepting Ohio's purported electoral votes. I didn't restore Peter King because I thought his connection was too peripheral. I've been trying to restore George W. Bush, as well as restoring that article to Category:American sports businesspeople that you removed it from without explanation (he was general manager of the Texas Rangers, so what's the problem?), but I've been unable to edit Bush because of some inexplicable computer problem.
At this point the list of articles that were in the category that I think don't belong is, approximately: Peter King, Jesse Jackson, Common Cause, John Edwards, and Dick Cheney. The others should stay in. If you want to discuss particular articles, we can do that here or on the article's talk page. If you want to press ahead with your unilateral edits that act as if the CfD never occurred, then we'll have to involve some admins and we'll all get to waste time at WP:RfC or WP:AN/I or WP:EAR or even WP:RfAr. Your choice. JamesMLane t c 01:00, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
I Wouldn't think a name change would be that controversial. In any event, JML hits on the problem with a vaguely named cat, why include Cliff Arnebeck but not Bev Harris? Why remove Common Cause? Heck, if I were to take some of the more fringe theories about the 2004 election seriously, i could include everyone who was elected using a voting machine. I believe in editorial judgement, but we can avoid a lot of these arguments if we take the time to be more precise, i think. Bonewah (talk) 02:09, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure that would help. The change that would satisfy Otto4711's pedantic objection would be to set up a subcategory, "People involved in the 2004 United States election voting controversies". We'd still have to draw lines. For my part, I'd exclude Jesse Jackson, because his public pronouncements on the subject didn't have any significant impact, and I'd include Bev Harris. There's room for reasonable disagreement on each of those decisions, though.
Creating the subcategory wouldn't avert any of those arguments and would be contrary to how other categories are handled. Subcats are for convenience of organization, not because of arguments like "a person is not a controversy". This can be seen in the two examples I've mentioned. Category:Wilberforce University has only 32 entries, so no subcats are necessary (one exists but isn't populated), even though the majority of those 32 articles are biographies and a person is not a university. By contrast, Category:University of Chicago is much larger, so it makes sense to have a lot of substructure. Category:University of Chicago faculty by itself has 471 names. On the other hand, the main category includes Mincer Award and WHPK-FM, even though an academic award is not a university and a radio station is not a university. JamesMLane t c 02:48, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
If creating that subcategory would be acceptable to everyone, why not do it? Maintaining the purity of the category structure is a worthy aim, but compared to resolving edit wars like this one, I think it comes a distant second. -- Avenue (talk) 03:42, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
The immediate practical problem is figuring out whether that would indeed be acceptable to everyone. Otto4711 has returned to unilaterally reverting to his preferred solution. Frankly, I'm past the point of being willing to waste any more time trying to discuss matters with him. If you're willing to invest time in that effort, more power to you. JamesMLane t c 06:11, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Otto4711 has the better arguments here. To include anyone who played any role in these "controversies" raises the question of whether this is even a proper category, or whether it is in effect a category masquerading as one...and there already is an article at 2004 United States election voting controversies. With maybe one exception, none of the articles included in this category are proper subtopics. We could potentially create a category for any article simply by dumping in every wikilink within that article into a single category; clearly we don't want to do that. The consequence of treating a category as an article is that without reading that article, it is completely unclear why the individuals are included in this category or what it is trying to say about them. Nor will their involvement in these events necessarily be defining of their careers (certainly not for Barbara Boxer). If someone was in national politics in 2004, chances are they could be connected to these events in some way.

Presuming this category will continue to exist, probably the best way to get around these issues to categorize redirects, which can frame the disparate topics' connection to this category as subtopics of it. Postdlf (talk) 15:39, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

You write, "To include anyone who played any role in these 'controversies' raises the question of whether this is even a proper category, or whether it is in effect a category masquerading as one..." That's true, but if you look at the discussion above between Bonewah and myself, you'll see that no one is arguing for the inclusion of "anyone who played any role" in these controversies -- and, yes, they are real and legitimate controversies, so I don't agree with your use of scare quotes. I do agree with you, however, that Otto4711's edits raise the question of whether this is a proper category. That question was put to the community through CfD and the article was retained. Any disagreement with that decision should be pursued through a DRV or another CfD. Until then, the discussion here is governed by the rejection of Otto4711's view. JamesMLane t c 17:24, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Oh, I don't doubt that the voting problems were real and legitimate, I just personally hate the weasel word "controversies". Postdlf (talk) 22:18, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Postdlf, thanks for your support of the redirect approach. I have tried this out with the Barbara Boxer article, but Otto4711 has fought this too (see here). While Otto4711's arguments seem strong in theory, I object to the way he is applying them in practice. I agree we need a better way of handling people like Boxer, but his indiscriminate removal of the category from all the people categorised here (including single-issue notability cases like Arnebeck and Connell) does not seem sensible to me. -- Avenue (talk) 22:14, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Request for editor assistance[edit]

In light of Otto4711's continued unilateral actions, I've raised my concerns about his conduct at Wikipedia:Editor assistance/Requests#Edit war over scope of category. JamesMLane t c 07:00, 20 May 2009 (UTC)