Talk:Circumcision advocacy

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Original research and unverified claims[edit]

I'm not aware that the article contains any unverified claims or original research at the moment. Unless someone can come up with credible evidence that it contains any such thing, I think the tags should be removed. Michael Glass 13:25, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

As no-one has mentioned any unverified claim or original research in the article in more than two months, I have removed the 'Original Research" tag. Michael Glass 11:10, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
The problem is with the article as a whole, Michael. Critically, the first sentence of the article cannot be sourced. Sure, it could be removed, which would expose the real problem with the article: that the central term is neither defined nor explored in any reliable sources. Hence the OR tag is entirely appropriate. Jakew 13:15, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
This is a semantic game. There are about 1600 hits for the term "circumcision advocacy" in Google, so the term is not unknown. Michael Glass 23:35, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
As you know, Michael, most of those hits are not reliable sources. Most, if not all, of those that are RS are listed in the beginning of the article, in a manner that sadly does not inform the reader at all, but merely attempts to justify the article's existence. This problem is due to the fact that all of these sources use the term in passing, failing to explain what is meant.
If you think this is a game, you're completely missing the point. Wikipedia is supposed to summarise what others have written about a subject. Want to write an article about the history of Zaire? No problem - others have done so before. If, as in this case, you want an article about a subject so obscure and ill-defined that nobody has written about it, and it only gets mentioned a handful of times in print, then that's a clue that it does not belong here.
Right now, it like an article on "sipping grape juice on Friday afternoon." If I were sufficiently bored, I could probably find that phrase in a few books. Should Wikipedia have an article on it? Unless the subject has received scholarly attention previously (an unlikely proposition), the answer is: no, it could only be OR. Jakew 11:31, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
"Sipping grape juice on Friday afternoon" scores no hits on Google, so that analogy falls down. The terms 'circumcision advocacy' and 'circumcision advocate' are not defined because these are plain English expressions. The fact that they are used in passing is evidence that they are used naturally in English discourse. The 'failure' to explain what is meant is evidence that the meaning is taken as self-evident. Of course, that would not appeal to an elitist mindset. As for the individual words, they are defined in any good dictionary. Finally, it is not "Original Research" to collect information. Michael Glass 13:43, 6 December 2006 (UTC).
I agree. Collecting information is not necessarily OR. Indeed, if suitable sources discussing the subject matter were available, it would be expected that we should summarise them. But they don't exist, and that, my friend, is the problem. Jakew 14:21, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

But isn't this exactly what is done in this article? It's a collectiion of information about circumcision advocates and their advocacy of circumcision. What, then, is the original research? Where, if any, are there unverified claims in the article? Michael Glass 22:40, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

The problem, Michael, is that it is a collection of information about people (who Wikipedia identifies as 'circumcision advocates') and their activities (which Wikipedia identifies as 'circumcision advocacy'). That is what is original research, and without secondary sources, it is unverifiable. Jakew 10:52, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Jake, if you read the first paragraph of the article you will see that the term 'circumcision advocate' is used in scholarly and academic circles. The term is plain English and carries no negative connotations that I can detect. Your objection to using the term is akin to saying that Wikipedia can't say a chair is a chair unless an authority has said that that particular chair is a chair. Quite simply, it is a nonsense. Michael Glass 10:18, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Michael, your analogy is a poor one. Try going to any online bookstore and searching for 'chair.' You'll find no shortage of suitable scholarly material. Chairs are documented well in academia (indeed, I was somewhat surprised to learn how well).
The first paragraph of this article is a problem, because it serves little purpose other than to attempt to justify the article's very existence. The reader is served poorly by it: (s)he is unlikely to care who has used the term, but (s)he is much more likely to be interested in what the relevant authors had to say about it. We fail him/her in this respect. The reason for that - and I'm sorry to repeat myself - is that virtually nothing has been said about the subject. That is the problem. Jakew 18:55, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

The point of the first paragraph is to demonstrate and document the fact that 'circumcision advocate' is used in newspapers and scholarly journals. There is no lack of material about circumcision advocacy. Michael Glass 22:02, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Michael, why do you think that the article should demonstrate and document this fact? Why is it important to do so in the first paragraph? What I'm trying to say is that the only apparent purpose of doing so is to say "this article deserves to exist," and I'm not convinced that an article needs to justify its own existence. That should be obvious from the content. Have I misunderstood the first pg? Jakew 22:06, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

The reason for drawing attention to the usage is to demonstrate that the terms 'circumcision advocate' and 'circumcision advocacy' are in current usage. this was disputed by some contributors. Michael Glass 08:21, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I changed the first sentence to address Jakew's concern, and have removed the tag. I also removed the following from the lead:
"In other scholarly sources it is used in an article by Hodges, Svoboda and Van Howe in the Journal of Medical Ethics [1], and also in the title of Tyranny of the victims: An analysis of circumcision advocacy. In Male and female circumcision: Medical legal and ethical considerations in pediatric practice, ed. G. C. Denniston, F. M. Hodges, and M. F. Milos, 223-24. New York [2]. The term "circumcision advocate" has been used in a newsletter from the University of Sydney, Australia [3] and in the Australian Doctor [4] to refer to Professor Brian Morris. The term was also used in the New Mexican in 2001 [5]. Dr Sam Kunin, MD describes himself as a pro-circumcision advocate [6]."
I consider the above OR because it's material collected in order to support the POV that there's such a thing as circumcision advocacy, a position that may not have been expressed in any source. That is, the sources use the term, but might not assert that there is such a thing. We can assume there is such a thing and write an article about it, but we can't claim there is such a thing unless a reliable source expresses this position. That's my interpretation of NOR for this situation at the moment; I'm ready to listen to arguments for other interpretations. I think we can say "This article is about..." under IAR, but may not be able to assert a definition for "circumcision advocacy" without a source for the definition.
I copied the material here because I think the sources may be useful for expanding the article in other ways. Coppertwig (talk) 01:03, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
That seems an improvement, Coppertwig. I think some OR remains in the article, but the lead is considerably better.
I've removed the statement "Circumcision has been advocated with statements that it confers health benefits", because it strikes me as questionable. To advocate X is to state or strongly imply that others ought to do X. But one can state that X has health benefits without implying that X should be done. As an extreme example, one could say that "dual leg amputation would eliminate the risk of athlete's foot" (and I don't think that anyone would argue), but at the same time would anyone think that I was actually suggesting that dual leg amputation should be performed for this reason? Probably not. Identification of benefits is distinct from weighing benefits against risks and forming a conclusion about whether it should be done, and that in turn is distinct from actively promoting one's conclusion. So I don't think we should imply that stating that circumcision confers health benefits is the same as advocating circumcision.
On an unrelated note, I have tried unsuccessfully to fix the formatting of ref 1 (there is a huge space between 'HIV' and 'Infection'). If anyone else would care to try, it would be appreciated... Jakew (talk) 08:36, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Hi, Jake. I agree that stating that there are health benefits is not necessarily advocating. However, this article gives information about advocating, and the lead should summarize it. For example the title of ref 1 itself is "^ "WHO and UNAIDS Advocate Circumcision to Fight HIV Infection".": that is an assertion that advocacy happens. The sentence you deleted was one that I wrote in an attempt to summarize the article. The lead is now not a good summary of the article. Could you suggest a different summary? How about "At times, doctors and others have advocated circumcision, stating that it has health benefits." Coppertwig (talk) 17:57, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
I see that it isn't the best summary of the article, but I think that the article is too much of a mess to try to summarise, and consequently I think that any attempt to summarise it would result in something that is unsatisfactory. I suggest we get the body of the article up to scratch, and then try to summarise it.
I've started work on tidying up the article, but a lot of work is still needed. I believe that a fundamental problem is that many of the sources say nothing about advocacy - the characterisation of what the source does (if primary) or describes (if secondary) as "advocacy" appears to be OR. In the absence of a definition, it's impossible to even confirm that they meet the criteria for "circumcision advocacy" (which would, in any case, be OR). Consequently the article might best be described as a 'bunch of sources saying something positive about circumcision and/or including the words "advocate" and "circumcision"'. Here is a summary of the sources:
  1. ScienceNOW re WHO seems okay. It's a secondary source asserting that advocacy takes place.
  2. Ephron seems okay.
  3. Gollaher re Remondino seems borderline as a source. Is this advocacy?
  4. Kellogg is a primary source. This could (with some OR) be descibed as advocating circumcision as a treatment for masturbation, but if so, shouldn't we also include authors advocating circumcision as a treatment for anything (phimosis, balanitis, etc)?
  5. Paige re Holt. Similar problem as with Kellogg.
  6. Spock has an incomplete citation. I couldn't even work out what kind of source this is. It appears to be primary.
  7. Schoen is a primary source. We have nothing but OR to identify this as advocacy.
  8. ABC source re Morris is okay. It does indicate - just - that he advocates circumcision.
  9. Morris' website is primary. We have nothing but OR to identify this as advocacy.
So, of nine sources, four or five (numbers 3, 4, 7, 9, and probably 6) rely on OR. Jakew (talk) 19:22, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
#3 has Gollaher saying, "At the end of the nineteenth century the most strident champion of universal circumcision was a physician and public health official named Peter Charles Remondino." I'd say that being "a strident champion" (a terrific phrase, btw) refer to at least advocacy, if not halfway toward fanatical promotion. I have limited time to verify your other claims, but I think the point is made. Morris writes, "Unfortunately, the topic of circumcision has been made unnecessarily controversial because of emotive propaganda and opinions placed on the internet by extremist anti-circumcision organizations." I'd say anyone claiming that only one side of a controversial issue has an "extremist" group influencing the debate with propaganda is itself evidently an advocate, but I agree that's my point of view. Given that it seems the majority POV, via #8, I don't see what's wrong with going into detail about what Morris says, his advocacy being established. What is his advocacy about? What is he saying? Let's use the sources and find out. Jakew, you've worked closely with Morris, yes? Based on what you know, is it reasonable to describe him as an advocate of circumcision? He thinks it's "unnecessarily controversial," which seems to resonate with your evident desire to minimize all mention and exploration of the controversy in this article and -- a disturbing link. Am I correct in assuming that you still wish to see this article deleted on OR grounds (indeed, you apparently forgot to put it in your new fancy disputed navbox in the male circumcision article)? Blackworm (talk) 06:58, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Re #3, I think that I'd probably agree that a "strident champion" is an advocate. However, I'm concerned that this article shouldn't be about people who we think are advocates. It should be about what reliable sources have said about circumcision advocacy/advocates. Consequently, I think my description of this as "borderline" is accurate. If we decided to include this source, we'd need to rephrase in order to represent the sentence you quoted.
Re #8 and 9 (Morris), I disagree with you. Speaking out against anti-circumcision groups does not necessarily make one a pro-circumcision advocate. Obviously this is also my point of view. :)
Re #9, I don't see how #8 establishes a "majority POV", as you suggest. Furthermore, the only source that can describe his advocacy is the source that asserts that such advocacy takes place, because that source has interpreted certain specific actions as advocacy, and we can't presume to know what those actions are. And we can't use a source that is not directly related to circumcision advocacy, per WP:NOR: "To demonstrate that you are not presenting original research, you must cite reliable sources that are directly related to the topic of the article, and that directly support the information as it is presented."
This is obviously OR, but since you asked, yes, I personally think it is reasonable to describe Morris as an advocate of circumcision, but not because he lists some (alleged) medical benefits of circumcision. If that were "advocacy" then we'd have to describe the AAP as an advocate, since they also list (alleged) medical benefits of circumcision.[7] I would describe Morris as an advocate because (to borrow my earlier definition) he states or strongly implies that others ought to perform circumcisions.
Regarding the existence of the article, I think that as it presently stands it should be deleted, because (to my knowledge) the subject of circumcision advocacy has received so little attention in reliable secondary sources, and consequently we lack anything substantial to say about the subject. It is possible to have an article that isn't OR, but I believe it will be neither interesting nor encyclopaedic. In fact, it will be rather bland, being basically a list of people who've been described as circumcision advocates. If that's the case, then so be it, but my preference is to delete. I plan to conduct a proper search for sources in the next few days, and it's possible that I may change my mind as a result. Jakew (talk) 08:23, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
So now you're not claiming it's OR, but that it's not relevant to this article? Clearly if we want to write about "about what reliable sources have said about circumcision advocacy/advocates" we need to begin by identifying the advocates. Gollaher may have more to say about this advocate besides the view that he is a "strident champion," but first we need to introduce the subject -- if we all agree here that that source is saying he's an advocate, and discussing his work in the context of that advocacy, then what is the problem? Are there sources that say or imply that he's not an advocate? Why fight the WP:CONSENSUS, of which you yourself are a part?
Re #8, it again at the very least establishes a basis in reliable sources for the view that he is an advocate. Note we aren't even saying, "he's an advocate," we're referencing a secondary source and attributing the view -- and this despite you having presented no sources expressing any view that he may not be an advocate. I think he is, you think he is; everyone here and the available sources thinks he is -- that's what I mean by majority POV. We have no reason to think it's anything else. Would he himself reject the label? It's not like you're trying to have the majority POV attributed; that's already done. You're apparently trying to remove it altogether, in apparent violation of WP:NPOV.
Your "directly related" argument seems weak, as clearly the sources are discussing the advocates' views in the context of their advocacy. Your drawn equivalence between a "treatment for masturbation" and a "treatment for anything" is interesting, but I believe that only a tiny minority currently believe that masturbation is a condition requiring treatment. Perhaps this is related to your apparent confounding of psychological and medical effects,[8] I don't know. In any case, perhaps we should merge this article with Opposition to circumcision (with a new, neutral title) in the interest of contextualizing current circumcision advocacy. Of course, I believe all this should be treated in male circumcision, but since you apparently believe that little or no weight to the controversy is the appropriate weight, an article on the controversy might provide a better presentation to the reader. Blackworm (talk) 21:30, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Re point 3, I'm saying that it's borderline OR. The trouble is that the source doesn't say that he's a circumcision advocate. The source is saying something else that you or I might interpret as being similar to that, but interpretation shouldn't be necessary (and given that we can't even source a definition for 'circumcision advocacy', we really ought to treat the term as opaque). As I said above, "this article shouldn't be about people who we think are advocates" — it should be about people that reliable sources have described as advocates.
Re point 8, I think you must have misunderstood. I'm not trying to "remove it altogether". Please see above, where I stated that "ABC source re Morris is okay."
The "directly related" argument is made regarding ref 9, which doesn't mention advocacy. Your objection that "clearly the sources are discussing the advocates' views in the context of their advocacy" is therefore difficult to understand.
You argue that 'Your drawn equivalence between a "treatment for masturbation" and a "treatment for anything" is interesting, but I believe that only a tiny minority currently believe that masturbation is a condition requiring treatment.' -- I don't see why a special case is needed for situations where the perceived need for treatment has changed over time.
I would agree with your proposal to join this article with 'opposition to circumcision' to create a new article. That would seem a sensible approach. I've suggested something similar in the past (see last paragraph here). Jakew (talk) 08:02, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

First off Jake I mean no personal offense to you, but doesn't Jake Waskett fit the definition of Wikipedia:Conflict of interest? Perhaps my understanding of that guidline is flawed? Obviously if he did have a COI of circumcision it would be prudent for Jake to try to limit his editing to circumcision related articles. Comments? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Garycompugeek (talkcontribs)

I don't think so, Gary, but if you want to discuss the issue further I would suggest that my talk page would be a more suitable place. Jakew (talk) 20:02, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Darby and historyofcircumcision.net[edit]

Per WP:SPS:Self-published material may, in some circumstances, be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications. He has had his work published in reliable medical journals. He also talks about Hutchinson's circumcision promotion in his book. That Hutchinson was an advocate of circumcision is hardly a disputed matter. What is the problem? Are you saying we can't reference Darby at all? What is it you are actually saying? Tremello22 (talk) 17:00, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

We can't cite self-published sources. We can cite reliable sources written by Darby, however; those are perfectly acceptable.
Let's examine the sentence you quote carefully. It is saying that self-published material "may, in some circumstances" be acceptable, if two criteria are met:
  1. "when [the material is] produced by an established expert on the topic of the article" and
  2. "[when the established expert's] work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications"
So, is Darby an established expert on the topic of circumcision advocacy? No evidence has been presented that he is (and if he's an established expert on this subject, then it ought to be possible to find documentary evidence). The second test is irrelevant unless the source has passed the first test. Jakew (talk) 18:22, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
So you are agreeing we can reference Darby's book?
I take whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications to mean that someone who has passed the peer review process and written more than one article on the subject in medical journals, to be an established expert. If someone isn't an established expert by that criteria then your standards are too high and Wikipedia would be empty.
Or are you trying to exclude Darby on a minor point, in that you are arguing Darby is not an established expert on the topic of circumcision advocacy, rather the topic of circumcision history?
What would you define as sufficient proof that Darby is an established expert? What are you asking for documentary evidence he is an expert on? Circumcision in general? History of circumcision advocacy? What? It seems to me you are just Wikipedia:Gaming_the_system Tremello22 (talk) 18:44, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I think Darby's book would count as a WP:RS.
Wikipedia mostly relies upon sources that are not self-published, so your argument that "Wikipedia would be empty" is incorrect. I think you misunderstand the sentence structure. It specifies not only an "established expert" but then goes on to specify a particular kind of expert. It is probable that any established expert would have published in reliable third-party publications, but the reverse is not necessarily the case. Indeed, your interpretation would seem improbable, as it would mean, for example, that any random person's USENET posts would be suitable for inclusion as long as they had published something in a journal.
Per policy, the requirement is for an "established expert on the topic of the article" (emph added), which is indeed "circumcision advocacy". But I haven't seen any evidence that Darby is an established expert on either subject. I'm not entirely sure what would constitute evidence, but I would expect at the very least to find him described (in reliable sources) as an expert on the topic of the article.
Finally, I remind you to WP:AGF. Jakew (talk) 19:00, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
So how would you describe an expert on circumcision advocacy? What would he have to know to be an expert? How would he achieve his expert status in the competitive field of circumcision advocacy research - not just that, but presumably you want a source that says he is an expert in the history of circumcision advocacy research. My point is, you are asking for the impossible. You aren't going to find any reliable source that describes anyone as a "circumcision advocacy expert". I expect you know this which is why I think that to assume good faith would betray my (usually good) natural instincts. But I guess if we can just include Darby's book as a reference, then for the sake of argument, we can just use that.
But just to pick up on your analogy. There aren't that many people that have written about Hutchinson in relation to his circumcision advocacy. This seems relevant to me. If we are to define an expert on "Hutchinson in relation to his circumcision advocacy" could you name someone other than Darby? Could you name an established expert on this specific, almost trivial, topic? If not, your analogy seems inadequate. In fact the same could be said in relation to the slightly broader (but not by much) topic of 'circumcision advocacy in general'. Tremello22 (talk) 20:02, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
The topic of this article is "circumcision advocacy", not the history of circumcision advocacy, nor the reported advocacy of Hutchinson specifically. So it is necessary only to determine that Darby is an established expert on the subject of the article. As I said above, I'm not sure how expertise could be established, but probably the best approach would be to rely upon secondary sources. That is, if he's described as an expert on the subject of circumcision advocacy in reliable sources (and if nobody questions this expertise), then perhaps he is.
You may well be correct in that no sources describe anyone as a "circumcision advocacy expert", and that's okay. There's no pressing need for Wikipedia to include self-published sources, and the article isn't harmed by excluding them. It doesn't really matter if Hutchinson is mentioned in this article or not — NPOV isn't affected one way or the other. As you say yourself, "There aren't that many people that have written about Hutchinson in relation to his circumcision advocacy", so it isn't as though we'd be excluding a major and highly important viewpoint. It seems more beneficial for the article, and for the encyclopaedia as a whole, to consistently demand high-quality sources than to make an exception.
Please go ahead and cite Darby's book. It's always better to cite a RS than an SPS. Please be sure to include page numbers, and preferably quotations, to assist with verification. Jakew (talk) 20:22, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

There's no pressing need for Wikipedia to include self-published sources, and the article isn't harmed by excluding them. I'd say it is harmed. If people want to find out more about Hutchinson, then a website is more accessible than a book they do not have. Easy solution is to use both book and website as reference.

There aren't that many people that have written about Hutchinson in relation to his circumcision advocacy", so it isn't as though we'd be excluding a major and highly important viewpoint. You have misconstrued what I am saying and not quite got the point I was making. There aren't that many circumcision advocacy history books in general. So your assumption that Hutchinson isn't important is nonsensical. If there were a lot more books and Hutchinson wasn't mentioned in most - then your point would stand; however that is not the case. Tremello22 (talk) 18:04, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Tremello, I think you'll find that there aren't any books about circumcision advocacy at all. As a subject, it is almost completely lacking in notability; this is most obvious in the scarcity of sources. And anyone who wants information and isn't troubled by whether sources meet our reliability standards will doubtless be able to use a search engine, so I still see no pressing need to cite a WP:SPS. 20:08, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Should Jake Waskett be mentioned?[edit]

user:jakew is a notable circumcision advocate, especially on the internet, and frequents many forums etc. Correct me if I am mistaken but does he not own circs.org? Notable by the fact that it only seems to stock pro-circumcision articles. Jake, you can clarify this. Recently he has also sent a letter to a medical journal, outraged that 'the poor' will be deprived of this lifesaving operation. My own personal view is that this is the logical fallacy of appealing to emotion.

Medicaid coverage of circumcision:a health parity right of the poor, AJPH,2009

So should this letter be mentioned and should Jake Waskett be mentioned specifically? Jake, what do you think? Are you notable enough? Just for reference Brian J. Morris, Stefan A. Bailis, Thomas E. Wiswell and Daniel T. Halperin co-authored the letter. It was a reply to Determinants and Policy Implications of Male Circumcision in the United States Tremello22 (talk) 17:40, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

I haven't looked at the letter itself yet, especially since a full-text version is not free. but having been published, with prestigious co-authors, in peer-reviewed journals is usually an indication that the person knows what they are talking about, and is worth listening to. In this case, since we cannot even access the letter, I'm not certain what the point of putting in the article is. Just to get Jake's name in there? What purpose would that serve? Unless you are trying to stroke Jake's ego Face-smile.svg -- Avi (talk) 18:14, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd say the letter is more reliable than a self-published source, such as the one you are discussing in the section above, certainly, but we just don't quote reliable sources for no reason; I mean if I have a yen to put the entire text of Dante's Inferno into this article, it's reliable, but irrelevant. -- Avi (talk) 18:16, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
You don't need to access the full letter to get the gist of what the letter is saying. It is saying that medicaid should fund circumcision in states where they have dropped funding because the poor will supposedly lose out. That is circumcision advocacy. Jake is one of the authors and he and Morris have co-authored letters before. Jake also owns circs.org which only stocks pro-circ articles. That is circumcision advocacy is it not? We mention Wiswell and Morris already. So maybe Bailis, Waskett, and Halperin should be added too. Tremello22 (talk) 18:57, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
The source isn't about Jake's advocacy or any of the others' advocacy. It merely contains the arguments of circumcision advocates, some of whom have further been described as such in reliable sources. Since the circumcision advocates are also here, editing the article, and they seem to reject that circumcision advocacy should be discussed in Wikipedia, it seems it will be difficult to get consensus to include sources that are merely written by advocates, rather than specifically referencing their advocacy. Is it advocating something to claim that the poor have a right to have others pay for it? I'd say so, but there's probably someone who disagrees. Scientific claims are not in themselves evidence of advocacy. This is a tough one, but thankfully much clearer sources exist that document other advocates and other components of this advocacy. I do remember a very pro-circumcision leaflet, or something, that Jake did participate in writing and that did quite evidently seem to be based in advocacy; Jake, do you know which one I'm talking about? Blackworm (talk) 21:58, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Blackworm. Jakew states on his userpage, "I am neither in favour of or against neonatal circumcision, but am opposed to misleading information." He doesn't consider himself to be a circumcision advocate nor to be pro-circumcision. Therefore, per WP:BLP, we would require high-quality sources verifying that he is a circumcision advocate in order to be able to describe him as such. "Biographies of living persons must be written conservatively, with regard for the subject's privacy. ... This policy applies equally to biographies of living persons and to biographical material about living persons on other pages." I'm not aware of any published sources making such a statement, although I saw published material listing him as a circumcision "expert". Coppertwig (talk) 23:37, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
Coppertwig, Jakes actions speak much louder than his words. If you do believe Jake is not a circumcision advocate then google his name. If anything, his deep involvement in circumcision advocacy generates a conflict of interest with regard to circumcision related articles. Garycompugeek (talk) 15:05, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
If this were Jakew's "Expert" CircumcisionCyclopedia, of course, the article would state 0.2%-0.6% as the complication rate (he repeats this claim in letters to otherwise reliable sources)[9]. Of course, that claim is doubtful, non-neutral, and contradicts sources, so instead Wikipedia states Complication rates ranging from 0.06% to 55% have been cited,[127] though a 1993 survey of circumcision complications by Williams and Kapilla put the rate at 2-10%. "Opposed to misinformation." Yeah. In any case, this article shouldn't be about who is and isn't a statistic-modifying advocate. It's about the trend of circumcision advocates and their misinformation through history. Blackworm (talk) 17:14, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Gary: for someone to be described as an "advocate" of something, they would have to have actually advocated it. I don't remember seeing any quotes of Jake recommending circumcision in general or saying that people should be circumcised. To advocate that health insurance cover it, or to list benefits of it, is not the same thing as to advocate it: one might still recognize that there may also be reasons not to do it, or consider it a personal or parental choice.
Blackworm: In that letter, Jake said "potential complications exist; their incidence is estimated at 0.2% and 0.6%" and gave the AAP policy statement as a reference. Jake's statement here is a measured statement, as is typical of Jake and also typical of many who have experienced the rigours of the peer-review process, and also typical of thoroughly-edited Wikipedia articles. He is not actually claiming that that is the complication rate; he doesn't tend to do things like that. He's stating that it has been so estimated; and that seems a very reasonable statement given the reference, which says "Reports of two large series have suggested that the complication rate is somewhere between 0.2% and 0.6%." As far as I know AAP is widely considered a reasonably authoritative reference for such things. Making such a statement, whether on an article talk page or off-wiki, is simply normal discussion, with which you're free to disagree in an appropriate forum. Coppertwig (talk) 13:45, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
A measured statement? Measured for what purpose? I realize many of his statements are factual, the point is that they are invariably incomplete -- as the saying goes, "a half truth is a whole lie." But yes, you're right, he can say whatever he wants in the circumcision advocacy forums and in letters to medical journals. You make my long-argued point that citing such letters as coming from reliable sources is a perversion of Wikipedia's reliable source policy. Blackworm (talk) 21:54, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Coppertwig, Jake does advocate circumcision all over the internet in many different forums. How can you so blatanlty say Jake doesn't advocate circumcision? Garycompugeek (talk) 01:35, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

(<-)Last I saw, Jake discusses the scientific merits or detriments of various studies. I do not see him making statements such as the one Blackworm made here, here, or here, which are examples of anti-circumcision advocacy by painting the procedure in as a detestable light as possible. I do not see him making statements like Tremollo22 did here, which attempts to disenfranchise entire swaths of people from the article due to their birth. If anything, he is the only one whose work was accepted into peer-reviewed journals, which qualifies him as more of an expert than any of us, I reckon. So, do y'all have anything of substance to say, or are we just going to continue our joint appreciation for Jake's work and expertise? -- Avi (talk) 06:26, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Do you have anything of substance to say? I find it laughable that you and Coppertwig apparently believe Jake isn't a circumcision advocate. Next your going to tell me that Blackworm is all for routine infant circumcision. Speaking of Jake's peer reviewed excerpts on circumcision only supports my point of conflict of interest. I know that Blackworm and Tremello are against routine infant circumcision so their post on Wikipedia about the matter do not surprise me. On the flip side of the coin they or anyone else have not postulated that they were neutral or advocate routine infant circumcision. Garycompugeek (talk) 16:26, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry if I was too abstruse for you, Gary Face-smile.svg. Perhaps you have a different definition of "advocacy". If you follow the definition here: Advocacy, then you, Blackworm, Tremollo22, and Michael Glass are as much advocates as is Jake; if not more so, as I find Jake trying to keep things neutral as opposed to the outright advocacy of gential integrity that you, Blackworm, etc. propose. So, I'm glad I was able to make you smile, but there seems to be even less substance to your statements than there was mine. So, I reiterate, shall we compare levels of acceptance in mainstream medical journals between yourself and Jake, or should we close this feeble attempt at trying to discredit Jake and continue with editing the articles? -- Avi (talk) 18:02, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
"Outright advocacy of genital integrity?" Yes, if you mean the "rights to bodily integrity and to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health," as written by UNICEF[10] and other major international organizations. But then I'm just going with the majority view, rather than the minority view that circumcision is to be advocated (Avraham, Jakew, and Jayjg's view). In any case, it's about what goes into the article, not our personal views, and I believe I make more neutral summaries of sources than Jakew and Avraham, who routinely spin the text into a posture putting circumcision in the best light possible (best example being the British Medical Association, where the source says "medical harms or benefits have not been unequivocally proven," and Jakew's edit to the article quotes "medical harms [...] have not been unequivocally proven"[11] instead, while insisting ridiculously that psychology is a subset of medicine[12][13] in order to justify spinning the text to be more positive toward circumcision, and Avi's wishing to insert "conclusions" about one thing and applying them to others, misrepresenting the source[14]). There may be strong opinions on both sides, but it's clear which side has a stranglehold on the article now, and which side evidently distorts sources through interpretation. Blackworm (talk) 18:18, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
This is coming from someone who compares circumcision to slavery and calls it cutting "…a healthy baby boy's penis up into a bloody mess." Need I say more 8-) ? -- Avi (talk) 18:38, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
What part do you dispute? That's it's cutting a healthy baby boy's penis, drawing blood? Or do you dispute that it's a "mess?" I suppose hospitals have towels and orderlies for cleaning the bloody mess, and antibiotics for any infection, and a needle and sutures to sew up the penis' wound if bleeding is uncontrolled, but does that really change what it is? I'm very sorry that I don't couch the cutting of genitals in beautiful, meaningful, beneficial, or sterile terminology like the advocates do. And to say that the other two year old quote is "comparing circumcision to slavery" well, that's just more spin doctoring from you. Blackworm (talk) 18:46, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm fine letting others read both your and my words and coming to their own conclusions, Blackworm. -- Avi (talk) 18:48, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm not trying to discredit Jake Avi unless you feel that illuminating his actions are harmful? Of course I am an advocate of keeping ones foreskin unless it's medically necessary to remove it. No one is saying there is anything wrong with advocating anything. I have simply watched this page much too long to believe that Jake is anything but the staunchest supporter of circumcision. Again nothing wrong with that. Everyone's entitled to their views. Here is the problem quoted from WP:COI, "Editors with COIs are strongly encouraged to declare their interests, both on their user pages and on the talk page of any article they edit, particularly if those edits may be contested. Most Wikipedians will appreciate your honesty. Editors who disguise their COIs are often exposed, creating a perception that they, and perhaps their employer, are trying to distort Wikipedia." My very first post to this talk page years ago said I abhor genital mutilation. I think I've been clear and honest about my values. Can everyone else say the same? Garycompugeek (talk) 19:28, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Do you consider yourself having a point of view or conflict of interest? They are two separate things. Everyone has a point of view; you just enunciated yours. Mine is that there is nothing wrong, per se, with circumcision, and that there should be no prohibition against it, especially in religious cases. If parents choose not to circumcise their children, G-d Bless; but the same if they choose to. That is called a point-of-view, which everyone has. In article editing, we try to edit so that the POV of each editor does not overwhelm the article and that the article remain neutral per WP:NPOV, WP:UNDUE, etc. A conflict of interest something different. If someone edits a wikipedia article in which they may have a financial or familial interest, while that is not forbidden, it is subject to significantly more oversight than one where the editor feels strongly, due to the aforementioned interest. For example, an employee of company X has a COI with the article, and needs to take extra care. No one here, not you, not Blackworm, not Jake, not Coppertwig, has a COI that I know of, just strong POV's. Conflating the two will only lead to more confusion. Thanks! -- Avi (talk) 20:03, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Sure everyone has a POV but where does POV cross the line into COI? For example... Suppose hypothetically that I was in reality Dr. Ronald Goldman. Would you say I had a COI if I edited circumcision related articles and posted on my talk page that I was neutral about circumcision? Garycompugeek (talk) 17:43, 15 June 2009 (UTC)