Talk:EngenderHealth

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Encyclopedic standards/PR-content[edit]

I just stumbled upon this forgotten article. I started it in 2006, and spend a decent amount of time in archives, trying to document the rich history of this organisation. It saddens me to see that the article has devolved into a dumping ground for every press release snippet EngenderHealth employees want to put online, with no regard for internal factual consistency or decent copy-writing.

Response from tdv:

Maarten, I am curious by your comment about my edits having "no regard for internal factual consistency or decent copy-writing". Can you provide an example? I took great pains to make sure my edits and additions were consistent and written well. I have been writing for years professionally and personally, so if there are areas where you can suggest improvement, I would honestly like to know. I appreciate your reorganization of the page and your research efforts, but I see you have also introduced numerous spelling and grammatical errors, including misspelled names. I will correct these if I have time.
If this entry were being edited for PR purposes, why would anything negative be left on the page? From eugenics to the USAID investigation, there are plenty of factual statements on the page that might not reflect well on EngenderHealth, and yet they were left intact, and even added and explained (like the USAID situation). However, I apologize for not responding to your earlier inquiry about my relationship to EngenderHealth. I have done work for EngenderHealth, but am not responsible for its PR. I am also a donor. I saw that nobody was contributing current information to the page -- only old information that had little relevance to the modern organization -- and yet there was much current information available. If you follow the organization at all, you would note this: if any PR material has made it to this article, it has been stripped down to mere factual mentions of significant projects, collaborations, or events at the organization. Do you disagree? Have any of my edits been obviously subjective? If so, please provide examples and suggest corrections.
On the flip side, it feels like you have decided to indiscriminately strip out a large chunk of its recent history, preserving your own historical contributions to the article without attempting to understand the factual and organizationally important aspects of the history you removed. Your edits make it appear that you are very focused on more distant history -- particularly eugenics -- and indeed, that has its place in the article. And you may be right that the recent history needed reorganization. But that is no cause for widespread deletion, or for accusations such as "There is no place to dump the entire contents of annual rapports" [sic]. No annual reports were dumped here. Far from it! Have you actually read any of their annual reports?! So please feel free to reorganize, condense, edit, etc., without throwing out everything you do not like or do not understand.
Response from maarten (talk) 17:44, 3 December 2012 (UTC):
1) Please never edit comments of other editors on talk pages. I re-include the part of my comment that you removed:
While editing the article in 2007 I asked for proper disclosure. As this request was ignored, I still assume that Tdv is an EngenderHealth employee/PR-figure. As directly editing an article with a COI and no disclosure is very much against Wikipedia-guidlines, I am going to be bold/arrogant and remove all PR-fluff until the article gets up to encyclopedic standards.
Wikipedia guidelines, for reference to EngenderHealth employees editing this article:

[if] you are receiving monetary or other benefits or considerations to edit Wikipedia as a representative of an organization ... then you are very strongly discouraged to edit Wikipedia in areas where there is a conflict of interest that may make your edits non-neutral (biased). [It] is advised to provide full disclosure of your connection, and to use the "discussion" pages to suggest changes (using the Request edit template to request edits) rather than editing articles directly.

My apologies. I won't edit your comments again.
2) Please confirm that you have read and understand the above guideline w.r.t. a conflict of interest. As you have a very clear and direct conflict of interest, you are not supposed to edit the article directly (apart from copy-editing). Any substantial edits you can propose on this talk page. As someone involved with EngenderHealth, the burden of proof lies on your side to argue the relevance and neutrality of the proposed edits.
I have read the section you quoted. In short, Wikipedia guidelines say I might be biased if I have a connection. And that is absolutely true. I might be. But the mere existence of a connection does not mean my contributions/edits are biased, nor does it automatically require you to reverse my edits. Thus far, you have not indicated a single fact in my contributions that was presented in a biased manner. Per my earlier request: Please give me a specific example of bias.
3) It would be more easy if we could simply jointly edit this document into a decent encyclopedic article. But unfortunately, your edit history has disabused me of that hope. You fail, over the course of six years and numerous edits, to include even basic encyclopedic information such as the foundation date, while adding 10(!) direct press releases, bowdlerizing the material in the original version, ignoring two full academic monographs that appeared on EngenderHealth and removing existing references to academic research. There is clearly no intention on your side to arrive at a decent, academically grounded, encyclopedic article.
Regarding press releases: I added the barest facts from them. If you have found any of the marketing "spin" from a press release in this Wikipedia article, then please remove it. But if you have only found facts, then you should leave it. However, I did not properly cite the press releases per Wikipedia guidelines, and I should have. U.S. government press releases should be similarly marked.
The foundation date was in the article before I arrived. Why would I add it again?
"There is clearly no intention on your side to arrive at a decent, academically grounded, encyclopedic article." Curiously, I see that intention on your side. You insist upon limiting the article's sources to academic references which many people consider to be biased, and which emphasize certain aspects of the organization's history at the expense of its modern composition. I removed Critchlow until you could properly cite/quote it, but otherwise Dowbiggin is there, as is Valone; they have not been removed, even though they are suspect. As a result, there is clearly no intention on your side to look past a small handful of academic historical articles to study the broader scope of available documention.
Notably, until recently, neither one of us has provided links to the hundreds of peer-reviewed medical journal articles written by EngenderHealth staff. I finally added one in my last batch. If you are insistent on limiting the article's sources to academic papers, then perhaps you should start reading through those. They would likely be noteworthy points to visit along the effort to trace out the organization's shape and direction. Google Scholar indicates there are more than 1800 sources mentioning EngenderHealth.


4) Of the above mentioned monographs, I recently finished Dowbiggin (2008) and will try to finish Klutchin (2009) in December. Based on that I will rewrite the history-section up to ~2000 (deadline mid January). You can summarize on this talk page (1) the more recent developments in one post-2000 paragraph and (2) one paragraph on current programs. These will then be included.
Before I respond to this, I have a question. In your last round of edits, you stripped the "current programs" list down to one single entry (the R3M project) which is one of EngenderHealth's smallest projects. Why did you intentionally remove all the other projects listed -- Fistula Care, Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF), etc. -- which are far larger, far more unique, and far more current? Why would you do this? You accuse me of bias toward the organization, but this simple act of yours conveys much more bias against the organization. It makes it appear that your interest is NOT in presenting the modern version of the organization, from its historical development through to today, but instead your interest is to simply present its history via a one-sided academic perspective. Otherwise you would leave such projects in the list. Why did you delete all but one project? Why didn't you delete all the projects? Was there something about this one project that you thought would fit better with your own perspective?
This is a misunderstanding. The current programs-section is very relevant, and there you can contribute unique, and up to date information. The problem was that as you added every possible program the article became very unwieldy. I moved most of the programs to the talk page so those could be summarized: the most relevant historical programs can be added to the history sections, and the current ones to a separate current/ongoing programs section (cf. most larger articles on NGO's). maarten (talk) 19:44, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
For you to assume I added "every possible program" demonstrates a lack of understanding of the organization. I only added a few of the most significant programs. We could fill many dozens of pages with a list of all the specific projects to which EngenderHealth has contributed just in the last decade; the article would then become unwieldy. I agreed with you that the list had become too much, which is why I further subdivided it and simplified it in the edits you have now undone. tdv (talk)
5) For the record, I have no affiliation with EngenderHealth or had any (in)direct contact. I teach Social Demography and have a pure academic, decade long interest in Progressive Era-organisations that shaped societal ideas and practices w.r.t. fertility. EngenderHealth is, due to it's rich history, a very nice example of this, which is why I started this article in 2006.
Given that the vast majority of the world has never heard of EngenderHealth (or AVSC, or any of its prior names), it is difficult to support the idea that the organization had much effect shaping societal ideas and practices. This sounds like an exercise in academics. I suggest you start a section on this page specifically about academic discussions of the organization, and leave this kind of conjecture out of the formal history.


5) I will revert your recent edits. Those that are non-substantial, I will re-include, those that add/remove information, I will move to the talk page for discussion. Again, you are not supposed to edit this article directly, have not practiced full disclosure and demonstrated not acting in good faith (cf. again in these last edits, by removing factual references to persons such as Olden and Moore). If you feel wronged by the application of these rules, you can bring it to the dispute resolution noticeboard or issue a request for comments.
I assume you refer to the changes to the summary sidebar. I removed Moore from "important people" because he was added without any explanation of why he would be an important person to the organization. Why would you add the current president and Moore, and not any of the many other people noted in the article? That makes no sense. Either we limit the "important people" list to the current president, or we include a lot more people, or we leave that point out of the summary altogether.
My apologies for removing Olden from the sidebar. I did not mean to. I had intended to simply correct the spelling of her name to match the spelling in the article itself, but I must have deleted the line by accident.
I like how you keep suggesting that I am breaking a rule. I am not. I have contributed objective facts to this article, keeping the guidelines in mind while I pay careful attention to make sure that the facts are presented objectively. Are my edits biased? Maybe. You haven't actually provided any evidence of that, though you keep accusing me. You, however, appear to be using "academics" as an excuse to undertake widespread deletions and edits of information which do not fit neatly into your preferred sources. Please post one example of bias and propose an edit to it that would render it objective. So, are your edits biased? Yes, they are: you intentionally edit out important and objective aspects of recent history in order to emphasize your own source material. That is very clear bias.
We are completely at odds here. I see no possible argument absolving you from seriously violating the above quoted guideline (it has noting to do with "proving" bias; as someone with a clear and non-disclosed COI in this article, you are not supposed to edit it). I suggest we involve a third party/moderator at this point. Do you have a preferred approach? maarten (talk) 19:44, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
I have stated my position, and made clear my understanding of the conflict of interest guidelines. For me, this has been a "warts-and-all" effort (to use an interesting term from that page). I fully understand that COI clearly presents the risk of bias, but I have remained neutral. Nor is your absence of COI some kind of proof that you do not have bias. As a result, if you would like to involve a moderator, please do. You can choose the approach. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tdv (talkcontribs) 20:13, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

List of programmes/activities[edit]

This is a (partial!) list of activities, extracted from the article. These need to be condensed into a summary of the most relevant activities for the reader. The can be included either as relevant for the history of EngenderHealth, or under the section of "Current programs". There is no place to dump the entire contents of annual rapports. maarten (talk) 04:23, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

I reinstated much of this history that you deleted. I condensed it in many places, and reorganized it for better readability, but it remains important for individuals who seek to understand the organization as it exists today.

Deleted from History[edit]

I deleted the following sentence from the opening paragraph of the History section:

The organisation is a prime example of how the modern US family planning movement was shaped by three overlapping but distinguishable social forces, i.e. the eugenics movement, the movement for (female) reproductive rights and the population control movement (Critchlow, 1995).

This appears to be conjecture, not fact, and I cannot find any online reference to a document authored by "Critchlow, 1995". Could you find an example of this document?

The full reference is Critchlow, D.T. (1995). Birth Control, Population Control, and Family Planning: An Overview. Journal of Policy History, 7(01), pp 1-21.
I will add proper (full) citations once I figure out how to efficiently export references from my citation manager to Wikipedia-markup. Please just ask if I forget I complete citation somewhere, instead of just removing the whole statement. maarten (talk) 17:53, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
I removed it because it was obviously academic conjecture. The lack of reference was a technical point. Per my earlier response: if you want to discuss opinions on sociology and history, I suggest you start a seperate section on the page with those opinions, and leave only objective *facts* in the history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tdv (talkcontribs) 19:28, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Here you do have a point. It is a factually correct statement, and would imho be accepted without problem if I wrote it in a journal article. But Critchlow does not explicitly references EngenderHealth, so it could be judged as borderline "original research" from my side.
If you want, I will refrain from editing the article until later this month,so we do not end up in a edit war/discussion. This will also allow me to finish my literature study, organize my references and clearly demarcate the "encyclopedic part" from my own research. If you do think you should be able to edit the article directly, you can argue in the meantime your case w.r.t. the conflict of interest in front of some moderation committee. Acceptable approach? maarten (talk) 20:09, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
I appreciate your interest in this suggestion about academic perspectives. I do not agree the statement is factually correct; it appears to assume this trio of forces are most important forces behind the organization. I agree they are related; I don't agree in the assumption they are the limit. Furthermore, given that the organization has not worked in the U.S. for decades (until the past year), the statement could mislead people into thinking it has been a major "US family planning" organization when it really has not.
I have no interest in an edit war. However, I cannot accept leaving the page in its current state, since it lacks major and important aspects of the organization's current projects and focus. Any Wikipedia visitor to this page would leave with a partial and outdated perspective on the organization. Would it be acceptable to you if I added back in the current projects and recent history? And then from there, we can discuss edits and which parts you believe are biased and/or irrelevant? (Tdv (talk) 20:56, 3 December 2012 (UTC))
As mentioned, in case of the (recent) activities/programs I was mainly worried about the relative weight and readability of the article, I do not have a issue with the information you contributed (it is nice to have up to date information in an article). So I will re-add them, as I did for you factual corrections. Afterwards we (or a third party) can evaluate them in light of overall article length/readability. maarten (talk) 21:20, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

"Celeberty Visits"-section[edit]

I removed the "Celebery Visits"-section, it is reproduced below. There is no encyclopedic value (only PR-value) in a list of people like e.g. Bone visiting some facility affiliated with this NGO. maarten (talk) 19:51, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

In recent years, EngenderHealth-supported offices and clinics have been visited by celebrities such as:


Interesting. Do you believe the support of notable people is itself not notable? I would think that individuals looking for more information about an international family planning organization would be curious about the support of key players in international issues -- including Bono, widely recognized for his international humanitarian work in reproductive health (particularly AIDS). In your opinion, what would warrant the mention of these individuals in this article? For example, you included a mention of Moore early in the history because of his involvement. Wouldn't the journalistic support of Kristof, or the advocacy support of any of these First Ladies, be similarly important? If not, then why not? Please explain. (Tdv (talk) 20:58, 3 December 2012 (UTC))
Please explain? Tdv, I'm very open to discussion, aimed a arriving at a better article. But I'm not going to spend further time on arguments like this. No, an encyclopedic article on a NGO does not need five press-releases on nondescript visits from celebrities. That I'm forced to argue that a mention of Hugh Moore (likely the most prominent source of funding between '49 and '70, the driving force behind the organisation in the '60ies and president of the executive commité until '69) is not "similarly important" to a mere visit of someone as Bono or Kristof, is simply baffling. You are squandering goodwill with starting discussions like this.
So, revised proposal:
* I finish my literature review, and do not further edit the article until end December.
* I will re-add the information on current programs/recent history, so visitors get that information while we work on a revision.
* I will revise the history section & general structure, you can present a summary of the most relevant contemporary and historical programs and initiatives on the talk page. We can then integrate the contemporary info, press-releases, etc. into the overall structure.
* You do not edit the article directly, per the quoted guideline. If you do not agree, you can start a ruling so that we have this issue resolved end December.
maarten (talk) 21:20, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, I think you've answered my question about celebrity roles. For example, you mention Moore because of his involvement, but you would not mention one of these First Ladies unless they had taken a more direct role in the organization. I think Kristof could still warrant a mention in some manner -- perhaps not in a list like this, but somehow -- inasmuch as he has written about EngenderHealth and is also arguably one of the world's foremost media figures bringing attention to women's health issues in the poor parts of the world.
I appreciate your restoration of the current programs/recent history. (Tdv (talk) 22:10, 3 December 2012 (UTC))

Proposals for Continued Editing[edit]

Maarten, I am posting this so we have one specific place to discuss your suggestions for continued editing of this page, rather than scattering them around in different sections (as above).

Your strengths on this page are academic and historical. You are good at reading social history papers and summarizing them, to provide a solid background of the organization's beginnings and changes over time. You have done a good job with that.

My strengths on this page are in media and non-academic communication. I have focused on recent developments, projects, and partnerships. I think I have done a good job with that.

We've each accused the other of bias. You believe that my contributions are biased because of my proximity to EngenderHealth, though I believe I've succesfully been neutral. I believe your contributions are biased because you are restricting yourself to academic historical source material that is itself biased, though you believe you've been neutral.

You and I are the only active editors on the page, so I propose this: neither of us edit the page directly, but we both propose contributions here on Talk, and only post them when we both pretty much agree with the contributions.

What do you think? (Tdv (talk) 02:06, 4 December 2012 (UTC))

Sorry Tdv, if you were a regular editor, I would of course agree with that approach. But we have been over it repeatedly why this is not the case. Again, if you disagree with this arrangement, request a ruling by end December. Also, my time for non-publishable writing (Wikipedia) is limited, while you have clearly some incentive to keep this, and only this, Wikipedia-article updated over the course of seven years. So when discussing the revision I will not be drawn into tedious back-and-forth's over every point.
I do edit other Wikipedia pages, but maintain a separate account for this, for personal reasons. Also, over six years, I've edited this page maybe on one or two days a year. I don't have time for it. I wasn't even watching the page recently, hence the span of July to now for me to respond to your edits. (Tdv (talk) 14:39, 4 December 2012 (UTC))
I'm pretty confident that after my archival work around 2006 and my literature update this summer, I have a decent overview of the academic work published concerning EngenderHealth. But do post extra material by third parties that might be of interest. Please refrain from accusations of bias in my selection and quality of academic works, unless you can support that (e.g. by contrasting it with other academic works). You had five years of edits to add a single academic source, this sudden hypersensitiveness to academic debate is quite unbelievable.
Given your willingness to delete large swaths of factual, objective information without attempting to edit or synthesize them, simply because they do not fit into your preferred source or style, suggests a form of selection bias. Academically, only Dowbiggin et al are studying EngenderHealth in a manner different from EngenderHealth's public persona, because nobody else is intent on casting the organization as neo-imperialist, or on focusing upon EngenderHealth as a major driving force behind family planning in the U.S. I admittedly have not read Dowbiggin's 2008 book yet, but reviewers indicate it has some flaws (e.g. this and this). Instead, the vast majority of academic papers involving EngenderHealth concern the efficacy of their medical work. Would you be willing to include those academic papers, if they were suggested? (Tdv (talk) 14:39, 4 December 2012 (UTC))
I temporary re-included your paragraphs with recent material, as agreed upon. Do note that this is not an acknowledgement that it should be included. I have concerns about readability, but also on a re-read the same PR-fluff is again apparent (cf. the Half the Sky book). I will not press this issue here, but Wikipedia is not a platform to cross-promote books, authors and organisations.
I truly appreciate your inclusion of those paragraphs, and I look forward to your suggestions on making them more readable.
I disagree with your estimation of the Half the Sky book. In terms of public support and awareness for international women's health issues, it has been a phenomenal success. The fact that such a seminal work includes mention of EngenderHealth is notable, as is the authors' explicit support for EngenderHealth's work and involvement in EngenderHealth activities. This helps illuminate the shape and scope of the modern organization. I cannot understand why you disagree with this. Are you primarily bothered by the presentation of the information, or by its inclusion at all? (Tdv (talk) 14:39, 4 December 2012 (UTC))
The current version includes more or less both our revisions since July. I will refrain from editing it until end December, we will see each other on this Talk-page at that time. Happy holidays, maarten (talk) 13:22, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
I will also refrain from editing until then, unless I see something very minor such as a typo or grammatical error.
I sincerely hope you have a pleasant holidays, this disagreement notwithstanding. Cheers! (Tdv (talk) 14:39, 4 December 2012 (UTC))


Clarification of Leadership Dates[edit]

Happy New Year! There are some question marks in the dates of folks on the Leadership list. I've found a staff bio on Ana Langer from Harvard that lists her EngenderHealth tenure as 2005-2010. Additionally, Amy Pollack's online resume lists her EngenderHealth tenure as 1990-2004, though I'm not sure if that is an acceptable reference for Wikipedia. What do you think? Tdv (talk) 17:24, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Revised Intro[edit]

I would like to merge the "Current Work" and "Intro" sections, as they were somewhat redundant. The Intro also has various details (such as branding) which are unnecessary for the intro, and are primarily relevant in the history (where they are explained further, already).

Let me know your thoughts on this. Thanks.

Tdv (talk) 16:13, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Spotlight on Ghana: President Obama Visits EngenderHealth Training Site". EngenderHealth. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  2. ^ "First Lady of Tanzania Visits EngenderHealth-Supported Clinic". EngenderHealth. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  3. ^ "First Lady of Malawi Visits EngenderHealth". EngenderHealth. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  4. ^ "Secretary Clinton Visits Buguruni Health Center in Tanzania". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2012-03-09. 
  5. ^ "Sec. Clinton Visits EngenderHealth-Supported Health Center in Tanzania". EngenderHealth. Retrieved 2012-03-09.