Talk:Manifold Destiny

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Notes[edit]

This is an attempt at documenting this extraordinary article and its account of the remarkable circumstances surrounding the proof, and its verification, of Poincaré's conjecture. As of now, this is a very rough draft, and readers who know more are more than welcome to contribute constructively to the development of this post. --Kidiawipe (Edited to better reflect the object of this Wikipedia article)

Sorry, but I consider this article to be somewhart over the border. The history of the proof of the Poincaré conjecture should be covered there, from a diverse set of sources, and hopefully not now, but some 6 to 18 months later, when the dust has settled. --Pjacobi 16:48, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Pjacobi: Thank you for your comments. I did initially have some reservations about creating this article, but the extraordinary nature of this article demands otherwise. It concerns itself with the human drama surrounding events leading to the proof and its verification, while also not merely presenting an interview with Grigori Perelman, so I believe this merits an article of its own, not to be subsumed (at the moment) under the Poincaré conjecture or the Perelman article. Certainly, things took a twist with the emergence of the alleged statements of clarification from some of the mathematicians.
For an appreciation of the intricacy of issues explored in that article, I can refer you to no better source right now than CH's comments at Talk:Grigori_Perelman, under the section "Apology, Withdrawal, Outline of Major Corrections Needed".
On the Poincaré conjecture article, I believe there is too much noise about the human drama for the liking of a more mathematically-inclined audience, so this article may serve as a kind of quarantine, if you will, of some of the more social aspects of the process.
As for the timeliness or otherwise of the coverage, may I suggest you make your wisdom available to the Wikipedians editing that page. --Kidiawipe
I have no problems postponing the AfD 18 months. --Pjacobi 10:54, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I predict that a merge with either Grigori Perelman or Poincaré conjecture will be this article's destiny; the Manifold Destiny article itself clearly is not notable. (But its contents add good information to other notable subjects.) But let's let the dust settle first. Arbor 08:10, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

I've been of the mind for a while (as have others) that having a whole separate article on this New Yorker piece was too much; however, it seems recent events are proving me wrong, as there is quite a controversy (and apparently a legal battle) developing over Nasar and Gruber's work. It seems less and less likely that the resulting article will be merge-able into either the Perelman or PC articles. --C S (Talk) 14:30, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately, it would seem to be the case, although there appears to be no legal battle as yet, only a possibility of commencing legal action. If the Tian-Yau affair is anything to go by, this may well turn out to be a pitch battle fought exclusively online. Only time will tell. --Kidiawipe

"represents an attack"[edit]

Lumidek (talk · contribs) replaced "[the article] is a rather unflattering portrayal" by

The biased article, filled with a lot of untrue and distorted statements and conspiracy theories, represents an attack against the mathematical community [...] and Shin-Tung Yau.

I do not think that this formulation is NPOV. Specifically, it represents the POV of Yau , and not the POV of the article's authors. It may be the case that one of this POV's is actually the truth, and the other is completely wrong. But I don't see that -- so far.

I think that "unflattering portrayal" is a good formulation; but instead of saying that the article

represents [...] libel agains Yau

(which is, at the moment, POV), we should mention in the first paragraph that the article is the subject of a libel suit by Yau (which is NPOV).

Aleph4 15:14, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Reliable sources[edit]

It is particularly important that this article only cites reliable sources. Blog posts and similar are not generally considered reliable; the case for using such as references has to be made in each instance. Charles Matthews 07:22, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

past tense?[edit]

Shouldn't the article be written in present tense? The article which it is about still does exist... Subversive element 19:18, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't think whether the NY'er article still exists has to do with using present-tense narration, though I don't know the rules. Anyway, I changed the verbs to the present tense where the subject is the New Yorker article or its authors, so it's okay now.

Frequent reversions[edit]

These days, all the edits to this page that I see are reversions, and in all but one case (which instead concerned an IP editor) they are reversions from Mikeeverest1. It looks like there is some disagreement over whether the letters in support of Yau should be quoted or merely mentioned. Perhaps now is the time to discuss this? Ryan Reich 17:17, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

The user in question is not known for discussion. I was going to suggest a Request for Comment, because this is persistent edit-warring with no dialogue. Charles Matthews 18:36, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
I think showing one example letter is perhaps a good idea. Such an example gives a vivid picture of the controversy, and does not drag the readers into too many details. Also I have to say that user "Mikeeverest1" needs to follow the wiki policies to add comments for each modification. User "C S" is better in this category. --Jiejunkong 12:51, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
All it does is give a misguided picture, distorted to what you think the situation is. If you read all the letters on Yau's site, you will see that not everyone defending him thinks the same or agrees on what the controversy is. The same is true for people criticizing him or the actions of some close to him. To reach into this big stew of opinions and select one as representative of a "side" is just plain silly. --C S (Talk) 13:00, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
Are you accusing Professor Strook of giving "a misguided picture"? On the contrary, I think you have put yourself in a highland and misconceived yourself as a judge. Who granted you the judgeship on "bias""deceiving""neutrality"? To tell you the truth, I read user "Mikeeverest1"'s quotes and I don't like his/her verbose way of showing all things to the readers. But a deletion war against him/her is also insane. I think it is not a bad idea to leave one there as an example, the other examples can be spared. If you don't agree with me on this, it's your own free will. But I have my own free will to disagree with you at this free wikipedia site. Again, I told you, your hands are not tied to do anything that is truthful and constructive. Go find more documents and carry them here, don't simply delete everything you don't like. --Jiejunkong 13:39, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
BTW, for your sentences in absolute tone like "All it does is give a misguided picture, distorted to what you think the situation is", I think such strongly emotional conclusions do no good for the objective description of the entire Nasar-Yau conflict. --Jiejunkong 13:45, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

bboard rants[edit]

Some anonymeese are ranting on the newyorker bboard, if anyone cares. I'm not going to try to guess who they are.

http://boards.newyorker.com/message.jspa?messageID=1700

Current event?[edit]

Seems like Yau is content with having a sympathetic profile on the New York Times, and is unlikely to sue the New Yorker. In any case, there hasn't been any news regarding the Manifold Destiny affair since the Oct 17 NYT article. I think it no longer counts as a current event. Wikaly324

I agree, the latest development concerning the article and the issues it deals with is the erratum to the Cao/Zhu paper, which was put up about a month ago. Hence the article doesn't qualify as "current" until any new developments take place, so I'm going to take down the current event tag.--M m hawk 17:04, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

About deleting witness statements[edit]

(cur) (last) 12:15, 17 December 2006 C S (Talk | contribs) (rv; this is selective quoting; a number of other quotes for and against can be included, but it's best not to include any)

(cur) (last) 02:34, 23 October 2006 C S (Talk | contribs) m (revert unsourced allegations that is probably OR and additional POV material; please also consider WP:BLP, instead of just formatting such edits)

As a third-party audience of the Nasar-Yau conflict, I think it is not a bad idea to show everything on the table. First, those deleted contents are quotes, not unsourced allegations. They can be seen from the letters posted on Yau's site. Second, why not to include any? Who defined such a rule? Showing the supportive letters for both sides is a neutral practice. Yau showed letters supporting him. Nasar can also show letters supporting her. Why not?

BTW, I am not the user "Mikeeverest1", and I don't know who he/she is. But I don't see anything wrong with his/her quotes. Why are you repetitively deleting his/her quotes? --Jiejunkong 12:37, 17 December 2006 (UTC)


If you want to go through the large body of responses (such as all the letter's on Yau's site, New Yorker, AMS Notices, etc.) and create an NPOV-compliant addition to the article, that is fine. But I don't believe it's possible to follow NPOV by following the plan you suggest. How many letters are we supposed to list? Is it really true that the number on one side outnumbers the other? We can't really know. Putting one response and then another as if you are neutrally depicting the situation is deceiving.
Nice to know you are not that user. One problem with that user is s/he did not defend any of his/her edits with reasoned discussion. If you are willing to take up his/her cause with such reasoned discussion, you are welcome to do so. --C S (Talk) 12:56, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
I did follow Nasar-Yau conflict for some time. Like I said, nobody will delete a physically true (i.e., not forged) witness statement if you post it here. Before you accuse other people about "deceiving", can you clean up your eyes at first? Why don't you do a better job to carry some physically true statements from somewhere else and post them here? I don't care about "his/her cause", whose cause? What's your cause then? Is this nonsense or what? --Jiejunkong 13:07, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
I said if you followed one response with another, it would be deceiving. Since you didn't do that, nobody is accusing you of deception. Additionally, saying an edit can result in deceiving someone does not imply that the editor is purposefully deceiving others. Stop assuming bad faith of other editors.
I've already made my arguments clear elsewhere on this page. Creating an exchange of this person says this, but another person says this, but yet another person rebuts this with that, is pointless. If you have been following this closely, you will have seen plenty of comments from detractors and supporters of Yau and be familiar with what I am saying. --C S (Talk) 13:18, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
Also about "neutrality", do you think British/American legal system is "neutral"? I don't remember that the legal system would shut up any witness who supports either side. Why can't everybody show everything in public and let the jury do the job? --Jiejunkong 13:11, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
I really think it would be beneficial for you to read WP:NPOV. This is something hard for newcomers to understand, but editing articles in the manner you describe is not what is best in many cases. --C S (Talk) 13:22, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
FYI, I probably joined wikipedia earlier than you did. I know quite a lot about the wikipedia neutrality.  :-) Look at all your strong words. It is hard to convince anybody that you are neutral. Read again what I have said and done here, and compared to what you have said and done here, which one is more neutral? --Jiejunkong 13:52, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
This boasting is unsupported. Even the Chinese account of this user dates from July 2006. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:15, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
To user PMAnderson, I have worked in zh.wikipedia.org for quite a while (obviously you cannot read the language). And before I registered, I have worked in both en.wikipedia.org and zh.wikipedia.org using IP for a long time. --Jiejunkong 22:53, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
In other words, you have no evidence, and you have no notion how long C S edited as an anon. Present a diff earlier than this one (dates in Arabic numerals are international) and someone may believe you. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:36, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

About "your own bias"[edit]

(cur) (last) 12:38, 17 December 2006 C S (Talk | contribs) (rv; this isn't about "proving" anything, please read up on policy, cf WP:NPOV), so as to avoid introducing your own bias)

Oh, man. I am shocked. Please think twice before you issue such a statement about "bias". Nobody is 100% neutral, but don't accuse other human beings before you even know them. --Jiejunkong 12:57, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

I was just giving some helpful advice. As you say, nobody is neutral, and thus we need to be careful not to introduce bias. If you want to take my advice on reading up on policy so as to avoid introducing bias as an accusation, that's up to you. I only point out that your edit summary in the one before mine was to say "To C S, you can provide your proofs, nobody will delete it". This is a gross misconception of NPOV policy. So my advice was warranted. Adhering to NPOV does not mean having different people providing "proofs". It is about making describing relevant viewpoints in a neutral way without giving undue weight. It is not about including one POV and then challenging another person to "provide your proofs". --C S (Talk) 13:08, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
I was annoyed by your quick-than-lightspeed deletion of my modifications. Frankly speaking, your action was gross, so I replied with some sarcasm. And thank you for your advice on wikipedia policy, I think you also need to read it more carefully to fill in the gap between my actions and your accusations. --Jiejunkong 13:18, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
If you keep on accusing me about non-"neutrality", please provide objective proofs, not circumstantial slanders. Which sentence in the article is improper? If it is improper, can you modify it to be proper? Why do you have to delete it completely? --Jiejunkong 13:24, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

About deleting proper contents[edit]

In the "controversy" section, I vote for keeping the pertinent contents of one sample letter (I used Professor Strook's letter, but any similar letter would suffice). This is very proper in my opinion. A user here intentionally deletes such contents constantly and instantly. This is very weird. I don't think this article is handled properly in this deletion-and-recovery manner. In wikipedia there were similar conflicts amongst users, related contents are modified into proper forms that are acceptable to all arguing parties. I am monitoring the page and want to see an acceptable solution for all arguing parties. --Jiejunkong 14:25, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

I believe that quoting the letter in this article is inappropriate, and contrary to the NPOV policy. DavidCBryant 01:10, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Factual contents can always be neutralized without deletion.. Also, this wiki article is not long enough to make us worry about curtailing its contents. I don't think you can justify C S's constant and instant deletion of factual contents. If she doesn't like user Mikeeverest1's insertion, she can always do some modification to neutralize it. But what I have seen is an emotional edit-warring. Why can't somebody do something other than deletion? It is easy to delete a fact when it offends you in some manner. In my opinion, deleting factual contents is a denial-of-service attack which tries to block the audience's eyes from seeing the facts. You threatened me in my talk page about "watching me" from now on. And I can tell you this, you can scrutiny my record in wikipedia and figure out the following fact: I normally delete scientific errors and those forged information from wikipedia's articles. In contrast, you should be more careful to delete factual quotes, in particular, these quotes are from the interviewees (people interviewed by Nasar in "Manifold Destiny") who have publicized their reactions to the article "Manifold Destiny". These are witness statements, not your opinion or my opinion which doesn't count. --Jiejunkong 03:13, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

NPOV discussion: Does quoting Stroock's statements violate NPOV?[edit]

NPOV refers to "representing fairly and without bias all significant views that have been published by a reliable source". It doesn't mean wikiusers must balance the number of characters of the verifiable statements from two sides, or reduce statements from both sides to a few harmless sentences. In contrast, Daniel Stroock, Michael Anderson and Joseph Kohn were all interviewees of Nasar when she wrote the article. Their views are "significant views", and the quotes are from reliable sources. In regard to the quotes of their statements, NPOV only means "representing fairly and without bias Daniel Stroock/Michael Anderson/Joseph Kohn's views that have been published by a reliable source". I am really surprised to see that NPOV is interpreted to be constant & instant deletion, and used as a weapon to threaten other wikiusers. --Jiejunkong 03:49, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

I have already said it again and again to user C S and her supporters, wiki requires that all significant views that have been published by a reliable source. As long as all significant and reliable views are presented in a fairly and without bias manner, it is neutral. Deleting significant and reliable views is denial-of-service rather than NPOV. Is Stroock/Anderson/Kohn's view significant for this wiki article "Manifold destiny"? The answer is yes because their interviews with Nasar were used in her article. Is Stroock/Anderson/Kohn's view reliable? The answer is yes. Is Stroock/Anderson/Kohn's view presented in a fairly and without bias manner? Well, you decide. If you don't think so, then you can modify it to be presented fairly and without bias. In any case, just don't show your temper and delete it. This turns yourself into a denial-of-service attacker. --Jiejunkong 05:21, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Inclusion of random statements, in an effort to prove something, can be undue weight; the attempted proof is itself not neutral. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:17, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not the National Enquirer. Adding inflammatory statements to an article, even when they are direct quotes, is certainly walking close to the edge of the NPOV policy, if not an outright violation of that policy. Especially in a situation like this one, where a lawsuit has already been filed, simply linking to the inflammatory statements is appropriate, and direct quotation is not.
I have read what Jiejunkong has already written about this article. Apparently, Jiejunkong has a strong emotional interest in it. My own personal experience has taught me that when I have a strong emotional interest in something, I cannot be an objective observer. DavidCBryant 18:02, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
About "random statements" and "National Enquirer": Please have a look at the list of Nasar's interviewees. The interviewees in the article "Manifold Destiny" are listed right here in the wiki-item. These people are involved. These people's views are significant in this case. Otherwise there is no controversy in Nasar's article. For example, suppose we are talking about a wiki-item "Arguments about the wikipedia article Manifold Destiny", then Stroock/Anderson/Kohn/...'s statements are insignificant because they are not involved (but our statements would be significant because we are involved. Otherwise there is no argument). Nevertheless, we are talking about wiki-item Manifold Destiny, Stroock/Anderson/Kohn/...'s statements are thus not random. Will you call a witness in a legal case a random selection? I don't. Concerning user DavidCBryant's threats against me in my talk page, I think we should ignore his emotional statements. --Jiejunkong 21:24, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
This is exactly what I said on your talk page, Jiejunkong.

I have heard about your dispute with C S. I have read the subject article, and I have reviewed the contents of the talk page. In my opinion, you are in the wrong here. C S has repeatedly explained to you what the NPOV means to most of the editors on WP. I agree with C S's interpretation: when arguments like this one take place, a well written article ought not quote extensively from either side of the argument. It should instead attempt to explain clearly and in a neutral tone of voice what the argument is about, and provide links to the actual statements being made by both sides, so readers who care to dig more deeply can form their own opinions. I believe you owe C S an apology. I will be watching this article, and you, for a while, to be certain that you understand and adhere to the NPOV policy. Have a great day! DavidCBryant 01:04, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

If that's a "threat", I'll eat my hat. By the way, Jiejunkong is not immune to the "instant revert" syndrome. I corrected some grammatical errors J. had introduced, and I removed some redundant material that had apparently been copied from its original position within the article to another spot where it didn't make any sense. These changes were quickly reverted by Jiejunkong, who apparently won't even take the time to read and understand the edit summaries other editors place in the history section.
I can understand why you want to mangle the neutral point of view, J. But do you have to butcher the English language in the process? DavidCBryant 23:48, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
This is exactly what I replied on your talk page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DavidCBryant#NPOV_discussion:_Does_quoting_Stroock.27s_statements_violate_NPOV.3F

As to the threat, I mean the following sentence you posted on my talk page: "I will be watching this article, and you, for a while, to be certain that you understand and adhere to the NPOV policy." What do you mean by "watching" me "for a while"? What were you thinking when you posted this threatening sentence? Can you stick on the definition of NPOV and stop threating people by using NPOV as a weapon? Do you really understand what NPOV is? --Jiejunkong 04:05, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Who are you? FBI? It seems that the sentence leads a path to your hat, in some manner we are still "watching". Talking about neutrality, I think you should stick to wikipedia rules rather than your baseless accusations. My belief is, as long as the rule says it is conforming, you cannot delete it no matter how ugly or offensive you think it is. Those things that are offensive to you may be the truth. At least in the system using these rules, violating the rules by deleting rule-conforming contents is biased and destructive. --Jiejunkong 00:03, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
Not that I think you'll understand, Jiejunkong, but you are materially misrepresenting what I wrote on your talk page by adding the bold-faced type (and you) without also including the standard editorial disclaimer [emphasis added]. Oh -- "I'll eat my hat" is an idiomatic expression for "it's just not true", or "it certainly isn't true", or "I don't believe it", etc.
I have not accused you of anything (except misrepresentation, just now). I noted -- on your Talk page, where it was relatively private -- that certain edits you made to "Manifold Destiny" gave English readers the impression that plagiarism is OK, sometimes. I didn't revert those particular edits. Someone else did.
Please calm down. NPOV will be decided by consensus, and not by any one person's opinion. DavidCBryant 13:11, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
First, if NPOV is decided by consensus, then why did you use threatening tone at the first appearance before a consensus can be reached? This does not help the consensus process. Second, NPOV can be done by improving the writing so that a consensus is feasible. I don't see your efforts on rewriting the description of interviewees' statements. All I have seen is that this part is simply blanked constantly and instantly. If you were me, you perhaps would think that this is an interesting thing to "watch". --Jiejunkong 04:19, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

3RR[edit]

I count 4 partial reversions by Jiejunkong (all restoring the deleted Strook quote, removed by three other editors) within a 24-hour period: 1 2 3 4. Anyone care to follow-up according to WP:3RR? —David Eppstein 04:23, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Let's see if it comes back again. If it doesn't, why? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:30, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
Request to verify whether the host IP address (or subnet IP address) of the newly registered user User:Frances benoit is the same as the one of User:Pmanderson. If yes, what a shame! If no, congratulations, you have my respect. --Jiejunkong 06:11, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
Vandalism/Blanking is defined as "Removing all or significant parts of articles".
Click 1, all can see that a significantly long paragraph blanked before is recovered.
Click 2, all can see that a significantly long paragraph blanked before is recovered.
Click 3, all can see that a significantly long paragraph blanked before is recovered.
Click 4, all can see that a significantly long paragraph blanked before is recovered.
All of the "proofs" are recovering Vandalism/Blanking. In addition, none of the Blanking refers to NPOV, so they are also not protected by NPOV. Recovering Vandalism/Blanking is not reverting. --Jiejunkong 06:57, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
Something that purports to be Yau's website is not a reliable source for controversial claims; it wouldn't be even if it were certain to be Yau's; and it isn't. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:44, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
I think that those are original statements from Stroock and Anderson. Otherwise they would have already sued the website for forging their statements. This is not where the problem is. The problem is to give an objective description of their statements. To do this, please don't blank the description. I am trying to rewrite it to get a better version. --Jiejunkong 03:57, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
This is pure conjecture (and displays a very limited understanding of the American legal system). The fundamental problems are
  • there is no sound reason to believe these are their statements; websites are hardly ever reliable sources, and never for controversial statements.
  • There is no reason to include their claims at length; it's unfair to everybody else.
Please stop. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:20, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Stroock and Anderson's statements are reliable. Concerning self-published sources, Wiki-policy "WP:RS" explicitly refers to the main article "Wikipedia:Verifiability". In Wikipedia:Verifiability#Self-published_sources_.28online_and_paper.29, it specifies the rules about online sources: "Self-published material may be acceptable when produced by a well-known, professional researcher in a relevant field or a well-known professional journalist. These may be acceptable so long as their work has been previously published by reliable third-party publications.". The website posting Stroock and Anderson's statements is maintained by Howard Cooper of Todd & Weld LLP. We can obviously verify whether Howard Cooper's work has been previously published by reliable third-party publications. Do we have to find the case numbers that Howard Cooper used in various courts (which are reliable third-parties)? Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly named Howard M. Cooper as one of ten 2005 Lawyers of the Year. If your argument holds, from now on Wikipedia cannot quote any plain contents from well-known lawyers' documents. --Jiejunkong 05:09, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
BTW, as you are using suspicious tone, I can tell you that all information listed above is done by a magic tool "Google". I have no relation with that website or whatsoever. Howard Cooper's name is on the first page of that website. --Jiejunkong 05:51, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Vandalism/Blanking[edit]

In WP:Vandalism, Blanking is defined as "Removing all or significant parts of articles (sometimes replacing the removed content with profanities) or replacing entire established articles with a spurious redirect is a common vandal edit." Before the controversy is resolved, blanking the paragraph is hardly "readily apparent by examination of the content itself" and can hardly be justified by "non-frivolous explanation for the removal of apparently legitimate content".--Jiejunkong 07:20, 20 December 2006 (UTC)


There have been edits of this article with evidence for or against the manifold destiny article. The "Controversy" section is a very nice list of events and articles that are related to the manifold destiny article. The last contribution, however, starting "As of February 2007....", I believe is neither a new article, event, or issue that has occurred in February 2007. It reiterates the erratum issue and stance of the New Yorker, which was placed before November 2006. I believe this paragraph was added solely so that the NPR article, which was contributed at the end of December, is an actual relevant event and is favorable to Yau would not be the end. There is already an entire section devoted to the "erratum". If there are people contributing to the article solely to put a bias against yau, I think the wiki editors should take a careful look. frinklemur 15 March 2007

Finklemur makes a good point in his edit, however, he goes too far. The "Controversy" section must be updated and not frozen at some arbitrary point(this is why I changed it to "at present." If you have new information please publish such information but do not remove or erase relevant materials that relate to new developments or the absence of such developments--particularly when the issue relates to one of the parties asserting, but not pursuing, significant legal claims.

If this paragraph on the "absence of developments" really was added simply to make the case unfavorable to Yau, then it should be removed. Instead, I moved the paragraph from the end of the section to the middle, where it is relevant to Yau's letter and his legal efforts. With regards to this matter, more letters have been posted on Yau's website, and if each time a new letter is posted, a new addition to the "controversy" section is given, that would be ridiculous. So whoever adds to this article should be wary about whether what they add is significant or not. Leon Hamid 10 April 2007

Reaction from the mathematics community[edit]

I've added quite a bit to article in the form of a section about various reactions some mathematicians have had to the article and related articles. I thought it would be good to put it here to give the readers some idea of how the mathematics community feels about it, and I hope it's not too out of place here. I did it in one go, so it could probably use some editing for grammar and other things. I'd be happy to hear people's thoughts about it.--M m hawk 06:58, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

The article seems unbalanced[edit]

In a he-said-she-said situation, it is better to quote arguments from both sides in a supposedly neutral article. Right now I see quotes from the New Yorker's response to the attorney's letter, but not quotes from the letter itself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.128.153.82 (talk) 17:13, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Proposed title change: Poincaré conjecture proof attribution controversy[edit]

It has been noted in the AfD discussion that the NYT article itself is considerably less notable than the topic it's dealing with. So, I think it's worth discussing whether the Wikipedia article should be renamed (moved) to a more suitable title. VG 11:06, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

The title seems somewhat awkward. Also the title "manifold destiny" has the merit of instant recognition in the scientific community. Note that a number of people will object to your proposed title more than the original title, as your title contains terms such as "controversy" and "attribution (dispute)" that are apparently considered loaded terms (see discussion at the deletion page). Katzmik (talk) 11:36, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

deletion of "reactions" subsection[edit]

The subsection containing the "reactions" of diverse mathematicians was severely criticized at the deletion page of the article. Some of the critics are the creators of the page who are in favor of retaining the page. The subsection was unchronological, no effort is made to present a representative sample of mathematical opinion. I would add a further objection that Birman is in the same department as Morgan, who is one of the protagonists here. The notability of the people mentioned in this subsection is not established. Katzmik (talk) 13:12, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

I think that this section is an amenity in this article. It is difficult to justify a collection of statements by various mathematicians as being representative of the community as a whole (whereas the problem of claiming that a collection of statements by various parties is representative of the controversy as a whole is quite easy: once you have collected all the statements, you have documented the controversy. Even if we had all possible statements that exist by mathematicians, it would not necessarily constitute the community's reaction). Some of the things in it are useful; for example, Yau's letter to the editor belongs higher up in the article, in context. Birman's reaction probably can't be included until some more historical ferment has set in; that the AMS published it means that they thought it was worth propagating, but it doesn't mean that they endorse it or think everyone else does. It's just her opinion, and we don't know whose else there might be. Likewise the accusations of Asian stereotyping. The hand-wringing over money prizes is interesting, but perhaps belongs as a comment in an article (such as that on the Clay problems) actually devoted to mathematics prizes. As far as the rest of the article is concerned, this is "simply" a dispute over certain conduct surrounding the proof of a very famous conjecture, which is cause enough for strife without also alleging greed.
To square the previous paragraph with my opionion as expressed at the AfD, I do believe that this kind of section should exist in this article...sometime. It is, after all, an issue concerning the mathematical community. But the concept is inherently synthetic: it cannot be evaluated merely on the basis of primary-sourced facts, but requires a bit of historical perspective and outside analysis. When it does get created, it needs to come back with a lot more consideration. Ryan Reich (talk) 23:51, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I, for one, find the section useful and helpful in putting the controversy into context. I have no objections to fixing it to address its issues, but outright deletion is too strong. CRGreathouse (t | c) 12:38, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

deletion of opening sentence[edit]

The opening sentence at the beginning of the article was a summary of the content of the article. Furthermore, it summarizes its content better than the paragraph following it, which gets into technical details without situating the page first. I feel it should be retained. My edit has already been reversed twice. Katzmik (talk) 16:18, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

The sentence I am referring to is the following:

This page deals with a priority dispute over one of the most important accomplishments of 20th and 21st century mathematics, namely the proof of the Poincaré conjecture.

Katzmik (talk) 16:19, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Our article is titled "Manifold Destiny", thus it is about the article in the New Yorker and it should start by introducing the article in the New Yorker (see Wikipedia:Lead section#Opening sentence). If you want the subject of this article to be something else, then first discuss what this something else is and then rename the article.
Furthermore, I don't think our article deals with a priority dispute, because I don't think there is a priority dispute. Everybody seems to agree that Perelman proved the Poincaré conjecture, with the others just filling in some minor details. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 17:59, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Katzmik disagreed with me two sections above on changing the tile, and he deleted the section dealing with the letters from Notices of the AMS. OTOH, his addition to the lead section seems to indicate he prefers a less narrow focus for the article. His actions seem contradictory to me. VG 19:06, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
That's a valid question. To explain my position: I do think the article should be (and, in fact, is already, as already been mentioned numerous times) broader than just the New Yorker piece. I just can't think of a better title than Manifold destiny. This title has immediate "name recognition" in the wider scientific community, and is more effective than any title that has been proposed. It is less controversial than "Priority dispute over proof of Poincare conjecture". If you come up with a broader title I will support it, but I have not seen any good candidates for an alternative title so far. If people support the "priority dispute" idea, I am not opposed. Katzmik (talk) 07:39, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree that "Manifold Destiny" should at least redirect to this article. I don't feel strongly about renaming the article. Adding the section above was mostly procedural because Geometry guy and I agreed that the AfD was the wrong place to debate the article title, and I wanted to avoid more tangential discussion there. VG 10:45, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

is there a priority dispute?[edit]

After writing my previous comment, I noticed that one of the editors feels that there is no priority dispute. This is an interesting position. Perhaps we can agree that at this point in time there is no priority dispute. However, the title of the article can be allowed to reflect a past situation, when there was a priority dispute. When Prof. Yau announced the result at the strings conference, the implication seemed to be that his students proved the conjecture. The title (at some point) of their long paper referred to "A complete [emphasis added--MK] proof ... an application of Hamilton-Perelman flow". It is hard to argue that there is not at least a residual trace of a priority claim here. We clearly cannot express a preference for one of the sides in this dispute, so it does not matter whether the claim was ultimately withdrawn because the chinese side got unfair treatment and was forced to withdraw its claim, or whether the claim was untenable in the first place. However, it is difficult to argue with the fact of a past priority claim. It could be that I am misreading the facts, in which case I would appreciate a clarification. Katzmik (talk) 07:47, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

P.S. Note that the subtitle of the New Yorker article was "a battle over who solved it". Clearly, at the time the article was written, not everyone was in agreement concerning the question "who solved it". Katzmik (talk) 10:44, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Katzmik has a good point here. There was undoubtedly a priority dispute, even if one of the parties involved held eventually lost credibility and backed down on their "crowning achievement" claim, which essentially solved the dispute. So, I think it's appropriate for Wikipedia to record it as a priority dispute. VG 10:38, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Indeed, the authors originally titled their paper "A complete proof of the Poincaré and geometrization conjectures — application of the Hamilton–Perelman theory of the Ricci flow". And their paper gives a more complete proof than the preprints by Perelman (I believe; I haven't actually read the stuff). I'd call the title ill-chosen and overenthusiastic, but I think it goes too far to call it a priority dispute, even though Nasar and the other author of the New Yorker article saw a priority dispute.
I shuffled some things around in the lead section. I think it's more important what the "Manifold Destiny" article is about than who wrote it. A consequence of the reshuffling is that I deleted the "priority dispute" and replaced it by a sentence that was already in our article describing the subject of the New Yorker article: "It gives a detailed account (including interviews with many mathematicians) of some of the circumstances surrounding the proof of the Poincaré conjecture". I feel that's a bit weak though; after all, the New Yorker article was rather explosive.
I intend to delete the Dramatis Personae section, which in my opinion adds very little to our article. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 10:48, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
(after reading VG's comment) Okay, perhaps I'm wrong and we should describe it as a priority dispute. I tweaked my edit so that it's a bit more explicit about the priority claims but, as always, you should feel free to change it. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 10:57, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

less reactions[edit]

I would like to explain my deletion of the section on reactions from the mathematical community. Personally I find this section inane. I have objections to just about every item there. To give an example: Birman is in the same department as John Morgan. The tensions between the Morgan-Tian team, on the one hand, and Yau, on the other, are well-known. This alone would be enough to make Birman's comment irrelevant. Furthermore, she is certainly a respected mathematician, but her exceptional notability is yet to be established. In addition, her comments about peer review and refereeing miss the point entirely, in my view. The whole point is that technically speaking, there was absolutely nothing wrong with Yau's announcement that his students were the first to publish a complete proof. This was, in fact, correct. If there is anybody who knows anything about the subject, it is Yau himself, and so no objections could be raised to the publication of their long paper on the grounds that it was not refereed properly. I have saved my main objection for last course: Birman was once president of AMS and surely is well-connected there. That the Notices should publish a letter from Birman proves no more than a petition at a blog page. Katzmik (talk) 14:19, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

I thought there was no consensus on wholesale deletion (see three sections above). VG 16:01, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Reich and I more or less agree the section is not helpful. If Greathouse wishes to explain what it is about it that he finds helpful, he can present his opinion here. Since we are dealing with an article about living mathematicians, the default should be "deletion". After all, what Birman writes is a slap in the face to Yau. Katzmik (talk) 16:30, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Care to elaborate on the "slap in the face"? All I see in that letter is that some issues with editorial process at AJM were raised. Given that Cao & Zhu later had to change their position, it does not seem outlandish that the AJM reviewers did not do a good job on the initial Cao-Zhu paper. It happens. VG 18:37, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Also, the other letter from Wong and Poon was quite supportive of Asian mathematicians in general, so I think you're throwing the baby out with water by deleting the whole section. YMMV. VG 18:50, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
To elaborate on the slap in the face issue as per VG's request: The claim that the "normal peer review process was thrown out the window" is a slap in the face to Yau. Such a claim is in fact not accurate. The purpose of a peer review process is to check the correctness of the results as thoroughly as possible. Yau spent two years making sure the results are correct. There is no rule anywhere that an editor cannot be a referee. Making Birman's kind of comment is of the "bei lezhachego" variety. Katzmik (talk) 10:46, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
As far as the comments by Wong and Poon, they are certainly not very convincing in the form they were presented in the "Reactions" section (I have not read their actual comments). I see no baby here, only a miscarriage. Katzmik (talk) 10:49, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Fields Medallist [sic] Yau[edit]

The first mention of Yau's name in the article is in the sentence "The article ... paints an unflattering portrait of the 1982 Fields Medallist [sic], Shing-Tung Yau." For somebody who doesn't know much about current mathematics this is misleading: the subtext is that he hasn't done anything since 1982, and may just be a one-shot wonder. That would indeed be far from the truth. "Leading 20th and 21st century differential geometry pioneer and American and Chinese educational leader Shing-Tung Yau" would give a better, and less biased, feel for who this guy is (especially relative to the authors of the NY article, and Perelman). Son of eugene (talk) 06:02, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

For anyone who does know about current mathematics the Fields medal is a very important and very positive part of his identity. The date he received it may not be so important, though. —David Eppstein (talk) 06:38, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
May I suggest "Leading 20th and 21st century differential geometry pioneer and American and Chinese educational leader, Wise and Enlightened Master, Benevolent Genius" ? Tkuvho (talk) 09:08, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
David: you are certainly right that the Fields medal is a high honor among mathematicians. But i think you'd never introduce Cohen into an article as "the 1966 Fields Medalist Paul J. Cohen" because his work is so much greater. I don't know how you'd introduce him, but "Dragon-slayer Paul Cohen" wouldn't be too far off the mark. "Paul Continuum Hypothesis Cohen" might be better, although i guess not stuffy enough. Tkuvho: Yes, if i put in so many words it sounds ridiculous. But my point is that introducing Yau to non-mathematicians as "1982 Fields Medalist" really is misleading. He's not just yet another differential geometer prize winner, and his contribution is much greater than just the Calabi conjecture. He's enormously productive, and has collaborated with and led a large flock of both American and Chinese mathematicians. Surely that's relevant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Son of eugene (talkcontribs) 01:39, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with every word you said above (except perhaps the choice of words in describing a Fields medalist as "just another differential geometry prize winner"). On the other hand, all this information is available on Yau's page which is duly linked here. His enormous productivity, which does go beyond the Calabi conjecture, is simply not the issue in this page. Tkuvho (talk) 07:40, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Why does this particular piece deserve its own Wikipedia article?[edit]

Why doesn't every article in The New Yorker, Harper's, and The Atlantic Monthly get a Wikipedia article summarizing it and linking to its sources?

Surely it's no more notable than other good journalism. Crasshopper (talk) 22:28, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

Birman[edit]

See Talk:Shing-Tung_Yau#Birman. Tkuvho (talk) 13:34, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

The material potentially related to WP:BLP was transfered to the subject's biographical page. Tkuvho (talk) 13:35, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
The objection to Birman material in this article having been removed by Tkuvho, I presume there are no objections to adding it back again. --Tagishsimon (talk) 14:48, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I simply centralized the discussion at the subject page. I object to the inclusion at either page. Tkuvho (talk) 14:49, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I see. As and when you get around to specifying exactly what you think the nature of the BLP issue is, we can take the matter forward. Right now you are conspicuously avoiding doing that, which kinda adds to the lack of good faith odour eminating from your side of this discussion. --Tagishsimon (talk) 15:02, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Please restore the content. We are discussing the Birman letter here for this page. You are obfuscating this discussion and this is starting to look like bad faith. Agricola44 (talk) 16:21, 27 February 2012 (UTC).

It's becoming increasingly obvious that Tkuvho is playing games. He/she has been invited numerous times to specify the nature of the BLP he/she alleges is represented by inclusion of information about the Birman letter. Although it is obvious that Tkuvho is aware that the question has been posed and has edited wikipedia multiple times since the question was posed, answer came there none. That being the case, if Tkuvho does not engage constructively - by which I mean specifying the nature of the BLP - then I shall re-add the Briman section within eight hours of this post. Enough is enough. --Tagishsimon (talk) 16:39, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

I replied at Talk:Shing-Tung_Yau#Birman. Tkuvho (talk) 10:27, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Birman re-added[edit]

I have re-added a Birman section diff. It is, I think, of appropriate length w.r.t. other paragraphs in the Controversy section. It is - I hope - a neutral summation of Birman's letter. As noted elsewhere in the discussion about Birman on this article, I assert that the publication of such a letter in the Notices of the AMS is notable and warrants inclusion in this article. Publication of a letter like this in such a journals is not a trivial matter; it is a big deal. The letter directly relates to and references the New Yorker Manifold Destiny article. The assertions made by Birman may or may not be true, and if false, may be libelous. That is her problem and not ours; we report what she says; we do not make those same assertions in our article. There is in my opinion no BLP violation: like it or not, the controversy exists and Yau has to make the best he can of it; it is not his to bury because of the notability it has received in, amongst other places, the New Yorker, the Notices, The New York Times, Science, etc. Clearly the subject matter is very much in the public domain and part of public discourse. --Tagishsimon (talk) 23:21, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

  • I have read what Tagishsimon has added and concur with its inclusion in this article. I think the explanation Tagishsimon has written sums matters up very well. I would only add that the logical positioning of the players here is crucial to understand. This article is documenting Birman's documentation, i.e. it is one degree removed from the New Yorker article and the events. What this means is that we are not judging whether her assertions are correct or not (this seemed to be the focal issue for some). It only means that there is an individual with some level of standing in the mathematical community that has publicly commented on the issue in one of the community's mainstream publications. That is what is being reported and it is entirely relevant. Thx, Agricola44 (talk) 16:43, 29 February 2012 (UTC).
I hope that it is clear that Birman's letter is her opinion and only her opinion. I suspect that most mathematicians regard her letter as silly and misinformed. Roger (talk) 21:50, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
If you read this passage, you'd find that it is indeed worded as such. Again, judgemental speculation is irrelevant. Thanks, Agricola44 (talk) 22:09, 29 February 2012 (UTC).
I tgend to think the more important point is that the AMS took the decision to print her letter. Still. In other news, this article should probably be retitled to be about the controversy rather than about a specific article. --Tagishsimon (talk) 16:36, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
There is no controversy, except for an artificial controversy generated by the New Yorker. Roger (talk) 18:23, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
The reason there is controversy is because of Perelman's statements. The New Yorker article reported some of these these as part of their larger piece, but there are other sources too, like this book (NAMS book review). So, I think it is incorrect to attribute the controversy solely to the New Yorker article itself. Tagishsimon's point about renaming seems valid, given other sources. Thx, Agricola44 (talk) 20:36, 1 March 2012 (UTC).
Those Perelman statement are ambiguous, and I think that it is unlikely that they are accurately reported. The New Yorker story is not a reliable source, in my opinion, as it botched up many important aspects. I guess the article was notable, but it was so bad that I think it would have been better if it were never published. Roger (talk) 21:19, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
You may be right, but without sources, what you've said is nothing more than testimonial. Please refrain from putting such opinion in the article unless you can find a source. FYI: we pretty much take large commercial publications at face value as WP:RS around here. So, unless you can conclusively show there are problems, e.g. outright falsehoods, then let's all just agree that the New Yorker article is valid. Again, I think what your strategy should be is to find other sources that make your point. Then we could really get a complete picture of matters. Good luck, Agricola44 (talk) 22:07, 1 March 2012 (UTC).

My opinion? No, I am presenting facts. The New Yorker article started with a cartoon of Yau trying to steal Perelman's medal. The major thrust of the article was that Yau was unfairly denying Perelman credit for what he did. The New Yorker article was followed up by articles in the NY Times and elsewhere, but none of them confirmed the New Yorker's portrayal of Yau. The reader can decide for himself whether the New Yorker is right or wrong, but it should be clear that the New Yorker stands alone in its portrayal of Yau. I propose to add, "None of these articles confirmed the New Yorker's portrayal of Yau as someone trying to prevent Perelman from getting a Fields Medal. Yau always said that Perelman deserved the medal."

"Do not combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources."David Eppstein (talk) 23:27, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

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