Talk:March Against Monsanto

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California Proposition 37[edit]

In my opinion we have too many dierct quotations from Canal in this section, which effectively presents ony one side of the argument. It should be rewritten in our own prose from a neutral POV. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:57, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

this article was fiercely debated back then and we reached a reasonable place, in my view. i have no interest in revisiting a discussion about their positions on something that is over and done, in any case. Jytdog (talk) 12:02, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
I was involved some time ago in a debate on this subject but nothing is ever 'over and done' in WP. We must continue to follow the fundamental principle of NPOV. Listing this quotation, ' "I became increasingly angry every time I would go to the grocery store and spend a small fortune to ensure I wasn't feeding my family poison" ', without any response cannot remotely be called NPOV. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:26, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
As no one else has responded, I propose to try to rewrite the section neutrally in encyclopedic language. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:27, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Hey people! I am trying to do better than BRD and discuss the changes first but I will be bold nobody wants to talk. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:52, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
The talk page archives indicate that you've talked this point to death for several years. Contrary to your arguments there, it is entirely acceptable to use quotes from the founder of this movement to explain her reasons for creating the movement. Per the NPOV policy, we do not give equal validity to counterbalance quotes like these. Viriditas (talk) 21:11, 5 June 2015 (UTC)


It is very hard to assume good faith when I try to discuss the subject before making any changes and get no response but my changes, to the language only, are reverted within 2 minutes.

Quotes are generally considered inappropriate for an encyclopedia and all I have done is to change the language to say the same thing in a more encyclopedic way. What exactly is the objection to this?

I have fixed the English error by removing the offending words, which were duplicated below. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:19, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

I notice my changes have been reverted again. It is obviously quite inappropriate and NPOV to have the quote, 'I became increasingly angry every time I would go to the grocery store and spend a small fortune to ensure I wasn't feeding my family poison', in this encyclopedia. This is direct quotation giving just one side of the argument, grossly exaggerated. No reliable source, not even those sceptical of GM foods, decribes GM produce as 'poison' and to use language like this here, even in a quotation, can only be an attempt to use WP to attack GM crops.
If editors here cannot agree to at least use appropriate language I will start an RfC. We must ensure that we are writing an encyclopedia not an anti-GM propaganda. Please respond here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:31, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Martin, we use quotes all the time. Here for example:
Segregationists including William Jennings Bryan Dorn criticized the government for cooperating with the civil rights activists.[114] Senator Olin D. Johnston rejected an invitation to attend, writing: "You are committing the worst possible mistake in promoting this March. You should know that criminal, fanatical, and communistic elements, as well as crackpots, will move in to take every advantage of this mob. You certainly will have no influence on any member of Congress, including myself."[115]
This is from the March on Washington article. This was fresh in my mind because I recently reviewed the article, but there are thousands more that I could have chosen from our encyclopedia. Gandydancer (talk) 11:43, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Gandydancer, thanks for discussing the subject here rather than just reverting without comment. You will see above that I tried to discuss the subject here before making any edits. I got no response but when I rewrote the section my editing was reverted within 3 minutes!
I have not said that we should never have any quotes in WP. We have 'We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,...' and 'And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country'. However, these quotes and the one the one that you give above are very different from the Canal quote.
My quotes are internationally famous, your quote is clearly being presented as an example of the outdated and despised attitude of the segregationists. Canal's quote is obviously being used to support an anti-GM POV in the article. You cannot tell me that those who want to include the quote want to present it as in example of the irrational and counterfactual opinion of the marchers.
In the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom article there are many more quotes supporting the marchers and their objectives. To present a balanced view on the 'March Against Monsanto' we should add to the article a similar number of quotes from Monsanto, scientists, and pro-GM indistry sources. Personally, I do not think this is the right way to do things, we should write the whole thing in encyclopedic prose, rather than engage in 'quote wars'. The quotes currently in the article are neither famous nor infamous; they have no special standing and add nothing to the article, except to enable it to present a biased POV to our readers. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:26, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Martin, your argument has several problems: 1) Wikipedia's NPOV policy specifically warns against presenting what you call a "balanced view" based on "similar quotes". This is referred to in the policy as giving "equal validity". We don't do this because we want to avoid false balance, among other things. In other words, Canal's quotes, which are being used to support her reasons for starting the movement, do not require any kind of counter-balance. Since Canal is clearly "anti-GM" as you say, it necessarily follows that her quotes would be as well. 2) This is not a violation of NPOV, therefore there is no problem to address. Please take a moment to brush up on policy and best practices. An easy way to do this is to create and write articles, since you can best learn by doing. 3) If one peruses the talk page archives here, one will find that you have been promoting this erroneous notion about quotes in this article for several years now. Please stop. Viriditas (talk) 21:07, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
If you read what I say above you will see that I not promoting having what I called 'quote wars'. I am suggesting that we write the article in encyclopdic language and have no quotes at all.
Please tell me. What exactly is the purpose of including so many anti GM qotes if it is not to promote an anti-GM view? Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:57, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Martin, the purpose is to explain Canal's position and reasons for founding the movement. It matters not whether her POV is true or false, the point is we document it in an encyclopedia article about a social movement. Please try to familiarize yourself with GA and FA articles about social movements and protests to see how this works. Viriditas (talk) 22:00, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, of course we document Canal's position in WP, whatever it should be, but we should not promote her view by giving it throughout the article in her own words. All positions on scientific subjects should be given in the light of mainstrean scientific thinking and should be in encyclopedic language; no mainstream science sources, even the most sceptical of GM food, would describe GM food as 'poison'. Thus it is fine to say that Canal wanted to buy non-GM food because she feared that GM produce would be harmful to her children a bare quote by Canal using the word 'poison' is not..
Your understanding of WP policy on this subject seems rather different from mine. I am not aware of any policy that says that we should include verbatim quotes from one side of an argument in protest movements. The general preference for article is to describe the positions af all proponents in any kind of argument in our own encyclopedic language. Quotes can be used when they are famous in their own right or to demonstrate a particular and unusual position bening taken by a speaker. In this latter case the quote needs to be put into proper context. It would be fine to have the Canal quote if it were put into a proper mainstream science context. For example we could say 'Despite the fact that millions consume GM foods everyday with no reported ill effects, Canal regarded them as poison, saying " "I became increasingly angry..." '. This makes clear that we are reporting the extreme and unscientific position of a particular person. In this article, quotes are clearly being misused to present an anti-GM POV as fact.
The only way forward seems to me to get involvement from the wider WP community by means of an RfC. I will propose a neutral form of wording below. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:22, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

Proposed RfC wording[edit]

Should this article contain a number of quotes, exclusively from the marchers themselves, expressing their Anti-GM position, in particular, one which descriobes GM food as poison, "I became increasingly angry every time I would go to the grocery store and spend a small fortune to ensure I wasn't feeding my family poison" ? Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:26, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

This would be too convoluted for an RfC question. You could ask specifically about the quotation you've noted. If you chose instead to ask a wider question such as "Does this article host too may quotations from March participants/organizers?" it might work for an RfC, but even this doesn't seem narrow enough. I think what you're getting at is actually "Does this mention of GMOs-as-poison run contrary to NPOV requirements?" If your concern truly is with this one particular line, it's best not to throw in a wider argument if you want a successful RfC. petrarchan47คุ 19:30, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for you suggestions, they are very useful. You obviously understand what I am getting at very well. This makes it all the more puzzling to me that you support the inclusion of these quotes. You surely must understand why they are included. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:06, 7 June 2015 (UTC)
Martin, the quotes are included because that is what she/they said. This article is not an article about whether GMOs are "poison" or right or wrong and people do not come to this article to learn more about the controversy so as to make up there mind about the questions surrounding GMOs. This article is solely about the march and the what-when-how-where-why of it, including any actions or statements that it generated. If she organized the march because she thinks GMOs are poison, then that's what we need to say in the article. That's a pretty radical statement and the best way to do it is to use her own words. Why soften it with "she thinks GMOs are bad for our health", etc.? To a lot of readers her "poison" statement damages her position rather than moves them to think "well she thinks they are poison so she must be right". The problem all along here has been that a lot of editors have felt that we must prove her/them to be wrong about GMOs, when that debate is best left for other articles. Gandydancer (talk) 12:34, 7 June 2015 (UTC)
I do agree that the this article is not the place for the GMO debate. However, all articles should be presented from the viewpoint of mainstream science in which, whatever reservations people may have, GMC are not regarded as poison. The question therefore arises as to what is the encyclopedic purpose of including Canal's 'poison' quote. Is it, as you seem to be suggesting, to show how Canal is a fanatic with extreme and unscientific views? If that is the case then we should make that stance clear with some introductory wording in the text, for example, 'According to generally accepted scientific opinion there is no evidence that consumption GM crops has any negative impact on health, however Canal, in her justification for the march said...'. I cannot imagine that going down too well with other editors here.
If you really believe that the reason for quoting Canal is that editors want to show how extreme her position is you must be very naive, or possibly think that I am. A more likely argument goes along these lines. We can put the quote in because we have a source. If a reader is a 'supporter' of GM produce their view will not be changed. If they are 'anti-GM' their view will just be confirmed. If they are someone relatively new to the subject with no established opion, seeing the word 'poison' associated with GM food, with no adverse commentary in the text, will likely make them think more negatively about GM food. I should not really be imputing motives to other editors and maybe I an wrong about that but, regardless of the motives for including the quote, its actual effect will be to associate 'poison' with GM food in Wikipedia. Words are very powerful. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:06, 7 June 2015 (UTC)
Using the 'I don't like it" argument isn't going to win a WP debate. What the leader of this movement feels, her core beliefs, especially ones that led to the creation of the March, are perfectly encyclopedic additions to this article. That's what seems to be missing in your analysis. If this was an article about GMO's, then your claims about science and how it's presented have validity. But it's not a science article, for one thing, and for another, a statement containing science proclaiming GMO safety has been included in this article (even though it has no place here and is only tangential). petrarchan47คุ 04:24, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
My argument has nothing to do with 'I don't like it". The argument that I am making is this. It is agreed that the article is about 'The march against Monsanto' but, by having a number of quotations expressing extreme and scientifically inaccurate anti-GM views, with no challenge in the text or quotes from the the other side, the article presents as biased opinion of the march itself and of GM food in general. This is contrary to one of the most basic WP policies. I will start an RfC using the wording that you suggest, or similar. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:31, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
By chance their happens to be a programme on BBC 1 TV this evening called 'Cultivating Fear' on those who oppose GM food; the programme introduction says;, 'Is their opposition based on genuine safety concerns or is it feeding fear at the expense of the people'. That is exactly what I am concerned about here when GM food called 'poison', even in a quote. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:56, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
I realize you don't like, for a variety of reasons, the position held by the March in general, and see Camal's quotation as particularly egregious. But because this article is about these very folks and their beliefs, there are absolutely no rules preventing inclusion of those beliefs here. Claiming that the article presents a biased opinion of the march itself does not make any sense to me. petrarchan47คุ 20:18, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps it will make sense to others. That is why we need an RfC. Martin Hogbin (talk) 07:55, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
Martin, you've been at this for what, two years now? Why do we need an RfC when we 1) have a solid consensus on the talk page to keep the quotes, and 2) agreement that you've been misunderstanding/misinterpreting our policies and guidelines. I really don't see any need for an RfC. Given the past discussion in the talk page archives on this and your continuing argumentation, this really looks like a classic case of IDHT. What we need is for you to drop the stick. Viriditas (talk) 09:17, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
I see no firm consensus. What is needed is wider community opinion on whether this article is being used to promote anti-GM propaganda. An RfC is the standard way of resolving intractible content disputes. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:34, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
Here's another editor in complete agreement with Viriditas, Petrarchan47 and others. The quotes are sourced, on-topic, and improve the article. They should stay. Jusdafax 03:29, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

RfC Is including a quotation which describes GM food as 'poison' acceptable[edit]

{{There is clear consensus for including the quotation given that it helps express the motivations of the founder of the movement. There is significant debate regarding the context in which the quote should be presented, so I will not close the discussion section. Sam Walton (talk) 18:15, 4 August 2015 (UTC)}} Should we include quotations like this one,'I became increasingly angry every time I would go to the grocery store and spend a small fortune to ensure I wasn't feeding my family poison', in the article? 13:34, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

  • No By having a number of quotations expressing extreme and scientifically inaccurate anti-GM views, with no challenge in the text or quotes from the the other side, the article presents as biased opinion of the march itself and of GM food in general. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:05, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • No. Undue weight for a WP:FRINGE viewpoint as Martin mentioned. We are an encyclopedia, not a repository or soapbox of sensationalist quotes. If we are going to include a fringe viewpoint even as a quote, it cannot be left to stand on its own, but needs to be called out as a fringe viewpoint by another source. Even if we're just documenting the "controversy", it's not fine to have a he said / she said type layout in this situation. Otherwise, we are creating a WP:COATRACK for a fringe point of view rather than approaching the topic from an encyclopedic tone. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:24, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Strong keep. This is a social science article about a social movement started by Tami Canal. As a significant viewpoint, Canal's quotes are widely cited without challenge in the literature as her personal reasoning for starting the movement. Her concern with GMOs poisoning the food is found in the authoritative reference book GMO Food: A Reference Handbook[1] and closes their section on opposition to GMOs.[2] It was also widely cited by the Associated Press without challenge in a wire service story ("Marchers protest seed giant Monsanto in cities worldwide", May 26, 2013). Finally, per WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV, this statement of opinion, widely cited by many sources, is attributed properly. There is no "rebuttal" nor any indication that her view must be "challenged" because when we write about social movements and their proponents, our goal is to best represent their POV, not challenge or balance it (see WP:VALID). To summarize, Tami Canal, the creator of the "March Against Monsanto" movement, is widely cited in the literature giving her reasons for starting the movement. In almost all of the sources that mention her, she refers to her personal view that GMOs are poison, a view that motivated her to start the movement. As an encyclopedia, it is our responsibility to reflect the preponderance of sources on this subject. Viriditas (talk) 20:52, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep if used as an indicator of motivation of the founder of the movement that this article is about, not if used as a statement of scientific fact. Gamaliel (talk) 21:11, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep I find myself largely convinced by Viriditas. It seems to me that the reasoning of the founder of an organization in that founding is an entirely responsible addition to an article. Even if a founder of a notable organization had said "Time-travelling aliens came down from space and asked me to do this" it would still be important to put that rationale into the article though it would of course be a fringe idea. That is my thought at least. Capitalismojo (talk) 21:17, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep I see Martin's point, but agree more with others above that as the founder of the movement, her reasons for starting it should be included in the article. It is better to quote something that is controversial in full rather than to reword it ourselves. The reader is already alerted in the background section that her use of 'poison' cannot be justified scientifically and they can make up their own minds as to what to make of it. Btw here's a link to the AP article that Viriditas referred to (I couldn't find one under the exact same title). SmartSE (talk) 22:03, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Delete - that seems not directly germane to the article topic re what the movement is or what the protests were, and the phrasing - or even the inclusion - seems unnecessary to the portrayal of events. It's also too much on one persons statements I think, bo for neutrality/completeness concerns and because this winds up portraying it as an individual crusade rather than a mass movement. Markbassett (talk) 00:09, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Weak keep Something like, "according to Camel, she founded ... because ..." is acceptable. However, the scientific position needs more emphasis. In the lead, there should be a paragraph that says clearly that scientific consensus is that GMO foods are harmless. Darx9url (talk) 01:49, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Clarifying my comment. For balance, this statement should be kept only if the scientific consensus that gmo foods are harmless is given more emphasis throughout the article, especially the lead. Darx9url (talk) 13:07, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep per Gamaleil. This individual really was the seed of the movement, and is certainly not given an overly large platform here. The fact that the GMO safety claims come before Camal's section, and are the third paragraph in, should satisfy concerns that her opinions will overshadow the science.petrarchan47คุ 03:08, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep, per Veriditas and Gamaleil. The Tami Canal section provides a solid basis for the origin of the protests. The Background section contains plenty of info regarding the current scientific consensus on GMOs, though it also seems rather pro-Monsanto - plus there's an "industry response" section at the end. I was going to offer a "weak keep," because Canal's comment about Fruit Loops seemed unnecessary and possibly POV. However, upon re-reading, I feel the section is well-structured overall, and provides a sound basis for the remainder of the article. Canal's central role in this campaign seems indisputable - so it should be appropriate to have her notable statements in this section. If we can find other verifiable statements from anyone involved, we should consider adding them. Let's not forget that this article is just about the march and the movement - it doesn't have to be a WP:coatrack for every aspect of the GMO controversy. Alt lys er svunnet hen (talk) 01:43, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep - Regardless of whether Tami Canal was scientifically correct, which most mainstream scientists think she was not, her reasoning is nonetheless notable with respect to this movement. I agree that the scientific consensus should be noted, but that does not warrant suppressing a notable quote. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:09, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Strong Keep Viriditis says it best (below): "She's not claiming to take a scientific position and she's not even making a scientific argument. She's saying that she personally believes GMOs are poison, and that's what the best sources support. No counterbalance is needed or required. Per NPOV, we cite and attribute the opinion." Gandydancer (talk) 12:32, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Weak Keep In general, in the spirit of WP:NOTNEWSPAPER, we should avoid direct quotations from randos. However, the specific quotation in question is not from a rando. LavaBaron (talk) 23:09, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep If this quote were in Genetically modified food, it would be considered WP:FRINGE, and warranty deletion. As this article is about a movement in opposition to biotech, quotes of this sort are perfectly welcome, they are a statement of the beliefs and opinions of someone central to the subject of this article. If it wasn't already stated in the article that the scientific consensus is that GM food is safe (and thus, her labeling it as "poison" is not scientifically defensible), then I would suggest to add it, but the stamen already there should be enough to inform readers of this. However, I take some issue wit the sentence immediately following this quotation, Canal was not only angry about the failure of Proposition 37 and frustrated with trying to find reasonably priced healthy food, but she was also concerned about the health of her children (emphasis mine) This implies that GM food is unhealthy, a MOS:CONTRACTION to the statement of scientific consensus on the safety of GM food earlier in the article. SarrCat ∑;3 05:49, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep per Gandydancer and numerous others. Given the subject, the quotes improve the article. Jusdafax 03:34, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep, also, a pretty important point, these quotes are from Tami Canal, founder of the anti-GMO movement. This keep is based on keeping her quotes, and attributing them to her, as a founder of the movement. Not keeping other quotes by random people. Grognard Extraordinaire Chess (talk) Ping when replying 03:53, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep that and others Yes, you want to include people's motivations for protesting what Monsanto does to people and to countries and their governments. The motivation for the human rights activities are wholly relevant and informative. Damotclese (talk) 15:47, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Reluctant Keep. There are excellent reasons for opposing Monsanto, while the quotation reveals a leading opponent as misguided. But such, unfortunately, is how things are. It would be wrong to suppress the truth. Maproom (talk) 19:57, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Keep it's a quote, given by a core person to the movement. Echo the above keep statements, which I find myself convinced by. KieranTribe (talk) 10:22, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Alt lys er svunnet hen, I noticed your comment in your vote about this article just being about the march/movement. If you aren't aware of it, take a look at WP:FRINGE and especially the policy WP:PSCI (specifically, "The pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such.") Basically, if fringe opinions are going to be presented on Wikipedia (even in their own article), we still need to present the mainstream view to not make the fringe view appear more prominent or factual than it is. That can apply pretty variably, but in this case where a you have a somewhat sensationalist opinion butting heads with scientific fact, we can run into issues with FRINGE pretty quickly. I'm curious how you see things when you add the fringe aspect into the mix in whether that attribution needs to be closer to the quote or is fine elsewhere in the article. Kingofaces43 (talk) 02:00, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

  • Alt lys er svunnet hen, I too found your comment interesting. This is how the article looked before it was hit by what I would call pro-biotech POV pushers. Here is where the (relentless) pro-GMO editing began, quickly becoming ugly, and ultimately resulting in the current article which is, as you note, biased in favor of Monsanto - not uncommon for a GM-related article on Wikipedia. petrarchan47คุ 06:44, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
I am not sure who you mean when you refer to 'pro-biotech POV pushers' but the only thing that I am in favour of is making WP an encyclopedia. I actually do have some scepticism about the widespread introduction of GM crops without the proper controls but there ate two problems with giving prominence to the crazy comments of anti-GM extremists. The first is that gullible readers may give some credibility to their over-the-top opinions, the other problem is that in enables real biotech pushers to brand all those who are sceptical of GM crops as crackpots. By making clear that Canal's statements are not supported by any credible evidence we avoid both problems. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:20, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
Except for the small problem that Canal's statements appear to be supported by some credible evidence. I don't think the scientists in that article are best described as crackpots, and it shows that far from being "harmless" as others claim, there are real concerns about safety. Viriditas (talk) 00:45, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
Kingofaces43 is correct. We have a policy on fringe science. Of course Canal did make the 'poison' statement; that is a well sourced fact and we are therefeore free to state in WP that she did make that statement. However, because it is fringe science, it must be clearly described as a pseudoscientific view or, at the very least, quoted in a context in which it is clear to the reader that the statement is not based on generally accepted science. In this article Canal's fringe science statement is presented as though it were a perfectly reasonable statement of our current, generally accepted, scientific opinion on the subject. It it is clearly being used here for the purpose of promoting an anti GM POV in WP. Several other quotations serve this same purpose. Martin Hogbin (talk) 07:35, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
Kingofaces43 is entirely incorrect, as are you. We most certainly do not have any policy on fringe science. We have a content guideline that provides guidance on how to deal with fringe topics, which this popular social movement is not. More importantly, we have a NPOV policy which supersedes all content guidelines, and it directs us as to how best cite, quote, and represent the POV of people like Canal, which we have done. I'm sorry, but the policy simply does not support your position. Please stop misrepresenting content guidelines which only provide recommendations for how to deal with fringe topics, of which this subject does not fall under as a whole. Consumer preferences are not a scientific endeavor. If the consumer does not want GMOs in their food supply, then that's that, no science required, and that most certainly does not make it "fringe". The "March Against Monsanto" is a worldwide social movement that has influenced food industry practices, practices that are based on hard science. This is because as a popular movement, it represents the will of the consumer, and the food industry is listening. It does not, however represent a "fringe" movement of any kind. If you study this movement, you discover that their demands are very simple. They want a choice in the marketplace, and labeling laws help the consumer make this choice. There is nothing fringe here. If you believe that Canal's ideas are "fringe", that's fine, but as the creator of this movement, we cite her reasons for forming the movement, and I've shown that the best secondary sources all cite her opinion about GMOs as "poison", an opinion that motivated her to start the movement. That's why we write about it, and that's why we quote her. She's not claiming to take a scientific position and she's not even making a scientific argument. She's saying that she personally believes GMOs are poison, and that's what the best sources support. No counterbalance is needed or required. Per NPOV, we cite and attribute the opinion. Viriditas (talk) 09:04, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
Viriditas, thanks for this review of the situation here. This is absolutely some of the best writing I've seen re this protest movement and could well-apply to other situations that we run across here on WP as well. IMO you should write this up to be used as a WP guideline. Thanks! Gandydancer (talk) 12:15, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
Viriditas, last I checked, NPOV is policy, so we should be following the section of it called WP:PSCI which states, "The pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such." That applies regardless of where an assertion of fact occurs. Regardless of how reasons for the movement might be spun, assertions of scientific fact are ultimately what's driving it. In the case of the specific content being discussed here, claiming something is a poison is in the realm of scientific claims. Kingofaces43 (talk) 13:01, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
I have no objection to the labelling of GM food as such and I support consumer choice. I also support the right of people to protest against what they see as wrong, but Wikipedia is not the place to do that'. There is no dispute that Canal considered GM food as poison, I am sure that there are many sources confirming that fact, but the view itself is clearly fringe and must be presented here as such. A poison is something that kills or harms a significan proportion of people when they eat it. To date there is no evidence of anyone at all being harmed by GM food; the statement is pure rhetoric.
I also have no objection to making clear the marchers' stength of feeling on the subject of GM food but we are not here to promote their views or to give fringe statements credibility. By giving seven direct quotes in the way that we do we give undue weight to the marchers' cause. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:08, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
King says, " "The pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such." That applies regardless of where an assertion of fact occurs." This is where the mistake lies -- no assertion of fact has been made, other than the fact that the organizer said this. The article in no way insinuates this is anything but an opinion, and not a scientific one, not even an educated one, just a thought from a mom busy raising kids in Utah. petrarchan47คุ 21:54, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
The opinion is an assertion of fact. When it comes to weight in terms of fringe, we don't create loopholes by saying it's ok since it's a quote. The person made a scientific claim. Kingofaces43 (talk) 02:44, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
Nowhere is Canal's opinion asserted as fact, and I have no idea on what basis you are making that extraordinary claim. This article is not fringe by any stretch of the definition, so you need to stop making that claim. There is no "loophole" required for Canal to make a claim about why she started this social movement, it's essential to understanding the topic and it's cited as such in the best sources about it. Finally, there is no "scientific claim" at hand, and again, I have no idea why you would say that. Do you know the difference between a scientific claim and a person stating her opinion about why she founded a social movement? Viriditas (talk) 05:07, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
By giving only quotes from Canal the article gives a prominence to her extreme views which is not given to the views of Monsanto, other GM-proponents or mainstream science. What would be your opinion if the article stated Canal's views is a few sentences but was filled with well-sourced and verifiable extreme statements by Monsanto, GM-supporters, right-wing news organisations, and others who considered the marchers as criminals?
I am sure that, if an editor were minded to do so, the article could be filled with well-sourced quotes saying thing like, 'These people will cause millions to starve', 'They are nothing but criminals who should be locked up', 'They will worsten the condition of the poorest people', or 'they will cost the coutry billions'. Of course I would not suggest having 'quote wars' such as this for an encyclopedia but I ask you how you would view it if this were the case. Would you not see undue weight being given to one POV?
There is nothing wrong with having the 'poison' from Canal quote so long it is put into the right context. It is a piece of extremist rhetoric and should be clearly identified as such. Martin Hogbin (talk) 07:52, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
The quote is already in the "correct" context, so your objection is nonsensical. Her "view" is not "extreme" in the slightest. As this article documents, there is a huge movement of people who oppose GMO foods and wish to have them labeled. There is not one thing "extreme" about having consumer choice in the free market, not one. Neither is there anything extreme about referring to GMO foods coated with pesticides as "poison" when glyphosate is a toxic herbicide. Glyphosate residue is in the food supply, and that is exactly what Canal was worried about. It's been all over the news in the last several months, in every reliable source on the planet, and there's not a single thing "extreme" about being concerned with food safety due to pesticide residues, which is the primary concern that forms the backbone of the non-GMO, organic agriculture movement. The only thing "extreme" in this entire discussion is your position. Viriditas (talk) 08:12, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
The poison statement is an insinuation about safety. There's really no way to get around that it's a claim about a scientific topic. When there is scientific consensus about something and a single random person (or even a large chunk of the public ala global warming) says something to the contrary, we considered it extreme or fringe. Even beyond that, you actually did a pretty good job of outlining some of the various hyperbole used by the group. As an encyclopedia, we are not a platform to be used as a soapbox for a group. Instead we describe such groups neutrally under NPOV rather than parrot their talking points and call out viewpoints considered important by the group that fall into fringe territory on scientific issues. Regardless of keep or delete, most of the RfC responds including myself have said that keeping the statement does require attribution, so I for one am going to let that keep running. Kingofaces43 (talk) 14:37, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

Kingofaces43, this is obviously a complex issue. I think if we assume that criticism of GMOs is inherently pseudoscience, we are engaging in WP:OR. Much of the research on the topic is clouded by, among other things, lack of independent access due to intellectual property considerations. WP:Fringe also states: "Ideas should not be portrayed as rejected or carry negative labels such as pseudoscience unless such claims can be documented in reliable sources [...] Just because an idea is not accepted by most experts does not mean it should be removed from Wikipedia." Vis-a-vis this article - not to repeat myself - but I think the "mainstream view" is quite well-established in the Background section which immediately follows the lede, as well as the Industry Response section at the end. WP: "Articles which cover [disputed/controversial] ideas in detail should document (with reliable sources) the current level of their acceptance among the relevant academic community." We've done that here when we say, "There is broad scientific consensus that food on the market derived from GM crops poses no greater risk than conventional food. No reports of ill effects have been documented in the human population from GM food." How can we make a more prominent statement than that without making this article something it shouldn't be - a coatrack for general GMO controversy, rather than an accurate description of the subject? I'm skeptical of the idea that we should minimize the statements from the organization in order to stuff the article with more content showing that their efforts are baseless. It seems a large amount of detailed information about the movement has already been removed, so I'm wondering how much more do we need to cut? I'm not sure what you meant in your last statement, but I don't think there is actually consensus to call this issue fringe or pseudoscience. Which really shouldn't matter anyway, because the article should be describing the movement and it's verifiable critics, not criticisms of the anti-GMO movement in general. I'm arguing that it is not germane to go that route - basing this article as a pro/con of the issue, rather than basing it on the organization itself. This whole discussion doesn't seem to be about whether or not to include the questionable quotations, but how much depth do we wish to describe the subject of the article. I think the article seems OK as it is (or was, when I first found it). It tells the reader what happened, and it accurately describes the extent of opposing views. I look at other decent articles about protest marches, and they tend to mainly describe the motivations and machinations behind them. The point of the article is to accurately describe the subject. It's clear that we need quotes and issue statements from the subject in order to do that. Alt lys er svunnet hen (talk) 10:02, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

Alt, there are indeed mainstream science reservations about GM food but none of them can be summarised as 'GM food is poison'. I have no desire to remove information about the marchers or their viewpoint but, at the moment, undue weight is being given to what is obviously an extreme fringe position. I have suggested solutions to this before and have listed them again below. Do you agree with any of them.Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:36, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
It is not "undue weight" by any stretch of the imagination nor any interpretation of the NPOV policy to cite the beliefs of the founder of the movement that the article is about, beliefs that have been widely reported in quote form by reliable textbooks about this topic and by the Associated Press. It is, in fact, the exact opposite of undue weight. Viriditas (talk) 21:54, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
We obviously disagree on this and will have to let others decide. Martin Hogbin (talk) 07:37, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

Reply to Sarr
  • It seems "she was concerned about the health of her children" is only implying that, given she finds GMOs to be poison, she concludes that feeding them to her children might negatively affect their health. Again, just an opinion, not a health claim made in WP's voice. petrarchan47คุ 00:10, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I see that this is intended to convey her opinion, and I am perfectly fine with that, this being the movement she started, this is an article where this kind of thing belongs. But the sentence I take issue with is not a part of her quote, therefore it could easily be taken as WP's voice, even if that is not the intention here. If it said "...frustrated with trying to find reasonably priced organic food..., that would be neutral, but by saying that her anger was due to the lack of healthy food, implies that the other food, which she refused to buy, was unhealthy, implicitly because it contained GMOs, a position which cannot be backed up by the sciencetific consensus. I suggest we replace healthy with organic to avoid any further confusion. SarrCat ∑;3 01:44, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
I changed it for "healthy" to "organic". Gandydancer (talk) 02:19, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks to you both. petrarchan47คุ 04:21, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

The article's entire emphasis and balance must be changed. We do have to cover it fairly, but that is very different from promoting it. With respect to GMO and health issues, it's a reckless fringe opinion, and is being being given undue prominence. It has to be discussed where it can be discussed fairly in an appropriate encyclopedic way, in an article on the issue. We can say what the founders of the movement believe, but the whole tone of the article at present is an over-personal over-cited advertorial for their point of view. It may not be fair even as such--the argument against GMO (and Roundup) from the POV of ultimate social effects is much stronger than the argument about their immediate health effects, and in terms of the social sciences is not fringe, tho probably still not a majority opinion. DGG ( talk ) 00:42, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
There is no "promotion" of any kind in this article. If there were, you would be able to give an example of it. Far from being "fringe", the opinion of consumers preferring not to eat or buy GMO foods is mainstream.[3] Please update your paradigm accordingly. Viriditas (talk) 01:26, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
You actually did a pretty good job setting up an outline for how the chunk of the public's opinion you described is a fringe opinion. Whether it's global warming, evolution, vaccines, etc. where a large portion of the public has a conflicted opinion with the science, it's still considered WP:FRINGE and we cannot give those opinions undue weight no matter how large or vocal a portion of the public is. Kingofaces43 (talk) 02:53, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think you've got a mistaken idea of WP:FRINGE, which states:

  • Wikipedia summarizes significant opinions, with representation in proportion to their prominence. A Wikipedia article should not make a fringe theory appear more notable or more widely accepted than it is.

"In proportion to their prominence" links to WP:WEIGHT - which states:

  • In articles specifically relating to a minority viewpoint, such views may receive more attention and space. However, these pages should still make appropriate reference to the majority viewpoint wherever relevant and must not represent content strictly from the perspective of the minority view. Specifically, it should always be clear which parts of the text describe the minority view. In addition, the majority view should be explained in sufficient detail that the reader can understand how the minority view differs from it, and controversies regarding aspects of the minority view should be clearly identified and explained.
  • Wikipedia aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation in reliable sources on the subject.

This article adheres to all of the above guidelines. But the assumption that the views of MAM represent a minority seems misguided. Regarding competing views, when I Google "Scientific consensus on GMO safety", I only get articles saying that no consensus exists (besides those quoting the AAAS' anti-GMO-labeling position paper). With regard to the views of MAM, as Viriditas points out, it is difficult to see how they could be considered minority viewpoints.

  • As of 2013, "...there are at least twenty-six [countries that have total or partial bans on GMOs], including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia. Significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries." The Nation
  • Sixty-four countries comprising 40% of the world's population require GMO labeling. And, "More than 70 percent of Americans say they don’t want genetically modified organisms in their food ... 92 percent of Americans want genetically modified foods to be labeled." Consumer Reports, 2014 petrarchan47คุ 05:37, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
Petrachan, you seem to be arguing about something different. If the disputed quote had been, 'We demand the labelling of GM food', you would have had a point but nothing in what you say justifies referring to GM produce as 'poison'.
You also quote above, 'In addition, the majority view should be explained in sufficient detail that the reader can understand how the minority view differs from it...'. That is exactly what this article does not do. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:23, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
We aren't seeing things the same way. That the establishment viewpoint on GMOs is underrepresented in this article is your opinion. My opinion is that it is overrepresented. From my read of the guidelines, the article is safe from claims that it is POV or has other weight issues.
My response was to the comments just preceding mine, which go far beyond the original scope of this RfC (into global warming, etc) and suggest that the article as a whole represents a fringe viewpoint. You may have read my comments in isolation, which would explain your confusion.
"...nothing in what you say justifies referring to GM produce as 'poison'"
Let's get this right: no one is referring to GM foods as poison except Tami Camal, a main subject of this article. should always be clear which parts of the text describe the minority view. Done. We've attributed the quotation unambiguously.
...should still make appropriate reference to the majority viewpoint wherever relevant and must not represent content strictly from the perspective of the minority view. Done.
I still don't see a guideline-based argument for the removal of her claim, or any argument beyond "I don't like it". Can you clear this up for me? petrarchan47คุ 22:52, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

Other quotations in the article[edit]

As well as the 'poison' quote, the article is full of ant-GM, anti Monsanto, pro-march quotations:

"Companies like Kellogg's and General Mills are putting things like Fruit Loops on the market that are basically 100 percent genetically engineered ingredients. And that's marketed to our kids."

"For too long, Monsanto has been the benefactor of corporate subsidies and political favoritism ... Organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world's food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup."

"Label GMOs, It's Our Right to Know", and "Real Food 4 Real People"

"Any U.S. senators paying attention to what was happening in the entire world over the weekend may have noticed a teensy disconnect between their protectionist votes for Monsanto and global discontent with the GMO giant,"

"the turning point in the debate on political lobbying and genetic engineering in the U.S." and he described the March Against Monsanto as raising "one of the most pressing issues of our time".[32]

"a blurry line between industry and government".

"the mainstream media's decision to ignore thousands of people marching down the nation's busiest thoroughfares"

There are no quotes defending Monsanto or giving mainstream science view of GM food. Martin Hogbin (talk) 07:35, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

There most certainly· were such quotes, Martin, before they were removed against consensus. Looking at the article again, I see that the quotes defending Monsanto were paraphrased by other editors and now appear in the section Monsanto and industry response. The quotes giving the mainstream science view of GMOs were once again removed and paraphrased, but are still in the current article in the Background section. The original quotes should be returned to this section in lieu of the paraphrasing. Viriditas (talk) 09:01, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
It is a matter of giving undue weight to fringe science. The anti-GM quotes make the anti-GM POV much more prominent in the article than the mainstream science POV.
There are several ways round this problem which I have suggested before but will state again below. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:21, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
At a certain point, with the unending "I don't hear you!!!" responses, this type of editing becomes indistinguishable from concern trolling. You've not given me any sign that you are here as a good faith, NPOV-focussed editor. For two years you were active here and left the article without an update of subsequent marches the entire time. I can only assume you aren't doing basic internet searches about the topic you're committed to. At any rate, don't highjack your own RfC to address the wider scope of your personal agenda. petrarchan47คุ 21:48, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
I do not think that WP:NPOV can be considered as my personal agenda. Martin Hogbin (talk) 07:57, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
The flinging around of accusations is not helpful here. I'm sure we could get into squabbles about other editors here that may be overemphasizing certain political and fringe viewpoints potentially of their own in this discussion, but we don't do that here. We focus on content. Kingofaces43 (talk) 14:27, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
Your view that covering the March and its founder is synonymous with editors personally expressing her viewpoint is misguided. The view that this article suffers from an overemphasis of political and fringe viewpoints is not supported by the community, and is itself a fringe viewpoint straying wildly from the guidelines. Further, it is 'concern trolling' and disruptive to pound away for two years at opinions that an editor's disagrees with for purely personal reasons, while leaving the basic needs of article maintainance ignored. When this disruption starts to involve the community through frivolous rfcs, then it becomes an issue worth mentioning. petrarchan47คุ 17:31, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
Again, please follow the talk page guidelines and focus on content instead of contributor. Also, please don't misrepresent my statements. This lashing out at what you think editors' personal views are is disruptive from what the focus of an article talk page is about. Again, focus on the content, and if you really want to go on about behavior issues, this is not the place. Kingofaces43 (talk) 18:04, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

Suggested solutions/improvements[edit]

1) Rewrite most of the article removing most of the quotes but leave a couple of quotes to show the strength of the marchers' feeling and the language they used but with it being clearly indicated that they are fringe science viewpoints.

An example might be, 'Although there is no evidence of harmful health effects from eating GM food, Canal clearly regarded them as extremely dangerous to human health saying, "I became increasingly angry every time I would go to the grocery store and spend a small fortune to ensure I wasn't feeding my family poison".

2) Rewrite the whole article in encyclopedic language, with no quotes, clearly stating the opinions of the marchers and of Monsanto in our own words.

This is some wording that I tried that was very rapidly reverted, '...[Canal] became increasingly angry about the fact the food she bought might contain GM products, which she considered unhealthy'.

3) Have pro-GM, pro-Monsanto, anti-march quotes in the article. This is my least preferred option. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:30, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

IMO, this is beyond the scope of the RfC and should be in its own unrelated section. petrarchan47คุ 21:38, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
It is always better to talk than to fight. If we can find a way that is acceptable to all it will be a win for everyone. Several of the RfC respondents who have said 'keep' have attached conditions to their opinion which are represented by suggestion 1 above. Martin Hogbin (talk) 07:55, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

RfC on Sentence on “broad scientific consensus” of GMO food safety fails to achieve consensus: It is time to improve it.[edit]

The Request for Comment (RfC) here created by Jytdog for the purpose of reaffirming the findings of this previous RfC on the language and sourcing of the sentence of a “broad scientific consensus” of the safety of GMO food (found in numerous articles) has closed here . There is no longer a consensus supporting the sentence. The closer stated:

Should the sentence be removed? Or maybe modified (and if so, to what)? There is no clear consensus on any particular action....Some of the opposes in this discussion appear to agree with the substance of this section but feel that the wording of the one sentence is overly broad; they might support more nuanced statements. I recommend that someone propose an alternative wording

I would also like to note that the closer of the earlier RfC made a similar recommendation:

... it may be helpful to refer to to some of the literature reviews to represent alternative views on the matter with respect to due weight.

With these recommendations in mind, I have provided a new sentence in the article and for discussion at Talk:Genetically modified food that I believe is more WP:NPOV than the original that failed to achieve consensus at the recent RfC. Because the sentence occurs at numerous articles:

I suggest we continue to consolidate talk at Talk:Genetically modified food. David Tornheim (talk) 23:31, 21 July 2015 (UTC)