Talk:Mass killings under communist regimes

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August 10, 2009 Articles for deletion No consensus
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April 1, 2018 Peer review Reviewed
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Removal of empty sections[edit]

I propose to remove all empty country-wise sections. This page is meant to be an overview, not an exhaustive treatment. Countries from where mass killings/deaths do not receive prominent mention in the literature probably deserve nothing more than a short mention here (where they should be worked into the prose) and a complete article elsewhere, which can be linked from here. Moreover, a number of the linked main articles are not directly treating this topic, and at the moment, these links are misleading. Vanamonde (talk) 07:56, 7 May 2018 (UTC)

As long as they stay linked to this page, I'm fine with this. All of the links to these other articles should be retained, for the sake of the reader, to whom these links are exceedingly valuable. We must not forget the reader, even in the midst of contentious articles like this. schetm (talk) 15:44, 7 May 2018 (UTC)
Thanks to the lack of commentary here, I've removed these sections, along with one completely unsourced section. To elaborate on what I said earlier, at the moment, there are no sources in the article describing events in those countries, and specifically those linked events, as MKUCR. Absent such sources, those sections are actually contravening WP:NOR. If sources are found, we can easily work those into a single "other countries" section, or even separate sections, depending on how much material there is. Vanamonde (talk) 05:07, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
VanamondeAs soon as you pointed your attention at NOR, you may be interested to look at the "Terminology" section. This section is a quintessence of original research and POV. First, the section starts with unsourced definition. Next, it creates a false impression that the terminology listed there was developed specifically to describe the events the article discusses. However, almost all definitions listed in this section have been proposed to describe "MKuCR" specifically. Valentino proposed the term "deprivational mass killing", and "Communist mass killing is a subset of it". Other scholars did use some definition from this list to describe some separate mass killings, but almost noone proposed this terminology for the subject as whole.
The section creates an impression that some well developed terminology exists in literature, which is absolutely untrue. Most terms listed there are used only by those who coined them, and they are not used by specialists who study each event separately (a good indication that the terminology is not mainstream). Several separate discussions are still in progress among scholars if one or another events, for example, Soviet famine aka Holodomor can be considered a genocide, and no consensus has been achieved so far. All of that is an indication that the section is a blatant OR and POV pushing. The only thing what can we do with it - just to delete it.-Paul Siebert (talk) 05:29, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
There's some problems there, but let's take this piece by piece; we've enough open discussions at the moment. I think the question of how to present the famines is a more serious one, and I'd like to resolve that first. Vanamonde (talk) 05:45, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Some soured content should be added to these sections. I will try to fix it later. My very best wishes (talk) 13:27, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
@My very best wishes: I've no objections in principle, but to avoid conflict, please do be careful that the sources mention MKUCR, or the equivalent; there's a good many sources discussing targeted political killings, which isn't the same. Vanamonde (talk) 13:30, 19 May 2018 (UTC)


This content was included a few days ago and arguably does not belong to the page. We have other pages to describe non-communist killings. This is POV fork. My very best wishes (talk) 14:11, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

The content fits nicely into the section given it is COMPARING mass killings. This is what the section is about. If this should be removed, then the entire section should be removed. Hell, one could say the entire article is a POV fork!--C.J. Griffin (talk) 14:14, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
Look, your are placing a statement about American client states practicing mass-murderous politics on this page. This is an obvious example of Whataboutism (aka And you are lynching Negroes). Please wait for comments by other contributors. If there is a consensus it should be included, let's include. If not, you may try an RfC. My very best wishes (talk) 14:16, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
This smacks of WP:IDONTLIKEIT. No one cared so long as the section "comparing" mass killings made no real comparisons at all. When scholarship is introduced providing a more balanced view and comparison of mass killings, explicitly comparing communist mass killings with non communist or anti-communist mass killings, all the sudden we get accusations of it being a POV fork and "whataboutism". And the irony is the once sentence you complain about is from the same source cited after the first sentence of the first paragraph of this section. Apparently this source (Goldhagen) is fine and dandy so long as it pushes a certain narrative, eh?--C.J. Griffin (talk) 14:25, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
WP:NPOV means "representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic." Placing materials that are not on the subject of the page (and the page is not about the crimes by American imperialists or "right-wing authoritarian regimes") is not enforcing the NPOV, but rather WP:SOAP. My very best wishes (talk) 14:34, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
You don't seem to get it. The section is about comparisons to other mass killings, no? If anything, my additions made sure that other significant points of view were included in this section, and well on topic given the blatant comparisons made between communist and non/anti-communist mass killings in these sources. Prior to that, significant views were omitted to maintain a certain narrative, that communism is by far the greatest killing machine ever. Clearly not all scholars agree, which is why it is important to make sure these views are included so that "all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic" (and you seem to forget the topic of the SECTION is on COMPARISONS to OTHER mass killings, making my additions on topic). If you don't want any real comparisons to other mass killings with all significant viewpoints being considered, then by all means we should discuss removing the section entirely.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 14:44, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
First paragraph in the section is clearly on this subject - no objections. Second paragraph is based primarily on this source, which does tell about mass killings by communists and others, but the chapter is mostly about the importance of declaration of human rights, not about the comparison. Perhaps a proper summary along the lines of this source could be included, but it is mostly about the prevention of mass killings. My very best wishes (talk) 15:02, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict)The POVFORK argument is off base. We're not including comparisons because other mass killings happened; we're including comparisons because reliable sources have made such comparisons. It would only be a POVFORK if it began to verge into a highly detailed treatment of those killings, or if it began to rely on sources which don't deal with mass killings under communist regimes, neither of which has occurred. (Added after edit conflict): the "comparisons" sections itself is entirely appropriate, because comparisons have been made in several substantive reliable sources. It would only be a problem if we were drawing on sources unrelated to MKUCR. Vanamonde (talk) 14:55, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
That is - the first paragraph might reasonably be kept, but going further appears to be an NPOV problem at least.Collect (talk) 15:23, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
Come, even before the reduction you made we're looking at a total of two paragraphs. We've far more content just on the lack of prosecution, for instance, and on motivation, which from my readings of the sources are not topics covered in much greater depth that the comparisons. Vanamonde (talk) 16:31, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
I removed the bit about "American client states" as not being a comparison but a clear assertion about the US having "client states". Unless we wish to imply that the US actively backs and supports mass killings by its "client states", which is rather far afield here. Collect (talk) 17:13, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
But why remove John Henry Coatsworth? That was an academic source which made direct comparisons with political repression and killings in the Eastern Bloc and Latin America. It seems appropriate for the section IMO.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 17:17, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, the removal was not justified, but the problem is even deeper.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:04, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Based on the comments above, it appears that the Aarons materials should be restored, along with Coatsworth. I will see to this later in the day. The removal of Aarons by User:Miacek seems to me to be completely unjustified given it is an academic source, which he smeared as a "fringe author" and an "unreliable source with sensationalist claims", which is complete bullshit and seems to me to be a case of WP:TRIGGERED. This should be restored forthwith at the very least. You're right that problem is even deeper, but at least what I recently added, which was deleted for purely political reasons, did provide some balance to the "comparisons" section which, as it stands now, reads like some POV anti-Communist screed using cherry-picked sources.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 12:33, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Can you please move the whole section to the talk place? It needs a separate discussion and careful rewriting. After that, we will place it into the main article. By the way, I think the title of the section is non-neutral. Majority of sources compare some separate killing events, not "generic Communist killing", and the title should reflect that fact.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:36, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

A NPOV problem is much more serious that you guys think. I already explained that section is NPOV and UNDUE for two reasons.

  • First, it ignores the opinion of scholars who criticise the very idea to combine "MKuCR" into a single category. As an example, read the article authored by David-Fox (and the authors cited therein), which I already mentioned above. That means, the section must explain only a fraction of authors believe the very subject of the article exists.
  • Second, there is a vast amount of literature that discusses these events separately, or does the comparison of one "Communist killing" with some "non-Communist killing", and this discussion is not in a context of Communism. The examples are: CORMAC Ó GRÁDA The ripple that drowns? Twentieth‐century famines in China and India as economic history. 27 May 2008 [[20]]. O'Grada is a renown famine expert. He sees both famine (Great Leap froward famine and Bengal famine) as artificial, but there no even a single word "killing" in the entire article. Another example is Helen Fein's article about Cambodia (Revolutionary and Antirevolutionary Genocides: A Comparison of State Murders in Democratic Kampuchea, 1975 to 1979, and in Indonesia, 1965 to 1966, Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol. 35, No. 4 (Oct., 1993), pp. 796-823). In this article, she does not compare a "Communist mass killing" with another mass killing, but one genocide with another genocide. One more authors, Timothy Snyder, and author of "Bloodlands...", where he studied the events in Europe in XX century, performed a comparative analysis of Hitler's and Stalin's mass killings. Whereas he describe both events as mass killing, he does not make an emphasis on "Communism", instead he mention that Hitler's killing were connected to his imperialism, whereas Stalin's killing occurred under a pretext of modernisation. By the way, he concluded that new data tell that Stalin killed less than early literature says, and the number of victims were smaller than the number of people killed by Hitler. If the due weight will not be given to these points of view (which are mainstream, by the way), the whole article should be considered a POV fork. --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:19, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

PS. By the way, I doubt we need a consensus for placing a POV fork or NPOV tag in the article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:23, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

"he concluded that new data tell that Stalin killed less than early literature says, and the number of victims were smaller than the number of people killed by Hitler." I must say this is something new to me. I'm curious and am going to read this book very soon. To my knowledge, just Holodomor alone killed more people than Holocaust.Miacek (talk) 19:16, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
Snyder is a serious scholar and a specialist in XX century European history, he does not devote a special book to such a subject, because the question who killed more is more appropriate to Guinness book, not to a serious study. The source I am refering to is just a short article there he summarizes his and others' findings. Here is the link for your convenience [[21]]--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:29, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
Thanks a lot, will read it tomorrow.Miacek (talk) 19:36, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
You are welcome. In addition, it is fundamentally incorrect to compare population losses resulted from Soviet famine and mass murder during the Holocaust. "Population losses" include not only those who starved to death, but those who died from diseases that would be unlikely in another situation, the decrease of birth rate etc. For example, the very same Rosefielde who insisted that Holodomor killed around 8-10 million authored an article where he estimated that about 6.1 million premature deaths occurred in democratic Russia in 90s (Steven Rosefielde. Premature Deaths: Russia's Radical Economic Transition in Soviet Perspective Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 53, No. 8 (Dec., 2001), pp. 1159-1176 [[]]). Does it mean democracy killed 6 million in Russia? Definitely no. For those who are familiar with the situation in Russia in 90s (now we are living in much more transparent world than in 30s, so many people know Russia was just an ordinary developing country in 90, and nothing similar to the Holocaust or Hologomor occurred there in 90s) these Rosefielde's estimate mean that his vision of who should be considered as Holodomor victims is pretty loose and vague.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:45, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
I think it's fundamentally unethical to put on a par the population losses under Stalin and under Yeltsin. In the first case, these were completely avoidable and were even deliberately inflicted. In Russia of 1990s, on the other hand, the government did everything that was possible to alleviate the situation, but people still suffered. Some of them even because of their own fault (alcoholism became rampant, drug abuse, STDs due to reckless sexual behaviour.) Even during the worst years of the 1990s (my parents, too, were unemployed in 1992 and we lived from the miserable pension of my granny) was there no widespread malnutrition neither in Russia nor Estonia, unlike under Stalin.Miacek (talk) 20:07, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
I am not a proponent of Stalin, the question is different. I found this Rosefielde's article accidentally when I was looking for literature about Holodomor. I was surprised to learn Rosefielde used similar terminology to describe mass mortality under Yeltsin and Stalin. That means that part of those who died prematurely in 1932-33 (those whom Rosefielde includes in Holodomor death toll) belong to the same category as those who died in 90s (because the Rosefielde used the same methodology). In other words, since we know there were no real mass killing in Yeltsin's Russia (except Chechnya), not all population losses in 1932-33 were the victims or literally starvation. Part of them died as a result of less dramatic causes (as in 90s), but all of them are considered by Rosefielde as the victims of Holodomor. That means we have more reason to trust the authors like Wheatcroft or Snyder, who gove lover figures.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:41, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The generic communism theory is inseparable from the double genocide theory. As Malia wrote, "The full power of the shock, however, was delivered by the unavoidable comparison of this sum with that for Nazism, which at an estimated 25 million turns out to be distinctly less murderous than Communism.... Courtois...spelled out the comparison, thereby making the volume a firebrand.... [He] explicitly equated the "class genocide" of Communism with the "race genocide" of Nazism.... What is more, he raised the question of the "complicity" with Communist crime of the legions of Western apologists for Stalin [etc.]" (Black Book, p. xi) He concludes the French Socialist Party is more complicit with genocide than French fascists and Nazi collaborators. Note that he does not say that the opposition to the generic communism theory comes from Communists, but from liberals whom he also accuses of complicity with genocide.

Incidentally, Valentino distinguished between mass killings he attributed to Communism with "counter-insurgency" mass killings, such as in Afghanistan, which he compared to American supported mass killings in Latin America.

I agree with including the disputed edit. This topic is inseparable from the double gencide theory, which is clear in the writings of Malia and Courtois. As Courtois argued, "the deliberate starvation of a child of a Ukrainian kulak as a result of the famine caused by Stalin's regime "is equal to" the starvation of a Jewish child in the Warsaw ghetto as a result of the famine caused by the Nazi regime." (Black Book, p. 9)

TFD (talk) 12:43, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

Whereas including this edit is absolutely correct, we must avoid giving undue weight to it, and avoid creating an absolutely false impression that mainstream sources compare "generic Communism" with anything else. Most mainstream historians do not compare Communist mass kilings with other killing. They compare one event with another (e.g. Cambodian genocide vs Rwanda genocide), or one regime with another (Hitler vs Stalin), and it is frequently done not in a context of Communism.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:33, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

Moving disputed texts here per Paul Siebert's request above[edit]

Version 1:
Comparison to other mass killings
Daniel Goldhagen says that 20th century Communist regimes "have killed more people than any other regime type."[1] Other scholars in the fields of Communist studies and genocide studies, such as Steven Rosefielde, Benjamin Valentino, and R.J. Rummel, have come to similar conclusions.[2][3][4] Rosefielde states that it is possible the "Red Holocaust" killed more non-combatants than "Ha Shoah" and "Japan's Asian holocaust" combined, and "was at least as heinous, given the singularity of Hitler's genocide." Rosefielde also notes that "while it is fashionable to mitigate the Red Holocaust by observing that capitalism killed millions of colonials in the twentieth century, primarily through man-made famines, no inventory of such felonious negligent homicides comes close to the Red Holocaust total."[4]
Version 2:
Comparison to other mass killings
Daniel Goldhagen says that 20th century Communist regimes "have killed more people than any other regime type."[5] Other scholars in the fields of Communist studies and genocide studies, such as Steven Rosefielde, Benjamin Valentino, and R.J. Rummel, have come to similar conclusions.[2][3][4] Rosefielde states that it is possible the "Red Holocaust" killed more non-combatants than "Ha Shoah" and "Japan's Asian holocaust" combined, and "was at least as heinous, given the singularity of Hitler's genocide." Rosefielde also notes that "while it is fashionable to mitigate the Red Holocaust by observing that capitalism killed millions of colonials in the twentieth century, primarily through man-made famines, no inventory of such felonious negligent homicides comes close to the Red Holocaust total."[4]
Mark Aarons says that right-wing authoritarian regimes and dictatorships backed by Western powers committed atrocities and mass killings that rival the Communist world, citing examples such as the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, the Indonesian mass killings of 1965–1966, the "disappearances" in Guatemala during the civil war, and the assassinations and state terrorism associated with Operation Condor throughout South America.[6] Daniel Goldhagen says that during the last two decades of the Cold War, the number of American client states practicing mass murder outnumbered those of the Soviet Union.[7] Historian John Henry Coatsworth says that the number of repression victims in Latin America alone far surpassed that of the Eastern Bloc during the period 1960 to 1990.[8]
IMO, version 2 is more balanced than the original, as the first appears to be an unbalanced screed against Communism and gives the casual reader the impression that this is the consensus view among scholars, which is clearly not the case. There seems to be an issue with the use of "American client states", but this is the language Goldhagen himself uses. Perhaps it can be put into "quotemarks" like here so as not to be using Wikipedia's voice. Keep in mind that Goldhagen is cited in the first paragraph so I see no undue weight issues citing him again in the second paragraph.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 15:13, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
First of all, before starting to tell the story, we need to properly explain what we are telling about. The concept of "generic Communism" should be properly explained and put in a broader concept, because the whole article is written in the way that implicitly assumes this viewpoint is mainstream (which is not the case).
David-Fox describes Malia's concept of "Generic Communism" as "any party movements founded by intellectuals"[9]. This generic Communism is considered as a greatest evil, and all mass mortality events in Communist states are ascribed to it. This is not the case, David-Fox argues, and he disagrees with the assertion that "Pol Pot's study of Marxism in Paris thus comes across as historically more important than the gulf between radical Soviet industrialism and the Khmer Rouge's murderous anti-urbanism." (ibid) Taking into account that the "generic Communism" category is not mainstream, we have to provide an exhaustive list of its notable proponents. I think, Malia and Courtois should be in this list. Valentino should be there with reservations: he defines Communist mass killing as a separate type of mass killing that occurs when authorities are trying to perform some dramatic social transformations. In that sense, not every killing performed by a Communist regime is "Communist mass killing". Thus, according to Valentino, killing in Afghanistan was just a part of an ordinary anti-partisan warfare, not different from what Americans were doing in Vietnam. Rummel also didn't share generic Communism as a culprit. According to him, totalitarianism, not only Communism was a primary evil.
Too much focus on numbers also should be avoided, because the numbers blur the picture: Communist regimes had been controlling a much bigger part of the world during much longer time than other totalitarian or authoritarian regimes had, so if we look at the relative figures, their crimes look much less impressive (with exception of Cambodia). I propose to discuss figures in a separate new section (see below).
The main part of the section should be devoted to what majority of publications are writing about: a comparison of separate events and regimes with other separate events and regimes (both Communist and non-Communist).
If this proposal is accepted, I can participate in writing a draft. This section should be big and detailed, because a lot of sources are available on that subject.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:49, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree with the need for a rewrite, but that will take quite some time. As the section stands now it is blatantly POV and based largely on one source (Rosefielde). Immediate options could include leaving it as is and adding a neutrality template, reinserting the disputed material (and it seems more editors are weighing in on the issue, agreeing that the material should be reinserted), or just removing the section altogether for the time being.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 19:47, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree the text can be re-inserted, and the tag added, however, the article has been kept frozen in a terrible state for 5+ years, so it can wait a little bit more. The more work is done here, on the talk page, the less chances that the article will get frozen again. I myself abstain from editing the article to provide as less pretexts for an edit war as possible. Meanwhile, can you please take a look at the lead version proposed by me? We almost achieved consensus about it, and if you are ok with it, I'll replace the current text (which is non neutral and contains several distorted facts) with a new version.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:07, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Yeah I'm okay with it, although I'd replace "Mass killings and mass mortality events occurred under many twentieth century Communist regimes" with "Mass killings and mass mortality events occurred under some twentieth century Communist regimes", given that even Valentino agrees that MOST Communist regimes did not engage in mass killing.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 20:13, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I'm also considering undoing this edit by Miacek which was clearly ideologically driven given his comments and ad hominem, with justifications for removal which do not hold water given it is an academic source. It would at least restore one dissenting scholarly voice to this section. This edit would be the altered version which removed controversial commentary by Goldhagen about "American client states", so I'm hoping it will not result in edit warring. Thoughts?--C.J. Griffin (talk) 20:27, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
What about "under twentieth century Communist regimes"? That implies neither "many" nor "some" and is totally neutral.
Regarding restoration of the text, I propose to put everything in the draft on the talk page, discuss it here, and put it into the article after consensus has been achieved. That looks slower, but it may save our time considerably.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:36, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I can live with that. Regarding the draft, it would look like this (I guess this can be considered version 3):

Comparison to other mass killings[edit]

Comparison to other mass killings

Daniel Goldhagen says that 20th century Communist regimes "have killed more people than any other regime type."[10] Other scholars in the fields of Communist studies and genocide studies, such as Steven Rosefielde, Benjamin Valentino, and R.J. Rummel, have come to similar conclusions.[2][3][4] Rosefielde states that it is possible the "Red Holocaust" killed more non-combatants than "Ha Shoah" and "Japan's Asian holocaust" combined, and "was at least as heinous, given the singularity of Hitler's genocide." Rosefielde also notes that "while it is fashionable to mitigate the Red Holocaust by observing that capitalism killed millions of colonials in the twentieth century, primarily through man-made famines, no inventory of such felonious negligent homicides comes close to the Red Holocaust total."[4]

Mark Aarons says that right-wing authoritarian regimes and dictatorships backed by Western powers committed atrocities and mass killings that rival the Communist world, citing examples such as the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, the Indonesian mass killings of 1965–1966, the "disappearances" in Guatemala during the civil war, and the assassinations and state terrorism associated with Operation Condor throughout South America.[6]
--C.J. Griffin (talk) 20:42, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Don't you mind me to edit this draft directly?--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:59, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Yeah go right ahead.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 22:22, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
No, we do not have consensus about it. At least three contributors (Collect, me and Miacek) happened to disagree based on their edits and discussion above. My very best wishes (talk) 22:52, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I hope you did not mean we need a consensus for changing a draft on the talk page. --Paul Siebert (talk) 01:30, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
Collect is largely responsible for the third version above. Even though I strongly prefer version 2, my original version, I'm pushing for this one in an effort to find consensus on the issue. As it stands now, it is a blatantly one sided diatribe with no dissenting scholars present.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 23:31, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
This is just a bunch of opinions. Are they notable? I would suggest to include only individuals we have wikipages about. In addition, the Comparison of Nazism and Stalinism and concept of totalitarianism are notable and should be mentioned. Everything else could be excluded. My very best wishes (talk) 00:38, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
We have a WP:RS policy. Let's not establish separate rules for each article separately. Secondary peer-reviewed sources that have been cited by others (desirably) in google scholar are quite good. A wikipage warrants notability, but tells nothing about reliability. --Paul Siebert (talk) 01:30, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
The title of the section is "Comparison to other mass killings", not "Comparison of Nazism and Stalinism". If the latter were the case, the entire section should be deleted as it goes beyond that even without my edits. But speaking of that narrow comparison, I can already think of much needed additions from Wheatcroft and Snyder on this issue in order to counterbalance the extreme views of Rosefielde and Rummel (the latter's piece was published on the right-wing propaganda cite WorldNetDaily no less - if anything, that should be removed! Talk about shoddy scholarship!), which would paint a very different picture than the one at present. And it seems desperate to insist that scholars have their own wiki article in order to be included here. How anyone could claim the scholarly Aarons source is not notable but the Rummel screed in WND is cannot claim to be objective on this issue, this is pure WP:IDONTLIKEIT at work here. Your justifications for purging this material are getting more ridiculous and the consensus seems to be gaining momentum in the opposite direction.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 01:05, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
C.J. Griffin, many (if not majority of) sources compare not generic Communism with anything else, but one regime with another regime, or one event with another event. In other words, majority of specialised studies do not aimed to answer the question what was worse: Communism of, e.g. Nazism, and simply avoid this question as frivolous. Accordingly, I see the goal of this section not in answering a question if Communism was better or worse than anything else, but to put the events we are talking about i a broader historical context.
Yes, the sources you cited should be used in this section. In addition the list should include (besides David-Fox):
  • JOEL MOKYR and CORMAC Ó GRADA What do people die of during famines: the Great Irish Famine in comparative perspective. European Review of Economic History, Vol. 6, No. 3 (DECEMBER 2002), pp. 339-363. Oxford University Press. Stable URL: [[22]] The authors compare Irish famine with modern famines.
  • Cormac ó Gráda. The Ripple That Drowns? Twentieth-Century Famines in China and India as Economic History. The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 61, No. S1, Feeding the Masses: Plenty, Want and the Distribution of Food and Drink in Historical Perspective (Aug.,2008), pp. 5-37. Wiley on behalf of the Economic History Society Stable URL: [[23]]. As the title says, a comparison of man made Bengal Famine and Great Leap forward famine is provided.
  • Helen Fein. Revolutionary and Antirevolutionary Genocides: A Comparison of State Murders in Democratic Kampuchea, 1975 to 1979, and in Indonesia, 1965 to 1966. Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Oct., 1993), pp. 796-823. Cambridge University Press Stable URL: [[24]] The title is self-explanatory
  • Robert Cribb. Genocide in the Non-Western World: Implications for Holocaust Studies. in Genocide: Cases, Comparisons and Contemporary Debates. Ed.: Steven L. B. Jensen. ISSN 1602-8031 ISBN 87-989305-0-8 p. 123-138. Some quotes:
"When Chinese and Cambodian communists exterminated landlords and conservative intellectuals, and when the Indonesian army exterminated communists, they were not merely killing political enemies, they were seeking to destroy forever a particular kind of Chinese, or Cambodian, or Indonesian identity. The quasi-ethnic nature of this extermination is particularly clear if we remember how important class background was in choosing Chinese and Cambodian victims, and how the continuing persecution of communists in Indonesia targeted not only former communists but their families as well."
"We can only understand the violence done to Indonesian communists if we examine the strained political atmosphere which they contributed to shaping in the early 1960s. We can only understand the violence of the Chinese communists if we examine the violence of the Kuomintang government in the 1930s. We can only understand the violence of the Khmer Rouge if we understand the desperation of life in Cambodian villages in the 1950s and 1960s."
  • René Lemarchand. Comparing the Killing Fields: Rwanda, Cambodia and Bosnia. (ibid, p. 140-173). This quote seems very interesting:
"Perhaps the most striking common denominator at the root of these genocides is that they were all rationalized in terms of ideologies borrowed from the West. Although their real impact on the cognitive maps of the killers is open to debate, there is little question that they contributed in no small way to providing offi cial justifi cation for their crimes. Democracy defi ned as the rule of the majority, nationalism and Marxism-Leninism served as the overarching ideological framework for mass murder in Rwanda, Bosnia and Cambodia. The fi rst became the legitimizing myth of the Rwanda revolution, and the official ideological subtext for resisting the Tutsi “counter-revolution”; the second is inseparable from the ethnic surgery performed in the name of Greater Serbia; the third gave its characteristic anti-imperialist-cum-populist stamp to the Cambodian carnage." It seems the author believe generic Communism is a part of a broader category: Western ideology as whole.
(I have to take a break. Will continue later)
  • Review: Eric D. Weitz. Second-Generation Comparative Research on Genocide. Reviewed Work(s): Genocide in the Age of the Nation State by Mark Levene; The Dark Sideof Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing by Michael Mann; The Killing Trap: Genocide inthe Twentieth Century by Manus I. Midlarsky; Purifier et détruire: Usages politiques desmassacres et génocides by Jacques Sémelin; Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide inthe Twentieth Century by Benjamin A. Valentino; A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Raceand Nation by Review by: Scott Straus. World Politics, Vol. 59, No. 3 (Apr., 2007), pp. 476-501 [[25]]
--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:16, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
Those are some great quotes and such material should find its way into the article. It is certainly more in depth and puts these historical events into proper context, much more than "The killing machine that is Marxism" and other such nonsense which is cited throughout this article.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 04:36, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
We do have a page about Mark Aarons, and he is known as a left-wing activist and author of books like The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People. I am not sure this is such a good source. My very best wishes (talk) 03:30, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
He co-authored this book with John Loftus, a former prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Nazi War Crimes Unit. This book was cited 77 times, according to google scholar. By the way, what do you have against Jews? --Paul Siebert (talk) 04:00, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
Being a left-wing activist somehow disqualifies him from being a legitimate scholar? But being published in a reactionary propaganda rag known for conspiracy theories does not, apparently. Or how about Robert Conquest being a member of the Information Research Department? If this is the best you can do to disqualify Aarons as a reliable source for this article I would say you have failed miserably.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 04:36, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
This doesn't work two ways, folks. On one hand you're keen on dismissing everywhere scholars who point at higher estimates of Stalin's victims, claiming there are newer and better sources that point at lower victims yet you try to make up a whole paragraph based on just one non-scholar source with clear political affiliations. That's not WP:DUE. And C.J. Griffin, please drop those personal assaults of me slandering anubody, pushing an agenda, etc. These don't help to further your cause.Miacek (talk) 14:20, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
Apples and oranges. The works of Robert Conquest, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and others which gave huge estimates (often citing the aforementioned as sources for their own estimates) prior to the opening of Soviet archives have largely been discredited on that issue. The same cannot be said of the sources I have provided, even if you disagree with the political affiliations of one of them.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 02:31, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
C.J. Griffin, you yourself compare apples and oranges: Conquest was a scientist, Solzhenitsyn was just a writer. By the way, Conquest later conceded his estimate was wrong. BTW, your point has one more important aspect: we should not treat old and new estimates as equally trustworthy figures. In connection to that, you may be interested to look at the table in the GULAG article: I made it several years ago, and I was surprised to see how large the dispersion of earlier estimate was (from 2 to 20+ millions), and how it has gradually converged to modern consensus figure. Anyway, let's finish with the lead, and after that I'll focus on this section. I have an idea on how to present the sources, I'll try to modify this draft. By the way, I support you idea to move the section to the talk page (remove it, temporarily, from the article)--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:48, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
Then go ahead and remove it. There are several versions above to choose from and modify; if such a section is to be restored it needs to be rewritten entirely IMO. Oh, I should clarify that the only reason I mention Conquest and Solzhenitsyn in the same breath is that it seems these two are often cited by authors of popular histories as authorities on the subject of Soviet repression and mortality rates, while often neglecting the much more reliable scholarly work of Wheatcroft, Getty and even Tauger. This is why so many books and Stalin biographies that line the shelves of bookstores still claim Stalin murdered more than 20 million people, which any Sovietologist worth his salt will tell you is bullshit.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 17:28, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
This argument seems reasonable. I am currently reading the literature and thinking about this section, and what is becoming clear for me: the "Comparison" section may be written from three totally different points of view (which may be presented in parallel):
(i) Communist regimes killed XXXX million people, other regimes killed YYYY million people. The only goal such a comparison (implicit or explicit, no matter) is to show who was the greatest XX century evil. This is more appropriate to Guinness book, not to serious article. It is also acceptable for pushing a very concrete political idea (and Wikipedia is not a good place for that). Finally, it is simply misleading, because the regimes that controls greater countries during a longer time may lead to greater total deaths, but, I believe, you will agree that the event that lead to a loss of, for example, 50% of some group of population was much more horrible than the event that lead to "just" 5% loss (no matter how large the losses were in absolute numbers). You yourself give relative figures to demonstrate a horror of Soviet repressions in Estonia, and, I suspect, you do that because the absolute figures would be much less impressive. My conclusion: since several sources do perform such comparison, some space should be devoted to them in this section, but that should not be the major part of it, and the section should not create an impression this methodological approach is mainstream.
(ii) Communist regimes had some common features and some specifics features, and the question about the relative role of Communism and other factors in the onset of mass killing is a subject of scientific discussion. In connection to that, one more source (Eric D. Weitz, discusses "second generation genocide scholars") makes several good points, which have to be reflected.
(iii) Radicalised non-Western societies borrow some Western ideologies to justify social transformations they perform. Some regimes may borrow Communist phraseology, but there are actually more commonality than differences between Communist and non-Communist mass killing that occur in geographically close countries (as an example, see a comparison between Cambodian, Chineese and Indonesian genocides).
--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:29, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I can agree that simply a "comparison" section could be completely removed. The actual issue here is how the communist ideology or system was related to mass murder, and that must be included. If in discussing this question the source makes a comparison with other regimes, that's fine, but it belong to other sections of the page. My very best wishes (talk) 15:47, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
The section should just be removed for the time being until there is a significant rewrite.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 02:31, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
I would reply to Paul that Soviet repressions were quite "impressive" in any terms; Estonia's population losses were perhaps third in Europe after Poland and Belarus (if we include losses due to the large emigration wave of 1944).Miacek (talk) 16:16, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
I think you are not seriously comparing emigration and repressions. Those who emigrated did not die, and, by and large, even did'n suffer. In addition, most emigrants were people who were fighting in waffenSS, their families and Nazi collaborators; it is quite understandable they were trying to escape to the west. Although I agree that most of them were not sincere Nazi supporters, and that they supported Nazi against what they thought was the greater evil, objectively they were fighting on the Axis side, and this is not a thing one can make an emphasis at. It would be better just to forget that: You are not talking about poor Estonians who were bravely fighting against the Allies, and we will not blame Estonians for that (because, I agree, most of them were doing that not because they were sincere Nazi supporters).--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:36, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
PS I've just checked the article about Estonian deportations, which, I suppose, is being carefully edited by the Estonians themselves (because other users are hardly interested in that narrow subject), so the figures presented there can be considered the highest possible value. The article says 33,000 people were deported, which is about 2-3% of total population, and 2,199 killed. Not impressive compared with, for example Belorussia. --Paul Siebert (talk) 16:45, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
I strongly disagree with your views in the last comment. The ones who fled were by no means mostly Nazi collaborators, it included the almost complete intellectual elite of the pre-war era Estonia who clearly sympathized more with the US-British bloc (already in 1930s), but fled because the 1940-1941 Soviet occupation had been simply so brutal. Also simply wealthy peasants fled. My maternal relatives who also tried to flee but couldn't might have been a bit different (though they were of Estonian-Russian mixed descent) given my grandfather had served in some German border battallion but deserted, nevertheless, most of the emigrants had no Nazi connections whatsoever, just the fear of the Soviets.Miacek (talk) 16:46, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
A viewpoint of you, Estonian WP editors, are advocating is sometimes hard to understand. I recall one editor insisted the deeds of brave Estonians, who stopped Allied advance on the Eastern front, to be reflected in the WWII article, and you tell there were no (unwilling) Nazi supporters in Estonia. The number of Estonians who were fighting on the Nazi side was pretty high, and, in relative figures, it was enormous, so I am pretty sure many of those who escaped to the West, although not everybody, of course, were either collaborators or supporters. One way or the another, this is a very shaky subject, and it would be correct not to open this can of worms: the Soviets treated Baltic peoples badly, but what happened in the Baltic states in 1941-45 is bu no means a glorious page of your history. The best thing would be to forget it (because the border between a national independence hero and a Nazi war criminal is thin and elusive in this particular case). I suggest to stop this discussion, at least here, because, per WP:FORUM, we cannot use this talk page for that. You are welcome to continue on my talk page.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:13, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
P.S. By the way, if you are thinking in these terms, the greatest population losses the Baltic states suffered in the XXI century: emigration to EU is enormous now. Don't you agree? :-)--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:13, 14 May 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ Goldhagen (2009) Worse than War p. 54: " the past century communist regimes, led and inspired by the Soviet Union and China, have killed more people than any other regime type."
  2. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference Valentino was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference Killing Machine was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ a b c d e f Rosefielde (2009) Red Holocaust pp. 225–226.
  5. ^ Goldhagen (2009) Worse than War p. 54: " the past century communist regimes, led and inspired by the Soviet Union and China, have killed more people than any other regime type."
  6. ^ a b Mark Aarons (2007). "Justice Betrayed: Post-1945 Responses to Genocide." In David A. Blumenthal and Timothy L. H. McCormack (eds). The Legacy of Nuremberg: Civilising Influence or Institutionalised Vengeance? (International Humanitarian Law). Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. ISBN 9004156917 pp. 71 & 80–81
  7. ^ Daniel Goldhagen (2009). Worse Than War. PublicAffairs. ISBN 1586487698 p.537
    • "During the 1970s and 1980s, the number of American client states practicing mass-murderous politics exceeded those of the Soviets."
  8. ^ Coatsworth, John Henry (2012). "The Cold War in Central America, 1975–1991". In Leffler, Melvyn P.; Westad, Odd Arne. The Cambridge History of the Cold War (Volume 3). Cambridge University Press. p. 230. ISBN 978-1107602311. 
  9. ^ Michael David-Fox. On the Primacy of Ideology. Soviet Revisionists and Holocaust Deniers (In Response to Martin Malia). Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 5.1 (2004) 81-105.
  10. ^ Goldhagen (2009) Worse than War p. 54: " the past century communist regimes, led and inspired by the Soviet Union and China, have killed more people than any other regime type."

Proposed causes[edit]

I think the whole section is NPOV. It should be renamed into a Methodology". It should explain that:

  • Only a fraction of authors (a list is short, and the exhaustive list should be presented) believe "MKuCR" is a separate phenomenon. It should be explained that other authors openly criticize this point of view.
  • It should explain how the the authors who believe "MKuCR" were a single phenomenon count the victims, and what categories are included. It should be explained that the major amount of victims are victims of famine in the countries that were poor and prone to famine. It should be explained that the idea to describe famine as mass killing is not universally supported, and for each famine the opinia should be presented about its intentionality (there still are debates over Holodomor, Volga famine is not considered mass killing by majority of authors, there are little debates over Cambodian genocidal famine, Chinese famine in general is not considered genocide, etc). It should be explained that proponents of the "MKuCR" add civil war victims to the total "MKuCR" death toll, etc.
  • Causes of all major killings and other mass mortality cases should be briefly explained from the point if view of historians who study these events separately. --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:49, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Under the circumstances, I suggest a "historiography" section, in which these disagreements can be discussed. This would then allow us to divide the rest of the article by causes (state killing versus famine etc), thus avoiding the problem of violating NPOV by following the structure set out by only a few of the sources. Vanamonde (talk) 04:29, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
It seems it is very close to what I proposed below. The only difference is I propose a division not by causes, but by categories, which is not the same, because, for example, the death from hunger may have different causes (genocidal famine, unintentional famine as a result of different causes, etc.) Different historians may disagree over the causes for the deaths belonging to the same category.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:51, 13 May 2018 (UTC)


I think the lead has serious problems. Below I describe few of them.

  • "The higher death estimates range in the tens of millions, while some scholars, counting only direct government actions, use lower totals. In his summary of the estimates inclusive of indirect government acts, in The Black Book of Communism, Martin Malia suggested a total death toll of between 85 and 100 million people."

These two sentences, if they are understood in a context of each other are misleading. 85 million are not the victims of direct government actions. This should be fixed simply because this is false. Second, Malia is not an author of the Black Book, he wrote a foreword to the English translation to it. Malia, and Courtois are controversial authors, and both Malia's and Courtois introductions are severely criticized, so they cannot represent scholarly consensus. The very BB is called "provocative" by other authors. That mean, the lead uses the data from the most dubious part of a very provocative book, and we pretend it summarizes mainstream views!

  • "In particular, the number of comparative studies suggesting causes is limited. " This statement is blatantly false. There is a vast amount of comparative studies, but they compare one regime (or one event) with another (Hitler vs Stalin, Cambodian genocide vs Rwandian genocide, Chinese famine vs Bengal famine). The do not do that in a context of Communism, which means the correct statement is as follows:
"The number of comparative studies suggesting a common causes of between different mass mortality events in different Communists states s limited. Most authors discuss these events in a broader historical context."

That statement would be correct. I am intended to fix that, please, provide me a reason why I should not do that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:02, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

The word "total" is pretty clear, and most people would think of "total" as including "all" and not "more than all" nor "some". Are you saying that Malia did not state those figures? If so - who did come up with the 865 million total. As long as we attribute Malia's statement to Malia - why is there a problem? Opinions clearly ascribed and stated are generally usable on Wikipedia. And recall this article is still able to be protected if WP:CONSENSUS is violated. Collect (talk) 18:14, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
Mmm, I say what I say, namely, that (i) Malia does not reflect consensus, and his opinion is highly criticised by others, and (ii) 85 million do include famine, civil war and disease victims, which are not considered as victims of direct government actions by other authors. (iii) Malia's opinion can and should be present in the article, it should be attributed to him and placed into a proper context in the article, not in the lead.
I expect from you an explanation of why this statement should be in the lead, and what is the reason to claim Malia expresses a scholarly consensus on this subject. A threat with a new round of a edit war is hardly productive.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:27, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
I am glad you have no objection regarding the second sentence ("In particular, the number of comparative studies ...").--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:50, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
I think the lead could be slightly fixed, but not in the way suggested by Paul Siebert.
  1. In particular, the number of comparative studies suggesting causes is limited... This should be completely excluded. We should not tell anything the reasons/causes of the killings unless these reasons are clearly and specifically stated in the body of page. The causes can be included, but then we need to clearly and specifically summarize what they actually are - according to the body of the page.
  2. Let's keep it more factual, i.e. keep the numbers of victims (agree with Collect) and add more numbers. My very best wishes (talk) 20:49, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
Taking into account that, in opinion of many scholars, figures are blurring the factual side of this story, your #2 looks somewhat self-contradicting...--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:53, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I would much prefer replacing Malia, who is after all synthesizing the various sources in the BBOC without regard to varied methodology, with multiple estimates from within the scholarly works. We don't have to provide a total, and if there's better estimates for specific phenomena related to MKUCR (ie for the famines, the gulags, etc) we should present those instead. Vanamonde (talk) 04:36, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I've proposed a new version below. Presenting various estimates is still non-neutral, because only those authors provide their estimates who support the "generic Communist" concept. Other authors, who focus on these events separately, do not play this game at all. To present their viewpoint, we will have to engage in synthesis. Upper estimate (Malia) can be given, but no universally accepted low estimate exist, because the discussion about the numbers is directly likned with the discussion on who should be considered as victims. It is better to move it into the main article. --Paul Siebert (talk) 06:52, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I think an obvious problem is that we only list specific numbers for higher death totals and not the lower ones. A secondary problem is that we're probably putting WP:UNDUE weight on the Black Book of Communism by making it the sole source cited specifically in that section of the lead - it is a very controversial book and, therefore, not one that should be given such heavy weight. A paragraph or two devoted to it further down in the article is fine; making it the sole source mentioned by name in the lead obviously is not. --Aquillion (talk) 04:48, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, but there is a concrete reason for that. The total figures come from the authors who believe there was a significant commonality between all mass mortality events in Communist states. The authors who do not believe Communist ideology played a significant role in that prefer to discuss these events separately. Usually, these authors do not use terminology like "mass killing" etc, and prefer more neutral words "premature deaths", for example. These authors simply do not think it makes sense to add number of deaths in China, USSR and Cambodia, because to them the commonality between Cambodia and USSR is less obvious that, for example, between Cambodia, Indonesia and Rwanda. As a result, the way this article is organized creates prerequisites for its intrinsic bias.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:00, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

NPOV lead version[edit]

Another problem in the lead is that it devotes too much attention to cumulative figures: it gives two estimates by different authors, although a calculation of the death toll is not the key point of the article.

Below, a version of the lead is presented where most NPOV issues are resolved.

"Mass killings and mass mortality events occurred under twentieth century Communist regimes. As a rule, they were a result of social transformations and occurred during civil wars, political repression campaigns, persecution of some social or ethnic groups, as well as of famine and disease. The highest death tolls occurred under Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong's China, and in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Several authors (Malia, Courtois) attribute these deaths directly to Communism, and they claim the combined Communist death toll amounted up to 70 million. Other historian do not consider generic Communism as a sole or a primary cause of those events. Most historical studies describe these events separately and in a broader historical context."

--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:29, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

No, this lead replaces factual information by some kind of debate, i.e. "social transformations", etc. My very best wishes (talk) 20:51, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
"Social transformations" are taken from Valentino and Snyder.
"Information" is not an argument, because the lead has to provide a complete and balanced information. The present version provides just a minority viewpoint, it distorts it and present a minority views as mainstream ones, as I already explained elsewhere.
You argumentation does not address my reasonable concern and is frivolous. --Paul Siebert (talk) 21:08, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
"Most historical studies describe these events separately and in a broader historical context." What does it mean? Which events are described separately? Stalinism and Great Terror? My very best wishes (talk) 22:42, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
I believe your last question was not serious: Great Terror occurred is Stalinist USSR, so these two things can be compared only as a part and as whole. As I already explained, Great Terror is usually discussed as a separate event (not in a context of Cambodian Genocide, for example). Moreover, many author explicitly object to the idea these were some commonalities between these two events. According to David-Fox,
"Malia thus counters by coining the category of "generic Communism," defined everywhere down to the common denominator of party movements founded by intellectuals. (Pol Pot's study of Marxism in Paris thus comes across as historically more important than the gulf between radical Soviet industrialism and the Khmer Rouge's murderous anti-urbanism.) "
Furthermore, Stalin's Great terror, collectivisation and famine are compared with Nazi killings (I provided a link to Snyder's article, another comparison was made by Wheatcroft). Cambodian genocide is compared with Indonesian genocide. Chinese famine with Bengal famine. In all comparisons, Communism does not serve as a key factor.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:37, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
No, it is precisely the view by the majority of sources that the "Communism" political system (in the Soviet and other versions) was the key factor in all these killings. How and why exactly is a matter of debate. This is just like the Nazism was the "key factor" in the Holocaust. Other genocides (Armenian, etc.) had other "key factors" and therefore belong to other pages. My very best wishes (talk) 01:28, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Can you provide a source for that claim? TFD (talk) 01:44, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I second. That Communism was the key factor, is the Malia's "generic Communism" concept. It has been criticized by David-Fox (see, for example, the above quote), and I found no criticism of David-Fox's opinion in the literature. Kiernan (a leading expert in Cambodia) does not see Communism as a key factor of Cambodian Genocide (Communism was just one out of three factors). Famine experts do not see Communism as a sole key factor of Chinese famine, and so on.
I would see truly good sources that support this your claim. So far, I presented many sources, and you presented nothing.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:00, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Those are sources currently used on this page in section Proposed causes. My very best wishes (talk) 02:46, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
If they are mainstream, you will be quite capable of providing needed references as I requested in the "Is "Generic Communism" concept mainstream?" section.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:03, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Malia says, "On the one side, commentators in the liberal Le Monde argue that it is illegitimate to speak of a single Communist movement from Phnom Penh to Paris. Rather, the rampage of the Khmer Rouge is like the ethnic massacres of third-world Rwanda; or the "rural" Communism of Asia is radically different from the "urban" Communism of Europe; or Asian Communism is really only anticolonial nationalism.... In answer, commentators in the conservative Le Figaro, spurning reductionist sociology as a device to exculpate Communism, reply that Marsist-Leninist regimes are cast in the same ideological and organizational mold throughout the world." (Black Book, p. xiv)[26] So he specifically does not say that there is consensus in mainstream scholarship that Communism is the "key factor" in all these killings. It would be like assuming that whatever the talk show hosts on Fox News Channel were saying represented mainstream academic consensus. TFD (talk) 03:05, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

Leaving all unsubstantiated statement regarding "mainstreamness" beyond the scope, do you have any comments on the proposed lead text?--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:10, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

It's shocking how people still try to whitewash communism's dozens of millions of victims under various pretexts such as the ridiculous claim the Khmer Rouge genocide was not communist. Of course these all were forms of one "generic" communism. All these attempts to construct socialist society were based on the same idols - Marx, Engels, Lenin - and the results everywhere were surprisingly similar.Miacek (talk) 04:45, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

Miacek, we are not whitewashing or blaming something, we are trying to reflect what mainstream reliable sources say.
Remember, incorrectly blaming someone in a real crime is tantamount to whitewashing someone else. Thus, recent blaming of Communism in millions and millions deaths coincides with whitewashing of Nazism. For example, I know that in some post-Communist countries many Nazi criminals are currently being whitewashed under the pretext that they were fighting against Communism, which is a greater evil than Nazism was. Is it the result you want to achieve? I doubt in that. You are a quite reasonable person.
I already explained that, and I reiterate it: when I claim that Nazism killed "just" 6 million Jews, not 12 million, I am not whitewashing Nazism, I am telling truth about its crimes. If I claim that Stalinism during Great Purge executed "just" 1.2 million people , not 5 million, as we were being told previously, I am not whitewashing Stalinism.
If the concept of "generic Communism" is criticised by mainstream sources, we have to reflect that, no matter whether one likes it or not.--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:04, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Just read what professionals write about the causes of Khmer Rouge genocide. Kiernan monograph, for example. --Paul Siebert (talk) 06:08, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Support new version I don't claim extensive knowledge about the subject; however it appears clearly that there is a scholarly debate on this topic and thus we must represent that. Arguments against appear personal beliefs. If there is a debate, that is what we must present per NPOV (not "factual information", which appears just one point of view and a death toll that varies depending on how you count it, and which has been criticized) Galobtter (pingó mió) 06:31, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
  • This is generally an improvement. However, a few concerns: per WP:CLAIM, that isn't a word we should be using; I'm still not seeing where Courtois makes the 100 million claim; I'm hesitant about the "social transformations", but that bit can simply be excised; I'm not a fan of presenting Malia in isolation (yes, I know we do now, but that's because that was an incremental improvement on the previous version) and I would suggest once again that we present several estimates in the lead, including for the large single events. Vanamonde (talk) 06:52, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, BB tells about 94 million, but I think Valentino's estimates (70 million) are more recent and trustworthy. Corrected.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:38, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I need to refresh my memory, but it seems to be the Valentino's words. He believes a specific feature of Communist killings that they were a result of social transformations. Snyder says the same, but he, as many good specialists, speak only about his own subject, Stalinism. --Paul Siebert (talk) 07:04, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
The whitewashing of Nazi crimes in some post-Communist countries such as Estonia and Latvia where it indeed takes place is a topic of its own and does not justify downplaying the communisms's victims here.Miacek (talk) 10:03, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Is "correction mo a smaller side" always "downplaying"? If Snyder says the scale of Stalinism victims was smaller than we believed earlier. Does it means he is "downplaying" or "whitewashing" anything? Again, if a newer study says Hitler killed 6 million Jews, not 8 million, does it necessarily "downplay" Nazism crimes?--Paul Siebert (talk) 11:58, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Taking into account that C.J. Griffin also supports the proposed texts (with corrections), I conclude a consensus has been achieved about the proposed version of the lead. If anybody has any substantiated arguments against this version or wants to propose additional changes, please do that in next two days, because I am planning to implement the proposed change on Tuesday.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:07, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. For example, it tells: "Other scholars criticize this "generic Communism" concept as politically motivated. Most historical studies describe these events separately and in a broader historical context." What does it mean? What is "generic Communism"? Which events are "described separately"? Which studies? Can anyone explain? This all reads like nonsense to me. My very best wishes (talk) 03:37, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, this sentence is not completely neutral. I modified it. Regarding the sources, see, e.g., the sources cited by me and others in the "Comparison to other mass killings" sub-section on this talk page.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:47, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
This suppose to be a "summary" of the page. Right now it explicitly contradicts content on the page ("States where mass killings have occurred" followed by the long list pf specific countries). I am not saying current version of the lead is great, but this needs to be summarized differently (I can try if that's OK). My very best wishes (talk) 13:46, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
No, it does not. It says "The highest death tolls occurred under", which does not imply there were no killings in other states. I consider this argument illogical and frivolous. --Paul Siebert (talk) 16:55, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
We could write something like this:
The killing of a large numbers of non-combatants has occurred in a number of communist states. The highest death tolls occurred in the Soviet Union under Stalin, in the People's Republic of China under Mao, and in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. The estimates of the number of non-combatants killed by these three regimes alone range from a low of 21 million to a high of 70 million.[nb 1] There have also been killings on a smaller scale in North Korea, Vietnam, and some Eastern European and African countries. These killings may fit a definition of mass murder, democide, politicide, "classicide", "crimes against humanity", or loosely defined genocide. The estimated total death toll in all communist countries varies widely and reach 100 million people, according to higher estimates.
  1. ^ Valentino p. 91 [1]

Please make corrections. I am leaving out the "causes" as something that would require more discussion. My very best wishes (talk) 16:18, 14 May 2018 (UTC)

  • Seems like a reasonable suggestion.Miacek (talk) 16:25, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
I disagree, because the text does not resolve the main flaw: the figures and terminology are not the major question most sources are discussing. This version is deceptve, because it conceals the the fact that the topic is vaguely defined and consensus is a subject of debates and controversies, it is superficial, and it is more appropriate to some list article like "List of all killing and mass mortality events in Communist countries"--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:55, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
The subject is not superficial because the politically-motivated killings and deaths under the communist regimes are discusses as a phenomenon in a number of publications. Should this be refined/clarified? How? My very best wishes (talk) 17:51, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
That question requires a separate discussion, which is marginally relevant to the subject of this section.
Going back to the subject, I still cannot understand which concrete aspects your version of the lead addresses better than the one we are discussing (the one on the top).
The consensus version (on the top) has a quite harmonic structure. In the first sentence, it describes the subject ("killings did occur"). In the second sentence, it outlines modern vision of their mechanism. In the third sentence, it lists three the most notable examples. Then it gives a range of estimate (there is no lowest cumulative estimate, by the way). Then it tells about the key point of disagreement among authors. In summary, it fits a classical scheme: What? How? Who and where? How much? What is unclear? That gives a reader all essential information on the subject.
What does a reader understand from your version? First, they will learn that "A lot of people were killed by Communist regimes" (by the way, the terminology the sentence uses is not universally accepted: famines, by and large, are not considered "killing"). Then the reader sees the third sentence from the first version (ok, I am glad our visions coincide). Then a reader again learns that the number was huge (third sentence). Then the reader learns that some other killings have occurred somewhere else (fourth sentence). Then the reader will learn that these events have different names (fifth sentence). Finally, a reader learns that the combined number of victims was probably very big. In summary, the narrative is jumping back and forward, the whole story creates an impression that the main things a reader need to know about the subject are the figures and terminology. Do you sincerely believe this text is a well written?
To summarise, this is a very non-informative and superficial text focused only on figures and terminology. Are we writing for accountants and lawyers only?
--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:27, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
  • You disagree with my new version, I disagree with your new version. That's fine. There are currently two explicit votes here, one "pro" and one "against". We simply do not have consensus. Per WP:Consensus, it means old version should stay, or one of us should suggest something new that would be agreeable. You also have another option to change the status quo: please start an RfC about your version. My very best wishes (talk) 02:03, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
Alas, this type arguments are directly discouraged by WP:VOTE. WP:CONSENSUS does not imply you or I have a right of veto, it works in a different way: I provide logical arguments, you provide logical counter-arguments to my arguments, and so on. I made a detailed analysis of the version proposed by you, and I had persuasively explained why concretely your version is not satisfactory - you haven't even bothered to respond to my criticism. I accepted one reasonable argument from your side (and made a change in the proposed text) and demonstrated (with sources) why your another argument was incorrect - you did nothing of this kind. In addition, one uninvolved editor provided logical arguments in support of my version (and this support goes far beyond merely "I like it") - your "support" is limited with "I like it".
In summary, what happens here is suspiciously close to the attempt of filibustering or gaming a system. I don't think it is correct, even from a formal viewpoint: the editors were not invited to vote, they were invited to comment: for example, Vanamonde's comment was accepted, and I made some changes (since Vanamonde didn't mention anything else, that should be interpreted as a general support). Your reasonable argument was also accepted (and the changes made). One more editor supported the text elsewhere on the talk page. That means even a formal vote count is not working. One way or the another, civil and collaborative approach always prevails, so it would be better if you presented some new arguments by 21:00 tomorrow. --Paul Siebert (talk) 03:34, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I already said: your version is simply not a summary of the content on the page. For example, saying "as a rule, they were a result of social transformations" is not a summary of anything, wrong and your original research, or possibly a quotation of single source out of context. In addition you distort claims by living persons in the lead [27]. My very best wishes (talk) 12:07, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, as the proposed lead does not follow Wikipedia's Manual of Style for lead sections, among other reasons. If we want to fix the NPOV issues, let's do it right! The proposed lead fails to provide an accessible overview for the ordinary reader, whom we write for. It's too short; MOS:LEADLENGTH suggests four paragraphs for an article this length, something which should be easily achievable if we take the time to summarize from the entire article. In that spirit, I wonder if a new lead should come after the entire article is overhauled, if such an overhaul is deemed necessary. At any rate, in terms of content, the words were a result of social transformations and should be removed from the proposed lead. The concept of "social transformations" is neither defined nor treated in enough depth within the article to warrant it being in the lead. Now, if the term "social transformations" is, at some point, clearly defined and treated in the article, it could certainly belong. I'm just not sure that it does now. I'm also hesitant about removing the various "Terms used to define these killings" as seen in the lead now. I contend that they are helpful to the average reader, whom, again, we must keep in consideration here. schetm (talk) 07:19, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
Great schetm, thank you. I'll try to modify the text according to MOS. With regard to "social transformations", I used the Valentino's concept: he, as well as Mildarsky, Semelin and Weitz, belongs to what Straus calls "second generation genocide scholars", and I think the article should follow the approach outlined by these modern authors (in contrast to obsolete Rummel, Lemkin, and others, who should be mentioned mostly in a context of subject's history). Valentino defines mass killings as killings of more than 50,000 victims, and that seems a reasonable approach. He also defines Communist mass killings as a subset of a more broader category, "disposessive mass killing". According to Valentino, a distinctive feature of Communist mass killings is that they are used as a tool to achieve some social transformations. Anyway, I'll start a new section where a modified and expanded lead will be presented for further discussion.--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:02, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
Fixing your version of the lead is fine, but it nullifies all previous votes. When you make final version of your lead, please repost it again. My very best wishes (talk) 13:08, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
Again, this is not a vote, and I do not provide my version. The text is supposed to be a result of a collective work. --Paul Siebert (talk) 13:28, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment This version of lead also openly misrepresents claims by Stéphane Courtois. According to him ("Black Book", Introduction) this is not 70 million, but around 100 million (a conservative estimate). My very best wishes (talk) 11:57, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
No, it does not. Courtous is a controversial and provocative source (per David-Fox and others), so I, following the comments from other users, removed this source from the lead. This source reflects a minority views, so it should be discussed in the article, not in the lead.--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:02, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
You wrote: "Several authors (Malia, Courtois) attribute these deaths directly to Communism, and they claim the combined Communist death toll amounted up to 70 million". This is an obvious misrepresentation, sorry. My very best wishes (talk) 13:08, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
Good point. I forgot to remove their names from the draft. Yes, more modern and less controversial authors should be used in the lead.--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:28, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
I do not think any authors should be mentioned in the lead. This is a summary of the page, and none of the authors is individually notable enough to be mentioned in the lead. But providing the range of estimates for the number of victims is necessary. When providing the range, one must count all notable academics, and not only Stéphane Courtois, but also Rudolph Rummel, etc. You can't dismiss any notable academics simply because some other academics happened to disagree with them. They always disagree on something. This is normal. My very best wishes (talk) 14:27, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, you are right. Actually, I didn't mean to name anybody, I proposed to use their methodology. The authors you mentioned are notable, but notability does not warrant reliability. Both authors mentioned by you are controversial, Rummel was famous for his refusal to reconsider his old estimates in light of new data (in contrast to, for example, Conquest). Actually, his data for the USSR look especially ridiculous taking into account that an impressive life expectancy growth was observed in the USSR (see Wheatcroft's data), that can be compared only with similar growth in Japan. It is absolutely unclear, how could such a tremendous growth have occurred concurrently with apocalyptic "democide". Rummel has also been severely criticized for methodological flaws: he uses Math apparatus in a very dubious way, which makes his conclusions worthless. Just imagine: he claims "democide" in post WWII USSR killed 20 million people. Can anybody who lived in the USSR during those times seriously believe in that? Rummel is outdated and simply incorrect. With regard to Courtois, please, stop it. You had been explained Courtois's introduction is the worst part of the BB, and even its major contributors disassociated themselves from Coutrois.
With regard to the range, it will be presented in the lead only if anybody proposed a brief explanation of what do these numbers mean. For example, we all know that the Holocaust was the murder of Jews, who were either massively executed by Nazi and their collaborators, or killed in death camps. The Holocaust defined in this way killed about 6 million people. If we add Gypsies, or Soviet POWs (which is not universally supported) the number is different. If I write "according to various estimates, 6-8 million people were killed during the Holocaust", that would be extremely misleading, because it would imply there is no agreement on the number of victims. That would be a lie, because the number is known, however, it is not clear who can be considered the Holocaust victim.
However, I am not aware of any source that provides combined figures for all victims of direct actions of all Communist governments and excludes the victims of famine, disease, civil wars (where all parties were engaged in killing). That means, if you will combine known figures and present them in the lead, it will be an original research. That means, per our policy, no lower estimate can be presented in the lead, unless a reliable source is provided. With regard to high estimate, Valentino's data are more trustworthy, and, if we accept his definition of mass killing ("killing of more than 50,000 people), this figure seems quite acceptable.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:01, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, sure, there is no agreement on the number of victims of Communist regimes. I am not sure if there is an agreement on the number of victims of Nazism. Obviously, that would not be only Jewish people killed during the Holocaust; the number could be several times greater. But as long as there is no consensus on the numbers, using range of numbers is completely appropriate, and I would be opposed to any version of the lead that does not provides such numbers, given that they are really important here. My very best wishes (talk) 16:34, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
You seem refuse to understand: these are two different questions: "how many?" and "who should be included?". You may think only Jews are considered the Holocaust victims, or you may believe other categories were victims too, but that dispute is not about the figures (the figures are known), the dispute is about which numbers are included.
The Holocaust article says that 6 million Jews were killed, and if the broadest definition is used, the number of victims is 17 million. However, it is incorrect to say, the estimated range from 6 to 17. These are not estimates. These are different interpretations of known figures.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:32, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
There is no any problem here. We provide the number of people who were killed or died as a result of policies by the Communist states - as claimed by the sources (A,B, C...). What exactly it means should be explained in the body of page and briefly mentioned in the lead (one or two phrases). For example, it is customary to include the victims of man-made hunger in the numbers for USSR and China, people who died in labor camps, etc. My very best wishes (talk) 19:22, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
That is the problem. The same Steven Rosenfielde who coined the term "Red Holocaust" believes that during Yeltsyn's time about 6 million people died prematurely in Russia as a result of the state policies (I already provided the reference in one of threads on this talk page). Would it be correct to say "they were killed"? Yes, some pro-CPRF writer in some Zavtra article may call them victims of democracy, but, I believe you we are not agree with that, aren't we? Note, Rosefielde uses absolutely the same methodology for calculation of the scale of premature deaths in 1932-33 and in 1991-99. I believe you agree there were no mass killing of that scale in democratic Russia during that time. Maybe, that means "premature deaths" and "mass mortality" not always mean "mass killing"?
When the article with the title "Mass killings ....." tells about mass mortality, it implies all these deaths were real, Holocaust type killing. However, taking into account that only a small fraction of the population loss in Communist countries was a result of deliberate killing, the article and the lead must clearly explain that the major part of "mass killing" victims were not killed from a commonsensual point of view, but died prematurely as a result of malnutrition (non necessarily real starvation) or diseases, and the question is still open whether all these events were a result of deliberate government policy.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:50, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I definitely support rewriting the lead in some form; the current version is not workable, since it places undue weight on a single source. I would point out (as I mentioned above) that it feels like a violation of WP:NPOV and WP:TONE to list some specific numbers and only vaguely allude to the existence of others; additionally, if we're going to mention differences in numbers at all, we also need to go into more detail on the dispute over how those are reached (especially the disagreement over the extent to which those regimes are culpable for starvation, which is absolutely central to the topic and the dispute over it, but which is only vaguely alluded to in the current lead. "Direct" vs. "indirect" is not sufficient. This is especially true since the title of the article is the fairly specific mass killings under Communist regimes, which means that (unless we agree to rename the article0, we are constrained to using only figured that directly and unambiguously ascribe all their deaths to the regime's direct actions. In particular, my reading of Malia is that his ~100 million figure is for all deaths directly or indirectly ascribable to Communism by any means, not merely all people killed in mass-killings. Based on that alone, we should probably take that figure out and replace it with one whose source unambiguously describes the deaths resulting from mass killings in as many words. (Or, of course, alternatively, we could change the article's title to cover deaths that occurred under or resulted from Communism more broadly, rather than just people executed in mass killings.) --Aquillion (talk) 04:56, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
Malia is not an expert at all, the BB is a provocative sources (not my words, reliable sources say that), an it will be removed. I am thinking about a consensus version that take into account reasonable criticism of other editors. If you want to join this process, please, propose your draft in a new section (this one is too long).
Some information: Valentino defines mass killing as killing of 50,000+ people, and Communist mass killings as a subtype of dispossessive mass killing (killing via dispossession of something). He also asserted this specific type mass killing was used by regimes to implement social transformations. This has some interesting consequences: thus, Afghanistan is not an example of Communist mass killing, because it was just an ordinary anti-guerilla warfare (the same as what US did in Vietnam). I think it is a good starting point.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:12, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

Is "Generic Communism" concept mainstream?[edit]

Since this article is written based on the "Generic Communism" concept, per WP:BURDEN, I would to see the evidences this concept is mainstream. In my opinion, we can answer this question by providing a significant amount of articles or books written by leading experts in narrow field (for example, Stalinist repressions, Cambodian genocide, etc), which are written from the point of view of the "generic Communism" concept and make a direct reference to the works of its creators. All specialized sources available to me do not tell Communism as an ideology was a primary cause of mass killings. Can anybody provide the special works in each major field: Stalinist killings, Mao's famine, and Pol Pot's genocide, which support the idea of generic Communism as a primary cause of these events? These sources should the works of leading experts of the field.

So far, I found nothing. For example, the Kiernan's book on Cambodian genocide cites the Black Book, but references are made to the chapter written by Werth, who himself disagrees with Courtois introduction. It seems Courtois' point of view on the central role of Communism in mass killings and Cambodian genocide in particular is not shared by Kiernan, at least, in a context of Cambodian case. And we have to keep in mind that Kiernan is a much better expert in Cambodia than Courtois or Malia.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:24, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

The article, which achieved consensus in the past, does not refer to "generic communism" therefore this cavil is outré. The acts of Pol Pot are pretty uniformly identified with his Maoist doctrines and training by reliable sources, so eliminating him would basically require OR to remove his acts. So, I demur with your position. Collect (talk) 15:00, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I doubt admins have a tendency to freeze the articles for 5+ years after consensus has been achieved. And, alas, MVBW's post below brilliantly refutes your point.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:08, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, certainly. All these countries are described together in books on the subject of "communist countries", whatever the source, "Black book", the "Communism" by Pipes, and even in the old Soviet history textbooks, where they were usually named "socialist countries" which belonged to the same category. The "Generic Communism" is a fantasy/WP:OR.My very best wishes (talk) 18:59, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
This your post simultaneously states the generic Communism is a mainstream viewpoint and that is a fantasy. You also blame me in OR, despite the fact that the reference has been provided on this talk page to the reputable secondary source that explains what does "generic Communism" means. Can you please read carefully the posts of others before commenting?--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:08, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
To be clear, I would not agree that the article achieved consensus in the past. It was, in fact, bitterly contentious to the point where it ended up locked for seven years; it has been "stable" for that period only because it was essentially impossible to edit. Given that history, the usual assumption that longstanding text enjoys consensus obviously does not apply. --Aquillion (talk) 04:45, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

Calculation of the amount of victims[edit]

Since "generic Communism" is a non-fringe minority revisionist viewpoint, it should be reflected in the article. I propose to provide cumulative figures and to split them on topics.

  1. Genocide. This section should contain the events that were officially recognised as genocide. If I am not wrong, only Cambodian genocide was legally recognized. We provide a brief description, causes of deaths and the number of victims. The events whose genocidal nature was not universally recognized (Soviet famine etc) should be mentioned here, but the numbers should not be provided.
  2. Civil war. Russian civil war, Chinese civil war, Chinese collectivisation, which was a continuation of a civil war, etc. Brief description, causes. Number of victims for each event. Total number.
  3. Political repressions. Great purge, Gulag, Cultural revolution, etc. Brief description, causes. Number of victims for each event. Total number.
  4. Famine. Great Leap famine, Soviet famines (including Soviet famine aka Holodomor), etc. Brief description, causes. Number of victims for each eent. Total number.
  5. Deaths as a result of other social transformations (????).

That is a way to bring more structure to this extremely fragmentary article and to avoid OR.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:47, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

Please see my suggestion above about causes. Vanamonde (talk) 05:18, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Answered above.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:52, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
This article does not use any term akin to "generic communism" so that is a pretty useless track to follow, alas. Collect (talk) 15:01, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Although the article does not mention "generic Communism" category, it is written based on it, because it implies some significant commonality between all events it discusses, and this commonality is more significant that a commonality with other events. Anyway, your POV versus my reliable sources. Do you have to say anything concrete?--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:03, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Have you thought about adding some materials to the article from this source? Do you have access to the full article and can you provide a link here if you do?--C.J. Griffin (talk) 16:13, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I have full access to that source, and can send you the text if you send me an email. Regards, Vanamonde (talk) 17:56, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
C.J. Griffin, not only I have an access to this source (and most sources cited therein), I am building my arguments on it.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:57, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

ALL communist regimes committed political repression and killings[edit]

I just noticed this correction in the lead [28]. Well, it was exactly the point by "Black Book" and some other books (e.g. "Communism: a history" by Pipes) that ALL communist systems, including Pol Pot version, resulted in political repressions and killings. Which communist countries did not? Please name them. This is because all such regimes were "totalitarian". My very best wishes (talk) 18:50, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

Valentino, one of the primary sources cited here, asserts on page 91 of his book Final Solutions that "most regimes that have described themselves as communist or have been described as such by others have not engaged in mass killing." This is quite a glaring omission from the article given the excessive use of his book, no? Perhaps this should be corrected.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 19:00, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I am sorry, but this source [29] tells on page 91 that "mass killings on a smaller scale appear to have been carried out by Communist regimes in North Korea, Vietnam, Eastern Europe and Africa". So, that is exactly what all these sources tell: the mass killings had happen in ALL these countries, but the scale was different. But once again, if source X tells that mass killing did not happen at all in country Y, that can be used. My very best wishes (talk) 19:08, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
"appear to have been carried" ≠ "have been carried", and Cuba is not in Africa or Eastern Europe. --Paul Siebert (talk) 19:16, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
These books tell very clearly about political killings in these countries. Are you saying there was no Political executions in Cuba by the Castro regime? My very best wishes (talk) 19:32, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
What I am saying is based on your own arguments. Your conclusion is not based on the argumants provided by you. By the way, not every killing perpetrated by Communist regimes were considered Communist killing by Valentino.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:40, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
These were not mass killings. It might have been horrible, but please be precise about the subject. RhinoMind (talk) 20:54, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Said who? You? The source/book linked above tells that "mass killings on a smaller scale appear to have been carried out by Communist regimes in North Korea, Vietnam, Eastern Europe and Africa". Sure, one should bring more sources. My very best wishes (talk) 22:34, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
"Sure, one should bring more sources" I can only agree. RhinoMind (talk)

I think I will close this thread by naming a few communist countries where mass killings did not happen under communist regimes. Here goes: Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Yugoslavia, Albania, Hungary (could be debated?), East Germany (could be debated?), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. These are all in Europe. On top of that I am not aware of any mass killings in Vietnam after the war ended, neither in Laos. Also the famines and their victims in communist China, in spite of their horror, are not regarded as mass killings by genocide scholars. From present times, I am not aware of any mass killings in South Africa, Nepal or Kerala (in India). I think we can close this thread by now. RhinoMind (talk) 20:49, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

I think Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania should be excluded, simply because they had never been Communist. They were parts of the USSR during the second part of XX century, and there were mass killing there.
Anyway, a consensus seems to have been achieved about the new version of the lead, and the current text will be replaced soon with the new one.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:58, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I guess so. Still, the article is full of stuff that does not categorize as "mass killings". Even the headline of this thread gets it wrong. RhinoMind (talk) 21:09, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

@RhinoMind: wow, just wow. Mass killings never took place in Estonia or Latvia? Out of the 15 ministers of the last legitimate government of Estonia only 1 survived. Almost all higher officers were killed. Etc. Just reading a bit [30] before shouting out bold opinions would help.Miacek (talk) 21:24, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

This is just a bunch of WP:OR. (a) RhinoMind did not provide any sources to support their statements (which sources tell it did not happen in Romania for example?!); (b) The political killings had happen in Estonia and Latvia when they were a part of the Soviet Union, and that is covered by the Valenino and others, (c) South Africa and Nepal were not communist countries. And so on and so on. My very best wishes (talk) 22:31, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, the "all communist regimes" is just not going to fly. The number of communist and socialist governments across the world has been very large over the last 100 years; saying that they all committed mass killings is an exceptional claim, that requires more than just the BBOC as a source. If that were not enough, the status quo version, which existed before full-protection was removed, had the word "many", not "all"; and consensus is required to change it, consensus which is completely absent at this point. Vanamonde (talk) 05:10, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
Difference should be made between communist regimes and communist participation in a multiparty government (such as in France after WW2 for some time). Communist regimes, i.e. the ones were the communist party held the monopoly of power in the country, always led to mass repressions.Miacek (talk) 10:00, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
With respect, Miacek, I think you may have missed the point here. Nobody is interested in denying mass killings under Stalin, Mao, and several others. The point is that if we say "all", we are saying every communist-run national government in history perpetrated mass killings. What evidence do we have of mass killings in Yemen, for instance? Or Madagascar? What states are we referring to when we say "all communist regimes" in the first place? Most importantly, what sources besides the BBOC say that all communist regimes perpetrated mass killings? Vanamonde (talk) 10:30, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
This is just unclear phraseology on this page. It is not clear what "mass killing" means. 1% of population? Replace "mass killing" by "political killing" and it will be in all countries. But I am fine with simply saying what sources say, namely it was definitely "mass killing" in several specified countries (the list), and repression and political killings on a smaller scale in other communist countries. However, that other countries should be covered on this page because according to the source, "mass killings on a smaller scale appear to have been carried out by Communist regimes in North Korea, Vietnam, Eastern Europe and Africa", so these countries are relevant to the subject - they are within the scope. Which exactly countries in Eastern Europe, Africa etc.? Did this book names them explicitly? If not, we have other sources, like the "Black Book" which names them and provides relevant info. My very best wishes (talk) 13:10, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
@My very best wishes: If the Black Book mentions anything, it should be fairly straightforward to get the proper basic sources to that info. The Black Book is not a primary source of anything, it just uses a lot of sources to produce a conjecture. This is very clearly stated and explained in the book's own introduction. So all-in-all, never use the Black Book as a source: If it is in the Black Book there should (hopefully) be a reference to a proper source in there to use instead. RhinoMind (talk) 16:30, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
@My very best wishes: About the term "mass killings". The problem of the vaguely defined term "mass killings" have been a source of much debate on this talkpage previously. It is a good idea to read this short text about Valentino's book in particular ([31]). I know that his book is controversial, but as it is used extensively for statements in this wiki-article, it is a good idea to read what defines a mass killing in Valentinos case. To sum it up: More than 50,000 intentional killings of non-combatants over a period of five years. RhinoMind (talk) 16:36, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
Your point #1. "it just uses a lot of sources to produce a conjecture" (I would say a "conclusion", not "conjecture"). Yes, it is exactly what every secondary source does. Yes, one can dig more sources as you suggested assuming they are also secondary (some of them are primary). Point #2. Yes, I agree and therefore suggested renaming this page to Democide by Communist governments. My very best wishes (talk) 16:26, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
Well, if you start talking about "political killings", we're a) veering further from the source material, and b) talking about a phenomenon that is present under virtually every government and government type in the world; so that's not a productive line to follow. Mass killings are dealt with as a semi-coherent phenomenon by reliable sources, even if they don't always offer clear and non-contradictory definitions. I would oppose an attempt to list all countries, because that would be tantamount to equating atrocities under Stalin and Mao, which run to millions (or tens of millions, depending on how you calculate it) with much smaller phenomena elsewhere. Vanamonde (talk) 13:51, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
No one is going to equate different countries. To avoid it one should simply indicate the numbers for every country. The countries currently included on the page are selected as follows: (a) these countries are described as "communist countries/regimes" in sources, and (b) there were large-scale political repressions and executions in these countries - according to sources. That seems logical to me. If you want to change it, I think we would need an RfC. Another possible solution is to rename this page to Political killings under Communist regimes or something else (please suggest something). My very best wishes (talk) 15:31, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting changing the scope of this article in the least. We have sources describing mass killings in certain countries; the article lists those, and discusses the killings. My point is that if you make this about "political killings" because you want to list all communist governments, then you are changing the scope of the page, and that would need an RFC, which is very unlikely to succeed. Vanamonde (talk) 15:39, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
So, we do agree that the current scope of this page is fine? I think that resolves everything. Thank you. My very best wishes (talk) 16:01, 14 May 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────My Very Best Wishes, when you change sourced text, please provide sources to back up your text. Note too that the way we determine whether or not all Communist regimes committed mass killings is not collective original research, but by using sources. Just saying that the Black Book claimed something is not specific enough, you need a page no. TFD (talk) 23:06, 14 May 2018 (UTC) ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Can you provide a source that says all CRs committed mass killings? Your question asks us to conduct original research instead of relying on the judgments in reliable sources. TFD (talk) 23:06, 14 May 2018 (UTC)

TFD, I think this conversation is becoming senseless, because I am intended to replace the old lead with a new version (see the NPOV lead section). It seems we almost achieved consensus, and, unless My Very ..etc provides any reasonable arguments in response to my criticism, the new version will be in the paper tomorrow, 21:00 CET. BTW, your comments are warmly welcome. --Paul Siebert (talk) 23:22, 14 May 2018 (UTC)

Description of famine[edit]

I think this article should clearly explain that lion's share of all victims of Communist mass killings were famine victims (at least 40 million out of roughly 70). In connection to that, we need to devote more space to the works authored by famine experts (Wheatcroft, O'Grada, et all) who provide comparative study of each Communist famine with other historical famines. Interestingly, when they write about the immediate cause of mortality, they note, whereas Irish or other famine were accompanied by disease outbreak, the level of infectious diseases was only insignificantly elevated during man-made famine in USSR or China, which they attribute to the improvement of health care. In addition, the narrative should be put in a historical context. It must be explained (as O'Grada says), that Chinese rural area was constantly living at the brink of famine, and devastating famine were happening regularly in China. As O'Grada noted, the Great Leap forward was the greatest famine in absolute figures (but not in relative), but is was the last famine in Chinese history. That is absolutely necessary to explain, otherwise a false impression is created that Mao organised the famine in a happy and prosperous country. That was not the case. --Paul Siebert (talk) 02:28, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

I think that a more serious problem, as I outlined above, is that the article is about mass killings. Famine can reasonably be included when people allege that it was intentionally and deliberately caused in order to kill people, but it has to be excluded otherwise; that particularly excludes the "100 million people" estimate, since that estimate, as I understand it, is not intended to argue that all of those people were the victims of a mass killing - that number aims to include anyone who died as a result of Communism by any means, including eg. starvation as a result of Communist waste or inefficiency, or deaths in the Russian famine of 1921–22 because it was partially caused by the revolution itself. Those things might be worth covering elsewhere, but they're not mass killings; putting those numbers on this page (let alone prominently) is inaccurate and misleading. --Aquillion (talk) 05:06, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
Thought provoking remark: I have never seen the victims of mass starvation in North Korea ascribed as mass killings by the United States. Not even if it was caused by extensive intentional sanctions. In fact, I have never seen victims from intentional embargos described as mass killings. I think it would be a good idea to begin doing that, but that is just my personal opinion and not an official practice, as far as I know.
Anyway, as stated by Paul Siebert, inclusion of famine victims as mass killings, demands a mention of why there is no consensus in academia to do to. Good points Paul. RhinoMind (talk) 16:53, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
Those Jews who starved to death at Warsaw Ghetto are to my knowledge also included as victims of Nazism. Why this hair-splitting here then?Miacek (talk) 16:57, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
They are, because there is a scholarly consensus that starvation was deliberately organized by Nazi. However, there is no consensus that, for example, Bengal Famine was deliberately organized by British government, although it was a man-made famine as a result of a criminal neglect. --Paul Siebert (talk) 18:41, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
The problem lies in the word "intentional". If a harvest fails or the distribution network breaks down, are the victims then intentionally killed by someone? Not necessarily. And one of the criteria for categorizing something as a "mass killing" is that the killings are intentional. Mass starvation events are not automatically categorized as mass killings.RhinoMind (talk) 17:15, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
To answer your Warsaw example, it was official Nazi policy to kill people. That is as intentional as you can get. RhinoMind (talk) 17:20, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
The harvest did not fall, it was the deliberate Stalinist policy to request all grain peasants had and let them starve. This was even written in the Perestroika-era Soviet books.Miacek (talk) 17:37, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
There were many famines in Russia and the USSR during the time of Stalin. You can take it up on one of these pages if you like: Russian famine of 1921–22, Soviet famine of 1932–33, Soviet famine of 1946–47. I am not sure everyone agrees with you that the killings were intentional, but I am not an expert on Soviet famines specifically, so who knows? Whatever happens, it doesn't discredit Pauls points about famines. RhinoMind (talk) 17:52, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Sure, but the "100 million people" estimate in the lead explicitly includes all deaths to starvation under Communism, not just those under Stalin. It's not presented as a number of people who died to mass killings under communist regimes in the source, it's presented as all people who died because of Communism in any way, shape, or form. (eg. it includes the Russian famine of 1921–22, which was obviously not the result of Stalinist policy, under the argument that it happened because of the Russian Revolution and was exacerbated by Communist policy.) And that makes using that number in this article misleading and inaccurate. You can present individual starvation events as mass killing when you have specific sources arguing that they were the result of an intentional policy of killing people via starvation; but the number in the lead is unambiguously intended to include even starvation that was not intentional, so we can't use it here. We can only use numbers that the sources we're citing them to directly and unambiguously describe as totaling mass killings; this number is all lives lost, by any means, to the tragedy of Communism. People are objecting to that specific number here, not to the general idea that Stalin killed people via famine; if you want to keep that number in the article, you need a source specifically saying that it's the number of mass killings. (Which I don't think exists, because, again, even the source - which is controversial and is one of the ones that pushes for a maximallist view of deaths to Communism - seems to unambiguously identify it as including other deaths.) -Aquillion (talk) 17:57, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
I am afraid, a situation is even worse. This figure also includes all premature deaths, or even population losses. Premature deaths in democratic Russia in 90s calculated using the same methodology and by the same author, Rosefielde amount to 6 million. Can we really believe it was a Holocaust type mass killing? --Paul Siebert (talk) 18:35, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) I've already highlighted these were two different things. The excess moartality under the Soviet rule was deliberately inflicted by utterly wrong policies that could have been avoided, while in 1992 Russia simply had no grain left (we have no reason to doubt Gaidar's confessions here) and the freemarket reforms were the only chance to avoid mass famine due to the collapse of the Soviet socialist system.Miacek (talk) 18:41, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
A single explanation for authorities' intentions does not work for all famines, for example, Volga famine in early 20s and Great famine in 32-33 are described differently by most authors. With regard to the rest, I think you do not understand my major point: there were no people who were starving to deaths in Russia in 1990s, no crowds of hungry people, and, in general, living conditions in Russia in 1990s were much better than in many developing countries (both then and now). However, demography data tell 6 million people died prematurely.
Think about that again: if demographic data tell 6 million died as a result of government action, it does necessarily mean government killed them. That means, when we are talking about Soviet famine ot 1932-3, we have two facts. The first fact, there was a serious famine in the USSR in 1932-33, and many people literally died from hunger. The second fact is that Soviet Union sustained about 6-10 million population losses in 1932-33. However, do we have significant evidences to claim all these population losses were results of "mass killings", and if all population losses or premature deaths in 1932-3 were "mass killing", why exactly cannot we speak about "democratic mass killing" in Russia in 1990s?
Note, I do not claim there was any mass killing in Russia in 1990, I just want you to look at that sine ira et studuo.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:20, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

I think, a solution would be to describe all famine separately in a historical context, and some (proportional to their prominence) space should be devoted to theories that make generalizations and political conclusions. Indeed, in some cases famine was deliberately organized, in some cases it was just a consequence of mismanagement.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:45, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

You're comparing apples and oranges. Why don't you want to compare instead Russia and the Baltic states with Cuba or North Korea of 1990s, to get a more reasonable comparison of same time/similar background?Miacek (talk) 20:08, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
I am not sure I understand what do you mean. What should I compare? By the way, NK is hardly a really Communist state: jucje is not based on Marxism (all mention of Marx or Lenin was carefully weeded out from it), and many scholars believe it is an ultra-neo-Confucian society with a rigid hierarchical estate structure. However, that is what experts in NK say. Experts in criticism of Communism prefer to call it Communist....--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:10, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
This is the same BS that Cambodia under Khmer rouge was not "real" communist etc. Hell, I've even seen claims Lenin was not a "real" communist. But anyway, this not a forum. Why are byou ignoring the Cuba issue? The article says nutrition fell from 3,052 calories per day in 1989 to 2,099 calories per day in 1993. Other reports indicate even lower figures, 1,863 calories per day. Some estimated that the very old and children received only 1,450 calories per day. In Russia conversely, the par capita calory consumption under Gaidar diminished by 3,5% from 2526,88 kCal to 2438,17 kCal.Miacek (talk) 09:00, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, that is not a forum, so please, stick with what sources say. I've provided a quote from David-Fox, who openly questions the idea that there was anything in common between Khmer Rouge and Stalinists (except, may be, that both studied Marxism when they were young). With rregard to NK, you may be interested to read this [[32]] article that says:
"In all these cases, Confucian rhetoric extolling filiopiety and political loyalty accompanied the building of a strong, centralized, intrusive, and bureaucratic state capable of generating momentum for modern industrial development. Today, the nominally Marxist rulers of China, Vietnam, and North Korea seem to be adopting this approach, despite prior communist claims that Confucianism is "reactionary.""
This [[33]] artcile describing a tremendous role of Confucianism in NK also worth reading. Note, I am using not a garbage authored by suspicious central-European or other dubious writers, but the best quality articles.
The question who can be considered a Communist is not idle. Can African leaders be considered Communists simply because they declare that? Or they must conduct some specific policy to be considered Communists? That question is not idle, because if (i) any nominal Communist is considered a Communist, and (ii) Communism is the greatest evil (as this article says), then the recipe for future dictators is simple: to openly declare their anti-Communism, which provides full protection for their future crimes.
Regarding calories. Sorry, but this is an amateurish BS: democratic transitions in Russia immediately resulted in a huge economic inequality, which means all your "per capita" is not more relevant as an "average temperature of all patients in a hospital". Please, keep in mind that by saying that I do not imply Gaydar was killing people. He definitely cannot be blamed in mass killings. Nevertheless, Rosefielde's statistics tells 6 million people died prematurely. The same statistical approach, used by the same author says about 10 million people died prematurely in the USSR. What allows us to claim all of them were "killed"? Again, I do agree Stalin's regime was really killing people. However, what is the reason to claim all premature deaths calculated by Rosefielde were the victims of mass killings"?--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:01, 17 May 2018 (UTC)

--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:01, 17 May 2018 (UTC)

The omissions in the section on the Soviet famine were pretty bad. I added that not all scholars concur with the genocide thesis, added Mark Tauger as a source and also provided verification of the Davies/Wheatcroft source with a url to the page number in question and adjusted the lower estimate accordingly. This article still needs a ton of work to remove its unrelenting bias, but this helps.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 12:38, 17 May 2018 (UTC)

Actually, Wheatcroft is better than Tauger. Wheatcroft had a long dispute with Rosefielde about the nature and causes of the Soviet famine. He is also an expert in grain statistics. I can drop you references if you need. I am somewhat busy now, I can join your work next week.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:01, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Wheatcroft is perhaps one of the top scholars on the subject, but that is no reason to omit others such as Tauger, who is still far superior to most of the sources cited in this article (i.e., Conquest, Rummel, etc).--C.J. Griffin (talk) 14:26, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
I do not say Tauger should not be used, I am just telling he is not the best source.
I also noticed your last edit has been reverted (the step I do not support), and I have a feeling all attempts to work on this article is senseless until we develop some tools to collaborate more fruitfully. --Paul Siebert (talk) 14:51, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
"Regarding calories." Interesting points you make! So essentially, the average calory intake has no bearing because in North Korea where millions died of famine the income inequality was lower (because all were paupers), while in Russia few died directly of hunger but income inequality was relatively high. (Not everyone became immediately wealthy). Miacek (talk) 14:33, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
You are absolutely right about confucian Korea. NK society is separated on several social strata that are actually estates, not class (because children of the parents from some strata belong to the same strata, and it is almost impossible to move from one strata to another. Interestingly, what would Marx say if someone told him it is Communism?
regarding your "Not everyone became immediately wealthy", do you believe premature death of 6 million people is an acceptable price for a society to become wealthy in a distance future? If yes, what is the difference between you and Mao: the hunger caused by his policy killed just a very small percent of Chinese, but as a result the society is becoming really wealthy (the Great Leap forward famine was the last famine in Chinese history)? Remember, 35 million in 600 million China is almost the same as 6 million in 150 million Russia.... --Paul Siebert (talk) 14:51, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
I think we have been moving circles and that I've explained my views already. Mao did NOT make China eventually rich, Deng did. China becoming "really wealthy" is not "a result" of Mao's policies. Also, to highlight it once more, Gaidar's choices were close to optimal, by 1992 there were almost NO better alternatives left. The alternative was a full-blown famine. All chances of piecemeal reform had been lost by then (no matter how much I appreciate Gorbachev his economic ignorance was staggering). Only better alternatives were even more radical reforms as implemented in Estonia and Latvia that led to quicker recovery and eventually a much smaller human loss than in Russia. Remember Ukraine? Bulgaria? Romania? They all did way worse than Russia under Gaidar by choosing the wrong "slow-reform" process.Miacek (talk) 15:12, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
If you read more about totalitarian regimes, you will learn that a concrete person is less important there than in authoritarian regimes. Mao's economical policy was far from optimal, but O'Grada says it was Mao, who took special measures (for example, construction of plants for large scale production of fertilizers) to prevent similar events in future.
Deng didn't start reforms de novo. Mao eradicated rural landlords, who actually were more like feudals, and who would hardly allow China to become what it is now. It is quite possible that social transformation in China would be possible to do in a less bloody way, but the more I read the more I realize the revolution in China was bloody not because it was Communist, but because it was in China. Do you know that Chinese Communists did not create concentration camps, they simply used Kuomingtang camps?
Regardin Gaydar, it was his reform that paved a way for modern KGB resurrection in Russia. His reform could be good from purely economic point of view, but it completely ignored social factors. He created a situation when majority of population became absolutely disappointed in market economy and democracy (and elected Putin; for the first time, in 2000, in a democtratic elections). Of course, he was a very noble and very good person, who sincerely wanted to improve people's life ... as well as his grandfather did.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:20, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
The KGB resurrection was not because of Gaidar (who was fired in 1992 already), but because Yeltsin tried to form a compromise with the red bureaucracy when he shouldn't have. He should have disbanded the Bolshevik Supreme Soviet immediately after they refused to endorse Gaidar, instead of settling for Chernomyrdin as a compromise candidate and eventually still having to disband the Soviets in 1993. All evidence is the more radical reforms as pursued by Estonia and Latvia and initially by Gaidar would have sanitized the economy and social life more quicker. See e.g. [34]. Miacek (talk) 17:14, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Estonia is not a good example: it is like Russia MINUS heavy military industry MINUS the need to wage Chechen war (Checnya was a very complex story, it had no optimal solution, if you want to talk, let's to it on my talk page) MINUS national debt PLUS a population that is ready to suffer, because they see a very concrete goal achievable in reasonable perspective PLUS ethnically close neighgbour willing to provide moral and material help PLUS well working agriculture PLUS .... In other words, the analogy is absolutely wrong.
Gaydar made many terrible mistakes, thereby laying a ground for a present day's situation in Russia. Maybe, that is because he was mentally close to his grandfather. I am not blaming him, nevertheless.
I'll read the article later. Thank you anyway.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:44, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Regarding "disbanding that Soviet", I read one independent study that demonstrated old Soviet adequately reflected the mood of majority of people in Russia. A new Duma was not better. And that was not because people were reactionary: for majority of them, reforms brought nothing good. There is no difference between an average American voting for Trump and average Russian voting for Communists.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:07, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Yeltsin won the Russian government referendum, 1993 in all questions, while the Supreme Soviet lost it in all the questions. Yeltsin even managed to win the toughest question "Do you support the economic and social policy that has been conducted since 1992 by the President and Government of the Russian Federation" This demonstrated his course had the popular support at that moment. I also disagree the reform brought "nothing good" for the majority. How can you compare cheese or sausages that you cannot buy with ones that you can buy no matter how much you want as your meager salary or pension allows? The disappearance of the deficit was doubtlessly a good though (though admittedly, the social system and healthcare collapsed such as leading to breakup of diseases, the ramopant criminality (for some time this was terrible in Estonia, too, but was overcome in mid-1990s).Miacek (talk) 17:41, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Correct me if I am wrong, but the on referendum in the USSR in 1991 an overwhelming majority of people voted for preservation of the USSR. Does it mean anything? Yeltsin was more positive than a negative person, he did many good things, however, the result of his rule was that majority of people were deeply disappointed in democracy and liberalism, and that paved a way for democratic elections where Putin won. So then, by their fruits you will recognise them.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:07, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
  • There is no any doubts that famous man-made famines, like Holodomor, must be included here because they are described as mass murder in most reliable sources, like the books by Robert Conquest. Yes, it was officially declared a genocide only in some countries. But it is not that much relevant. Not all mass killings were officially declared a genocide. Hence the "democide" by Rummel, etc. Whatever was declared in RS to be a democide I think belongs to this page.My very best wishes (talk) 13:39, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
  • All incidents described as genocide by RS should be included. If there's controversy over whether they are genocide, then we include that as well. If Wheatcroft and others are questioning the classification of the Ukrainian famine as genocide, which is how I understand it, then their views need to be mentioned, also. Vanamonde (talk) 13:44, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
I never objected to that, my main objections are: (i) true genocidal events are mixed with other events that lead to population losses; (ii) all premature deaths are combined together, and the combined figure is presented as if they all were victims of some genocide type events; (iii) the structure of the article implies that a general consensus view exists that all these events had nearly the same nature and the same primary reason.
Yes, but we can only use very brief summaries on this page, and I think the weight of different views should be approximately the same as in the corresponding more detailed WP pages, such as Holodomor genocide question. If we do that, and devote only a few phrases to Holodomor, then the opinion by Wheatcroft probably does not belong to the summary. If we make a big section, then maybe. My very best wishes (talk) 13:53, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
And BTW, contrary to claims by Paul, the statistics of related deaths in "Black Book" and books by Robert Conquest does not include "unborn children". My very best wishes (talk) 18:39, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
I am not sure I claimed that, my point was that "population losses", "premature deaths" and "mass killings victims" are different categories, which are sometimes mixed.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:57, 19 May 2018 (UTC)

arbitrary break[edit]

  • I think the famines should be prominently mentioned on this page because that is what sources on this subject do, but we have too much about it on the page. In particular, section "Debate on famines" should be removed. My very best wishes (talk) 02:33, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
Good point. I totally agree.
Instead of that, we have to to the following (I take Great Leap Forward famine as an example. We should provide a brief description of this event as mainstream scholars see it. After that, opinion of Valentino should be added as a minority view. Opinion of Courtois and Malia should be added after that, the explanations provided on why to they believe all famine death should be added into a single global Communist death toll, and after that a criticism of this viewpoint should be provided. That will be a total;y neutral way to describe this event.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:50, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
So, I just removed this section. My very best wishes (talk) 22:44, 30 May 2018 (UTC)

Demographic effects of mass killings[edit]

I think, it is absolutely necessary to add the section with this title, to explain demographic consequences of famine and mass killing, because if we are talking about population losses of that scale, we need to discuss their long lasting consequences. I have some sources about the USSR. The demographic effect of Cambodian genocide should be added there too. If anybody has some source for China, it would be good. --Paul Siebert (talk) 02:28, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

I think that is better left to articles about the specific famines. The real challenge is to show the connection between the various mass killings and explain why for example the famine in the the Ukraine has more in common with the shooting of protesters in Romania than it does with the famine in Ireland. Or how Communist killings of Islamists in Afghanistan differs from killings by Americans. TFD (talk) 10:57, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, but I am not sure this is a real challenge. A real challenge is to present a balanced view on what mainstream sources say.
With regard to the section's subject, I believe the need of the discussion of demography is dictated by the scale of mass killing: if so many people were killed, a reader may want to know what demographic consequences did that have on the countries? IMO, the question is quite reasonable.--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:58, 16 May 2018 (UTC)
I disagree. The article is about killings under the aegis of communist regimes, as defined by what the regime calls itself. The fact is that the desire to deny such killings took place, that the killings were "acts of nature and not exacerbated by communist governments", that "famines are not related to acts of any government", that Pol Pot was "not really a communist at all", or that the regimes were "not really communist, even though that is what they called themselves" is "original research" when used to dispute what "reliable sources" state. Using that form of argumentation may be fun, but it is not what WP:CONSENSUS in the past has clearly decided. And that is why the article had been protected -- the major changes recently made here are contrary to the stated policies of Wikipedia. Collect (talk) 14:16, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
I am a little bit puzzled with this your comment. Do I undersdtand you correct demographic consequences of genocide or mass killing (in general) are irrelevant to the articles that discuss these events? If many people were killed, that is supposed to have some long lasting effect on the affected population. I think crimes of murderous regimes may become more evident if we demonstrate all consequences of these crimes (including demography changes).
In addition, your definition of the article's subject seems interesting. We may accept it, although it would be good if you provide the source demonstrating this topic in that way really exists. I think we need a separate section about that. I have some sources that discuss this idea, they may be useful.
I see one difficulty with your definition of the topic: North Korea is not Communist, according to your definition: there is no mention of Communism or Marxism is party's program, and they do not use the word "Communism" at all since early 60s, when Kim eradicated all "Soviet Koreans" in Korean leadershop and declared jucje. --Paul Siebert (talk) 15:16, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
You've cited BRD and reverted CJG. But he has actually produced reliable sources to support his position; so accusations of original research are completely off the mark. Per WP:DUE, we can only exclude those sources if they represent fringe viewpoints, or if they're being misrepresented, and at the moment you haven't produced evidence of either. Vanamonde (talk) 14:20, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
The requirement for WP:CONSENSUS is discussion of such added claims. That means that a request for comment is in order - nothing more nor less. It is not my responsibility to do anything more than point his out - as is required by Wikipedia. Collect (talk) 14:47, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree with removal by Collect [35]. A lot of materials are undue or do not belong to specific pages, no matter how reliably sourced. I do not think that opinions by revisionist historians, such ac Arch Getty, should be cited a lot on this page. Also an opinion that "Lenin never advocated for the physical extermination of the entire bourgeoise as a class" is highly questionable and hardly belongs here, etc. Overall, these recent edits make an impression of whitewashing communist crimes. My very best wishes (talk) 15:18, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Consensus for changes to article content: therefore "consensus is required" is a valid reason to revert a bold change. But consensus can change: therefore "consensus is required" is a completely invalid argument in such a discussion. You've reverted Griffin's bold changes. The reason to make those changes has been presented here; the sources are reliable scholarly sources, and per WP:DUE they need to be included. You (Collect) have provided no argument in rebuttal.

I would agree that material about Lenin's intentions isn't relevant, because so far as I can see we're not arguing that he did exterminate the bourgeoisie. But material discussing whether the Soviet famines were intentional and/or qualify as genocide is very relevant here. Vanamonde (talk) 16:17, 17 May 2018 (UTC)

I think Collect was absolutely right when he reverted this change. However, that requires joining a discussion on the talk page that may follow. If no reasonable arguments, supported by reliable sources, will be presented by him, his further resistance to addition of this text will be absolutely incorrect.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:24, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, just saying "BRD" is not a valid justification for revert, but Collect did explain his revert just above. Main question here is how much space we can devote to every controversy related to communist murders - they suppose to be very brief summaries. For example, does the claims by historian Timothy D. Snyder really adds something on the number of victims? Would adding citations of Stephen G. Wheatcroft in several places be appropriate? Yes, maybe including just one phrase "Other scholars, such as ..." would be OK. My very best wishes (talk) 16:33, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
If the goal of this article just to provide a number of people who died prematurely in Communist states, the title has to be changed accordingly. However, if the goal is to give a broad historical perspective, then Snyder is absolutely relevant. BTW, Courtois wrote the introduction with the only goal: to demonstrate Communism was worse than Nazism.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:40, 17 May 2018 (UTC)

Can the artcile's version that was protected by admins after a long edit war be considered the last consensus version? A poll[edit]

Do you believe the article's version that has been fully protected during last 6+ years due to an incessant edit war is a stable version? Do you believe our policy about consensus may apply to it, so this content should be restored if no consensus is achieved about its change? I think we need to know what TFD, My very best wishes, Collect , Miacek, C.J. Griffin, talk, Vanamonde, schetm, Galobtter  and others think about that. 
  • No I believe the article was a battlefield, it was protected just to prevent an edit war, the admin did not endorse this particular version, so this content is NOT a consensus version. Any part of the content of this article that causes a justified criticism (a criticism supported by reliable sources) can and should be removed, and WP:BURDEN rests with those who restores it.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:16, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Yes, there was a previous consensus on this page. Moreover, the last series of edits on the page (was it 2011?) appears a constructive work to improve this page: [36], not an edit war. But I do not see the point of the poll. Obviously, a collaborative editing on this page still require WP:Consensus, "every version is wrong version", the "consensus can change", and admins did not endorse any version. Any changes for this page will still require consensus. It does not mean that the page can not be improved. Please make such changes that do not cause anyone's objections. This is possible, even easy. My very best wishes (talk) 15:27, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
  • No per Paul Siebert. The article suffers from serious omissions from dissenting scholars on the subject of political repression under certain Communist regimes (and are being branded "revisionists" and unreliable sources by those here who wish to maintain the "consensus" version) and unbelievable bias. As it stands now it is propaganda, not history. Scholarship on the subject of the article is very thin at best, and the most commonly cited source for this, the BBoC, is itself a subject of controversy.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 16:05, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Probably, but that doesn't mean it's very good. It certainly was stable, if only in an artificial sort of way. Was it arrived at consensus? I would imagine that any material added over the last seven years was. But should it be the locked in stone version? No! One of the big parts of consensus-building is soliciting outside opinions. While the page was protected, I attempted to get some outside opinions through this peer review. In order for this page to improve, we need to look beyond the cabal and get a broader spectrum of opinion from editors who don't have old battle scars from this page. schetm (talk) 21:22, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
No one suggests that page should be locked. BTW, which version of page (consensus or not) Paul Siebert is talking about? Any link? Otherwise, that does not make any sense. My very best wishes (talk) 21:46, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
As your attempt demonstrates, uninvolved editors do not express much interest in this subject, as a result, the article reflects POV of a handful of users who worked on it before, and who are resisting against the changes that are aimed to fix the content that obviously violate our policy. --Paul Siebert (talk) 21:58, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Part of the reason for such a tepid response is that the entire Peer Review process is backlogged and broken. I'm sure that, in the spirit of seeking consensus, you'll have no objection to me "Posting (a) neutrally worded notice of (this) dispute on applicable noticeboards (to) make the dispute more visible to other editors who may have worthwhile opinions." I intend to raise this article on applicable WikiProject talk pages within the next couple days. schetm (talk) 06:04, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
  • No. From what I can see it was a fairly arbitrary sanction in response to a hostile circumstance. It appears to represent the opposite of a consensus.

    Also, schetm can you link to the applicable noticeboards you're referring to? -GPRamirez5 (talk) 16:03, 26 May 2018 (UTC)

When I get a chance to, I will. I don't have much time to devote to Wikipedia.schetm (talk) 16:44, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
  • As stable as it has ever been My position has always been that the article should be both readable and neutral, not seeking to "score points" for the views of any editor, and not using "but", "however" or the like as weasel wording to tilt the nature of the article. Nor using argot to muddy the tenor of the article. Thus it should stick as much as possible to statements of facts and not statements of opinions as far as possible, and to that end should not inject extraneous topics into sections not "on point" to the topic of the article. The "stable version" was a s neutral as any version of the article has ever been. Collect (talk) 22:42, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Collect, if you are interested the article to be neutral, why did you remove a well sourced material added to the article with the aim to balance its obvious POV-bias, and why haven't you bothered to provide sourced arguments to support this your action when you were directly asked to do that? I am trying to find a good explanation, but I haven't been able to find one so far.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:50, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Note that I kept part of an edit on "comparison" as it definitely was neutrally worded. Accusing editors of doing something they did not do is pretty futile. The huge added material was more than a "casual" edit, by the way, and, as such, needed discussion before addition. This is "normal" on Wikipedia. Collect (talk) 23:29, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Collect, I already said that, but I reiterate: by removing the text added by C.J. Griffin you did nothing wrong. That is just a normal "R" from the standard BRD procedure. However, your refusal to participate in "D" means that you have no counter-arguments to what C.J. Griffin say. If you have no other arguments but WP:CONSENSUS you are probably not the one who is seeking it. And, remember, WP:CCC is a part of our policy too.--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:59, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Just because I do not write thousands of words does not mean I am not discussing the material. Any material added must be compliant with all Wikipedia policies. That is dictum on Wikipedia, as far as I know. That you accuse me of not seeking consensus is not compliant with logic at this point, but I see no reason to add more thousands of words here. Collect (talk) 00:34, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
The policy you are referring to so frequently requires you to persuade others, using reasons based in policy, sources, and common sense. Correct me if I am wrong, but you provided zero arguments to explain your recent revert, despite the fact that at least two users noted that revert was unjustified. That means, you cannot be considered a participant of a consensus building process. --Paul Siebert (talk) 02:09, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
  • No Permanent protection would not have been necessary if there were consensus. TFD (talk) 22:55, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment. Are you guys claiming there was never consensus for this page? Please provide link to the last version when you think there was consensus. My very best wishes (talk) 04:41, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
let's wait until the poll ends, and then we will talk about that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:48, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
  • No, obviously not (I was the one who pointed this problem out); it was obviously controversial at the time and just happened to be the version at the time when it was protected. Thaaaat said, the question of "what is the last stable version?" is fairly reasonable and needs to be addressed. Looking over the history, I would say that roughly around this point probably qualifies - the exact point could be slightly later, but it saw no meaningful edits for the next month, and hadn't been edited much for a month leading up to it, either. Plus, it coincides with the removal of the POV tag, and while there were still obviously disputes, nobody immediately put it back or anything. I don't think anyone would consider that version to be ideal, and I think that (given that policies and practices have chanced a lot in the past seven years, especially when it comes to sourcing) we can't give it quite the respect it would have - it's a version that was sort-of stable for a month or so, not a version that was stable for years - but it's better than cleaving to the version immediately prior to the protection, which obviously did not enjoy consensus, and it at least gives us some degree of a reference point for discussions. Of particular note is the fact that that version does not include Martin Malia's "85 and 100 million people" numbers in the lead - as far as I can tell, no stable version has included it there prior to protection, and it being placed there seems to have coincided with the article immediately and permanently destabilizing up until it was protected. Based on that, I suggest we remove it from the lead until / unless someone can demonstrate consensus for its inclusion. (And if anyone wants to argue that it has consensus, I feel they should have to point to at least some discussion showing this; it doesn't appear that it ever did - it just happened to be in the version that got protected.) --Aquillion (talk) 06:31, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
  • No. Protection is quite independent from consensus. Protection is applied to prevent disruption, not to reaffirm consensus. Protection is quite explicitly not an endorsement of any version of a page; exceptions to this rule only occur when we're faced with gross policy violations. We need to determine consensus for ourselves here, and support or opposition to sources and content needs to be on its merits, not on the basis of what's been in the page for a long time. Vanamonde (talk) 14:32, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

I think the poll's result is that it wouldn't be incorrect to conclude that the version of the article that existed before it was unprotected cannot be considered the last stable version. If I misunderstood the results of this poll, please, correct me.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:45, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

  • You asked: "Do you believe our policy about consensus may apply to [version X of the page]"? You did not tell which version. Reply: yes, WP:Consensus does apply, but not to a "version", but to the process of editing. My very best wishes (talk) 14:33, 26 May 2018 (UTC)

Recent deletions of reliably sourced materials and systemic bias[edit]

I added some materials from reliable sources, among them notable scholars of Soviet history including Stephen Wheatcroft, J. Arch Getty, Timothy Snyder and Mark Tauger, but these were reverted by User:Collect as "major changes that need consensus". I see nothing wrong with these additions given they are sourced and clearly on topic, but I can see why some might as it interrupts the systemic bias this article suffers from. My additions added prominent voices to these debates, and it seems to me that some wish to maintain the status quo of this article which suffers from some serious omissions, factual accuracy disputes and neutrality issues. When you only select sources that fit a certain narrative while omitting and essentially banning a whole host of other reliable sources on the same subject which reach different conclusions you no longer have an article that is based on serious historical research, but one that serves as propaganda. Perhaps it is time to revisit deleting this article?--C.J. Griffin (talk) 14:22, 17 May 2018 (UTC)

You can certainly put it up for AfD once more -- I think it has set a record. I suggest you also seek deletion of "Anti-communist mass killings inter alia. The fact is that this topic has been repeatedly kept, and I have sought to have it be neutrally presented, but find that WP:CONSENSUS is what Wikipedia requires for all articles. Collect (talk) 14:51, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
C.J. Griffin, whereas I agree with you, I propose to postpone all work on this article unless we make a strategic decision about its content as a result of the above poll. Otherwise, that is a waste of time.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:18, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
The well-sourced material that C.J. Griffin added in good faith, and which was later removed by Collect in good faith, is of a comparative nature. While this article has a longstanding section called Comparison to other mass killings, I wonder if such a section, and other such efforts at comparison throughout the page, are outside of the scope of the article? There's a danger of "historical one-upsmanship," i.e. "John Smith, Joe Johnson, and Jack Jones say the Nazis killed more people, while Tim Thomas, Tom Timmons, and Taylor Thompson say the Soviets kill more people." While such sections may serve to promote WP:BALANCE, they also have a tendency to become tedious. And, if the historian cited is himself on the fringe, such material is almost certainly a candidate for removal. If such comparative sections are to be maintained, they should avoid such tedium. However, if comparison sections, beyond wikilinks to similar mass death events of the 20th Century, is determined to be out of scope, as I think it may be, such NPOV problems disappear. (~schetm, cont. below)
Other material removed is quoted in part here: Other scholars, such as Stephen G. Wheatcroft, R. W. Davies and Mark Tauger, reject the idea that the famine was an act of genocide... Here we have a different sort of problem. Scholars are quoted as saying that they disagree, citations are provided, but no further commentary is given. Why do they reject that notion of famine as genocide? What is their basis for their rejection of that thesis? Such material, especially in the famine section can and should be included, but not without further commentary. schetm (talk) 21:09, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
@Schetm. Your point #1. Yes, sounds reasonable. We probably should not duplicate other existing page on comparison of different regimes. Point #2. There is already huge discussion of this on many other pages, even such as Holodomor genocide question. What should be included here? Only very brief summary - for the same reason - we do not want to duplicate other pages. If current summary is not good, welcome to suggest something else, but it should be kept very short. My very best wishes (talk) 21:52, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
What are you saying directly contradicts to NPOV policy (see the "Article structure" section.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:46, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Again, a fundamental problem here is quite different: some users believe that the current version of the article is the last stable version, so in case if consensus is not achieved the previous "consensus" version is restored. In reality, the article was fully protected for 6 years to prevent constant edit wars, and that does not mean admin's endorsement of this version. That is why I insist that the burden of proof rests with those who wants to add new text or restore the previous version. In contrast, we do not have consensus to remove the text that, in our opinion, is not in accordance with our policy, provided that needed evidences are presented.
By saying that, I mean that violation of our policy can be fixed in two ways: to make some addition that will fix a POV bias, or to remove (not copy) a biased text to the talk page, discuss it here, create a consensus version, and then put it back. I am afraid, only that will work. --Paul Siebert (talk) 21:42, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
schetm you say, "The well-sourced material that C.J. Griffin added in good faith, and which was later removed by Collect in good faith, is of a comparative nature." I agree with that. However, BRD consists of three letters, and I see no "D" on this talk page, because C.J. Griffin asked a quite legitimate and detailed question here:[[37]], and Collect responded with this:[[38]]. By no mean that is "D", because discussion implies producing some logical arguments based on reliable sources, but I see no arguments why this text should not be in the article. In my opinion, by effectively abstaining from joining a discussion, and by failing to present any arguments, Collect removed themselves from the consensus building process, and his further references to our consensus policy are suspiciously close to the attempt of gaming a system.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:14, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Your above comment did not engage my arguments. Perhaps something was lost in translation. I wasn't attempting to draw a comparison between CJ Griffin and Collect. I was stating that the material in dispute attempts to compare numbers of mass killings. I'm questioning whether such topics - sections devoted to comparisons with other mass killings, is within the scope of the article. schetm (talk) 06:24, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
To be clear - as I said below, would you support removing the "comparison to other mass killings" section entirely, at least for now? That seems to be what you're getting at. I think we can debate how much detail we want to go into on comparisons, but we definitely can't represent only one side of the argument, which is the current situation in that section. --Aquillion (talk) 16:47, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes schetm (talk) 17:47, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
No. This content is completely appropriate on the page as long as we use sources that tell about "Communist regimes" in general, rather than about "Stalin versus Hitler" (that might be included in the section about Soviet Union if anyone wants). My very best wishes (talk) 18:11, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
I would say, in general, all content that contains incorrect information, misinterprets sources or violates our other policies should be removed to the talk page, rewritten and put back. There should be no difference between a newly added text and an old one, and you hardly need an approval from others to remove one or another section to the talk page. --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:55, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

Note I did not remove myself from the consensus building process and I regard that "charge" as being in quite bad faith. Nor is a person who has fewer than 2500 edits to this talk page "gaming the system" by pointing our what Wikipedia policy explicitly requires. Collect (talk) 22:17, 17 May 2018 (UTC)

You abstained from participation in the talk page discussion, because this: [[39]] is by no mean is a good and polite discussion. C.J. Griffin asked a very concrete and legitimate question, you responded with a brief rude comment. By doing that, you removed yourself from a consensus building process. Our policy allows you to revert any change, but it requires you to discuss a reason for this revert when you are politely asked. If you are not ready to defend your point of view in a polite discussion, you are not a part of a consensus building process. Of course, if you bring a fresh a source that proves the text you removed was based on some marginal sources, or that text was irrelevant to the article's subject, you become a part of a consensus building process again. However, I see nothing of that kind so far.
By the way, here is the idea for your another essay: The person who the most frequently refers to WP:CONSENSUS is least likely to be interested in a real consensus building.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:25, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
The sources seem relevant because they undermine the premise of the thesis of the article. TFD (talk) 23:03, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
  • To be clear, Collect, the D in WP:BRD is vital and includes the need for the person making the reversion to participate in discussions (starting, ideally, with a useful edit summary that says what they object to about the edit) - when you revert something, you must provide a specific objection that people can answer, either in the edit summary or on the talk page. From WP:CONSENSUS: All edits should be explained (unless the reason for them is obvious) – either by clear edit summaries indicating the reason why the change was made, or by discussion on the associated talk page. Substantive, informative edit summaries indicate what issues need to be addressed in subsequent efforts to reach consensus. Edit summaries are especially important when reverting another editor's good faith work. Just saying "seek consensus" is not sufficient - if there are no objections to an edit, then it is presumed to enjoy consensus; and if you are objecting, you must specifically state your objection so it can be answered. People are objecting because you reverted extremely broadly without providing an argument which could reasonably be engaged - if people don't know what aspect you objected to, and therefore don't know what the dispute is, how can they work towards a consensus to resolve it? Anyway, with all that said, I feel these edits are, overall, an improvement, even if there's room to refine or trim at them. --Aquillion (talk) 06:50, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
I would point out that the material added was substantial in size and import, and that fact I clearly cited in my reason for deletion. By the way, lecturing experienced editors is silly. I suggest your comments deal with real issues and not personalities. Warm regards. Collect (talk) 13:02, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
"Substantial" isn't an objection (do you reflexively revert any substantial edits you see?) As an experienced editor, you know that policy establishes that all edits are presumed to enjoy consensus unless someone objects (or they clearly go against an established consensus, which isn't the case here), and that you're supposed to provide a reason when making a revert so that people can answer it. It might seem like a small thing, but it's important that you be more clear in the future, since "I'm reverting, discuss this" without an explanation of what you want discussed accomplishes nothing but making the process drag while people try to figure out what your objection is (or wait for someone else to provide one.) We can't answer an objection you declined to articulate. Beyond that, blanket reverts are unhelpful - we need to know what parts you objected to, so we can restore the unobjectionable parts. --Aquillion (talk)
  • In their series of edits [40] C.J. Griffin made several significant changes that are indeed debatable:
  1. Comparison with crimes by Nazi. Should this be included, and what should be the summary? This is huge subject. We have a page, Comparison of Nazism and Stalinism, but this is only a small part of such comparison (this is not just about Stalinism on this page).
  2. Long citations of Stephen G. Wheatcroft about famines in several places. Again, this is big subject area, and we have Holodomor genocide question, where he appears just as one of many researchers, and seems to express a "minority view". Why should we cite him a lot on this page?
  3. "Historian James Ryan argues that Lenin never advocated for the physical extermination of the entire bourgeoise as a class, just the execution of those who were actively involved in opposing and undermining Bolshevik rule". What this suppose to mean? Did Lenin with his comrades in fact exterminated bourgeoise as a class in Russia? Yes, he did. Why should we include this misleading and internally contradictory citation? My very best wishes (talk) 15:20, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
  • In addition, Collect did provide a meaningful explanation for revert [41]. Claiming that he did not was wrong. Was it an adequate explanation? In my opinion - yes. If someone thinks otherwise, then fine, but it does not make anyone "right". My very best wishes (talk) 15:35, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
If they are debatable (I agree they are), then the person who reverted it was supposed to join the debates, which never happened. Collect's explanation did not explain concrete reasons for the revert.
This your post is what should have been done immediately after the revert.
Re 1. Our policy specifically requires that all important viewpoint on the subject cannot be split among different articles. Therefore, this your point is moot.
Re 2. Agree that long quotes are not desirable, although that problem was supposed to be fixed by copy editing, not removal.
Re 3. An official policy of Lenin's style Communists was that "liquidation as a class" and "liquidation of a class" are two separate things. If all private property is expropriated from bourgeois, they ceased to exist as a class, but are personally alive. I believe Red Terror (partially caused by attempted assassination of Lenin) blurred that nuance, however, we must agree that no attempt to continue physical killing of bourgeois were being made after the Civil war (until Stalin came to a full power).
--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:04, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
However, you raise a good point. Most Asian Communist regimes performed liquidation of some class literally in a form of a mass killing of the representatives of this class. Taking into account that different classes in Asia frequently belong to different social groups, these killings of ethnosocial groups can be considered a genocide. That is the difference between the events in the USSR and Asia, and that is absolutely necessary to explain in the section--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:09, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
  • To be clear, if you don't feel we should compare the killings to those made by Nazis, is your position that the "Comparison to other mass killings" section should be deleted? At the very least, I wouldn't object to taking it out for now until we can come up with a more balanced version - the current version is unacceptable, since it essentially gives WP:UNDUE weight to only one side of a debate when both are well-represented in WP:RSes. --Aquillion (talk) 16:46, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
@Paul. "concrete reasons for the revert" (as opposed to simply stating the reasons) - which policy do you refer to? I do not have any particular suggestions how to make NPOV summary with regards to points 1,2,3. This is burden of someone who wants to include such materials. Make or suggest such version that would not cause anyone's objections or can be easily fixed rather than reverted by others. My very best wishes (talk) 16:54, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
I referenced the part of WP:CONSENSUS that requires this above. All edits should be explained (unless the reason for them is obvious) – either by clear edit summaries indicating the reason why the change was made, or by discussion on the associated talk page. Substantive, informative edit summaries indicate what issues need to be addressed in subsequent efforts to reach consensus. Edit summaries are especially important when reverting another editor's good faith work. While the burden for inclusion is on the person making the edit, all edits are presumed to enjoy consensus until / unless someone voices a specific objection - it doesn't have to be a long-winded or detailed objection, but it's required, and is a vital part of WP:BRD. I notice you specific content-based objection (or point to someone else's) when reverting, especially a substantive revert, so people will have something to answer and discuss and will know what concerns to address to resolve the issue - "rv, get consensus first" is at least sub-optimal unless it's already clear that the material being added lacks consensus. Either way, in this case, it looks like we're near at least some degree of consensus (since while there's disagreement over the comparison section, several people seem to broadly agree that it can just be removed); that potential compromise would have been easier to reach if the objections - eg. "we shouldn't include people comparing Communist killings to Nazi ones" - were clear at the start. --Aquillion (talk) 17:13, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
If someone simply tells "BRD" in edit summary and explains the reasons for disagreement on talk page, that's fine. As about removing the section, I think it actually should be included, but this must be indeed a comparison of all "Communist regimes" together versus something else. One problem with edit by Griffin: it was comparison "Stalin versus Hitler". This is NOT the same. My very best wishes (talk) 17:18, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
The problem is that only a small fraction of authors compare all Communist regimes with other regimes. That is because the topic is not mainstream. That means, to make the article neutral, one should add more information of what mainstream sources tell about the events.
If you disagree, then let's define the topic again. The subject of this article can be either (i) the theories of few authors who believe in the generic Communism concept, or (ii) some concrete events. I am absolutely neutral about the choice of the subject, however, we cannot mix (i) and (ii). If we decide the subject is (ii), a small section should be devoted to (i). If we decide that the subject is (i), the whole article must be reorganized to explain that it reflects views of several concrete authors only. What I categorically object to is mixing of (i) and (ii), which violates our policy.
Re: BRD. The only point you are missing is that if the person who made a revert (or change) fails to provide reasonable arguments supported by sources, a consensus is deemed achieved about restoration of changes, because a simple "I disagree" does not work here.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:49, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
If anyone wants to compare Stalin with Hitler, they should make it in the section about Soviet Union. My very best wishes (talk) 18:02, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Don't mind. However, that requires rewriting the Comparison section in such a way that a reader will see that just a few authors are engaged in a global comparison of generic Communism with anything else.
By the way, I think the section "Controversies" is a pure POV, because it implies all other parts of the article represent a mainstream view. That should be fixed.--18:12, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree that all content on the page is a subject of controversy (it does not mean that views on the page are not "mainstream"; of course they are mainstream). Therefore, all "Controversies" (e.g. about USSR) should be merged into subsections for the corresponding countries (i.e. USSR). My very best wishes (talk) 18:19, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
If they are mainstream, you can easily demonstrate that by providing reliable sources that debunk the criticism of generic Communism theories. A good review article from some peer-reviewed journal would be a good proof. Until that have been done, we assume these views are minority and disputed views. And, by the way, the Comparisonn section should devote comparable space both the the comparativists's views and the views of their critics.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:36, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
OK, I just rearranged the subsections accordingly to minimize the "Controversies" section. As about "the criticism of generic Communism theories", I do not know what it is and how it is related to this page. My very best wishes (talk) 19:57, 18 May 2018 (UTC)


I'm uncertain whether this passes WP:RS; it's described as a guest column, but essentially reads as a letter to the editor (responding to two previous comments), which gives the impression that it lacked editorial oversight. A bigger problem, though, reading it, is that it unequivocally describes Marples' own position on the famine as seriously contested by people Marple himself acknowledges are significant voices that have to be acknowledged; yet in our article, it was used to cite Maples' position as uncontested fact. I think we need to find better sources on both sides of the debate that Marple alludes to. For now, I removed it because we have better sources every place where it was used, in any case. --Aquillion (talk) 17:05, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

No objections. Actually, David R. Marples is a well recognized expert on this subject who published books about it, etc. There is no doubt it was his statement on the web site of the University of Alberta. So, it could be used for something. But it is not clear how and why it was needed to support the statement. My very best wishes (talk) 17:13, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

What the article is about? A poll[edit]

Thanks to the conversation with My very best wishes, I realized we need to come to consensus about the primary subject of this article, because the title leaves some freedom for ambiguity. This title presumes that the article may be about:

  1. - the theories of some authors who believe that Communist mass killings were a separate type of mass killing, they shared important common features, and the primary cause on them was Communism, or
  2. - the actual events (from all causes) that occurred in countries that declared adherence to one or another version of Communist doctrine, or
  3. - mass murders or internationally recognized genocides committed by authorities of some Communist regimes.

All three subjects are absolutely legitimate, and it would be very easy to write an article on each subject separately, because a structure of each of them is simple, non-controversial and straightforward. However, we cannot mix these three subjects in a random proportion, because it leads to a bad quality content, to original research and non-neutrality. For example, if the article tells that "Mass killings (topic #2), which were considered as genocide (topic #3), took place in Communist states, it is believed they were immanent to Communism(topic #1), and the death toll was up to 100 million(topic #2)", the article would be a totally POV and OR bullshit, because I can present numerous sources that contest each of those claims.

By saying that, I do not mean that, for example, if we vote for #2, the subject #1 should be removed completely. No, it shouldn't, but it will be moved to a separate section with a proper title. Another way is to split the article on two or three articles (the policy allows us to do that, because the subjects are different). By having make a decision about the article's subject, we, hopefully, will put an end to constant conflicts and facilitate our work dramatically.

I myself am totally neutral, and I will accept any outcome.

Now I would like to know, what is the primary subject of the article in your opinion? Please, vote below, and keep in mind we are voting around the primary, not the only article's topic.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:21, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

1. The article is mostly about the theories that combine mass killing and Communism[edit]

  • Yes. Obviously. Everything else (the options below) is building on controversial assumptions and abstract constructions based on very specific political agendas and preconceptions about communism. While these ideas and preconceptions are indeed notable and interesting, they can not be tacitly assumed, they need to be explicitly stated and explained. RhinoMind (talk) 23:45, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Also - in arguing against the options below -, it must be noted that the mass killings that did occur under communist regimes differs wildly in their nature and cause. So why would anyone describe them collectively at all? During social upheavals, civil wars, internal power struggles, and famine people die. Often a lot. So what on Earth does these events have in common? And what do they have to do with communism, if anything? In contrast to some other ideologies, Communist ideology does not promote or argue for mass killings, murder or human suffering. It must be explicitly explained why the few people who wrote about the mass killings collectively did so. Their agendas and preconceptions must be explicitly stated and explained, otherwise it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. RhinoMind (talk) 23:52, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

2. The article is mostly about all population losses during Communist rule[edit]

3. The article is mostly about genocides and mass murders committed by some Communist regimes[edit]

The topic below was proposed by Collect--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:50, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

4. The article represents opinions of reliable sources concerning civilian deaths attributable directly or indirectly to acts by governments which were self-described as "communist" in ideology[edit]

  • The obvious answer By the way, it is not our job to "contest" such opinions, nor to say "but xxx disagrees" or the like. Our task is to present the opinions as stated in this single topic which I feel is neutrally phrased. Collect (talk) 22:27, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Collect this is just a re-wording of the topic #2 proposed by me, although it is longer and contains redundancies (by writing "opinions of reliable sources" you just reiterate what our policy says; in that case, why did you forget to mention 5 pillars, for example?). I also find a problem with "self-described as "communist" in ideology": North Korea should be excluded, according to your criteria, because it does not describe itself as communist. "Civilian deaths" is also a problem, because it excludes civil wars: most deaths were usually combatant deaths.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:50, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
It is not a "rewording of Topic 2" and the intent is to have a single topic for the entire article, not to create a goulash. And the "mass killings" clearly is not intended to include combatant deaths in battle - so I am unsure what the aim would be. Meanwhile, I proposed this single topic - let's now see if others support it. I only tried to make it simple and neutral in tenor. If others support it, I trust you will agree to it as you stated above. The bit about the "5 pillars" is pure gobbledegook here, alas. So please let others comment - you asked for my input, if you seek to demean my input then you shall have not been acting in good faith as far as I am concerned. By the way, your aside that the topic below was proposed by Collect seems to assert your personal ownership of this discussion. If you assert ownership-, then no one else should dare touch your hallowed proposal. I proposed this option in good faith. Now let others opine. Collect (talk) 23:35, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
WP:OWN is applicable to articles, not talk page threads. I asked a concrete question and wanted to get an answer. By adding #4, you modified the question I asked. --Paul Siebert (talk) 21:02, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
WRT DPRK, Workers' Party of Korea is quite clear. Until 2010, the word "communist" was, indeed, in the description of that party ("building a communist society" seems, to me, to use the word "communist." ) Your assertion that North Korea did not use the word "communism" fails. Collect (talk) 23:49, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Collect, this is a rare case when I am not arguing, but trying to understand your vision (sorry for unneeded sarcasm, I crossed it out). The intent to have a single topic is quite normal and legitimate: each article is supposed to have some quite concrete subject. When it is not the case, an article is either a mess, or a battleground, or a messy battleground.
In connection to that, I am trying to understand, what is the difference between your #4 and my #2? I am asking because your definition is simply iaccurate:
"opinions of reliable sources" is simply WP:V), which is redundant;
"civilian deaths" excludes civil wars (where it is virtually impossible to separate combatants from civilians): you probably know that Courtois ascribe all civil war deaths (both sides) to Communists;
"self-described" excludes North Korea (which is probably ok with me, but other users may disagree)
"communist" in ideology" is very vague: does just a word "Communist" suffice?
If we fix all these inaccuracies, we get the topic #2.
Regarding your last comment, WP is not a source. Marxism-Leninism was abandoned by Kim immediately after the start of de-Stalinisation in the USSR, and new jucje ideology just tangentially mentions the word "communism". This source [42] says (p. 206) says that since 1974 it is believed that Marxism-Leninism is totally replaced with jucje.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:14, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
As I noted, DPRK was, indeed, "self-described" as "communist", so I do not know what your claim is, or how it relates to the simple proposal I made. That they have "changed" the wording to "socialism", "collectivism" etc. now (as of 2010), does not take them out of this article as I proposed setting the standards. Lastly, I propose this as a complete description of the article instead of proposing a mélange. By using a simple and direct outline, instead of three overlapping and conflicting guidelines, we can get the article sharply focused. Now can we listen to others? " It is one of the few countries still under nominally communist rule." BBC. Not just Wikipedia. Collect (talk) 00:38, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
My claim is that DPRK is not self-describing as communist anymore. And I provided a source. Have you read the page 206?
BBC is just a news channel. Wikipedia may be much more reliable, depending on what sources each particular article uses.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:39, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
By the way, it is not our job to "contest" such opinions, nor to say "but xxx disagrees" or the like. It absolutely is our job to do this, and I'm legitimately startled that you would say otherwise - when there is prominent disagreement, we are required to include it; WP:BALANCE requires this. Surely you don't disagree? I want to be clear (because this seems like a vital point of disagreement, and, again, I was legitimately startled that you'd say that including disagreement is outside of this page's scope) - do you feel that the purpose of this page is to represent all valid, WP:DUE opinions on the topic, on all sides, or to represent the argument of one specific 'side'? Or is your argument that only one side exists, or that the other side is so WP:FRINGE that it cannot be presented? This is a really, really important point of disagreement (I'd go so far as to say it's probably the main disagreement on this page), so I really want to know your answer. You're correct that it's not our job to contest any source ourselves, but we are required to give any reliable sources that do contest them the weight that WP:DUE accords them (whatever that might be, of course; I'm not suggesting WP:FALSEBALANCE. But at first glance you appear to be arguing that WP:BALANCE doesn't apply at all.) --Aquillion (talk) 06:28, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
I fear you misapprehend my comment. Articles which say "X says A, however Y proves B" -- that is, using wording to make conclusions about the weight Wikipedia assigns to the opinions, is wrong. We can present opinions, which is what I said. We ought neither say nor imply that a particular opinion is "right" in itself. Is this more clear? Balance is useful, but using any "words to avoid" in presenting that balance is improper. Collect (talk) 12:36, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, an article may say "X says A, whereas Y proved B" when it describes some disputes that happened in the past. In the cases when no universal opinion exists yet, it is more correct when an article says "X says A, whereas Y says B". However, the overall structure of such article should be organised in such a way that no undue weight is given to A or B.
This condition is not met when we take the concept of an author X and write an article based on this concept, and then add Y's opinion as criticims. This creates an absolutely false impression that X represents mainstream views and Y is a revisionist.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:56, 19 May 2018 (UTC)

In my opinion, only the first topic is consistent with Wikipedia policy. 2, 3 and 4 contain the implicit or explicit opinion that there is a connection. That of course would be fine if there were consensus in reliable sources for a connection. Notice that in the introduction to the Black Book, the editor explains what he sees as the connection and its implications, and mentions the opposition to his position. Without some sort of explanation of why seemingly unrelated events are part of a phenomenon, the book would make no sense. TFD (talk) 00:43, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Due to the vagueness of the concept of 'communism' in 21st century I believe the formal definition of scope should b something like 'mass killings committed by regimes referring to the communism and derivative ideologies'. Because there's no clear definition of 'communism' that would allow to perform a formal proof for country being 'properly communist' but all of these countries at least initially referred to communism as their ideology and if they abandoned or renamed it later, it doesn't bring the victims back to life. Cloud200 (talk) 00:54, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
  • This is a loaded question and an invitation to do original research. There is strong consensus in mainstream RS what states are known as Communist states Most of them are historical states that do not longer exist. It is also well established in sources that political killings/executions had happen in practically all these countries. The only ambiguity is what is "mass killing". This is usually interpreted in sources as percentage of population killed by various means, including by man-made hunger (i.e. when the food was confiscated from the population, and the people were prevented from movement to other places to die on spot). For example, the number of people killed in small Estonia was huge in terms of percentage. Of course these were mostly actual events, the communist "theory" is only relevant for the explanation. My very best wishes (talk) 02:28, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
If you think there is a consensus, you will be able to support your claim with a source. I can provide the source (actually, I've done that already, it is David-Fox) that says, there is no consensus.
Actually, the discussion deviates in a wrong side. How we can achieve any consensus if we are splitting hairs about minuscule details?! Can you please explain, is there any significant difference between "The article represents facts and opinions concerning mass deaths attributable [ directly or indirectly ]to acts by governments which were self-described as "communist" in ideology" and "The article is mostly about all population losses during Communist rule", except the second statement is more comprehensive and accurate?
Just think about it: we cannot even agree what this article is about! How can we write or improve it?!.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:43, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Which states are generally known as "communist states", especially in the context of political repression? Please take any book on this subject. For example Black Book of Communism names these countries explicitly (yes, North Korea is one of them). Please take any other book, specifically on the subject of political repression in Communist countries. Do they provide a list that is significantly different from the set of countries from the "Black Book"? If so, you might have a case that there is no strong consensus in RS about it. My very best wishes (talk) 02:59, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Does this list has a name regimes which were self-described as "communist" in ideology?--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:13, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
I do not care why an RS/book calls country X a "communist country". It only matters that it does. My very best wishes (talk) 03:21, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Let's return to the starting point of this discussion. I said: "If we adopt Collect's definition, NK should be excluded; if we adopt my definition, NK will not be excluded". Can you explain me please, what your objection consists in?--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:28, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
No, we do not adopt your or Collect's definition. That would be WP:OR. We simply tell what RS tell. The most famous general book on the subject of Communist repressions uses a set of communist countries that includes North Korea. Hence we should mention all these countries. That's the policy. My very best wishes (talk) 03:35, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Your understanding of WP:NOR is incorrect. If I add some statement that does not follows from some reliable source - that is OR. If I define article's topic - it is not OR. A simple example: many people have no biography published in reliable sources, but we definitely can have an article about such a person, provided that all facts and statements there are supported by reliable sources.
I cannot go beyond conclusion made in some reliable source, but I can and should define a topic of WP articles. If you believe I am not right, go to a relevant noticeboard and ask.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:45, 19 May 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I appreciate that none of the states mentioned in the article were small-c "communist." However, there is agreement in reliable sources for the use of the term big-C "Communist" to describe the states of Eastern Europe and Indo-China and the nations of China, Mongolia, North Korea, Cuba, Afghanistan and Ethiopia as such. Whether or not they shared an ideology is irrelevant. The proponents of the double genocide theory believed they did. TFD (talk) 03:42, 19 May 2018 (UTC)

In this particular case I absolutely do not care who can be considered Communist. I want you all to decide what exactly is a subject of this article? Again, I will accept any definition of the topic, unless it is not a random mixture of the topics ##1-3--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:49, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Brief answer to your question: NONE of your options (1 to 4) is the subject of this page. The subject is "Mass killings under Communist regimes". My very best wishes (talk) 03:55, 19 May 2018 (UTC) (see my reply below: the suggestion by Paul about the definition is actually reasonable) My very best wishes (talk) 14:06, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
How is it possible to edit the article if one even cannot define a topic? "Mass killing" is not a scientific term. Only Valentio tried to give a definition, but it is not universally accepted. "Communist regimes" is also a poorly defined concept. "Under" - what does it mean? Is killing of Communists by anti-Communists included or not? - there is no consensus at all. Finally, there is even no agreement if each of the described events should be considered "mass killing": I don't know if you understand it, but the English word "killing" does not necessarily implies an actor. People may be killed by a natural disaster, by famine (natural, man-made - no matter), even a car accident. For example List of maritime disasters in the 20th century mentions a number of "people killed" - but an incident where many people were killed is not necessaruly a "mass killing".
This you vision paves a way for original research. Actually, this article is already a big piece of original research and should be labelled as such..
--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:15, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment In this case, Collect is correct. Several reliable sources have discussed MKUCR, and the phenomena they discuss is the only thing this page must be. The disagreements among those sources must, of course, be a part of this page, as must critiques of their work; but we're not writing an an academic paper focusing entirely on the historiography; and we cannot assume all population declines are mass killings. Honestly, we should close this and move on to more important questions. Vanamonde (talk) 13:25, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Vanamonde, it seems you are missing the point. I agree that one source (a reliable source, Valentino) defines "Communist mass killings", and several other sources (Rosefielde's "Red Holocaust", etc) propose that there is some commonality. However, the problem is that the scholars who study each event separately do not use their theorizing for their own study, whereas other authors openly disagree with that. If we take the Holocaust as an example, we see that (i) everybody accept its definition, and every article about, e.g. Treblinka or Wersaw getto says it was a part of the Holocaust, and (ii) there is no Holocaust genocide question article, and it cannot be created, because no reliable sources exist that question the fact that the Holocaust existed. In contrast, the article Holodomor genocide question does exist, because the discussion about the causes of this event and its mechanism is still open. Furthermore, if we read specialists writing about other famines, you will find thay do not the "Communist mass killing" concept and prefer to analyze, for example, Great leap forward famine in a context of other famines, not in the context of Communism. To summarise,
  • If we write the article about theories of several scholars (and supplement them with criticism), that will be OK, and that will be #1.
  • If we write about all mass mortality events in Communist states (including famine, civil wars, etc), provide analysis of facts and consequences (presented in numerous independent sources), and then will add that some scholars believe these event had a common cause, Communism, that will be OK, and that will be #2.
  • If we write about real genocides and mass murders (Khmer Gouge genocide, Stalin's purges etc), that also will be OK, and that will be #3.
However, if the article starts with Valentino (who coined the term "Communist mass killings"), and then will use O'Grada (who is a specialist in famines, but who does not see, e.g. GLF famine as a mass killing, and provides different causes), and use Wheatcroft, a specialist in Soviet famine, who did not see any intentionality is the actions of Communist authorities during Holodomor, and include Afghanistan (which may be considered genocide by some authors, but which is not a Communist mass killing according to Valentino), that would be a a piece of blatant original research. And that is exactly what #4 proposed.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:28, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
No, I'm being pragmatic. We cannot define article scope based on what we think it should contain; we can only create an article on a topic if reliable sources treat it as a topic. There is evidence that reliable sources besides Valentino treat MKUCR as a topic, but there is clearly widespread disagreement on definitions and scale. That disagreement belongs in this article. If you truly believe the sources are not coherent enough to have an article, then deletion is the only alternative, and any deletion proposal is going exactly nowhere. If you wait to improve this article until its scope is exactly what you want it to be, you'll be waiting a long time. So I reiterate my suggestion to close this. We need to find fixable issues and fix them; all you've done so far is to begin reams of discussion which has gotten exactly nowhere. Vanamonde (talk) 04:48, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Vanamonde, that some reliable sources treat MKuCR as a topic is not sufficient for defining a topic. The second factor is if they represent a mainstream views or just significant minority views. Based on that, we decide (sic!) what the topic will be. In other words, the article may tell either about "MKuCR, as they are described by Valentino et al", or about "Valentino's theorizing about killing of some categories of people in Communist states". And that is what we have to decide (per our policy).
Let me give you an example. Lemkin's genocide concept is, without any doubts, a mainstream theory, because, for example,when Kiernan (an expert in Cambodia) writes about Cambodian killings, he calls it "genocide"; when Fein compares Cambodian, Rwandian and Indonesian killing, she call all these events "genocide". That is why we have a Genocide article and, for example, a Genocide of Yazidis by ISIL article.
However, when we read some article about Holodomor (authored by Wheatcroft, Davis, Kulchitsky, Ellman, etc), you will never find any mention of "Communist mass killing", any usage of Courtois's theorising, etc. Moreover, these expert do not share any implicit version of "generic Communism" at all, and prefer to consider other factors in their analysis. The same is true for other special fields: experts in Chinese events, ignore Valentino's interpretations, Kiernan does not call Cambodian events "democide" or "Communist mass killing", and they do not see a primary root of these events in generic communism at all.
When we use the works of Kiernan, O'Grada, Wheatcroft to support theory of Valentino, we give an undue weight to the latter, ignoring views of the former, which is not allowed. That means, only the topic #1 ("Valentino's theorizing about killing of some categories of people in Communist states") is allowed if the works of Valentino and similar are used as main source --Paul Siebert (talk) 06:32, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Actually, a few sources are quite enough, because it isn't just Valentino, but the BBOC as well. It is perfectly acceptable to use them to frame a topic, and then to use different sources which are critiquing specific aspects of their theory to provide balance, even if these opposing sources are not discussing MKUCR. You're right that sources which do not link communism and mass killing should not be used to support the theory that communism caused mass killing; but that's obvious, or should be. Vanamonde (talk) 06:37, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Vanamonde, if you use the introduction to BB to frame a topic, if other sources explicitly call it provocative, and even main contributors to this book publicly disassociated themselves from the conclusions Courtois made in it?--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:54, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
You're not understanding me. It isn't how I would have chosen to frame an article, but the framing is here, and I see no practical way to changing it, so I would rather spend my time improving it. Hence my request to focus on the questions above. Vanamonde (talk) 12:58, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Vanamonde, I proposed three ways to change it. Why do you think they are non-practical? We can write about views of Courtois and Malia, we just cannot present them as universally accepted. we can write about all excess deaths, we just cannot create an impression that the "generic Communism" concept is mainstream. We can write about real genocides committed by some communists, we just cannot say all other events were genocide. --Paul Siebert (talk) 00:29, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
I think renaming this page as Democide by Communist regimes will resolve a lot of disagreements that we have about content of this page. My very best wishes (talk) 18:30, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
It will contradict to our policy. because Democide already exists. In addition, the term "democide" hasn't become widely recognized: it is used mostly to describe Rummel's views (which he published many years ago). Modern scholars use this therm rarely, and there is probably a reason for that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:37, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
  • It is great that page Democide already exists. It means this is a relatively well established terminology. It can be therefore used here. On the other hand, mass killing is currently a redirect to Mass murder. What is it? Page tells: Mass murder is the act of murdering a number of people, typically simultaneously or over a relatively short period of time and in close geographic proximity. The FBI defines mass murder as murdering four or more persons during an event... . That's fine. Let us include all such events on this page? My very best wishes (talk) 19:44, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Alas, Phlogiston article also exists, but that means nothing.
You notion about mass killing - mass murder is absolutely correct. I myself noticed that. It is an indication of the lack of any universally accepted terminology. And that is one more argument in support of my point: this article is a piece of original research.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:14, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Hence we must avoid WP:OR and rename this page? "Democide" was used by a number of authors as "the murder by government". However, simply keeping the page as it is also would not be an "original research" because there are numerous RS on this general subject and because mass murder is also well-established terminology. We only would have to adjust the content of this page accordingly. My very best wishes (talk) 20:33, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
"Murder by government" is a quite legitimate topic (a topic #3 in my termonology), but that excludes majority of the events described in this article. Famine is not a murder, civil war is not a murder (at least, mostly), etc.
The article that collects all cases together is exactly what I say in #2. It is not an OR if it does not include theorising and generalisations (excpt, probably, some small section at the end, where BB etc will be mentioned briefly).--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:08, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Did not you read these sources at all? It is precisely the point by Conquest, Rummel, "Black book", etc. that man-made famines in China and USSR were mass murder by the government. My very best wishes (talk) 02:55, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
...whereas other sources openly disagree with that or just ignore that by providing different explanations.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:30, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I would support #4 after replacing "which were self-described as "communist" in ideology" by "which were described as "communist" in RS". This is very close to the definition of democide by Rudolph Rummel and therefore can be regarded as a definition supported by RS. This page could be even renamed as Democide by Communist regimes. My very best wishes (talk) 13:43, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Rummel is not good for three reasons: (i) the "democide" concept does not see a roott of mass killings in Communism, according to him, any totalitarian regimes are guilty of democide; in addition, Democide article alredy exists, so it would be a pov-fork, which is prohibited by our policy; (ii) his theory is old, but people do not use it, and prefer to propose new, independent theories (if Rummel is good, whyy Valentino proposed something else?); (iii) there is a problem with mathematical apparatus Rummel used for his theorising. Some sources openly point at this omission.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:54, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
My comment was not about Rummel, but about your suggestion. But I like the idea of renaming this page because that would allow to more clearly define the topic (per your suggestion). Would you and others support it? It does not mean the page would be based on works by Rummel (he should be cited just as all other scholars). This is simply more clear and more scientifically justified terminology/a title. My very best wishes (talk)
Renaming depends on what topic it is supposed to cover. Actually, all three subjects #1-3 are quite ok (and they can be three separate articles, which will be perfectly in accordance with our policy).--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:34, 19 May 2018 (UTC)
Another possible renaming could be, for example, Mass murder by Communist governments, but I think "Democide..." would be more neutral. My very best wishes (talk) 03:23, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, than it will be #3. It will include Campuchean genocide (sic!), Stalin's Great purge, Mao's Cultural revolution, Red terror, and similar events. It will be a quite legitimate subject.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:38, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

At this point, no one has indicated support for any of the other three proposals. I recall an editor saying specifically "I myself am totally neutral, and I will accept any outcome." and ask him to do so. Number 4 is not the same as any of the three first listed choices, as is obvious from this discussion. It provides for a possible change in article title, which should be acceptable to all. Such a title might be Civilian deaths attributed to actions of communist and related regimes. Collect (talk) 17:35, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

Please, don't twist my words. I wrote I was ready to accept any or those three concepts, but not all of them simultaneously. Your proposal, which you added after I wrote mine ones is a mixture of ##1-3, which does not answer theh major question: What the article is about". Obviously, I cannot accept that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:51, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

Excess deaths vs mass killing vs mass murder[edit]

Below is a quote from one article authored by Steven Rosefielde (Steven Rosefielde (2001) Premature Deaths: Russia's Radical Economic Transition in Soviet Perspective, Europe-Asia Studies, 53:8, 1159-1176, DOI:10.1080/09668130120093174 [43]):

"Lenin’s version of ‘command communism’ and the civil war caused a population deficit in 1918–23 of 19.7 million, including 939 755 Red Army casualties and millions of famine victims. The number of White Army deaths and terror killings is not known. After a lapse of 8 years during which the economy recovered to the prewar level, and the population resumed its upward momentum, Stalin decided to give command communism another try under more favourable conditions, having laid the ground by developing the institutional foundations of central planning and ministerial administration. Although the nation was at peace, he opted once again for economic radicalism, arguing that gradualism would allow his opponents to subvert his reforms, promote counter-revolution and leave the Soviet Union vulnerable to German attack. The peasantry was forcibly collectivised, starved by political decree, and exiled in vast numbers. Millions were subsequently terrorised, consigned to Gulag, and an unknown number prematurely killed. To the extent that these actions were economically motivated they were all ultimately in vain . Although mis-industrialisation did provide the weapons needed to repel Hitler and contest American superpower after World War II, the command system which emerged out of the ‘great leap forward’ could not provide competitive living standards, and proved impervious to fundamental reform. Economic radicalism detached from the rule of law succeeded in wrecking lives and killing millions, but its promises of material prosperity and social justice went unfulŽled.
El’tsin ’s dissolution of the Soviet Union and administrative command planning is the latest episode in this benighted tradition. The summary data in Table 5 show that it is the least disastrous. The contemporary population deficit (excess deaths plus the birth deficit ) is less than a third of that of Lenin’s ‘command communism’ and Stalin’s forced industrialisation and terror, a result not signicantl y affected by the inclusion of a million additional excess deaths in 1939, or by normalising the Ž figures for differences in population."

Note, this author (the author of Red Holocaust) emphasizes the commonality between the events in 1930s and 1990s. That implies that, whereas there were some mass killings and mass murder in 1930 (for example, Great Purge), it would be incorrect to describe all population losses as mass killing victims, because you must agree that there were no "democratic mass killing" in Russia in 1990s. In other words, excess death caused by indirect action of governments are not considered mass killings generally. What is the reason to make an exception for communist regimes, and why more weight should be given to the sources that say this?--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:40, 19 May 2018 (UTC)

Where the "excess deaths" (unborn children) are counted on the page? 100 million number from "Black Book", for example, does not include excess deaths. My very best wishes (talk) 02:59, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Wait, in this article, Rosefielde compares apples with apples: all population losses during Stalin's rule and all population losses during Yeltsyn's rule. And he points out that these deaths at least partially were the result of government's policy. Stalinism's death do include murder, execution, famine, and deaths due to overall deterioration of life conditions (i.e. directly and indirectly resulted from government's action). Yeltsyn's actions, obviously were only indirect, and Rosefielde does not call them "mass killing", "democratic Holocaust" etc. (which is correct, by the way). However, Rosefielde calls this mortality "latest epoisode", and draws parallelism with Stalin.
In connection to that, if mass mortality as a result of indirect actions of a democratic government is not considered "mass killing", why the same categories of death conidered "mass killing" when they occur in a communist state? Note, Rosefielde does not combine all population losses under Stalin in a category "mass killing victims", he uses the same terminology as for Yeltsin period.
Unborn children are not "excess deaths", but "population losses" (which include emigration too). The birth deficit was observed both in 30s and in 90s, so that is irrelevant.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:21, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
What do you suggest to change on the page? My very best wishes (talk) 04:10, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
I'd prefer do that after we come to agreement about the article's subject.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:39, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Please read Hurricane Maria#Likely undercounting of fatalities, this is how the job should be done. No POV-BS, only a presentation of the reliable sources.--Woogie10w (talk) 16:29, 20 June 2018 (UTC)

Error in the lead[edit]

"The highest estimates of mass killings include not only direct mass murders or executions, but also lives lost due to effects of war, famine, disease and other factors, including deliberate government mismanagement." Then, the number from BBOC is provided. How come? The number in BBOC (and most other statistics on this page) does NOT include "war" and "disease" and "mismanagement". As about "other factors", one should mention them explicitly. Including victims of wars (may be by Rummel - this should be checked) produces much higher numbers. In addition, this is not mass murder by anyone, by only executions or whatever by the governments. That's important. Perhaps we should quote what counts directly from the BBOC. My very best wishes (talk) 13:53, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

I fixed it per the source. My very best wishes (talk) 14:17, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
The exclusion of wars is important. The sources usually emphasize: "civilians" (and not civilians killed by another government during war).My very best wishes (talk) 14:30, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Again, the BB should not be in the lead, because it is controversial and provocative (according to what other sources say), which means it by no means represents a consensus view. The very idea to play with total number of death is also considered misleading and politically motivated. This lead has is so strongly biased, that the NPOV tag is absolutely necessary. --Paul Siebert (talk) 14:58, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Completely agree. Not only that, but the entire introduction of this article is now based on the most controversial sections of the book, the foreword and the introduction. Some of the main contributors to the project vehemently rejected what was stated to the point they regretted their participation in it, and publicly distanced themselves from it.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 15:54, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
The opinion is cited and sourced as opinions. Excision of an opinion because you disagree with it is not how the process works. We can certainly add other opinions, cited and sourced as opinions, but excising a "wrong opinion" - nope. Collect (talk) 17:30, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
You are welcome to add it to the article's text, where it belongs to. However, it must be supplemented with the criticism (see below; also read the David-Fox's article)--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:46, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

Below are the quotes from Kuromiya's review of the Black Book (Journal of Contemporary History, Vol 36(1), 191–201.)

"According to the foreword to the English version of The Black Book, ‘thisbook is one of the first attempts to study communism with a focus on its criminal dimensions’. Martin Malia, in his foreword, informs the Anglophonereaders that the authors of the book ‘are former Communists or close fellow-travelers’,2and notes that the authors are divided ‘over the assessment of theircommon past’. (Two key contributors to the volume, Nicolas Werth forRussia and Jean-Louis Margolin for Asia, ‘publicly dissociated themselves’from the conclusions drawn in the book by Stéphane Courtois, the leadauthor.) Malia goes on to examine succinctly the ‘foreseeable political storm’ the book’s publication raised in France. "

"The brutal agricultural policy and the callousness of the Stalin regime were responsible at least in part for this calamity. Indeed the government, in cold-blooded indifference to life, let the peasants die in order to save the cities. Yet there is no conclusive evidence that Moscow deliberately caused the famine in order to punish recalcitrant peasants, especially in Ukraine, the chief victim of the famine. It is not possible, contrary to Courtois’ contention, to show convincingly the ‘systematic use of famine as a weapon’ by the Soviets. That ‘in the period after 1918, only Communist countries experienced such [large-scale] famines’ does not in itself constitute evidence of the use of famine as a political weapon. At least in the Soviet case, the scale of terror presented in The Black Book seems to be deliberately inflated. ‘Indirect’ deaths are indiscriminately lumped together with deliberate political killings."

"Courtois’ attempt to present communism as a greater evil than nazism by playing a numbers game is a pity because it threatens to dilute the horror of actual killings."

In other words, this reliable source demonstrates, I think, convincingly, that not only the Malia's and Courtois statements does not reflect scholarly consensus, but this source advocates some concrete political agenda. That warrants removal of the mention of the overall figures from the lead until a consensus will be achieved on how the figures should be presented. I remove Malia, and expect that text will not be restored under a pretext of an alleged consensus. Remember, it was this statement that caused an edit war that lead to article's full protection. Please, do not re-insert it without discussion.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:16, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

HUH? It is a major change and therefore should actually have consensus before your "insertion".. Your person opinion as to WP:TRUTH is not how Wikipedia operates. Collect (talk) 17:26, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
My personal opinion is that the text that I removed violates our NPOV policy. This opinion is supported by two reliable sources. If you believe I misinterpreted these sources or our policy, please demonstrate it, and then re-insert the text. Please, keep in mind that the text I removed did not belong to the latest consensus version.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:39, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Collect, I have noticed you added the text that violates our neutrality policy, and is contested by at least two users. Please, provide a proof that it complies with the policy. Meanwhile, I respectfully request you to self-revert. Please, keep in mind that (i) the text you added is not a consensus version, and (ii) you added a strongly non-neutral statement, and if you were not aware of that, I am informing you about that now.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:44, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
I have not in any way violated WP:NPOV. If you wish to have a reliably sourced opinion added, do so, citing and sourcing it as opinion. Removing opinions one does not like is not neutral . How in XXXX can you call an opinion which has withstood scrutiny for years as suddenly violating Wikipedia policy now? Are you upset that no one has yet supported any of the versions you proposed where you said you would accept any version - therefore you can not support any version someone else proposes? And please note that I added nothing - simply reverting your bold edit. Collect (talk) 18:02, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
By adding this text to the lead, you directly violated the policy that says Segregation of text or other content into different regions or subsections, based solely on the apparent POV of the content itself, may result in an unencyclopedic structure, such as a back-and-forth dialogue between proponents and opponents. It may also create an apparent hierarchy of fact where details in the main passage appear "true" and "undisputed", whereas other, segregated material is deemed "controversial", and therefore more likely to be false. Try to achieve a more neutral text by folding debates into the narrative, rather than isolating them into sections that ignore or fight against each other.. Instead of adding the text into the artile's body, where it could be supplemented with a due criticism (see above), you put it in the lead, to create an absolutely false impression that this source is not controversial and reflects mainstream views. In addition, you are doing that unilaterally, without obtaining a consensus. I again respectfully request you to self-revert, because the text you restored is not a consensus version--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:26, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Paul, I added zero text I reverted your deletion of material. That is all. At this point your accusation that I added text is perilously close to failure to assume good faith. Collect (talk) 18:50, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Collect, you added the text that obviously reflects a contested viewpoint. No matter if it has been there before or not: I presented a strong evidence that this text reflects a highly disputable viewpoint, and placement of this text into the lead violates our policy. You references to WP:V is not working, because the violated policy is WP:NPOV. Again, that is not a content dispute, that it a policy violation dispute, which we are talking about a violation, not just about disagreement. So far, you provided just procedural reasons for adding the text there (that the text belonged to allegedly stable version, which is simply a lie). That means we are approaching to the point where we will not be able assume your good faith any more.
In connection to that, I am respectively requesting you again:
Collect, please, self-revert and put the disputable text somewhere in the main artilce's text (not in the lead).
--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:02, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
I did a simple revert. I added nothing whatsoever This sort of argumentation ad hominem is not a great idea. In fact, I suspect it weakens your oft-stated and oft-restated positions more than anything else. Secondly, you seem to forget the purpose of any lead - that is to summarize the content of the article. Your "request" is actually asking me to violate Wikipedia policy. Collect (talk) 14:17, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
Length of time does not matter. Opinions can be included, but inclusion in the lead signifies high weight and a implication of the attributed text represented scholarly consensus. Galobtter (pingó mió) 18:55, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I think these numbers may actually represent a scholarly consensus. Please convince me otherwise by providing other equally good sources.My very best wishes (talk) 20:00, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
My very best wishes, this is not working. The burden of proof is on those who adds some material. Regarding consensus, I presented a mainstream source that says that Courtois's attempt to prove that "communism as a greater evil than nazism by playing a numbers game is a pity". Which means that any attempt to present whatever number is not a universally supported approach, because it is intrinsically misleading.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:07, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Two things. (1) These numbers were in the lead for years, see version from 2014 [44]). I only refined slightly what they mean - per sources. (2) Everyone is welcome to create a section with various estimates from different sources (I think we need it). But remember, this section should provide only some general estimates for all Communist countries, not for individual countries (data for individual countries should be provided in sections for the corresponding countries). I do not think there is a lot of such general estimates. "Black Book", Rummel, what else? Whatever you can find can be included. My very best wishes (talk) 18:46, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Maybe the lack of general estimates should indicate that it may not be WP:DUE for the lead. Galobtter (pingó mió) 18:55, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
What lack of general estimates? There are general estimates, and they were published in academic RS (books) by leading experts on the subject. These sources are used on the page. This is just a matter of WP:BURDEN for people who claim there are alternative sources which claim something different. My very best wishes (talk) 19:01, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
"I do not think there is a lot of such general estimates."?? By lack I mean low number Galobtter (pingó mió) 19:05, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Having even one academic source about something is perfectly fine per WP:NPOV if there are no other sources (I am sure there are more sources in this case). My very best wishes (talk) 19:56, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
That is not true. One source gives an estimate, another source says giving an estimate is "playing with numbers", which means the very idea to give such a number is non-productive. That means no numbers can be given in the lead, because the very approach is highly questionable.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:32, 21 May 2018 (UTC)

The fact that the extremely controversial intro from the BBOC was just added as a citation to the lede, in addition to the already cited Foreword by Malia, demonstrates that this article is in desperate need of a neutrality tag asap.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 19:23, 20 May 2018 (UTC)

Why on the Earth the numbers fro BBOC are "controversial"? Were these general numbers disputed in other sources? Where and how? My very best wishes (talk) 19:56, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
Are you deliberately being obtuse? The controversy over the estimates in the introduction is well known, and one of the main reasons several contributors to the book denounced it. It is discussed in the wiki article on the BBoC, which I provided a link to above.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 21:31, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
I am not sure what you are talking about. Yes, I edited the page about the book. No, the contributors did not denounce the book. There was just a minor disagreement about the introduction. Nothing on this page undermines credibility of the book or the numbers provided by the book. Yes, there are differences in opinion as usual. For example, "Economic historian Michael Ellman has argued that the book's estimate of "at least 500,000" deaths during the Soviet famine of 1946–48 "is formulated in an extremely conservative way, since the actual number of victims was much larger"—1,000,000-1,500,000 excess deaths according to Ellman". So what? OK, the conclusion by Ellman can be included in the corresponding section of this page. Or for example, "They also argued that based on the results of their studies, one can tentatively estimate the total number of the victims at between 65 and 93 million". Fine, let's include it here. And so on. My very best wishes (talk) 21:59, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
That is obvious, and they did express regret about contributing to the project. I quote from the book "Red Hangover" (Duke University Press, 2017, p. 140): "Margolin and Werth disavowed the book, claiming that Courtois was obsessed with reaching a figure of 100 million and that this led to sloppy and biased scholarship." This explains perfectly the problem with the lede of this article, it is entirely based on this "sloppy" and "biased" scholarship, which is why at the very least it should be tagged immediately.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 22:32, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
They said the number is between 65 and 93 million, according to their estimate, not 94 as main coordinator of the book wrote in Introduction. Fine, let's also use their estimates to define the range of numbers. That is what WP:NPOV requires. It does not make anyone of them right. Some others can provide different estimates. My very best wishes (talk) 22:50, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
However, their numbers must be reliably published and we need to know and how did they arrive to such numbers. My very best wishes (talk) 23:03, 20 May 2018 (UTC)
My very best wishes, it is becoming more and more difficult for me to continue interpreting your refusal to understand the point within the WP:AGF paradigm. I
  1. I presented reliable sources that demonstrate that BB and Malia are highly controversial sources, which means it would be a violation of neutrality policy to put this text to the place where it is now;
  2. I presented the proof (the sources) that say that playing with total numbers of Communism victims may be misleading and serves some political goals, which means we need a serious discussion about the need to present any number in the lead;
  3. I proposed to move this text somewhere to the article, where it will be presented in a balanced way;
  4. I pointed your attention to the fact, that the added text does not belong to the version that reflects consensus.
In connection to that, any references to WP:V and WP:CONSENSUS are not productive, and I respectively request you to stop violating our content policy (WP:NPOV), because that is becoming highly non-productive. --Paul Siebert (talk) 00:18, 21 May 2018 (UTC)

This fresh addition [45] is another violation of WP:NPOV. I think a user who committed this violation is fully aware of that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:43, 21 May 2018 (UTC)

I think that it is worth having an WP:RFC over whether to include the cite to the Black Book in the lead, to at least try and establish some sort of consensus; I definitely don't think that it has ever enjoyed consensus (as I pointed out above, the article destablized immediately after it was inserted, and has never been stable since), so I'd say that it has to be removed unless an RFC can demonstrate consensus for inclusion. My feeling, obviously, is that putting such a heavy focus on a single controversial source in the lead is WP:UNDUE. But either way, an RFC might attract more attention to this article (which languished while locked for so long), which might help us move past some of our deadlocks. --Aquillion (talk) 06:35, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I've said it above, and I'll say it again here; the various estimates from the chapters of the BBOC, discussing different aspects of mass killing, belong in the lead. The introduction does not, because as an introduction, it assumes an almost editorial quality, and because the authors whom it draws upon have since disputed it. This isn't a run-of-the-mill academic disagreement. I also suspect an RFC is going to be a waste of time, because what we need here is a nuanced solution, which RFCs are terrible at providing. Vanamonde (talk) 10:51, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I am saying that the lead must provide a range of numbers from multiple RS on the subject, whatever this range is. This should also include numbers from publications by Malia, Rummel and whatever else was published by nobable scholars we have big pages about. The only dispute between co-authors of BBOC about the numbers was if it should be "65 to 93 million" or 94 million. Yes, it should be actually even a wider range (per multiple RS), but I'd like to check which source tells "65 to 93 million". The only serious disagreement between co-authors was about comparison of Nazism and Communism in the Introduction of the book. That indeed probably does not belong to the lead of this page. And BTW, the BBOC numbers very widely cited. Here is a convenience link to a typical historian's website (I am not saying this website is RS). My very best wishes (talk) 11:37, 21 May 2018 (UTC)

@Vanamonde. We need to decide, is this article about various theories of "generic Communism" (the topic #1), or they are about the events themselves (topic #2 or #3). That is important, because the BB is not the only source about these events, not the best one, and not the most recent. I would say, this source is obsolete, and Kiernann is better for Cambodia than Margolin, Snyder is better for USSR than Werth, etc. In 1990s, after collapse of the USSR, many archival materials became available that forced historian to reconsider their vision significantly. Thus, many early estimates of repression victims were reconsidered to a significantly lower side. Conquest himself conceded his earlier estimate were much too high. Snyder (whose recent work I already cited on this talk page) also provides more balanced view. In contrast, old authors (especially Rummel), provide very inflated figures, and these figures have just a historical interest. To use old and new figures for victims as a range is as ridiculous as to give old and new values of electron charge in the same article as a range of estimates. Another reason why we absolutely need to make a choice between #1 and #2 (or#3) is that, depending on that, the lead should look totally differently.

Concept #1's lead should say something of that kind: "Such authors as Courtois, Malia, Valentino propose a theory that links all mass killings to Communism, and they estimate the total number of victins was AAAA. These theories have not been universally supported, and their critics say BBBBBB."

Concept #2's lead should say: "Mass mortality events occurred in some (many?) Communist states. In USSR under Stalin's rule, ~1 million people was executed, according to Snyder, around XX died in exile or died from famine, according to (Wheatcroft/Maksudov), and total population loss was YYY. The intentionality of later events is a subject of debates. In Cambodia, around 2 million, (30%) of population, primarily ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese were murdered (ref Kiernan), and the event is intrnationally recognized as genocide. In China (... , ref O'Grada). Some theories (Courtois, Valentino, Rummel) were proposed that link all these events to Communism as a primary cause, whereas this approach is not universally accepted and disputed by others." Concept #3 - the same, but the focus made only on murders and genocides, and main sources are Kiernan et al for Cambodia, Snyder, Ellman et al for USSR, etc.

Let me reiterate, the choice of the topic defines not only the shape of the article, but it defines which sources the preferencec will be given to, because the authors of general theories are not the best experts in each separate field, and their vision may be different from opinia of true, universally recognised experts. Last but not least. Currently, the lead contains a statement that directly violates our neutrality policy and that is not supported by a talk page consensus. Do you see any reason to have it in the lead even as a placeholder?

--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:58, 21 May 2018 (UTC)

By the way, Valentino is hardly a good source for a simple reason: his theory is not about "Communist mass killings", but about mass killings as a tool some national elites use to implements social transformations what all other tools proved ineffective. According to Valentino, ideology is of secondary importance, so "Communist mass killings" are just "mass killings in countries that happened to be Communist". In other words, this article combines a general Valentino's theory (which does not make an emphasis on Communism as an ideology) to reinforce a dubious claim made by Courtois. Do we believe that is in accordance with our content policy?--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:16, 21 May 2018 (UTC)

  • If you think that well-known academic sources X,Y,Z are too old and provide outdated statistics about anything, please show newer RS that provide different numbers about the same. Then it will be something to discuss. But so far you could not produce any newer data on the total number of victims of Communist repression. WP:BURDEN. In the absence of newer data, we can only use sources that we have per WP:NPOV. BTW, this thread was only about a minor correction in the lead. You continue discussion about the subject of the page that suppose to be in another section. My very best wishes (talk) 16:32, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
If you think that outdated sources that provide combined number for all victims of communism are more adequate than new data provided by experts in their field, please, prove that the data Courtois used in 1990 and Rummel 0n 1970s are more trustworthy than new data.
The books where the authors do not do their own research, but combine the data of others are tertiary sources. If tertiary sources are outdated, we cannot ignore what more modern secondary sources say. Your argument is that Courtois should be used in the lead because no more recent tertiary source exists. However, that is not what our policy says, because WP relies mostly on secondary sources.
To avoid possible misunderstanding, I explain again: Werth's chapter is a secondary sources, Courtois' introduction is a tertiary source.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:03, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
Actually, I think that books by Rummel and BB are the best and most reliable sources on this specific subject today because modern day history graduates use them. But you can convince me otherwise by providing newer sources with comparative statistics on the number of victims of Communist repressions in different countries. My very best wishes (talk) 17:38, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
You may think whatever you want.
Please provide a modern source that uses Rummel's figures. Regarding the BB, what chapter do you mean?--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:49, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
In XX century, life expectancy almost doubled, an unprecedented phenomenon that had never been observed in human history (except in Japan). How can that be consistent with killing of 60+ people?--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:52, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
Is that a joke? Contributors to the BBoC denounced as sloppy and biased scholarship the high estimates provided in the introduction and you think those are reliable? And Rummel is even worse! 62 million "murdered" by the Soviet government? I don't know of one Sovietologist who would agree with such an absurd estimate in the post-Cold War era. Even Robert Conquest was sensible enough to revise his estimates downward (although probably not enough) based on what archival evidence was showing. Rummel also nearly doubled his China estimate solely based on the controversial and highly polemical work Mao: The Unknown Story, which was shredded by actual Sinologists. He is a terrible scholar IMO. The most reliable estimates are those that can be documented, as Wheatcroft does meticulously in his work on the USSR.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 17:56, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
I am simply saying that BBoC and books by Rummel qualify as secondary academic RS per our policies, no matter if you like them or not. "Other historians disagree"? Fine, please bring other RS with comparative statistics on the number of victims of Communist repressions in different countries. My very best wishes (talk) 18:03, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
The attempt to draw a discussion into this direction is blurring the main question: the source in the lead is disputable, outdated and it does not reflect consensus (this outside opinion [46] supports this my claim). How can you explain your attempts to prevent us from fixing this violation of our content policy?--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:10, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
  • This talk page is getting intensely frustrating. First, we have five different open discussions about the lead alone. Second, it's been only a few days since this was unprotected, and we're already seeing edit-wars and personal attacks of the sort that led this to be protected. C.J. Griffin, you're right about the sources, but you really should avoid comments like "Are you deliberately being obtuse".

    My very best wishes, your position that the introduction to the BBOC is the best source available is a completely untenable position. The chapters within it qualify as RS; the introduction does not, for the reasons presented above. Your insistence that other folks present "comparative estimates" is also off the mark: one doesn't need to present an alternative estimate in order to critique Malia's figure, and so ignoring criticism that does not present such a figure is wikilawyerish skulduggery that has no place here.

    As I see it, we have two options for numbers in the lead; either we remove them, or we include a range of figures (including for subsets of the topics covered in this article) along with critiques thereof. There aren't any other neutral options. We should focus our discussion on how precisely to fashion this lead (and, if any of the sources are not in the article, where they belong). Also, FYI, Miacek has been blocked indefinitely, and they are not likely to be party to this discussion any further.

    Vanamonde (talk) 03:24, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
  • But that is exactly what I am talking all the time on this page: yes, we should include "a range of figures" in the lead! And it is already included. What's the problem? As about "Introduction", it is currently under discussion on RSNB: see here, and it has been previously discussed on RSNB here. We are talking about first chapter of book named "Introduction: The Crimes of Communism". This is not an "editorial". It is no different from any other chapters of the book . This chapter cites 34 other secondary and primary sources (see pages 760, 761), just as any other typical secondary source. Hence this source is definitely a secondary academic RS and should be used here. Books by Rudolph Rummel also qualify as academic RS and can be used on this page. My very best wishes (talk) 03:59, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
An you forgot to mention that is the very part of the BB that raised intense controversy and criticism, including and disagreement among other BB authors. The introduction does not reflect even a consensus of the BB's authors themselves, how can you pretend it represents a mainstream view? I am starting to suspect that you persistent refusal to address this argument is an indication of the lack of a good faith. Remember, this article is under DS, so we must be collaborative.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:23, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
I do not know if you have ever written a scientific paper with collaborators, but co-authors always disagree about something in my experience. Yes, having public disagreements between co-authors of the same book is unusual, but I am sure there are other such examples, and they do not undermine credibility of anything. This is just a normal discourse. In this particular case, people understandably can have different opinions about such politically charged issue as comparison of Communism and Nazism. This is all it was actually about. No one suggested to include the comparison of Communism and Nazism in the lead of this page.My very best wishes (talk) 15:10, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
My h-index is not impressive (just 12), but I, in contrast to you, understand the difference between co-authors of a paper or a book and contributors to a collective volume. And it is an absolutely non-normal situation when one contributor publicly disassociates themselves from another.
However, as I see, you agree that different viewpoints exist on if it is correct to combine the victims of communism into a single category and to give a single number. In that case, I don't understand why are you supporting the version of the lead that pushed one viewpoint and ignores another one? You did not address the question about a generally recognised controversial nature of the introduction (which means the source you are advocating so persistently does not represent majority views).
I consider all of that tantamount to gaming a system. I am interested to see the sources that dispute David-Fox's conclusion. Your own speculations (which are not supported with reliable sources) are irrelevant and not helpful for achievement of a consensus.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:34, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
  • The following considerations are absolutely necessary to take into account:
  1. A number of sources give an estimate of total amount of Communism victims. ALL these sources give these estimates to support the idea that Communism was greater evil than Nazism, or that Communism was the greatest evil of XX century. This idea is criticised by other sources. Conclusion: if we give total numbers from those sources, we must supplement that with the explanation that the numbers are intended to support some concrete idea, and that approach does not reflect scholarly consensus.
  2. A number of modern authors, especially Mildarsky, Valentino, Semelin and Weitz discuss the mechanism of onset of genocides and mass killings, but (i) they do not consider ideology (any ideology) as an important factor, and (ii) do not do a special research about the exact number of victims. Valentino's estimates are not the result of his own research, he just took older data, because the exact number of, e.g. Soviet famine victims is not capable of affecting his conclusions significantly. Conclusion These authors are just not interested in exact numbers, they are more focused on mechanisms, so the sources of that type do not contain any independent estimates that can be used in the lead.
  3. The scholars who study genocides "typically compare genocides to genocide". This is not my assertion, that is the statement taken from a reliable source: Scott Straus. Retreating from the Brink: Theorizing Mass Violence and the Dynamics of Restraint. Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 10, No. 2 (June 2012), pp. 343-362. Published by: American Political Science Association. [47]. For example, it is possible to find modern (corrected) figures of Stalinism victims, but the authors who provide these vigures are absolutely not interested in calculation of the number of "Communism victims", because the subject of their academic interest is Stalinism, not Communism. Conclusion: this type sources also do not contain combined figures, but they DO contain modern and the most accurate estimates of victims of every separate event.

General conclusion: ALL combined figures are from the sources that are written from the "generic Communism" point of view. The idea that the total number of victims of Communism is a part of mainstream scientific discourse is absolutely incorrect. All other sources do not contain these estimates simply because this question is beyond the scope of their study.

Any neutral lead must reflect what all these sources say in a balanced way.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:09, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

You tell in your "general conclusion": "The idea that the total number of victims of Communism is a part of mainstream scientific discourse is absolutely incorrect." Are you saying that all publications on this subject are "fringe"? This seems to contradict your own statement ("A number of sources give an estimate of total amount of Communism victims") followed by discussion of sources. My very best wishes (talk) 15:23, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
The review article discussing "second generation genocide scholars" (the source I already cited several times) says:
"To be sure, no topic of study is likely to achieve perfect consensus on core concepts. But the issue is especially salient in this literature for at least two reasons. First, the conceptual range is broad. Some authors such as Valentino employ a concept that includes dozens of twentieth century cases. Other authors, such as Midlarsky, use a narrower definition, with only three twentieth-century cases. Some authors, such as Weitz, Valentino, Mann, and Levene, incorporate communist cases, which generally involve targeting class groups (not ethnic or racial ones). Other authors exclude communist cases. Some authors such as Mann, Levene, and Valentino include colonial cases; the other authors do not. In short, there is considerable range in the kind of violence being examined. Second, most authors seek to find common empirical patterns among a very small number of cases. That being so, even small variations in the concept of genocide yield different universes of cases, different case selections, and ultimately different findings and theories."
As you can see, the review mentions no authors who separate communist mass killing into a separate topic. Courtois or Malia are not mentioned at all (which means, their viewpoint is not a part of modern scientific discourse).
--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:34, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
  • The question here is not your citation index, but citation indexes of Courtois, Malia, Rummel and other authors. I did not check them, but their indexes should be high based on Google searches. They are also generally known as mainstream researchers (please check wikipages about them). Hence your claim that their work was not "mainstream" is completely groundless. If there is only a small number of publications on a certain subject, it means this is simply a narrowly specialized subject area. Sometimes there is only one author writing about something. My very best wishes (talk) 16:57, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
This your post contains just speculations and is not supported by any reliable sources. It looks like an attempt to draw a discussion from a productive direction to repetitions of the same arguments again and again. This post looks like a combination of filibustering and aggressive POV pushing. Please, remember, this article is under DS restrictions. I expect not to see this type posts any more in this thread. --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:08, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
Look, you just said that your h-index is 12 and that "Courtois or Malia are not mentioned at all" because "their viewpoint is not a part of modern scientific discourse". I am responding that no, the scientists with high citation index (and notable enough to have a large WP page about thewm), i.e. Courtois or Malia, are certainly a part of the "modern scientific discourse", are well known experts in their fields, and their books therefore qualify as RS. How can you see such response as problematic? My very best wishes (talk) 17:22, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
This discussion belongs to my talk page, not to this thread. However, if you don't understand the difference between someone's h-factor and a relevance of their work to some area, I am not sure I want to continue this conversation. --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:37, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

BB reviews[edit]

To obtain an unbiased impression of the BB as a source for figures, I went to jstor and looked through top reviews on BB I found there [48]. Note, these sources should be considered best quality sources, because the fact that their authors were invited to write a review tells for itself. In my opinion, we should use all these sources in this article. Please, note, these sources go in the same order as I found them in jstor, so I am not cherry-picking them. Below are quotes (for your convenience, the links to fulltext are provided; I believe the quotes of that size are allowed by our IR policy):

  1. Amir Weiner, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 32, No. 3 (Winter, 2002), pp. 450-452 [49] : Although it adds little data that is new, the list is long, informative, and, for most part, indisputable. Even when the numbers of victims are questionable or obviously inflated, the brutality of communism in power is well established. (...) That said, this thick volume is seriously flawed, incoherent, and often prone to mere provocation. (...) Evaluation of academic monographs should not have to involve as- sessment of the authors' political backgrounds and environments. Regrettably, in the case of the Black Book of Communism, these characteristics are not irrelevant. For American readers in particular, the editor's claim that the dark side of communism remained elusive until the publication of this book rings hollow; it is also telling about the author."
  2. Hiroaki Kuromiya. Review Article: Communism and Terror. Reviewed Work(s): The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, and Repression by Stephane Courtois; Reflections on a Ravaged Century by Robert Conquest. Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Jan., 2001), pp. 191-201. [50] :"Yet there is no conclusive evidence that Moscow deliberately caused the famine in order to punish recal- citrant peasants, especially in Ukraine, the chief victim of the famine.8 It is not possible, contrary to Courtois' contention, to show convincingly the 'system- atic use of famine as a weapon' by the Soviets. That 'in the period after 1918, only Communist countries experienced such [large-scale] famines' does not in itself constitute evidence of the use of famine as a political weapon. At least in the Soviet case, the scale of terror presented in The Black Book seems to be deliberately inflated."
  3. Stanley Hoffman. Foreign Policy, No. 110, Special Edition: Frontiers of Knowledge (Spring, 1998), pp.166-169 [51] :"This gigantic volume, the sum of works of 11 historians, social scientists, and journalists, is less important for the content, but for the social for the social storm it has provoked in France. (...) What Werth and some of his colleagues object to is "the manipulation of the figures of the numbers of people killed" (Courtois talks of almost 100 million, including 65 million in China); "the use of shock formulas, the juxtaposition of histories aimed at asserting the comparability and, next, the identities of fascism, and Nazism, and commu- nism." Indeed, Courtois would have been far more effective if he had shown more restraint."
  4. Alexander Dallin. Reviewed Work(s): The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression byStéphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panné, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartošek,Jean-Louis Margolin, Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer. Slavic Review, Vol. 59, No. 4 (Winter, 2000), pp. 882-883. Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: [52] :"It would be incorrect to say that the book tells us more about the authors than about the subject; but it would be equally fallacious to omit the time and place-French intellectual soul-searching in the post-Soviet years-from its etiology. The editors imply that a lot of what they describe as "crimes, terror, and repression" has somehow been kept from the general public (an assertion further conjugated in Martin Malia's foreword to the American edition). In fact, for the informed reader the outlines-and often the details-of the evidence and argument are quite familiar, though admittedly few nonspecialists will command all the known facts about the Khmer Rouge, the Sendero Luminoso, or (a rather questionable category, to begin with) Afro-communism. Whether all these cases, from Hungary to Afghanistan, have a single essence and thus deserve to be lumped together-just because they are labeled Marxist or communist-is a question the authors scarcely discuss. (...)The chapters vary greatly in quality and reliability. Though often debatable, much the best ones are those by Nicolas Werth on the Soviet Union. Some of the others suffer from rather shrill rhetoric, and the whole enterprise of course leaves vast stretches of uncertainty; thus the attempt to establish the number of victims of communism (a futile effort that would depend greatly on definitions even if the statistics were more reliable) comes up with strikingly vast variations and vague totals (e.g., 65 million deaths for China, 20 million deaths for the USSR, and so forth)."
  5. Andrzej Paczkowski. The Strom over the Black Book. The Wilson Quarterly (1976-), Vol. 25, No. 2 (Spring, 2001), pp. 28-34. Published by: Wilson Quarterly. Stable URL: [53]. This review, in contrast to others is positive. However, the reviewer nores: Some critics complained that Courtois was "hunting" for the highest possible number of victims, which led him, as J. Arch Getty wrote in the Atlantic Monthly, to include "every possible death just to run up the score." To an extent, the charge is valid. Courtois and other contributors to the volume equate the people shot, hanged, or killed in prisons or the camps with those who were victims of calculated political famines (in the Chinese and Soviet cases), or who otherwise starved for lack of food or died for lack of drugs. "
  6. Ronald Aronson. Review: Communism's Posthumous Trial. Reviewed Work(s): The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression byStéphane Courtois; The Passing of an Illusion: The Idea of Communism in the TwentiethCentury by François Furet; The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and theFrench Twentieth Century by Tony Judt; Le Siècle des communismes by Michel Dreyfus. History and Theory, Vol. 42, No. 2 (May, 2003), pp. 222-245. Published by: Wiley for Wesleyan University. Stable URL: [54] :"But most of these problems pale in significance opening and closing chapters, which caused occasioned a break among the Black Book authors.(...) Courtois's figures for the Soviet Union, Vietnam, and Latin America go far beyond the estimates of the authors themselves, as does Courtois's final body count. (...) But two other theses created considerable consternation and have come to be associated with The Black Book: the figure of 100 million deaths and the parallel with Nazism. They became central in the debate that followed. (...) In articles and interviews Werth and Margolin pointed out how, in the service of this goal, Courtois distorted and exaggerated: Werth's total, including the Civil War and the famine of 1932-1933 had been five million less than Courtois's "mythical number,"51 while Margolin denied having spoken of the Vietnamese Communists being responsible for one million deaths.52 Interviewed in Le Monde, Margolin likened Courtois's effort to "militant political activity, indeed, that of a prosecutor amassing charges in the service of a cause, that of a global condemnation of the Communist phenomenon as an essentially criminal phenomenon." Both rejected the comparison between Communism and Nazism"
  7. Robert Legvold. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression by Stéphane Courtois and Nicolas Werth. Foreign Affairs, Vol. 78, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1999), p. 155Published by: Council on Foreign Relations Stable URL: [55]: - a very brief review, generally positive.
  8. Shane J. Maddock The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression by Stephane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek,Jean-Louis Margolin, Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer Source: The Journal of American History, Vol. 88, No. 3 (Dec., 2001), p. 1156 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of Organization of American Historians Stable URL: [56] :"Much of the controversy that has surrounded the book has focused on Stephane Courtois's introduction, in which he argues that communism represents a greater evil than Nazism, largely based on Marxism-Leninism's heftier death tally."
  9. David J. Galloway The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression by Stephane Courtois, Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer. Source: The Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 45, No. 3 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 587-589 Published by: American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages Stable URL: [57] " This review is generally positive, the reviewer just summarised what the book says with minimal comments.

I deliberately haven't included David-Fox there, because his article is not in the top of my jstor search, and I wanted my search to be completely unbiased. I believe the results of this unbiased search convincingly demonstrate that

  1. Courtois is not a satisfactory source for cumulative figures;
  2. Courtois uses these figures to advocate a certain political agenda, so by presenting the figures in the lead in the way the article is currently doing, our neutrality policy is seriously violated.
  3. A number of authors believe the very idea to use cumulative figures is intrinsically flawed.

In connection to that, I am expecting fresh arguments (with sources) that may allow us to keep Courtois/Malia's figures in the lead. If no fresh arguments will be provided until Friday night, I am removing these figures, at least until we find a reasonable way to present these data without violations of our policy.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:33, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

  • First of all, these your comments above probably belong to talk page of Black Book of Communism, not here. Secondly, I am not sure what is your point. Are you saying that Black Book of Communism is not a reliable source? Are you saying that publications by Stéphane Courtois and Martin Malia are not reliable sources or that Courtois and malia are not "mainstream" historians? I think there is only one valid point here: yes, we should create a subsection of the page with discussion of the total number of victims. Then it will be more clear what should and what should not be included in the lead. If you do not mind, I can do it later when I have more time. As about your quotations above, they do not prove anything except that book was famous and therefore have received a lot of positive and not so positive reviews. Obviously, communists, leftists and revisionist historians like J. Arch Getty did not like the book. Others just happened to disagree with something, which is normal in this area of science. That does not disprove or negate anything. My very best wishes (talk) 18:21, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
My points are:
  1. Courtois's introduction (not the BB as whole) is not a reliable source for figures (leaving other aspects beyond the scope)
  2. The figures presented by Courtois were intended to push quite specific political idea, and this very attempt (to "lump together" all figures of all deaths under Communist rule) was criticized by other reliable sources, which implies the very approach is questionable.
  3. I expect to see fresh arguments supported by reliable sources, desirably, non-cherry-picked.
  4. If no arguments of that type will be presented, I move the BB from the lead to this talk page until we find a way to present this information in a neutral way, which our policy requires. That means, there is a possibility that this source will be added back, but we need to elaborate a correct wording. Since the current wording clearly violate our policy, I'll remove it unless adequate evidences in its support are presented until Friday.
I believe, I was clear enough.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:42, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
  • In addition to my comment just above, each of these quotations needs to be analyzed individually to see what it means. For example, "Courtois and other contributors to the volume equate the people shot, hanged, or killed in prisons or the camps with those who were victims of calculated political famines (in the Chinese and Soviet cases), or who otherwise starved for lack of food or died for lack of drugs. ". Yes, it is exactly what Courtois and other contributors to the volume do. Robert Conquest and a lot of other historians do the same. So what? How this disproves or discredits anything? My very best wishes (talk) 18:48, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Taking words from a context is not helpful. The author I cited confirms Courtois was engaged in deliberate inflation of figures, and he does not find that correct. That is sufficient to demonstrate my point.
Further argumentation ad nauseum is hardly productive, and it may be considered disruptive editing. Please, be concrete.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:53, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
I am not taking words from a context. To the contrary, I am looking at the meaning of the statement. The meaning was correct (I believe), but but it does not really prove that the book was "bad". It was an illustration that every statement on controversial subject needs to be analyzed carefully to understand what it actually means and how it should be used on the page. Just creating a collection of presumably negative quotations about something does not belong to encyclopedia. My very best wishes (talk) 19:06, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Not only you are taking words from context, you again did that: we are not discussing if a book is bad, we are discussing if Sourtois's chapter is a good source for figures, and the answer is obvious: some sources say it is unacceptable for this particular purpose, some source say lumping figures together in this particular case is an intrinsically flawed ides at all, and no sources tell the figures are trustworthy. However, even if some sources say that, Courtois is still a highly controversial source, and it should not be in the lead unless it is properly balanced. --Paul Siebert (talk) 19:12, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
  • In your response above you clarified that "Courtois's introduction (not the BB as whole) is not a reliable source for figures". Well, it is exactly the question you posted several years ago on RSNB [58]. Did this posting resulted in consensus that you are right? No, it did not. In particular, user:DGG said that although the book should be used with care, the numbers of the book should be be used to establish the range of numbers (that is what I am telling as well). Now, you posted same question again here and here. Will it result in consensus to support you claim? I do not know, but at very least you should wait until the end of these discussions you started. My very best wishes (talk) 19:25, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
I don't think so. I'll remove the text that obviously violates NPOV, and we can continue our discussion.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:53, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
To the contrary, removing this would violate NPOV. Make an RfC about it if you wish. This is the only thing you can probably do to change status quo when there is no local consensus. My very best wishes (talk) 00:05, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
This [59] your edit removed the mention of controversy about the intro. That is a violation of our policy, which requires that segregation of text should be avoided. Note that is not a content dispute any more.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:20, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Why this is "not a content dispute any more"? My very best wishes (talk) 00:16, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
No, that was incorrect edit by another contributor (possibly just a mistake) that I fixed. My very best wishes (talk) 19:27, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
This statement seems to be absolutely false: in this diff [60] you removed the word "controversial" and replaced the link to a "criticism" section with a general link, thereby making more difficult for a reader to get access to any information about controversy. The edits of that kind suspiciously look like aggressive POV pushing.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:42, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

Since no evidences has been provided in support of a current description of Courtois in the lead, I remove it as I previously announced, because this text clearly violates our policy. Nevertheless, I anticipate the mention of the BB will re-appear again in the new version of the lead after a consensus will be achieved. Please, join a discussion of the text proposed below.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:24, 26 May 2018 (UTC)

Possible correction of the lead[edit]

Below, I outline major points the good and a balanced lead should reflect in my opinion (and what should not).

1. A neutral description of the events should be provided. The description should be maximally inclusive. A consensus is that mass mortality events occurred in some communist states, and that is what the first sentence should say.

1b. Other terminology is not an subject of current scholarly debates (thus, Straus writes that all authors use their own terminology, or use the same word "genocide",,but each in different ways). That means there is no dispute about some common terminology, just the lack thereof. Which means these nuances hardly belong to the lead.

2. The most obvious events that are least controversial should be named: Khmer Rouge genocide is universally recognised as such, and we should say that directly. Stalin's mass execution or Mao's Cultural revolution also should be described as mass killing, because they are universally recognized as such.

3. Controversial examples (famine, civil war victims, deportation victims etc) should be named, and the reason for controversy over the role of government policy and intentionaluty should be described (for example, the discussion about a man-made famine Holodomor is ended yet, so there is no universal conclusion about its reasons and if it was a genocide)

4. Connection of these events to Communist ideology and total number of victims should be described: It should be stated clearly, that some authors (with names, the list is exhaustive) combine all mass mortality events and describe all these victims (the number is provided here) as the victims of Communism, implying a strong connection between Communism as ideology and mass killing. It should be stated immediately after that that majority of genocide scholars prefer to study each mass killing event separately or compare one event with another; these authors do not consider any ideology as a primary factor.

Does anybody disagree with any of those statements?

--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:18, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

I do not think this discussion makes any sense until you can suggest a specific version of the lead. My very best wishes (talk) 21:04, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
Add your revised lede here so we can discuss it. The sooner we get this done the better. I added that the materials cited in the lede are controversial with source, given no one has moved them to the talk page or tagged them. EDIT: I request that My very best wishes restore that the introduction is 'controversial'. His edit sneakily removed this in order to supposedly give the official title of the introduction, which by itself is pointless.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 18:52, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Will do soon. I've just realized the article has no POV tag. I fixed that omission.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:55, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
I daresay using your personal research into the issues and your opinions thereon is not what Wikipedia policy calls for. All we are supposed to do is write what reliable sources write, period. Collect (talk) 22:55, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Correct me if I am wrong, but does this your statement mean that, in your opinion, whatever text I propose, it is my personal original research?--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:01, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
You misinterpret my post too much to respond. I note that the vast array of text you provide sans specific sourcing for the exact wording you seek is, perforce, original research at best. Provide precise sourcing for any precise wording you believe should be placed in the article. That is all we can ask for, and it is the minimum we should ask for. I suggest that short proposals in the form of RfCs would be better than masses of text, by the way. And please do not make personal attacks on me or any other editor. Collect (talk) 23:53, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Maybe, because it is not easy to understand what you mean?
All I am writing is based on sources I read. I do not add them to save time and space. Later, the sources will be added, but I prefer to do that after an agreement will be achieved about major points. If some point seems controversial and anybody needs to see a source, it will be provided.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:16, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
You did not suggest any specific corrections for the lead, at least in this section. My very best wishes (talk) 02:20, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
Currently, I am thinking about it, but I am being constantly distracted by a conversation with you.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:52, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
Your version below is inconsistent with your suggestions above. You tell: "1. A neutral description of the events should be provided.". That's great, but you did not provide any description of the events in the summary below. My very best wishes (talk) 15:01, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
What about the sentences ##1-4? Isn't it a description? Why do you believe it is not neutral? Do you mean the lead requires more detailed description? --Paul Siebert (talk) 15:37, 26 May 2018 (UTC)

Thank you Paul for the effort you've put into this necessary task. Unlike some other commenters, I'm not going to make specific judgments until I go through the sources more, but I will say its a relief to see someone looking to make a genuine contribution to WP rather than just shoot other people down.--GPRamirez5 (talk) 15:31, 26 May 2018 (UTC)

Good. If you need references to some source, just aks, and I provide them.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:13, 26 May 2018 (UTC)

Paul Siebert, although I believe we should simply incrementally update the lead to summarize the body of the article as it incrementally develops, here are my responses to your specific points, as requested:

1. Agreed
1b. I think a brief mention that there is no scholarly consensus on what term best applies should be included, without going into details.
2. Agreed
3. Agreed
4. I would want to see the sourcing for this: "It should be stated immediately after that that majority of genocide scholars prefer to study each mass killing event separately or compare one event with another; these authors do not consider any ideology as a primary factor." AmateurEditor (talk) 16:31, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
Thanks.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:23, 28 May 2018 (UTC)

the specific version + comments[edit]

Below is a crude draft of the lead, and my comments on each sentence. For your convenience, each sentence is numbered. If you disagree with anything, please, add your comments. I think it would be easier to follow the discussion if you wedge your comments in between my comments (I mean, you are welcome to comment on each my comment immediately after it). Happy commenting :-)

(1) Killing of a large numbers of non-combatants occurred in a number of communist states during a certain periods of their history. (2) These killing occurred during civil wars, political repression campaigns against real or perceived opponents, and persecution of certain social, ethnic, or ethno-social groups. (3) Mass killings had the greatest scale during Stalin's rule in the Soviet Union, in Mao Zedong led China, and in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. (4) The scale of mass killings in the USSR and China considerably decreased by the end of Stalin's and Mao's rule, accordingly, after the change of leadership, mass killings essentially stopped and, in the Soviet case, they were condemned by Stalin's successors; Cambodian genocide was stopped by the military intervention of Communist Vietnam's army. (5) Mass killing in Cambodia was legally recognized as genocide; persecution of ethnic or ethno-social groups in other communist states is also believed to have a genocidal nature, although no consensus is achieved do date on each of those events. (6) Mass killings in smaller scale occurred in some other Communist states and in some developing countries that declared adherence to one or another version of a communist doctrine. (7) Majority of these mass killings had been condemned by the international community and by countries' own successor regimes. (8) In addition to direct mass killings, several other mass mortality events occurred in Communist states; the deadliest of them were Soviet famine of 1932–33 and Great Leap Forward famine in China, which claimed 3-8 million and 30 million lives, respectively. (9) As most man-made famines, these famine showed clear marks of omission, commission, and provision, the degree of responsibility of Communist authorities for each famine is a subject of discussion, although many evidences indicate a genocidal nature of some of them. (10) A question on key causal mechanisms of all these heterogeneous events is still open, and most studies usually involve the analysis of individual cases or comparison of some genocide with other similar events. (11) Communist ideology is not considered as the only cause, and its contribution was different in different cases, although some first generation genocide scholars stress the role of a totalitarian state in mass killing. (12) A number of historians, including an editor of Black Book of Communism argue that Communist regimes deliberately killed 100 million people; based on that, they claim Communist regimes were more deadly and criminal than Nazism. (13) This conclusion is based on deliberately inflated figures of a total Communist death toll, and this approach, as well as the conclusions, caused severe criticism of historians.

Sentence 1 : This is an indisputable statement that reflects mainstream view. Indeed, it avoid generalisations (not all authors agree killing occurred it all states), and as many authors (including the ones I cited above) note that during some historical periods ("Khtuschev's thaw", post-Mao China, etc) there were no mass killing.

Sentence 2 : This is also a consensus view. No mainstream historian will argue against that.

Sentence 3 : These three mass killings should be named separately and explicitly, and I don't remember that anybody objected to that.

Sentence 4 : I think we need to add this information, because otherwise a wrong impression may be created that mass killings lasted from the very beginning to the very end of communist rule in each country.

Sentence 5: Khmer Rouge is a chemically pure genocide, and it was the only Communist genocide that is legally recognised as such. Other mass killings are colloquially called "genocide" although there is no consensus if they fit a strict definition.

Sentence 6: I doubt it may cause any objections.

Sentence 7: I am not sure about China, it looks like they are trying just not to talk about that. Correct me if I am wrong.

Sentence 8: The numbers serve as just a placeholders, I propose to discuss them separately.

Sentence 9: Again, I don't think anyone may disagree with that.

Sentence 10: Sources are: Second-Generation Comparative Research on Genocide Reviewed Work(s): Genocide in the Age of the Nation State by Mark Levene; The Dark Sideof Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing by Michael Mann; The Killing Trap: Genocide inthe Twentieth Century by Manus I. Midlarsky; Purifier et détruire: Usages politiques desmassacres et génocides by Jacques Sémelin; Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide inthe Twentieth Century by Benjamin A. Valentino; A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Raceand Nation by Eric D. Weitz Review by: Scott Straus Source: World Politics, Vol. 59, No. 3 (Apr., 2007), pp. 476-501. Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: [61], and Retreating from the Brink: Theorizing Mass Violence and the Dynamics of Restraint. Author(s): Scott Straus. Source: Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 10, No. 2 (June 2012), pp. 343-362. Published by: American Political Science Association Stable URL: [62]

Sentence 11: ibid

Sentence 12: That is what Malia and Courtois say.

Sentence 13: Since many sources (cited above) say that, and since it reflects real debates, we need to tell that in the lead.

--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:21, 26 May 2018 (UTC)

Argue and deliberately inflated and similar Judgements in Wikipedia's voice make this rather a non-starter. Are you proposing this as an RfC? I wonder how much support it would garner, for sure. Collect (talk) 13:41, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
That statement is directly taken from reliable sources I cited above.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:59, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
This is WP:OR and not a summary of the page. I agree: this version is absolutely terrible. Here is just a couple of examples:
  1. "Killing ... occurred", "These killing occurred during civil wars..." This is nonsense, in addition to poor English. They did not "happen" [by themselves]. They were committed by the governments of these countries. This is the entire point made by all these sources.
  2. "Communist ideology is not considered as a primary cause". No, the majority of sources do not claim it. They tell main reason was the communist system of the government (BBoC, this is not "Introduction", "Communism" by Pipes, and books by Robert Conquest etc.) and the Communist ideology definitely played a role, as also reflected on this page.
And so on. Make an RfC about it if you wish, but I think it will fail. P.S. Speaking about consensus, for example with regard to using BBoC, yes, "the consensus may change". Or it may not change. It is the latter in this case so far. My very best wishes (talk) 14:06, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
The above post is not true, because sentences 10-13 are properly sourced, and the sources may be provided for other sentences upon a reasonable request. The above post is not a reasonable request, because it contains no specific objections, except stylistic ones.
There is no, and there never had been any consensus about the BB.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:59, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
These are not stylistic objections. You suggested to include statements that are wrong, not supported by majority of sources and do not properly summarize content of the page. As about consensus about using BB, I already provided supporting links to discussions on RSNB on this page, and can provide them again, but this is not the subject under discussion. My very best wishes (talk) 15:06, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
Which my statements are wrong, why concretely they are wrong, and what concretely in these statements is not supported by reliable sources? Please, be concrete, because otherwise that is not a productive discussion.
Regarding old discussion on RSNB, it was inconclusive, and it did not address more recent arguments.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:34, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
I already explained. Almost every other phrase you suggested is also problematic. "As most man-made famines, these famine showed clear marks of omission, commission, and provision, ..." What this suppose to mean? You suggest: "This conclusion is based on deliberately inflated figures of a total Communist death toll...". Frankly, this claim in WP voice is wrong and looks pretty much as your own WP:OR. My very best wishes (talk) 15:49, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
Re omission etc. "Omission" is authorities' failure to acknowledge the famine and promptly secure an aid. Taking away all means of private food production, forcing peasants into mismanaged communes, and continuing food exports were the acts of commission. Preferential supplying cities cities and ignoring rural areas act of selective provision.
Re: inflation. I already cited these sources, but I repeat specially for you:
2. Hiroaki Kuromiya. Review Article: Communism and Terror. Reviewed Work(s): The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, and Repression byStephane Courtois; Reflections on a Ravaged Century by Robert Conquest. Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Jan., 2001), pp. 191-201. [63] :"Yet there is no conclusive evidence that Moscow deliberately caused the famine in order to punish recal- citrant peasants, especially in Ukraine, the chief victim of the famine.8 It is not possible, contrary to Courtois' contention, to show convincingly the 'system- atic use of famine as a weapon' by the Soviets. That 'in the period after 1918, only Communist countries experienced such [large-scale] famines' does not in itself constitute evidence of the use of famine as a political weapon. At least in the Soviet case, the scale of terror presented in The Black Book seems to be deliberately inflated."
3.Stanley Hoffman. Foreign Policy, No. 110, Special Edition: Frontiers of Knowledge (Spring, 1998), pp.166-169 [64] :"This gigantic volume, the sum of works of 11 historians, social scientists, and journalists, is less important for the content, but for the social for the social storm it has provoked in France. (...) What Werth and some of his colleagues object to is "the manipulation of the figures of the numbers of people killed" (Courtois talks of almost 100 million, including 65 million in China); "the use of shock formulas, the juxtaposition of histories aimed at asserting the comparability and, next, the identities of fascism, and Nazism, and commu- nism." Indeed, Courtois would have been far more effective if he had shown more restraint."--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:05, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Re: ""Communist ideology is not considered as a primary cause" Weitz, who sumarises the works of other genocide scholars, writes about three paradigms for explanation of mass killings: idealism, political development and state interest. He does not cite communist ideology as a sole factor. However, you may be right, and primary cause would be better to replace with a sole factor.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:55, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
I already responded to this in another section [65]. My very best wishes (talk) 16:09, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
...and failed to address my arguments properly.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:15, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
Your are trying to discredit the book by providing published criticism about it. However, there are just as many positive reviews (some of them are cited on the page about the book), and the disagreements are a part of normal scientific discourse. As about the total number of victims, this is just a sum of numbers for individual countries, and the numbers for individual countries are based on publications in many other sources (some of them provide even larger estimates for individual countries). We just should not count the total number ourselves to avoid WP:SYN.My very best wishes (talk) 12:19, 27 May 2018 (UTC)

There's nothing "normal" about a major author of a book denouncing the introduction to the press and attempting to get his contribution removed. That's what Werth did.-GPRamirez5 (talk) 15:18, 27 May 2018 (UTC)

What exactly are you talking about? Any link? But generally speaking, yes, that would be unusual and resulted in a negative publicity for the person who "changed his mind" (that was not Courtois, if I understand correctly). All co-authors are required to sign a form prior to the publication, so that all of them had to be well aware about the first chapter prior to the publication. Signing the release form and disagreeing later is indeed unusual, but again, just a sign of disagreements.My very best wishes (talk) 16:43, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
I don't think repeating the same argument ad nauseum to every new participant of the discussion is a good way to conduct the discussion. The quote from the source (which I cited above) is as follows:
"Why, then, did the Livre noir result in such a storm of copious, polemical articles in the French press and in the rather unusual spectacle of some of the authors-Werth, for example-attacking Courtois, who wrote the book's introduction and conclusion? What Werth and some of his colleagues object to is "the manipulation of the figures of the numbers of people killed" (Courtois talks of almost 100 million, including 65 million in China); "the use of shock formulas, the juxtaposition of histories aimed at asserting the comparability and, next, the identities of fascism, and Nazism, and communism." Indeed, Courtois would have been far more effective if he had shown more restrain."
Werth accused Courtois of manipulating his (Werth's) figures. He never changed his mind, he opposed to a wrong interpretation of his own data. That doesn't tell anything bad about Werth, but it does tell about Courtois, and about those who are incapable of understanding that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:14, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
Not sure what is your source, but most of them refer to this article in Le Monde. According to it, Werth thinks it was 15 million victims in the USSR, Courtious used the number of 20 million. That was the only their disagreement in numbers. Not surprising. Some sources tell it was 50 million victims in the USSR, even 60 million (according to Guinness World Records). My very best wishes (talk) 14:12, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
Werth thinks it was 15 million victims in the USSR, Courtious used the number of 20 million.

...So a 30% exaggeration. That's shocking. It means that Courtious may have exaggerated on every country, so the entire Black Book would be distorted by a third.-GPRamirez5 (talk) 14:46, 28 May 2018 (UTC)

  • This is not an "exaggeration" (once again, what's the source?), but a minor difference in opinion, given very wide range of numbers published in RS. For example, this book by Yevgenia Albats tells that 66.7 million people were killed "by state" in the USSR between 1917 and 1959. The book is pretty much a scholarly source. So, one could make a point that the number by Courtois was 3 times underestimated, but once again, this is just a difference between sources, depending on how the numbers were counted. Let's include this bigger number on the page? Yes, this should be done per WP:NPOV. My very best wishes (talk) 15:27, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
Please, show respect to users you are talking with: Albats says: "a terrible statistics has made into Guinness Book of records: 66.5 million ..." etc. She seems to refer to an old Guinness book that used this figure in late 80s. Is that your normal way of working with sources?!
I recall the same Albats claimed more than 200,000 Latvians were killed by Soveit authorities during occupation. Does Wikipedia use this figure? Albats is by no means a scholar, she is a political writer. She is accurate in description of evils the regime, but she never do her own research for numbers. She just use highest possible numbers published before.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:38, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
  • That's why we are using scholarly secondary sources, such the book by Albats. If she cites some numbers, it means she believes the numbers are correct (I would rather not cite Guiness Book directly). Note that the book by Albats [66] was published in 1999, after the so called "opening" of the KGB archives (she was a member of an official commission that was given a brief access to these archives). She is an excellent expert on the subject of Soviet state security services, with a PhD in political science from Harvard University. My very best wishes (talk) 17:03, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
Albatz is a journalist by education, who was writing popular articles about physics and astrophysics; read her bio before claiming she is a scholar. Later, she became a political scientist, but she never did her own research of the statistics of victims of Stalinism. She just uses obsolete data. Just open her book and tell me what source does she cite? --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:21, 28 May 2018 (UTC)

Paul Siebert, although I prefer us to ignore work on the lead until the article is further developed, here are my responses to your proposed sentences as requested:

1. No objection.
2. No objection.
3. No objection.
4. I would like to see the sourcing for this statement. Mass killing on a smaller scale than Valentino's 50K in 5 years cutoff did occur - rarely - after these periods, so I think saying "mass killings essentially stopped" is not true.
5. No objection.
6. No objection.
7. I would like to see the sourcing for this statement.
8. Ignoring the specific numbers given, no objection.
9. No objection.
10. This seems like a conclusion you have reached based upon your own analysis of various sources, rather than a conclusion found in a source. In particular, characterizing "most sources" suggests a review occurred of all the existing material or a representative sample of it all, which I doubt. Even if we had, this sentence will not age well as additional sources are produced.
11. No objection.
12. I believe Courtois wrote that the total approached 100 million, rather than saying it was 100 million, but I also don't think we can characterize all historians who cite that number as claiming Communism was "more criminal" than Nazism.
13. The conclusion that Communist regimes were more deadly (i.e. killed more people) than Nazism also works for the lowest total estimates I have seen, so I don't think that conclusion is based upon inflated figures, deliberate or otherwise. AmateurEditor (talk) 16:31, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
Thank you AmateurEditor for your insightful review. I think this lead should reflect an overall structure of the article after revision.
(4) I am not aware of any events of this kind in Cambodia after Vietnamese invasion, and in the USSR after Stalin's death (Valentino does not consider Afghanistan as Communist mass killing, just a standard anti-partisam warfare). I propose to think about that sentence together.
(7) This sentence is just a summary of all information available to me. It is hardly disputable, but it may a synthesis, so if a single source will not be found we will have to remove it (although this statement is true). That is an additional demonstration of the thesis that MKuCR is not a single topic according to majority scholars.
(10) No, that is pretty much close to what I read in the sources I cited. The review on the works of "second generation genocide scholars" openly says that. Read it by yourself and check if I understand that correct.
(12) Usually, those historians who are not going to write about Communism in general, do not cite these numbers. Those historians who claim Communism was the greatest evil, do cite this number. Historians who disagree with that, also cite this number, but criticize both the number and the approach in general. In any event, this figure seems to be tightly bound with the question on whether Communism was the greatest evil or not, because other authors simply do not consider "generic Communism" as a real concept, and for them, for example, Cambodian genocide shares more common features with Inonesian or Nazi genocides that with the events in Stalin's USSR.
(13) Lowest totals do not exist, because the authors who do not consider Soviet or Chinese famine as genocide are not interested in providing any cumulative figures for all communist regimes: they study each country separately. Recent comparison of Stalinism and Nazism (which is much more scholarly approach) says Stalinism killed less that Nazism. Actually, Communism killed a lot of people simply because it was controlling a vast countries for a very long period of time, if one compare per capita mortality, figures for all communist states except Cambodia look much less impressive.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:18, 28 May 2018 (UTC)

Sen review of Late Victorian Holocausts[edit]

The review does not single out Great Britain, does not refer to "free trade", does not accuse Great Britain of "colonization" of China, Brazil, etc., and does not invoke "communism" in the review. This makes the catenated claims for the review unsustainable, so I carefully marked them as "citation needed." Claims which are unsupported by the actual words in the source cited are not usable. Collect (talk) 00:32, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

I agree: this thing simply does not belong to this page. I would even say the entire section "Debate on famines" does not belong to this page, but belongs to pages about famines or elsewhere. Maybe only a couple of phases from this section could be salvaged. My very best wishes (talk) 02:10, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

Free trade is often regarded as a synonym for capitalism. It's my understanding that WP doesn't frown on paraphrases. For both legal and stylistic reasons it does frown on excessive quotation, however. GPRamirez5 (talk) 02:11, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

"Free Trade" is not at all synonymous with "capitalism" at all. In fact, no source I can find makes such a link, nor does the article make such a link. Collect (talk) 11:21, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
Yep, I suspected you might say that, that's why I provided a link to a thesaurus above. You may also wish to consult an obscure tome called The Wealth of Nations. -GPRamirez5 (talk) 13:54, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, some online "thesaurus" is not a reliable source especially one that provides words that are associated rather than mean the same thing. "Free trade" refers to international economic relations; low tariffs, quotas etc. "Capitalism" refers to internal ownership of means of production. You can actually have "free trade" under a planned economy (though it tends not to work out too well) and you can have no free trade, protectionism, while being capitalism (uh... Trump).Volunteer Marek (talk) 18:43, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
Please, see a review on Davis's book cited by me below. It is more specific, and it does support the thesis of British responsibility for mass deaths in China, India and Brasil on 19th cetnury.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:58, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
Still --- Sen does not single out Great Britain, and Great Britain had nothing at all to do with colonizing China and causing any famines. A thesaurus is not a substitute for a direct cite for the source being used - And The Wealth of Nations does not equate capitalism with "free trade." I urge you to remove the "Great Britain" piece as not being borne out by the source, as well as "colonizing China" as not being borne out by any source. Collect (talk) 15:16, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

I would say, a "Famine" section is a single large piece of NPOV violation. Our policy says: Segregation of text or other content into different regions or subsections, based solely on the apparent POV of the content itself, may result in an unencyclopedic structure, such as a back-and-forth dialogue between proponents and opponents. It may also create an apparent hierarchy of fact where details in the main passage appear "true" and "undisputed", whereas other, segregated material is deemed "controversial", and therefore more likely to be false. That is exactly what we observe here: the opinion (actually, majority view) that most famines (except few) were not genocidal or even intentional is represented as a minority view, which is a blatant POV-pushing.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:35, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

Collect posted the question on Late Victorian Holocaust on RSN, and I decided to make a brief research. I think the opinion of Jeff Mann deserves attention. See the relevant noticeboard thread for details.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:58, 26 May 2018 (UTC).

I do not think we agreed to include this. My very best wishes (talk) 21:41, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
I you may agree or disagree, but the Late Victorian Holocaust may be quite relevant, because it provides a good description of historical background of the event the article describes.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:55, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
The claims made about the UK owning China as part of the British Empire are unsupported by a reliable source, alas (WP:RS/N#Amartya_Sen_book_review) Denby covers the period and makes no such claims Collect (talk) 22:04, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
Actually, political domination is not too important, because Britain dominated economically and, according to Davis, is responsible for famines, because they were a result of an new economical order imposed on these countries by Britain.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:17, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
Denby deals with the "Taiping Rebellion" which had nothing whatsoever to do with Europeans at all. It was an internal rebellion founded on one Chinese person claiming to be Jesus Christ. The total number dead in the rebellion was likely about 20 million according to Denby, who also devotes appreciable content on Chinese agriculture, whose main problem was a lack of modern agricultural tools. The primary problem there was not "British rule" of any sort, but drought and lack of transport. I commend you to read Denby's work. No British economic order had anything to do with the Taiping Rebellion at all. Denby, by the way, would have noted such acts in his frank work. Please read it. Collect (talk) 22:43, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
That is an absolutely superficial view. Below is a quote from: Theory and History of Revolution. Author(s): Clifton B. Kroeber Source: Journal of World History, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Spring, 1996), pp. 21-40 Published by: University of Hawai'i Press. Stable URL: [67]:
"de Welch believed that what started from ethnic roots, growing because of religious conviction, was further encouraged by economic disparities (Welch 1980, p. 52). Vincent Shih listed eight causes, adding that "social, political, and economic conditions persisted while ideas changed," but admitting that it is a mystery why those factors converged when they did (Shih 1967, pp. x-xiv; Kuhn 1978, 10:264). Scholars stress causes such as miserable, worsening lives of poor farm families, loss of morale and effect in government, the shock of Christian dogmas, feelings of ethnic hostility and nationalism, and the impact of foreign domination smothering trade, transport, and employment in and beyond south Chinese coastal areas (Jones and Kuhn 1978, 10:107-62; Naquin 1976, pp. 2-3, 264-69, 363-64)"
In general, it would be correct to say that colonialism completely changed Asia and Africa in XIX century, and it was responsible for the major part of calamities there.--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:31, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
Your problem here is that China was viewed by zero scholars as being under British domination, that the agricultural difficulties were exacerbated by lack of transport in northern China, which Britain had zero connection with, that the rebellion was not connected with the British in any way whatsoever, and the fact is the Taiping Rebelllion was centered in Taiping. And, if anything, the western powers opposed the rebellion. Aside from that sort of cavil, China had to be part of the British Empire, along with Brazil etc. Not. Collect (talk) 13:31, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
British domination of China is explained in Century of humiliation. Note two that the UK had "concessions" in China and Hong Kong has a literal colony of the UK, actually referred to as a colony in British law. TFD (talk) 14:36, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
Are you talking about political or economical domination? If you mean a political domination, you are absolutely right. The problem is, however, that even in XIX century there was no need for capitalism to establish a full political control over some territory to dominate it. Britain was capable of destroying old economical system even in those countries it was not dominating politically. That is an essence of capitalism, and that is one of its difference from communist rule.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:45, 28 May 2018 (UTC)

There are comparative studies of the Irish and Ukrainian famines. See for example, Holodomor and Gorta Mór. Note that it specifically refers to the UK as "the classic laissez faire stat promoting market capitalism and free trade." (p. 79) TFD (talk) 14:33, 27 May 2018 (UTC)

Did you read Denby or any other sources on the Taiping Rebellion? Taiping was never one of the Treaty Ports of China, by the way, and the UK had no presence there. Clearer now? And, by the way, the western powers opposed the rebellion. Collect (talk) 14:44, 27 May 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────That's why China was "informally" part of the British Empire. It did not have British appointed judges, provincial governors, police chiefs, etc., throughout the entire country, but dominated the entire country nonetheless. Incidentally some writers refer to Soviet domination of Eastern Europe in similar terms. TFD (talk) 02:28, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

arbitrary break[edit]

I am not sure why you all are arguing about these minuscule details when the whole Chinese section is a clear POV pushing. And people who are writing that are interested only in two things: to show the number of people killed (desirably, skewed to higher possible estimate) and to collect opinia of scholars who believe that was a mass killing. This is a blatant POV pushing.

In my opinion, a real text about events in China, as well as about each other country should be built based on the following plan:

  1. History. What China was before communists took power. It should be explained that China was an extremely poor country whose economy was strongly affected by domination by colonial powers (primarily Britain), which suffered from regular and deadly famines and had archaic social structure dominated by feudal landlords (I am not providing any sources, but a neutral search will give them quite easily)
  2. Revolution. Here we tell how and why the revolution happened, who were the opponents of communists, which methods both sides were using and how many civilians were killed by both sides.
  3. Actions of communist authorities that lead to mass deaths. It should be explained that collectivisation was actually a continuation of the civil war in rural areas, that both sides (landlords and communists) used violence, what this violence consisted in, and how many people were killed. Then it is necessary to explain the origin of GLF, and the reason of the famine (the sources should be famine schiolars, like Lin, O'Grada, et al, and the same terminology should be used as they did). Only after that can we cite Valentino, Rummel, Courtois and other authors who believe GLF famine was a mass killing event, and this statement should be given as an opinion, not a fact, because all these authors are not specialists in Chinese history, and not famine experts.
  4. Other events (cultural revolution, etc) It should be explained that it was a political campaign aimed to eliminate political opponents of Mao. Partially, the reason was in failed GLF. Explain what the CR consisted in, and how many people were killed.
  5. Aftermath. What happened after that: measures taken by authorities to prevent new famines (for example, Mao ordered to build plants for production of fertilizers, etc), and so on.

That is how Chinese section should be written in my opinion, and that is what we need to discuss.

A story of MK in other states can be written according to the same scheme.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:20, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

No original research with numbers, please[edit]

  1. Which sources tell that the numbers of victims of Communist repressions in "Black Book" were wrong and provided some alternative numbers?. I can see none. For example, can you provide any RS where Werth gives an alternative estimate of total number of victims in all communist countries? If so, it can be used here. But remember, we are talking about estimated total numbers of victims of Communist repressions in all countries (or in a country X), not about numbers of Gulag victims, numbers of people shot, etc.
  2. Same question about the number of 148 million democide victims in Communist countries by Rudolph Rummel (that was published, for example in books by Rummel, R. J. Death by government. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1994 and Lethal politics: Soviet genocide and mass murder since 1917. 1996, Transaction Publishers.). Same answer. For example, nowhere "Black Book" tells that the numbers by Rummel were wrong. Courious said that his estimate was extremely approximate, and that other very different estimates are possible.
  3. @Paul. You can tell many times that the numbers are "outdated", "improbable", published by someone "who did not study this herself", whatever, but this is your original research. We are simply looking for the total numbers of victims/deaths which resulted from repressions in Communist countries, as published in reliable sources - in order to establish range of numbers. For example, the number reliably published by Yevgenia Albats should also be included on the page. My very best wishes (talk) 11:57, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
Repeating the same arguments ad nauseum is hardly a sign of a good faith. Before you continue, I expect you, per WP:BURDEN, to demonstrate that the topic you are telling about is a mainstream topic, and the content you are trying to add/restore does not convert the article into a POV-fork.
You can demonstrate that by making the following:
1. Find the most cited articles about Cambodian genocide [68] in google scholar, and prove they use Rummel's estimates, or mention Rummel's "theory"
2. Find the most cited articles about Stelin's repressions of famine [69] [70] and find if they use Rummel's figures.
3. Do the same for China.
4. Compare Rummel's figures with the following statement:
"The best estimate that can currently be made of the number of repression deaths in 1937–38 is the range 950,000–1.2 million, i.e . about a million. This is the estimate which should be used by historians, teachers an d journalists concerned with twentieth century Russian—and world—history."
This is a quote from a peer-reviewed article written by Ellman who is an expert in the field (Soviet Repression Statistics: Some Comments. Michael Ellman. To cite this article: Michael Ellman (2002) Soviet Repression Statistics: Some Comments, Europe-Asia Studies, 54:7, 1151-1172, DOI: 10.1080/0966813022000017177To link to this article: [71]). Ellman is a specialist in that field and a renown expert. He co-authored his papers with, for example, Maksudov, who is a brilliant mathemathician and statistician, and whose methodology has never been questioned.
In contrast, Rummel was criticized for his superficial methofological approach (see the authors I mentioned in our discussion on my talk page), for inadequate figures; he is being ignored by specialists who write specifically about Cambodia, USSR, China and other countries, and he is being cited only by critics of communism who write poor quality political books or articles.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:14, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
PS. You are repeating to push Albats despite the fact that this your argument has already been addressed and debunked. Albats is not a expert in this field: try to provide at least one reference to her book in the articles authored by real experts: Conquest, Rosefielde, Whearcrodt, Maksudov, Ellman. Try yo provide at least one research Albats published on that subject. You will never be capable of doing that. She is not an expert in the field, she didn't do her own research, and she obviously use someone else's data. What is the source she is using? She herself says she used Guinness book. Is this a normal level of discussion? By trying to seriously propose us to use Guinness book as a source you insulted all of us. --Paul Siebert (talk) 13:25, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
  • We are not talking about the "number of repression deaths in 1937–38", but during a much longer period of time (you gave an irrelevant number). The references to "Black book" and books by Rummel are already provided, just as the reference to the book by Albats [72]. If any of your sources above provide any alternative estimates of numbers, let's include them, but I do not see them. Which alternative numbers these sources provide? Please post them here. "Being ignored" is your original research. Nothing has been ignored. The "Black book" and books by Rummel and Albats were cited. For example, the numbers from "Black book" were cited in the book by Pipes and other publications, Rummel was cited here and in other publications, etc. (see citation of the book by Albats [73]). My very best wishes (talk) 14:12, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I consider this argument frivolous. Obviously, we do not compare Rummel's totals with Ellman's figures. However, if you compare Rummel's estimate of the number of executions during the Great Terror with Ellman's modern figures, you will see more that three fold difference (4.3 million vs 1.3 million).
  • Furthermore, did you read Rummel? Do you realise what his work consisted in? Rummel never did original research in this area, his work was devoted to summarising the data of other authors; he made estimates based on the data available during those times, and did something like a singular value decomposition to identify key factors responsible for "democide". That was his contribution to science. In other words, Rummel's works are just a summary of what scholars knew in 1970s: Rummel, in contrast to others, refused to reconsider his estimates after "archival revolution" (by the way, do you know what it is?) Rummel is a secondary source for his democide concept, but he is a tertiary source for figures, and Wikipedia's policy is to rely on secondary sources when they are available. By pushing Rummel as a reliable and modern source for figures, you are acting against the policy in an attempt to lower the quality of the article's content.
  • Your link to Albats is not informative. Please, explain what does it mean.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:46, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
You failed to provide any sourced alternative numbers so far. The numbers of Great Terror victims are not the numbers we are talking about (yes, sure, there are significant discrepancies in the literature about Great Terror). As about "archive revolution", this is actually irrelevant, but yes, I know about this probable KGB fabrication as outlined here. The KGB archives were never opened, as described in great detail in the book by Albats above. My very best wishes (talk) 15:11, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
You failed to demonstrate the topic is mainstream. And, again, do you understand what does "archival revolution" mean?
You also haven't explained where did Albats took her figures from. Did she do her own archival research, did she use some secondary sources, and if she did, which sources she used?--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:22, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
Re: Rosenfielde, it is an old article, and it is just one publication on that account, there was a long dispute between him and Wheatcroft, and finally, Ellman summarized the consensus view in the article I cited above.
Obviously, the fact that not all archives are available does not mean we do not know truth, and the fact that statistics is unreliable doesn't mean correct data cannot be extracted from it, because different archives exist (central and local, RGB, railway, army, etc) and they complement each other. One can falsify one kind of data, however, it is impossible to forge all aspect of statistics in the whole country: thus, recent data on Gulag population are surprisingly consistent with the old data obtained based on the size of disenfranchised population of the USSR.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:38, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

Actually, this statement: "Which sources tell that the numbers of victims of Communist repressions in "Black Book" were wrong and provided some alternative numbers?." is something I cannot understand. When some source provide some number, and other sources tell this number was deliberately inflated, we should provide this number (and attributed it to the author) and tell this number was deliberately inflated (and provide the ref). If no other numbers are provided, that is all what we can do. Of course, this disputable and inflated number can be placed into the lead, but that means the article should devoted significant amount of space to explanation of this dispute. Are we ready to expand the story about this dispute, taking into account that the BB has its own WP article?--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:02, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

  • You found a review telling "At least in the Soviet case, the scale of terror presented in The Black Book seems to be deliberately inflated" (here. First of all, this is quotation out of context. Author does not imply that the numbers were fabricated, and does not tell that the book was bad. He only argued that victims of man-made hunger probably should not be counted. Fine, that is a common point of disagreement for many people. That does not make the book an unreliable source per our policy. In addition, should this statement of opinion be given a lot of weight when there are many other positive reviews about the book which tells exactly the opposite? Any scientific research on this subject (i.e. establishing the number of communism victims) must produce certain numbers, which is basically a tautology. Indeed, the research by Courtois and Rummel have produced certain numbers. If there is no other published numbers on this subject, we must use what we have, i.e the only numbers that have been reliably published. This is per WP:NPOV. My very best wishes (talk) 16:51, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
When you comment on my posts, please, try to keep in mind a whole discussions, not just the last post. I devoted a separate section to the analysis of reviews on BB. All reviews that were positive do not say anything about figures, they usually praise the chapters non authored by Courtois. All reviews that criticise the BB, direct their criticism mostly at Courtois, and mostly at how Courtois is dealing with figures. In other words, the figures and the conclusions Courtois draws from them in the most controversial and most criticised part of this provocative volume. Is it what you pretend to present as a reliable source?
Re: "Author does not imply that the numbers were fabricated, and does not tell that the book was bad." No misinterpretations, please. I never claimed the reviews say Courtois fabricated data (this accusation is too strong). The reviews say the data were manipulated. In addition, Werths complained Courtois cited him and attributed to him some figures and interpretations he didn't made. With regards to NPOV, you dramatically misinterpret it too, because it demands that Wikipedia must representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic..
  • Is a Courtois view significant? Yes, taking into account the storm around it.
  • Is this view mainstream? No. Many mainstream sources criticize this view: they say that the numbers a manipulated, and the conclusion Courtois draws from them are highly questiuonable.
  • What does neutrality policy say in this case? To present all views fairly and proportionally, which means, we should present (i) the numbers, (ii) the criticism of the figures, (iii) the criticism of the very approach that consists in combining all deaths into one category. All of that should be presented together, in each other's context. In connection to that, can yoy tell me if the article devotes so much attention to this controversy to put it in the lead?--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:22, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
If you disagree with that, let's request a mediation. I see no reason to repeat the same arguments again and again.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:00, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree with creating an additional separate section with the numbers and their criticism/discussion in the body of the page. Let's do it. My very best wishes (talk) 19:11, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
If we do that, and decide to keep the Courpois figures in the lead, then the sentences ##12-13 should be moved there and replace the current text.
By the way, it seems Rummel took his figures for USSR from old Conquest's data, and, as we all know, Conquest reconsidered his old estimates to the lower side after the "archival revolution", but Rummel refused to do that. I am telling that to demonstrate the quality of someone's arguments.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:40, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

Break; what estimates/criticisms to include[edit]

  • Since there's some agreement that we should create an article section discussing estimates of deaths and critiques thereof, let's try to begin by listing which estimates and critiques should be considered. To start the ball rolling: obviously, Malia and Courtois' estimates, and the several critiques thereof; Conquest; Rummel, both his original and revised estimates, and the fact that he took his first estimates from Conquest. What else? Vanamonde (talk) 03:16, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Vanamonde, this question is incorrectly stated. As I already explained, MKuCR is not a mainstream concept. If we take Stalinism as an example, I can name Wheatcroft, Ellman, Maksudov, Kulchitsky, Zemskov, Rosefielde, Getty, Snyder, Conquest, Werth, and several other experts. This is a "group 1". They do their own archival research, they study different aspects of stalinist repressions, they discuss the origin of famine, they are trying to come to consensus on whether Holodomor was genocide, etc. A "group 2" includes historians like Courtois, Malia, who do not do their own archival research, but compile data of others. They advocate the idea that mass killings in USSR, PRC, Cambodia and some other countries occurred primarily because they were comminust, they believe comminism is the greatest evil, and they compile data of others to obtain a huge cumulative figure. "Group 3" authors: David-Fox, Kuromiya, and others (see previous sections) disagree with the "Group 2" approach, they claim these combined figures are inflated, and the very idea to combine deaths in all these countries together is flawed. In addition to that, the "Group 4" scholars exist, which includes Rummel, Krain, Scully, Harff, Valentino, Huth, Balch-Lindsay, Besancon, Easterly, Eck Hultman, Heger, Weitz, Semelin and others. They are called "genocide scholars", and they are trying to find mechanisms responsible for onset of genocide and mass killing. They also do not do their own archival research, they use data of scholars from the "group 1" (for the USSR), and other experts for the data on other countries.
  • In other words, real data come only from the "group 1" scholars, but these scholars are not interested in producing combined numbers for all communist regimes. Some of them may produce combined data for a signle regime (for example, fresh Snyder's data tell that Stalinism killed 6 million directly, and 9 million totally), but they do not discuss the number of all "communist victims", because they (with one exception, Rosefielde) either do not believe this topic exists, or other regimes are not in the area of their research interest. Importantly, overwhelming majority of these authors totally ignore the MKuCR concept, they do not cite scholars from groups 2-4 and do not use their theorising for their own studies: there are no references to the authors fron groups 2-4 in the articles authored by group 1 scholars.
  • "Group 2" authors provide the combined figures to demonstrate some concrete idea: that "generic Communism" does exists, and that it was the greatest evil of XX century.
  • "Group 3" authors do not provide any figures, because they do not believe the very topis exists, but they think the approach of "group 2" authors is flawed.
  • Some "Group 4" authors (Rummel and Valentino) do provide figures, but Rummel uses old data provided by old scholars from the "group 1" for example, old Conquest's data for the USSR. They do not go into details, because they are more interested not in the exact figures, but in revealing the general mechanisms of genocides, so they sometimes do not care much about accuracy. Rummel, for example, refused to reconsider his data in light of "archival revolution" (massive release of archival documents in the USSR in late 1980s), despite the fact that Conquest did reconsider his estimates to a lower side.
Other "group 4" scholars do comparative studies of genocides according to criteria other than Communism. For example, Harff compares Cambodia with Indonesia or Rwanda, and communist ideology is not considered an important factor affecting genocide.
In summary, I believe I was able to demonstrate that is we will try "to present different estimates" we will ignore the views of 95% scholars working in this area, because most authors either do not group communist regimes together, or directly object to this methodological approach.--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:09, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
PS. The same idea can be demonstrated using this analogy. Almost every book on theoretical physics starts with the mention of Schrodinger equation in its general form, and then more specific equations are derived. However, no the articles authored by experts in Stalinism, Chinese famine or Cambodian genocide starts with the words like: "Communism was a terrible thing, it killed 100 million people (reference to Courtois or Rummel). In this article, I will tell about one instance of Communist mass killings, i.e. about the Great purge". That never happen: most experts do not explain each particular mass killing using communism as a primary and common cause, an they do not draw any parallelism between, for example, Cambodia and USSR.--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:23, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Paul, you have an almost unique ability to frustrate those who agree with you. I am not suggesting we present only overall estimates. I am suggesting we present estimates from all of the above groups; and if there are critiques of the fact that Courtois et al are combining phenomena that should not be combined, that would be appropriate to include as well. You insist that MKUCR is not a mainstream concept. If we are to accept this premise , the only acceptable options are deletion, which isn't happening, or shifting the scope of this article just discussing Malia et al's theory of a single MKUCR phenomenon, which also isn't happening. So it would be a lot easier for everybody if you just accepted the unpleasant reality that the article exists in its current form, and tried to improve it. At the moment, you are objecting to every incremental improvement on the grounds that the premise is incorrect, and we are getting nowhere. Vanamonde (talk) 06:37, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Sorry about frustrating you, but what can I do if the subject is so complex and controversial? Deletion is not the only option. I believe we can improve the article if we agree that:
  1. Only Group 2 scholars is obsessed with cumulative figures of total amount of victims;
  2. Group 3 do not provide any figures, they simply criticise "group 2" views;
  3. Group 1 do provide provide figures, but they do that either for each state separately, or for each event separately (for example, there was a long dispute between Rosenfielde and Wheatcroft about the scale of stalinist repressions); these scholars do not criticize views of "group 2" scholars, they simply ignore them.
  4. Group 4 may produce some combined figures, for example, Rummel or Valentino do that, but these figures are not necessarily are a summary of the most recent and most accurate figures, and are not a summary of all killing in all communist states, and most scholars from this group do not separate communist states in a separate category.
I still believe it is possible to write an article about all of that, but, to avoid original research, we should avoid writing about combined figures as if they were a subject of a mainstream discourse. We need to do the following:
  1. To provide different (and separate) estimates for different countries and different events in a historical perspective: for example, it makes sense to show how the estimates for Stalin's USSR were changing with time, starting from early Conquest's figures for repression victims and famine, ending with the most recent estimates. Unfortunately, we cannot provide any totals based on that, because it would be original research.
  2. To provide total figures as presented by Courtois, but explain how concretely these figures were obtained, and combine the discussion of the overall figures with the discussion of the "generic Communism" concept as a highly controversial concept that was proposed by few historians ("some scholars propose that Communism was a primary cause of mass killing in communist states, and they calculate the combined figures of victims of Communism as XXX, which include such categories as YYY annd ZZZ. Others disagree with that, because .....")
--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:08, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
I would agree with most of that, and I would express it more simply; all estimates should only be included with a description of the method used and the context in which they were made. The only point I am uncertain about it the last one: we need to be very careful about phrasing, because we cannot make generalizations not explicitly supported by the sources. It is okay to say that "Courtois describes Communism as the primary cause..." etc. So let's try to get to a draft here. Vanamonde (talk) 12:15, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Re: Phrasing, an extended quote from David-Fox (who writes mostly about Malia) may be helpful:
"Malia flirts in the formulations cited above with the suggestion à la Courtois that communism was the greatest evildoer of them all. To his credit, however, in the bulk of the piece he is concerned with laying out a more rigorous set of desiderata that need to be addressed in any comparison between Nazism and communism. The implicit purpose of doing so is to address criticisms that have arisen over The Black Book, and chief among these was the objection that there existed vastly different kinds of communisms around the globe that cannot be treated as a single phenomenon. Malia thus counters by coining the category of "generic Communism," defined everywhere down to the common denominator of party movements founded by intellectuals. (Pol Pot's study of Marxism in Paris thus comes across as historically more important than the gulf between radical Soviet industrialism and the Khmer Rouge's murderous anti-urbanism.) For an argument so concerned with justifying The Black Book, however, Malia's latest essay is notable for the significant objections he passes by. Notably, he does not mention the literature addressing the statistical-demographic, methodological, or moral dilemmas of coming to an overall communist victim count, especially in terms of the key issue of how to include victims of disease and hunger."
--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:48, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I am not sure what exactly you suggest, but let's just avoid content forks. For example, a debate about Black Book belongs to the page about Black Book, etc. Speaking about 1st chapter of the book, yes, there was a disagreement between co-authors. That means any claims from this chapter must be attributed explicitly to Stéphane Courtois, rather than to the book, i.e. we should say: "according to Stéphane Courtois...". That is what I made in my last edit. Is he a mainstream historian or a trusted source about this subject? I believe he certainly is, but anyone can follow a link to our wikipage about him and judge. My very best wishes (talk) 15:04, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Is it a deliberate misinterpretation of the policy? Debates about Black Book belong to any article that mentions the Black Book, per WP:NPOV. Please, stop it.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:35, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
No, this is actually a guideline. Please see WP:POV fork. Moreover, if we have a page about someone, the use of "qualifiers" is generally discouraged, i.e. one should usually say "Petrov" rather than "controversial historian Petrov" even if one can argue he is a controversial historian. My very best wishes (talk) 17:38, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
The internal structure of an article may require additional attention, to protect neutrality, and to avoid problems like POV forking and undue weight(...)the neutral point of view does not mean exclusion of certain points of view, but including all verifiable points of view which have sufficient due weight.
Re Pertov, do you have any objections to adding the sentences 12 and 13 to the lead instead of the current mention of Courotis?--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:59, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, sure, "representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic.". And what is the topic here? "Mass killings under Communist regimes". Discussing another topic in depth is a content fork. No, I would be against including paragraphs 12 and 13 because they represent "original research" and do not properly summarize the content of the page. My very best wishes (talk) 18:09, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
My very best wishes, we devoted a whole section to discussion of this question, do you want to renew it again? We are not going to discuss these events in a BB format, because mainstream sources do it in a different way. This comment is irrelevant.
Re "original research", feel free to post at the relevant noticeboard. Other users disagree with you.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:16, 30 May 2018 (UTC)

How to avoid WP:OR and Coatrack[edit]

  • To avoid WP:OR one should only use sources that analyze mass murder by all or specific Communist government as a general phenomenon. There are not too many such sources, especially scholarly ones, and the "Black Book" is probably the best of them. That's why numbers from this book appear in the lead and the content is significantly referenced to this book. My very best wishes (talk)
  • That would be a flagrant NPOV violation. If you want to stick to sources who discuss this as a general phenomenon, then the scope of the article needs to be changed. Plenty of authors disagree with Courtois et al with respect to specific phenomena. Disregarding such criticism because it does not apply to all of Courtois et al's theory is ridiculous, and you should know better. Vanamonde (talk) 13:29, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
I am only telling that all sources must be on the subject of this page, not a Wikipedia:Coatrack articles. For example, discussions "what is a communist country?" or what was the difference between the USSR and Cambodia do not belong to this page. Not a "general" but "specific" phenomenon is fine. My very best wishes (talk) 13:40, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
That would require to narrow the scope (as I already proposed), but (i) you did not support this idea, and (ii) we already have articles about the BB, Democide, etc--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:44, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
terminology section is a single piece of original research. It should be removed, but that is a separate story.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:34, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
This section is well sourced and important to define the subject of the page. If you want to redefine subject of the page, please start an official RfC with your suggestions, whatever they might be. My very best wishes (talk) 18:19, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Again, you justify NPOV violation using V. That does not work.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:36, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
I do not justify anything. I am giving you an advice. You wasted a lot of your time and time of other contributors during this discussions. Enough. My advice: you should either (a) gradually fix something on the page which will not cause anyone's objection (yes, this is possible), or (b) submit an RfC about something you disagree with others about (I do not even know what that is). My very best wishes (talk) 19:02, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
I have no disagreement with anybody but you and Collect, but Collect at least does not post repeatedly the same arguments. Do you want to discuss this collision with someone else (with diffs?)--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:58, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
  • My very best wishes, we already discussed that in details, I presented you the same arguments that Vanamonde did, and I thought we started achieving some consensus. However, you seem to start a discussion de novo with a new user, as if there were no previous discussion. I am not sure it is a good and productive way to conduct a discussion. You are persistently advocating the idea to write this article as a POV fork, despite our numerous attempts to explain you that that is a violation of our policy. --Paul Siebert (talk) 13:37, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Alas - you appear to be making personal attacks, whilst MVBW has not done so. Nor do we "rate" sources and present our "preferred source" as Gospel. Lastly, your use of "POV fork" does not comport with Wikipedia usage. Might we stick to doable suggestions? Like change "mass murders" to "non-combatant deaths associated with …" or the like? And not producing tomes of talk pages. Thanks. Collect (talk) 18:21, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Good suggestion. Welcome to fix. Just make sure that the wording follows some RS. My very best wishes (talk) 18:45, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Collect, I proposed very concrete edits that require thoughtful analysis. Before we discuss the changes proposed by you, let's finish with mine.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:36, 30 May 2018 (UTC)

RFC regarding primary topic[edit]

The current topic "Mass killing under Communist regimes" has several possible interpretations. Would "Non-combatant deaths attributed to communist regimes" reasonably reduce the number of interpretations? This would eliminate arguments as to causality, and intent, being critical to the general topic, as well as arguments as to the definition of "Communist" as a proper adjective. 00:21, 31 May 2018 (UTC)


Such renaming would completely change the scope of the page. First, as noted by Vanamonde below, all communist countries would have to be included, because "deaths under" had happen in all of them. Secondly, there are sources which tell about the death from disease and other natural causes in communist countries. So that would also need to be included. Currently, it is not included. My very best wishes (talk) 21:43, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
I support the proposed change in title, as it serves to broaden the scope of the article. I've long thought that the page should be retitled to Mass deaths under Communist regimes or Mass mortality events under Communist regimes or the like, and the proposed title seems to suit the page very well. A change in title would also go a long way to solving the neutrality issue over famines, as famines would no longer be called mass killings, but would be rightly and accurately referred to as non-combatant deaths. I might even go farther and change attributed to to under in the proposed title to further "neutral-ize" it. schetm (talk) 15:09, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
schetm, I like your "attributed to" -> "under".--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:31, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
  • So you guys do not support the title by Collect. This replacement of one word would completely changes the meaning. Everyone who died from the flu in communist countries would fall under this "refined" title. That is not what RS on this subject mean.My very best wishes (talk) 16:45, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I suggest that "attributed" would not cover the common cold, but deaths which were in some way said by reliable sources to be connected with the government. The other part is not using a capital letter for "communist" so that related governments, as named by reliable sources, would be included. Lastly, I suggest that we not make claims as specific claims of fact as to numbers because no one really knows if any given estimate is too high or too low. If we can keep petty argumentation (or argumentation at great length) out of this, we should be able to make a decent article here. We might even link the poor USSR agriculture experiments based on "deep plowing" etc. based on politics instead of actual science, if consensus so decides. Collect (talk) 01:24, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
I think this should be simply by government - that is what sources tell or discuss. Providing range of numbers should be fine. The experiments with "deep plowing" in Kazakhstan are well known, but I do not think any sources connected this with killing by man-made hunger. My very best wishes (talk) 01:51, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
"Attributed to" has strengths and weaknesses. "Attributed" ... by whom? If we define article's scope in this way, the article's focus is opinia: which deaths are attributed? who attributes them, and who disagrees? Etc. In addition, by doing that, we automatically give greater weight to those who attribute, and those who does not become "revisionists". However, "attributed to" excludes, for example, a part of civil war deaths.
"Under" makes a focus on the events: we neutrally tell what happened, and then tell how different historians explain that, and who is responsible for that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:42, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

I think you understand now why did I ask for clarification before voting: now your are arguing that my and schetm's "yes" meant "no". I think it would be fundamentally incorrect to imply that a good faith schetm's post significantly changed the meaning of Collect's proposal. That means, in our view, there is no significant difference between "attributed to" and "under", although "under" leaves less space for ambiguity.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:54, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
My very best wishes, I doubt that reliable sources would bear out routine deaths. They would not suddenly proliferate this page. schetm (talk) 18:17, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
  • No, to the contrary, there are lots of sources about the "routine deaths". If we are going to accept your and Paul title ("Non-combatant deaths under communist regimes"), one can reasonably argue that information and sources about cancer epidemiology [74], infant mortality [75], and generally demographics of these countries must be included in this page. This will be a mess and an article on an entire different subject. My very best wishes (talk) 18:39, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Again, as I already noted, everything would be fine if we clarified all ambiguities in advance. That is why it is always important to agree about the exact formula before voting.
I prefer fair game, and obviously, under "non-combatant deaths under communist regimes" I mean the same as these sources mean, i.e. excessive deaths that normally are not supposed to occur. I believe schetm means the same.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:46, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I generally support Collect's good faith effort, although the wording seems a little bit unclear, and it was not properly explained upon a request. In connection to that, I think, schetm's amendment is an improvement, and I vote for:
Non-combatant deaths under communist regimes.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:10, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I support the version proposed by User:Paul Siebert above. A minor improvement, but an improvement nonetheless...--C.J. Griffin (talk) 21:26, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I would oppose any definition of the article scope that does not make it explicit that we are discussing mass deaths/mass killings/mass murder or whatever. Otherwise, literally every political killing be every communist government ever is going to come under the scope of this page, and it would lose coherence very quickly. (For instance, the Maoist government in Nepal has been accused of, and is likely guilty of, a few political killings; but no RS I am aware of describes those in the same breath as Stalin's or Mao's represssion). Vanamonde (talk) 06:37, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
Vanamonde, actually, as soon as Cambodian genocide and Stalin's Great Purge are discussed in the same article, the article's coherence is already lost, because overwhelming majority of sources discuss the Great purge as a separate event, and the sources discussing Cambodian genocide either focus on this event only, or compare it with Rwandian or Indonesian genocides, or with other events.--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:38, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
Not again, Paul. I am evaluating the alternative against what's in the article; you are evaluating it against some ideal version in your head, and quite unsurprisingly, find it (and every other proposal) unsatisfactory. For the same reason, your proposals are getting nowhere. I would support an alternative title along the lines of what Collect has suggested if it addressed my concern above, because it would be an incremental improvement. I'm actually uninterested in perfectionism in an article such as this. Vanamonde (talk) 17:01, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
I probably didn't understand what your concern is, but it seems there is some problem in what you say, because literally every political killing, and literally every premature death from any cause has been described as communist mass killing/genocide/democide etc by at least one source (although most sources may say otherwise), so formally it does come under the scope of this page. The problem is that the sources that say otherwise do not. To preserve neutrality, the article's scope may be either the facts (the neutral description of the events themselves) supplemented by a separate discussion of various general theories (e.g. Courtois views) at the end of the article, or the theories themselves (and the events they describe are presented mostly as links to main articles). I'll probably create a draft of the article as I see it to demonstrate my point and minimise misunderstanding, although it may take some time. Meanwhile, can you please comment on this text? It would be easier for me to understand you if I get your comments on this text.
Thanks, --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:31, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
Section "Proposed causes" can indeed be moved back - agree. My very best wishes (talk) 17:39, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I support a rename and focus shift to non-combatant deaths under communist regimes, which feels like it would resolve most of the disputes over this article and which more accurately reflect many of the main sources the article uses. This would let us cover and discuss a wide variety of deaths from the perspectives different scholars bring to them without the title carrying an inherent implication that they are mass killings by their inclusion here (which, for some of the famines and other deaths we want to discuss, even the most aggressive sources do not unequivocally state.) I don't think that the concern of every flu getting included is valid - the "under communist regimes" part inherently makes the scope of the topic "what effect do Communist regimes have on deaths?", which the article could then break down into things like diseases and famines with appropriate sourcing and discussion of culpability, intent, and so on for each. (This assumes we are discussing an actual rename, of course. Obviously I could not support shifting the article's focus without changing its title.) --Aquillion (talk) 21:22, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
Are you familiar with epidemiology? For example, three million people who died in Russia from typhus between 1917 and 1921 would have to be included after such renaming, etc. My very best wishes (talk) 21:55, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
I don't see a problem with that; it would provide useful context. If there are few sources relating these deaths to the fact that they were under Communism, they wouldn't need to be discussed extensively, but placing them within the timeline could be valuable. --Aquillion (talk) 22:03, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
I think we should simply follow the approach taken by most general sources on this subject, such as "Black Book" and others. They usually count only people who died as a result of violence by the state. For example, this not just any hunger. In the case of Holodomor people died because their food/grain was forcefully confiscated by the government and the people were prevented from moving to other areas by NKVD forces. Therefore, the Holodomor victims were counted, but simply victims of disease were not.My very best wishes (talk) 22:33, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

Discussion 2[edit]

I propose this as a means to more readily achieve consensus on issues regarding the scope of this article, and to avoid side discussions not directly related to the restated topic. Collect (talk) 00:24, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

The question is incorrectly stated. Is this article discussing attribution or the events themselves? Actually, both answers are ok, but not their mixture: People were killed in Stalin's USSR, but do we include in the article only the work that attribute these victims to communism, or to Stalinism? For example, one of the most important works on that account, Ellman's Soviet Repression Statistics: Some Comments. Europe-Asia Studies, 54:7, 1151-1172, DOI: 10.1080/0966813022000017177 [76], does not attribute those deaths to communism, it attributes it to Stalinism. Fein does not attribute Cambodian genocide to comminism. Should her opinion be included in the article?

By writing that, I do not argue that the article cannot exist. It can, but just as the list of the events that happened under regimes that can be considered (or are considered by someone) as communist. I already proposed this option before, but Collect opposed to that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:07, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

If there are multiple scholarly RS that attribute Cambodian genocide to "Communist" government of the country ("Communism" has multiple meanings), then we include it, with the references to these RS. Same about everything else. My very best wishes (talk) 01:43, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Well, does that means that the article's scope is any mass mortality event attributed to a government that has been described as communist at least by one source? For example, if a scholar A states North Korea government killed N people, and a scholar B call NK government communist, the facts presented in the work of the scholar A belong to this article?--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:16, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
That would be WP:SYN. You need same source telling that the executions or something else was committed by a "communist" government. My very best wishes (talk) 13:25, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Good. Then does that mean the article should include the views of only those authors who write about mass mortality in states they explicitly call communist, blame these governments in these deaths, and attribute these mass mortality events to communism?--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:03, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Obviously, any RS that explicitly discuss mass murder by "communist" governments can be used, even such RS that tell the murder did not happen or was overestimated. For example, some sources currently used in the "Discussion of famines" section ([77],[78]) can be used, assuming that they are fine in other regards. For example, we would like to avoid using "opinion pieces" and writings by revisionist historians, e.g. writings by Holocaust deniers would not be appropriate for sourcing page Holocaust. For the same reason we might wish to avoid using writings by J. Arch Getty and his followers on this page. But I am not saying their writings must be completely excluded from this page. This is a matter of balance. My very best wishes (talk) 14:49, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
My very best wishes did you just seriously compare a serious and respected scholar "and his followers" to a Holocaust denier?! -GPRamirez5 (talk) 20:15, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
You didn't answer my question: I was not asking about "mass murder committed by "communist" governments", I was asking about the authors who discuss some mass mortality event and do not attribute it explicitly to communist government (just to the government that happened to be described as "communist" by somebody else).--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:01, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
If the government is called "communist" by a reliable source, then that is sufficient to call it a "communist government" in this proposal. Than a government calls itself "something else" but is referred to as "communist" by reliable sources, then we can say it is called "communist" by "reliable sources." It is not up to us to second-guess what the reliable sources say. Thus, Pol Pot's government is commonly called "communist" by reliable sources. Really. That you prefer to think of Pol Pot as "not a communist at all" means you need reliable sources making that claim. Otherwise we would be engaging in "original research". Collect (talk) 15:07, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
While I agree with you, I think we must absolutely avoid debating on this page if government X was a "communist" or not. That would be waste of time. To avoid WP:SYN we simply need same RS explicitly telling that the executions were committed/not committed/whatever by a "communist" government (see above). My very best wishes (talk) 15:35, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Well, for me, it will be easier to understand you if you explained me what is the difference between this your proposal and the subject #2 (all population losses under communist regimes), which I proposed before? I sincerely what to understand that, because before I vote I need clearly understand what I am voting for.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:26, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I do not need to explain differences here. This RFC stands on its own feet. If you can not understand the wording of this proposal, tell us what precisely is unclear in the wording, and why you think different wording will be better. I have repeatedly said we need RFCs on this, and finally decided to actually propose something. Collect (talk) 15:31, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Collect, listen, I need to know what I am voting for. You asked for comments, and I have a right to ask you for additional clarifications before I vote. Your proposal look very close to what I proposed before, and what you objected to, and that is why I respectfully asking about clarifications: do you imply that the article's scope is the neutral description of mass mortality events that occurred in some states that happened to be described as communist by at least one source?.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:37, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Kindly read my posts above. If you have a different proposal, start an RfC. Your posts appear to be a tad argumentative and not likely to result in your assent to the proposal at all, and it is not my task to persuade you to change your clear opinion. No one else seems to find this proposal unclear, as far as I can tell. Collect (talk) 15:47, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

Collect, whether I have a different proposal or not, it does not matter. I am asking you about clarification of your position before I will vote. Depending on your answer, my vote may be "yes" or "no". I believe it is quite a legitimate and polite request, and I am a little bit disappointed with this your response. I am asking again: does my previous post contain a correct summary of your proposal, or you mean something else? If you means something else, please, explain what exactly I misinterpreted?
Regards, --Paul Siebert (talk) 15:55, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
My position is that I asked for discussion under RFC, which is precisely what I am supposed to do. I am not soliciting "votes" but seeking to find consensus wording which will reduce friction in the future. That is the purpose of this RFC. Now do you understand the purpose of the RFC? Collect (talk) 21:14, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Fair enough. Thanks.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:37, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

I'm not overly concerned with the general discussion about article title as I have trust in the engaged editors and their attention to consensus and policy, but would like to draw out a couple of points:

  • IIRC this article's claimed Notability establishing reliable sources attribute a causative action to a class of agents, where the conflict based consensus of past editors described "Communist regimes" as the agent causative or negligent in relation to "mass killings." To produce a new consensus the appropriate place to look is the notability establishing weighty scholarly discourses for the claimed agent[s] and characterisation of action or neglect.
  • As such, the article's title ought to reflect the commonality amongst such notability establishing reliable source (preferably from a "Review Article" type field review, all in one place and comparative) about what the categorisation of the agent[s] is/are
  • As such, if the notability establishing scholarly consensus is around "Communist" regimes, or "communism" as set of philosophies or social movements, or "Stalinism," etc; for whatever that agent is in the scholarly consensus the article title ought to reflect that weighty consensus.
  • Correspondingly with the typification of the action taken by the agent[s]: whatever the strongest scholarly consensus is in the discourse, this should be the origin of the claim regarding the action
  • Minor consensuses of weight in the scholarly or reliable discourses ought to be relegated to appropriate sub-sections, for example in the scholarly case, "Scholarly criticism of the concept of "Communist regimes" in the context of mass killing" or "Scholarly criticisms of the concept of "mass killings" under Communist regimes" or "Scholarly criticisms of the concept of "mass killings under Communist regimes." Obviously where only of sufficient weight in the scholarly discourse to justify inclusion; and biased towards theoretical or conceptual criticism, or major in field contributions, rather than narrowly received one-off studies which produced their own theoretical categories.
  • Even if the topic is narrowly received in the scholarship, if it exists as a notable scholarly discourse with sufficient weight, the article ought to exist. (If not, we should assemble a consensus RFD together.) Even if it is a narrowly received scholarly topic, criticised by wider scholarly discourses, the article therefore ought to reflect that narrow topic, and include the wider criticism drawing appropriately placed attention that it is a narrow scholarly conception.
  • The narrower the scholarly agreement, the more the article ought to be focused on the scholarly discourse rather than the specifics of the claims made regarding historical processes: the topic grows more about the discourse the narrower the discourse is. Correspondingly with width.
  • I don't mean to throw a bomb into the room with this—I trust all of you to work well on the title. Fifelfoo (talk) 09:17, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
Fifelfoo, imo, the situation can be described as follows:
  1. The topic "exists as a notable scholarly discourse with sufficient weight", but it "is narrowly received in the scholarship".
  2. Since it is received narrowly, it is not criticised widely.
In this situation, the main part of the article should be a neutral description of the events without any generalisations, followed by a section that describes the attempts to make general claims (Courtois's, Malia's et al "generic Communism" as a main culprit; Valentino's "mass killings" as a tool for social transformations, etc), and the reception of these ideas.
In connection to that, the first two steps to do are: (i) deletion of the "Terminology" section, which is a pure synthesis; (ii) removal of the BB figures from the lead, because the usage of these figures in this context is being widely criticized.--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:24, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

??? + POV pushing[edit]

bold, 1st revert with a false edit summary: the text was discussed on talk page and RSN, and no reason for removal were proposed; the removal was not explained on the talk page, 1st revert, 2nd revert; although it is a move, formally it is a revert; 1RR exceeded

This is a misleading edit summary, because Pipes just uses the number taken from Courtois. --Paul Siebert (talk) 04:44, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

  • No, this is good edit with correct edit summary. The removal was discussed in this section, and you agreed with it. Also, there was no 1RR violation because none of these two edits was a revert to any previously existing version. Only edit by GPRamirez5 (not by me) was indeed a revert, but it was not a violation as a single revert during 24 hours.My very best wishes (talk) 12:26, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Seriously, you started this thread that there was too much content about famines on this page, it received some support, and I removed it. Now you complain and call this "POV pushing". My very best wishes (talk) 12:42, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Really?? In this thread I proposed to remove the section provided that the article should be changed in such a way that the views of Courtois, Malia and Valentino are represented as a significant minority views, and the famine is made a major part of the narrative. Had that been done? Actually, you did the opposite: you added more weight to Courtois and moved famine to the bottom to create an impression it is a minor controversy. That is exactly opposite to what you agreed about. Such a blatant misinterpreting of the words of others is not a sign of a good faith.
And, by the way, you are edit warring not with me, but with another user.--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:08, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
No, I do not edit war and do not POV push on this page. If we start counting ratio of reverts to all edits by user X on this page, who will show up? I already asked you not to make such accusations on article talk pages [79]. My very best wishes (talk) 13:20, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Well, I trust you. Let's consider it a working hypothesis. Then could you please kindly put the Famine section back where another user put it originally (as we agreed on the talk page)? Unilateral actions in a violation of previous agreement are not fruitful. --Paul Siebert (talk) 14:06, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
When I edit something, my primarily concern is the content. I moved this paragraph because I think this improves content. My very best wishes (talk) 14:51, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
But you acted against our agreement, do you realise that? And can you admit that my actions are also dictated by the desire to improve the article. ?--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:55, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Can you admit that you was wrong when you started this thread and strike through your comments above? My very best wishes (talk) 14:59, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Obviously, no. Your made a first revert on 22:42, 30 May 2018 and the second revert on 01:37, 31 May 2018. This is a clear violation of 1RR. The fact that you just moved this piece of text means nothing, because you undid other user's edit in part. Note, I am not reporting you as a sign of my good faith, despite the fact that you are persistently ignoring our talk page agreement.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:08, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Once again, you are wrong. My first edit was not a revert to any previously existing version of the page. Yes, it was a removal of sourced text (a removal that no one did before), however when I asked admins about such reverts in general, they explained that such edits usually would not be considered a revert (I can give link to discussion if needed). My second edit also NOT a revert to any previously existing version of the page. I simply moved this section to another place where it never was before. Now, if you really believe it was a 1RR violation, why did not you report it to 3RRNB? My very best wishes (talk) 23:16, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
It would be interesting to see your discussion with admins, because I recently have had similar discussion with other admins, and my impression is: either you dramatically misunderstand what those admins told you, or different admins have totally different opinia on the definition of a revert. Anyway, this discussion has to be continued in a different place (it was not my initiative, however, I decided to support Ramirez, as soon as he started that).--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:24, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Two things. (a) The banner at the top tells: "This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Mass killings under Communist regimes article." Therefore, this whole thread you started is a violation of talk page guidelines. (b) I have no time to find a link, but it is a common misconception that removal of a sourced text is always revert. This is not the case. This may or may not be a revert. Addition of new text also may or may not be a revert. My very best wishes (talk) 15:01, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I admit, it was a violation of a talk page guidelines, because the right place to start with was ANI, the option I hate. Note, the arbitrators decided not to take this case because they recommended to try other options first, including ANI. Instead of reconsidering your behaviour, you are persistently pushing us towards this option. Do you really want me to try ANI?--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:12, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
you are persistently pushing us. Who are "us"? No, I do not push anyone towards anything. I only ask you to respect talk page guidelines that you violated already many times on this page [80]. My very best wishes (talk) 15:21, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
See "The three-revert rule:" "An edit or a series of consecutive edits that undoes other editors' actions—whether in whole or in part—counts as a revert." TFD (talk) 23:11, 1 June 2018 (UTC) TFD (talk) 23:11, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

Peer review[edit]

Hi. I noticed that the requested April 2018 peer review received only one contribution there. While I was an engaged editor on this article a long time ago, I hope my level of disconnection can assist the editorial community with this informal review. Fifelfoo (talk) 11:41, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

  • Biggest problems with the text
    1. Overly verbose. Can be cut by a third with no loss of meaning against the title topic.
    2. He said She said vacillation. Either the topic is an accepted significant scholarly belief about the nature of the external world first and foremost, and therefore claims are put as fact. Or it ain't, in which case the article needs to be refactored to strip fact and discuss the "theory."
  • Missing sections
    1. Criticism of the concepts and associated scholarship
      1. Scholarly [or other high quality reliable source discourse] criticisms of the theoretical concept, or the application of either the agent assignment or claimed historical process. Should generally come last in the body. Should only be based on field review works. IIRC I cited years ago a ?Swedish field review which proposed high level studies of politically or socially caused preventable mass death was no longer a way forward in studies of preventable mass deaths. This would be a one liner if weighty, "[Widely / narrowly] received study says that in preventable mass death literature attention now focuses on small studies, [due to theory fatigue]," etc. Each major discourse would deserve no more than one line, unless it is a scholarly debate equivalent to the importance the Nove-Millar debate ( was to NEP economics for example, for which we could afford a paragraph at most.
      2. Criticism of poor Scholarship. Throw the fringe, harshly criticised, and narrowly received scholars on the bonfire. Get it out of the body of the article where it is unweighty. If the only claims which give the article notability are unweighty there shouldn't be a section on historical phenomena at all, the article should be about a fringe or rejected scholarly position. If there are some rejected and some accepted scholars, guess where the rejected scholars belong?
  • Ordering of Sections
    1. Generally coherent. Reconsider whether debate on famines ought to be in Terminology
  • Lede
    1. The article positions its subject as an actual historical process, rather than a scholarly discourse. Editors need to be aware of this editorial decision.
    2. Misplaced footnote "Stéphane Courtois in the [1]"
  • Terminology
    1. Fails to deal with "Communist regimes" the other half of the relationship of the articles' topic.
  • States where mass killings have occurred
    1. Tiresomely too long.
    2. The article's topic is the claimed link between a claimed set of agents and a claimed set of linked processes. This section is coatrack, not because of its existence so much as because it unWEIGHTily dominates the article.
    3. If you're going to play capitalisation games, don't, "Soviet and communist studies" => "Soviet and Communist studies.
    4. Almost all of these sections could be reduced to one well written paragraph each. Consider,
      1. Large-scale killings and deaths happened during, due to and because of the Communist content of the PRC campaigns for land reform, against counter-revolutionaries; during the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution; and, in the Chinese reoccupation of Tibet. Official material for the land reform published in 1948 envisaged the need to "destroy" one in ten peasants or 50 million people. The campaign resulted in at least a million deaths. In suppressing people as counter revolutionaries the early PRC executed 710 thousand people, and imprisoned 1.29 million people. The Great Leap Forward was an economic campaign which was a cause of the Great Chinese Famine. State orders to procure food during the famine were predicated on expected starvation; and, apart from terror and systematic violence, enemies of the regime experienced the worst effects of the lack of food. 45 million people were knowingly starved to death by the state, and 2.5 million people were executed summarily, including by torture. (fn: Valentino, Dikötter). After the 1959 Tibetan Uprising PRC cadre politically and culturally targeted the Tibetan elite, genocidally killing 92 thousand people out of a population of 6 million.(Jones, Margolin) During the Cultural Revolution political paramilitaries were given freedom to attack perceived enemies of the regime, resulting in the deaths of 750 thousand to 1.5 million people. (210 words versus 640 words currently)
    5. Much of the babble is excess quoting. Dikötter's para quote is cut from the above. We don't need to cite Courtois' introduction, a controversial text, on Tibet. Either Jones and Margolin are speaking about fact, or they're a minor discourse (see above.) If they're widely considered to be batshit insane and/or unreliable in fact we shouldn't use them.
    6. Much of the rest is a litany of a hagiography which doesn't go to the point of this article
    7. Much of the remainder is "Some scholars [believe]" "[Fred] writes that" "According to [Fred]". Again. Either the discourse is a major scholarly consensus appropriate to cite as the circumstances of what is real (within the expected limits that a reader knows that historiography is a process of debate), OR, the article is actually about a narrow or fringe scholarly position, in which case putting weasel words in front of unWeighty claims is garbage editorially. Either way: the text goes, or the weasel words go. They're mutually incompatible.
    8. "Others." If these deserve their own heading, they shouldn't be under "Others." If they don't deserve their own heading, then they should have no heading at all and be worked into tight paragraphs.
  • Legal prosecution for genocide and genocide denial
    1. Needs a bloody topic sentence. "Former members of government have been convicted for their responsibility in mass killings. States have also sought to conceptually define Communist genocide. Cambodia and Ethiopia have tried and convicted former members of government for genocide, and Estonia's attempt to try Arnold Meri for genocide was halted by his death. The Czech Republic has made Communist genocide denial a criminal offence. The Polish government has sought the aid of Russia in defining a massacre of Poles by communists as genocide." 80 words versus 404. We've got hyperlinking, we can conceal the less relevant material behind them.
    2. "However, no communist country or governing body has ever been convicted of genocide." I strongly suggest this is unlikely to be found in the source. See our article State crime for why. If it is found in the source, I suspect for similar reasons that its a quote taken badly out of context of a discussion of the possibility of criminal states.
  • Debate on famines
    1. "Some authors" don't do this. It is Weasel. "Wiener and Milne have questioned…" is much stronger writing
    2. Poorly summarised He said She said
      1. Too much on Weiner and Milne's specifics. Does Milne even refer to any of the topics? "Both authors put their claims by drawing attention to modern preventable famines not considered as state action or negligence."
      2. "In contrast Valentino writes that communist leaders directed existing famines against opponents and used famine as an opportunity to force populations to comply with state directives."
      3. "Goldhagen considers that mass murder and famine death ought not to be distinguished: where states fail to alleviate famine, they choose mass death. Chuck his claims in the footnote: they're not relevant to the body text as they engage multiple "non Communist" regimes.
    3. Put Mishra up with Weiner and Milne (if he's still in). Questions is a piss-weak verb in summarising. If Mishra is only questioning, why are we citing humanities conjecture instead of humanities result? If truly a finding by Mishra, "Mishra uses a comparative analysis between non-Communist India and the Communist PRC to [deny the agency/reduce the culpability] of the PRC leadership for famines in China.
  • See also
    1. Bloated. The following are cited above and don't need to be there: Dekulakization; Gulag; Great Leap Forward (It has its own subsection in the article for goodness sake); Great Chinese Famine; Land reform in North Vietnam (Already cited as a "Further Information" in the apposite section); Soviet war crimes (also);
  • Footnotes
    1. Generally: Citations out of style (Style is templates: cite book etc, ie "cite [format category]") with p. pp. format page references. for example, Communism: a history, by Richard Pipes, Random House Publishing Group, Nov 6, 2001, page158.
    2. See Bibliography for details on links, spaces, dashes, capitalisation, wikicode, advertisement, ISBN/ISSN, FUTON links
    3. Shockers:
      1. Journal title, we don't need no stinking journal title, Harff, Barbara; Gurr, Ted R. (1988).
      2. cite law probably: Congress (US), (1993), Friendship Act (HR3000) p. 15, s. 905a1.
      3. Misattributed, "Hollander, Paul (ed.). […]" you mean Applebaum or Hollander as an AUTHOR. Also cite the chapter name
      4. Unnecessary single quotes. Semelin (2009) Purify and Destroy.
      5. 6 ed. vs Edition. choose.
      6. Incorrect Italics, "Between 1929 and 1953 the state created by Lenin and set in motion by Stalin deprived 21.5 million Soviet citizens of their lives." ; "We now know as well beyond a reasonable doubt that there were more than 13 million Red Holocaust victims 1929–53, and this figure could rise above 20 million."
      7. "My own many years and experience…" Babble. Cut to the numbers or cut the sources as unreliable if you really need him explaining his methodology, which to me, is a claim, "I saw 20 million die with my own eyes." Admittedly this could be a poor quote or translation or context issue. But if he's RS/HQRS then why the babble?
      8. "See also: S. Melgunoff (1927)" Are you kidding me? Either we're citing this, or it goes down to the See Also section of the article. Doesn't belong in a footnote with that prefix applied.
      9. "See also:" If you're citing two sources in the one footnote, don't use this. Use a semicolon or full stop between them.
      10. ""Foreword". In " versus "Foreword: Uses of Atrocity" in The Black Book" pick one.
      11. Way out of style "Sergei Petrovich Melgunov, The Red Terror in Russia, Hyperion Pr (1975), "
      12. Garbage tertiary: "Encyclopædia Britannica"
      13. "Russia,volume 5."
      15. "19 (according to Ukrainian BBC: "Латвія визнала Голодомор ґеноцидом"), 16 (according to Korrespondent, Russian edition: "После продолжительных дебатов Сейм Латвии признал Голодомор геноцидом украинцев"), "more than 10" (according to Korrespondent, Ukrainian edition: "Латвія визнала Голодомор 1932–33 рр. геноцидом українців")" You mean 19 [governments] or 16 [governments]. Restate the noun in an extended note. The reader isn't holding the noun in their head when expecting a citation.
      16. "PACE finds Stalin regime guilty of Holodomor, does not recognize it as genocide. RIA Novosti, April 28, 2010." Personally when the author is a wire or collective, I prefer them as the author. YMMV, matter of taste. Decide.
      17. "Christopher Kaplonski, Thirty thousand bullets, in: Historical Injustice and Democratic Transition in Eastern Asia and Northern Europe, London 2002, pp. 155–168" Correctly link the external source instead of using the entire cite as a hyperlink.
      18. "Twentieth Century Atlas – Death Tolls" Utter garbage source, as admitted, . Don't know how you guys let this through.
      19. "Interview with Tomasz Strzembosz." For a historical claim. Wow.
      20. Serials normally have an ennumeration scheme? " Fischer, Benjamin B.,"
      21. Style correctly: "Wojciech Materski"
      22. "In one estimate…ISBN 0-87855-822-5." Babble. The claim is in the article. This isn't the article on that specific geographically limited historical process. Cite the sources and move on. And chuck the editorial research into the appropriate on topic article.
      23. "Boobbyer, Phillip (2000), The Stalin Era, Routledge, ISBN 0-7679-0056-1, p. 130" >> "0767900561" >> Applebaum (2003) Gulag.. Which source are we citing?
      24. "Chang, Jung and Halliday, Jon. Mao: The Unknown Story'.' Jonathan Cape, London, 2005. ISBN 0-224-07126-2. p. 3" Someone stuffed up the italics feature. Fix
      25. " Transaction Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0-88738-417-X. p. 205: In light of recent evidence, Rummel has i" and again. Fix
      26. "Jean-Louis Margolin "China:" still takes a year even if a chapter
      27. "Peace Pledge Union Information " Author (Year) "Article or Chapter Title" work title description of place in work. Corporate author issue
      28. " The CGP, 1994–2008" corporate author issue again
      29. "Black Book of Communism, pg. 564." whom and in what chapter?
    4. The last 39 citations were too depressing.
  • Bibliography
    1. nbsp;s n-dash / figure-dash
    2. Half template half manual. Pick one. Generally homogenous with Footnotes in style, but not template based. Consider applying templates / exporting from templates to plain text.
    3. Citation out of style
      1. Orlando Figes. A People's Tragedy
      2. Robert Gellately. Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler
      3. MacFarquhar, Roderick and Schoenhals, Michael. Mao's Last Revolution.
    4. If you stick with templates pick either "short lines" or "one line" style for specifying the template

{{Anchor|Parrish1996LesserTerror}} {{Cite book| last = Parrish | first = Michael | title = The Lesser Terror: Soviet state security, 1939–1953 | url = | publisher = Praeger Press| location = [[Westport, CT]] | year = 1996 | isbn = 0-275-95113-8 }}
{{Anchor|Pipes2001Communism}} {{Cite book
| last =Pipes | first =Richard | authorlink =
| title =Communism: A History
| publisher =[[Modern Library Chronicles]]
| year =2001 | location = | pages =175
| url =
| doi = | isbn =978-0-8129-6864-4}}

  • Bibliography continued
    1. Either admit that you're not going to bother looking up places of publication by deleting the manual text field, or do so.
    2. "Google Books." Are we an advertising agency now?. There are a bunch of commercial advertising links in text titles as well. If they're FUTON, sure, otherwise we are selling ads.
    3. Either we should link all scholars to their wiki articles, or none of them. (Valentino versus Yakovlev.) Pick one.
    4. Same deal with Publishers.
    5. Same deal with Publication location.
    6. Missing ISBN/ISSNs.
    7. Why is there a page number in a bibliography citing a monograph?
      1. Pipes, Richard (2001). Communism: A History
      2. Goldhagen, Daniel (2009). Worse Than War: Genocide
      3. Short, Philip (2001). Mao: A Life
    8. "trans." "Trans." Pick one. Same with ed. Ed., series ed. Series ed. consulting ed.
    9. Missing chapter title "Valentino, Benjamin A (2005). Final solutions: mass killing and genocide in the twentieth century" ( |chapter=Communist Mass Killings: the Soviet Union, China and Cambodia )
  • Further Reading
    1. Citations out of style (Lanning (2008)
    2. Not sure how Lanning (2008) is relevant?
    3. Totten (2008) is already cited above, not a good candidate for further reading if already referred to? Include in Bibliography if of core significance.
  • External Links
    1. Deadlink, seek archive? (
  • Categories
    1. Double check list against Terminology and Proposed Causes for completeness?
  • Images
    1. Too many memorials by far. China's soft.
  • Items not reviewed
    1. Notability, general weight of the topic, RS/HQRS status of sources, deadlinks in citations / archives
      1. But you need to muck the stables for unreliable secondaries like Journalism. I'm tolerant if an expert is merely writing opinion in a newspaper, but there are some dodgy ones IMHO. The journalism for recent changes in state opinion is okay.

As you can see, even if you're stalled in particular areas there's plenty of stuff you could get done. Faithfully yours, Fifelfoo (talk) 11:41, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

Thank you Fifelfoo for your thoughtful review. I share your view on the lead and the "Terminology" section. Regarding the lead, can you please leave your comments on the new lead version proposed here? Regarding the "Terminology" section, would it be correct to say that this section is currently a list of terms that happened to be used at least once by at least one scholar to describe MKuCR? If you agree with that, doesn't it mean it must be deleted completely as synthesis?--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:23, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
That is an excellent review, and a far better place to begin improving this than the string of discussions above, which have gotten nowhere. Vanamonde (talk) 16:58, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
Each of this terms was applied to communist killings in multiple RS (I am only not sure about "mass killings" itself - this is Valentino). If you want to remove something specific in this section, please explain - why. My very best wishes (talk) 17:14, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
I added some content from Talk:Mass killings under Communist regimes/dumping-ground, without actually checking anything, the content was placed there by good contributor [81]. My very best wishes (talk) 17:34, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

"Controversial" in the lead[edit]

Since this became a matter of reverts... Perhaps one should explain what was the "controversy" with numbers in the body of page: Werth said it was 15 million rather than 20 million in the USSR, and some other said that victims of Holodomor should not be counted. However, the qualifier definitely does not belong to the lead, especially because we have the page about Black Book and make a link. Moreover, since this new insertion was challenged, it needs consensus for inclusion. My very best wishes (talk) 11:52, 2 June 2018 (UTC)

You are right. A possible solution is to add sentences 12 and 13 from the proposed lead draft (see this talk page). If this does not work, I'll think about another solution.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:06, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps one should simply make a wider range of numbers per other scholars in the lead. My very best wishes (talk) 15:29, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
No. Per Harff, global estimates that are made by genocide scholars are intrinsically less accurate than the ones made by each expert who work with some particular country (see below). That, as well as the fact that obsession with totals is being explicitly criticised by many reliable sources make your proposal not acceptable.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:44, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
I am somewhat puzzled about this. The explanation is unsatisfactory, and it seems to violate consensus. --Paul Siebert (talk) 15:48, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
You said above: "You are right", and now you are telling I am not. That is puzzling. Not sure what consensus you are talking about. It is only logical to provide range of numbers in the lead, although providing most frequently cited numbers, i.e. 100 million [82] is also not a problem. My very best wishes (talk) 17:07, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
I agreed about explanations, but I haven't noticed the second point. Of course, I disagree, because (i) if we discuss this controversy in the article, that major controversy has to be reflected in the lead, and (ii) the link to the BB article is not sufficient, and it is against our policy, because it requires that all major aspects of any story should be discussed in the same article. --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:16, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
That's why we now have section "Estimates" in the body of page where this can be described in more detail. My very best wishes (talk) 18:45, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
I don't think this your proposal is in agreement with the your attempts to remove any reasonable discussion of figures.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:44, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

Number of death[edit]

I added modern data for deaths in different countries. Will add more data later. --Paul Siebert (talk) 00:09, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

1943 India Famine[edit]

Is described as being "presided over by Winston Churchill. Can we have a reliable source for that blame - as the British did not have any aim to cause a famine, nor can I find any actions by Winston Churchill as being particularly aimed at causing that famine? If not, then the Churchill aside should be excised. Collect (talk) 00:43, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

The cited source makes the connection, although the sentence as written seems a bit misleading and I will change it for clarity. The full quote is "The millions of Ukranians who died of starvation in 1932-1933 rightly appear on the list of victims of communism, but recent scholarship has established another equally significant event on the other side of the capitalist-communist divide:the 1943 Bengali famine, in which at least 1.5 million dies while British authorities continued to export Indian grain. Churchill's role in the Bengal famine seems similar to Stalin's role in the Ukrainian famine." UnequivocalAmbivalence (talk) 01:16, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Yes, it was not a British goal to cause this famine. Actually, the same can be said about majority of other famines. Sen argues Bengal famine was not a FAD type famine, and the main mistake of the British government was that it believed it was. See, for example, Amartya Sen. Starvation and exchange entitlements: a general approach and its application to the great Bengal famine. Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 1, No. 1 (March 1977), pp. 33-59Published by: Oxford University Press Stable URL: [83]. As in the case of the Great Leap Forward famine, the reason was a criminal neglect and strategic blunder.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:57, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

Rummel and other genocide scholars.[edit]

I found this source: Barbara Harff. The Comparative Analysis of Mass Atrocities and Genocide. Chapter 12. p. 113. in N.P. Gleditsch (ed.), R.J. Rummel: An Assessment of His Many Contributions, SpringerBriefs on Pioneers in Science and Practice 37, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-54463-2. [84] that contains a very simple thought.

Barbara Harff gives an explanation that may resolve our dispute: genocide scholars are not too interested in calculating exact numbers, because their major goal is not the figures, but a search of correlations and theoretical explanations of the causes and mechanisms of mass killings. She sais:

"Compiling global data is hazardous and will inevitably invite chagrin and criticism from country experts. Case study people have a problem with systematic data because they often think they know better what happened in one particular country. I have sympathized with this view, because my area expertise was the Middle East. But when empiricists focus on global data, we have to consider 190 countries and must rely on country experts selectively. When we look for patterns and test explanations, we cannot expect absolute precision, in fact we do not require it."

Read the whole chapter 12.2 (it is available online), it is an interesting reading.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:20, 3 June 2018 (UTC)


First, I am not sure "debates" is a right word. I suggest just "Famine", because "debates" is not the key word in the articles written by country experts. Second, since at least a half of communist death toll was famine death, it is logical to put it directly after the "Estimate" section. If the key point of the article is "what happened?", not "who should be blamed?", this structure seems logical.--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:02, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

1RR/self revert[edit]

It would appear that because Paul Siebert was editing the "Estimates" section while I was copy-editing elsewhere, I may have technically violated 1RR because Paul's edits made mine non-consecutive modifications of other folks' content. Now it seems silly to self-revert grammatical changes, but I cannot anticipate what people might object to, so here is a standing offer to self-revert my edits of the last hour, good for the next 24 hours, if anyone objects to them. Regards, Vanamonde (talk) 06:31, 3 June 2018 (UTC)


I changed the wording using the recently published volume dedicated to Rummel and his theories. Barbara Harff is a renown scholar herself and Rummel's close friend, and she adequately transmits what he was actually saying. He did not invent his "democide" to describe communist killings, he just applied this term to these events, among others. I also do not think we should list all separate examples of application of this term to MKuCR.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:48, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

Start an RfC on removing Rummel - but I doubt you will gain consensus for that change. Try. Collect (talk) 17:20, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
I am not sure requesting RfCs on any tiny change is a productive way for conducting a discussion. By the way, why did you decide my goal is to remove Rummel? I just provided more accurate description of his views and supported it with better quality sources.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:57, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

I strongly object to this revert and especially to the edit summary: this edit explains the definition of democide provided by Rummel's close friend and a renown genocide scholar. This wording has nothing to do with "opinion", it is accurate and not misleading (in contrast to the version that was restored), and it is based on the best quality reliable source. I also notices several separate additions have been reverted under the same pretext. These additions were properly sourced and relevant, so I find this wholesale removal counterproductive, and would like to see some non-frivolous explanation for that revert.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:52, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

Start an RfC - the way I did above. Collect (talk) 19:57, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
Collect, can you please be more specific? I cannot start an RfC saying "Collect has some unspecific objections to my edits, what you do you guys think about that?" That would be frivolous. So far, only you and Smallbones (who magically joined a discussion by making an unexplained wholesale reverts) are objecting, but to discuss it I need at least to know what exactly are you objecting to?
Smallbones seems to have refused to be a part of a normal BRD process, so the only user who object is you. Can you please explain the essence of your objections?--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:05, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
The idea of an RfC is that the person asking the question states the question he wishes to ask in a neutral manner. If your question is "Is this edit proper?" then you might get some opinions. Collect has some unspecific objections to my edits, what you do you guys think about that?" is a grossly improper phrasing for any RfC under the sun, and your blatant snark in saying that does not actually make me respect such an RfC. Can you please settle seriously into a mode of "let's figure out neutral phrasing in this article"? Please? Collect (talk) 11:41, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Collect, of course, I understand that Collect has some unspecific objections to my edits ... would be improper phrasing. However, to propose a question about a neutral phrasing, I need to know, at least, what concrete phrase caused objection, because I made several edits, and you event haven't bothered to explain which one is non-neutral. Actually, at this point, I simply see no reason to start any RfC, because an RfC should be preceded by a talk page discussion. --Paul Siebert (talk) 11:59, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
If you have a proposal - use RfC. If you want to carp about me, note that I was the one who placed Harff's name into the article. Carping about any editor is not what this talk page is for - it is for discussing content which ought to be in the article, and the sources for such material. And when a claim of fact is made - the source must back the specific claim of fact. If an opinion, the source must be cited and presented as opinion. Collect (talk) 14:50, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Collect, I reiterate, RfC is needed when there is a disagreement about some concrete proposal. So far, I see no disagreement with you about any concrete proposal: you seems to disagree in general. For example, in when you falsely accused me of 1RR violation, you failed to provide any diffs, just requested me to self-revert. Regarding Harff, I noticed a hyperlink to her paper disappeared, and I thought it was you who removed it. If you have no objections to Harff, that is good.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:04, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
My edit was on 17:23 3 June. Your edits were at 17:10, a specific revert. 16:42. 16:34 and 16:03 (counting as 1RR as a group). 05:57 reinstating material previously removed or edited. 2RR. 03:01 to 05:26 groups with 1 RR (not counting a stray edit by another person). And 00:04 same day reinstating material which had previously been removed or edited. I think a polite 1RR Warning is not "falsely" accusing you of much. Collect (talk) 17:17, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
You again are not providing diffs, and to make a situation clear I am doing that for you. this was a first revert. I didn't remove any material before that, and I didn't change any existing material in last 24 hours. My previous edit, this, and this, did not change or restore any previously added text (except the text added by me). If you see any other edits that were reverts, let me know. If not, please, retract your accusations. In last 24hr period, I made just one revert: I changed theh definition of Rummel's democide. Do you have any objections to that?--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:31, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
The 05:57 edit is an addition of one reference. Can you please demonstrate who, when and why removed this reference from the article, and why did you decide it was a revert?--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:31, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
I do not see any your edits during at 17:23. May be, you mean this? If yes, then, alas, you are accusing me of making just one revert. --Paul Siebert (talk) 19:57, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
The edit time I gave was of my edit on your talk page - the one you accused me of lying in. As I listed your many edits, and note that many of them altered recent changes by others to the article - I rest my case. And please note anything which alters another editor's recent work is a revert. Now can you start simply obeying the rules or do you really want me issuing ANI reports when you pull this sort of thing off? I have been trying my damndest to get a moderately worded working article out of this - and your personal accusations of lying are not gonna really impress me. Care to simmer down and actually participate in multi-party discussions related to the article? Collect (talk) 20:04, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Yes, let's get back to talking about the article. Do you have any specific objections to the section in question? You haven't given any, and I see a broad consensus for at least parts of it here (as I mentioned below), so unless you give a specific objection, I'm going to restore them shortly on account of there being consensus on talk. I can understand your caution in dealing with a controversial article, but demanding that consensus be demonstrated for every edit is unnecessary and drags editing to a halt - you should only revert when you (or someone else) has an objection they can answer. Similarly, while WP:RFCs are useful, they're not the only way to demonstrate consensus. If we take something to talk, and nobody provides specific objections to it, while multiple people support it, then it obviously enjoys consensus. That appears to be the case here; there's no need for an RFC when the bulk of Siebert's edits are clearly uncontroversial. --Aquillion (talk) 20:20, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Collect, let me clarify something: I never accused you of lying, I am pointing out that I am incapable of addressing some of your arguments, because I sincerely do not understand them. You falsely accused me in 1RR violation, but it it quite possible it was just a misunderstanding. Don't you want to switch to something more productive? For example, to address Aquillion's concern.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:29, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
You used the word "falsely" with regard to my post. Where I come from, saying someone said something false is the equivalent of saying they lied. Your mileage appears to vary. I use Merriam-Webster. The usage was errant and objectionable. I have given 10+ edits made by you in at least five groupings within well under 24 hours, and which affected other recent edits on the article page. Congratulations! Collect (talk) 22:57, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Where I am coming from, this word sounds totally differently, I never claimed English was my mother tongue,and I don't have to know all nuances. In my understanding, a person may make a false claim knowingly or unknowingly, and I never claimed you knew the claim was deliberately false.
To finish that, I propose the following: if you concede you accused me of 1RR violation by mistake, my statement about false accusation automatically becomes wrong, so I am apologising in advance. My apology takes effect immediately after you retract your accusation of 1RR violation at my talk page. Deal? --Paul Siebert (talk) 23:07, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
No. You made a very large number of edits, with gaps where others edited, and several of your edits modified the edits of others. Including your bluelinking of Harff's name with a comment which stated that I had removed the link! Do not understand why hyperlink was removed. when no hyperlink was removed in the first place. As I was the one who actually had added Harff's name - the charge was absurd as a minimum. I do not care if English is not your Muttersprache, or not. This is the English language Wikipedia and using words which would cause offense in any language I know of is likely to cause offense. As for your non-apology for a clear assertion of an act which never occurred (the removal of a Harff bluelink), I find that quite amazing. Erstaunlich. Удивительные. Étonnant. Collect (talk) 00:29, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Collect, are we discussing technicalities, or we are speaking from the point of view of a common sense? If you want a sincere and friendly discussion, then let's forget about formalities. Frankly speaking, this only reasons I made multiple changes and saved them as one edit. The reason is simple: you accused me of a technical violation of 1RR letter and requested to self-revert. Obviously, it was a minor and peaceful copy-editing: no edit war occurred during that time. However, you didn't warn me, but requested to self-revert. I have serious reasons to consider this unfriendly action as an assumption of bad faith, especially taking into account that you ignore much more severe violations committed by other users. I leave beyond the scope the question of why did Smallbones magically appeared from nowhere to make a single revert after your attempt to force me to self-revert under false pretext failed. I consider this event just as a coincidence ... so far. Collect, we either play fairly, and forgive each other's petty technical violations, or I will be strictly sticking with the rules. OK?--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:05, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

Can't tell for Smallbones, but there are many changes here. Changes at the top (in your version at the left) seem to be OK in my opinion. However, your changes at the bottom are questionable because they discuss purely hypothetical errors. Yes, the data are sparse, and the errors in any direction can be significant. But even that seems to be excessive/undue on this page. Also, the discussion of famines probably belongs to section about famines. My very best wishes (talk) 20:21, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
I would actually remove a lot more than Smallbones. It tells: "The major criticism of some of the above estimates was focused on three aspects: (i) the estimates are provided to advocate the idea that Communism as a doctrine was more deadly than Nazism..." What? The criticism in this section suppose to be about numbers. This is not about comparison of Communism and Nazism. My very best wishes (talk) 20:36, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
Had you read the sources cited in this text" you would not be so categorical. The criticism focuses both at numbers and at the way they are being interpreted. That is exactly what the sources say, and selective extraction of information from these sources (taking the criticism out of context) would be highly misleading.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:55, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Paul - you appear to be addressing the editor and not the edit. And I find your personalization of every edit along with your "at length" discussion sections on this talk page to be unconducive to reaching consensus wording. Can you at least try starting an RfC? I did not find the process too onerous. By the way, RfCs NEVER deal with the editors, they must deal with proposed edits and ONLY with proposed edits. Your "example" is, alas, exactly what RfCs are never supposed to be.
" Keep the RfC statement short and simple. Statements are often phrased as questions, for example: "Should this article say in the lead that John Smith was a contender for the Pulitzer Prize?" Legobot will copy your statement (from the end of the {{RFC}} template through the first date stamp) to the list of active RfCs. A long statement will make the list harder to read. For technical reasons, statements may not contain tables or complex formatting, although these may be added after the initial statement (i.e., after the first date stamp).'" Collect (talk) 20:18, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Collect, you addressed me - I address you. You proposed me to start an RfC without explaining what are you disagreeing with - I am asking you what you disagree with. So far, I sincerely do not understand what exactly you are objecting to, so I think it would be much easier to discuss it between us two first. By the way, as your recent RfC demonstrates, it hardly attracts any uninvolved users. In addition, the RfC page recommends to try a talk page discussion first. And that is exactly what I am doing, because we need to identify the points of disagreement regarding this particular issue.
I am asking again: what exactly are you dicagreing with? let's discuss it, otherwise I'll restore the text I added yesterday, because I see no reasonable criticism to address.'--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:55, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
I support the change to the wording on Rummel's definition of Democide; and I agree that it's premature to go for an RFC (which, after all, consumes significant time and energy) when nobody has yet put forward a specific objection. Given that My very best wishes implicitly approved of that section of the edit above, and that nobody has expressed a specific objection, I suggest we wait a day or so to see if anyone raises any objections to it and then restore it - I can understand Collect's desire for caution on such a controversial article, but currently it seems that three editors support that part of the proposed change, and nobody (except Smallbones, who has apparently left the discussion) objects, so it appears uncontroversial. RFCs are for when there is a clearly-defined dispute, and at the moment, at least for that aspect of the disputed edit, there does not seem to be one. Obviously if someone has an objection they haven't voiced, or if they feel I'm discounting them unfairly, they can speak up, but please give a specific objection so we can consider your perspective and try to answer it. --Aquillion (talk) 21:41, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, Aquillion. I'll do that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:22, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
My concern here is mostly the phrase "This definition covers any murder of any number of persons by any government". My understanding this is not the case because the definition by Rummel does not cover all victims of wars, but only certain categories, such as executions of POWs. My very best wishes (talk) 00:57, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
My very best wishes, if you go to the source I provided and open it at the page 116, you will see the words:
"Democide according to Rudy, as noted above, ‘is the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder.’ Given his definition, he has to deal with all the issues above and add victims killed during other forms of conflict, such as civil wars and pogroms, in which peoples are murdered by states for any reason, as in Syria today, or during World War II, as were Polish civilians and officers."
Is there any difference in that and in what I wrote? I doubt. This source is the best quality secondary source written by one of the leading genocide scholar. Please, read the sources before objecting.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:02, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
PS. Anticipating possible criticism, "Rudy" means "Rudolph Rummel", because he was her close friend.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:03, 4 June 2018 (UTC)


I don't find this revert and the edit summary adequate. I believe several major points have been removed that lead to a serious bias. A body of published sources makes clear that:

  1. The criticism of the estimates made by Courtois and the conclusions he and Malia makes from them is at least as prominent as the estimates themselves.
  2. The numbers provided by genocide scholars are not accurate, and they are neither expected not supposed to be accurate, because these scholars are not specialists, and they production of accurate figures is not the focus of their study.

These two major statements, supported by best reliable sources, were removed with inadequate rationale. I request for explanations, otherwise I'll restore these changes back.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:22, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

In addition, this edit simply misinterprets what the source says. The cited source says:

"In other words, to reach a plausible figure by using Rummel's method, we would have to rely on many underestimations to 'take out' single overestimations. In the case of the Holocaust, that would mean 'narrowing down' single unscholarly overestimations by relying on underestimations by several Holocaust deniers. Although Rummel does not usually use the mean, it seems he has not paid enough attention to the distribution when making the mid-estimates. Consequently, there is a high probability that his mid-estimates would have been high, even if he had useful data at his disposal."

It is totally different from what the current version (that cites Dulic) says. He does not say "the estimates were based on sparse and incomplete data, when significant errors are inevitable", he directly say they systematically inflate figures.Why the explanation of the origin of the error has been removed?

Another edit is also unacceptable. The current version says:

" some critics said the figures were skewed to higher possible values, but did not provided alternative estimates"

Who says that they do not provide alternative estimates? Wiener? The authors cited says quite different thing: the figures are inflated, and the the very idea to produce combined figures is intrinsically flawed. Why was this statement removed?

If someone disagrees with the text, they are supposed either: (i) prove the edit is irrelevant, or (ii) prove the sources do not support the statement, or (iii) provide alternative viewpoint without removing the added text. Instead, a newly added text is a pure violation of WP:NOR and WP:RS, and I remind those who engages in it that the article is under DS. --Paul Siebert (talk) 02:36, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

Which alternative estimates these sources provide? My very best wishes (talk) 04:05, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
If an author X makes an estimate Y, and and author Z says the estimate Y is wrong and misleading, and explains what is the cause of the error, then the whole information must be provided. You cannot change the wording that misinterprets the source, and you cannot say "and author Z criticizes the author X's data, but he does not provide their own estimates", you are allowed just say "and author Z criticizes the author X's data". If an author Z explains why he believes the data are wrong and misleading, you cannot remove this explanation from the article, unless you prove it is irrelevant.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:14, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
We are making a summary of several sources. It should not be exact quotation or a close paraphrase. But it must be correct. For example, your wording "This definition covers any murder of any number of persons by any government" is incorrect because it implies inclusion deaths of soldiers at war. On the other hand, saying that cited sources did not provide alternative estimates is correct and important information. Any reader would expect to see some alternative numbers in such context. No numbers means that the criticism should not be taken seriously (my opinion as a reader). My very best wishes (talk) 13:27, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
To a considerable extent 'relevancy' is in the eye off the beholder. I would err on the side of too much of the irrelevant, if it provides context or explanation, rather than too little of the relevant. That being said, if it is marginally relevant but perhaps tangential, how about putting it in as a "note", which is a separate section at the bottom of the page (a specialized type of footnote). See, e.g., Yank Levy. 7&6=thirteen () 12:06, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
I think a solution would be a rewrite of the section completely, because more weight is given to the authors that were presented on this page by the moment I made my edits. It is probably a time for RfC about that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:18, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

"Communist holocaust"?[edit]

Can a book title and a political declaration be considered a scholarly terminology? I am not sure this item belongs to this section, because we need to demonstrate it the term "Red/Communist holocaust" was proposed as a scholarly term, not just a polemic formula. I would like to see scholarly sources that support this claim.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:22, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

It doesn't have to be scholarly. However, the information is misleading. The Foundation was a project of the U.S. Right which pushed for inclusion of the Foundation and the wording through Jesse Helms and Dana Rohrabacher. Also, there seems to be no reason to use the adjective "Communist." It's not used for any of the other other terms. TFD (talk) 20:13, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
The "terminology" section begins with the statement: "The following terminology has been used to describe separate mass killings of unarmed civilians by Communist governments" In connection to that, I am asking: if "Communist holocaust" is the term, or it is just a word that happened to be used to allegorically describe MKuCR?--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:08, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
RS tell this is terminology [85]. My very best wishes (talk) 03:53, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for the source. Added it to the article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:20, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

The scholar of that source calls the label and discourse "anti-Semitic" and based in "ignorance." So it's far from a scholarly term.-GPRamirez5 (talk) 13:39, 6 June 2018 (UTC) GPRamirez5 (talk) 13:39, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Actually, that is what I added to the article. If you want, please, expand.--Paul Siebert (talk) 13:45, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

RfC on figures presented by Courtois in the Black Book introduction[edit]

I am asking about the most neutral way to present the figures of "Communist death toll" presented by Courtois in the introduction to the Black Book of Communism (aka BB).

  • In the introduction to the Black Book of Communism, the editor of this volume, Coirtois, provides the figures of communist death toll. These figures, as well as the very idea to combine loosely connected events under a single category, has been severely criticized. The examples of criticism are provided here, and many critics blame Courtois in manipulation with figures and their deliberate inflation. In addition, the idea to connect the deaths with some "generic Communism" concept (defined down to the common denominator of party movements founded by intellectuals) has been criticised by other authors,[2] who argues that a connection between, e.g., events in Pol Pot's Cambodia and Stalin's USSR is far from evident, and Pol Pot’s study of Marxism in Paris is insufficient for connecting radical Soviet industrialism and the Khmer Rouge’s murderous anti-urbanism under the same category. Furthermore, the figures produced by Courtois are always presented to advocate the idea that Communism was greater evil than Nazism. This idea has been criticized by many authors[3]

Many critics also note that the Courtois's introduction to the BB is the most problematic part of this collective volume, and most criticism is focused on it. Even some contributors to the BB publicly disassociated themselves from the conclusions presented in the introduction (see the link to the talk page), and from the figures in particular. In connection to that, my concrete questions are:

  1. Should we always discriminate between the introduction to the BB and the BB proper every time the introduction is cited?
  2. Should we always explain that the introduction is "controversial" when the BB introduction is used as a source?
  3. Should we always describe the controversy around the figures presented in the introduction when the introduction is being used as the source for these figures?
  4. Should we explain the objections to the "generic Communism" concept every time the combined "Communist death toll" calculated in the BB introduction is being discussed in an article?

These questions are independent, and the answers can be, for example, "Yes - No - No - Yes".

--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:41, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Valentino was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Michael David-Fox, On the Primacy of Ideology: Soviet Revisionists and Holocaust Deniers (In Response to Martin Malia). Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, Volume 5, Number 1, Winter 2004 (New Series), pp. 81-105 (Article) DOI: [1]
  3. ^ Jens Mecklenburg and Wolfgang Wippermann, eds, ‘Roter Holocaust’? Kritik des Schwarzbuchs des Kommunismus [A ‘Red Holocaust’? A Critique of the Black Book of Communism], Hamburg, Konkret Verlag Literatur, 1998; ISBN 3–89458–169–7


  • I am currently a disengaged editor due to time (though if editors wish to contest this I will immediately acceede to them.
  • The introduction (and conclusion) by Courtois have been received with such specific hostility that they ought to be referred to separately to the body of the text (regardless of the level of hostility to particular chapters, or the concept of the work).
  • The introduction's theoretical category is so controversial ("non-Catholocism, as is non-adherence to the Church of Rome), the last time I read it in depth, that the introduction should not be used as a source for death totals (other than where, as a subject in itself, rather than a reference to external reality, the "Black Book" is relevant). Fifelfoo (talk) 11:20, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Any RfC is supposed to be written in absolutely neutral language. This RfC has a stated desired outcome, with which I demur actually and procedurally. Collect (talk) 12:23, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
Collect, I described a controversy around this source and asked how this controversy should be presented. Which concrete statement (or question) looks non-neutral in your opinion? Can you propose a wording that described this controversy in a more neutral way?--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:42, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps: The (BB) is viewed by some as a controversial source on total deaths under communist regimes. Ought it be removed from the lead with regard to its estimates of total deaths? or something roughly akin. Short. Terse. Easy to follow. "Thousand word essays" (this is not a word count, but a figure of speech, so do not get upset) or the like tend to get glazed looks. Collect (talk) 15:43, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
First, I do not propose to discuss removal of BB from the lead. The question is "how this information should be presented". The answers to this question might range from, e.g., "just show the figure" to "remove the figures completely" with a mid opinion "show the figures, but explain they are highly controversial" (other variants are also possible). BTW, what is your own answer to this question?
Second, your version tells just a part of the story. The users should be informed about the essence of criticism: (i) that figures were artificially inflated, (ii) that this inflation served to convey some concrete idea,, (iii) that this idea seems highly questionable. I believe an uninvolved user should be informed about that. It is also necessary to note that the BB gets positive reviews due to contribution of the authors other than Courtois (and those authors disagree with his interpretation of their data), and most reviews say this collective volume is non-homogeneous: which means some parts are more credible than others.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:55, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
Nope. The RfC should not present various arguments - that is for the "Discussion" on the RfC. And any work by multiple authors is ipso facto not "homogeneous" for that very reason. It is intrinsic that different authors do not create a homogeneous anything. Thus I think perhaps you should ask at the talk page for WP:RFC what the length and form of a good RfC is, if it is not clear. Further, arguing with other editors very rarely makes them think more highly of your position. The shorter the query is, and the less argumentative it is, the better the anticipated outcome. Any RfC which says "This source is really, really bad, and should be excised or have the 'really bad' epithet applied so readers will know how bad it is" is probably not going to get very far. I suggest you reread my RfC which was demolished by lengthy replies which were not exactly on topic. Collect (talk) 19:38, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
If you followed your own advise you gave me earlier (no mentoring), we would find consensus more quickly. I cannot ask a question without providing needed background. If my RfC looked like "This source is very, very bad", it was not my intention. My point was this source is very inhomogeneous, because it is a collective volume, not a single monograph. We are talking about the most disputable statement from the most controversial part of this volume. Many reviews say, e.g. Werth's chapter was excellent, and I myself do not find any reason to cast a doubt at this chapter (although it might me not the best source about the USSR, because more recent and more accurate studies are available). However, to claim that the whole BB, including the introduction is a good source because the Werth's chapter was highly commended is at least not completely honest, taking into account that Werth himself objected to Courtois claims.
Once again, my task was not easy: I had to ask people a very complicated question: how to deal with highly controversial statement taken from the source that is otherwise quite reliable? I had to explain that it was not me who find this statement controversial, and I had to explain why all these authors believe it is controversial.
Do you have any idea how could that task be solved?--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:53, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

  1. "Should we always discriminate between" Chapter #1 of an RS (this is chapter 1, not an editorial) and the rest of the book. No because this is the same RS.
  2. "Should we always" provide a qualifier "controversial" for something we have a WP page about and provide a link? No because we must avoid POV qualifiers, and the reader can follow the link.
  3. "Should we always describe the controversy". No, because we should avoid POV-frks.
  4. Should we explain the objections to the "generic Communism"? No because there is no such commonly used terminology as "generic Communism" and because this page is not about Communism as a concept. My very best wishes (talk) 18:32, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
The explanation of "generic Communism" can be found in the Malia or David-Fox articles. Please, read. I do not discuss a concrete wording. I discuss the general approach to presentation of the figures calculated by Courtois.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:42, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
Re: "The page is not about Communism as a concept" It is an interesting topic for the next RfC. Collect, do you agree that this article makes no connection between communism and mass killing?--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:58, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
Nope. This article is about reliable sources stating that non-combatants died and that their deaths were attributed by those sources to "communist regimes". It is not up to us to make a connection or deny a connection. It is up to us to deal with what major sources state, and to make no deductions otherwise on our own. Collect (talk) 19:42, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
Good. That means this article does not discuss communism in general? If that is the case, then the "Proposed causes" section should be removed, as well as "terminology", because we must avoid unneeded generalisations (we are not speaking about Communism, aren't we?). Taking into account that Kiernan provides a very specific explanation for Cambodia (Khmer's nationalism etc), Werth connects Red terror with inconclusive land reform and WWI, O'Grada sees Great Chinese famine as the last one in the series of historical famines, etc. Do you agree with that?--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:00, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
You seem to misapprehend my comments. This article is not what draws a connection nor needs to give a reason for any connection. If a reliable source makes a connection either explicitly or implicitly, we write that this is what the source says. The article is not about communism itself as the topic, but it is about connections between deaths and communist regimes made by reliable sources. Where "causes" are set forth in reliable sources, then we report what the sources say, and do not draw conclusions ourselves. Is that clear? Collect (talk) 21:51, 5 June 2018 (UTC) \
You are right. Now explain me how should we represent a situation when (i) a source A says Communism killed 100 millions, and more than 20 million out of these 100 were killed in the USSR, so Communism is more criminal than Nazism, (ii) a source B says the source A lies, and the number of victims in the USSR was smaller, (iii) the source C says it is incorrect to speak about Communism as whole, because there is virtually no connection between Cambodia and USSR, Afghanistan and Hungary, (iv) a source D says it is incorrect to claim Communism was more criminal than Nazism, as the source A says, (v) and a source E describes a significant number of mass deaths in China in totally different terms than "mass killings" and without any connection to communism? Which of that belongs to this article, which of that is not relevant?--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:06, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
The actual decision is made by consensus through any RfC, so I am writing as a hypothetical issue here.
The "Xism is more Evil than Yism" is not a "fact", but an opinion, which would generally be given and attributed as an opinion no matter what else is there.
A source B which says "source A lies" is also an opinion, and such opinions are generally discouraged - we are not here to provide fodder for source fights between authors, but to provide information of factual events, and the opinions which reliable sources present, sourced and attributed as opinions.
In the topic at hand, the claim that "countries A, B and C are different" is pretty much useless - the topic of this article is about any nation with a "communist regime" and does not require such regimes to be identical at all.
In short, other than the initial estimates of deaths attributed to the sources making such estimates, pretty much all your hypothets are of no value in this article. In my opinion.
The goal is to give readers factual estimates from reliable sources as to deaths occurring which were attributed to communist regimes by WP:RS sources. All else is argumentative fluff at this point. Collect (talk) 23:41, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
Collect, I see some logical inconsistencies in what you write.
1. "Xism vs Yism" is irrelevant, what is relevant is that the number X is tightly connected with the "Xism vs Yism" theory, and it is produced to support it. If you don't want to engage in cherry picking, let's tell a full story.
2. According to you, if a source X says: "Xism killed 100 million", it is a fact, but when a source Y says "X is wrong" it is opinion. It directly contradicts to the scientific community rules: if a scientist A publishes the results of, e.g., speed of light measurements, and a scientist B writes that these results are unreliable, because there was a flaw in the experimental method A used, we do not present the result obtained by A as a fact and the observation made by B as an opinion. They both are treated with equal respect, and, until B's concern has not been properly addressed, A's measurements cannot be considered as a fact.
3. Regarding estimates, how do you propose to deal with conflicting estimates? Rummel says Communism killed 140 million, including 60 million in the USSR, Snyder says 9 million were killed in the USSR, Harff says Rummel is not a specialist in each particular country, his figures are not supposed to be accurate, and they are just an average of lowest and highest estimates. Is it ok to give Rummel's figures simply because he collected (very inaccurately) poor quality data for all countries? Are you comfortable with the fact that these Rummel's data include the USSR data that are about 40 million less, according to fresh sources?--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:21, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── First of all, I noted that we were dealing with hypotheticals. Secondly, the name of the article delimits its content, and the discussion of "what is and what is not communism" is irrelevant as long as the countries have been identified by the reliable source as "communist" and the source states as fact that deaths occurred under that regime.

If George Gnarph says "I estimate that the elephant weighs 3800 pounds" the statement "George Gnarph says the elephant weighed 3800 pounds" is a fact. If Ralph Rarph says "George Gnarph lied" then that is clearly personal opinion, and can only be used and cited as opinion. Is this finally clear?

I note that the article is only about death in "regimes", and does not say "specific attributes of communism which are common to the definition of 'communism' are the cause of these deaths." Thus that hypothetical is not really germane here.

It is unclear whether the claim "Rummel says Communism killed 100 million people" is correct, or whether Rummel attributes the deaths to the regime, or to a general definition of "communism." I believe he attributed the deaths to the regime and not to the ideology of communism per se. To that extent, I fear I doubt this specific hypothetical has much validity.

And it is not up to us to assert that "Rummel acted very inaccurately" or the like, but any such statement is quite clearly an opinion, which must be ascribed to the person holding that opinion in a reliable source, and cited as such under Wikipedia policy. Again, we are dealing with hypotheticals, but some of the ones you suggest clearly run afoul of Wikipedia policy which is that we rely solely on reliable sources, and do not use our own personal knowledge to make statements about such sources.

See WP:V, the pertinent policy. Collect (talk) 00:55, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

No, the question about Rummel is not an opinion. Harff does not express an opinion about a procedure Rummel uses. She describes a procedure, and conclude the error is quite likely. She admits country specialists are more accurate in figures, whereas genocide scholars may be more accurate in estimates of global trends (not numerical). The strong side of Rummel's study is the discovery of a correlation between totalitarianism and mass killing (it is just a correlation, modern scholars found other correlations, but it is a important discovery anyway), and Rummel's conclusions are not affected significantly if Stalinn killed not 60 but 9 million. In contrast, the scholars who study some single country do not make generalisations, but they know everything about their area of interest. They know figures better that Rummel and few other genocide scholars who are doing global estimates.
Have you ever read studies of genocide scholars? It is usually a pure math, Bayesian analysis, singular value decomposition, and other statistics. They are working with intrinsically noisy data to predict which regime is more likely to cause genocide in future, and they have no capabilities to provide accurate estimates, because even 100-200% error does not affect their conclusions significantly.
What is happening here is directly opposite: you are pushing Rummel's figures and ignoring the figures provided by real specialists. Wheatcroft does not use Rummel's data for USSR, because he is doing his own archival research, but Rummel uses Wheatcroft's data, and he is not doing archival research. Who should be trusted more?
If George Gnarph says: "I estimate the elephant weight is 3800 pounds" but Ralph Granph says: "George Gnarph's measurement procedure has a serious flaw that underestimates elephant's weight", I am not sure we have a "fact vs opinion" collision. By the way, if we present George Gnarph's data and ignore Ralph Granph's notion, we mislead a reader, because actual weight of Asian elephant is around 6000 lbs, and African elephant is even heavier, which means George Gnarph's notion was quite justified, whereas George Gnarph's data are wrong.
Re: "I note that the article is only about death in "regimes"". I recall I proposed to make this article purely descriptive, and that would resolve many problem. If you agree, let's discuss it in a separate section.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:15, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

As I used the word "hypothetical" a few times, a cavil about African elephants v. Asian elephants reminds me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and how much weight a sparrow could carry. Really, asides of that type are not very helpful at all. Collect (talk) 01:29, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
I hate to derail this further into policy / process stuff, but since this keeps happening with WP:RFCs here... the purpose of an RFC is to attract outside opinions when we've already failed to reach a consensus ourselves. Having them all devolve into the same three or four people arguing the same things over and over defeats the point (that's exactly the thing we recourse to an RFC to end.) Everyone, if you feel the need to have a huge discussion mid-RFC, please create another section for it? Usually I would pull them out into a threaded discussion subsection, but these are all lengthy reply topics to individual comments and can't be easily moved around. Any outside editor who came across this wall of convoluted discussion in a request for comment could be reasonably excused for deciding to just nope out. --Aquillion (talk) 01:46, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
The discussion on my part is and has been absolutely an attempt to get a well-defined, neutrally worded RfC. Non-neutral epics do not get outside opinions as a rule. The RfC here presented is the War and Peace style. Collect (talk) 10:48, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

I favor number 2. The specific controversy on the introduction needn't be discussed more than once or twice. GPRamirez5 (talk) 17:24, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

Actually, these were four independent questions. For example, if the answers are No - Yes - No - No, then we do not discriminate between the intro and the BB as whole, and write "controversial BB" without further details. If the answers are Yes - No - Yes - No, we write "the BB introduction provides the figures that have been widely criticized because ..." Etc. Should I add these clarifications to the body of the RfC?--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:37, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Yes, yes, yes, yes, but my opinion is that we shouldn't be citing the introduction at all in the first place, or should cite it as little as possible and never in a position of prominence (which makes all of these questions moot.) Beyond the fact that the lead to that book is extremely controversial, as mentioned above, and beyond the fact that it's disputed by even some of the book's own contributors (rendering it a bit WP:FRINGE), the really big problem is that it's essentially an opinion piece by one person - it doesn't have the fact-checking or research that went into the rest of the book. This makes it an extremely poor thing to cite for statements of fact. We could cite it for Courtois' personal opinions, with an in-line citation making it clear that this is just Courtois' opinion, but placing it in the lead or mentioning it more than once or twice strikes me as clearly WP:UNDUE. If there's something vital in the book, it should be possible to cite it to the actual text inside rather than Courtois' more controversial, more opinionated, and less scholarly summary. And I would be opposed to relying too heavily on the black book in general - if this is such a major, noteworthy topic, it should be easy to find additional sources rather than placing such a heavy weight on just one. --Aquillion (talk) 01:39, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Forgive me for not grasping Wikipedia legalese but I came upon this page by accident and found it interesting. Is the ultimate intention of the editor who created this request to supplant references to Rummel, Courtois, etc. with e.g. Wheatcroft as mentioned? I might be getting way ahead of the argument but it seems ultimately this is a way of cutting the numbers down so to speak. Thanks for listening. Passingobserver (talk) 10:46, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

  • Comment. This RfC is related mostly to the Black Book of Communism. This is not surprising because the book is probably the best and the most detailed general source about communist repressions in various countries, which is the subject of this page. One could even argue this WP page should be made as a WP:list, unless we had the "Black Book" and books by Rummel, Malia and a couple of others. In terms of our policies, the most relevant question is weather this book (and more specifically its first chapter by Courtois) should be regarded as an academic RS (the 1st chapter is basically a review and uses a lot of references to other sources). That has been already discussed on RSNB in most detail here and most recently here. What was the outcome of these RSNB discussions? This is hard to say, but the book certainly was NOT disregarded as an unreliable source. This was most neutrally summarized by user DGG (first link) "The numbers given in the BB are not outside the range of possibility, and can be included as one of several estimates--and indeed should be, to show the range of variation.". So, unless there is any new consensus, I would regard that comment as an excellent recommendation we all should follow. Yes, the numbers should be explicitly attributed to Courtois because two other co-authors had happen to disagree. But this is not an opinion, but results of research by a notable mainstream scientist who works in this area. My very best wishes (talk) 19:12, 6 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Delete Article - Is there any possibility we can just delete this page? There are so many things wrong with this article, it seems pointless to have content RfC's like this. I'm guessing there won't be much appetite for deletion, given pages like this tend to attact "special interest" editors who imagine and synthesize notability for subject like this; that said, perhaps now that the Cold War is long enough over we can have enough detachment to recognize what a ridiculous SOAPBOX this entire article is? NickCT (talk) 14:52, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
Nope. There have been a bunch of RfDs in the past, and you have certainly opined in the past. The goal is to define and structure the article as best we can, not to delete it. Meanwhile, I think you might wish to nominate Anti-communist mass killings which is in far worse shape. Collect (talk) 15:00, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
Collect, whereas I am not a fan of that article (I even don't remember if I ever edited it), I think the subject of that article is quite clear: killings of communists by anti-communists. Anticommunism is a well defined topic, and those killings are attributed not to regimes, but to any anticommunists. I am neutral regarding that article, but I suspect it was created as a balance MKuCR. Its title is awkward and ambiguous (who are killers and who was being killed?), it looks like a list article, but it avoids any generalisations and theorising, so it does not violate our policy.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:49, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
@Collect: - When you say "a bunch" you mean two, right? Two close AfD's for keep is a bunch? Ever think there may be so many deletion discussions b/c the article should really be deleted?
Both this page and Anti-communist mass killings ought to be deleted. Clear and petty ideological warring. NickCT (talk) 17:48, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
NickCT, I think, the article can be improved, although it requires a major rewrite (I am currently discussing that with one user, hope to present this plan to wider audience after the preliminary consensus is acheived). Its deletion will not resolve the problem, and, formally speaking, it is not possible, because the topic does exist.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:58, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
@Paul Siebert: - Deletion would solve the problem quite nicely. And I contest that the topic exists. Can you point to more than one or two publications whose main topic is "Killings under Communist regimes"? What you've done here is to take a bunch of facts from different RS's and you've strung them together to try to synthesize a subject and its notability, which really only exists in your and few other editors' heads. NickCT (talk) 17:52, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
Actually, even a single source is sufficient for prevention of article's deletion, and I know at least two. However, I agree that this article is currently terrible and needs a major rewrite. If we will not achieve a consensus about that, I have one idea that may resolve the problem. However, that may require time and efforts.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:59, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
@Paul Siebert: - [citation needed]. A single source does not notability make. NickCT (talk) 23:20, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
Re "in your and few other editors' heads" I am the one who is deeply dissatisfied with the way this article is written. My primary concern is that the article is obsesses with figures, and is disinterested in placement of these events into a historical context (most historians explain these events not is a context of communism). The problem is that the idea of "communist mass killings" is not a fringe view, but it is not a significant majority view, so majority of experts simply ignore it, and they do not dispute this theory, hence we have little criticism in scholarly sources. In contrast, many journalists and popular writers push this idea. To resolve this problem, we need a collaborative efforts of all users, however, some of them prefer an edit war.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:35, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
I'm not arguing about whether or not the article is terribly written (it is). I'm arguing the subject is non-notable synthesis and that the article is unencylopedic. NickCT (talk) 23:20, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
The article in its present form is not encyclopedic, I agree. I cannot agree that the subject is non-notable, taking into account a storm over the Black Book. And, yes, there is a lot of synthesis in the article. I think, you will not be able to delete the article, because there will be not enough arguments for that. However, it is possible to improve it, get rid of all synthesis, and make encyclopedic.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:13, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
@Paul Siebert: - The Black Book is a perfect example of the synthesized notability this page uses. The subject of the Black Book was "Naughty Things the Commies Have Done". The sub-topic was "Mass Killings under Communist Regimes". The Black Book gives notability to former subject, but here folks are arguing that it gives notability to the latter. It does not.
We've strung together a bunch of sources that treat "Mass Killings" as a sub-topic and used them infer notability on the issue as a stand alone topic. It's classic SYNTH. NickCT (talk) 12:45, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
If you look at the talk page you can see that it is exactly what I say. However, my conclusion is: the article should be rewritten in a totally descriptive manner, and all theorisings should be moved to the bottem and represented as a minority (and contested) views.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:05, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
  • No, Yes, No, No As was mentioned, the intro is part of the book; it's not a separate document. I think a footnote linking to the article about BB is sufficient to qualify that there's some disagreement. If number 2 is yes, then number three isn't necessary. As far as complaints about general communism: you can't claim that correlation does not equal causation when the same thing happens in almost every communist regime; that'd be a hell of a coincidence. Chris Troutman (talk) 04:44, 22 June 2018 (UTC) (Summoned by bot)
Chris Troutman, when the same thing happens in almost every communist regime, you definitely can't claim that correlation does not equal causation. The problem is, however, that the things that were happening were quite different. There was no ethnosocial antiurbanist genocides in the USSR, the Soviet society was not strictly separated on social groups like in North Korea, etc. Only few authors see significant commonality between these events.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:17, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes. Add #4: Just the term "Communist death toll" is controversial in itself. Many of the killings weren't done by communists at all and almost none of them is linked to communist ideology, they happened because of civil wars, infrastructure breakdowns and ordinary power struggles. And what does it even mean? It could mean how many communists died. The very concept of diving homo sapiens into the categories of Communists and Normal People is insane. Communism is a political ideology, not a special breed of the human race. The whole concept behind this article is based on an idea that communist ideology is deadly and all the deaths are presented as a result of communist ideology. This idea and basic assumption isn't explained nor tackled anywhere, it is just tacitly assumed. Can the prejudice be more ridiculous and expressed with more bigotry? RhinoMind (talk) 10:50, 23 June 2018 (UTC)


Just so everyone here is aware, archival evidence from Vietnam indicates that the number of executions during the North Vietnamese land reform was "fixed in principle at the ratio of one per one thousand people," or approximately 13,500 of North Vietnam's 1953 population of 13.5 million, although this ratio was flexible and it is not known whether actual executions during the land reform were greater or lesser than planned; recent scholarship has accepted a somewhat higher figure of 15,000 executions. The 50,000 estimate given in the Black Book of Communism was widely accepted for a time but has long since been abandoned by most Vietnam scholars, and the astronomical numbers in Rosefielde's Red Holocaust (which he derived from Radio Free Asia, in turn citing—without attribution—Rummel's "Statistics of Vietnamese Democide," Table 6.1A, line 347) demonstrate only that Rosefielde is not an expert in Vietnamese—as opposed to Soviet—history. Also, Valentino's total estimate for all political killings in communist Vietnam is 80,000–200,000, which is lower than his estimate of 110,000–310,000 "democidal" killings by the U.S. and South Vietnam during the same period. It seems odd to omit that given how widely Valentino is used in this article. Happy editing!TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 10:09, 7 June 2018 (UTC)

I've tagged the current "Democratic Republic of Vietnam" section as POV due to its use of highly dubious statistics and lack of balance. It should probably be rewritten from scratch.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 10:23, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
Why tag? You are very welcome to fix this section by providing all alternative estimates as you just outlined above, along with other sourced estimates that are already included. No one will object. Same for other sections and the entire page. By providing a range of estimates in academic sources and explaining the origin of the differences (per sources) we can make it consistent with WP:NPOV. However, we should only talk about people killed by their own governments on this page. The deaths of combatants at war should not be included here and probably should not be even discussed, maybe only very briefly. My very best wishes (talk) 11:41, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
Regarding the accuracy of Rummel's data, you may be interested to read the "Rummel and other genocide scholars" section of this talk page. It was also a dispute between Margolin and Courtois about that. --Paul Siebert (talk) 11:17, 7 June 2018 (UTC)

If this is true, then Vietnam does not fit this article, because it was not a mass killing per Valentino. What do you think?--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:27, 7 June 2018 (UTC)

It tells "Valentino attributes 80,000–200,000 deaths to "communist mass killings"". So, why this is not a mass killing per Valentino? My very best wishes (talk) 03:06, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Valentino defined "mass killings" as incidents where more than 5,000 people were killed. So not all killings by Communists were mass killings. TFD (talk) 13:51, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
I would think that killing 15,000 people in a specified class is the same as a "mass killing" in common English, even if they were killed one at a time. Parsing it into "but they were 15,000 individual killings" does not seem to be a strong argument at all. Collect (talk) 14:22, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Read the source, cite the source, move on. Fifelfoo (talk) 14:25, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Collect, if we use Valentino as a source (and we are not using him selectively, aren't we?) we accept his definition (actually, it was not his definition, it was proposed earlier). It says:"more than 50,000 in 5 years".--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:09, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Nope. Citing a source does not mean we are "accepting" the source's definitions except insofar as that single source is concerned. Applying a definition from one source to a claim by another source is one aspect of "original research." Nor, using my own opinion, would I consider 100,000 deaths in a population of 100,000,000 to be of the same weight I, personally, would assign to killing 10,000 people in a population of 1,000,000. But I note my opinion, and your opinion, as to a definition of "mass killing" does not mean we can apply that as a definition for a reliable source which uses a different definition. If you wish Wikipedia qua Wikipedia to adopt a specific standard, I think that you would be pushing the bounds of "original research" way too far. Collect (talk) 18:04, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Collect, what you are saying is correct. I think it makes sense to add to the article that communist regimes controlled several large countries for a long period of time, so the absolute figures are misleading (Hitler had a control over much smaller population for less than 10 years). I saw this statement in one source, so we can add it.
Regarding the definition, yes, there is no universal definition, and that makes :Terminology" section deeply misleading. Let's remove it and summarise what it says if a couple of sentences.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:45, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
  • While one can certainly use the book by Valentino ("mass killing" is something he called "mass killing" in the book, and he said it about Vietnam), this is only one of good RS on the subject. Anything that has been described as a significant mass murder by "communist" governments in any academic RS can and should be included on this page per WP:NPOV. "Significant" means significant enough to be described as mass murder in an academic RS. My very best wishes (talk) 15:30, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
No problem. If we remove the "Definition" section and move Valentino's theorising to the bottom, that will be fine. Othervise you pretend the subject is well defined and mainstream (when you find it convenient), and argue that the definition is vague when you want to include something that does nit fit it. --Paul Siebert (talk) 16:09, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
This subject is "mainstream" because it was studied and described in publications by mainstream scientists, such as Courtois, Malia, Valentino, Rummel, etc. Is it well defined? No. Most subjects in history and social sciences are poorly defined. So what? Should not we have pages about them? I am simply telling that we must use multiple RS on the subject per WP:NPOV. That includes multiple definitions of the subject, those described in the "Terminology" section. My very best wishes (talk) 16:47, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
If there are multiple definitions, that means a universally accepted definition is lacking, so the subject belongs to a "controversy" section at the bottom of the page. In addition, most sources do not consider a definition as a serious problem, they call all study on this type "genocide studies", and all scholars (including Valentino and Rummes) are called "genocide scholars". Than means, less prominence should be given to the "definition" section, and it should be moved to the bottom and described as some trivia.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:32, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Yes, "most sources do not consider a definition as a serious problem" because there is common understanding what constitutes mass murder by the government. No, the definitions and terminology must be on the top. Otherwise, it may not be obvious for a reader what we are talking about. My very best wishes (talk) 18:54, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Do you sincerely believe this bunch of definitions makes the article more readable? This terminology is not used in the article almost at all.--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:38, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Yes, certainly. This section provides good and necessary background with links to many wikipages, especially for someone unfamiliar with the subject. And no, this terminology is used on the page, e.g. Cambodian genocide, etc. My very best wishes (talk) 02:23, 9 June 2018 (UTC)


I think, the structure of this section is totally incorrect. It starts with the number of victims, then several random authors are cited who believe KR were communists or non-communists, and that is all what a reader learns from this section. In my opinion, the structure should be totally different.

1. The story should start with a description of a Cambodian society before KR came to power (desperately poor Khmer rural population, relatively wealthy urban population, significantly dominated by ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese; traditional Khmer nationalism and revenge traditions). Source - Kiernan, one of the best experts.

2. Khmer Rouge were lead by Pol Pot who studied in Paris, and who shared Maoist views. Pol Pot's idea was to convert Cambodia in a huge agrarian commune, and all urban population was planned to destroy or forcibly convert into rural one. This doctrine was considered too radical even by Maoists, and it had nothing in common with classical Marxism and even with Soviet style communism (David-Fox may serve as one source)

3. Khmer Rouge came to power after a civil war and immediately started to implement this utopia by massive executions etc. These actions were enthusiastically supported by a part of rural population who hated urban compatriots (see #1). For nationalist nature of these killings, Fein can be a good source (in addition to Kiernan), regarding those who see a connection to communism, I think country experts are more preferable than general writers, such as Rosefielde (who is more knowledgeable about Stalinism). Their rationale should be provided: if they believe KR killings had more in common with killings in communist states, we need to explain why. In addition, several genocide scholars think this genocide had more in common with genocides in other Asian countries (commonality in history and geography was more important than ideological factors)

4. Number of victims (provide numbers, do not need to many various estimates, because dispersion is not too high).

5. How and by whom the genocide was stopped.

6. How it was condemned and prosecuted.

That is a structure that may make this section at least partially encyclopedic. I can provide sources if needed.--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:58, 8 June 2018 (UTC)

I don't necessarily disagree with any of that, but to me the most important thing to convey about the Khmer Rouge is how radical it was—it literally abolished all private property—forcing 8 million people to abandon their homes to live and work in agricultural communes; destroying nonperishable food supplies such as fruit trees and banning fishing in order to ensure that everyone ate from the same communal stockpiles of food; and canceling all currency. Moreover, the Khmer Rouge destroyed almost all of the Buddhist monasteries and killed the great majority of the monks in Cambodia, still a deeply traditional and religious society. While no other communist regime pursued so radical a program, it's equally true that the complete lack of protection for private property or religious belief under Khmer Rouge rule renders it quite distinct from European fascism, as several sources have noted. (I do not oppose including Fein's attributed analysis to the contrary, however.)TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 00:18, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
That fits the #2 quite well. Regarding private property, I think, most Europeans seem to deeply misunderstand how private property was seen in Asia. For example, Vietnam communists used traditional religious beliefs about the land as a gift from gods to break new private property rules imposed by Western colonialists on Vietnamese society. By the way, similar opposition to private property existed in Russia: peasants believed no private property of land can exist, because a land belongs to the God.
And, to me, the most important thing is to explain why KR were so radical, because if you understand something you can prevent it.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:22, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Add #3 Actually a very large part of the Cambodian genocide was about ethnic cleansing and revenge killings. KR was desperate to weed out Vietnamese spies as documented by numerous filmed interviews with former KR members and genocide participants. Because of a thousand year long Cambodian hatred towards Vietnamese people, because of wish for revenge after a serious civil war, because of the seriousness of the Cold War situation with potential infiltrating foreign powers, and because of the internal chaos and power struggles within the KR organization, it escalated into the Cambodian genocide we all know now. It has been documented in several documentaries on the subject released after the KR trials. To couple the genocide with communist ideology as such is grabbed out of thin air. RhinoMind (talk) 19:33, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
Exactly, and that is what the article must say clearly.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:05, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
Add #4 Oh no. Most of the figures circulating actually include indirect deaths such as people dead due to lacking medical treatment, medicine, etc., starvation because of a breakdown in the completely bombed out infrastructure and annihilated agricultural sector, and what have you. There are scholars who a critical towards the death tolls usually mentioned in relation to the Cambodian genocide and if we talk mass killings, this critique is indeed worthwhile looking into because of how mass killings are usually defined. RhinoMind (talk) 19:39, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
[User:RhinoMind|RhinoMind]] , this is a general problem. 80% of all victims included in Courtois 85 million belong to this category, and that is what Valentino includes in his "mass killing" category.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:05, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
This is very problematic, but it appears that the term "death toll" is often bend out of proportion even in academic writing. It is sad to see this lack of care in academic circles regarding the mathematical aspect of things, especially in this context where so much attention is given to figures specifically. Here is a source discussing this particular problem: Cambodians and Their Doctors (2010, NIAS Press) (go to the Appendix on page 275). The source also puts the case of Cambodia in perspective and reveals that the usually cited death figures of the Cambodian Genocide even includes "statistical deaths", such as unborn babies due to population decline. This is outrageous. But read for yourself to get the details, it is a very sober 2-page writing. The source arrives at a figure of 630,000 intentional killings in the Cambodian case.
Personal comment: Every loss of life is awful, but if we want to stick with reality rather than emotion, it is of utmost importance to use numbers and mathematics correctly, otherwise numbers should not be dealt with at all. RhinoMind (talk) 18:40, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
RhinoMind, you are not right regarding academic writing: most modern country experts provide very accurate data for each separate event of country. The problems come from Rummel, Courtois and similar authors who compile data of others. For example, Rummel takes all figures from different sources, and, without critical analysis, takes a median value. The flaws of his statistical approach are described by Dulic. Harff says Rummel usually provides two figures, low and high estimate, but then he frequently takes an average to present a single figure in his tables, and that skews figures towards high values.
In general, "genocide scholars" do not need to be accurate, because this level of accuracy is acceptable for their theorizing. They are not responsible for attempts of some Wikipedians do use their data in this article. Actually, I added this explanation to the article, but is was removed by one POV pusher.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:43, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
I've argued with RhinoMind about his genocide denial many times in the past; there is no need to relitigate it, and the sources cited in this article amply refute it. The number of Cambodians found in mass graves—presumed to be primarily victims of execution—has been estimated at 1.38 million. That 33.5% of Cambodian men died under the Khmer Rouge as compared to 15.7% of Cambodian women also suggests that in the Cambodian case—unlike in the Soviet Union and Mao's China—intentional, violent killings were the leading cause of death.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 21:46, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
It seems Cambodian case is more or less clear, even Rummel's estimates do not deviate significantly from more recent and accurate data. That also makes Cambodian genocide different from other cases described in this article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:43, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
@TheTimesAreAChanging: What?? "my genocide denial"? We have "argued about it many times in the past"? What the hell are you talking about? RhinoMind (talk) 13:27, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
@Paul Siebert: Please read the source I posted. RhinoMind (talk) 13:29, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I agree with TheTimesAreAChanging. These numbers and events are clearly described as a genocide by a "communist government" in a number of RS. Ethnic cleansings are regarded as a part of the communist genocide or repressions in many countries, including USSR and Cambodia. Debating the role of communist ideology is possible and even needed if such connection was made explicitly in RS. Yes, it was. My very best wishes (talk) 14:43, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
As far as I understand, TheTimesAreAChanging meant something else.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:43, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

Source check[edit]

  • This edit by Paul (current version). Main source was this book review by Barbara Harff ref #15) used for in-line referencing. Where it tells: "the intentional killing of an unarmed or disarmed person by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to government policy or high command"? Where it tells: "This definition covers any murder of any number of persons by any government"? I do not see it. Perhaps this can be found in some other sources? If so, this should be properly referenced. My very best wishes (talk) 19:59, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
page 112.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:07, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Your edit gives pages 117‒119, and her review is indeed on pages 117-119. What is on page 112? My very best wishes (talk) 20:31, 9 June 2018 (UTC)


Was there ever a summary for this section? It just links to other articles without any mention of the relevance. Passingobserver (talk) 02:35, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

No, it was added on May 6th. AmateurEditor (talk) 05:10, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

POV tag removal without discussion[edit]

This is highly non-productive. Obvious violation.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:01, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

I feel that we need to focus more specifically on whether that source belongs in the lead at all. Your RFC above is huge and complex, but misses that central question. When we cover it further down, we can go into more detail on the controversies over that number; but putting it in the lead lends it a weight and credence that the book itself doesn't enjoy. I'm going to start another RFC on the basic question of whether it belongs in the lead. --Aquillion (talk) 05:54, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
That said, if we really need sources to say that the Black Book of Communism is extremely controversial, it's easy to find some.
  • The Black Book of Communism, published in France in 1997 to intense controversy that was repeated when German and Italian editions appeared soon thereafter...[86]
  • In his controversial preface, Courtois wrote that between 85 and 100 million people perished as a result of Communist rule..., and The Black Book has met with considerable criticism in the West, not all of which is relevant to the present discussion. [87]
  • Indeed, in a 2000 review of The Passing of an Illusion and The Black Book of Communism, the Soviet historian J Arch. Getty pointed out that over half of the 100 million deaths attributed to communism were “excess deaths” resulting from famine. Getty writes: “The overwhelming weight of opinion among scholars working in the new archives (including Courtois’s co-editor Werth) is that the terrible famine of the 1930s was the result of Stalinist bungling and rigidity rather than some genocidal plan. Are deaths from a famine cause by the stupidity and incompetence of a regime ... to be equated with the deliberate gassing of Jews?” [88]; this source also mentions the fact that Courtois introduction in particular, especially the numbers involved, were denounced by two of the book's contributors. Almost immediately after the book’s publication, however, two of the prominent historians contributing to the volume, Jean-Louis Margolin and Nicolas Werth, attacked Stéphane Courtois in an article published in Le Monde, stating that they disagreed with his vitriolic introduction and its overt political agenda. Margolin and Werth disavowed the book, claiming that Courtois was obsessed with reaching a figure of one hundred million, and that this led to sloppy and biased scholarship. They further claimed that Courtois wrote the book’s introduction in secret, refusing to circulate it to the other contributors. (It goes on like this; those are just additional coverage of the most well-known parts.)
  • Notwithstanding the contribution offered by presenting this chronicle of crimes, there is something deeply troubling about the genre of this book. It is a work that employs academic historians, independent researchers, and journalists to write a polemic that poses as history.[89]
  • Nonetheless, the sheer number of deaths and atrocities found in Stéphane Courtois et al.’s controversial Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (1997 in French; 1999 in English), the first book to survey the magnitude of Communist violence from Russia in 1917 to Afghanistan in 1989, can be numbing.[90]
  • The basic prerequisite of these controversies is, as pointed out by historian Stéphane Courtois in his introduction to the controversial Black Book of Communism from 1997...[91]
It's an extremely controversial book (one of the most controversial books on Communism written in recent memory); and while there's still a lot we can draw from the rest of it, its introduction, in particular, is a polemic rather than a reputable piece of scholarship. It obviously doesn't belong in the lead, and when we do mention it elsewhere we need to discuss some of the intense controversy surrounding it. --Aquillion (talk) 07:13, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Thank you Aquillion for your collection of quotes. They are a good complement to the references collected in the BB reviews section. The only comment I can make to that is as follows: you seem to have collected opinia that are critical, which means the proponents of Courtois may argue you "cherry-picked a bunch of quotes which are not representative". Of course , I would disagree with this statement, because my neutral search demonstrated what an absolutely neutral reader would find if they typed [this in jstor.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:37, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Not all of those sources are critical. Some obviously are, but some are generally-supportive of the book or comparatively neutral. The description of it as controversial seems pretty universal (even sources that overtly praise Courtois or which unambiguously side with him generally portray his take as revisionist and as challenging existing scholarship, which they portray as unduly sympathetic to Communism or as discounting its crimes relative to the heavy emphasis placed on the crimes of Nazism.) I think that the fact that many of the takes in this article are unambiguously revisionist in character is something that needs to be covered in the article - there are a lot of scholars across the spectrum who contrast and compare revisionist takes like Courtois with the older scholarship they're challenging, which is an important dispute that our article only touches on tangentially. --Aquillion (talk) 02:28, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
Oh no, it is usually the guys like Arch Getty (those who criticize "Black Book" and minimize the communist repressions) are described as historical revisionists in academic RS by 3rd party historians [92],[93],[94],[95], [96], [97], [98]. My very best wishes (talk) 03:09, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
Aquillion, you didn't understand my point. What I wanted to demonstrate is as follows. The main objection to your list of sources could be: "You cherry-picked a bunch of sources, but the book is generally well accepted". Anticipating this criticism, I made a neutral source, took all reviews on the Black Book, and summarized it. In other words, I was acting as a totally neutral reader with ZERO previous knowledge. And the result of this search demonstrate that if I were totally neutral and without any prejudice, and I decided to make an impression of the BB, the first impression would be: the book is an interesting and useful reading, but the introduction and especially the figures are highly controversial, and should be treated with great caution. That was the goal of my summary.
You probably have noticed that I didn't include David-Fox and other sources to this list, because I obtained them using a non-neutral search procedure.
Unfortunately, these my efforts are almost useless, because they can convince only those who are prone to logical arguments. Unfortunately, a small part of wikipedians does not belong to this category...---Paul Siebert (talk) 03:16, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
My very best wishes, a bunch of quotes where Getty is called revisionist is not an argument: many serious historians are revisionists, and Courtois or Malia are revisionists too. This word per se has no negative connotations.
The sources provided by me are by no means fringe or revisionist. Revisionist historians advocating non-mainstream ideas are rarely being invited to write book reviews. Is David-Fox revisionist? Is Kuromiya revisionist? You cherry-picked one person and build all arguments on that. This approach does not work with smart people.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:23, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
No, there was a whole school of "revisionist historians" led by Arch Getty, as described and explicitly named in multiple academic RS on the subject (e.g. see above). There is nothing like that about Courtois. My very best wishes (talk) 03:32, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
There is not such a group, and Getty is not its leader. In general, most authors I cite are not revisionists, moreover, the attempts made by Courtois is called "revisionism" by them, and, accordingly, Courtois is considered a "revisionist" historian. That has no negative connotations, however. For example Suny (a source cited above) writes:
"Long before its current political deployment, the term “revisionist history” had its own controversial pedigree. Most infamously, it applies to those discredited cranks who deny the validity of the Holocaust. Revisionism therefore is equated with the most egregious practices of historical falsifiers. Conservatives have criticized revisionists who questioned the sanitized narratives of American history that neglected the horrors of slavery and racism, the treatment of Indians, or the darker sides of the Vietnam War. In my own field of Soviet history, revisionists have been labeled “apologists for Communism” for attempting to rethink the Bolshevik victory in the revolution of 1917 or the violent social history of the Stalin era. And Israeli revisionist historians have been attacked for interrogating the foundational myths of how their state was established or how the indigenous Palestinians became refugees.
As many professional historians pointed out to the President, rather than falsifying or white-washing the past, revisionism is simply what good historians do. Neither the same as distortion or spin, revisionism is about bringing new evidence to bear to reinterpret existing stories about the past. Revisionists question unquestioned assumptions. The result of the last forty years of rewriting American history has been a history that now includes women and minorities, blemishes as well as beauty marks. A shift in the angle of vision and the opening of Soviet archives has led historians of the USSR to a deeper appreciation of how ordinary Russians lived under Stalinism, how even radical authoritarian political projects can have massive social support. Most historians do not believe that there is a final, fixed, definitive history, but only provisional approximations that are inevitably influenced by the views of the writer and the context in which he or she writes. While complete objectivity may be elusive, the historian’s task is to establish (and revise) an historical record as accurately and neutrally, as possible, which means including the anomalous or inconvenient facts that belie any preconceived hypothesis. Honest scholars often live with post-modernist doubts about the possibility of finding the “truth,” but their commitment to the mustering of evidence and careful argument gives us some assurance that what they find can be considered reliable."
In other words, reconsidering of the role of women in history is "revisionism". Reconsidering the old racial vision of history is "revisionism". Reconsidering old views on communism (what Courtois does) is "revisionism". Your misunderstanding of these simple things is absolutely blatant.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:45, 16 June 2018 (UTC)


East Germany[edit]

I like how this section is written, and I propose to rewrite other section in the same style. However, in connection to that, I am wondering if all of that is consistent with "Terminology" section: the text does not follows the terminology proposed at the beginning of the articile, and even directly ignores it, because none of the events described in this section fit Valentino's definition. For example, Berlin wall shooting does not fit for sure. It can be considered as democide, but it is not an widely used term.

Second, Valentino never did his own research, he just compiled the results of several other authors. For example, he uses Rummel, who also didn't do his own study, his estimates are just a compilation of all figures published by all authors. In my opinion, it is necessary to explain.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:26, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

Hi and thanks for the credits. I did not have the terminology in mind when I put this section up, but other more knowledgeable editors are of course welcome to improve things. I focussed on a balanced context and a critical eye on the figures and their meaning. I think that this approach is very important overall.
Yes, I had my own doubts of introducing the Berlin Wall paragraph, mainly due to the relatively low rate of intentional killings - which might surprise some readers -, but I included it because it is a well-known case in the public and I think it is important to at least mention and discuss it in the context of "Mass killings under Communist regimes" regarding East Germany in particular. I think it is an important paragraph even though it does not constitute a mass killing. The intentional killings in the "silence camps" might also fall out of the range of "mass killings", but is necessary to discuss. As discussed elsewhere on this TalkPage, many sections already includes a lot more than just "mass killings". In this light, I don't think the Berlin Wall case stands out, really. Perhaps the Berlin Wall paragraph could be kept if it is stated that it does not constitute a mass killing? I can't say if this would have chaotic implications for the rest of the article, I just wanted to present a sober, focussed, relatively short, consistent and balanced presentation on East Germany specifically, something that could inspire a general improvement of the whole article, which is much needed.
Regarding Valentino, I just kept what was in the section before I added stuff. Other people can judge whether to include his figures or not. RhinoMind (talk) 19:06, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

Yeah, this section about East Germany has been rewritten since the last time I read it. I think now it is far more neutral than before. When you are neutral on this topic, you end with a section that says that "mass killings" never happened in East Germany, the opposite intended in the article POV-pushed title. Valentino says up to 100,000 people were killed in East Germany. Where is the list of names? These academics who inflate the number of victims never compiles list of names.

In Spain we suffered a fascist dictatorship, with over 100,000 killings, and Spain is full of mass graves and we have databases of victim names.[99] emijrp (talk) 17:58, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

Valentino is so called "genocide scholar", which means he is not studying each particular country, he is trying to understand global mechanisms of mass killings in attempt to find correlation and predict onset of similar events in future. He does not do his own research of the number of victims, he just compiles results of others. As a rule, these compilations are not accurate, because they are made by a person who does not know much about each concrete country. In my opinion, Valentino should be removed from each county section, only his general estimate should be mentioned.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:18, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
@Emijrp: Please. Before I wrote the section, there was nothing more than a short sentence, simply stating Valentinos numbers without any explanation whatsoever. Also, there was a "Main article" tag to an article that did not discuss the subject at all. So please: Next time you comment on something, do your homework and don't make things up. You end up accusing me of something that isn't true and you hurt people with your carelessness.
Also, read the section and the causes of deaths. Nearly all of them were non-intentional. There is a clear line between intentional killings and indirect deaths. Actually, in the case of mass killings, this difference is of the essence. Read up on this, please. RhinoMind (talk) 13:39, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
@RhinoMind: I think you misunderstood my comment, or I didn't explain myself correctly (English isn't my native language). Yeah, I remember when "East Germany" section accused this country to kill up to 100,000 people. Now, at least, it is described that the numbers are grossly exaggerated, and that most deaths weren't intentional. It is a good step. It is paradoxical that an article about "mass killings" includes a country like East Germany under a section named "States where mass killings have occurred > Others" to explain that there weren't any intentional mass killings at all. East Germany, in my opinion, should be removed from this article (as many others countries), but at the same time it is good to have it on it, because it debunks the communism black legend. emijrp (talk) 15:21, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
@RhinoMind: and @Emijrp:, the problem is that several sources claim that "unitentional deaths" still belong to a category of "mass killings", and the article is written mostly based on these sources. That makes this article globally non-neutral.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:26, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

RfC: Should we remove the "85 and 100 million" number from the lead?[edit]

Should we remove the "85 and 100 million" number, cited to the introduction to The Black Book of Communism, from the lead? --Aquillion (talk) 06:15, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Many of the recent disputes have been over the use of The Black Book of Communism (especially a number from its introduction) in the lead; yet we haven't run an RFC focused on this specific question, which I feel is at the heart of a lot of disputes here. Currently, the Black Book of Communism is used to cite this sentence in the lead: The estimates by Stéphane Courtois's introduction[1] to the Black Book of Communism and by Martin Malia suggested a total death toll of between 85 and 100 million people. The dispute over that is complicated, but some of the controversy over it (and that number, in particular) can be found on our article for The Black Book of Communism.

As aside, please do not respond to !votes in the survey section. Use the threaded discussion section for that. We've had problems with every RFC on this page devolving into arguments from longstanding editors; remember, an WP:RFC's purpose is to attract outside opinions. --Aquillion (talk) 06:15, 14 June 2018 (UTC)


  • Support as proposer. Given the coverage that estimate received (even if largely negative), that number might be worth discussing in the body of the article (where we can give it appropriate depth and context), but it is a particularly controversial part of a highly-controversial book, so it's WP:UNDUE for the lead. Even two of the contributors to the book, Werth and Margolin, said that Courtois was "obsessed" with arriving at a total of 100 million and that he engaged in "sloppy and biased scholarship" to reach it. You can see how controversial and unreliable that number is from the controversy section in our own article on the book - there are two full, well-cited paragraphs of criticism for that one sentence, while the praise section does not mention that sentence at all. It's absurd for us to make that sentence part of the lead of the article or to make it the primary takeaway from that book. Putting it in the lead grants it an authority and reputation that it simply does not have; at a bare minimum, it absolutely cannot be mentioned without also mentioning, explicitly, that two of the book's contributors (which, as the introduction, it purports to summarize) have denounced it and covering the general controversy behind the methodology by which Courtois reached that number. --Aquillion (talk) 06:15, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support The source is controversial and there is no scholarly consensus for such an estimate.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 11:13, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support removal. Figures can be included in the lead if it is written, for example, as proposed in the the specific version + comments section.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:43, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I think the quotation is fine as the most frequently cited numbers of the victims of communist repression. For example, these numbers were cited in book by Richard Pipes "Communism," p. 158. They were also frequently cited in more popular discourse sources like here. The discussions on this talk page above also show that the "Black Book" was frequently cited, even though the citation was one-sided. One could argue the numbers are important part of this page (we have a section about it and we also have numbers in sections about specific countries), so the numbers should also appear in the lead. A possible alternative would be to provide a range of numbers per "Estimates" section, i.e. from 60 to 148 million. It does not matter if participants like or do not like certain sources. As long as something has been reliably published by widely recognized mainstream scientists such as Stéphane Courtois, it should be included per WP:NPOV. My very best wishes (talk) 15:13, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Keep this ridiculous claim of 100 million since it is widely cited in the right wing media [100]. Then briefly cite reliable academic sources that dispute this claim, ie. Wheatcroft. In a nutshell the higher figures are derived using hypothetical population models that low ball the number of natural deaths and puff up the number of births since there are no are reliable vital statistics, births and natural deaths are estimates. I recommend this article published on the Russian Website Demoscope by the Russian academics Evgeny Andreev and Tatiana Kharkova [101] Don't be intimidated by the fact that it is in Russian, Google translate does a decent job. The figure of 100 million includes about 70 million in China, the issue there were the 1959-62 famine deaths deliberate, that is disputed.--Woogie10w (talk) 15:58, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
  • SupportI changed my mind because there is a range of figures in published sources. Courtois should not be in the lede which should just mention the uncertainty regarding the total. A new section, not too long and complicated, should explain how the academic sources compute these numbers. Throwing numbers at people is widely practiced by historians and here on Wikipedia. We need to explain how the academic wonks derive their numbers. Thank you User:K.e.coffman, you made me give this matter some additonal thought --Woogie10w (talk) 23:46, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose The lead should consist of a summary of the entire article - and removing that estimate basically ignores a quite large portion of the entire article - the assignment of estimated death tolls. The issue of "scholarly consensus" does not appluy to summaries of what is already in the article. Collect (talk) 20:13, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is one of the most common estimates. Pedro8790 (talk) 17:06, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support It might be a commonly cited number, but that doesn't make it neither right nor accurate. If anyone (with mathematical insight) cares to investigate how many of the death tolls were arrived at, many surprises are in store. It is a general problem unfortunately: When it comes to numbers and amounts, they often enters an echo chamber and gets continually cited again and again without any thought about how the numbers were arrived at in the first place. And then the meta-scientists comes along and do all kinds of statistical gymnastics with these already misused numbers and pulls out whatever they want. It can be quite shocking to look into how statistics are misused even in academic circles. Anyway, after this rant, the 100 million stems from a singular and controversial book and might belong at the BBoC page, but not here. Also, the quality of the whole article and subject would be improved if each individual section were treated with care and skill and presented with explanations, proper sourcing and wiki-links. This is much, much more important than stating some kind of "total sum" which can only be inaccurate because of the nature of the subject. RhinoMind (talk) 10:59, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Disinterested work on the bloody body text. Fifelfoo (talk) 11:16, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Disinterested-me tooYes,work on the Fu-en body text--Woogie10w (talk) 17:48, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support remove. By citing only one source, it implies that those estimates are the most commonly accepted, which they are not. Furthermore, the totals contain a significant mathematical error, which was pointed out by contributors to the book. TFD (talk) 16:33, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Remove the lead and the whole article. Black Book is a discredited work and this article is a derivated work from the same idea. emijrp (talk) 21:15, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose and expand the lead to include lower range estimates. schetm (talk) 16:20, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose the Black Book of Communism is the most comprehensive source on this subject and while there are other sources that cite similar estimates, this is the most well known and reputable. JamesBay (talk) 21:51, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose inasmuch as the lead must summarize the body, and this content will remain an important part of the body, but expand with a broader range of estimates (e.g., Valentino's 21–70 million and Rosefielde's "approximately 60 million").TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 06:32, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support removal, as currently written:
The estimates by Stéphane Courtois's introduction[1] to The Black Book of Communism and by Martin Malia suggested a total death toll of between 85 and 100 million people.[2][nb 1][nb 2]
With respect to Keep this ridiculous claim of 100 million since it is widely cited in the right wing media ..., there's nothing in the current text to suggest this interpretation. Hence my support for the proposal. K.e.coffman (talk) 20:42, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

Threaded discussion[edit]

@MVBW. 60 million is not the lowest estimate, it is an estimate made by genocide scholars who are not accurate (see Harff). Inclusion of this figure would require explanations and comments that clarify an origin of errors in this estimate.

The argument that the Courtois figures are widely cited is quite valid. However, that is only a part of truth (telling only a part of truth is one of the most standard form of lie). The full truth is that these figures are frequently cited and equally frequently criticised. That means we either show both figures and criticism (as I proposed earlier on this talk page) or we remove figures at all, and discuss them in the article. However, the idea to tell full truth was rejected by few users who think telling only a part of truth (i.e. to lie) is perfectly ok in Wikipedia. These users are persistently removing any mention of criticism, and are trying to hide it under a link (which directly contradicts to neutrality policy). In connection to that, full removal of BB from the lead seems the most simple way to eliminate a lie (a.k.a partial truth) from the article. Another option would be to incorporate both Courtois figures and criticism. However, that would require us to devote more space in the article to the description of this controvercy. The attempts to explain this controversy in more details were reverted, which means if we include Courtois+criticism in the lead, it would not be an adequate summary of the article in its current state.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:36, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Preface to the book by Rosenfelde tells "Twentieth and twenty-first century communism is a failed experiment in social engineering that needlessly killed approximately 60 million people and perhaps tens of millions more". If so, author clearly implies that the number could be significantly greater - yes, one can not just say "60 million", this should be carefully phrased. Which lower total numbers of victims in all communist countries were provided by Harff or Wheatcroft? I do not see them. My very best wishes (talk) 16:02, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Rosefielde is an expert in Soviet Russia, however his estimates are higher than the estimates of other experts (i.e. Wheatcroft). He is not an expert in other countries, so it is quite likely his estimates are not "lowest"--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:06, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
You did not answer my question: Which lower total numbers of victims in all communist countries were provided by Harff or Wheatcroft? If they were "lower", by how much? If it was a number about USSR, it should be included in the section about USSR. My very best wishes (talk) 16:10, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
I answered your question many times: they do not provide low estimates, because they do not think these events are too connected to discuss them together.
I am also asking you a question: do you agree that a partial truth is tantamount to a lie?--Paul Siebert (talk)

Woogie10w, I would be interested to see your opinion on the RfC I started earlier (see the "RfC on figures presented by Courtois in the Black Book introduction"). It specifically discusses how exactly these figures should be presented. Please, keep in mind that there are four independent questions there, so the answer should be in a format, e.g. "Yes - Yes -Yes -Yes". By the way, the Russian source you cite tells about excess deaths, not mass killings. This is not necessarily the same. Since you mentioned Wheatcroft, did you see this? It is interesting reading. --Paul Siebert (talk) 16:06, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Paul Siebert I have read and own both Courtois and Rosefield. The Courtois figure I believe comes from Robert Conquest. You wrote Rosefielde is an expert in Soviet Russia Rosefielde created his own population model for the USSR, his figures for unnatural deaths is far higher than those published in Russia in 1993 by Andreev, Darski and Kharkova. According to Rosefielde the natural growth in population (births less natural deaths) from 1927-49 was 56.8 million, according to Andreev, Darski and Kharkova the growth was 37.7 million. The difference of 19 million are victims of Communism. Rosefielde made up his own numbers for population growth and iced the cake with strident anti-communist propaganda. Rosefield believes that the 1990's Glasnost data is a forgery.--Woogie10w (talk) 16:43, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
(I slightly formatted you, hope you don't mind :-)). Woogie10w, that is exactly how I see it. The general issue is that people like Rosefielde or Courtois, who attribute deaths to Communism (a.k.a. "generic Communism"), compile the data of other authors to obtain a cumulative "communist death toll", and they frequently use figures that are skewed to high values. Other authors, such as Wheatcroft, who see this problem differently, provide lower figures, but, being narrow specialists, they do not bother to compile the figure for all "communist countries". That is why the figure of "global Communist death toll" is intrinsically ideologically charged, and we must explain that every time when this figure is cited. Do you agree with that?--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:02, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Rosefielde makes up his own numbers using an analysis of the population. The book is tedious and poorly organized. I suspect that the editors here have not bothered to read Rosefielde, except for snippets in Google books. But from a Wikipedian perspective he is a reliable academic source. His analysis should be mentioned. There are other reliable sources, the best analysis in Russian is Naselenie Rossii v XX veke in 3 Vols. I have copied the sections relating to Soviet repression. I own the books by Otto Pohl The Stalinist penal system and Ethnic cleansing in the USSR. As well as A century of state murder? by Michael Haynes. Anyway I have other fish to fry.--Woogie10w (talk) 18:44, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. To that, I would add that population losses and mass killings are two different things. Thus, Rosefielde concludes premature deaths in democratic Russia (the deaths he attributes to Yeltsin) were up to 6 million [102]. Does it mean there was a "democratic mass killing" in Russia in 1990s?
Anyway, I would be grateful if you shared with us your ideas on how all these complicated things should be presented in this article. I would beb grateful if you respond above the horizontal line, because the thread becomes complicated.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:59, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

___________________________________________________________________________(MVBW, I anticipate to get a responce from Woogie, so please, do not remove this line that makes our discussion with Woogie easily seen by others.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:01, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

The big difference in Rosefield's figures is the period 1939-49. He puts the total excess deaths at 36.5 million vs. the 26.6 million in the 1993 Russian statistics of Andreev, in 2001 Andreev bumped the number up to 29 million excess deaths. Both sources estimate total births and natural deaths because the records are incomplete. --Woogie10w (talk) 19:14, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Also Rosefield's figures for 1941-45 indicate a natural growth in the population of 9.4 million vs 1.8 million in Andreev. Rosefield plugged in these absurd figures to arrive at his higher total. His Red Holocaust is a sham.--Woogie10w (talk) 19:40, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
"we must explain every time" - what exactly? Can you briefly write down what exactly "we must explain every time"? My very best wishes (talk) 17:49, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Since I already answered you many times, I am not sure is this is a good faith question. However, I explain that again. The statement should convey three separate ideas: "(i) Courtois combine deaths from different causes in a single category "Communist death toll", (ii) Courtois estimates this "Communist death toll" was in between 85 and 100 million, (iii) this approach is widely criticised, and the figures are considered inflated and misleading." Taking (ii) out of this context means telling a partial truth, which is tantamount to lying. --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:57, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
(i) and (ii) should be simply mentioned in "Estimates" section (probably already mentioned). (iii) is incorrect summary of "majority" view on this subject. But the question was about the "communist death toll" in all sources, not specifically by Courtois. Should we always tell "intrinsically ideologically charged" about all these numbers? No, because it is widely accepted in the literature which countries belonged to the communist states. My very best wishes (talk) 18:09, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
If it is incorrect, please, prove it. Several users provided a large number of sources that contains criticism. Several of those sources say this particular figure and the very idea to combine all deaths in one category is widely criticised. That means this summary reflects majority views, and it is correct.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:18, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
I am sorry, but you did not suggest any specific text that "we must" include "every time". There is nothing to discuss. My very best wishes (talk) 18:35, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
That statement is not true, because not only I proposed the new version of the lead on this talk page, but you commented on it, which means you are quite familiar with that text. --Paul Siebert (talk) 19:25, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

This edit is unacceptable taking into account that two RfCs are still open. Many users disagree with that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:33, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Which RfC do you mean? My edit was not about "Black Book". My very best wishes (talk) 18:44, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
My very best wishes|My very best wishes, the figure of 100 million is a catch all that includes all the folks that fell through the cracks. In his memoir Crusade in Europe Ike mentioned that the Russians used infantry to clear minefields, I read this to my father in 1967, he was shocked. He said show me the book I want to see that, he then said Ike made it a point that the men in his unit would take good care of their feet.--Woogie10w (talk) 18:54, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
I can't tell about other countries, but the number for the USSR in "Black book" (~20 million) appears also in others sources, and not the largest number. And yes, I think the "documents" fed by the KGB to Zemskov and others were almost certainly a forgery or at least extremely incomplete, exactly as Steven Rosefielde, Anton Antonov-Ovseenko and some others claimed. My very best wishes (talk) 19:12, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

My very best wishes I see that you read Russian and have made a good point, a very good point. Zemskov came up with his 1.1 million Gulag deaths in 1991, the Cognoscenti in west were pleased with his definitive research. Zemskov a party member was given a culled file in order to discredit Antonov-Ovseyenko who annoyed comrade Gorbachov. Nine years later Kokurin came up with an additional 700,000 dead in labor colonies and prisons. To Ice our cake Popov in 1992 came up with exactly 779,142 persons who were executed. Oh sorry folks but that does not include the Poles at Katyan or military executions. In the Stalin era vital statistics were incomplete, the figures of Krivosheev are not taken seriously. No doubt the number of “free”people who were worked to death were never recorded. Ann Applebaum in her Gulag was skeptical of these Gulag stats, she lists them “reluctantly” --Woogie10w (talk) 20:33, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Hmm... you know this subject much better than me. Nice talking to you. Yes, I noticed this in the book by Applebaum. My very best wishes (talk) 20:46, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
On page 126 Rosefield breaks out a summary listing 12.4 to 26.6 million repression deaths in the USSR and China at 72.3 million. China is the big number that needs to analyzed here. Rosefield puts the Great Chinese Famine toll at 48.7 million, bingo there is 1/2 of our total. --Woogie10w (talk) 20:35, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
(ec)Woogie10w, I am a little bit confused. As you probably noticed, noone here claims Zemskov's figures are correct. We use Ellman's data, who summarised Weathcroft vs Rosefielde dispute and proposed a figure that takes into account a possibility of various falsifications. Scholars correctly argued that is it quite possible to forge a single archive, but it is not possible to forge a whole archival data. Anyway, since we do not speak about Zemskov here, I do not understand what relation does this your comment has to this discussion.Paul Siebert (talk) 20:48, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
The official data is listed in Naselenie Rossii v XX veke, which Applebaum and Haynes summarize. Rosefielde has a different approach, his figures are derived from an a hypothetical population model. Are the official figures complete? were all the deaths recorded? based on our knowledge of Stalin era statistics, a dose of healthy skepticism is in order here. In any case the real problem here is that I seem to be the only editor who has a hard copy oy Rosefielde.--Woogie10w (talk) 21:26, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Usually, the book like Red Holocaust combine several articles the author published earlier. I have all Rosefielde's articles, so I have an impression of what he says, and of his methodological approach. Anyway, that is absolutely not a problem that only you have an access to this book, because we trust you. The question is different: what Rosefielde calls Red Holocaust means "population losses", and he had a dispute with Wheatcroft, and both sides were making valid points. How do you propose to present all of that?--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:38, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for trusting me, send me an email at and I will sent a jpg of Rosefielde's summary on page 125. Again he crunched his own numbers. BTW Maksudov is a skeptic, he does not endorse the official repression figures. In his recent article he points out in the 1940s Но как ни невиданно огромны полученные цифры, сверх 10 млн бойцов и 7–9 млн мирных граждан, остаются еще потери в 6–8 млн, приходящиеся на те же годы, но не связанные прямо с фашистским нападением[87]. Это потери от сталинских репрессий. Их изучение является одной из важнейших задач, стоящих перед нашей наукой и публицистикой. [103] --Woogie10w (talk) 22:02, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
In the same document, I read a fresh (2018) note, explaining these 7-9 million (+ google translation):
" Примечание 2018 года. Сегодня мне кажется важным разъяснить из чего складываются эти 8 миллионов потерь за которые отвечает главным образом преимущественно сталинское руководство. Это повышенная убыль заключенных, депортированных народов и спецпоселенцев 1,6 млн. Расстрелянные за дезертирство и другие военные преступления – 300 тыс. Погибшие при подавлении антисоветской партизанской борьбы 200 тыс.. Не вернувшиеся в СССР из оказавшихся на западе - 600 тыс. Повышенная смертность населения на неоккупированных территориях – 5,3 млн. человек"
"Note 2018. Today it seems important to explain what these 8 million losses are for which mainly the predominantly Stalinist leadership is responsible. This is an increased loss of prisoners, deported peoples and special settlers 1.6 million. Those killed for desertion and other war crimes are 300,000. The 200,000 people killed in the suppression of anti-Soviet guerrilla warfare. 600,000 people who did not return to the USSR from those in the west were 600,000. The increased death rate of the population in unoccupied territories - 5.3 million people."
That roughly corresponds to Zemskov's data on Gulag mortality (corrected by Wheatcroft, Ellman and others, because there were attempts to conceal mortality) + official statistics of war time executions + statistics of deportation deaths + increased mortality due to food and medical help shortage (at least two of my direct relatives fall into the later category). Was Stalinism responsible for that? Without any doubts. Was it a "mass killing"? Definitely, no.
That roughly corresponds to Zemskov's data on Gulag mortality (corrected by Wheatcroft, Ellman and others Do you have a source for that statement?--Woogie10w (talk) 01:42, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
I cannot name the source right now, but that is my impression that I got from the articles (Wheatcroft, Conquest, Rosefielde and others) that discussed the GRZ article. They concluded that a significant part of those who were released from Gulag in 1941-43 died soon after that, which gives about 0.5 to 1 million. If we add deportation victims, 1.6 million are not look unrealistic. At least, I am not surprised.
Woogie, I know that you are primarily more interested in numbers (because you maintain the WWII casualties article, however, the primary subject of this RfC is not only the figure itself, but the claim that all these deaths were result of mass killings. I am still waiting for your opinion on how this problem should be resolved. --Paul Siebert (talk) 02:09, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
In addition, Maksudov writes about 6-8 million deaths during the war, that were not connected with Nazi directly. However, a peak of Gulag mortality in 1942-43 (which is seen even in Zemskov's data) was directly connected with the desperate food shortage in the country. Stalin was responsible for not releasing majority of those prisoners, however, it would be incorrect to blame only Soviet regime in those deaths (and Maksudov is not doing that). The same can be said about other deaths.
More importantly, this does not explain us what should we do with the Black Book figures. Can you please explain us more clearly, what do you propose?--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:20, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Regarding Antonov-Ovseenko, as far as I remember, many factual and methodological errors were identified in his works (although I have to refresh my memory about that; will return to that later). In connection to that, Maksudov (who is a good mathematician and demorgaph, and a son of a communist who protested against Stalin's repressions and was executed) seems to be more reliable. BTW, he works in collaboration with Ellman.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:48, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Antonov-Ovseenko was given an incomplete file from the 1937 census and jumped to the conclusion that 14 million died in the famine. Maksudov has a new and informative article on Demoscope [104] This information belongs on Wikipedia, we have editors who read Russian, lets go for it.--Woogie10w (talk) 21:15, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Woogie, let's separate two things, because we are talking about two separate things in parallel. The first thing is the actual figure of excess deaths. In regard to that, Maksudov doesn't say anything new (around 10 million during a Civil war period, 7.5 million during Stalin's repressions and collectivisation, and other losses are WWII related deaths). Maksudov&Ellman generally support official death estimates during the WWII, although they add some civilian deaths to the military death category (you know that better than I do). In summary, all what Maksudov writes is consistent with Snyder's summary (already presented in the article), and, probably, is even lower. That means this source reflects a consensus that exists among western scholars on that account (although Rosefielde maintains the figures were higher).
However, that is only a part of the story, because Maksudov's figures tell about "excess deaths", whereas this article tells about "mass killings". Obviously, these two categories do not necessarily coincide, so Courtois is being criticised both for inaccuracy and for the claim all "excess deaths" were a result of Communist mass killings. How do you propose to resolve this problem?--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:31, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
The numbers by Courtois do not include "excess deaths". Maksudov (yes, good source for the USSR! - it can be used here) tells about them, but separates such numbers from others. My very best wishes (talk) 02:55, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
It is not clear what Courtois numbers include at all, and Suny says:
"Admirably, Werth gives figures for the victims of the various forms of repression based on the archives opened in the 1990s that are significantly lower than those of Robert Conquest and other historians who did not have the benefit of the archives. They are also lower than those in Courtois’s introduction, which would certainly have benefited from a closer reading of Werth." (RONALD GRIGOR SUNY, Russian Terror/ism and Revisionist Historiography. Australian Journal of Politics and History: Volume 53, Number 1, 2007, pp. 5-19. 2007 School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.)
Taking into account that the Werth's chapter is a “rock on which the rest of the book stands” (ibid), it seems Courtois simply forged his figures. --Paul Siebert (talk) 04:16, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
Your problem us that Courtois was published by a reliable source. Asserting that a reliable source uses "forged figures" is something which means we are asserting that we, personally, are a better source. Which is contrary to Wikipedia's Five Pillars. Collect (talk) 11:20, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Your problem is that my "assertion" about forgery is actually not my assertion, but a statement made by several reliable sources. Taking into account that (and that is, again, not my assertion, but a statement found in many reliable sources) the BB as whole is considered a serious book due to the chapter written by Werth, and not due to the introduction written by Courtois, it is strange that you are persistently pushing a POV advocated by Courtois and pretend that Werth's words are my personal POV.
In connection to that, I am wondering why are you so persistently defending the most controversial statement in the most frequently criticised part of this collective volume and persistently ignoring the opinion of the author who made the most valuable contribution to this book, and whose opinion is being criticised much less frequently? What do 5 pillars say about this behaviour?
The BB is considered a good source because of Werth and is being criticised because of Courtois, but you prefer to cherry-pick what Courtois says and ignore Werth's opinion. And after that you dare me to teach what 5 pillars say...--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:00, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Um ---- Please try not to attack other editors personally Secondly, Wikipedia does not allow us to "cherry-pick" the truth" from "reliable sources." In fact, it encourages us to include disparate opinions from sources, not to delete the ones we do not like as being "forged." Collect (talk) 14:42, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Re: "Please try not to attack other editors personally" - you commented on my problem (as you see it), I commented on your problem (as I understand it). If you think you can express your opinion on my problems (real or perceived), why cannot I do the same? (BTW, I don't see any problem neither in your nor in mine post)
Re "cherry-picking", that is good that you understand that. The problem is that two different ways to "to include disparate opinions from sources" exist in that case: we can either (i) keep Courtois in the lead and include detailed criticism (because criticism of Courtois is at least as prominent as Courtois himself), of (ii) remove Courtois from the lead, but leave it in the main text along with criticism. Note, the question is not in removal of Courtois's figures from the article, but its removal from the lead only. You must agree that the fact that Courtois is a reliable source per WP:V does not warrant presenting of this particular view in the lead. You also must concede that widespread criticism of Courtois does not make it non-reliable, but it does make it controversial, which means it cannot be used as a source that even remotely represents scholarly consensus. That means it should be in the article, but it should not be in the lead. --Paul Siebert (talk) 15:03, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
This whole thread is real sad, nobody is discussing the sources,Courtois & Rosefielde, I suspect because they have never read them. This thread is nothing but a POV storm.--Woogie10w (talk) 16:30, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Woogie10w, I respectfully disagree. This thread is not discussing what the sources say because it was not the main issue this thread was created for. The main question is not "what exactly Courtois or Rosefielde say, and how all of that should be reflected in the article?", but "whether Courtois's figures should be presented in the lead?" One option is (as you yourself formulated it) to present the figures and supplement them with criticism. Another option is to remove it from the lead and keep in the article, where the figure will be placed in a proper context. Indeed, when I looked at recent Maksudov's writings (by the way, thank you for pointing at Demoscope, it seems it is a source published by the best academic institution in Russia, and it contains a lot of fresh and interesting data), not only Rosefielde, but Maksudov too speak about mass excess death in 1990s. He is even more categorical, he says about the "forth demographic catastrophe" (along with Civil war, collectivisation and WWII) that killed 6 million people. However, nobody speaks about "democratic genocide" in Russia (by the way, there should be a catastrophe of a similar scale in other post-Soviet states, but I am not aware of any sources on that account, so the total death toll is even greater than 6 million). Meanwhile, a total figure is quite impressive, and if we do not speak about "democratic genocide" or "democratic mass killings" in this case, there is a logical reason to consider more seriously those sources that do not describe all excess deaths during a communist period as "mass killing" deaths.
In other words, the Courtois's figures should be discussed in two independent contexts: (i) how reliable the figures are (some sources say they are not), and (ii) what exactly do these figures mean (because they include those who were executed, deliberately starved to deaths, as well as those who died due to malnutrition, war time overwork, or lack of medication, and this category deaths do not differ significantly from the 6 million deaths during the democratic rule of Yeltsyn in 1990s.
In connection to that, I have a question: does Rosefielde discuss post Communist mass deaths in Russia in his "Red Holocaust", and if he does, does he use the same terminology or he makes some difference? I am asking because Maksudov calls them "killings".--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:53, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
The big enchilada here is Asia with 70+ million deaths in China that are estimated by analysing the population balance. As for the USSR Courtois, Rosefielde as well as Conquest estimate excess deaths based on a hypothetical population balance since vital statistics are lacking. This is criticized by Getty,Wheatcroft and Haynes who consider the Gulag statistics published in the 1990's as being a realistic view of Stalinist repression. This whole issue was drawn out in Soviet Studies(I have hard copies of these dreary arguments). What is the the big deal? Just mention Courtois, Rosefielde and Conquest(BTW they are reliable sources) then contrast that with the criticism of Getty,Wheatcroft and Haynes(BTW they are reliable sources). ADK and Maksudov (BTW they are reliable sources) in Russia should also be mentioned because they present detailed population balance to support their arguments. China is your real problem, I cannot comment because my only source is R. J. Rummel, China's Bloody Century. I need to have a better understanding of the 1959-61 famine. I should order those books on the China famine and avoid Wikipedia, its a waste of time.--Woogie10w (talk) 17:19, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Woogie10w, first, the question is: "do we mention all of that in the lead, or in the main article only?" I personally think there in not enough space in the lead for that. Second, it is always better to make a difference between old and new estimates: for example, Conquest reconsidered his earlier estimates after new evidences had been found. It is not a good style to present old and new data as alternative and independent estimates in a situation when old data are obsolete.
And the last and very important question is (you probably missed that in my previous post): is it correct to call everybody who died prematurely as a direct or indirect result of government policy "mass killing victims"? Many sources disagree with that, and we should explain this disagreement. We just have no space in the lead for that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:31, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
Regarding China, can you open this link ?. If yes, I can drop you several other links from this database. Many authors believe it was a partially natural disaster and partially man made famine. All authors agreed it affected the same area that were traditionally being hit by historical famines, so it was not something that Mao created purely artificially. The question of intentionality is also a subject of serious debates.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:44, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

@Woogie10w, Pedro8790, RhinoMind, schetm, JamesBay, TheTimesAreAChanging, K.e.coffman and other users who voted here. Can you please voice your opinion regarding the way the figures from the Courtois's introduction should be presented the in the lead (and elsewhere). I asked four questions in the previous RfC ("RfC on figures presented by Courtois in the Black Book introduction"), and I would like to see your answer in a "(Yes/No)-(Yes/No)-(Yes/No)-(Yes/No)" format. Thank you in advance. --Paul Siebert (talk) 21:07, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

We really need to explain how the these figures are derived. Back in the 1970s Dyadkin, Iosif G. published UNNATURAL DEATHS IN THE USSR, 1928-1954. He estimated the number of births and deaths due to natural causes (old age, childhood disease ect.) He estimated that roughly 40 million people died of unnatural cases 20 million in WW2 and c.20 million due to Soviet government policy. Soviet policies would include deliberate killings and economic mismanagement of the command economy. Historians in the west, Conquest and Rosefielde, used this figure of c.20 million deaths due to Soviet government policy. Courtois more than likely is using this figure also derived from a population balance. The plot gets the plot gets thicker with R. J. Rummel, he consulted numerous sources. We have to give him credit for publishing literally hundreds of estimates in scholarly sources estimating unnatural deaths. Rummel believed that Soviet population figures were forged and worked up his own estimates based on the cold war era sources. During the cold war there were exaggerated estimates of unnatural deaths in the USSR, for example Solzhenitsyn 66 million and Antonov-Ovseyenko 30-40 million.
Readers of the article need to be informed of the methodology of how the numbers are derived. The sources pro and con need to be presented in a clear and concise manner, the long winded 1990's debate in Soviet Studies detail the arguments.
In a nutshell I am saying is that we should explain how the numbers are derived rather than just throwing an number at readers. Above all our POV and opinions should not be mentioned at all on this page, only reliable sources.--Woogie10w (talk) 21:52, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
Woogie10w, all what you say is correct, but the problem is that it is only a part of truth. First, many (if not majority) of scholars do not equate "mass killings", "unnatural deaths" and "population losses". Only very few people (including Courtois) say that all unnatural deaths were the result of mass killing.
Second, we must separate old and new data.
I already explained at this talk page the methodology that was Rummel used to obtain his estimates: he collected all sources that contained some figures and calculated "low" and "high" estimate. After that, he converted it to some median figure. This procedure, as Dulic demonstrated, and Harff confirmed, has a very strong bias to highest values. In addition, Rummel refuses to reconsider his early estimates, even in light of fresh evidences.
Third, as Maksudov and Wheatcroft noted, in XX century there was almost 2-fold growth of life expectancy in Russia/USSR. In that sence, it is not completely clear what is seen under "unnatural deaths": the death from the lack of medication in mid XX century may be considered unnatural, whereas the death from the same cause in the beginning of XX century was seen as a natural. In any event, I cannot understand how these two things (40+ million unnatural deaths and 1.8 fold life expectancy growth) can be compatible.
One way or the another, the question is not in what the real figures were. The fact is that Courtois' figures are being widely criticized, and we need to decide how these highly disputable figures should be presented in this article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:11, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
Courtois' figures are being widely criticized, by whom? how do we explain this to readers who watch Fox News? it is not completely clear what is seen under "unnatural deaths" readers need to know that there is wiggle room that gives us a range of unnatural deaths in published sources, not a correct absolute figure. --Woogie10w (talk) 23:28, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
This talk page cites at least 10 reliable sources that say that Courtois's figures are exaggerated, or Courtois plays with definitions, or that Courtois combines apples and oranges. For example, many authors argue that it is fundamentally incorrect to combine Stalinist repressions and Cambodian genocides in a single category, because Stalinism directed its represssionan against peasant to create an industrial and urbanistic society, whereas Khmer Rouge eradicated urban population in attempts to turn the country into a rural commune, and one important factor in the KR genocide was racism (which played no role in Stalinist society). In addition, the genocide in Cambodia was stopped due to military invasion of ... Communist Vietnam (a Soviet client), and it was a Communist propaganda who initially provided an exaggerated figures of 3 million deaths. How all of that can be combined in one category? --Paul Siebert (talk) 03:15, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
Also the title is tacky and ridiculous, POV Communism is real bad folks, we have the dirt for you here--Woogie10w (talk) 23:31, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

Placing content to appropriate subsections[edit]

  • [105] - I simply think than numbers of victims for individual countries should be included in sections for the corresponding countries. That is what I did - as explained in my edit summary. Paul immediately reverted it [106]. OK, then maybe we can make the different subsections in the same section? That is what I did [107]. That looks like a simple improvement. My very best wishes (talk) 20:18, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
1. Your first edit would be ok if the "Estimate" section contained a serious discussion of the major controversy around the BB. Do you agree?
2. Your second edit is also ok, if "Estimates" and "Discussion of estimates" are combined, because this separation is strongly discouraged by NPOV. If you agree, I can do that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:56, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
More concretely, the "General estimates" section be organised as follows:
1. Who makes an estimate (some authors, who believe communist regimes shared significant common features (Malia's "generic Communism"; that is important, because only a fraction of authors share this view).
2. How these estimates are done (the figures of direct killings are combined with man made famine deaths and with general excess mortality data).
3. Who disagrees with that and why ((i) methodological issues: criticism of the generic communism concept; discussion of a relationship of this question and ideological issues; (ii) a question of indirect deaths (especially, famine death); (iii) discussion of a computational procedure (mostly Rummel), and explanation why his "low estimates vs high estimates" approach leads to inflated figures.
4. It should be also explained that country experts provide more accurate data for each country (a source for this statement is Harff), and these estimates for major communist states are presented in the second subsection.
If that is accepted, I support division on two sections.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:09, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
I would stick to my first edit because it simply places the numbers of victims for individual countries to sections for the corresponding countries. If main "Estimates" section is insufficient anyone is welcome to develop it by adding more content. My very best wishes (talk) 00:44, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
That crates an apparent hierarchy of fact, which is prohibited by NPOV: Segregation of text or other content into different regions or subsections, based solely on the apparent POV of the content itself, may result in an unencyclopedic structure, such as a back-and-forth dialogue between proponents and opponents. Concretely, the sources that advance some particular POV are presented as universally, whereas others are split by sections.
An alternative solution may be to move "Estimates" to the bottom, and rename it to "Estimates of genocide scholars". The section should explain who are doing these estimates, how these estimates are made, and who agrees or disagrees with these estimates.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:00, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

Names databases[edit]

Where are the names of the 100,000,000 victims of Communism? Are there databases by country? emijrp (talk) 18:01, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

(edit conflict)The people who are interested in exact figures and exact names are not compiling the figures for all "Communist victims", simply because they do not believe this category exists.
The authors who compile the 100,000,000 figures are not specialists in any concrete country. They advocate the idea that communism was an absolute evil, and the more victims the better. As a rule, they combine all population losses (demography data) and claim they all were the result of "Communist mass killings".
I have no idea how did Courtois obtained his data, but I know how Rummel did that. He collects all sources for each country, and he takes all figures, obtain low estimates and high estimates. Originally, he provided two figures (low and high estimates), but later he decided just to give a median value. Since low estimates are always limited (they cannot be negative), and high estimates are not limited, a single high figure in the data set skews the median towards high values, and you need many low estimates to compensate for this disbalance.
As Dulic noticed, if we take Holocaust as an example and imagine that there is one estimate in the data set that says 15 million were killed, you will need 5-10 data points from Holocaust deniers (who say, e.g. that only 1 million was killed) to compensate for this single value and to get a (well known) 6 million.
Importantly, Rummel, as well as many other genocide scholars, do not separate old and recent estimates. That means, to them, early high estimates for the USSR have the same weight as fresh data obtained after fall of the USSR (which opened a lot of archives in post-Soviet countries). Most country experts reconsidered their estimates, but Rummel didn't.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:34, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
In Russia, Memorial (society) and some other organizations maintained such databases. Unfortunately, this organization was recently declares a "Foreign agent" by the Russian government, some activists were jailed based on fabricated charges, and most important, such databases will never be complete because the KGB and their successor organizations are engaged in mass destruction of documents in their archives on a regular basis, even today as we speak [108]. My very best wishes (talk) 18:18, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
Unfortunately to you. Organisations such as Memorial are inherently biased and are engaged in a campaign against the stability of the country for the benefit of its enemies. That's why they're registered as foreign agents. SUM1 (talk) 13:37, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
No, unfortunately to the databases and to people who live in Russia. I do not live there. My very best wishes (talk) 14:57, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
SUM1, first, you are reproducing a total bullshit, because, if I understand it correct, in modern Russian law, foreign agents are those organisations that are supported from foreign sources, at least partially, and engage in political activity. That's it.
Second, currently, the list of foreign agents includes several ecological organisations, a "Dynasty" foundation (who was printing educational books or supported many important scientific or educational programs), Saratov diabetes association, and many other reputable organisations. I think it is a great honor to be in the foreign agents list, because the organisation from this list are doing a lot of good things. In contrast to an obscure and ridiculous organisation called "the Government of Russian Federation". If you can name at least one good step it took in last 10 years, please, do it.
Third, Memorial is doing a good job aimed to collect the names of those who fell in a category of "repression victims, and deportation victims". They establish names, but their activity do not add much to a general figures of "population losses". In other words, when Ellman writes that about 1.2 million were killed during the Great Purge, and Memorial discovers new names of those who were killed in 1937, it does not mean they add them to the Ellman's figure. Actually, they just clarify the names of those who are included in this Ellman's figure. However, since the main part of "population losses" or "premature deaths" are those who died as a result of malnutrition in 1921, 1933, 1942 or 1947, who died due to a lack of medical help in 1943, or who was killed during the Civil war (by the Whites or Reds), Memorial 's activity does not affect the total "communist death toll". --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:26, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
"Where are the names" for those killed in countries like China and North Korea? Really? Passingobserver (talk) 20:19, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
I think NK records are not available now. In China, collectivisation was just a continuation of a civil war, so I am not sure anybody was keeping any records. Famine victims were not registered as "killed", and it is hard to understand who concretely falls in this category. I don't know about Cultural revolution, but it seems it was more a random violence, so I think records are very fragmentary.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:09, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Famine deaths are calculated by subtracting the expected deaths from actual deaths. It may not necessarily be possible to determine in individual cases that death was due to famine. Furthermore, China did not register deaths during the famine periods, except in a small number of cities. TFD (talk) 15:44, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Actually, the procedure is different and more complex. As a rule, actual death records are not always available, so the actual procedure takes into account previous census data (if available), birth rate, standard mortality rate, migration, census data after the event, and several other factors. A figures obtained in this way are called "population losses" and "premature death" (or "excess deaths"). The same procedure applied to modern democratic Russia (in 1990s) gives ca 6 million premature deaths (Rosefielde, Maksudov), however, noone calls it "democtratic mass killings". Meanwhile, S. Maksudov, a mathematician and demograph from Harvard university (thanks to Woogie, I decided to read his works) notes (the source is in Russian, so I had to use google to translate):
"It is surprising, however, that huge loss of millions of people during the Yeltsin period was practically non-seen by us. No monuments, no prayer, no articles in newspapers or Interned are devoted to them. The killers retire quietly, and sometimes with honor, and then peacefully pass away. And that occurs concurrently with a violent discussion of the crimes of Stalin, the events majority of participants know only from books." ([109]).
Btw, TFD, can you please do me a favor and voice your opinion in open RfC (if you haven't done that yet). We need to close them and move forward. --Paul Siebert (talk) 16:03, 17 June 2018 (UTC)

Undiscussed page move[edit]

Regarding this diff editors may wish to discuss, particularly in light of the FAQ at the top of this talk page. The editor is not going to self-revert, and has not engaged with the article prior to sticking their oar in. I have drawn the editor's direction to this discussion. Fifelfoo (talk) 17:23, 21 June 2018 (UTC)

As far as I understand from his post here, the main point this user is trying to make is that we need to minimize an ideological component in this article. It seems that is a quite valid point. I am not sure if the C->c transition is an improvement, but his another proposal, "regimes"->"states" deserves a serious discussion.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:43, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I'll repeat what I said in user talk, in response to Fifelfoo's "The capitalisation is controversial and your move reflects neither the current editorial consensus on sources, nor past discussions.": MOS:ISMCAPS, WP:NCCAPS, and WP:CONSISTENCY policy would disagree (thus so would WP:CONLEVEL policy). If you're sure all those policies and guidelines would be overruled somehow to continue over-capitalizing – against the very guideline intended prevent exactly this kind of over-capitalization – feel free to list it at WP:RM/TR for reversion, and I'll just open a regular RM about it. PS: I agree "the capitalisation is controversial"; it would have to be, given that we have multiple guidelines saying to not do that with words like "communism", so removing the capitalisation is the correct course of action. Tiny WP:LOCALCONSENSUS cliques do not get to make up their own "rules" in FAQs to hold other editors at bay; see also WP:OWN and WP:EDITING policies (and WP:VESTED, a broader community interpretation of their applicability).

To elaborate: I can self-revert, but I'm disinclined to do so, when the end result is almost certainly going to be "Mass killings under communist regimes governments" [or some other neutral word]. Next, "the current editorial consensus on sources" is something we care about for, say, whether a mass killing took place and how many lives it ended. WP's has its own style manual, naming conventions guidelines, and title policy, and does not ape the styles in material written under other publishers' style guides (otherwise we would never have developed any of those pages at all). Previous discussion among the same clique here isn't a site-wide WP:RM discussion. If you'd like to have one of those, let's get on with it. :-)
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:49, 21 June 2018 (UTC)

I suggest you to self-revert, just to avoid a quite possible escalation of passions around this article (which is high even without that). Meanwhile, I suggest to seriously discuss the "Mass killings under Communist regimes" -> "Mass killings in communist states" transition. I like this idea.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:54, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
Nah. Per WP:NOT#BUREAUCRACY and WP:Common sense, it's more practical to just have the RM discussion now, rather than do another round-robin move (or an RM/TR) to a bad title and then just have the RM anyway. That'd be like garnishing a rotten steak before you throw it in the trash. PS: "in communist states" is ambiguous; the Nazis mass-killed millions of communist Russians, in Russia, during WWII, but that's out of scope.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:10, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
Fair enough.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:22, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
Concur with SMcCandlish & Paul Siebert about doing the discussion first. Fifelfoo (talk) 18:28, 21 June 2018 (UTC)

Requested move 21 June 2018[edit]

Mass killings under communist regimesMass killings under communist governments – 1) "Regimes" is a loaded, emotive term, and thus a problem under WP:NPOV and MOS:WTW. 2) Use lower-case "communist" per MOS:ISMCAPS, WP:NCCAPS, WP:CONSISTENCY. There's a cluster of editors who've weirdly added a "FAQ" to this article's talk page, demanding capital-C "Communism", and they'll likely urge to move back to that spelling. This is a WP:CONLEVEL problem. People don't get to make up their own magically special e-rulebooks to exempt articles from policies and guidelines. The entire reason MOS:ISMCAPS exists is to prevent precisely that kind of ideological abuse of capital letters. We are not using capitalised "Communis[m|t]" in other article titles (except where a proper name appears, e.g. a book title or the name of a specific party organisation).

Furthermore, we should consider an article split. This entire page is basically a huge WP:Coatrack and a WP:OR farm, a propagandistic magnet of dispute and PoV pushing. This would largely be mitigated if this were properly divided into articles about mass killings under particular governments.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:10, 21 June 2018 (UTC)

  • No particular objections to such renaming, but a much better title would be Democide by communist governments. Unlike "mass killings" (mass murder?), democide is a relatively well established terminology in such context, which would help to avoid the potential coatrack problems. My very best wishes (talk) 18:18, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
    It's also WP:JARGON and people are apt to have WP:RECOGNIZABILITY arguments against it. I'm not outright opposed to it, just to "regimes" and "Communist". (And to this being a single article instead of "under the Soviet Union", etc., as separate articles, but that's a bigger fish to fry).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  19:01, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I like the decapitalization of "communist". I had also suggested "Noncombatant deaths" on its talk page, and it, amazingly enough, seems less controversial than "mass killings". I am a tad uncertain about "governments" as some mass deaths appear to occur without a specific "government" being specifically "communist" (that is, civilian deaths caused by communist groups opposed to the government.) If we wish to avoid hassles, I would think "attributed to communist movements" would more reasonably cover the bases. Collect (talk) 18:34, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
    Some feedback about "noncombatant deaths" and "mass killings" is in the scope discussion below.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:03, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

Side discussion on scope, splitting, notability, OR[edit]

Both "noncombatant deaths" and "mass killings" may lead to problems if they are understood literally. For example, literally speaking, all deaths that are non-related to some combat are considered "non-combatant deaths", which means "non-combatant deaths"=="peace time mortality". That is why scholarly articles prefer "population losses" or "premature deaths"/"excess mortality". On another hand, "mass killing" is a definition found in articles of some genocide scholars who want to expand the scope of the term "genocide". I would prefer if the article will focus primarily on "excess premature deaths of non-combatants", however, you agree that that would sound terrible in the article's name. --Paul Siebert (talk) 18:49, 21 June 2018 (UTC)

The goal is a title under five hundred words. If the deaths are attributed to a specific group, that pretty much rules out deaths from car accidents, cancer and the like. We could try "Excess deaths which were specifically caused by a group which is sometimes called 'communist' but not necessarily always called 'communist' and including population loss estimates from correct authors, but excluding estimates from 'incorrect' authors " but I fear shorter is truly better. Collect (talk) 18:55, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
We also do not need to account for every imaginable scope, just the scope we're going to use. It's also permissible to have a title that describes most of the scope, and permit as marginal "not quite a government" exception into the content as the most relevant article in which to put it. But this really gets us back to splitting. This should not be a single article.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  19:02, 21 June 2018 (UTC)

I would use Repression in communist countries. It is a broad term (it includes mass killings, selective killings, prisons, deportation, etc) but at the same time it helps to define the topic, excluding stuff like famines. Also, repression exists in capitalist countries, so we could have a Repression in capitalist countries article. Countries and states are almost interchangeable. Repression has always existed in any form of state, today and in the past, the ruling class keeps the power repressing other classes. emijrp (talk) 19:05, 21 June 2018 (UTC)

In historical articles we don't create subjects and then fill them. Notability is produced by scholarly discourses. There has been an extensive debate over about 10 years as to whether this subject exists in a "scholarly discourse," or, whether there are a few non-notable sandwich claims and a whole bunch of fringe. The last time I checked the scholarly discourse, there is no "category" of systematic deadly repression in capitalist countries due to their capitalism. Scholars in the area of country specific studies of the link between systematic deadly repression and capitalism produce scholarly discourses on specific studies. Studies of capitalism as a social system emphasise other categories than deadly mass repression, such as "Imperialism," or "World Systems," or "Enlightenment Modernity," etc. So no, we shouldn't have "[X] in [Category Y] articles" unless there is an acceptable or accepted scholarly discourse advancing specifically that claim. Not just Jane thinks, or Fred claims. Academics claim all kinds of non-notable structures or processes exist all the time. Fifelfoo (talk) 19:48, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, that would be a rather excessive scope expansion, as well as very subjective ("your repression is my civil society and rule of law"). So, it would make the multi-pronged coatrack problem even worse. The proper way to do this is to have multiple, more-specific articles, in a generalized category. WP doesn't do generalized articles for things like this, because it leads to OR and PoV pushing.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:23, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
There is a quite strange article Anti-communist mass killings which has less substance than this article has. Collect (talk) 19:50, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
I'm happy to rest on my statements regarding that article on its talk page, still unarchived, from 9 years ago, and heartily encourage it be sent back to AFD with COATRACK and Notability spelt out. Fifelfoo (talk) 20:16, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
Yep. As with this one, it might be splittable to save some of the material.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:23, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
Re: Fifelfoo. The subject definitely exists, another question is its notability. When you read specialized studies of each separate country, you see that Rummel or Valentino are totally ignored by Wheatcroft or Ellman (who are much more knowledgeable about the USSR); moreover Werth, whose chapter is "a rock the whole Black Books rests upon", openly disagrees with Courtois's generalisations. When you read Kiernan (one of the best experts in Cambodia), you see he does not use Valentino. The same situation is with China and most other countries. Only few authors define communism as a common factor explaining these mass killings, and many authors do not see majority of those mass mortality events as mass killings at all. However, the whole structure of this article reflects the viewpoint of >1% of authors who believes communism was a key factor, and the works of other 99% of authors who do not share this view is used to create a visibility of a support of this concept by the whole scientific community.
How can we fix that? If this article stays (and I doubt it can be deleted, because there are some formal arguments in its support), it should be totally rewritten. The "Terminology" section must be removed as totally misleading. All general theorising should be made much shorter, moved to the bottom, and it should be presented as theoretical attempts of some authors to find commonalities between all events the article is telling about.
Each chapter must provide some historical background (for example, a reader should be informed that the roots of the outburst of violence in the USSR are traced back to inconclusive land reform in late XIX century and brutality of WWI), describe the course of events (when did killings started, which factors triggered the violence, how it developed, when and why stopped), and how these events affected the country.
That may be a solution of the problem.
Re. SMcCandlish. Another way (I proposed that solution about a month ago) is to convert this article into a story about several theories that connect communism and mass killings. There are few authors who believe in a "generic communism" concept and who select communism as a primary factor affecting mass killings. If we clearly explain in the artcile's preamble that the article reflects a views of some authors, then describe what these authors say, and supplement this description it with a discussion of these theories (including criticism), everything should be ok, because the only problem of this article is that it presents theories of few authors as universal and mainstream view.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:14, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
This is probably the key factor: "few authors define communism as a common factor explaining these mass killings". I.e., putting them together as "Mass killings under communist foo" is original research (at least either novel synthesis or credulous/PoV siding with off-WP claims in dubious sources; possibly also some of the other letters besides S in WP:AEIS). It's not that the events didn't happen or that we don't know who did them; rather, their exact nature is disputed even in the RS, and WP is not in a position to label and commingle them all as directly equivalent.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼 
NOR says: If no reliable third-party sources can be found on a topic, Wikipedia should not have an article about it.. At least one source (The Blask Book) does exist, and it does cover this topic. Valentino does define "Communist mass killings" as a separate topic. That means the article is not an original research. However, the article gives a very undue weight to this topic, and it represents it as universally accepted view. That means, whereas there is no NOR violation, NPOW is violated. Taking into account that NPOV is our oldest and most important policy, that is sufficient argument for a major revision of the article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:15, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
Moreover, Valentino provides some theoretical background for his definition, because he sees "communist mass killings" as a separate mass killings type because they were used by rulers as a tool for some social transformations. According to him, not all mass killings committed by communist rulers are "communist mass killings", for example, Afghanistan is excluded.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:18, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
Re "It's not that the events didn't happen or that we don't know who did them" More precisely, "different authors explain them quite differently, and overwhelming majority of them do that in a totally different way than Courtois, Valentino, Rosefielde or Rummel do."--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:20, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
Please re-read WP:No original research. We do not get to just insert whatever we want into an article because the scope of the topic has appeared in a book at some point. There are a hundred ways to engage in forbidden original research on even a topic like gasoline or domestic cat. Your last point is the very reason to suspect that much of this page is OR, as is the combination of all these disparate events, in Wikipedia's voice and with all these conflicting sources, into "one thing". It isn't permissible to take a minority, barely attested, and hotly disputed viewpoint and advance it on WP as the truth. Nor is it permissible to take this WP:FRINGE view and work in material from sources that disagree with that view as if they agree with it. That's the very definition of WP:SYNTH.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:30, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
You probably misunderstand something. I personally fully agree with what you say, but, since I was a participant of almost all those 37 archived disputes, I see not only what you say, but also what others may say in response.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:46, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
Well, I'm disputing the idea that "At least one source ... does cover this topic" = "That means the article is not ... original research." Even if we agree on the rest of what we're talking about.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:51, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
I reiterate: It will be impossible to delete or split this article. However, if this article will describe just what few theorists say (without undue generalisations), and then discuss what others say about these theories, everything should be fine. As soon as all general statements in this article are not presented as universally accepted mainstream views, WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:NPOV are observed.
That would be a realistic way to solve this problem.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:58, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
Wow. This page has 37 archives of almost constant dispute. This might be a record of some kind. And check out the /FAQ page: Stuffing all these unrelated topics into one page was done on the basis of a single old discussion with a grand total of 7 participants (several of whom are in the current discussion expressing the same unresolved concerns). And the "regimes" wording has been the subject of at least 18 different conflicts. This is all a major "WTF?" red flag.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:27, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
If you check how many times the dispute returns to the starting point, you will be even more impressed.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:43, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
More like depressed.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  15:47, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
I don't see any reason to decapitalize "Communist" and I think it should be capitalized once again, but anyway, why should we drop the use of the word "Regimes" when it comes to Communist regimes? Why not just drop the use of that term entirely in wikipedia if that's the case? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pedro8790 (talkcontribs) 22:46, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
Please actually read MOS:ISMCAPS. "I don't see any reason" doesn't apply when you've not acknowledged the already-provided reason, much less refuted it somehow. "Why should we drop 'regimes'"? See WP:NPOV and MOS:WTW, also already provided as the rationales to do so. You need to actually look at the the reasoning providing in RM nominations before responding to them knee-jerk style (see WP:IDHT), and then respond to them substantively not with WP:ILIKEIT pseudo-rationales.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  11:21, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
You are just asserting that your position is grounded in policy repeatedly rather than providing a rationale as to how that is the case. To me it gives the appearance that you are trying to intimidate newbies from having an opinion on editing contrary to yours because they will be drowned in legalese in response. The word "regime" is not emotive and has many uses. One of which is to describe authoritarian governments which have great continuity in leadership because they are one-party states. This applies to all of the major countries in this article. Passingobserver (talk) 16:24, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
He provided the link, and it is quite easy to see that the guidelines says that Doctrines, philosophies, theologies, theories, movements, methods, processes, systems of thought and practice, and fields of study are not capitalized, unless the name derives from a proper name: lowercase republican refers to a system of political thought; uppercase Republican refers to a specific Republican Party (each being a proper name). The reference to NPOV is also quite relevant, because "(C/c)ommunist" reflects author's viewpoint. For example, David-Fox (I already provided the reference on this talk page) writes:
"Malia’s foreword to the 1999 English edition centered around the demand that communism be “accorded its fair share of absolute evil” and the recognition that communist regimes “were criminal enterprises in their very essence.”"
(note non-capital "c"s), but Malia or Courtois capitalise it.
Other experts in Stalinism use the term "communist/communism" rarely, but, as a rule, they do not capitalise it ("The political structural factor was the communist victory in the Civil War and the resulting communist dictatorship." (Michael Ellman. The Role of Leadership Perceptions and of Intent in the Soviet Famine of 1931-1934. Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 57, No. 6 (Sep., 2005), pp. 823-841 [110]). --Paul Siebert (talk) 17:22, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
I should say I did not intend to express or imply that I personally attach some great significance to the size of the letter 'C' as that is the least interesting item of debate here currently. I understand and agree with the default presumption that ideologies, etc. should not be capitalized. I do not see however that this is a dispute about neutrality. It is an issue of what is proper terminology and what sources use this terminology. I don't think you would see a rational discussion that goes as follows:
Person 1: They are Communists.
Person 2: No, that is a biased view, they are communists.
It is a question of accuracy and precision, not one view or another.
Wikipedia has an article, Communist state, which reflects a term that is widely used, and refers to the same regimes which are discussed in this entry as well. That is why I think this article would be better off renamed with that in mind as the best among alternatives being discussed. I apologize if this has been recently discussed and voted down. I freely admit I have not read 38 talk pages up to now.
Incidentally, your source uses the term "communist regimes" and I can only assume he was not being ironic. I take it you agree with me that the word "regime" is not biased or non-neutral? Passingobserver (talk) 19:38, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
  • @SMcCandlish: your notion of splitting this article makes a lot more sense than many of the proposals put up here, and could resolve the long-standing fight over what framework to use for this content (BBOC "all communist governments committed killings" versus the more nuanced approaches taken by others). I would be interested in hammering out such a proposal. Would others be interested? Vanamonde (talk) 11:11, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
Taking into account that each separate topic this article covers already has its own article (Black Book of Communism, Red Holocaust, Democide, Great Chinese Famine, Cambodian genocide, etc.), this proposal is tatnamount to article's deletion (which is an good option too).--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:31, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
No AfD has succeeded (out of many, and some !voters on them are still around), and there currently exists an article on Anti-communist mass killings which at AfD has attracted some "Keep" !votes. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Anti-communist mass killings (2nd nomination) More to the point, there are specific sources on this topic, and none at all on that WP:OR article. Alas, my suggestion to make this article title NPOV seems not to have your support -- that is to limit it to "noncombatant deaths attributed to communist movements" and to cut the verbiage by half. Collect (talk) 14:45, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
If we apply the same deletion criteria to this article and Anti-communist mass killings, both should be deleted.
Anyway, I do not propose to delete this article, but if we will try to split it, we will immediately see that each new part duplicates some already existing article that already covers that topic. Which will automatically mean deletion (because specialised articles are much better written, more balanced and hardy benefit from addition of various POV trash from this one).--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:15, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
Re: "there are specific sources on this topic". That is correct. However, that is not sufficient, because these sources do not represent majority viewpoint. To demonstrate what I mean, let's look at the WWII article. There are sources on this subject as whole, and all sources cited in this article either assume or openly say that each particular event they discuss were the part of WWII. However, if there were just few sources about the WWII in general (for example, Churchill's book and few others), but majority sources described War in Pacific or Eastern Front as separate military conflicts, without any references to the WWII concept, the article had to be either deleted or totally rewritten: we would have to convert it into a story about military conflicts in 1939-45, and then to add that some authors combine all these conflicts under the name "WWII", and briefly discuss what these authors say. By the way, that is what this article does with some minority views: some authors state that WWII started not it 1939 in Europe, but, for example, in 1937 in Asia. These sources are mentioned in the WWII article, but they are presented as a viewpoint of some authors.
The same approach should be applied here: we describe the events (without generalisations), and then we briefly describe the opinia of several authors who believe there was a serious commonality between these events, and Communism was its primary cause.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:37, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
I would like to suggest the name, "Victims of Communism" (Find sources: "Victims of Communism" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference). This is the most commonly used and perhaps only used term. I accept that the term itself is non-neutral and imprecise. However, this may be one of the circumstances where that can be overlooked. TFD (talk) 15:09, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

How about "Communist states and mass deaths"? That seems to be the Wikipedia approach for highly-charged topics (for instance, United States and state terrorism) and neither phrase is particularly controversial. Passingobserver (talk) 16:24, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

I suppose "mass deaths" doesn't sufficiently emphasize the political nature of the subject, but I think that's the general direction to head... Passingobserver (talk) 16:44, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

Capitalization of "Communist"[edit]

"Communist" should be capitalized again, there's no reason for decapitalizing it. Pedro8790 (talk) 18:10, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

Agree. None of these regimes were communism either by their own or any other definition. They were however run by Communists, i.e., members of Communist parties. TFD (talk) 18:22, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
They were run by communist parties, for example, by the Communist party of China. As MOS say, "lowercase republican refers to a system of political thought; uppercase Republican refers to a specific Republican Party (each being a proper name)". Capital "C" is used by the authors who share (explicitly or implicitly) a "generic Communism" doctrine. The authors who see more difference between these states than commonalities do not capitalise this word.
Majority of the events the article discussed occurred when Comintern de facto stopped to exist, so there was no uniform Communist movement.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:34, 23 June 2018 (UTC)