Talk:Mathematical Association of America

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Merger proposed (Missouri Collegiate Mathematics Competition)[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

The result was not no merge. --B. Wolterding 16:06, 15 October 2007 (UTC)


I propose to merge the content of Missouri Collegiate Mathematics Competition into here, since the notability of that article has been questioned. Actually no independent sources have been cited for that competition; it would probably be best covered in a section here, rather than in a separate article.

Please add your comments below. Proposed as part of the Notability wikiproject. --B. Wolterding 16:17, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Oppose the merger How many people coming to this article will care about the Missouri competition? Virtually none, I'd say. Also, there are lots of similar competitions around the U.S. - probably one for each state. Are we going to cram 50 such references in this one? Leaving it as a separate article does no harm and keeps this article from getting gummed up. - DavidWBrooks 21:38, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
No independent sources are cited for that individual contest, so it would be a clear deletion candidate. Rather than that, I thought it might best be covered here, shortly. (If it's not notable in its own right, it could still be relevant in a larger context.) But you're right, if there are 50 such contests, the individual competition is perhaps not so relevant in the context of the overall organization. --B. Wolterding 11:34, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
No independent sources? - there's a URL to its home page right in the external links section; that's more sourcing than a lot of articles have. We don't want to be be too hasty to delete articles. As for notability, that's a topic of much discussion, but I'd say that an event which probably have scores, if not hundreds, of competitors each year is notable within a sufficiently large context. - DavidWBrooks 13:11, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
It looks like we're against merging the articles. I deleted the tag. Feel free to add it back if you like. Synesthetic 02:34, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Historical accounts[edit]

On August 8 User:Phlegm Rooster, having had this page cited as an example of a page on a major organisation which was written based on the details provided on its own website, decided to do a google book search on the terms "mathematical association of america" and "negroes". He found the full text of two letters included in the book by Betty Anne Case. Somewhat unwisely he included the google book url, revealing the terms of his search. These letters are primary sources and cannot therefore be used as sources in this article. That is original research. I have added Case's reference in standard form, together with two official accounts of the history up to WWII and 1965. There is also a reference to the many historical accounts of regional sections of the MAA. The search terms of Phlegm Rooster make it impossible to assume good faith in his edits. He was gaming the system and has been reported to an administrator. Mathsci (talk) 02:37, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

  • A father of a friend of mine happened to be a topologist, and I vaguely remembered him telling me stories about the MAA and discrimination. I had to do cite the source that way to get Google to cough up that page. The source has a longer section above about diversity, the '68 Chicago riots and all kinds of other interesting stuff. This source should be integrated into the article, which at present reads like an official, sanitized profile. My edits were a good faith way of demonstrating that secondary sources always make an article more encyclopedic. As for being "reported to an admin", it's my understanding that admins don't get involved in content disputes. I also doubt Mathsci will get far keeping secondary sources off an article which is sorely lacking them. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 04:54, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Primary sources are not allowed for very good reasons. In the BLP of Lee Lorch you will find an accurately reported statement of what happened, backed up by a reliable secondary source (York University, Toronto). There is another secondary source, even more detailed, in a recent statement by the MAA itself contained in the citation for the Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Distinguished Service to Mathematics Award, received by Lorch in 2007. [1] Mathsci (talk) 08:27, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
The MAA citation has now been included as a source in Lee Lorch's BLP. Citing letters written at the time BTW is using primary sources. You are not free to interpret these primary sources when editing: that is WP:OR. It was not hard for me to locate 2 secondary sources (partly because my brother is a friend of Lee Lorch). You do seem to be pushing a POV here. Any reporting of this incident 57 years ago would have to be balanced. Your edits to the article were not accurate and seemed to be synthesis from primary sources. However, using the secondary sources provided by me in the article and the two other secondary sources (the York University web page and the MAA's citation), there is no reason why you could not write a balanced account of the events concerning the MAA, Lee Lorch and racial discrimination. There is no question of sanitization here, simply WP:NPOV, WP:RS,WP:V, WP:OR and WP:UNDUE. Mathsci (talk) 08:48, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I'll change the page that shows up somehow. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 17:55, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

undue weight[edit]

This: "At the southeastern regional meeting in March 1951, two African-American mathematicians from Fisk University were refused admittance, sparking a debate in the pages of Science and forcing the national Board of Governors to adopt an anti-discrimination resolution by November of that year. Even so, Black mathematicians were still discriminated against by the southeastern region as late as 1960" is certainly a shameful moment in the history of the association, but blacks were widely idscriminated against in many major national and regional institutions in the US prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Jews too. In fact, there was a good deal of discrmination against all sorts of people prior to the Civil Rights Movement. This particular incident seems to be given undue weight in this stub, which should be about the workings and organization of the MAA with greater weight on the present. Was this incident highly newsworthy? Was it widely reported on in newspapers and broadcast media? Did it provoke an NAACP lawsuit? Did it lead to a large public protest? Did it lead to major conflict and controversy within the MAA? If the answer to any of these questions is yes we perhaps whould have discussion of it in the article, but the quote suggest no. Indeed, unless there continues to be a demonstrable pattern of racism in the MAA, it sounds like this was a pretty non-notable event. In such a short stub it is being given undue weight. Slrubenstein | Talk 01:17, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Or perhaps the stub should be lengthened with more secondary sources. The source has a whole chapter on the issue of diversity in the association. It was written by Lee Lorch (who has an article), and entitled The Painful Path Towards Inclusiveness and covers over a decade and a half. Lorch uses many words which express his belief that the events were notable. There is absolutely no way the larger Wikipedia community will countenance the removal of notable, sourced information from this article, so I suggest that we work together to add positive information to the article. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 01:38, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Expanding the section to provide historical context - how MAA compard to other organizations at th time - and to go into greater detail about this and other political issues faced by the association, could be a good way to develop the article. Slrubenstein | Talk 02:16, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm working on it. If I put more about discrimination, it will make it too much weight. What I need is a source that talks about the Association in the context of WWII. There was also some important post-Sputnik stuff, but I can't access it. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 02:28, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Article is in better shape now, source-wise. Does anybody have access to more secondary sources on this association? Phlegm Rooster (talk) 01:10, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
You do not appear to have made the slightest attempt to rewrite your contentious sentences. Again the maetrial as it appears iin Lee Lorch (whose name should be included) is fine. It is also properly represented in the Lorch's 2007 citation. If you want to write more about the MAA's history this could be one sentence among 12, not two on their own. You seem to be trying to make a WP:POINT and are currently using WP as a WP:BATTLEGROUND. Your edits to Academie des Sciences show a similar lack of scholarship, since you do not seem to have realised that it was originally, and intermittently thereafter, a Royal Academy, founded in 1666 and originally funded by the king. That is not what the sentence you added says, which is taken from a book devoted to the Post-Revolutionary period. I realise that you have little to no experience editing serious mainspace articles: these articles are not sandpits for little children to play in. If you are not interested in preparing a balanced encyclopedic account of the history, just stop editing the article. You are likely to be blocked if you continue adding lopsided content in this tendentious manner, Mathsci (talk) 05:42, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
I added more sentences in an attempt to dilute the source. You just revert. What is your problem with saying they meet with int'l orgs? It is you who are editing tenditiously, calling names and assuming bad faith. I haven't been blocked because adding sourced information is condoned in Wikipedia. If you have a problem with the exact phrasing, fix it. Phlegm Rooster (talk) 06:10, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
You have not added a balanced history section. You have cherrypicked comments from the literature, some inaccurately, to make a point. According to this official source [2] three black mathematicians, mentioned explicitly be name, were denied entry by the hotel in Nashville. Why not make a small attempt to source these statements properly? The name of Lee Lorch should be mentioned if you want to include this material and you should also mention his 2007 award. Otherwise you are again cherrypicking. Mathsci (talk) 10:22, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Inclusiveness[edit]

I have rejigged this section in what I hope is a balanced way, without making any undue synthesis and with events reported in their correct context. Mathsci (talk) 12:20, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

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