Talk:Melissa Farley/Archive 2

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Restoring useful information and neutrality[edit]

Greetings. I've reviewed this article and scanned back through the discussion list (though I confess I have not read every word) and it appears this article is in need of some NPOV and general article improvement.

Scanning back through the discussions, it looks like a well-sourced list of publications was deleted. These publications go directly to the reason that this person is in Wikipedia - their expert status on a particular issue. The list has been reinstated under the heading of "published works".

I moved the criticism statement from the lead (a completely inappropriate place) to a "criticisms" section.

I removed the term "radical feminist" from the lead. A quick look at some of the web-accessible material did not show Dr. Farley referring to herself as a radical feminist which is one of the criteria for a descriptive title.

I have emailed Dr. Farley to get a complete picture of her work so the descriptions can be as accurate and informed as possible.

Also, I notice Dr. Farley edited a book in her field which is not listed here and should be added.--Axiomatica 08:05, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

I have reverted these edits completely for the following reasons:
1) Extensive list of works is in violation of WP:NOT and is already available through external links
2) Farley is a radical feminist and this perspective is central to her work. I'm sure if you looked through her works more thoroughly, you'd find a self-reference to this label. In any event, its clear that she's an Andrea Dworkin-school radical feminist. Yes, this statement, like everything in this article, could use a clear reference, but it is a factual statement.
3) Weitzer isn't her only critic, simply the only one who has engaged in debate with her in a peer-reviewed journal.
4) "I have emailed Dr. Farley to get a complete picture of her work so the descriptions can be as accurate and informed as possible." Since when do subjects of Wikipedia articles get to put their own autobiographies up on Wikipedia?
5) If you're really interested in an NPOV article, then why are you slanting the article toward a pro-Melissa Farley position? Iamcuriousblue 18:59, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
It has been a long time since I've seen such a wholesale reversion of another editor's work. I will assume good faith and attribute it to lack of knowledge about the etiquette regarding such reversions. You can read up on the revert guidelines at Wikipedia:Revert. In general I agree with the guideline that it is always best to discuss before reverting and edit incrementally whenever possible out of respect for the work of others. To address the specifics comments:
1) A list of works is most definitely not a violation when it comes to biographies. Take a look at any sampling of bios in the current featured articles list and you will see this for yourself. I will tackle the list of works later.
2) Farley may well be a radical feminist, but you will definitely need a cite for that one. In addition, Wikipedia grants wide berth to the subject of a biography entry when it comes to their titles, so Dr. Farley's opinion about this will count.
3) Everyone has critics. However, criticisms go in a criticism section, not in the lead paragraph(!) and again, they will require a cite. If there are more critics as you say, then secondary source material should not be hard to find.
4) The subject of a biography is given the same right to edit their entry as anyone else as long as they adhere to Wikipedia guidelines and policies. You may want to review WP:BLP regarding the ethical and legal responsibility required for a biography of a living person. In this case, since Dr. Farley seems to have a 40-year history of research, it seemed prudent to learn more about it in the process of improving this entry. Obviously any information received from Dr. Farley would be reviewed carefully to determine if it is appropriate for a Wikipedia entry.
5) The purpose of a biography entry is to accurately describe the person and the reason for the notability in a neutral, encyclopedic tone. It is not our job to slant the biography one way or another. If you disagree with Dr. Farley's conclusions, then perhaps you would want to discover the work of her critics and build Wikipedia entries for them so that they are well represented in Wikipedia and can be easily linked to this article. --Axiomatica 09:19, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I have engaged in such a wholesale revert because, quite honestly, I think your criticisms are highly uninformed and also because you seem to be POV-pushing here, in this case for an article favorible toward "Dr. Farley". Its obvious that you think I'm slanting the article too much against her. Perhaps we can work out some kind of compromise or even consensus on this, but you must show some willingness to do this.
Unfortunately you did not number your points, so I will respond to each immediately after your text. Regarding the above paragraph, I don't believe a biography should HAVE a POV. I believe it should accurately reflect the facts of the person and their works as well as possible and with verifiable sources. If there are critics that can be cited with verifiable sources, then links to that information should be included, but should not outweigh the biography itself. This is very clear in WP:BLP. The fact that a person is controversial does not alter this basic structure.--Axiomatica 01:29, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
I will respond in kind as well. Iamcuriousblue 04:19, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
"Farley may well be a radical feminist, but you will definitely need a cite for that one." A weak point of this stub article is that hardly anything in it is referenced. Including, I might add, every single contribution you've made. Let's bring this article up to a higher standard of citation and reference, yes – however, picking out one particular aspect of the article you don't happen to feel is sufficiently favorible to the subject and deleting it is simply bad faith. If you want to get rid of evrything that's not sufficiently referenced right now, you should reduce this article down to two sentences.
Here we entirely agree -- this article needs substantially more cites of credible sources. As regards deleting questionable material, WP:BLP is clear that when in doubt it should be taken out. Biographies of living persons require special sensitivity, even if we don't like that particular living person. I am not opposed to reducing this article down to two sentences until well-sourced material can be written.--Axiomatica 01:29, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
WP:BLP does not mean abandoment of NPOV for a favorable point of view or censoring criticisms that the subject of the article may not like. BTW, I think the criticisms I've added are well-sourced, so there is no reason not to include them. Iamcuriousblue 04:19, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
"Dr. Farley seems to have a 40-year history of research" Melissa Farely does not have a 40-year history of research. She has been a counseling psychologist for 40 years, with her forays into psychological research only beginning in about 1993. Her research and positions are extremely controversial within the feminist and sex workers communities and it is strongly POV not to mention this.
Everything you say here may well be true, but it has to be sourced.To quote from WP:BLP:
The views of critics should be represented if their views are relevant to the subject's notability and are based on reliable secondary sources, and so long as the material is written in a manner that does not overwhelm the article or appear to side with the critics' material. Be careful not to give a disproportionate amount of space to critics, to avoid the effect of representing a minority view as if it were the majority one. If the criticism represents the views of a tiny minority, it has no place in the article.
Melissa Farley is HUGELY controversial figure on the subject of sex work. The amount of space I've devoted to criticism of the subject is far from disproportionate. Her critics are far from a "tiny minority" like you say. And this is where I'm really starting to question your motives here. The fact that you seem to be arguming for an article in which such criticisms are essentially non-existant tells me that you are pushing for a favorable article on the subject. Don't lecture me about NPOV when it comes across that you're POV pushing here.
Furthermore, on this "40-year history of research" point – why does this get to be acceted uncritically? I think the burden is just as much on you to demonstrate Farley's qualifications as it is on me to take issue with them. In any event, if you look at Farley's website, you'll note that she says she began prostitution research in 1993. If you look at her CV, she has no published papers before that date. Her reference to "40 years" simply states how long she has been practicing clinical psychology, not how long she has been doing her research. Iamcuriousblue 04:19, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Content should be sourced to reliable sources and should be about the subject of the article specifically. Beware of claims that rely on guilt by association.
This seems clear to me.--Axiomatica 01:29, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
And you are quite simply wrong on several points of Wikipedia guidelines you mention above. First, "A list of works is most definitely not a violation when it comes to biographies." I'm sorry, but an indiscriminate, sprawling list of works is very much in violation of the guideline "Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information". Lists of works, filmographies, etc, in Wikipedia article are only supposed to be a short list of select major works. The list now given in the article fulfills this criterion, consisting of the book she edited and contributed to, as well as her Top 6 most cited articles according to a Web of Science database search (including DOI links, as well as full-text links where possible). In addition, under "External links", you'll find a link to her own publications page and to a CV which gives a complete list of her publications as of 2005. I really think this should settle the "List of works" issue.
Long lists of works are not neccessarily "scrawling" or "indiscriminate". As I mentioned before, many biographies that are "featured articles" contain long lists of works. It is not a violation of policy. Regardless of this point, I will admit I did not edit that list of works, I merely returned it to the article because the wholesale exclusion of Dr. Farley's work, including her book, was clearly extreme and possibly a result of bias against the subject.--Axiomatica 01:29, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Now I know you're working on your own private interpretation of Wikipedia guidelines. I have never seen anybody else successfully argue that full CVs, filmographies, etc. are acceptable under WP:NOT. Partial bibliographies like I have given, yes, but not full complete bibiographies. Plus, you're completely ignoring earlier debates about this article on this same talk page. You should note that in an earlier edit, Nikki Craft posted a huge CV that was reverted out by consensus, based on exactly the Wikipedia guidelines I've quoted above. (This prior edit by User:Nikkicraft contains just such a sprawling CV, which was reverted for good reason.)
"The subject of a biography is given the same right to edit their entry as anyone else as long as they adhere to Wikipedia guidelines and policies." On this, you are flat-out wrong – please read Wikipedia:Autobiography (which I'm surprised you missed, considering its mentioned prominently in the very link you referred me to), as well as Wikipedia:Conflict of interest.
Iamcuriousblue 18:58, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
For the most part, the warnings in Wikipedia:Autobiography refer to the problems encountered when a subject creates and writes an autobiography - these are real concerns, there is no doubt. However, we are dealing here with an article that is already in progress. The Autobiography guideline and the Biography of Living Persons both make it clear that subject can be involved in editing their bio. To quote [[WP:BLP]:
While Wikipedia discourages people from writing new articles about themselves or expanding existing ones significantly, subjects of articles remain welcome to remove unsourced or poorly sourced material.
In this case, there was almost no sourced material, so I contacted the subject, making it clear that not everything they provided would be appropriate for a Wikipedia entry. The search for accurate, sourced material can obviously involve the subject since they probably know what they have done and where they are cited.--Axiomatica 01:29, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Now this is straight-up unacceptable on your part. So far, you've demanded strict adherence to WP guidelines in other areas and now you want to play fast and loose with this very important guideline. I'm not going to stand for it. If I see factual information removed by Melissa Farley or yourself based solely on Farely's word, I'm going to revert it, and you can quote me on that. Iamcuriousblue 04:19, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

I just read over Wikipedia:Criticism and I advise you do likewise. It specifically discourages putting criticisms in a separate "Criticisms" section, but rather advocates incorporating them into the article where they are relevant. This is entirely opposite to your interpretation of Wikipedia policy, which you claim demands that all criticisms are segregated into a separate section.

Honestly, I'd like to assume good faith concerning your edits, however, your interpretation of Wikipedia policy is noticeably self-serving. You demand strict adherence to WP:BLP, while paying little attention to WP:NPOV. You demand strict adherence to policy when it bolsters your arguments, and in the meantime play fast-and-loose with guidelines like WP:Autobiography and WP:Criticism. Unless I see that you are holding your own edits to some standards of accountability toward WP guidelines as you demand of others, I'm going to have to assume bad faith on your part. Peter G Werner 21:07, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Edits toward a more neutral tone[edit]

Removed the title 'radical feminist" for reasons cited above.

Changed "sex work" to "prostitution". The phrase "sex work" is described as a "political term" in it's wikipedia entry. It is clear that Dr. Farley has been studying what is traditionally termed "prostitution".

Moved critic to "criticisms" section. A critic should never ever be in the lead. One must first describe a person or idea before attacking it. This is not just good Wikipedia practice, it is common sense.

This is all I have time for at the moment. I will review Dr. Farley's materials for any information relevant to this Wikipedia entry. --Axiomatica 09:42, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I have reverted your edits as POV and for the following reasons:
1) Melissa Farley is a radical feminist by self-identification. Radical feminist analysis is central to Farley's work. It needs to be mentioned prominantly in the article. I don't particularly care that you think that particular information is a negative statement.
2) I use the term "sex work" for a reason, though I note that Farley opposes the term. Quite simply, "sex work" covers porn modeling and stripping, as well as prostitution. These are all things that Melissa Farley is on record as opposing. The statement that she opposes all forms of sex work is simply more accurate than saying she opposes prostitution. Furthermore, using another (highly biased) Wikipedia article as your sole definition for the term "sex work" is ludicrous. "Sex work" is not solely a "political" usage, but rather a term that's meant to embrace forms of sex work other than prostitution.
3) The criticisms were not in the "lead", they were in the relevant section of the article. Her research was described, then criticism of her research. Furthermore, since this is a very short article (a stub, really), it really doesn't need separate sections. And finally, your burying the "Criticims" section underneath "Major works" shows you don't know the first thing about how Wikipedia articles are structured. "Major works" goes at the end, right before "References" and "External links" – not before any of the article text.
If you want to discuss concerns with the aim of making this a better article, fine. If you just want to push your own uninformed POV on this topic, I'm simply going to revert your edits, and tough if you don't like it.
Iamcuriousblue 18:17, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
1) It doesn't really matter if you think she is a radical feminist or not. If there is no cite it should be removed. Period. It also occurs to me that if she is a radical feminist, that may or may not impact her research, so I'm not sure it goes in the descriptive title position, but might rather go in a paragraph about the schools of thought that Dr. Farley associates herself with.
The idea that Melissa Farely is simply a psychological researcher who simply happens to subscribe to radical feminism is a gross distortion of the facts of the matter. Melissa Farely's radical feminist ideology is central to her analysis of issues around prostitution and sex work and frames her research. Have you even bothered to read anything she's written, for God sake? This should be patently obvious. I will let your removal of the term "radical feminist" from the lead stand for the time being. The statement under criticisms about her radical feminism should stand – this is clearly stated in the article by Weitzer. Iamcuriousblue 05:06, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
2) The term "sex work" seems to be a self-identification term. I haven't read everything, but I have yet to see anything that says Farley studied "sex work". If you can find credible, verifiable sources where Farley says she is opposed to "sex work", by all mean, add it. Otherwise why don't we just try to describe Farley and her work in neutral terms.
Farley's studies are about street prostitution, however, she has a strong abolitionist political views about all sex work, including stripping and pornography. To simply say she is against prostitution and not sex work as a whole is inaccurate. The term sex work is generally accepted by everybody except radical feminists as a general, neutral term for work involving sex – prostitution, porn modeling, stripping, etc. It is not simply a politicized synonym for "prostitute".
BTW, I think I am describing Farley's work in neutral terms – show me where I haven't. (And don't feed me this line of malarky that prominant mention of criticisms of her work is inherently non-neutral.) As for verifiable source on her being against sex work its right there in Wikiquote, with source:
"Some words hide the truth. Just as torture can be named enhanced interrogation, and logging of old-growth forests is named the Healthy Forest Initiative, words that lie about prostitution leave people confused about the nature of prostitution and trafficking. The words ‘sex work’ make the harms of prostitution invisible. --Farley, M. (2006) Prostitution, Trafficking, and Cultural Amnesia: What We Must Not Know in Order To Keep the Business of Sexual Exploitation Running Smoothly. Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 18:109-144."
Iamcuriousblue 05:06, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
3) Criticisms should go in a separate section. Especially in this case where you seem to think there is a substantial amount of criticism. Let's find it describe it and source it. I'm getting bored with quoting Wikipedia policy to you about criticism. Bill Gates may have millions of critics, but that fact is not prominent in the first 3 sentences of his Wikipedia bio. This is basic logic ...first describe the person or idea THEN attack it.
I don't particularly care if you're tired of quoting policy – show me where in Wikipedia guidelines it says that all criticisms need to go in a separate section. It seems that if a researcher has conducted research that's controversial, then criticism of that research belongs in the same section that describes that person's research. In any event, the damn article is a stub that hasn't even been expanded to the point where it has sections yet. It seems a bit premature to be kvetching about sectioning.
Also, show me exactly where I've introduced criticism in the first three sentences of the article. After your very first edit, I moved the part about criticisms of her work deeper into the article, but then I guess you didn't so much as bother to read the revised article before reverting, did you? Unless you consider the term "radical feminist" to be a criticism. For your information, radical feminism is a real, existing school of feminist though, a label that quite a few feminists self-identify with. Andrea Dworkin, Catherine MacKinnon, Nikki Craft – ever heard of these people? "Radical feminist" is a descriptor, not a criticism. Iamcuriousblue 05:06, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
I understand you don't like Melissa Farley, you've made that perfectly clear. But surely you must admit that the rest of us need to know what she has studied and what conclusions she has drawn before we all dismiss her work. We can't just take your word for it.
I'm all for adding more material on her research. Since I wrote a stub article basically as a placeholder, I gave a very abbreviated overview of her work. I also gave a very abbreviated view of criticisms of her work. I think both could be expanded upon.
In spite of my views about Melissa Farley, I really think I have made a good-faith effort to present the information in an NPOV manner and to present the fact that her work is controversial, again in an NPOV manner. I frankly question where you are coming from – you seem to have a problem with any criticism being presented at all. The kind of article you seem to pushing for doesn't look to me like NPOV – it sounds an awful lot like advocacy to me, quite honestly. Iamcuriousblue 05:06, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
When I first arrived at this article, there was more about her critics than about Dr. Farley and her research. It is getting better.

How about a Request for comment on this article?/Farley's personal involvement[edit]

Axiomatica –

I have to admit, in my earlier responses, I was quite upset with your edits and I did not always assume good faith. Nonetheless, I have some very serious issues with your edits, your understanding of the issues involved with Melissa Farley and her work, and your understanding of Wikipedia guidelines. I'm therefore keeping the reverts and subsequent edits I've made, though I have added an NPOV tag at the head of the article and a "cite-needed" tag next to "radical feminist", to reflect your challenges to the neutrality of the argument.

Since its pretty clear we don't see eye-to-eye on this subject and we perceive where "neutrality" lies quite differently, and since editing seems to have degenerated into a pissing contest between the two of us, I think a good solution would be to post a Request for comment concerning this article and bring third parties into the editing process. I think that this would be the best way to break up this deadlock and move forward with a truly NPOV article.

I also have to note that I'm very deeply concerned about your efforts to bring Melissa Farley personally into the editing process. First, this flies in the face of WP:Autobiography. And frankly, based on what I know about Melissa Farely, an article that contains any criticisms of her whatsoever is likely to be regarded as personally unacceptable to her. I think we're going to end up with a repeat of the edit wars around the article on Nikki Craft, another case where a radical feminist and her close personal allies got personally involved in editing their own Wikipedia article. (I don't mean to imply that being involved in editing one's own Wikipedia biography (in more than a highly limited peripheral way – such as correcting dates and that kind of thing) is only unacceptable for radfems – its unacceptable for anybody.) Iamcuriousblue 23:31, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I completely support the idea of more eyes looking at this entry as long as they are not also biased. I haven't seen an entry quite this thorny in a long while. I look forward to anything we can do to create a more informative and neutral biography entry. I have no trouble admitting I make mistakes (you were right that the Criticisms section goes before Major Works for example.) The more experienced input we have the better the end result.
While I appreciate your gesture in requesting a cite for radical feminist, there is no question that the term "radical feminist" should be removed until there is a cite. I am going to go ahead and delete it again based on this section of the Wikipedia Biography of Living Persons policy:
We must get the article right. Be very firm about high quality references, particularly about details of personal lives. Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material — whether negative, positive, or just highly questionable — about living persons should be removed immediately and without discussion from Wikipedia articles, talk pages, user pages, and project space.
This policy applies equally to biographies of living persons and to biographical material about living persons in other articles. The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia, but especially for edits about living persons, rests firmly on the shoulders of the person who adds or restores the material.
I'm sorry to hear you have had bad experience in working with the subject of a bio. My experience in getting material from subjects has been quite positive. I think most people who are notable enough to have a Wikipedia entry are mature enough to know they cannot fully control the content of that entry. Frankly I look forward to reading some actual research rather than wrangling over Wikipedia policy. I have now become so intrigued by the subject I ordered her book to find out what the fuss is about.--Axiomatica 02:19, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
"More eyes as long as they're not biased." Well, considering that you yourself are coming across as at least a bit biased, that's strikes me as a bit hypocritical of you to say. I think the more eyes from a variety of points of view would be rather helpful, personally. In any event, I have no control over who responds to an RfC.
I fail to see how seeking a bias-free, NPOV entry is biased. Are you worried that people will read about her work and decide for themselves what to think about it? It seems you are putting plenty of effort into making sure there are links to her critics, so what exactly is your problem?--Axiomatica 02:57, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
NPOV means both the opinions of the subject and the opinions of critics are represented. You seem to have a problem with this, and that concerns me. The statement that I only want to provide links to Farley's critics is either a misperception or a downright lie on your part. I think you'll find if you go over the edit histories that I in fact added several of the links to Melissa Farley's articles (such as "Ten Lies About Sadomasochism"), even changing some of the links to ones when the original links went dead so the material would remain accessible. Peter G Werner 06:15, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
As for a biography this thorny, yes, this person is controversial – Melissa Farley is every bit as controversial in her own way as Ann Coulter, Yvonne Ridley, or George W. Bush. Some even-handedness is called for here. And frankly, you storming in on this article with what looks an awful lot like an advocacy POV isn't exactly helping making this article any less thorny.
I have no problem with the biography of a controversial figure which describes the controversies. I just think the bio should describe the actual work of the controversial person as well as the critics opinions of it.--Axiomatica 02:57, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
It is good that you want to read her book (which is an anthology of articles, BTW, not all by Farley). However, nowhere do you mention that you want to read anything by her critics. (I highly recommend reading through the article exchange between Farley and Weitzer – there are very real concerns about her methodology and biases.) Quite honestly, the fact that you want to delve into the subjects work uncritically again raises flags for me that you are basically coming from an advocacy POV. Iamcuriousblue 05:36, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your advice on my reading list. I have read the Farley-Weitzer exchange and now have read the sections of Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress that were written by Dr. Farley as well as a few other links you provided in the article. Quite honestly, your concern that I might read Dr. Farley's work for myself, rather than taking your word for what it contains, is both juvenile and curious. Since there is no clear description of her work in this article, one must go outside the article to find out what her work actually says. Examining the facts objectively is exactly the opposite of advocacy POV and I imagine you know that.--Axiomatica 02:57, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Your increasingly combative tone and distortions of my intentions are noted. I have no problem with Melissa Farley's views being more fully expounded. The article is presently a stub and needs to be expanded and I've never claimed otherwise. This idea that don't want you to read Farley's views for yourself is pure projection on your part – I never said that. I just think that if you are going to read Farley's research, then perhaps you should also read criticisms of that research to get a balanced view, particularly if its your intention to write a balanced article on Melissa Farley. (If that is in fact your intention, which I hope it is.) Where I differ from you is that you want to severely limit criticisms of Farley that are aired on this page. That, in my opinion, flies in the face of WP:NPOV. Peter G Werner 06:15, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
So first I was uninformed, then I had advocacy POV, now I am combative. Is this your idea of working together toward an NPOV biography? The sum total of my edits is to restore a bibliography, remove the term "radical feminist" and replace the term "sex work" with the more accurate term "prostitution. Your blizzard of words and name calling about these simple edits toward NPOV seemd to be bit extreme.--Axiomatica 00:19, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
You have some extremely bizarre ideas of "working together toward an NPOV biography". Working together does not mean constantly demanding 100% adherence to every single change you want to make to the article, even when that's based on some pretty outlandish and even blatantly erroneous interpretations of Wikipedia policy. And quite honestly, collaboration is quite difficult when you are not exactly being above-board about your own biases and downright dishonest about your identity.
It seems terribly obvious to me at this point that you are simply User:Nikkicraft back under another name. User:Nikkicraft or that user's sockpuppet User:Axiomatica has every right to edit this article (albeit, with the caveats stated in WP:Conflict of interest – Craft and Farley have been close collaborators politically for many years now – sources here), but the consensus that prior versions of this article produced by this user were not even remotely NPOV is clear. An NPOV article on Melissa Farley will have to be something that's clearly different from User:Nikkicraft's previous version. Peter G Werner 02:19, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, in all my time at Wikipedia I've never been accused of being another person! This is a first. I looked Nikki Craft up on Google. Let me assure you, I was not born in 1949, I have never protested at a beauty pageant, I am not a Scorpio, and I don't know how to knit! The fact that both Nikki Craft and I found this article to be inadequate doesn't mean we are the same person. Frankly, Peter G. Werner, this kind of wild and erroneous speculation may be a sign that you need to take a step back from this particular Wikipedia entry. You did give my friends and I a chuckle, though. Nikki Craft is much prettier than I.--Axiomatica 04:16, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm not "stepping back" from anything. Whether or not you actually are Nikki Craft, you are definitely arguing Craft's same "talking points" from last year and definitely seem to be on a mission as regards this article. (And believe me, I find it very odd that somebody who has only been a Wikipedia editor for – what – two weeks and suddenly becomes singularly focused on this article with all the same demands that Nikki Craft made has absolutely nothing to do with Nikki Craft.) The fact that you are demanding 100% compliance with your demands as to the article and demanding I cease editing to me means that you are asserting ownership of this article. I'm not disengaging or stepping back and I won't have any qualms about changing or reverting anything that I don't think complies with WP:NPOV. If you don't like it, tough; take it to mediation. Peter G Werner 05:04, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Request for Comment: Melissa Farley[edit]

There is a dispute over what statements are admissible in this article and exactly where neutrality lies in the treatment of the subject of this article, Melissa Farley. The use of several terms is also at issue. 1) Whether the term "radical feminist" is simply an accurate discription of the ideology of Melissa Farley or whether it bises the article against the subject. 2) "Sex work" and "sex worker" – for many, this is simply a general, neutral term that collectively includes prostitution, porn modeling, and stripping. Others, including Melissa Farley, dislike the term sex work, seeing it as euphamistic and indicative of a political bias toward what might be called "sex-positive feminism". 06:20, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Statements by editors previously involved in dispute[edit]

Statement by User:Peter G Werner[edit]

  • Melissa Farley is an extremely controversial subject. As with any controversial person, I feel that NPOV presentation of that person and their views, as well as full and NPOV presentation of the controversy about that person is warrented. While there are special guidelines to biographies of living persons, I do not feel this should be used as an excuse to expunge or silence very real critcisms of that person.

    I feel the term "radical feminist" is an accurate descriptor of the ideological position of Melissa Farely, as reading any number of her works (especially the non-academic ones) linked to in this article. Admitedly, I have not seen a statement to the effect of "I am a radical feminist" from Melissa Farley, but its clear from her writing and its clear that this POV informs her research. The article originally described her as a "radical feminist research psychologist", which I think accurately contextualizes her work. User:Axiomatica has removed the "radical feminist" part, an edit that I dispute. I also note Melissa Farley's opposition to all forms of sex work and her opposition to the term "sex work" itself. In spite of the fact that the subject of the article happens not to like the term, I cannot find a better general term for prostitution, pornography modeling, and stripping, collectively. I also note that its only among radical feminism and some conservatives that the term "sex work" is considered problematic – the term is commonly used by many NGOs and health workers.

    Also, User:Axiomatica has stated their intention to invite the subject of this article, Melissa Farley, to help edit the article. I find this move very troubling and in direct violation of the stated guidelines in WP:Autobiography.

    User:Axiomatica and I both have serious doubts about the neutrality of each others edits. In real life, I'm strongly opposed to Melissa Farley's views and think that her research is highly flawed. I nonetheless have attempted to make a good-faith effort to present the subject and the controversy around the subject in a fair NPOV manner. User:Axiomatica has stated their intention to create a more NPOV article, however, I find that many of the edits advocated by this user unfairly blunt or censor real criticisms of Melissa Farley and her work and tilt the article toward an advocacy POV. Peter G Werner 06:21, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Moving criticisms to a "Criticism" section is hardly "blunting" criticism. It is an attempt to create an orderly encyclopedia entry. Take a look at the Bill O'Reilly bio. His critics are certainly more notable that the ones listed in this article and they are in a criticisms section. That does not blunt their criticism.--Axiomatica 00:24, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Statement by User:Axiomatica[edit]

My interest here is in removing bias and accurately reflecting the biography, research, and conclusions of the subject in question in an encyclopedic and NPOV tone. I understand that Iamcuriousblue aka Peter G Werner may disagree with Dr. Farley's conclusions, and even dislike her, but I take my cue on biographies from WP:BLP which very clearly states that the views of critics should be relevant, well-sourced, and "should not overwhelm the article or appear to side with the critics". I continually urge Mr. Werner to create Wikipedia pages for the critics of Dr. Farley's work so we can link to them.

Regarding the 3 items currently in dispute:

  1. About title "radical feminist". The fact that this cannot be sourced should be the end of the question. If that is not enough, WP:BLP clearly states that Editors should remove any contentious material about living persons that is unsourced. The term "radical feminist" is clearly contentious. I would also say that placing it as the first words in the title is quite misleading. "A radical feminist research psychologist" could be interpreted as a research psychologist who studies radical feminists.
  2. About the term "sex work". My investigation has shown that Dr. Farley does not use this term in her work. It is also apparently not a common term in the field of serious social science and psychological research. Even the Wikipedia "sex work" page refers to it as a "political term." I see no problem in using the extra words "prostitution, pornography modeling, and stripping" if that is indeed what is being discussed at the time. There is no need for a trendy, political hot button phrase to be in this biography.
  3. Mr. Werner seems unduly concerned with the fact that I have asked Dr. Farley for cites and sources on her research and writing. I'm not sure how to react to that. This biography entry was in need of serious sourcing and citing. Who would know better than Dr. Farley what she has said and where she is cited? I don't see anything wrong with trying to create an accurate and useful biographical entry.

It has taken far too long for these simple edits to be done. Now that I have been dragged into this, I am in the process of writing up a short section on Dr. Farley's research, so I imagine this won't be the last time we will issue a request for comments. --Axiomatica 08:34, 21 June 2007 (UTC)


  • I would like to note that User:Axiomatica's claims about the usage of the term "sex work" are grossly misleading. The term is not a "trendy, political hot button phrase", but a well accepted general term encompasing different types of sex work. The term is used in social sciences and academic writing – a Web of Science search for "sex work" OR "sex worker" OR "sex workers" reveals 1,995 hits while a Lexis/Nexis academic search yields the maximum 125 hits for each term.

A Google Book search for these terms again reveals some 1,200 hits, including numerous academic titles using the term. Axiomatica, as a sole source, refers to the Wikipedia article, Sex worker, an article that is itself disputed for its neutrality.

How many cites are there for the words "prostitute" and "prostitution" in those databases? I would venture a guess that prostitution is the more frequently used word.--Axiomatica 05:00, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

I'd also like to note that editors should refer back to earlier debates between User:Nikkicraft, myself, and other editors – these are relevant here, as Axiomatica is taking many of the same stances on what the article should look like that Nikkicraft did. And I'll note that earlier consensus was that Nikkicraft's version of the article was grossly POV, which is why this article was knocked back to a two-sentence stub for several months. I should also note that much of the disputed material in the article Sex worker, including the take on the issue stated by Axiomatica, represent earlier contributions by Nikkicraft. Peter G Werner 15:19, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

My contribution to date have been mostly to restore a list of published works and to try to remove biased terms. This seems quite different from what Nikkicraft tried to do. Having read back through that section I would say that Nikkicraft was definitely not treated in accordance with the "Please do no bite the newcomers" policy at WP:BITE! Perhaps iamcuriousblue is content to chase away contributors and keep this bio as a two sentence entry, but there is clearly more to this person's work than two sentences. Judging by how difficult it has been to date to remove a few simple biased words, it's no wonder there hasn't been more progress on this entry.--Axiomatica 05:00, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Regarding question 1, the "radical feminist" description, I absolutely agree that if it is unsourced then it should not be there. I would go further in that if a source were found, then we need to make sure it's not alone, i.e if we have 10 books describing Melissa Farley, then the majority would need to use this or similar terminology for it to be included in the article. Kevin 07:24, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
  • I notice that Peter G Werner aka iamcuriousblue is not waiting for consensus from the comments before proceeding with edits, so I will do likewise. I have removed the term "sex work" yet again. Interestingly the cite inserted by Peter G. Werner doesn't even mention the term "sex work." If Dr. Farley doesn't use the term and the cited source doesn't use the term, how can it be a cite for the use of the term? I have furthermore removed all the references to "sex work" in that paragraph. Dr. Farley has made it clear in her own writings that she doesn't study sex work, she studies prostitution. You seem to be trying to deliberately distort or misrepresent her work. Why not just use the commonly accepted term "prostitution? It is a simple and descriptive term. I also removed the last sentence "She is also largely opposed to the sex workers' rights movement, which includes many advocates of legalizing or decriminalizing both prostitution and the purchase of sexual services." There is no cite for this, it reads like someone's personal opinion.--Axiomatica 03:32, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
  • I removed this sentence "Farley is a resident of San Francisco, where she has conducted much of her research." The first part is removed for privacy reasons as per WP:BLP. The second part is just plain erroneous as most of her research has been conducted elsewhere.--Axiomatica 03:39, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

At this point, I'd like to point out that User:Axiomatica is become just plain combative and asserting article ownership. I've reverted to the previous version, with language about sex work left in, the intro language about "radical feminist research psychologist" left out, as per the consensus so far. If User:Axiomatica has a problem with my edits, I suggest the user take it to mediation.
Anyone who reads the last year's worth of Peter G Werner;s discussions will have no problem figuring out just exactly who is combative and asserting article ownership here. I made a few edits for POV and witnessed iamcuriousblue aka Peter G Werner come completely unglued. Apparently this style of overreaction has chased away contributors in the past, but his passion made it clear to me that there was some kind of bias going on here and it seems I was right. It took thousands of words to finally delete the term "radical feminist", an unsourced title that should have been a complete no brainer. I dislike long recursive discussions like this one, but I dislike bias more, so I will continue to engage.--Axiomatica 00:42, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
You seem not to have much problem with bias when those biases are your own. Fine – you continue to "engage", I'll continue to revert. If you don't like it, there are mediation procedures in Wikipedia – I suggest you use them. Honestly, I sincerely do wish some other editors would step in and help achieve some sort of consensus here. Peter G Werner 02:27, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
As for my "jumping the gun", here's a record of the edits I've made:
No one used the term "jumping the gun".--Axiomatica 00:42, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
1) Changed "NPOV" to "NPOV|article" – attempting to have the text read "article" rather than "article or section". (This didn't work though – I should probably be using a different tag.)
2) Added a reference on Melissa Farley's view on the term "sex work" (None of the article text was changed).
The quote you added simply seems to imply that she doesn't think the term "sex work" is a useful term. --Axiomatica 00:42, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
3) Internal linked the term "radical feminist" in the sentence "Farley's critics also hold that her findings largely reflect her radical feminist ideology." Since the previously hotlinked words "radical feminist" was removed, I simply hotlinked this text where it remained. (BTW, this language on the part of Farley's critics is well-referenced and should remain.)
In other words, no changes to the substance of the article, only references and internal links. This is hardly "jumping the gun". It seems like you're looking for an excuse to step in an remove any edits that you feel are unsympathetic to Melissa Farley.
At this point I want to ask what are User:Axiomatica's personal connections with Melissa Farley or Nikki Craft. I'd like an honest answer to this question. Peter G Werner 05:50, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
I'll also note that I can easily find references for the mutual animosity between the sex worker-rights movement and Melissa Farley. Apparently, if I add such references, I'm "jumping the gun", but if I don't add such references, its an unreferenced statement and should be removed. This is inherently a bad-faith position to take. Peter G Werner 06:19, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

At this point I think it would be helpful to put each point of contention in its own section so we can discuss one point at a time to make the discussions easier to follow.--Axiomatica 01:11, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

The title "radical feminist"[edit]

I believe this has been settled. If there are no cites, it should not be in the entry.--Axiomatica 01:11, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

The term is explicitly referred to in the critiques by Weitzer, is referenced, and should definitely remain in the section that its in, concerning criticism of Farley research and biases. Tracy Quan also criticizes Farley's "extreme form of feminism". Peter G Werner 01:57, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

The term "sex work"[edit]

Dr. Farley does not use this term in her work and in fact has written that it is a misleading term. Dr. Farley's research is on prostitution and it's impact on prostitutes. The term "sex work" is fairly recent and is itself controversial. Why not use the term that describes the subject's work?--Axiomatica 01:11, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Farley's research is on street prostitutes, and that's already clearly stated in the article. Farley's "abolitionist" politics are a position on sex work in general, not just on the subset of sex work known as prostitution. The term "sex work" used in this more general sense is widely accepted both in academia and outside of it – just because Melissa Farley (and apparently you) doesn't happen to like that term for ideological reasons is no reason to follow that usage here. Peter G Werner 01:57, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't really have an idealogical opinion on the term "sex work", I am still trying to figure out what it means. For example, why would working in a strip club be "sex work." My understanding is that strip clubs are for stripping and are not houses of prostitution, but I could be terribly out of date in my understanding of this. Everything I've read from Melissa Farley has to do with prostitution -- exchanging sex for money. She studies the effect of prostitution on the prostitutes from what I can tell. It is just a mystery to me how you can pontificate on her opinion about "sex work" when she is researching and reporting on "prostitution." It is entirely possible that I am woefully out of date and all strippers are prostitutes, but you are going to have to cite that to convince me. Or perhaps Farley has done a study of "sex workers" that I just haven't seen yet. Just point it out to us please.--Axiomatica 04:27, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm tired of going around and around with you about this. You are either being totally disingenuous or just plain ignorant. Once again, "sex work" is not a synonym for "prostitution". (Your point about whether strippers are or aren't prostitutes is a red herring.) Sex work is a general term that includes porn acting, prostitution, stripping, and camgirl work, among other things.
I apologize if I am being dense, but if I don't understand this term "sex work", I would guess other people also don't understand it, so please be patient. Descriptive words and phrases DO matter in science and research and I am just trying to understand this rather vague term and how it relates to Dr. Farley's work. So if "sex work" includes porn, prostitution, stripping, and camgirl(!?) work, and you say Melissa Farley has studied all these things and is opposed to them, please just provide some kind of cite. All I can find is research on prostitution. Perhaps you have some other sources where she has studied and reached conclusions about porn, stripping, an camgirls (what the heck?). I cannot find such research. Please enlighten us. Thank you.--Axiomatica 08:20, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Melissa Farley, as a researcher, has only conducted research on street prostitutes. In her writing, as a radical feminist, she has taken a specifically abolitionist position on sex work of all kinds, which she simply sees as prostitution under another name. Unlike Melissa Farley, the overwhelming majority of people who are talking about porn work, stripping, and prostitution, as a whole use the term "sex work". Also, the prostitutes rights movement generally calls itself the "sex workers' rights movement". I believe debates between Farley and sex workers' rights activists are relevant to this article and that the term sex work should definitely be used here. Peter G Werner 05:15, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Ten minutes spent reading the Nine Country Study an other publications will refute the idea that Dr. Farley has only researched "street prostitutes." It is this kind of blanket dismisal of a researcher's work that keeps me engaging on this article. Let's at least represent the researcher's work accurately before trying to debunk it.--Axiomatica 08:20, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Criticism in a criticism section[edit]

Wikipedia policy in WP:BLP states that "The views of critics should be represented if their views are relevant to the subject's notability and are based on reliable secondary sources, and so long as the material is written in a manner that does not overwhelm the article or appear to side with the critics' material. Be careful not to give a disproportionate amount of space to critics, to avoid the effect of representing a minority view as if it were the majority one. If the criticism represents the views of a tiny minority, it has no place in the article." By putting the criticisms in a Criticism section we can easily comply with the Wikipedia policy.--Axiomatica 01:11, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I suggest you read Wikipedia:Criticism, rather than basing everything on your own rather creative interpretations of WP:BLP. Wikipedia:Criticism is quite clear on avoiding segregating criticisms into a "Criticisms" section whenever it is possible. And I hardly think the space given to criticisms even begins to be "disproportionate" (nor do her critics amount to some "tiny minority"). You are clearly in the wrong here as regards Wikipedia policy. Peter G Werner 01:57, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps you didn't notice, but Wikipedia:Criticism is an "essay". It is one person's opinion and that opinion is the subject of a significant amount of discussion and debate which so far renders the writer's point of view as a minority opinion. On the other hand, WP:BLP is the official policy of Wikipedia. If you are unclear on the difference between an essay and an official policy, I would refer you to WP:Policy which clearly delinieates the difference between policies, guidelines, and essays. This article also suggests a myriad of ways in which people can work together toward a better article and I sincerely suggest we follow those guidelines.--Axiomatica 04:50, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
In any event, there is no stated Wikipedia policy that states criticisms must go in a "Criticisms" section. Its simply what you want, and I don't think its the best course for the article. As regards WP:BLP, your interpretation of it is "creative" to put it mildly. Peter G Werner 04:53, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Removing Dr. Farley's city of residence[edit]

This was done for privacy reasons as per WP:BLP. Then iamcuriouosblue aka Peter G Werner put it back in. Since Wikipedia policy is crystal clear on this question, I am removing it immediately. This is another example of an edit that should really not be in contention.--Axiomatica 01:11, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I'll grant that you are partly correct on this issue. The "city of residency" language should go. That Melissa Farley's organization is based in San Francisco, that much of her research is done in that city (and I don't think the word "much" is an exaggeration – "much" does not mean "most" or "all"), and that she is sometimes active in the politics of that city regarding sex work issues (eg, the issue), however, is all information that is relevant to this article. Peter G Werner 01:57, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

"San Francisco, where she has conducted most of her research"[edit]

Even a cursory look at Dr. Farley's publications make it clear that most of her research has not take place in San Francisco. Among the countries where she has conducted research are: Canada, Columbia, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, United States, and Zambia. (from the summary of Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries as cited in the article.) This is another example of an edit that should be quite straightforward, yet iamcuriousblue aka Peter G Werner chose to add it back into the article. I am removing it because it is simply erroneous.--Axiomatica 01:11, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Proposal – cease editing this article for two weeks[edit]

This is turned into a rather nasty pissing contest between User:Peter G Werner and User:Axiomatica. It is quite clear that we are coming from opposing ideologies when it comes to sex work (which shouldn't be a problem in and of itself), that each of us has very different opinions as to where neutrality lies regarding this article, and that neither of us trusts the other to edit the article to an NPOV state. Ideally, others will come along to help edit the article and act as a "reality check" to both parties. I had hoped that posting an RfC in a couple places would help, but so far, there's been only one respondent who has only asserted his opinion on only one issue. (And I have conceded the point on that one unreferenced usage of the term "radical feminist".)

In my experience, people can sometimes be slow to respond to RfCs. I propose a "cooling off" period of two weeks, so that adequate time may be given for others to respond to the RfC and perhaps move this process along. By "cooling off", I mean no more editing of the core text of the article during that time. Citations and internal links, of course, could be added to existing text, and in fact, adding citations would be a good thing. If there's no response to the RfC after two weeks, then I suggest taking it to formal mediation. Peter G Werner 05:50, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

How interesting that now that iamcuriousblue aka Peter G Werner realizes he can't chase away someone from this article he suddenly proposes a moratorium on editing. I have just now added a long-needed "Research" section to the article (which needs cleanup on the cites) and am in the process of writing a short section on Dr. Farley's public statements and testimony. We might as well know what the "critics" are criticizing. I find the debate about the term "sex work" to be somewhat mystifying. You have a researcher with a decade of research on prostitution who is now characterized as having opinions about "sex work" which, as far as I can tell, is a quite vague and unscientific term that she doesn't even use. Why not just use the term prostitution, since Dr. Farley actually studies prostitution -- the exchange of money for sex. It could not possibly be more straightforward.--Axiomatica 08:10, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
OK, you're definitely behaving like a complete asshole at this point. I'm going to try to get the Mediation Cabal to step in, and in the meantime time simply revert your edits. I have nothing more to say to you. Peter G Werner 08:20, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry to see you revert a section that simply lists the subject's research, dates, partners, and conclusions. What can possibly be offensive about such a list? I will of course put it back in. Given that it took over 5,000 words to get the term "radical feminist" removed, I anticipate another 10,000 or so before we can actually add some useful information in here.--Axiomatica 08:27, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I have some more opinions as well, that might be useful now. Its a shame nobody else has come to the party yet. The cooling off period seems like a good idea, just be careful that editing citations and internal links doesn't become contentious. I would suggest forming a consensus here before making any changes for the 2 weeks. If the talk here can be kept concise as well, it will make it much easier for anyone intending to comment to get a grasp of the history. I'm going to have a longer read of the discussion to see if I can be of more help in the next day or so.
Before you go to a formal mediation, it might be useful to list it at the Mediation Cabal, who offer a more informal mediation. Kevin 06:10, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the tip on Mediation Cabal. That probably would be preferable to a formal mediation case if possible. Peter G Werner 07:06, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I think that sooner rather than later would be better. The current revert war is totally unproductive, and some of your recent edits have strayed over the line of civility. Kevin 08:54, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
You are, of course, right, but in my defense, I'll say I'm responding to extremely provocative behavior. At this point, I'm not even responding to User:Axiomatica because I don't even feel like I can have a civil conversation with this editor at this point. I have set up a Mediation Cabal case – I'm hoping there will be a response and soon. Peter G Werner 09:06, 25 June 2007 (UTC)


I have added the beginnings of a research section. These are simple statements of the date of research, the authors of the study, and the conclusions they drew. The links to cites and sources needs major work, but most of these are already linked to. It just seemed to make sense to lay out the basic outline of the research that seems to be at the core of all the "controversy."

This is fucking UNBELIEVABLE! Do you think a huge list of direct quotes has any place Wikipedia article? The information needs to be summarized, not just presented as a quotefarm. Just to let you know, I'll continue to revert this material as long as its presented in this form. Jesus, you claim not to be Nikki Craft, but you are doing exactly the same SHIT she was doing six months ago. Peter G Werner 08:17, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Just in case there's any question over what was reverted, it can be found under "Research" here. It should be obvious that this information is just simply a large list of direct quotes. Peter G Werner 08:31, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
These "quotes" come directly from the research study summary statements. These are all published studies. I have no problem with them being rewritten in prose, but given the contentious nature of this entry, I think the actual words from the summary are the most accurate representation of what the researcher(s) concluded. When I originally arrived at this article, all I could glean is that she was opposed to prostitution and "sex workers" didn't like that. There is clearly a body of work here that you don't want to see the light of day. I would refer you to any number of entries on research scientists, for a view of what the biography of a researcher should look like. It is not at all unusual for the results of research to be described in a biography entry.--Axiomatica 08:42, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Archived talk[edit]

I have archived last years discussion here. Kevin 09:49, 25 June 2007 (UTC)