Talk:Muhammad/Mediation Archive 3

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


Okay, I have thought a lot about how to best approach this case, because there are many issues at play here. All of them are subjective, and all of them have been debated ad infinitum. Therefore, I don't see much value in debating them again here, because in my experience, everyone brings out the same arguments and nothing is agreed upon. So, here's what I propose.

I am going to summarize what I think are the major sides of the issue:

  • Encyclopedic depictions of Muhammad should be included in the article. Removal on the basis of relevance or notability may be discussed on a per-image basis.
  • Depictions of Muhammad should not be included in the article since they are offensive to many Muslims who read Wikipedia, and the depictions may be made available in a separate article (such as Depictions of Muhammad).

Now. Sign below to indicate whether you agree or disagree that these two points adequately summarize the debate. If everyone agrees, we can proceed to compromise.


  • Agree, these seem to be the main issues at hand. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 23:51, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree with several added points. First, there may very many Muslims who are not offended by images of Muhammad, who distinguish themselves, presumably, by their lack of involvement in this issue. I am personally acquainted with several Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, who feel the issue entirely irrelevant, (and we can only surmise that the Muslim creators of the images did not find them offensive.) There is no reason to believe that the editors involved in the image removal are (or are not) broadly representive of Wikipedia's Muslim readers. Contra BostonMA (below), all we can agree is that those who remove the image claim that it offends them and others. Further, it is not obvious that those who remove the images from Muhammad accede to depictions of Muhammad elsewhere on Wikipedia, or anywhere else: at least one serial remover, User:Embarkedaxis, who has been invited to participate here, has also been blanking Depiction of Muhammad, and I personally have no faith that this will be the end of the removal of the "offensive" images. We can agree that the fact of their presence elsewhere has been put forth as an argument for removing them from Muhammad.Proabivouac 00:25, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Thanks for notes, Proabivouac. Indeed I anticipated that some might assert that no images of Muhammad belong anywhere, and we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Re: Embarkedaxis - if the editor chooses to avoid this mediation, and we come to a consensus, and they disregard the consensus, they are essentially guilty of disruption or vandalism. --Aguerriero (talk) 02:01, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree. I would quibble with the wording somewhat, but that seems like overall a fair summary. —Chowbok 00:53, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Please do quibble. Consider the wording a first draft. We want to convey the spirit of the issue without using weasel words, and I am open to edit suggestions. --Aguerriero (talk) 02:11, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
      • Heh, okay:
  • Encyclopedic depictions of Muhammad can should be included in the article. Removal on the basis of relevance or notability may be discussed on a per-image basis.
  • Depictions of Muhammad should not be included in the article, since they are probably offensive to many Muslims who may read Wikipedia, and the depictions may be made available in a separate article (such as Depictions of Muhammad).
  • Agree, with wording direction here. Nonprof. Frinkus 04:17, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree; close enough, so stop bickering about wordings. The spirit of the issue is so obvious that the issue defines itself. Depictions of Mohammud or no depictions, that is the question. [When we're done with this one, let's move on to whether we can include pictures of the globe in the Flat-Earth Society pages.]DocEss 18:44, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
    • In my defense, I'm only bickering about wordings because Aguerrio asked me to. —Chowbok 19:42, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree, however other solutions can also exist. Terms including relevance or notability, Encyclopedic need to be defined because we had disagreement on them. Furthermore, should be discussed is a dangerous term because although in science article a discussion usually result in a solution but, believe me about this we had discussed in lenghts but had no solution. --- ابراهيم 15:53, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree; after studiously looking at all sides, I think this statement is true. Perhaps, Aguierro (have you seen this comments?), the statement should be reworded to say not "you think everyone falls into one of these two categories" but "you specifically fall into one of these categories". My experience is now that all disagreements have been people arguing that someone else doesn't fall into one of the categories, but that each individual does, although with different nuances. BTW, there is considerable disagreement of the term "relevant", as the case with BostonMA seems to have shown. -Patstuart(talk)(contribs) 15:13, 9 November 2006 (UTC)


  • Disagree (summary of why) I think there are at least two dimensions to the disagreement. One is whether or not offensive images should be informative to be included in an article. The other dimension is disagreement regarding which images are informative. I also believe the summary lacks neutrality. I am not aware that anyone has contested the idea that the images "are probably offensive to Muslims who may read Wikipedia", and so I don't believe that such an assertion belongs as a description of one side. Similarly, using the term "encyclopedic" in describing one side, while not the other, seems to me to not correspond to the arguments put forward on each side. --BostonMA talk 23:52, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Hm, I think you may be misinterpreting my summaries. Your first points re: "informative" are addressed by my first bullet. In other words, if an image is to be included, it is subject to discussion of its relevance and notability. Re: my statement that the images are probably offensive - isn't that the main reason people don't want them included? If you don't think they are offensive, but instead think they are irrelevant or non-notable, then you should agree with the first bullet rather than the second. My use of "encyclopedic" is meant to say that ONLY encyclopedia images should be included as a basic rule. I am not implying that NOT including images is unencyclopedic. I believe the dimensions to the disagreement you listed are covered in either of my summaries; remember, I am not asking if you agree with both summaries, and I asking if you agree that the two statements summarize the issue. --Aguerriero (talk) 00:24, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Hi, it is possible that I am misunderstanding. Could you please address these points?
  • You used the term "encyclopedic in this comment where you wikilinked to Wikipedia:Images#Pertinence_and_encyclopedicity. The text in that link makes no mention of a requirement of being informative, only "relevent". Your comments above suggest that by encyclopedic, you also mean informative. Is that correct?
  • "Informative" is part of the definition of encyclopedic, so yes.
  • If you intend to include "informativeness" in within the concept of "encyclopedicity, then I think matters stand as follows. Virtually all of those who oppose one or more of the images which have been added in the last month have stated that they believe images should be informative. I think all of the opponents of the new images would thus fall under the first bullet. Is that what you want?
  • I don't want anything, and if no one here objects to certain images of Muhammad if they are informative, then that will make mediation much easier. However, DocEss and others have suggested that we address the issue of images at large, suggesting that some editors have feelings about the issue that extend beyond the scope of just one image. So we will clarify that first. Determining whether one particular image is encyclopedic is simple.
  • You state "If you don't think they are offensive..." I don't believe it is an issue whether individual editors find the images offensive. The question is whether them may be offensive to some Wikipedia readers. I am not aware that anyone has contested this.
  • It is relevant for this mediation, though. If no one involved here finds the images offensive, then we are not mandated to discuss that point. We cannot guess at what the community at large might find offensive.
  • Your statement continues "but instead think they are irrelevant or non-notable, then you should agree with the first bullet rather than the second." What if I think an image is notable as an image, related and thus in some sense "relevant", but does not increase the informative content of the article?
  • Then you are asserting that the image is not encyclopedic, and thus you agree with bullet point one.
Just to clarify, I understood that you were not asking if I agreed to both bullet points. (Although with minor changes to each, I agree with both). What I do believe is that these two bullet points do not clearly describe the differences in the current conflict. --BostonMA talk 00:49, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
I have no problem with your proposing minor changes to the statements. It appears that most of your differences have to do with word choice, which are minor. --Aguerriero (talk) 02:10, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
If I were to change your bullet points, they might look something like this:
  • One group of editors believe that at least one or more of the images of Muhammad that have been placed in the Muhammad article are not informative with respect to the primary subject of that article, Muhammad. As such, one or more of the images that have been placed in the Muhammad article should not be included. Some may believe that virtually all images of Muhammad are uniformative in the context of the Muhammad article, while others believe that some might be informative in that context.
  • Other editors believe that to remove any image from the Muhammad article on the plea that the image is non-informative in that context, amounts to censorship. This may be because it is held that images said to be depicting Muhammad are informative in the context of the Muhammad article in general, or because it is believed that it is unimportant that they are non-informative.
I would argue that belonging to one or the other bullet point more accurately reflects who has added one or more image and who has removed one or more image, although there may be one or two editors who do not fit. What are your impressions of this restatement? --BostonMA talk 02:47, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, BostonMA. I understand what you are getting at. If you don't mind, I'd like to let the "agree/disagree" poll to continue before we make changes, as I suspect our course of action will differ depending on the outcome. It is noted that you disagree, and after the poll is concluded, we will work on integrating changes of those who dissent and then re-poll. --Aguerriero (talk) 04:52, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
As a little bit of background: I jumped into this discussion a few weeks ago, not too long after it flared up. I was surprised to note that Boston wanted one of the images removed, but the other to stay. The first was just a general depiction, and the second was Mohammed with the black stone, which is a historical event, and thus relevant (by his estimation). His position may be a third ground, in practice if not in theory, simply becuase he sparred more often with the "keep the picture" group than with the "get rid of them" group. If you read some of our discussion on the talk page, this may become clear: [1]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Patstuart (talkcontribs)
NOT historical event! We know for sure Muhammad DID preaching against the evil intercalation which shown in the first pic. Its only the LEGEND that he help put the black stone idol in sacred Kaaba. Maybe because it make it look real? Like the pic he's riding the flying horse, or the cave where the editors try to say, look, here he got his first revelations. Telling people stop intercalating at least were know is real.Opiner 02:23, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Opiner, this is probably not the time or place to discuss your objection. I would be happy to discuss it in an appropriate place. --BostonMA talk 02:54, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Boston, if you move over to agree, then I will as well. -Patstuart(talk)(contribs) 02:58, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

* Disagree: I am sorry but at this point I am not comfortable with agreeing too. It is because of two reasons

    • It oversimplifies things because the true groups are 3 and not 2. First group wants to keep some picture and remove others. Second group wants to keep ALL of them as long as they are showing Muhammad and few hundred years old (they are all okay). Third group wants to remove all of them because we have no picture old enough to truly represent Muhammad and they are very offensive to them.
    • The first point talks about discussion and that we are doing since I have joined wikipedia and seen Muhammad article. See talk achieve we have talked so many time that I am started getting bored with it. Each of that discussion ends on disagreement and result in an edit war. That means first point is only saying keep the status-quo. If that is an end of a mediation then what we have achieved? Nothing!
    • The definitions of "encyclopaedic", "relevant to the article" has been topic of many discussions and become very disputed. They need to be expend on and specified in more detailed fashion. Otherwise all of us use them for presenting our points and no one agree with each other.

I agree with second solution (if that's a solution) but the first one needs to rewritten (see above points). --- ابراهيم 11:48, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Note to disagreeing parties

I want to stress that at this time I am not asking you to agree to anything other than that my two points are basic statements of the issues. While I understand your concern that "encyclopedic" has not been defined, we can define it with respect to depictions of Muhammad later in the mediation. If it helps you come to agreement, I will add a third "side" that all images should be included. --Aguerriero (talk) 14:22, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Another thing - I don't think anyone's position is "to keep ALL of them as long as they are showing Muhammad and few hundred years old". The closest person to that position seemed to be DocEss, and he has agreed with my assessments above. --Aguerriero (talk) 14:29, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Aguerriero: I'm not quite sure what you're getting at, here, when you refered to my position. I think I can clarify somewhat. I agreed with what I was asked to assess (i.e., your two points above). I don't quite understand, though, the reference to ALL; I believe that any and all images could be included, not should be; I mean , heavens, I'm not advocating we need farcical images of Mohammud with a bomb in his turban in the Mohammud Article or an image of Moses windsurfing the Red Sea in the Moses Article! We must remain encyclopoedic, insofar as that word is clear on the surface; images in any article must obviously be germane to the topic.DocEss 18:08, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
You are understood. What I was getting at is that BostonMA seems to believe that there are some who want any images in the article regardless of questions of being encyclopedic, and my point is that no one seems to be taking that position. --Aguerriero (talk) 14:15, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Are you sure that no one thinks that all few hundred years old pictures (not joking/mockery) of Muhammad are encyclopaedic? --- ابراهيم 14:21, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Who said that? That is a ludicrous claim anyway - anything added to Wikipedia has to be held to standards, and has to be measured for being encyclopedic relevance. Once we all agree that it is possible for that to occur, we can move on to defining what is considered encyclopedic for this article. --Aguerriero (talk) 14:25, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I am going to agree because I do NOT want the mediation to be in deadlock at some point. I really wish to see this problem solved. However, please do not have a solution that say something like point one because it needs to be expended on and clear cut defined. I personally really like solution number two or any other solution on those lines. --- ابراهيم 15:43, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Refining positions[edit]

Okay, based on all of the discussion in the previous section and my interactions with BostonMA, I am going to try to refine the summary of positions below:

  • Encyclopedic depictions of Muhammad should be included in the article, and held to defined standards of notability and relevancy. Standards will be defined in this mediation.
  • Depictions of Muhammad are not informative (and by extension, not encyclopedic) because the physical appearance of Muhammad is unknown, and the depictions are offensive to many Muslims. As such, the depictions should not appear in the article.

I am asking that you agree that you fit into one of these categories. It is not necessary to state agree or disagree unless your position has changed. I am simply trying to satisfy everyone so we can move on. --Aguerriero (talk) 15:55, 9 November 2006 (UTC)


  • Agree - definitely -Patstuart(talk)(contribs) 16:13, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree, I fit into one of those positions, but still fit into one of the first set aswell. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 18:02, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree, with all of my side of fears. I agree in good faith and hoping for the best. --- ابراهيم 07:40, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree - But, it should be added that in the article on Jesus there is a large amount of art venerating Jesus as made by Christians, likewise Rama, Visnu, Buddha, Joseph Smith, Jr. etc to the followers of those respective religions. The vast majority of art venerating Muhammad, indeed of Islamic art in General, is calligraphic, and there is a complete lack of Islamic calligraphy in general on Wikipedia, reflecting its bias, and is especially prominent here. --Irishpunktom\talk 10:08, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
    • You have to look down because I think now position has been changed a bit. --- ابراهيم 10:10, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree BhaiSaab talk 19:51, 11 November 2006 (UTC)



Can you please also add after "unknown" in second point and they are offensive to many Muslims ? --- ابراهيم 16:08, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Done. --Aguerriero (talk) 16:11, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. However these are two separate/independent points. They are not related by thus (may be furthermore or also instead). --- ابراهيم 16:14, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm going to take the extraordinary, and hopefully non-harmful step of removing the word "thus" - the context is better then. -Patstuart(talk)(contribs) 17:11, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Please do not halt the mediation on account of me. However, in all due respect, I do not see why my consent is required.

I am not suggesting it, but we could ask the questions:

  • Do you consider yourself a Muslim?
  • Do you not consider yourself a Muslim?

It is probably true that everyone would agree that they fall into one or the other category. It is also probably true that everyone would agree that everyone falls into one another category. Finally, it is conceivable that an editor might believe that the conflict is about Muslims versus non-Muslims. All these things might be true, yet that does not mean that such a breakdown correctly describes the conflict.

Although there is an editor who has expressed his opinion that all images of Muhammad are uninformative, that does not mean that the conflict is between those who hold that editor's opinion and everyone else. That editor expressed his opinion a year ago, but the general consensus among editors at that time was that an image of Muhammad was appropriate. This editor adhered to this consensus (while disagreeing) and did not revert the image. For a year! Since then he has also expressed that altough he disagrees with having an image, he can live with one (not necessarily happily). There simply was no conflict for a year. Thus to describe the current conflict as one between those who hold this editor's views, and those who don't, does not describe the existing conflict.

In a separate conversation, it was suggested that even though the summary of the conflict might not be an "historically" accurate description of the conflict, it nevertheless has value in that it commits one side (why only one side?) to a willingness to discuss images on a case by case basis. If that is the case, might I suggest that we ask each participant in this mediation, whether they agree to consider each image on a case by case basis, and to include in article those and only those images that are determined to be encyclopedic and informative for that article. Sincerely, --BostonMA talk 16:27, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Your consent is required because you filed the mediation request, and because mediation cannot work unless all involved parties agree. Otherwise, it's not mediation, it's just someone winning. Do you or do you not fall into one of the refined statements? In response to your concern that one side commits to willingness to discuss images on a case by case basis: this is simply logic. Anything added to Wikipedia is subject to discussion. If one's position is that no image is acceptable, logically that is the end of the discussion for that person. No matter what image is presented, they will say no. That is the essence of point two, which you may note has now been amended to cover someone who wants to exclude them because they are uninformative or they are offensive. For the purposes of the article, the two have the same result (the image is not there for the reader) and thus they are in the same category. It is a moot point to ask editors if they agree to consider each image on a case by case basis. Why? Because every image is different. All we can do is try to agree in principle whether images should even be considered, but we're not even that far yet. Right now, we are just trying to agree what sides have been taken. --Aguerriero (talk) 17:22, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
The question I ask is why is my consent to a particular description of the conflict necessary? You ask, do I fall into one of two categories. The answer is yes. Just as if you asked me whether I fell into one of the two categories "Muslim" or "non-Muslim". However, I do not believe that your summary accurately or fairly describes the two sides in the conflict, even though all editors may fall into one category or the other. Although you say that it is only logic that anything added to Wikipedia is subject to discussion, it is perhaps not agreed to by all that any image is subject to a discussion regarding its informative value for a particular article, and that those and only those images that are encyclopedic and informative for an article ought to be included in that article. That is why I suggest you test this by asking it as a question.
With regard to your point that "if one's position is that no image is acceptable, logically that is the end of the discussion for that person. No matter what image is presented, they will say no." Why is it the end of the discussion? Is the editor unwilling to discuss? Does the editor have no valid points to make? If you are trying to get everyone to agree in principle whether images should even be considered, why don't you please ask that as a direct question? Sincerely, --BostonMA talk 17:47, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Because we're not there yet. I'm not ready to ask the question, "should images be considered?" Please trust me that the question will be asked and answered, just not yet. --Aguerriero (talk) 17:53, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Then please move on despite my disagreement with your summary of the dispute. Sincerely, --BostonMA talk 17:58, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Boston, you started the darned issue and now you can't even help define the issue. Goodness - either you agree that the proposed statements are the issue or you do not - please stop writing wordy essays. Be a man - agree or disagree. Hit-and-run editing in Wiki is a waste of everyone's time. DocEss 18:35, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
DocEss, I have offered my own opinion regarding the definition of the issue. Both extensively [2] and in summary fashion. I have done my best to help define the issue. Please avoid comments like "be a man". I have stated my disagreement, although I hope that the mediation will continue without my agreement to the current summary. Sincerely, --BostonMA talk 18:48, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Impress me, then. Rephrase those two statements above to read like you want. We don't need an essay. We don't need a rambling monologue. We don't need a critique. We just need two sentences phrased in this "Be it resolved" tone, one sentence on the por-image side and one on the -no-image side. Simple stuff - two sentences. What do you propose those two statements should be?DocEss 18:54, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
As it states in the paragraph above I already offered a summary in the "Be it resolved" form. I have also been discussing another summary with the mediator, which I will reproduce here (with a minor modification).
"Depictions of Muhammad, if they are encyclopedic, relevant and informative in the context of the Muhammad article should be included in the article. Images of Muhammad which do not meet these criteria should not be included. The debate to be resolved by this mediation concerns the standards by which encyclopedicity, relevance and informativeness will be judged."
[optionally include bullet items representing different standards that have been offered]
"Please indicate your agreement or disagreement with this description of the matter to be mediated."
Doc, perhaps you could vote either yes or no to the ascersion, and state very strongly that you believe that an image should be included, but obviously it would have to be relevant (I don't see why you would disagree with the relevant clause). The definition of relevant can be brought up later. This might help out any concerns that Boston has. Patstuart(talk)(contribs) 18:39, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Pat, unlike others here, I followed the instructions: I was told: "It is not necessary to state agree or disagree unless your position has changed." My position has not changed. Secondly, Boston's concerns(whatever they are!) can hardly be addressed by anything I say.DocEss 18:43, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm talking about the second round of voting directly above, because the original question has been changed. I know your position hasn't changed, but it might help out some of boston's concerns -Patstuart(talk)(contribs) 18:48, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Read the instructions above in the section Refining Positions. People! Pay attention.DocEss 18:49, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Proposed edit by BostonMA

What does everyone think of BostonMA's proposed edit to the first bullet? "Depictions of Muhammad, if they are encyclopedic, relevant and informative in the context of the Muhammad article should be included in the article. Images of Muhammad which do not meet these criteria should not be included. The debate to be resolved by this mediation concerns the standards by which encyclopedicity, relevance and informativeness will be judged." --Aguerriero (talk) 14:06, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Agree --BostonMA talk 14:16, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Agree Yes this described my postition, so did that last two. The difference is very subtle. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 14:20, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Agree --Striver 19:22, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I think Boston's proposed edit does not materially change the meaning of what Aguerriero originally wrote nor of his subsequent revision and it amounts to motherhood. We all know what the real issue is and we all know about Wiki policies on image relevance. But if it'll silence the noise and speed up the process....DocEss 16:51, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Agree. -- ابراهيم 16:57, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
*sigh* It seems to me that I agree more with DocEss. The argument is principally over which images are "informative" and "encyclopedic", but several people have said that no image is encyclopedic, while others say an image can be encyclopedic. Which brings is back to exactly what the first statement said, except that this statement is a bit more confusing (no offense, Boston). Patstuart(talk)(contribs) 19:44, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Round and round we go on the diversionary-go-round. Whilst we argue no images can get uploaded. Let's hurry up - humanity needs images!DocEss 20:56, 10 November 2006 (UTC)P.S. (I know it hurts to agree with me, Pat, but you'll be better for it in the end.)

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