Talk:Roger Scruton

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WHO Issue[edit]

A couple of lines were removed from the WHO paragraph due to length. Personally I think the situation was significant enough to warrant the couple of hundred words included; certainly if it were to be reduced, the names and locations of his articles on smoking could potentially be removed - these could be found through the links provided. Matters such as the size of his salary from a tobacco company, and the letter from his wife making explicit the arrangement (and requesting a pay-rise) are extremely pertinent, and seem like definite inclusions. The heading should also reflect the content, which relates to tobacco company funding while writing about tobacco. Any thoughts on whether this paragraph is too long?

I notice there have been a couple of deletions / reverted on the section covering smoking, and the issue of tobacco funding. Please feel free to discuss any concerns or issues here if there is anything you think could be more concise, requires a reference, or could be added. Marty jar (talk) 18:16, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Jprw seems to think there are BLP problems with the material. I take BLP seriously, but Jprw has been unclear about exactly how he thinks the material is a problem under BLP. It would help if he could explain his position here. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 20:25, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

I'm surprised editors cannot see why this material may be problematic for a BLP:

1. It's not consistently properly sourced ("without declaring an interest", etc.) 2. It carries too much weight and is gone into in too much detail 3. The entire episode is based on what Scruton claims was an email stolen by The Guardian; the incident has only received attention in The Guardian.

The account at least needs to be pared down, and perhaps deleted altogether. Sorry for the delay in responding. Jprw (talk) 08:33, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

If there really were a BLP problem here, I would think that more editors would have noticed it. In fact you appear to be the only editor who sees a problem. Removing the tobacco material altogether seems extreme and unwarranted to me. I would recommend that you consider the views of the larger Wikipedia community. Take the issue to the BLP noticeboard if you really think there is a problem. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 10:02, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
I think two paras is fine in a fairly long article. Please add more sourcing if needed. Span (talk) 10:13, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
I am not able to add more sourcing. I am not sure either why more sourcing should be required. Note that I was not the editor who originally added the material. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 10:16, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant the comment generally. If sourcing is being queried, then I'd encourage more sourcing. Span (talk) 10:48, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
The point is that there aren't any more sources apart from the Guardian article – which is based on a stolen email. I still feel that the section needs to be pared down and that the excessive detail gone into is a reflection of certain editors' antipathy towards Scruton, i.e. it is non-neutral in tone. Further evidence of this is that editors do not even acknowledge that this material may be problematic from a BLP standpoint. As for the comment If there really were a BLP problem here, I would think that more editors would have noticed it. In fact you appear to be the only editor who sees a problem – thank goodness you weren't the twelfth juror in Twelve Angry Men. Jprw (talk) 02:19, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
As I said, I'm not sure there is a problem. I don't consider it relevant what the Guardian article is based upon. But feel free to place a request for comment, or take up the issue on the BLP notice board, if you do see a problem. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 20:00, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
To add to the discussion above, I believe I was the editor who added the paragraphs on the Tobacco Industry conflict of interest, and tbh I'm rather puzzled by the nature of the discussion on the paragraph - I certainly don't see any substantive objection. To run through answers to a few points: 1) The claim that it was 'only' carried in the Guardian would be irrelevant if true as the accuracy of the source is not being contested. However it's not true anyway; Scruton himself acknowledged the conflict of interest problem, as did the IEA who changed their declaration policy, and it was carried by other outlets. 2) There's no evidence that the letter was "stolen", but regardless, this would again be irrelevant - It's provenance isn't disputed by those involved. 3) The references appear to have been sufficient; valid and direct, and no argument's been put forward contesting their accuracy. However to address any concerns, additional references will be added to provide further background. 4) It's a quite substantial conflict of interest issue from a polemicist who has written regularly about smoking, and has faced strongly verified accusations of involvement in actively seeking additional payment in exchange for taking a stance. It's validated by the public statements of Roger Scruton and colleagues. That's arguably about as strong and as relevant as any criticism can be. If you can shorten the 215 word paragraph without removing any of the relevant information, then it may be worth suggesting any minor rewordings here in the sandbox, but I don't agree that there's any concern over the use of space due to this short section in a 5,600 article. However perhaps raise it on the BLP board; invite additional consideration, or be specific about what your concerns are. Marty jar (talk) 21:07, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
The tobacco funding scandal appears to be a long-running issue...I notice it was previously entirely deleted(!), but later restored. I've made a couple of changes to the current edit. One was a quote from the subject's biographer who disliked him being criticised, which lacked relevance; the much more important one was that it was changed to suggest Scruton claimed Guardian journalists stole the leaked letter. Not only does this appear to be immaterial, but it's also not what he says on the link at all! He says it was stolen, and separately that it was published in the Guardian. For reasons of legality and accuracy, a bit of care should be taken here. I felt it would be taken as read that a 'leaked' letter was stolen in some way, but have left in the additional clarification and link anyway.Marty jar (talk) 17:31, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I fear that you are being a tad disingenuous. The material I added is well sourced and fully relevant and provides important facts, perspective and balance to this issue. The Dooley quote is absolutely pertinent, and springing from it could be another section dealing with the left's disparaging of Scruton during his career (he became a pariah at university etc.) Also, Scruton has claimed on numerous occasions that the email was stolen, surely this should be reflected here. By removing such references you deprive the section of balance and create a distinct impression of biased editing (you risk coming across as not wanting to allow the other side's point of view to be heard). Jprw (talk) 15:17, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Looking back I notice you were involved in the lengthy discussion about this section some time ago, but later deleted it in full after other editors disagreed with you on the content. I'd ask you not to resort to vandalism - it can just waste time, and we're here to discuss what improvements can be made, and making changes by consensus. Previous conversation on the topic went round in circles quite a bit, but to run through the points: 1) As noted above, the claim of the letter being stolen was left in the article. When you restored a full paragraph it was then included twice. 2) As described above, the link doesn't say Scruton claims it was stolen by Guardian journalists; he claims it was stolen, and later reported in the Guardian which is crucial in terms of legality and accuracy. 3) Personally I don't think it's notable that Scruton's biographer made a comment suggesting he didn't like him being criticised for this scandal; if you think it is, please seek agreement, or escalate for a third opinion in line with Wiki procedures. 4) Not sure why part of the talk section was removed, but it has been restored. Marty jar (talk) 20:59, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
1) There are numerous references to Scruton claiming it was stolen, I'll unearth a few 2) Very odd that you think the biographer's comment should be removed. He uses the WHO incident to illustrate how the leftist establishment has consistently set out to besmirch and libel Scruton. He chooses to highlight the WHO incident right in the intro to the biography (which is the only RS bio we have, excellent publisher, Dooley distinguished philosopher and writer). Very salient indeed I'd have thought. Why did you delete it without seeking consensus first? Again, your approach suggests bias and a dislike towards the subject. Keep POV out of it and include good relevant well-sourced material 3) I removed again the utterly odd section at the end which looked like vandalism – are you really wanting to keep this? Jprw (talk) 16:13, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Please read both of my responses above. They BOTH clarify that the allegation of theft has at no point been removed. To repeat, it's there, and already has a reference. Everything you say above about the 'leftist establishment' consistently setting out to "besmirch and libel" the subject illustrates why the biographer's implication is not included in that section - it's a POV issue. Unless there's an actual claim of libel, it doesn't add to the article - every political figures' biographer's would say their opponents enjoyed criticising them. If you feel it does add to the article - please escalate for a third opinion.Marty jar (talk) 11:39, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Stop putting your disingenuous spin on this. Scruton has not been criticised but vilified and persecuted by the Left throughout his career. His biographer chooses the WTO incident to illustrate this in a highly prominent part of his biography. Perhaps the irony is lost on you (the Left after all don't really do irony) that the prominence accorded to this incident here at Wikipedia, and editors refusing to allow Scruton's advocates to be heard, is a continuation of that bias and vilification. Jprw (talk) 09:27, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Leaving aside any POV issues, dispute over this section has dragged on and doesn't appear likely to be resolved through further discussion. In line with wiki procedures I've asked a couple of times above to either seek consensus, or escalate the procedure for third opinion, rather than repeatedly re-adding the section. That continues to be the case - if there's still disagreement, escalate the point for 'third opinion', or 'request for comment', and hopefully this brief point can be resolved.Marty jar (talk) 14:55, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
See earlier discussion re biographer point - appropriateness of a biographer believing people criticising his subject enjoyed it, and whether that adds to the article, etc. On the point about whether Scruton was fired, or wasn't asked for further articles, based on the reference, the wording has indeed been amended.Marty jar (talk) 21:15, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Its seems that Marty jar is unaware of the three reverts limit. The only person "dragging it out" is himself. ERIDU-DREAMING (talk) 20:37, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

RfC: Biographer quote[edit]

Does the subject's biographer's claim about the political motivation of their critics add to the section on tobacco funding? I have concerns that there's a POV issue around including it in a section specifically about a relatively non-contentious, referenced, factual issue, and one where the outcome wasn't political. Given the opinion of another editor on the subject being "criticised, vilified and persecuted" for political reasons throughout their career across a range of topics, should that be included as a comment in a different, broader section of the article, given that the claim is of general political attacks, rather than being solely in relation to the topic of this section? Marty jar (talk) 00:41, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

Marty, I think you need to clarify exactly what article text you are talking about. It may have been discussed above or previously, but I think newcomers to the discussion will find it hard to answer your question as it is currently written. Formerip (talk) 00:19, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

As always, opinions of notable people cited as opinions and which do not make contentious claims about individuals or very small organizations are allowed under Wikipedia policy. I find the section in question to be too long and detailed as to exact amounts of money, and thus possibly hitting UNDUE in a BLP at this point. Where the quote at issue (looking at the history of the article the identity of the quote is clear) appears to deal with the tobacco issue specifically, then that is the proper place for such a quote, however. Collect (talk) 11:23, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

  • Summoned by RfC bot. The section should be kept; it was well-documented and has impacted the subject's legacy. However, as Collect points out, it is currently unbalanced. This NYT article points out that the subject has often been a target of "liberal" media campaigns and the issue at hand (according to both the media outlets that suspended him and the subject himself) is not that the subject was on the payroll of a tobacco firm in the first place but that he did not disclose that fact. Taking money to lobby or advocate for an industry is not a crime but the way this section is currently written it certainly slants towards that conclusion. I'd like to see the section pared down and parity added.EBY (talk) 03:06, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Summoned by bot as well, but I cannot figure out what section is at issue. I agree with FormerIP that Marty needs to clarify his request. Coretheapple (talk) 15:10, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
It's the section on tobacco funding - tbf it does say that in the first line of the question, but I know a hyperlink may avoid the need for searching in future. Personally I don't think a comment on general political antipathy throughout somebody's career belongs in a section on a specific, non-political issue, but happy to agree on this, and thanks for the input. Certainly wouldn't agree on removing the figures though - that's the topic of the section - the pre-existing content was previously discussed between a number of editors (above).Marty jar (talk) 22:57, 20 January 2015 (UTC)