Talk:Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections/Archive 19

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Added another Gallup poll

here. Humanengr (talk) 20:19, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

@Geogene: You reverted w/ "Undue weight/OR. And to put it another way, that same poll shows Americans are more worried about Russia than are worried about Syria, Iraq, ISIS and 'war in the Middle East'". Wrong. "Situation in Iraq/ISIS" and "War/conflict between Middle East nations" were ranked at "*" in that latest poll, same as Russia. All you mentioned, along with Russia, are less than a dozen other issues. I can add some or all of those for context. Humanengr (talk) 21:05, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

@Geogene: Kindly explain your revert or undo it. Humanengr (talk) 22:47, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

This poll has almost nothing to do with the subject of this article. Also, it is undue unless it's been noted by other sources discussing Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.- MrX 🖋 22:54, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
Specific text from policy, please. Thx, Humanengr (talk) 01:06, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
You want specific text from policy that shows that this poll has almost nothing to do with the subject of this article? ??? I can't help you there. Here's one though: WP:ONUS. - MrX 🖋 01:27, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
So you don't have specific text from a policy. In any case, this should get us past that: Per Politico here: "The Trump administration’s relationship with Russia doesn’t rate among the public’s most important issues facing the country. The Russia issue didn’t even register in Gallup’s tracking of the most important problem facing the U.S. last month." Any other objections? Humanengr (talk) 02:46, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
The first is pretty old, and when it comes to polls, we need reasonably recent ones. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 03:09, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
Per webarchive, Gallup March 2017: 0%; the same tracking poll June 2018: <0.5%. Humanengr (talk) 04:52, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
Out of all the polls mentioned in passing in that Politico article, that's the only one that you think should be mentioned? Coincidentally, the only poll mentioned there that seems further your POV. I'm getting tired of this, Humanengr. Geogene (talk) 03:41, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
Bring them all in. No objections here. Humanengr (talk) 04:52, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
FWIW The recent polling seems also mentioned at right-leaning FoxNews, Forbes, The Federalist; and polling aggregator five thirty eight. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 02:20, 22 July 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Let’s try it this way: This same Politico article is already cited in the 3rd sentence of the section for the following: "As of February 2017 public-opinion polls showed a partisan split on the importance of Russia's involvement in the 2016 election." [cite 395] That selectively omits the text from Politico that immediately follows: "More broadly, the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia doesn’t rate among the public’s most important issues facing the country. The Russia issue didn’t even register in Gallup’s tracking of the most important problem facing the U.S. last month." The other topics from that article are already addressed by other cites, with the exception of whether Trump is too Putin friendly. You can bring that in if you want. Humanengr (talk) 22:48, 19 July 2018 (UTC)

Two things:
  1. The article is not about "Trump administration’s relationship with Russia"
  2. The 2017 poll data is outdated, and not particularly relevant, so why don't we just remove it?- MrX 🖋 23:23, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
Support removal of poll info from Feb 2017.Volunteer Marek (talk) 00:42, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
@MrX You missed that I already addressed the 'outdated' issue. To wit: "Since that time, Gallup tracking has shown a maximum of 1% of respondents finding the situation with Russia as the nation's most important problem. (As of June 2018, <1/2%.)" See this Webarchive link. Re your #1: Relevance is an interesting question. Maybe others have thoughts? Humanengr (talk) 03:06, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
UTC)
User:MrX - just for clarity, in “The 2017 poll data is outdated”...”why don’t we just remove it” — are you asking for reasons it belongs or are you saying to delete all 2017 poll info ??? (That would be all the Public Opinion section.) Markbassett (talk) 23:01, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
No, just "As of February 2017 public-opinion polls showed a partisan split on the importance of Russia's involvement in the 2016 election."- MrX 🖋 02:00, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
User:MrX - Mentioning existence of a strong partisan difference belongs from WP:DUE as it is mentioned often in RS re polls as a major outcome, and from WP:YESPOV the guidance to "describe disputes" and "including all verifiable points of view which have sufficient due weight". Anything where RS indicate about a 40% between the two partisan groups (e.g. Democrats 80/20 one way, Republicans 60/40 the other way) is hard to see how that does not qualify as a dispute or dissenting view. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 18:19, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
I disagree, and I've been pretty consistent about opposing most of the polling information. You can try an RfC if you like.- MrX 🖋 03:02, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
@MrX and Volunteer Marek: Re MrX’s #1: Rephrasing from above — Which specific WP policy provide criteria to judge relevance? Humanengr (talk) 04:38, 25 July 2018 (UTC)
Kindly provide policy to assure this is not bias. Humanengr (talk) 14:02, 1 August 2018 (UTC)

User:Humanengr I think the Feb 2017 addition is good to add clarity on the survey, and is a bit different topic than the 2018 survey discussion. In the section I’m a bit puzzled why other contents are there, particularly “l’affaire Russe” does not seem to belong in the public opinion section. Then again, why Saudis are even in article about Russian interference.... I think I will delete those two, suggest you edit Feb 2018, and continue to discuss 2018. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 23:16, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

@Markbassett — thx, I take it you mean “edit Feb 2017” in your last line. Humanengr (talk) 16:08, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
Humanengr Yes, I think you could add the mentioned "More broadly, the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia doesn’t rate among the public’s most important issues facing the country." on the basis of not having a more complete conveying of the cite. That's not the subject of this thread or objection to prior edit, so seems a valid edit to me that may mitigate your concern. (Opinions may vary, seems worth a try.) And while I do think the section has gotten a bit over the length it is DUE, I'd throw out diversions into opinions on Comey firing or Trump Jr. meetings as not about the topic before I'd limit new polls or additional info on old polls. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 17:54, 5 August 2018 (UTC)

@MrX, Re ‘Onus’, then, I’ll go with what y’all have provided — On 9/22/17, Benwitt added:

A poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 58% of respondents expressed a negative view of Russia, while 25% had a favorable view of the country. The poll also reported that a slim 48% of respondents believed that "there is clear evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help the Trump campaign."

Later that day, SPECIFICO edited the 2nd sentence. The first sentence has remained untouched. Humanengr (talk) 16:08, 5 August 2018 (UTC)

OK.- MrX 🖋 03:02, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────So then, here's a preliminary cut at an insert after the 3rd sentence of that section:

At that time, however, the broader issue of the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia, however, didn't even register among the most important problems facing the U.S., and has not risen above 1% of respondents in the Gallup tracking of 'Most Important Problem' since then. (As of July 2018, it was <0.5%.)[1]

and moving the strikethrough to the bottom of the section to better fit the time-flow — “The importance of Trump administration’s relationship with Russia has not risen above 1% of respondents in the Gallup tracking of 'Most Important Problem' facing the U.S. (As of July 2018, it was <0.5%.)[1]

[apologies for the re-work] Humanengr (talk) 11:39, 10 August 2018 (UTC)

Also, it seems that the 2nd sentence in that para could be removed or folded into the first. Thoughts?

Maybe like this:

Polls conducted in early January 2017, showed that 55% of respondents believed that Russia interfered in the election[2]; 51% believed Russia intervened through hacking.[3]

Humanengr (talk) 18:38, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ a b "Most Important Problem". August 6, 2018. Archived from the original on September 16, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  2. ^ "American Voters Back Sanctions For Russian Hacking, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds Israel, Palestinians Not Sincere About Peace, Voters Say". Quinnipiac University. January 13, 2017.
  3. ^ Reid J. Epstein (January 17, 2017). "About Half of Americans Think Russia Interfered With Election Through Hacking, Poll Finds". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 17, 2017.

Completely one-sided narrative is one definition of "Fake News"

Where is the mention that Crowdstrike was the agency responsible for "finding" that the Russians hacked the DNC, and the very relevant fact that the DNC servers have not been secured by law enforcement to conduct forensic analyses? Where is the information that Crowdstrike was employed by the DNC itself?

Where are the mentions of articles that question the level of confidence on the conclusions, such as, for example: https://theintercept.com/2016/12/14/heres-the-public-evidence-russia-hacked-the-dnc-its-not-enough/

Where are the references to articles which are not from the U.S. government intelligence agencies or use them as their primary source? Oh wait, there are none that do not US intelligence agencies... What can Wikipedia do to achieve a neutral POV? Maybe we should just consider them another entity disseminating official U.S. Intelligence community public information. In that case, Wikipedia is "fake news" for pretending neutrality. Please stop the B.S.! 71.221.136.186 (talk) 17:20, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

RFCs on Russian interference in the 2018 election

There are RFCs open at Talk:United States elections, 2018, Talk:United States House of Representatives elections, 2018, and Talk:United States Senate elections, 2018 regarding how Russian interference in the 2018 United States elections. Notifying this page because of the relevance to this article.Casprings (talk) 23:13, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

Russian Mafia involvement

It was the Russian mafia who influenced the elections in the United States, NOT the government. PLEASE correct this within the article! I am also a WikiProject Organized crime member and this needs to be encompassed within that WikiProject! (Bennyben1998 (talk) 17:06, 13 August 2018 (UTC)Bennyben1998)

Bennyben1998: I see that you just now added this to the article's lede. I have reverted it. We have to go with what Reliable Sources say, and they all say it was the Russian government, under direct supervision from Putin. If you have some sources to say it was the Russian mafia (which may be almost the same thing in current-day Russia) we need to evaluate them here at the talk page before you add anything to the article. --MelanieN (talk) 20:58, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
My reasoning is because electoral fraud is organized crime activity. You're not denying the fact that Russian mobsters exist? Are you? (Bennyben1998 (talk) 21:00, 16 August 2018 (UTC)Bennyben1998)
The Russian mob certainly exists, but there were no reports of significant electoral fraud in the USA for 2016, by mobsters or anyone else fwiw. — JFG talk 21:34, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
What does fwiw mean? (Bennyben1998 (talk) 23:37, 16 August 2018 (UTC)Bennyben1998)
For what it's worth. As for your reasoning: you seem to be saying that if there was crime, it must have been from organized crime sources. That does not follow. Crime can be committed by governments, or by individuals. --MelanieN (talk) 04:33, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
New book by Craig Unger does make a claim about connections to Russian Mafia, but it was long before the elections [1]. My very best wishes (talk) 13:48, 18 August 2018 (UTC)

7.5 Putin's admission

Section now includes the clause "but didn't respond to the second part of the question." I think it's decidedly unclear if he was responding to the first question, the second, or both, and RS's have conflicting reads on it [2]. If he heard the second question, why say yes and not deny it? I believe this clause should be replaced with something like. "but it is unclear if this affirmation referred to the entire question or the first part." ghost 01:04, 26 July 2018 (UTC)

Seems more like it needs secondary sources that provide such context and analysis. I think I have seen some that the he responded to the first part ... but they did not call it an “admission”. Cheers. Markbassett (talk) 04:23, 27 July 2018 (UTC)
This was reworked [3] by Neutrality. It now reads better and more...um, neutral. ghost 12:46, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
No, it doesn't. It just flipped the whole thing by ommitting any alternative readings of the exchange and restrict itself to provide only information pointing to one of the alternatives. It is pretty reasonable to assume, he did only answer to the first part of the question and the video shows, that he says "Yes I did." only once, not twice as in the transcript (of the simultaneous translation, which is pretty error prone). Even the reporter asking the question thinks it s likely Putin answered only to the first part (The Atlantic): '“You could interpret that to mean he’s answering ‘yes’ to both,” Mason told me, but “looking at it critically, he spent a good chunk of that press conference, just like President Trump did, denying any collusion. So I think it’s likely that when he said ‘Yes, I did,’ that he was just responding to the first part of my question and perhaps didn’t hear the second part.”'--131.169.232.74 (talk) 09:36, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
This "admission" runs contrary to dozens of declarations by Putin that he didn't have anything to do with interference in U.S. elections. It's obviously a misinterpretation of the translation due to the journalist asking two questions in the same breath, and Putin's answer being selectively edited. Better leave this story out of the article. — JFG talk 21:37, 16 August 2018 (UTC)

I disagree with removing it (which you did unilaterally I see). Even if we don't know whether he was responding to the second question (there was some belief at the time that he didn't even hear the second question because of technical problems or a translation delay), he was clearly affirming that he wanted Trump to win (we all heard his "da", repeated twice), and that needs to be in the article. --MelanieN (talk) 21:58, 16 August 2018 (UTC)

Yes, I'll add the "wanted Trump to win" part in the Putin section above. — JFG talk 22:25, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
 DoneJFG talk 22:32, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
OK, that's a good way to handle it. --MelanieN (talk) 22:42, 16 August 2018 (UTC)

I guess we have abandoned the term "alleged" just like the entire US media landscape? I guess its now a flat fact that the Russian government "interfered" in the US election because the US government says so lol. Kinda like the "flat fact" of Saddams WMD as reported by the Post and Times.


....why arent we using ALLEGED interference again? Is this an objective fact of the universe now, like physics? Bronsonkaahui (talk) 06:11, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

Yes, pretty much. – Muboshgu (talk) 16:54, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

Reuters: technical evidence for Russian hacking

It would seem this source is usable here.[1]

References

  1. ^ Menn, Joseph (July 14, 2018). "U.S. indictments show technical evidence for Russian hacking..." Reuters. Retrieved October 14, 2018.

BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 00:52, 14 October 2018 (UTC)

ALLEGED interference

Why on Earth arent we using the term ALLEGED interference? Is it now an objective fact of the universe that the Russian government "interfered" in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump? Last I checked that was just an assertion made by the US government. Russia has flatly denied the charges. So...how have we determined that this is a fact rather than an assertion? The evidence for involvement of the Russian GOVERNMENT has never been presented to the public.

So again why are we treating this as though its a flat fact like the media claims? They also reported Saddams WMD program as a flat fact and that turned out to be false. They also abandoned the term "alleged" WMD program just like "alleged" interference. We really need to start using the term ALLEGED in these cases because as of yet this is not a proven fact. Bronsonkaahui (talk) 06:16, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

Because unlike alleged WMDs in Iraq (nice try at a whataboutism), there's evidence that Russia interfered and is still interfering with the aim of supporting Trump. – Muboshgu (talk) 16:00, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
Indeed, we are still waiting for proof of allegations that Russian government is involved, and especially that Putin personally masterminded the whole affair. For the record, he laughs it off every time he's asked, but that's what any Bond villain would do! Face-smile.svg A few people from Russia apparently did some agit-prop via Twitter and Facebook, and had exactly 0.0001% influence on the elections. But sure, Russia succeeded in "sowing discord" beyond their wildest dreams. Until the global level of hysteria over this story dies down,[when?] Wikipedia has to follow the hysterics. — JFG talk 20:25, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
The CIA and FBI can't show us the evidence because it's super-classified, but they say there is clear technical evidence that the DNC hack was done by the Russians - even by named individuals within the Russian FSB - they were literally able to track the hacking to specific desks there.[4] I don't know how they do this, and I sure don't want them to let the Russians know how they do it either, but I believe them. You'd have to be a super-conspiracy-nut to think they are making this stuff up, all of them, in peril of their jobs (they work for Trump now after all) and liberty (giving false information to prosecutors is very much against the law). They also say there is clearcut evidence that the Russians coordinated with Wikileaks to get the material released at exactly the right time to mess up the Democratic National Convention, and later the election.[5] This is not really in the realm of doubt any more. --MelanieN (talk) 21:21, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
It would not be without precedent Rationale_for_the_Iraq_War#Weapons_of_mass_destruction. Also didn't someone recently get fired from the FBI for similar reasons? But anyhow, JFG is again correct. The consensus among RS right now is that it was totally a super big deal, so that is what we report. PackMecEng (talk) 21:42, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
@MelanieN: Let's indulge a bit more in forum-talk (with apologies to passers-by). Sure, somebody hacked Podesta and DNC e-mails via lame "plz chg ur pwd lulz" + a modicum of social engineering, then leaked the contents via "Guccifer" and friends. Such piracy probably happened 33 times since I started typing this sentence: it's just Tuesday on the Internet. In that context I am not surprised that the involved hackers tried a bit harder when they heard Trump ask for the "missing emails", I mean they must have burst out laughing. Actually those emails were long gone and "bleached", as Trump was referring to whatever Clinton had done while she was Secretary of State a few years before. Now the elephant in the room was the contents of the leaked private conversations, which forced the DNC chairwoman to resign, and spread a cloud of suspicion over the whole nomination process. The DNC strategy to "elevate" candidates they perceived as fringe or wackos was revealed to the public, and it backfired spectacularly as Trump gained traction in the polls. Nobody denied that the leaked messages were authentic (some people hinted at tampering, but not for long). If Mueller believes that WikiLeaks was really complicit in the laundering of Russian-exfiltrated data, he should definitely question Assange. To me it's all fair game: the Clinton campaign weaponized the leaked "pussy tape" and the Trump campaign weaponized the leaked "screw Bernie". Beyond that, I'm fairly certain that no Russians interfered to suggest that Clinton call half of Republican voters "deplorables", and no Russians told her where to campaign in the final weeks. No matter which side you ask, it's all Comey's fault anyway. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯JFG talk 02:41, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
You're forgetting the troll farm and their images comparing Hillary to the Devil and Trump to Jesus, but okay, sure. Let's just shrug it off. – Muboshgu (talk) 03:03, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
Right. Third-rate memes spread with an advertising budget of $250. I'll ignore them. — JFG talk 03:13, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
I know it was the tipping point for me voting for Trump.Face-wink.svg PackMecEng (talk) 03:16, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Here is an excellent article by NYT about it. As authors tell, that was a "landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come", and the enormously successful intervention. Old time Soviet KGB could not even dream about something like that. My very best wishes (talk) 17:04, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
I am not sure the NYT is an inflatable arbiter of truth.Slatersteven (talk) 17:06, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Not an infallible arbiter either.Face-smile.svg But, as sources go.... O3000 (talk) 17:18, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── How is it possible that we allow people to edit political articles who ignore the following facts? They should be topic banned.

Allied foreign intelligence agencies were spying on Russians, not on the Trump campaign, and they overheard Russians discussing how the Trump campaign was illegally working with them to sabotage Hillary & steal the election. That alarmed our allies, as it should. What else should they have done but report it to the FBI? They did the right thing.

These editors reveal their lack of competence above. SMH! -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 20:09, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

Yes yes spread the Truth™ . Who cares? PackMecEng (talk) 20:16, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Check out the UK Times' "Bikini Girls" investigation:
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/surfer-girl-was-behind-wave-of-propaganda-6jmrw5nwh
What more proof could you ask for? Keith McClary (talk) 16:29, 8 October 2018 (UTC)

You are absolutely correct. The US government alleges that the Russian government interfered. The Russian government denies it. The US has not provided evidence for these claims. Therefore, the article should be titled Alleged Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and edited to reflect that these are allegations, not proven facts. It is not Alex Jones-esque to point this out. Wikipedia should be about pursuing objectivity and the truth, not blindly accepting claims from a government that have been known in the past to mislead the public. LandyYecla (talk) 09:12, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

Whilst I almost agree, it is only an allegation, the "denying" party is far less credible. So we fall back on what RS say, and most RS accept it happened (by most I mean the vast majority, in fact do any RS actually say it did not happen?)Slatersteven (talk) 17:42, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
This article talks about a lot of irrelevant things and scarcely mentions anything about how the Russians interfered. At most there are a few paragraphs of relevant information.Phmoreno (talk) 01:59, 19 October 2018 (UTC)
Right, this article has always been a handy speculative WP:COATRACK to talk about all the alleged misdeeds of Trump and his "cronies". Hopefully when the Mueller investigation delivers its conclusions, we will be able to trim this piece to its appropriate size. — JFG talk 11:16, 19 October 2018 (UTC)

Left wing conspiracy theory.

Given we label right wing conspiracy theories like white genocide as such, even though there is rudimentary evidence of SOME of the claims made being met, shouldn't this where rudimentary evidence of SOME of the claims being met also have 'Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections is a left wing conspiracy theory' like every lede in every right wing conspiracy theory? Or are we just going with open bias now? I might be a lefty, but I'm not utterly morally bankrupt and find it difficult seeing blatant hypocrisy like this. We need to hold ourselves to better standards. And this topic matches every topic we've labelled a 'right wing conspiracy theory' with having some Russian facebook posts enturbulating out there in the wilds being used of evidence of something utterly different. In fact, I'd say the white genocide loons have more evidence for their conspiracy theory than this one does. I move that the lede reflect every other unfounded conspiracy theory. Vergilianae (talk) 09:27, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

This is not a "conspiracy theory", nor is it "left wing". This "theory" is firmly believed and publicly endorsed by every member of the U.S. intelligence community. They base their belief on evidence which they cannot share with the public for security reasons, but which they find convincing. None of these people are "left wing"; they are Trump appointees and members of the Trump administration. --MelanieN (talk) 09:39, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
As a centre-left liberal who works in the U.S. intelligence community I find your comment to be disingenuous. Please do not claim that 'every member' of a community believe something when only a small minority do. There is no 'evidence' that proves something that would lead to an impeachment that we are sitting on for 'security reasons' - I strongly urge you to examine other conspiracy theories out there. "The government all know about the UFO's but aren't telling us because they're protecting us from ourselves." It's a very common theme. I fear you are in quite an information bubble and need to get out of it for your own mental health. 121.210.33.50 (talk) 04:18, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
A quick glance at their edit history (or the fact that they think there is "evidence" for the white genocide conspiracy theory) shows no value in engaging with them Galobtter (pingó mió) 09:58, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

User comment above replaced from censor boilerplate abuse. We do not censor people on talk pages, if you feel their views are 'stupid' just do not engage with them. 121.210.33.50 (talk) 04:14, 5 November 2018 (UTC)

New release from ODNI

National Security Council memorandum for DNI, 12/2/2016: "[The ODNI is] not definitively attributing the intrusions into state elections systems to the Russian Government." Where to fit this in the timeline? Humanengr (talk) 22:21, 10 November 2018 (UTC)

This doc is 50 pages long. Where does it state this? DN (talk) 03:11, 11 November 2018 (UTC)
Sorry … p. 12, as part of the ODNI response to Wyden. Humanengr (talk) 03:25, 11 November 2018 (UTC)
The full statement says "We are not definitively attributing the intrusions into state election systems to the Russian government, but the fact that they are consistent with Russian motivations and intent behind the DNC and DCCC intrusions strongly suggests that Russia is responsible." DN (talk) 21:57, 11 November 2018 (UTC)

Operation Infektion

Editors active here may be interested in reading and building out Operation Infektion. This was a 1980s Soviet disinformation campaign that was uncovered by the U.S. State Department. It was recently featured in a series of New York Times videos as a precursor to Russia's modern disinformation practices and its interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. The main problem with our article on the subject is that it relies almost exclusively on a single State Department report. However there's no shortage of independent news articles, peer-reviewed journal entries, and reputably published books on the subject. The article could be expanded on and made more robust by using such independent sources. R2 (bleep) 16:49, 27 November 2018 (UTC)

Trump was joking when he supposedly "asked the hackers to find Hillary's missing emails", anybody with any sense knows thisd

, the only reason this has been denied is to further an anti Trump narrative, the emails were already deleted by Hillary, disks smashed, wiped clean, and when she was aksed about them she said with a cloth? acting stupid to obviously cover up for her professional and unprofessional deletion and destroying of material already under a "do not destroy" order. The sheer mass insanity people will stoop to and the lies they will believer so "their" side looks good is truly frightening. Please stop maintaining lies to distort reality, it is really dangerous and not healthy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.69.234.57 (talk) 01:12, 29 November 2018 (UTC)

The sheer mass insanity people will stoop to and the lies they will believer so "their" side looks good is truly frightening. Please stop maintaining lies to distort reality, it is really dangerous and not healthy. Ian.thomson (talk) 01:16, 29 November 2018 (UTC)

This Article is Extremely Unfair Even Given the Clear Pro-Democrat Bias of Wikipedia

Whole mess of the article needs to be rewritten from a NEUTRAL perspective. Presently, this article reads like a DNC propaganda piece. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.152.216.213 (talk) 23:12, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

Correction in article

Not sure if Trolling or what but not constructive without RS. PackMecEng (talk) 17:35, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

I think it was actually the Russian mafia who committed electoral fraud. Yes, I know that governments and individuals commit crimes too, but we shouldn't discredit the power of the Russian mob. (Chuck E. Cheese the Handsome (talk) 17:09, 5 December 2018 (UTC)Chuck E. Cheese the Handsome)

Do you have a source for this?Slatersteven (talk) 17:10, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes. My father told me so. Also, the electoral fraud page even lists it as organized crime activity. (Chuck E. Cheese the Handsome (talk) 17:16, 5 December 2018 (UTC)Chuck E. Cheese the Handsome)
OK then, a reliable source (see wp:rs, and no Wikipedia is not an RS).Slatersteven (talk) 17:17, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
User:Slatersteven - there is the theory Torshin laundered money thru NRA, or note that Trump sold NY properties to such maybe, but those are fringish and little WEIGHT... No significant weight on being overall in charge — I’ve not even seen anything saying they ran the effort. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 01:13, 8 December 2018 (UTC)

Suggest replacing the 'US 2016 presidential elections series' box with a summary of allegations and evidence with links to §§

The current box seems a fair bit removed from the focus — 'interference'. It would seem helpful to have a list of briefly stated allegations and evidence with links to relevant sections. Anyone care to give it a try? Humanengr (talk) 01:16, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

Jim Comey's comments about Matthew Whitaker

You are invited to participate in Talk:Matthew Whitaker (attorney)#RfC: Jim Comey's comments about Matthew Whitaker. R2 (bleep) 21:28, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

Russia favored Trump, targeted African-Americans with election meddling, reports say

The new senate report is should be added. Pretty interesting and detailed on what Russia did. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/russia-favored-trump-targeted-african-americans-election-meddling-reports-say-n948731 Casprings (talk) 11:27, 18 December 2018 (UTC)

OR in the "Effect on democratic institutions" section

Does anyone else see the problem in this edit [6]? You take claim A from the ODNI report, claim B from an obscure book, and juxtapose them to lead the readership to claim C, which tries to blame the US government for damaging itself by discovering Russian meddling. Cohen's book also looks to have been cherrypicked for this purpose. Geogene (talk) 14:38, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

I agree that this juxtaposition is WP:SYNTH. Cohen's views, moreover, are fringe. See, e.g., this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Neutralitytalk 17:11, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
@Geogene, re Obscure book: Amazon lists War with Russia? as #1 in in New Releases in Political Reference]. How is one quote 'synth'? Cherrypicked in from what set of things? Humanengr (talk) 19:14, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
@Neutrality, Are you saying such views are "a tiny minority"? Humanengr (talk) 19:14, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
If you actually read the Chronicle of Higher Education article to which I linked, you'll see that it quotes another political scientist, Eugene Huskey, on Cohen: "I would say he's not in the mainstream. He's clearly an outlier." Neutralitytalk 19:23, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I saw he said that. I'm asking you whether you think that is in fact the case. Humanengr (talk) 19:42, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
It doesn't matter what I think; what matters is what the sources reflect. Neutralitytalk 19:45, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
Clarifying — the issue is not whether "he" as a person is generally or not in the mainstream or an outlier, but whether his view on the point expressed is in the mainstream or an outlier. What RS contradict what he is saying on the issue quoted? Humanengr (talk) 19:49, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
Is it not true that the allegations "have already delegitimized a presidential election and a presidency in the minds of many Americans"? Humanengr (talk) 19:56, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
AFAICS, no RS disputes any part of Cohen’s statement. Humanengr (talk) 04:44, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
I've removed this language given the lack of consensus here. While nobody disputes that (just as Cohen suggests) one key goal of Russian influence campaigns is to undermine faith in the democratic process and the legitimacy of democratic governments, I have serious concerns with (1) the juxtaposition (as Geogene noted above); (2) the "entirely bogus" part of Cohen's quote (even though this as framed as a hypothetical, the idea that Russian interference did not occur is a fringe view); and (3) using Cohen when we could use scholars with a mainstream view of U.S.-Russia relations under Putin. Neutralitytalk 15:14, 19 December 2018 (UTC)

Criteria for the commentary section

My addition of Noam Chomsky's commentary was reverted by User:Neutrality, whose edit summary raises an important question and also a fallacy. (Whether a piece of commentary is whataboutism or not, all that matters is notability and reliability of the sources). I think a sentence about his thoughts should go somewhere (perhaps the public opinion section) based on three reasons: 1. He is very notable, 2. The sourcing is just as good as some other sections, 3. It's bound to be more interesting than obvious self-serving statements by Trump and Pence. Also, if the section is really about people who work for the US or Russia in an official capacity with just a single section for "everyone else", the title "commentary and reactions" is a bit misleading. Connor Behan (talk) 05:02, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

On second thought, I think a "scholarly community" paragraph is what's really needed here. So far everything else is about opinion polls or people with a clear conflict of interest. Connor Behan (talk) 05:21, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
I oppose Chomsky's commentary as lacking both weight and relevance. I also don't see the point of creating a section for scholars generally for the same reasons. I remain opposed to the existing opinion polls, as I have been from the start. Geogene (talk) 14:51, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
If people want to create a section for scholars generally (I am neutral on this for the moment), I don't think Chomsky would belong. He is not an expert on Russian influence operations nor on cybersecurity/cyberwarfare, and the interview that was inserted is just that — an interview, not a scholarly article (or even a op-ed). Nor is his interview even really about the Russian interference specifically; it's about foreign electoral interference generally. Neutralitytalk 17:08, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
The opinion of someone who has studied other electoral interference is still interesting. But keeping the scope of the new section narrows seems like the best idea right now. Articles by experts (with academic rather than government affiliations) is the most important thing that a "commentary and reactions" section should have. Connor Behan (talk) 17:58, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
On what basis would there be objection to Nate Silver: "If you wrote out a list of the most important factors in the 2016 election, I'm not sure that Russian social media memes would be among the top 100. The scale was quite small and there's not much evidence that they were effective." Humanengr (talk) 02:57, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
That would be excessive weight to one Twitter post. Neutralitytalk 17:54, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps I missed it, but I don't see anything in policy about 'excessive weight to one Twitter post'. Humanengr (talk) 18:13, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
WP:UNDUE WEIGHT. Neutralitytalk 18:35, 18 December 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Specific text in that policy pls. Are there RS that oppose on Silver's specific points? As follow-on tweets, he wrote:

For instance, this story makes a big deal about a (post-election) Russian social media disinformation campaign on Bob Mueller based on... 5,000 tweets? That's **nothing**. Platform-wide, there are something like 500,000,000 tweets posted each day. [Linking to a WaPo story for:]

"A Clemson University research team, not affiliated with either of the reports links Monday, found that the Russians tweeted about Mueller more than 5,000 times, including retweets first posted by others. Some called for this firing while others mocked him as incompetent and still others campaigned for the end of his 'entire fake investigation'."

What fraction of overall social media impressions on the 2016 election were generated by Russian troll farms? 0.1%? I'm not sure what the answer is, but suspect it's low, and it says something that none of the reports that hype up the importance of them address that question.[emphasis added]

Humanengr (talk) 18:57, 18 December 2018 (UTC)

The Nate Silver tweet is very recent. If a news source mentions it in a story, or ideally gets him to elaborate, then I think it will become notable enough to mention. Connor Behan (talk) 20:09, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
Recency has never been adhered to as criterion here. AFAICS, policy does not require 'news source' mention as qualification for tweets. On something that notes a failure in all news sources, it's doubtful they would mention it any time in the next decade. Humanengr (talk) 20:54, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
Don't lose hope. Fox News actually did write a piece about it today. Not my favourite source, but it's already being used in this article. Connor Behan (talk) 02:24, 19 December 2018 (UTC)

Challenge to Silver tweet text

I've removed the text on the Silver tweeks cited to the Fox News piece for several reasons, all related to undue weight:
1. The article focused on a Tweet or series of tweets by Silver. There's no in-depth op-ed, or article, or statistical analysis by Silver. WP:WEIGHT instructs editors to consider "the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources." A Tweet and one news article are not "prominent" in comparison to the stronger sources out there.
2. Silver's tweets were focused on the Russian social media efforts. However, this was just one small aspect of Russian interference; Silver was not commenting on, for example, the cyberwarfare/hacking efforts. It is misleading and cherrypicked to have a heading on "impact on the election" while only taking a piece of the whole.
3. It is cherry-picked to include material from commentators who say that Russian efforts did not change the outcome, while ignore material from commentators who say the opposite. For example, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, in her recent book Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President (published by Oxford University Press) concludes that Russia very likely delivered Trump's victory (see summary here). This university press-published book is far, far more authoritative than some tweets.
Neutralitytalk 15:23, 19 December 2018 (UTC)

Anyone hear believe that Russiagate is a witch-hunt?

Administrator close. – Muboshgu (talk) 04:50, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
WP:NOTAFORUM. Not believing in something doesn't mean it's false. The Earth isn't flat, vaccines don't cause autism, Russia interfered in U.S. elections.
(And you meant "here", not "hear".) – Muboshgu (talk) 03:10, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
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.

I believe that the idea of Russia influencing the 2016 election is false. We know that John Podesta was stupid enough to fall for the phishing scam and that he lost his phone on public transport. Besides, Wikileaks has stated that Russia did not give them Hillary´s emails. I trust Wikileaks more than I do the mainstream media. After all, the media isn´t always honest. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sarsath3 (talkcontribs) 18:46, 19 December 2018 (UTC)

@Sarsath3: What you believe doesn't matter, Wikipedia just summarizes professionally-published mainstream academic or journalistic sources. If you don't trust the mainstream media, then this site is not the place for you. Ian.thomson (talk) 18:47, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
@Ian.thomson: What you believe does not matter either. Why are US spokespeople and sources mainstream and yet their Russian counterparts are not mainstream? Do you think if 50% of the sources used were US sources and the other 50% were Russian, the article would be able to maintain its claims? For that matter, what about Chinese, Middle East, Iranian and European mainstream sources? The first sentence of the article basically asserts a US claim as fact, followed by three US sources. This is equally credible as a Russian claim being declared as fact, followed by three Russian sources. It indicates that the claims are weak and that Wikipedia editors support the US. Redro7203 (talk) 11:29, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
@Redro7203: Re-read what I said. Where did I say anything about what I believe? Ian.thomson (talk) 15:31, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
For clarification re “If you don't trust the mainstream media, then this site is not the place for you.” Do you have a cite to specific text in WP-en policy for ‘trust’? Thx, Humanengr (talk) 15:46, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Verifiability#What_counts_as_a_reliable_source says Editors may also use material from reliable non-academic sources, particularly if it appears in respected mainstream publications. Other reliable sources include: [...] * Mainstream newspapers. Wikipedia:No_original_research#Reliable_sources likewise affirms mainstream journalism. Speaking more broadly than just journalism, it's why WP:FRINGE hasn't been relegated to just being an contested essay.
Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view#Due_and_undue_weight says While it is important to account for all significant viewpoints on any topic, Wikipedia policy does not state or imply that every minority view or extraordinary claim needs to be presented along with commonly accepted mainstream scholarship as if they were of equal validity.
Wikipedia:Identifying_reliable_sources#Some_types_of_sources again says Reliable non-academic sources may also be used in articles about scholarly issues, particularly material from high-quality mainstream publications. while also noting "News reporting" from well-established news outlets is generally considered to be reliable for statements of fact (though even the most reputable reporting sometimes contains errors). News reporting from less-established outlets is generally considered less reliable for statements of fact.
WP:RSP demonstrates that the community's consensus is that we favor mainstream sources over non-mainstream sources. Ian.thomson (talk) 16:09, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
Your answer appears to be 'no', there's nothing in WP policy about 'trust' per se. Thx for confirming my reading. Humanengr (talk) 17:35, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
There's no reasonable interpretation of those lines besides "Wikipedia favors mainstream sources." If one doesn't trust the sources the site is built on, there's no point in using it -- unless one is trying to adjust it to favor their own POV. Ian.thomson (talk) 17:43, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
@Ian.thomson: I apologize and take back the words "What you believe does not matter either". However, what about the remaining points I raised? It seems you did not respond. Bear in mind I have not attempted to edit the article, I am only hoping that some other editor may choose to revise it voluntarily. My original point that the Chinese version is more neutral was not addressed. I am only trying to be helpful or receive at least an attempted answer to the points I raised. I want everyone to be shown that the Chinese version is not acceptable and that the English version is more accurate for firmly blaming Russia and allowing no doubt. Redro7203 (talk) 17:18, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
Comparing different language editions of Wikipedia is always a failing argument because each edition has different policies in place. Some may not have WP:GEVAL. Some don't regard state-manufactured propaganda as questionable. Just pointing to another Wikipedia isn't the same as citing sources, either. Ian.thomson (talk) 17:43, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
@Ian.thomson: The majority, if not all, sources are questionable and the way around that is to qualify that a claim is a claim rather than declaring absolute truths as the first sentence of this article does with absolute cynicism. They are good sources but it is quite worrying that Wikipedia would consider sources like the New York Times or US intelligence bodies unquestionable. This seems to be something new, and maybe that is one of the high standards upheld by "some" as you describe them. Bear in mind that it isn't just Russian propaganda that seems to deny the existence or significance of the Russian interference but any Russians, including opposition figures. A more accurate reading of the sources is that they document overreactions and moral panic by journalists and Twitter users over social media posts they saw, and no notable activity by Russia whatsoever. That is simply the reality. Redro7203 (talk) 20:52, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
Nothing is ever considered “unquestionable”. And, if we have only one source, we attribute to that source. But, when the preponderance of reliable secondary sources agree, we can state it in WP:WikiVoice. Otherwise, we waste the readers time by questioning every sentence. O3000 (talk) 21:04, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The community's assessment of the NYT is that it is generally reliable. If you have a problem with it, then take it to WP:RSN. Maybe you should be phrasing your opinion on as such instead of as the one true objective reality like you're God or something. Ian.thomson (talk) 21:06, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
@Ian.thomson: I am sorry. I am satisfied at your answer. None of you really believe the US intelligence sources are trustworthy. I hope people looking at this get a better idea of how Wikipedia works. Your own opinions aren't present in your responses, you are just making the best of what you are allowed to do with a shoddy policy and unreliable press, but these must just be the best there are until better information comes to light and the mood around this topic relaxes. Redro7203 (talk) 01:51, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
You're still making assumptions without anything reliable to back them. Ian.thomson (talk) 01:57, 22 December 2018 (UTC)

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.

Partisan article - see the Chinese version for a better version

The article presents assessments by various US bodies as factual because they said so, and no comparable effort is made to show responses and perspectives from Russia. The complete lack of a Russian language version is curious. Is there an active effort here to prevent any Russian-speakers or Russian IP addresses from being involved at the page, and why?

From the look of this article, it would seem Wikipedia abandoned neutrality here. Specifically, the article takes the side of a country - the United States. Preference is shown to English-speakers and authorities.

Wikimedia goes against its mission statement with such a clearly partisan article taking the side of one country and trusting one country and its authorities. Wikimedia Foundation is meant to be a neutral collaborative effort from across the world and in most cases it is, but in this case it is evidently not. This article should adhere to the better standard set by the neutral Chinese version of the article, which explains that Russia did not in fact interfere but was in fact accused of interference by US intelligence agencies. The Chinese version should be translated and used to replace this version as a good starting point. A Russian version could then be allowed adhering to the same standard and presenting the positions of all major players and reminding readers that empty assertions are only ever empty assertions and not facts merely because Americans should respect the organizations making them. Nothing needs to be redacted, it just needs to be explained better that this all consists of allegations by authorities.

I hope I have been helpful. --Redro7203 (talk) 23:57, 15 December 2018 (UTC)

Judging from its contents, the Chinese article must have been translated from the English version as it stood in early 2017. At that time, we were indeed attributing the accusation of interference to the U.S. intelligence agencies. Since then, consensus has evolved here, and with the bulk of sources stating such interference as a fact, Wikipedia had to follow accordingly. If you find credible sources that do not acknowledge Russia's intervention, please present them for debate. — JFG talk 01:07, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
Before concluding the article's starting sentence is no longer in dispute, it seems necessary for Russia to have admitted to it or else for their docs to have been seized and published by the US side to expose them. They deny it:
As long as the Russians deny it and no documents are captured by the US side, the US story remains contested just like every other US claim about Russia that Russia rejected remains contested. Even Russian opposition figures don't seem to agree with the assessments of the US side when it comes to the seriousness, in any case, of some interference:
It seems "The Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election..." rather than "US authorities and experts assess that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election..." is dishonestly placed at the start to trick people who will not read further that it is a closed matter, and also violates the rule to not state opinion as fact. The views of US agencies and experts are serious and credible but still just their views. Redro7203 (talk) 03:02, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
I happen to agree with you that the first sentence would be more neutral if the assertion that the Russian government interfered in the election were attributed to the U.S. government agencies that have made that claim. Also, stating that Putin "personally directed the operation" because he had an axe to grind against Hillary Clinton is just wild speculation, both for his involvement, and if any, for his motives. You can try raising an RfC about this, but if article history is any guide, chances are it will go nowhere and you will be called a kook. Sorry, and merry Christmas! — JFG talk 06:25, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
See the status of the lede section that was agreed by RfC back in June 2017: Talk:Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections/Archive 12#RfC: Proposed lead section. That was probably the origin of the Chinese version. Lots of changes happened since. I'd like to see who changed the intro to a fact rather than a U.S. assertion, and whether that change was backed by community consensus. — JFG talk 06:37, 22 December 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. I am glad you recognize the hyperbole and the problem with starting out an encyclopedia entry with dishonest language. I think it is bad practice that will make people more likely to see Wikipedia as a political actor when it comes to other topics as well. That said, I am only trying to advise as to how it appears to me as a reader, and won't be attempting to edit anything myself and just wanted to add to the discussion. Redro7203 (talk) 14:09, 22 December 2018 (UTC)

Revisiting "See also" links to McCarthyism, etc.

@Politrukki — re your removal of <Category:Propaganda in the United States> and edit summary ref to Talk:Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections/Archive_9#"See also" links to McCarthyism, etc.. A search for <McCarthyism "russian interference"> yields e.g., Trump compares Mueller probe to McCarthyism, Fusion GPS co-founder pleads the Fifth in Congress, attorney cries McCarthyism. Humanengr (talk) 13:59, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

Correct and I have seen other sources as well. Something that accused Trump of McCarthyism, if I recall correctly. At most, a short sentence or two is due. I'm not suggesting anything, but if McCarthyism is mentioned in the article, a normal wikilink would be appropriate. Do you have a specific question or suggestion in mind or why are opening a discussion? Politrukki (talk) 14:21, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
The link to McCarthyism seems fairly obvious given the accusation that a president is colluding with Russia. No? Humanengr (talk) 14:26, 17 December 2018 (UTC)
@Politrukki To clarify, does a term have to be explicitly mentioned in an article for the term to used in a category? If so, policy reference. (I wasn't yet thinking about text in the article.) Thx Humanengr (talk) 18:25, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
No, not explicitly, but the connection must be obvious. I'm sure you know how policies, such as verifiability and no original research work. If reliable sources (that means all reliable sources about the subject, not the sources that are cited in the article) don't consistently refer to a subject with a term, that term should not be used in categorisation, see CATDEF. Politrukki (talk) 22:11, 22 December 2018 (UTC)

I don't see the actual link to McCarthyism here (and "McCarthyism" is now a commonly used colloquialism for any inquiry a speaker feels is overbearing). Now that I've had a look at Category:Propaganda in the United States and see that the category actually means "Propaganda by the United States" I don't think this page belongs there. Geogene (talk) 14:46, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

@Geogene, Re "Propaganda by the United States": Per Routledge Handbook of Russian Foreign Policy: "In addition to the potentially coercive tools, Russia has increasingly built expertise in media and public diplomacy to assist in promoting the nation’s interests. Greg Simons’ chapter studies the extent to which practices of media and public diplomacy in Russia reflect the “contex- tual intelligence” of the state. He argues that Moscow has been quite successful in breaking the West’s media and information monopoly especially considering Russia’s significantly more limited capabilities. The overall purpose of the Kremlin was not to fight a new Cold War of values with the West, but rather to establish Russia’s own narrative and expose flaws of anti-Russian propaganda in the United States and other Western countries."

McCarthyism has nothing to do with this situation or this article. Just because Trump threw that word out randomly in his attacks on the investigation doesn't make it relevant. MelanieN alt (talk) 15:09, 18 December 2018 (UTC)

Agree.Slatersteven (talk) 15:11, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
@MelanieN alt Is making a judgment re 'random' part of our role as editors? Humanengr (talk) 18:16, 18 December 2018 (UTC)

There have been many articles in prominent publications relating Russiagate to McCarthyism and the Red Scare. Here are just a few, arguing both for and against the comparison, but showing that the two definitely are discussed together: [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]. There are tons of articles like this. It's not just something Trump has "randomly" mentioned. -Thucydides411 (talk) 03:08, 22 December 2018 (UTC)

  • I don't see a sufficient nexus between this article and McCarthyism to merit a see also. There's a neutrality problem on top of that. Charges of McCarthyism are used as a rhetorical tool to associate political events with fishing expeditions and witch hunts; thus, associating this subject with McCarthyism implies that the relevant investigations are fishing expeditions and witch hunts. That may be the belief of some editors, but it doesn't reflect the reliable sources. R2 (bleep) 22:53, 3 January 2019 (UTC)

R2's recent edits

Just a quick explanation of my thought process for my recent edits, which were mostly about in-text attribution.

  1. Never use the word "reportedly." If the information is verifiable, then it should be stated without qualification. If it's not, then it should be omitted.
  2. In general, don't use "according to" to attribute information to unreliable sources such as government officials. "According to" implies a level of endorsement, which isn't neutral. Inside of saying, "According to Official A, ..." say, "Official A said ..."
  3. If information is provided by a reliable source in its own voice, and no reliable source contradicts it, in general we should convey the information in our own voice without in-text attribution. This is for the purposes of both conciseness and neutrality. In-text attribution to a reliable source implies a level of doubt that's unnecessary under our verifiabilty policy. The article should focus on the article subject, namely Russian interference, not on how the news media reported on the article subject. This is especially important as information about Russian interference comes out in dribs and drabs, often long after the fact.
  4. Any statement about the current state of things, e.g. "Most experts believe...," "The government has produced no proof that...," etc. must be dated. What's true today might not be true a year from now, so it's only verifiable as of the publication date of the cited source.

R2 (bleep) 20:46, 4 January 2019 (UTC)

I've been using a lot of "according to" which I reckoned did not necessarily imply an endorsement, but I hoped was providing more complete information to the reader. --BoogaLouie (talk) 21:11, 5 January 2019 (UTC)
Well, R2, I disagree with most of your rules here. #1: "Reportedly" can be a very useful word for things that have been reported by reliable sources but not confirmed - and where we don't want to clutter up the article with a lot of detail about who says it. #2: I can't see any difference between "according to X" and "X said". #3: For us to convey information in our own voice, if it is controversial it should be independently verified by at least two reliable sources; otherwise it should be attributed in-text to the one source that reports it. #4: As for "Most experts believe" and "The government has produced no proof that", that type of statement is usually either weaselish or OR, and I would hope that we don't say that kind of thing very often. -- MelanieN (talk) 19:21, 6 January 2019 (UTC)
We could have a stylistic discussion about #1 and #2 but more importantly, your response to #3 isn't supported by policies or guidelines. Verifiability only requires a single source, and requiring us to have two sources before we can say something in our own voice is contrary to the very first sentence of that policy. R2 (bleep) 16:59, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
Stylistically MelanieN, perhaps another way of looking at this is that my position on these issues is more consistent with how encyclopedias are usually written. R2 (bleep) 17:02, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
While #3 is not strictly policy it is common practice. Generally related to WP:BLPRS, "When material is both verifiable and noteworthy, it will have appeared in more reliable sources." So is it technically required? No. But it is a good rule of thumb to follow. PackMecEng (talk) 17:07, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
It's not widely followed outside of BLPs, and even within BLPs it's highly contentious. I personally think it's an awful rule of thumb. If we were to adhere to it as a strict rule then we'd have to overhaul almost every article in Wikipedia, at the expense of readability and concision. Readers are perfectly capable of clicking through inline citations if they want to find a backing source. This is true regardless of whether there's one or multiple. R2 (bleep) 17:21, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
5. There's an additional rule of thumb I forgot to mention, which is that when we're quoting something, the speaker should always be attributed in-text. R2 (bleep) 17:25, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, of course on #5. On #3, if only a single source is reporting something, and the other usual sources say they have not been able to confirm it, they will usually say so in their reporting. So NBC will say "CNN has reported x-and-such. NBC has been unable to independently confirm it." In such cases, I believe we should say "CNN has reported..." or "according to CNN..." It doesn't come up that often, because usually a significant story will come from multiple outlets. -- MelanieN (talk) 19:55, 7 January 2019 (UTC) P.S. re If we were to adhere to it as a strict rule then we'd have to overhaul almost every article in Wikipedia, at the expense of readability and concision. - that's such a gross exaggeration of my position it almost amounts to a slippery slope argument. Notice that I said if it is controversial it should be verified by two sources for us to state it in our own voice - otherwise attributed in-text to the single source. I certainly didn't say we need two sources for every fact in every article in the 'pedia. -- MelanieN (talk) 20:15, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
It comes up often. I'd guess a good chunk of the information in this article is only supported by a single source. You should say we should have in-text attribution for that content, but it's unnecessary verbiage, it distracts from the subject matter, and it's not required or suggested by any of our policies or guidelines. In most cases it's expressly prohibited by our neutrality policy: "Uncontested and uncontroversial factual assertions made by reliable sources should normally be directly stated in Wikipedia's voice." This has nothing to do with whether there's a corroborating source, and it doesn't mean that editors get to decide what requires in-text attribution vs what doesn't based on an editor deciding that something is "controversial." Again our neutrality policy: "There are virtually no topics that could proceed without making some assumptions that someone would find controversial." The general rule of thumb is that if it's not an opinion, it's not contradicted by other reliable sources, it doesn't include a quote, and it's not particularly noteworthy for identity of the speaker, then it shouldn't be attributed in-text. This is spelled out pretty well by WP:YESPOV and is consistent with WP:INTEXT. R2 (bleep) 23:24, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
Reportedly would often be used when a source is reporting based on anonymous sources or similar which happens quite regularly - we need to attribute to the since it is not confirmed, i.e it is verifiable that for example two U.S. government officials with apparent knowledge of something or who sat at a meeting told the Washington Post that X happened but not that X happened, so we use reportedly (or according to). Galobtter (pingó mió) 20:03, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
That can be your practice, but it's not required or suggested by our policies or guidelines and it's not consistent with how most encyclopedias handle such things. If a reliable source says something in its own voice then we can and should state the same thing in our own voice, even if the source later explains that the information came from this or that government official. If the source doesn't say it in its own voice, but instead attributes the information to someone else, then at least from a verifiability perspective we can say the same thing with the same attribution. Substituting the word "reportedly" as shorthand for that attribution would violate our verifiability policy. R2 (bleep) 23:07, 7 January 2019 (UTC)

BoogaLouie's recent changes

BoogaLouie, your changes made during the past few days do not fit the consensus reached by earlier editors of this article. -SusanLesch (talk) 16:54, 6 January 2019 (UTC) [re-edited to ping, re-edited Jan 7 to move discussion to new topic]

OK SusanLesch, what changes have I made that that are problematic? --BoogaLouie (talk) 17:17, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
Hi, BoogaLouie. Just personally, this article used to be a source of comfort. A rational exposition in the face of our current mess. Now it has none of that charm. Perhaps we can restore it.
  • First, diarrhetic lead aside, this article used to come to the point inside the first scroll.
  • Second, now we begin with the history of the Ukrainian election. (Why? Active measures started in the 1920s.) Please stop the diversions. Cut to the chase.
  • Third, Hillary Clinton's nomination acceptance speech is the first photograph. For crying out loud, why? The casual visitor will conclude Clinton must be at the bottom of this. Mr. Putin's photo used to be first. I ask that he be restored to prominence.
Kindly put your background section somewhere else. -SusanLesch (talk) 18:59, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
I put Putin's picture back further up in the article. --BoogaLouie (talk) 19:25, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
Absolutely agree, the article should "come to the point inside the first scroll", but isn't that what the lead is for???
Let us fix the diarrhetic lead so that the background section does not offend you. (After, all doesn't a background logically come before the main event in an encyclopedia article?)
I'll try to get a proposed rewrite of the lead together soon. --BoogaLouie (talk) 19:28, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
Debbie Wasserman Schulz doesn't belong at the top of this article any more than Hillary Clinton does. We appear to have confused the difference between a perpetrator and a law-abiding citizen. I am really saddened that you've put a whole page between Putin and Mark Zuckerberg. I have no more to add. Perhaps someone else will contribute. -SusanLesch (talk) 20:06, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
On second thought, BoogaLouie, my apologies. Best to ignore my comments. I promise to read all of WP:OWN until I feel better! 😃 Thanks for your response. -SusanLesch (talk) 01:50, 8 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I might have similar concerns but I'm having trouble responding constructively to all of the invective. For starters, if an editor is going to introduce concerns saying that edits "do not fit the consensus" then they'd better be prepared to identify that consensus. Flipping immediately to the concerned editor's personal comfort isn't a good sign. R2 (bleep) 18:39, 8 January 2019 (UTC)
R2, you might have similar concerns about what? -SusanLesch (talk) 20:31, 8 January 2019 (UTC)
Some of the newly added content might be a bit too detailed or slightly off-topic. However I don't have anything specific to point to at this time. R2 (bleep) 21:14, 8 January 2019 (UTC)

Concur with SusanLesch.Casprings (talk) 11:49, 10 January 2019 (UTC)

Article size

While I appreciate recent efforts to expand the article with more detailed information, it is now erring on the side of being too detailed. Readable prose size, at 118 kB, exceeds the recommended maximum of 75 kB per article by a wide margin. I would suggest condensing some sections, and moving out details about "side plots" to the relevant articles (there are plenty: Internet Research Agency, Links between Trump associates and Russian officials, Dismissal of James Comey, Special Counsel investigation (2017–present), reactions, and its three timelines, Criminal charges brought in the Special Counsel investigation (2017–present), Trials of Paul Manafort, etc.) @BoogaLouie, SusanLesch, and Ahrtoodeetoo: What do you think? — JFG talk 13:06, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
Agree in principle. Started working on this article a few weeks ago and was struck that much of it seemed like a timeline of events or maybe the raw material for an article -- an example being the Intelligence analysis and reports section. --BoogaLouie (talk) 18:10, 9 January 2019 (UTC) BoogaLouie (talk) 18:43, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
What would people feel about spinning off a Intelligence analysis and reports article or a U.S. government response article? @SusanLesch and Ahrtoodeetoo: — Preceding unsigned comment added by BoogaLouie (talkcontribs) 18:43, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
I could be convinced, but at least currently I'm not a fan. I just don't see a compelling case for useful standalone articles on those subjects. I'd prefer to keep this article intact and trim out the less noteworthy details. R2 (bleep) 19:20, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
Like R2, I prefer trimming to expanding. Just for example, the whole section Russia Institute for Strategic Studies seemed important when it was in the news but reads like an obstacle now. P.S. JFG, I agree that moving large parts out would be an improvement. 118K is more than a person would want to read. Why should anybody have to turn here to read about the Dismissal of James Comey? -SusanLesch (talk) 22:32, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
Are there any objections to stopping the article just before 2017 developments? -SusanLesch (talk) 22:38, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
How about trimming 2017 developments and 2018 developments into "Criminal investigations"? (that being Mueller and spun off Federal investigations) --BoogaLouie (talk) 23:32, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
More to the point, how about using 2017 and 2018 headings when and if continuing Russian influence is documented during those years? -SusanLesch (talk) 23:58, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I would not favor taking an axe to the article yet. We don’t know what will be historically significant yet. New details come out weekly. For example, we now know Manafort shared polling data with Russsia.Casprings (talk) 11:46, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
Fair enough. Today we won't find out, but the House will, why Trump's campaign national finance chairman eased sanctions on Oleg Deripaska's business in December. -SusanLesch (talk) 17:02, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
I agree with the gist of this. Many parts if the article can be trimmed with a scalpel rather than an axe. I've done a little of that the last couple of days. R2 (bleep) 17:18, 10 January 2019 (UTC)

adding to the already long article

[reposted from my page]

  • Hi there BoogaLouie, thanks for your helpful contributions to the Russian interference article... just writing to ask that you keep WP:QUOTEFARM in mind if you're not already. There's an excessive amount of quotation in the article and several editors feel that the article is too long. We can make the article more encyclopedic by paraphrasing the source content we add, as concisely as possible but hopefully without losing its essence. R2 (bleep) 17:15, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
As some of you have noticed I have continued to add to the article. Believe it or not this has been done while trying to write a shorter, more up-to-date lead. I've found new factoids I thought were important for the article. I will try have the proposed lead written soon (that I promised SusanLesch) and post it on the talk page. --BoogaLouie (talk) 18:50, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
I am committed to shortening the article but want to get a new lead written first. I also think that some parts of the article Russian_actors_and_operations and maybe Targeting_of_important_voting_blocs_and_institutions might stand to have more not less information. (U.S. government response, 2017 and 2018 developments, among others should be shortened--BoogaLouie (talk) 20:23, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
To be clear I support your efforts. Some of your additions may end up being trimmed or cut...but researching and drafting new content is the most important step. R2 (bleep) 20:49, 10 January 2019 (UTC)

Article Heading

Referencing Wikipedia's own assertion from its "talk" page, "The subject of this article is controversial and content may be in dispute." should obviously be added directly under the title. Drebich (talk) 17:30, 13 January 2019 (UTC)

Considered to be controversial and in dispute by who and why? DN (talk) 19:18, 13 January 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia generally doesn't do that. You'd need some compelling reason. R2 (bleep) 22:21, 13 January 2019 (UTC)

Lawfare

I love me some Lawfare blog, but is it reliable? We cite it a whole bunch of times for various things. For instance, it's the only source we use to support the statement that the DCCC was hacked. I'm not suggesting that the DCCC wasn't hacked, but does Lawfare meet our reliability criteria, and/or can we do better? R2 (bleep) 16:38, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

[1][2]
Here are some other sources:
  1. ^ Meyer, Josh; Moe, Alex; Connor, Tracy (29 July 2016). "Hack of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee 'Similar' to DNC Breach". NBC news. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  2. ^ Lipton, Eric; Shane, Scott (13 December 2016). "Democratic House Candidates Were Also Targets of Russian Hacking". New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2019.

--BoogaLouie (talk) 16:57, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Thanks BoogaLouie. The broader question is whether Lawfare is generally reliable or whether we should be looking for alternative sources throughout this article. R2 (bleep) 01:03, 23 January 2019 (UTC)

Proposed leads

@BoogaLouie, SusanLesch, Ahrtoodeetoo, JFG, and MrX: Does anyone object to my the posting of JFG's lead? (Naturally I think my lead is the best but in the interest of comity I'll go along with JFG's :-)) --BoogaLouie (talk) 17:23, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Thank you for your hard work, BoogaLouie. I like the shorter version. -SusanLesch (talk) 18:33, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
While I do appreciate the efforts, I'm not particularly fond of either, no offense. DN (talk) 21:18, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I object per my comment above.- MrX 🖋 22:56, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
How about with my new take on the first paragraph above, taking into account your objection? — JFG talk 23:34, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
New paragraph is better. Good job. (And it doesn't even mention my preferred topics Facebook or active measures.) The lead of this article is presently out of control and needs your rewrite. It must be short. -SusanLesch (talk) 14:53, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
See my comments above and suggest that we don't create multiple sections for the same discussion.- MrX 🖋 15:25, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
@BoogaLouie. I too object because I think your version is better, and even the current version is probably better. My very best wishes (talk) 17:34, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
I’ll object kind of on procedural grounds - this was all just sprung on us with no work or explanatory support. Seems just made up and not proper for LEAD. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 07:11, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
"sprung on us with no work or explanatory support"? The first proposed lead was posted a week ago. | mentioned rewriting the lead on this page January 7. (I'll try to get a proposed rewrite of the lead together soon. --BoogaLouie (talk) 19:28, 7 January 2019 (UTC))
but even if it hadn't been mentioned, see: Wikipedia:Be bold for "procedural grounds"--BoogaLouie (talk) 23:22, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, just “sprung on us” as a finished item without showing prior predatorypreparatory steps or any input from others or even some prior TALK pointed at that said this was coming. And without explanatory support of previous discussions or expansion on the content and wording choices. Any detail not discussed .... and here they ALL seem to have not been discussed — is a solo effort that has no presented reason for being the way it is, and so no specific consensuses. Is there any reason for this ordering if Jane decides to move the 4th para behind the 5th? No, we’ve no explanation even on the order. Is there any description of the nature of content should Dick decide to delete line 18 or even a paragraph? Again, no we have not even a high level explanation for this rewrite, let alone a history of joint development. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 03:26, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
Mr. Bassett I am satisfied that this has been under discussion on this talk page for more than two weeks. The present lead is an embarrassment. Thanks to those who are trying to fix it. -SusanLesch (talk) 14:56, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

Title should be "Alleged Russian interference....

This article is a can of worms... Merely the title is extremely misleading. It's not based on facts, it serves to support the great divide between the American people (divided & conquered), it supports the USA's barbaric addiction to war, which is also one way to keep the masses in fear, off balance, & distracted from larger issues. The allegations have not been proven and that they are allegations, should be reflected in the title. For the title alone of this article to be made right, fair & balanced - the word "Alleged" should be the first. As many know, the charges that Russia hacked into our election in 2016 have failed to stand to close scrutiny.

  • As retired, career CIA analyst, & whistleblower Ray McGovern put it: "special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate... Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity — including two “alumni” who were former National Security Agency technical directors — have long since concluded that Julian Assange did not acquire what he called the “emails related to Hillary Clinton” via a “hack” by the Russians or anyone else. They found, rather, that he got them from someone with physical access to Democratic National Committee computers who copied the material onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive..."
  • "Clinton’s PR chief... later admitted that she golf-carted around to various media outlets...with instructions “to get the press to focus on... the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.” The diversion worked like a charm. Mainstream media kept shouting “The Russians did it,” and gave little, if any, play to the DNC skullduggery revealed in the emails themselves.
The author of your source also reports for Russia Today and Sputnik News. ComputerWeekly states he was persuaded by a pro-Kremlin disinformant that the theft of the DNC emails was an inside job, and not the work of Russian agents.[12] This article is well sourced. O3000 (talk) 16:18, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
Whilst on a personal side I would say yes, RS (pretty much) universally say it happened, and we go with what RS say.Slatersteven (talk) 16:37, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
We don't cast doubt on information provided by reliable sources. Reliable sources say the Russian government interfered in the 2016 United States elections. Consortium News is not a reliable source. R2 (bleep) 22:47, 3 January 2019 (UTC)
Many have good reason to view the phrase "reliable sources" as one that refers to those who are part of the corporate media monopoly aka: Mainstream media, those for whom the "truth" has nothing to do with facts or integrity, but with whatever they can get away with, that will make them the most money, help them hold on to power, & to maintain the illusion that they are the authorities & that might makes right. They also seem to hold on to & promote the view that one country is and has always been "great" while those who have conflicting views are "villains". They can fool most of the people most of the time, but not all of the people, all of the time. Om777om (talk) 15:01, 4 January 2019 (UTC)
And this is why we have policy, you see I could use just this the other way around. And point out that Russia has been doing this since at least the end of the Russian Civil war. We cannot use our own logic to inform articles.Slatersteven (talk) 15:40, 4 January 2019 (UTC)
This is not the place to complain about site-wide policies. R2 (bleep) 20:02, 4 January 2019 (UTC)
The title of the article itself is fine in my opinion, however the first sentence "The Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to increase political instability in the United States and to damage Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign by bolstering the candidacies of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein." should include "allegedly" for the same reasons provided by the OP. Unfortunately this is one of those instances where enough administrators and moderators agree on one point of view, and therefore it becomes "indisputable truth". The subject should remain "alleged" until indisputable, clear evidence of direct Russian interference is wholeheartedly confirmed (not just a dubious "high confidence" notion) is brought fourth or made public. I am not here to condemn the administrators and moderators involved, however I am voicing my support of the OP's notion. This article would be greatly improved with non-partisan re-wording of certain sections (namely the beginning). Temeku (talk) 08:32, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
The majority of sources no longer doubt this, so we're going to do what they do. Your personal judgement of whether the evidence as "indisputable" or not is just that of a random internet user that doesn't carry any weight. Geogene (talk) 16:37, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
This has little to nothing to do with partisanship and everything to do with a straightforward application of our verifiability policy. Whether you like it or not, we follow what the reliable sources say, and the reliable sources do not say these are mere allegations. R2 (bleep) 16:50, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
Your reliable sources can't verify these claims either, and have been consistently unable to do so for the last two and half years. It's their point of view, with no concrete evidence to back it up. Be it well-established media and news outlets, high-ranking intelligence officials, intel organizations, government officials, columnists, etc. Not one of them have produced or made public any evidence supporting their accusations, and the accused party (the Russian government) denies said accusations. A major player in this controversy, President Donald Trump himself, also denies these accusations. That's very significant, and these are serious accusations to make. We're almost three years into this controversy and the only defense for maintaining the article's blatant NPOV problem is "They said it and we trust them, therefore it is fact" - all while no evidence has been made available to the public. This Wikipedia article presents its subject matter purely on blind (highly devoted) faith and hearsay, rather than evidence and respect for Wikipedia neutrality and verifiability policy. The first sentence of the article reads as follows: "The Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to increase political instability in the United States and to damage Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign by bolstering the candidacies of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein." This statement immediately compromises the integrity of the page's NPOV status, as the three sources cited - while relevant - all fail to provide direct evidence of said interference, thus making the statement an assertion without supporting evidence. The information provided by the three sources amount to mere allegations, and not yet fact, as they (and this Wikipedia article) assert.
I am well aware that my objection here won't change anything, however I'm taking this opportunity to let not only the OP know but to any future users (who happen to be combing through this talk page's archives) see that this is a long-standing contentious issue, and that further browsing of this talk page's very lengthy history show that many objections have been made similar to mine and the OP's here (5 times), here (12 times), here (4 times), and likely more but it would be far too time-consuming for me to go through them all. Going through the linked pages shows numerous objections often shut down by moderators claiming the OP was just being WP:IDONTLIKEIT or WP:SOAPBOX, even when this was not the case (although I suppose that's only my opinion, after all, I'm only a "random internet user"). Other times, a moderator will simply state that the objector's input does not matter, citing that they are not in a position of importance/power on this Wikipedia. In one instance, a moderator (Mr X or something like that) told an objector that the RS cited in the article (claiming the definite "fact" that Russian interference occurred) were being used as evidence by the Wikipedia itself, and that the requested improvements (addition of "alleged") would not be considered based on this position - which is an example of argumentum ad verecundiam.
The improvement to the article that I am suggesting, once again, is the simple addition of "alleged" to portions of the article - especially the first sentence - to avoid violations of Wikipedia's NPOV policy; to avoid instilling of partisan views that will easily give the article away as slanted to many readers (hence the lengthy talk page history); and most importantly, accurately describing the controversy as everything has been presented to be thus far based on publicly-available evidence (or lack thereof), information, testimony, and yes, RS. RS that cannot provide evidence, no matter how professional they are perceived to be by Wikipedia editors, should be held with question - these events are allegations. I personally have no problem including them and their viewpoints in the article, especially given that they are typically well-established, trusted news sources. None of their provided information would be redacted. They would, however, be represented as allegations, because they are presented without evidence. This is dangerous because it facilitates the festering of wild speculation and overt propaganda. If the day comes when one or more of these RS are able to make evidence of their claims public - great! Then we will move forward from there. But for now, they remain allegations and nothing more. The Wikipedia article should reflect this status until further notice. Temeku (talk) 02:27, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
The your reliable sources can't verify these claims either statement isn't accurate [13], and regarding many objections have been made similar to mine and the OP's, that's because many people, apparently including the OP and yourself, either don't understand neutrality as it's understood in Wikipedia, or want a special exemption from policy to apply to this article. The rest of us have had the thankless task of wasting many, many hours arguing with them about it. The fact that this is still being argued today is not evidence of an actual problem in the article, instead it's evidence of a systemic flaw in Wikipedia's model and culture, the built-in assumption that volunteer hours are free and unlimited. That leads into the real reason the talk page archives are so long, which is because nobody has devised a way to keep people that are inexperienced or don't like policy from re-hashing arguments that never had merit and never went anywhere before. If efficiency mattered, there would be a mechanism to do this. Regarding, RS that cannot provide evidence, no matter how professional they are perceived to be by Wikipedia editors, should be held with question if Wikipedia editors can't be trusted to judge how reliable news sources are, it seems doubtful the same editors could handle more abstract concepts like quality of evidence and standards of truth. At least with real journalists, as opposed to pseudonymous internet personalities, we know who they are and they can be penalized for inaccurate reporting. Being able to vet experts and then hold real people over the fire when they make a serious mistake is why arguments from authority are usually not fallacious in the real world. But enough, I'm over the TL;DR limit here. Geogene (talk) 06:39, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
@Geogene: Thanks for following up on Temeku's assertion that your reliable sources can't verify these claims either. I was curious whether the source you added could indeed verify the "election influence" claims, but I was disappointed to read that it just states that various journalists have been targeted by hackers. Well, that's what hackers do, and there is no hint of a Putin conspiracy to have ordered such. Temeku's view still stands unchallenged. — JFG talk 13:21, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
I thought it was obvious how this implicates Putin, because nobody else would go after the DNC, Pussy Riot, Boeing, Bellingcat, and the Ukrainian Orthodox church at the same time. That particular enemies list is specific to the Kremlin. Here's another AP article in the series that states it at the beginning: The hackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election last year had ambitions that stretched across the globe, targeting the emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, U.S. defense contractors and thousands of others of interest to the Kremlin, according to a previously unpublished digital hit list obtained by The Associated Press. The list provides the most detailed forensic evidence yet of the close alignment between the hackers and the Russian government, exposing an operation that went back years and tried to break into the inboxes of 4,700 Gmail users — from the pope’s representative in Kiev to the punk band Pussy Riot in Moscow.... “It’s a wish list of who you’d want to target to further Russian interests,” said Keir Giles, director of the Conflict Studies Research Center in Cambridge, England, and one of five outside experts who reviewed the AP’s findings. He said the data was “a master list of individuals whom Russia would like to spy on, embarrass, discredit or silence.” [14] Emphasis mine. See also [15] and [16]. Geogene (talk) 16:16, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Adding the word "allegedly" is editorializing, and we don't do that here. This entire section is a waste of every editor's time and should be hatted. DN (talk) 22:17, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

  • Saying “allegation” for things not brought to trial is just correct descriptive speech — or “indicted” for where that is conveying a more specific detail factual events. If it’s someone voicing speculations though, that should be attributed and has to be able to show significant 3rd party coverage of the remark. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 00:51, 26 January 2019 (UTC)
As I think you know, we use WP:RS. O3000 (talk) 00:55, 26 January 2019 (UTC)

Proposed rewritten lead

Have been working on this for a while and just completed it. I'm sure there is room for improvement but I wanted to post it as soon as possible:

The Russian government worked to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election with the goal of harming the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, boosting the campaign of Donald Trump,[1] and increasing political discord in the United States, according to the US intelligence community[2][3][4][4]:7 and the Special Counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller.[5] The Russian effort has been called "the most effective" foreign interference in an American election "in history".[6]

The Russian effort has been described as "two prong":[1] The Internet Research Agency "troll farm", based in St. Petersburg, Russia, spread misinformation on social media;[7] the Russian military intelligence service (GRU) hacked emails from organizations and officials in the Democratic Party leaking them to WikiLeaks[4]:ii-iii,2[8][9][10] which released them to the public at several points during the election campaign.[1] In addition, Russia also reached out to Trump campaign associates.[6]

Russian operatives created hundreds of social media accounts impersonating real and fictitious Americans supporting radical groups, planning and promoting rallies,[11] Their messages and activities reached millions of social media users between 2013 and 2017,[12] “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general” (according to Special counsel's February 2018 indictment)[5][13] Democratic voters and especially African Americans were targeted to discourage them from voting, conservative voters were targeted to motivate them to vote and to win over those wary of Trump.[14][12][15][16]

Tens of thousands of emails and attachments Democratic Party affiliated organizations (DNC, DCCC, etc.) and aides to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign (such as campaign chairman John Podesta), were stolen from hacked computers[17][18][19] and gradually released to the public during the final months of the campaign. They first helped to create ill will between Clinton and supporters of her Democratic primary challenger Bernie Sanders,[20][17] and later to distract attention from the warning by the Director of National Intelligence[18] that the Russian government was interfering in the election through hacking.[20][15][21]

The Russian interference has prompted joint statements from American intelligence agencies affirming its existence and danger,[18][22] warnings to Russian president Putin by US president Obama to stop interference,[23] US sanctions against Russia[24] and Russian diplomats,[25] US indictments of Russian agents,[19] investigations by the FBI,[26] hearings by the Senate[27] and House Intelligence Committees,[28] the appointment of a Special Counsel (former FBI Director Robert Mueller) to oversee the investigation of Russian interference,[29] and inquiries into possible links and financial ties between the Kremlin and associates of Trump, (notably targeting Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone).[30][31]

President Trump's statements and actions on the interference have conflicted. He has claimed it was only an excuse by Democrats for their loss,[32][33] and dismissed "this Russia thing with Trump and Russia" as "a made up story"[34][35] after dismissing FBI Director James Comey.[36]

Russian officials have repeatedly denied involvement in any DNC hacks or leaks,[37][38][39] but there is strong forensic evidence linking the DNC breach to known Russian operations.[40]

Sources

  1. ^ a b c Megerian, Chris (14 January 2019). "Q&A: What don't we know about the Russia investigation?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  2. ^ Shane, Scott; Mazzetti, Mark (February 16, 2018). "Inside a 3-Year Russian Campaign to Influence U.S. Voters". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  3. ^ Feldman, Brian (January 6, 2017). "DNI Report: High Confidence Russia Interfered With U.S. Election". nymag.com. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections" (PDF). Office of the Director of National Intelligence. January 6, 2017. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Bouchard, Mikayla (16 May 2018). "The Russia Investigation Is Complicated. Here's What It All Means". New York Times. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b SHANE, SCOTT; MAZZETTI, MARK (20 September 2018). "The Plot to Subvert an Election". New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Top U.S. intelligence official: Russia meddled in election by hacking, spreading of propaganda". The Washington Post. January 5, 2017.
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference Ackerman_Thielman was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ Franceschi-Bicchierai, Lorenzo (October 20, 2016). "New evidence proves Russian hackers were behind the hack on Podesta, connecting the dots on different parts of the complex hacking campaign". vice.com. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  10. ^ "Cyber researchers confirm Russian government hack of Democratic National Committee". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  11. ^ PARLAPIANO, ALICIA; LEE, JASMINE C. (16 February 2018). "The Propaganda Tools Used by Russians to Influence the 2016 Election". New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  12. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference ward-17-12-18 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ "Read the Special Counsel's Indictment Against the Internet Research Agency and Others". New York Times. 16 February 2018. p. 6. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  14. ^ Cite error: The named reference NYTimesDec17 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  15. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference mayer-1-10-18 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  16. ^ Cite error: The named reference NewKnowledgeReport was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  17. ^ a b MATISHAK, MARTIN (18 July 2018). "What we know about Russia's election hacking". Politico. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  18. ^ a b c "Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security". Department of Homeland Security. October 7, 2016. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  19. ^ a b 12 Russians indicted in Mueller investigation. CNN.com, July 13, 2018
  20. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Boot-wapo-24-7-18 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  21. ^ "18 revelations from Wikileaks' hacked Clinton emails". BBC News. October 27, 2016.
  22. ^ Herb, Jeremy (13 February 2018). "US intel chiefs unanimous that Russia is targeting 2018 elections". CNN. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  23. ^ Arkin, William M.; Dilanian, Ken; McFadden, Cynthia (December 19, 2016). "What Obama Said to Putin on the Red Phone About the Election Hack". NBC News. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  24. ^ "US unveils new Russia sanctions over cyberattacks". CNN. June 11, 2018.
  25. ^ "Russia retaliates against US 'spy' expulsions". The Guardian. March 22, 2001. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  26. ^ Cite error: The named reference comey-cnn was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  27. ^ Cite error: The named reference senate-inquiry-start was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  28. ^ Cite error: The named reference wright-20170125 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  29. ^ Levine, Mike; Kelsey, Adam (May 17, 2017). "Robert Mueller appointed special counsel to oversee probe into Russia's interference in 2016 election". ABC News. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  30. ^ Cite error: The named reference mcclatchy-20170118 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  31. ^ Aleem, Zeesham (January 21, 2017). "6 different agencies have come together to investigate Trump's possible Russia ties". Vox. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  32. ^ Cite error: The named reference nicholasfandos was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  33. ^ Cite error: The named reference trumpsteammocks was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  34. ^ Murray, Mark. "James Comey, Donald Trump and the Russia Investigation: A Timeline of Events", NBC News (June 7, 2017): "When I decided to [fire Comey], I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story."
  35. ^ Smith, Allan (June 7, 2017). "Comey told Trump 3 times that he wasn't under investigation, but his refusal to publicly say so infuriated Trump". Business Insider. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  36. ^ Roberts, Rachel (May 11, 2017). "Donald Trump fired James Comey because 'he refused to end Russia investigation', say multiple FBI insiders". The Independent. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  37. ^ Cite error: The named reference russiadenies was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  38. ^ Cite error: The named reference russianofficialsdeny was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  39. ^ Cite error: The named reference putin-bloomberg was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  40. ^ Rid, Thomas (July 24, 2016). "All Signs Point to Russia Being Behind the DNC Hack". Motherboard. Retrieved December 23, 2017.

--BoogaLouie (talk) 23:12, 17 January 2019 (UTC) revised BoogaLouie (talk) 17:23, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Here is a diff view, if anyone would like to see what would change.
My first impression is that it looks good, however, I don't like using vice.com as a source. - MrX 🖋 13:53, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for this fresh proposal, I understand it required a lot of work and analysis. What I like:
  • provides an accurate overview of the subject matter, which better informs first-time readers
  • focuses chiefly on Russian actions, less on the back-and-forth of U.S. reactions and investigations
  • cites the latest reporting from indictment findings instead of contemporary speculation
What I dislike:
  • too long for a typical lead section (should be four paragraphs)
  • cites some qualitative opinions (e.g. "the most effective" foreign interference): those are best left for the article body, and must always be attributed
  • presents the purported intent of some actors as if we could read their mind: we should stick to what was said or done
Happy to work on further improvements towards a consensus for inclusion. — JFG talk 14:05, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I think this is definitely an improvement compare to the current version. It is definitely not too long. Some additional wikilnking is needed. One correction: I am not sure the position by D. Trump on this was "conflicted". He completely dismissed this on numerous occasions. My very best wishes (talk) 17:23, 20 January 2019 (UTC)


  • Seems too long, has too many shifts w/o explanation, and seems just made up - not a good match to facts or article. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 06:59, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Suggest when saying has been called or described as to mention who makes the description. Also, I do not know if it is correct to say it was the most effective in history unless it happened before. TFD (talk) 22:14, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

Proposed version 2

Based on BoogaLouie's proposal, here is my take on a shorter version taking into account my remarks above. Focusing only on the prose here; citations can be added back after we agree on the text. — JFG talk 15:18, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

According to the United States Intelligence Community Agents of the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with the goal of harming the campaign of Hillary Clinton, boosting the candidacy of Donald Trump, and increasing political discord in the United States. Those covert activities were first reported by the United States Intelligence Community in October 2016, and further confirmed in January 2017. Former FBI director Robert Mueller has been leading a Special Counsel investigation into the interference since May 2017.

Russian interference proceeded along two main vectors. First, the Internet Research Agency "troll farm", based in Saint Petersburg, created hundreds of social media accounts impersonating Americans supporting radical groups, planning and promoting rallies, and reaching millions of social media users between 2013 and 2017. According to criminal indictments by the Special Counsel, those messages and activities "spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general", for example by discouraging African Americans from voting or by motivating conservative voters wary of Trump.

Second, hackers affiliated with the Russian military intelligence service (GRU) penetrated computer systems of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and Clinton campaign officials, notably chairman John Podesta. Tens of thousands of private emails and attachments were released to the public during the final months of the campaign, via DCLeaks, Guccifer 2.0 and Wikileaks. The exposed information revealed internal bias against Democratic primary challenger Bernie Sanders, which led to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schulz and lukewarm backing of Clinton by Sanders supporters in the general election. Russian officials have repeatedly denied involvement in any DNC hacks or leaks. In addition to these two operations, Russia-connected individuals reached out to various Trump campaign associates, offering damaging information on Clinton or business opportunities.

The Russian interference activities have triggered strong statements from American intelligence agencies, a direct warning by then-U.S. president Barack Obama to Russian president Vladimir Putin, renewed sanctions against Russia, closures of Russian diplomatic facilities and expelling of their staff, FBI and Special Counsel investigations, hearings by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, indictments of Russian "trolls" and hackers, and inquiries into possible links and financial ties between the Kremlin and Trump associates, notably targeting Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone. Trump has called the interference a "hoax", claiming it was drummed up as an excuse by Democrats for losing the election. He dismissed FBI Director James Comey over the issue.

Comments and suggestions welcome. — JFG talk 15:18, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

I have a number of quibbles but overall I think it's a vast improvement over the status quo, which isn't very accessible and contains too much blow-by-blow detail. I suggest that we put this version into the article and then we can tinker with it. R2 (bleep) 16:34, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
Here is a diff view, if anyone would like to see what would change.
I will comment later.- MrX 🖋 17:14, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

I think that the first version is a vast improvement. JFG takes the first version version and goes against pervious established consensus. For example, he states "According to the United States Intelligence Community". We have had long discussion here that we should state it as a fact that Russia intervened because WP:RS's treat it that way. I propose we go with version 1.Casprings (talk) 19:55, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

I agree with Casprings' latter point. R2 (bleep) 20:04, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm with Casprings, Dark Nipples, and Ahrtoodeetoo. JFG's version alters the introduction in a way that diminishes the certainty that has been previously established through consensus. I'm still reviewing the BoogaLouie version. - MrX 🖋 21:30, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
I understand where you're coming from, but please note that BoogaLouie also wrote "according to the U.S. inteeligence community" in the first sentence. The only difference is that he placed it at the end of the sentence and I placed it at the beginning. I don't mind either way. The rest of the intro establishes the known facts clearly. Noting that the information came from the U.S. intelligence community does not deny its veracity, and I think it is necessary to inform readers about how the Russian actions were first discovered. Happy to amend the first paragraph accordingly. Any comments on the rest? — JFG talk 23:28, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
Alternate take on the first paragraph, taking into account your remarks:

Agents of the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with the goal of harming the campaign of Hillary Clinton, boosting the candidacy of Donald Trump, and increasing political discord in the United States. Those covert activities were first reported by the United States Intelligence Community in October 2016. Former FBI director Robert Mueller has been leading a Special Counsel investigation into the interference since May 2017.

Likey? — JFG talk 23:33, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
I would just say "The Russian government..." as it says now. R2 (bleep) 23:42, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes. State it as a fact and make it clear it was centrally directed. That is how WP:RS’s do it.Casprings (talk) 11:15, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
I agree that we need to attribute the interference to the Russian Government We also need to acknowledge Putin's role, and mention the ODNI report. I suggest something like the following:

The Russian government, under orders from Russian president Vladimir Putin, interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with the goal of harming the campaign of Hillary Clinton, boosting the candidacy of Donald Trump, and increasing political discord in the United States. Russia's covert activities were first reported by the United States Intelligence Community in October 2016, and confirmed in an Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) report three months later. Former FBI director Robert Mueller has been leading a Special Counsel investigation into the interference since May 2017.

- MrX 🖋 15:31, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
Go for it. -SusanLesch (talk) 16:17, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
Sorry MrX, this sounds like too much detail for the intro. There were so many reports from the intelligence community it's not worth singling out one of them in the intro paragraph. I would suggest simply placing the October report as a citation. Regarding "under Putin's orders", that is also too much detail, and that remains speculative to this day, so I'd refrain from leading the very first sentence this way. "Agents of the Russian government" matches perfectly the Mueller indictments, and that's what we should state. Aside from the first paragraph, do you approve of the rest of the text? We could start from there and tweak things later. Having new text in the lead may attract more editors to discuss. — JFG talk 05:36, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@JFG: My version is closer to the current lead, which still enjoys consensus. I am opposed to any wording or omission that distances the Russian government from the interference. I'm somewhat flexible about singling out specific reports, but other may have different views. Sorry, I do not approve of the rest of your proposed text. For example, this:

The exposed information revealed internal bias against Democratic primary challenger Bernie Sanders, which led to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schulz and lukewarm backing of Clinton by Sanders supporters in the general election.

and this:

... notably targeting Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone. Trump has called the interference a "hoax", claiming it was drummed up as an excuse by Democrats for losing the election. He dismissed FBI Director James Comey over the issue.

It looks like a three people support my first paragraph, and one who doesn't. BoogaLouie's version is substantial improvement in length to the current lead and still covers the significant points.. Perhaps other editors can comment on that version: (CaspringsSusanLeschAhrtoodeetoo). Maybe we can combine my first paragraph with the rest of BoogaLouie's proposal and work from there?- MrX 🖋 12:42, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
What's wrong with those excerpts? The DNC chair resignation and the insufficient support of Clinton by Bernie supporters were the most direct consequences of the email leaks, hence of Russian intervention. Those are simple facts established by multiple sources. BoogaLouie mentioned this as well, I just phrased it differently. Regarding Trump's reaction to the interference, what I wrote is the simplest summary of his attitude. Again, what do you object to? — JFG talk 14:37, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
I just don't think we need to go into that level of detail about the effect of the DNC intrusion. I would also cut about half of BoogaLouie's fourth paragraph. I also think the POV of your version tends to focus on Democrat's dysfunction, when it should focus on the Russia's actions. In the second chunk of material, the word "targeting" is not-neutral wording and what Trump said is not nearly as important as the subsequent inaction with regard to Russia. The simplest summary of his attitude is that he disputed that the Russian government interfered with the elections, got chummy with Putin, and failed to take action until he was forced to.- MrX 🖋 15:09, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Well, I don't think it's a matter of POV to explain exactly how the Russians' actions harmed the DNC; after all, that was supposed to be their goal, and Clinton may well be president if those leaks did not happen (the eventual voting marging was so thin that any small factor could have swayed the election her way). Regarding Trump's further inaction, I'd be willing to add, "dismissed Comey over the issue, and did not take specific action against the risks of further Russian meddling." But it's hard to document a lack of action. — JFG talk 15:17, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
The DNC intrusion is a small part of the story. Speculation about what effect it may have had is not warranted for the lead, in my opinion. On the other hand, there is considerable material in the article and available in source about Trump's defiance of the intelligence community and the legislative branch in pursuing sanctions against Russia. Hell, it's still an ongoing saga:[17][18][19].- MrX 🖋 13:23, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
I agree with MrX. The harm to the DNC is secondary and strictly speaking is only relevant to this article in how it ultimately affected the election, i.e. by discrediting Clinton and the Democratic establishment. The chain of logic is too far in the weeds for this lead section. From this perspective the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schulz was just a side effect. I don't think she should be mentioned in the lead. R2 (bleep) 16:06, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
@MrX: You say: The DNC intrusion is a small part of the story. That does not reflect the facts of the matter. The most direct disruption to the election process by Russian agents was indeed the hacking and publication of documents stolen from the DNC, DCCC, and Podesta emails. That was laid out in the initial IC reports and later confirmed by the Mueller investigation and indictments. Effects of these leaks on the Sanders voters are also well-documented. Surely they are DUE for the lead section. Agree with you that we could say more about Trump's attitude towards Russia and the IC. — JFG talk 02:12, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
If you'd like to remove "notably targeting Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone", I'd support that. I actually considered adding more names, but that would be excess detail for the lead. Readers can follow the link to the Links article. — JFG talk 14:56, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
No, I would like to start with another version altogether.- MrX 🖋 15:09, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Note that the word "targeting" has been in the current version for a very long time, and is also in BoogaLouie's version. Feel free to suggest a better verb, though. Would "concerning" do? — JFG talk 15:19, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
JFG Support MrX’s version. That is how WP should represent what WP:RS’s state. Clear and to the point. I would object making any changes to the other paragraphs before we discuss. The best way to do this is paragraph by paragraph. Not one big change. However, I will try to go through JGF’s version today to highlight other problems. Casprings (talk) 10:01, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
I actually believe that a full replacement of the lead section is the most efficient approach, given how dated and meandering the current text is, and I commend BoogaLouie's efforts in getting this process started. In the early days of this article, editors often opined that with the passage of time, there would be sufficient information available to give our readers a proper narrative of the most salient points of the Russian intervention, and thanks to Mueller's indictments, we are now much better informed. We must convey an appropriate summary in the lead, and we can't do it piecemeal. — JFG talk 14:41, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Why? Care to elaborate what is wrong according to you? — JFG talk 21:34, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Same as prior really - just seems made up, not a good lead for article. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 07:04, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm sure some people won't agree with me, but my inclination is to replace the current lead with MrX's proposed version now with the understanding that it will be further tinkered with and discussed. It's a huge improvement over the current version from a structural perspective, and AFAIK it doesn't violate any consensus decisions. We can debate all day long about whether this particular content should be included or that, and those debates should happen, but right now those debates are interfering with article development because, in my view, too many of us want to get the lead just right before we insert it. We shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. R2 (bleep) 17:32, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Agree with R2. Well said. The next edit after installing the new lead I hope will be MrX's explanation for his pull quotes above per JFG. -SusanLesch (talk) 17:58, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Disagree with the notion ... if he’s sure some won’t agree, i.e. will be reverted, then putting it in anyway would be something that doesn’t help. BRD is for when you think it will or might be accepted, and when discussion has been and will be done. Been no discussion of the edits here, they seem just an announcement of ‘I rewrote it all, how about we put it in’. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 00:17, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
Wholesale reversion would be overkill and somewhat disruptive. Disputed content can be removed or tagged for further discussion. R2 (bleep) 01:07, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
No more than wholesale edits are overkill and disruptive — especially when discussion is lacking, opposition is known, and reversion voiced as expected. More functionally, that’s an infeasible approach. A partial revert of these 7 paragraphs for the existing 5 would be even more confusing and difficult, it is just not practical to approach this extent of dispute about proposal via tweaks, nor to deal with this kind of structural/approach change by bits. The organization now is in 5 sections with chronological order within each paragraph... This has different topics in 7 sections in a different order and non-chronological ordering within each paragraph. To plop one of these paras into the existing lead would not fit the structure of the lead, and to plop one line into an existing para would mismatch in the chronological focus. If there is inability to make sense of it in prior discussion and it’s getting no less than 3 or 4 major variants under debate/dispute, then just do not push forward. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 12:52, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
Agree with R2 and SusanLesch
Markbassett you are not making any sense. Your complaint -- "just seems made up" -- does not make sense either. Do you have any constructive criticism? --BoogaLouie (talk) 00:08, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
User:BoogaLouie maybe a more detailed version will make sense : The first offering seems to still be too long, has too many shifts without explanation, and seems just made up freestyle rather than a following of facts or being a summary of the article. Further seems “just made up” by the sudden appearance with overly casual and very terse intro. This makes no show of prep work and apparently has not done any prior discussion of needs, approach, nature, or content. In short, it looks like an essay done in private - not good WP practices, and then just thrown at Talk - not good procedurally but better than just overly BOLD dumping it in (which someone is proposing). But we really cannot tell if done in private and cannot see why this is here, why the things shown are in here, or why it is done in whatever the way this is.... matters that are part of the result just as much as the words themselves. Constructive criticism would be to approach by discussing what your concerns are —and here, what MrX is wanting above, and see what other folks think re lead. In other words, start over as a group effort from the beginning where everything is out in the open and discussed instead of just tossing it over the wall. And no, if you hold onto this you’re not going to be able to discuss without bias and or avoid closed ears so the creative criticism is first just toss it and start fresh the right way. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 03:00, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
There is no way either proposed lead can be called having "shifts without explanation", "freestyle", “just made up”. Your criticisms are not serious and they certainly are not constructive. --BoogaLouie (talk) 18:45, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
User:BoogaLouie Well that’s an empty rebuttal. Obviously you’re wrong, they can be described as seeming “just made up”, because I did so. And they were presented without prep work on content or approach, nor explanation — just a 30 word one-line to deliver it. If you’re not describing it such on the delivery nor linking to lengthy prior discussions, then what else would it appear to be other than something just made up by you and to lack prior consensus on any part? Good WP practices inherently make an electronic history of shared development. If you haven’t shown the work that’s failing to keep good WP linkage or good presentation, and makes it look like you haven’t done the work. Look, just give us the facts — either put up wiki links to Talk prior to 17 January of what was being done or say there is no record and/or was no such done. Cheers. Markbassett (talk) 01:16, 26 January 2019 (UTC)


  • I'd implement MrX's version now (since it appears we have consensus) but if I just cut-paste the lead section then dozens of refs in the body will break. I don't know a good way to manage that. R2 (bleep) 00:53, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
@Ahrtoodeetoo: What do you mean by "MrX's version"? We have on the table a full lead rewritten by BoogaLouie, a full lead rewritten by myself based on BoogaLouie's work, and an amended first paragraph by MrX based on my proposed version. What do you suggest to insert? — JFG talk 02:06, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
I mean your draft with the first paragraph as amended by MrX. Not because it's ideal but because it's an improvement over the status quo. R2 (bleep) 04:07, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
I agree. --BoogaLouie (talk) 18:46, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
I would be fine with that so that we break the impasse, with the understanding that we have not arrived at consensus for the entire lead and will need to make further adjustments.- MrX 🖋 20:32, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
Exactly. Are you willing and able to implement? I don't have the time (or patience) to manage the citation rescue. R2 (bleep) 20:42, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
I can later today or tomorrow. It looks like removing cites will require relocating five of them.
Does anyone object to removing cites from the lead? (AhrtoodeetooJFGMarkbassettBoogaLouieSusanLeschCaspringsMy very best wishes)- MrX 🖋 13:28, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
By the way Ahrtoodeetoo and others, we don't have to have citations in the lead unless the material does not exist in some form in the body of the article, per MOS:LEADCITE.- MrX 🖋 21:29, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
Agree, and I prefer fewer lead citations than more...however if I just replace the current lead section (with many citations) with the draft (no citations) then most of the references that are cited in both the lead and the body will break. R2 (bleep) 21:34, 24
User:MrX I will offer objection to removing the cites. Partly it’s that each needs to be talked individually to determine if needed, a generic blind choice is undesirable. And partly it’s the practicality of the context ... in the middle of major rewrite discussion, so removal may be moot if the whole line it toast. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 01:32, 26 January 2019 (UTC)


I can help fix anything that breaks today (not available later). -SusanLesch (talk) 13:59, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
I fixed the cite errors, but feel free to help tweak the new lead as you see fit.- MrX 🖋 14:36, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
I would like to metaphorically pat everyone on the back who took part in the vastly improved lead! especially (AhrtoodeetooJFGSusanLeschMrX)
(One question though, what is the consensus on what can be changed in the lead and what would go against the consensus?) --BoogaLouie (talk) 15:20, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
I think we just have to rely on these recent discussion. Not a whole lot is clear, but hopefully through WP:BRD we can eventually refine the lead to something that reflects consensus.- MrX 🖋 15:25, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
BoogaLouie, the only new consensus here is that "MrX's version" (i.e. JFG's draft, first paragraph replaced by MrX's version above) should be a starting point for further edits. This means, don't revert it but feel free to be bold with it, as long as you respect prior consensus decisions. (If you want to revisit prior consensus decisions then it would probably be best to start a new discussion.) Nothing is "locked in" as some editors thought the previous version was. R2 (bleep) 16:25, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I would support either of the two leads: either that proposed by BoogaLouie, or the initial lead proposed by JFG. I would not support the amended lead as proposed by MrX that purposefully removes attribution, since attribution is a fundamental component of any well written article. As I pointed out a number of times in the past, the BBC almost always used attribution in their news stories on the topic. Looking again recently, they still do frequently [20][21][22], dropping attribution when they describe US "investigation of Russian interference" which implies attribution anyway [23][24]. -Darouet (talk) 15:48, 25 January 2019 (UTC)

Second Paragraph

At this point, doesn't the second paragraph need to to change gears and move into Trump's connections with Russia? We know so much more now. For example, we know that the Trump tower negotiations went on far longer than he stated. We have the information from the Manafort plea. I think at this point, that should have the second most position of importance in the article because of the significants. Most of the coverage sense 2016 has been about those connections and it is certainly of historic importance. Then we can move back to what the operation was.

I will try to get the time to put something together today.Casprings (talk) 13:47, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Not important enough for the lead, that's news of the day. We should prioritize what we know about actual actions by Russia. This article's subject matter is not "all that is wrong with Donald Trump", it is "how and why did Russians interfere in 2016 elections, and what were the consequences". In particular, Manafort was convicted for his many years of tax evasion and lobbying on behalf of Ukraine, which is totally unrelated to his stint as head of the Trump campaign. Well, there is one thing open: he gave polling data to Deripaska. Big deal. Not even convicted for that. — JFG talk 14:33, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
The relationship between Trump and Russia in connection to this story has been "news of the day" for about two years now. The amount and sustained nature of the coverage makes this extremely important for this article.Casprings (talk) 15:11, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Trump's connection should be mentioned in the lead, but I think we need to summarize the event that occurred after the ODNI report was release. I think we need to talk about the Trump's denial and feet dragging, and Congress' eventual action, before getting into the Flynn, Cohen, Manafort, Papadopoulos material. In other words, I think we should keep it more or less chronological.- MrX 🖋 15:15, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Reading the proposal again, it is already "more or less chronological", much more so than the current lead. — JFG talk 15:21, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
OFFTOPIC, and thus not important to topic so not suitable for LEAD. p.s. Polling data I think has potential to be a big deal, but that’s speculation for now. Markbassett (talk) 07:08, 22 January 2019 (UTC)

Vashukevich

Recent news about Anastasia Vashukevich has gone beyond what's directly relevant to Russian interference, and so I propose that we spin out a new article about her. This would have the added benefit of slightly reducing the size of this article, especially if Vashukevich continues to be in the news. Her page is currently a redirect to this article. R2 (bleep) 17:40, 22 January 2019 (UTC)

Of course. See ru:Скандал_с_Настей_Рыбкой - currently under AfD. See also here, and very graphic description of her encounter with Deripaska [25]. My very best wishes (talk) 19:30, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
But I would just remove the section about her because she did not tell anything of substance on the subject of this page. Moreover, even if she had something, she said she returned the alleged recording to Deripaska. My very best wishes (talk) 22:04, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't remove it. Her allegations are in scope and received plenty of coverage. R2 (bleep) 17:56, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
I think this deserve a brief mentioning on the page, but not a separate subsection. My very best wishes (talk) 16:14, 26 January 2019 (UTC)

Roger Stone

Needs a new section now, I would suggest. Key wording is "During the summer of 2016, STONE spoke to senior Trump Campaign officials about Organization 1 and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1."

Roger Stone indictment for one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering

Casprings (talk) 11:44, 25 January 2019 (UTC)

I could be convinced, but I question whether today's indictment is in-scope for this article. All of the allegations are about information flow from Wikileaks to Stone to the Trump administration. There do not appear to be new allegations that Stone was party to the interference efforts. R2 (bleep) 17:54, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
What R2 said. These details belong in Roger Stone, Mueller probe and its daughter articles. — JFG talk 19:36, 25 January 2019 (UTC)
  • There should be a 48 hour waiting period. Please don’t rush in breaking news. Just hold off and let events and weight become apparent for a couple days. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 01:40, 26 January 2019 (UTC)
Much as I agree with waiting periods, I don't see how they relate to an actual arrest. Does anyone argue that it didn't occur? Having said that, the question is which articles? An argument could be made for this article as he is a decades long associate of Trump. But, I'd like to see more discussion on location(s) of this material. O3000 (talk) 01:48, 26 January 2019 (UTC)
If anything is added here, that would need to highlight that Stone's indictment does not connect him to any Russian people. Basically, he spoke to two Americans who had spoken to Assange, and made a public fuss about what he heard or what he believed he heard. Most of the "Clinton bombshell" statements by Stone occurred after Assange himself had stated he would release such material. — JFG talk 09:45, 26 January 2019 (UTC)
Thats not what the indictment or the news report says. Only Huckaby Sanders says that. 2600:387:5:80D:0:0:0:9D (talk) 12:23, 26 January 2019 (UTC)
That would be original research. Let's just stick to the sources.- MrX 🖋 13:16, 26 January 2019 (UTC)
What OR? Many sources state that Stone's indictments do not involve his dealing with Russia. Because that didn't happen. — JFG talk 00:15, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Two things are obvious: (a) this is directly relevant to the subject of this page according to publications in RS [26], and (b) this is something really important judging from the coverage. Include of course. My very best wishes (talk) 16:13, 26 January 2019 (UTC)
Include yes; misrepresent no. — JFG talk 00:15, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
I think it's far too early to draw the sorts of implications that JFG is suggesting. It's premature to suggest or even imply that Stone was or wasn't involved in Russian efforts to interfere in the election; the fact that his indictment only described his direct communications with Americans is really beside the point. It is perfectly possible to conspire with the Russians without having any direct contact with them. However, if we're going to include the indictment in this article then I'd like to see reliable sources linking it to Russian interference in some non-speculative way. The NYT source offered by My very best wishes doesn't cut it. R2 (bleep) 17:42, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
Agree. No meat on those bones, unless new facts emerge. — JFG talk 08:42, 29 January 2019 (UTC)

Steele dossier

Gandydancer The cited article does not indicate anything was corroborated. The previous edit I made is representing the content reported by CNN. The reversion is possibly exposing bias recording of history. ~ Bought the farm (talk) 00:02, 30 January 2019 (UTC)

CNN reported the previous Feb that parts of the dossier were confirmed, but they've never reported the dossier was "required" to get a FISA warrant on Page, he had a FISA warrant on him in 2014, long before the dossier. soibangla (talk) 00:11, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
soibangla CNN?!!! So Article may need another citation then... But I have never heard reporting anything was corroborated, well, except that the dossier subject was Donald Trump - yeah that was corroborated.. ~ Bought the farm (talk) 00:14, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
Soibangla, your dates are a little confused... The government submitted the dossier allegations to the court in fall 2016, before that CNN story was published. But the bigger point is that we shouldn't be trying to bolster or tear down the dossier in this article. R2 (bleep) 00:37, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm not confused. FBI did the Page FISA warrant on Oct 21, 2016, but CNN broke the news that parts of dossier were confirmed in Feb 2017. Two different things: what FBI knew and what public knew. soibangla (talk) 00:45, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I suggest we just stick with what the source says. The fact that some anonymous officials have said that the FBI would have been corroborated unspecified portions of the dossier is pretty irrelevant to this article. We don't what those portions would have been nor how they might have related to Russian interference in the election. R2 (bleep) 00:26, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
I think the 00:20, 30 January 2019‎ Ahrtoodeetoo edit gets it right.. ~ Bought the farm (talk) 00:32, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
Made a feeeeeww grammatical edits to clarify the citation. ~ 02:13, 30 January 2019 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bought the farm (talkcontribs)
  • The biggest problem I see with our coverage of the Steele dossier in this article is that it doesn't explain the dossier's relevance to Russian interference efforts. All it says is that the allegations included kompromat on Trump, which is really only tangential. The more pertinent allegations were that Russia interfered in the election because it preferred Trump over Clinton; that Putin himself was involved; that the Trump campaign coordinated extensively with Russia; that Page conceived of the DNC e-mail leak; and that Cohen played a key role in covering up the relationship. R2 (bleep) 00:47, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
Wiki article needs development to cover R2 concerns. And this past history is still not captured correctly. Or is missing additional factual content to clarify significance. ~ Bought the farm (talk) 00:52, 30 January 2019 (UTC)

I think this edit should be restored

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Russian_interference_in_the_2016_United_States_elections&curid=52547512&diff=880692411&oldid=880686635

because it shows that:

a) the IC consensus has never wavered, and

b) both Republican intel committees agree, so it's not a "Democrat witch-hunt" soibangla (talk) 22:02, 28 January 2019 (UTC)

That's indeed too much detail for the lead. In fact, I wish we'd keep just the "first revealed in October 2016" part, we don't need to mention the many times that this story was re-affirmed, especially as everything boils down to the same information from the same intelligence sources. Only the Mueller indictments have shed some new light (to the public) on what actually happened. — JFG talk 08:11, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
It's important, but without much consequence. My opinion is that readers can live in suspense until a little further into the article. We can also remove the "witch hunt" detail from the lead as far as I'm concerned.- MrX 🖋 13:13, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
agree with both MrX and JFG --BoogaLouie (talk) 20:57, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
Looks like we have consensus to leave this edit out. @MrX: The lead currently does not use the words "witch hunt", but "hoax". Looks like an accurate representation of Trump's overall position over the subject matter of Russian interference, isn't it? — JFG talk 12:44, 30 January 2019 (UTC)

DNC: dysfunction junction

This has been added to the lead:

The exposed information revealed internal bias against Democratic primary challenger Bernie Sanders, which led to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schulz and lukewarm backing of Clinton by Sanders supporters in the general election.

Pre my previous comments, I think this material should be omitted from the lead, because it over emphasizes issues within the DNC, which are only tangentially related to the subject of the article. I'm inclined to remove it, but I would like to seek others' opinions first.- MrX 🖋 18:31, 27 January 2019 (UTC)

I added "potentially weakening the Democratic Party in advance of the general election" to that sentence, to explain the significance. The purpose I see of this sentence is to explain why hacking the DNC and airing their dirty laundry constituted "interference" in the election. The DNC's internal schism, in my view, isn't tangentially related; it's central because it's one of the weaknesses that Russia (allegedly, according to the RS) exploited. That said, it could be copyedited still to de-emphasize the schism and emphasize the importance of the schism, perhaps by omitting Sanders and Schulz's name ("bias against Clinton's primary challenger, which led to the resignation of the DNC chair and lukewarm backing of Clinton by the challenger's supports..." or something like that). Levivich? ! 19:33, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
So I went ahead and made that change, too, but anyone feel free to revert if it's not helpful. Levivich? ! 19:36, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
What source(s) are you relying on for "... potentially weakening the Democratic Party in advance of the general election."? The DNC intrusion obviously harmed Clinton's campaign, but I don't recall reporting/analysis that it weakened the Democratic Party, broadly.- MrX 🖋 20:06, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
That's a good point; I edited it further. The source that came to mind was this article, which I'm surprised to see is not already listed as a source. Other sources for Russia's motivations that could be added: [27] [28]. My feeling is that what these articles write is widely written by the RSes, and may already be in the RSes already cited in the article (such that these three additional sources may not be needed). It'd take a minute to figure that out. Feel free to rollback my edits if you think it's not properly sourced by the sources in the article currently. Levivich? ! 20:27, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
This is just Trump/Flynn antiClinton bit. Off topic propaganda whatabout style.2600:387:5:805:0:0:0:B3 (talk) 21:39, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
The "potentially weakening…" part, which is speculation, is not as clear as "lukewarm backing of Clinton by Sanders voters", which is a fact. Not very helpful to the reader's understanding. — JFG talk 08:15, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
JFG, I'm not wedded to that particular language (now removed anyway, which is fine). But the sum of the last day's edits have, as far as I can see, removed from the article the notion that Russian interference was not just about undermining Clinton's candidacy (and thus electing Trump), but also about undermining American faith in its democratic institutions and processes, generally. This latter point, I think, is very well represented in the RSes (including in the article, plus the additions I linked to above). I think somewhere (the body and the lead), somehow, it needs to be said that RSes aren't saying this was just about electing Trump or hurting Clinton, but an attack on American democracy generally. I'm not sure if you (and everyone else) agree or disagree with that point, and thus if the issue is one of content or just prose. Levivich 15:22, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
@Levivich: I totally agree with you that the overall disruptive goal of Russian efforts should be mentioned. The lead currently says: […] those messages and activities "spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general", for example by discouraging African Americans from voting or by motivating conservative voters wary of Trump. Isn't that enough? Happy to consider a proposal for another sentence if you feel that would help. — JFG talk 12:41, 30 January 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @JFG: So this is really just a prose issue then, and maybe I'm reading the text in a way that others aren't. I don't mean to make a tempest in a teapot, but :-) here's everything I can find on point in the body of the current article on the issue of Russian motivations (it's long so I probably missed some):

  • Watts found Russian propaganda in the U.S. to be aimed at fomenting "dissent or conspiracies against the US government and its institutions", and by autumn of 2016 amplifying attacks on Clinton and support for Trump, via social media, Internet trolls, botnets, and websites.
  • A White House statement said that cyberwarfare by Russia was geared to undermine U.S. trust in democracy and impact the election..
  • Under Putin's direction, the goals of the operation evolved from first undermining American's trust in their democracy to undermining Clinton's campaign, and by the fall of 2016 to directly helping Trump's campaign, because Putin thought Trump would ease economic sanctions. (This is sourced to a 2016 Reuters article citing three anonymous gov't officials, and I wonder if it should go, since RSes have said much more since 2016.)
  • The report said the interference in the 2016 United States elections was a part of Putin's "asymmetric assault on democracy" worldwide, including targeting elections in a number of countries, such as Britain, France and Germany, by "Moscow-sponsored hacking, internet trolling and financing for extremist political groups".
  • The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.
  • Russian operations were "intended to reinforce tribalism, to polarize and divide, and to normalize points of view strategically advantageous to" Russia.
  • A White House statement said that cyberwarfare by Russia was geared to undermine U.S. trust in democracy and impact the election.
  • BTW, the section "Targeting of important voting blocs and institutions" has this lead sentence: Russians aligned themselves with the "geographic and demographic objectives" of the Trump campaign, using trolls, social media and hacked information to targeting certain important constituencies. The rest of the section also doesn't talk about the DNC or "American democracy" as among the targeted institutions. Not sure if the heading should be changed or the section expanded.

Anyway, this is all summed up in the lead, as far as I can tell, in two places:

  • The first sentence: The Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with the goal of harming the campaign of Hillary Clinton, boosting the candidacy of Donald Trump, and increasing political discord in the United States. In my view, it should say ...with the goal of increasing political discord in the United States by harming the campaign of Hillary Clinton and boosting the candidacy of Donald Trump.
  • The sentence you quoted above: According to criminal indictments by the Special Counsel, those messages and activities "spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general", for example by discouraging African Americans from voting or by motivating conservative voters wary of Trump. The reason I don't think this is enough is because the phrase "and the political system in general" comes in between "towards the candidates" and "...Trump" (so the focus is on the candidates, not on the institutions), and it's all preceded by "According to criminal indictments..." (which makes it seem like an allegation), and on top of all that, the sentence (to me) is talking about the effects of the interference, not the motivation. (The sentence is fine for the purpose it serves in the lead, but I don't think it captures the attack-on-democracy meaning.)

The sort of "model sentence" for me is the one used in the lead of Russian interference in the 2018 United States elections: The leaders of intelligence agencies have noted that Russia is spreading disinformation through fake social media accounts in order to divide American society and foster anti-Americanism. ("...in order to..." being a clear statement of intent.)

The point being, if the race were between Bernie Sanders and Jeb Bush, would the Russians still have interfered? I think the RSes believe yes, Putin would have interfered no matter who the candidates were, because the interference isn't about helping or hurting individuals, it's about hurting the entire West (of which America is a main part but still only one country among many, and of which the 2016 election was just one election among many). The RSes, in my view, connect Russian 2016 interference in the US election with interference in 2016 Brexit, 2017 UK elections, 2018 US elections, as well as other countries (e.g. Ukraine, which is discussed in our article).

So my preference would be to change the lead sentence as I suggested above, include a sentence similar to the one quoted from the 2018 interference article, or otherwise state clearly that the latest assessment is that this is part of a broad attack on Western democracies, of which hurting Clinton and helping Trump was a part, but not the primary or sole motivation. However, if it's just me of this opinion, I will gladly drop the stick. I write a lot of walls of text but I actually hate doing it. Thanks for reading. Levivich 15:47, 30 January 2019 (UTC)