Talk:Secret society

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I have moved the old discussions (from 2006 to Jan of 2011) to a linked and search-able archive page. Blueboar (talk) 01:20, GRAVITY FALLS Yuan Dynasty, later the Heaven Earth Society fought against the Qing dynasty). None of this is mentioned. This is a serious problem of WP:Systemic_bias, English Wikipedia's tendency to center on Western culture at the expense of the history and contributions of Asia and the Global South. See WP:WikiProject_Countering_systemic_bias.

You might be thinking, "if you see imbalance, WP:BEBOLD and rewrite the article to correct the issue," but I don't want to go it alone. If I could get some moral support, if not collaboration, that would be great...before I move forward and completely overhaul this article. --NickDupree (talk) 20:29, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

Part of the issue is, as I'm sure you can guess, that the wast majority of editors are westerners. If you have the time, the willingness and the sources to expand this article to cover more ground, I would love to see what you can add. Personally I lack the sources and time :/ WegianWarrior (talk) 05:15, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
I think part of the problem is that people disagree about the definition of the term "Secret Society". We give two academic definitions in the article... and if we are to adhere to these definitions, we would not include groups like the Tongs or Red Turbans (as they do not fit those definitions). Yet, I thing most people would agree that groups like the Tongs should be considered "Secret Societies". So what we need is another definition that would include them. Blueboar (talk) 15:02, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
WikiProject Secret Societies lists several definitions, and I would use this broader one.

A third definition comes from the online Encyclopedia Britannica, to the effect that a secret society is "any of various oath-bound societies devoted to brotherhood (or sisterhood), moral discipline, and mutual assistance. Such societies usually conduct rituals of initiation to instruct new members in the rules of the group (see rite of passage). Greek and Roman mystery religions had their secular counterparts in clandestine social clubs, some of which served as platforms for political dissent. In West Africa secret societies such as Poro (for men) and Sande (for women) serve to translate slight advantages of wealth and prestige into political authority. In parts of New Guinea secret men's societies serve as repositories of tribal knowledge. Fraternal orders such as the Freemasons (see Freemasonry) may be considered secret societies, as may criminal groups such as the Mafia and the Chinese Triads and hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan." This definition contains as its primary objective identifiers "oath-bound societies devoted to moral brotherhood (or sisterhood), moral discipline and mutual assistance", and specifically identifies several such societies.

--NickDupree (talk) 18:31, 12 June 2011 (UTC)


Why delete the archaeo-historico-anthropological insight afforded by the reference to Mannerbund? "Mannerbund" itself refers to THIS VERY PAGE. What is the issue here, please? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:06, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Hello, I'm not involved in this budding revert war, but please understand that insertion of such claims in a Wikipedia article requires an inline citation from a reliable source, meaning a reputable external source (citing Wikipedia itself is WP:CIRCULAR and doesn't count). Also be sure to read the When you must use inline citations policy. And please don't get discouraged, stick around and improve Secret society, it desperately needs help. Just be sure and cite your sources! --NickDupree (talk) 04:32, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Citations for mannerbunde and their historical role in male secret societies? Coming up... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:25, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

The section entitled 'Private Members Clubs'[edit]

I have removed the section entitled 'Private Members Clubs'.

In some ways, the problem stems from the very first sentence of the article, where we say: "A secret society is a club or organization whose activities and inner functioning are concealed from non-members."... that is an extraordinarily broad definition that could include every club or organization in the world. Blueboar (talk) 14:03, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Secondary issue[edit]

Another concern... the definition of what constitutes a "secret society" has changed over time. There once was a time when the term did not carry negative connotations. Older sources (from say the 1920s or before) routinely called the typical collegiate fraternity a secret society (indeed such organizations often described themselves as such). Today, however, the term has a much more sinister connotation, and most fraternal groups go out of their way to distance themselves from the term. The article needs to account for this shift in definition. Blueboar (talk) 16:51, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

The corresponding articles in other languages doesn't put emphasis in "secret" that much. Swedish word is "ordenssällskap", which means "society of orders" in the meaning a closed group (or network) of people with common but not necessarily secret goals. I think we must change the title of the article in English. The definition must embrace old or new religious, half-religious, spiritual, mystic, occult, political, societal, philosophical, ideological, etc societies (which not are political parties or well-known religious movements), possibly with initiation rites and chains of command, created to work for some important or half-important goals, and/or to support each other in carriers / promotions / other social advancements in some kind of brotherhood (sisterhood), or maybe only for the fun to forgather playing with secrecy and feelings of exclusivity. The societies of orders may have varied degree of privacy and transparency. Under a article title as Society of orders, it's possible to put a lot of subcategories, and secrecy is only one of many variables. --Caspiax 22:25, 16 August 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Caspiax (talkcontribs)
I think we already have an article that would cover much of what you are talking about...Fraternity. THIS article is about something a bit different. Blueboar (talk) 01:03, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

Added neurolinquistic pertinence:[edit]

Conspiracy theories: Con´s Piracy theories. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:11, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Problematic definition[edit]

The definition in the first few sentences of the lead is problematic... first, it does not really agree with any of the various referenced definitions given in the body of the text. Second... it seems overly broad. Heck... one could argue that even the Catholic Church could qualify as a "secret society" under the definition given in the lede (in that the conclave where Cardinals elect a new Pope would qualify under having "activities, events, and inner functioning are concealed from non-members"). No... I am not saying that the Church is a secret society... I am merely using that as an example of how the given definition if flawed and can be misconstrued to the point of ridiculousness.
The problem, of course, is that there is no agreed upon definition that we could use to replace it... lots of sources give a definition... but no two agree. We can say "Author X defines the term as X" and "Author Y defines it as Y"... But I am not sure if there is a definition that can be stated, unattributed and in Wikipedia's voice without being POV. Blueboar (talk) 15:04, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Why is it possible that other difficult topics on Wikipedia manage to have a "definition" but the description of a secret society is ineffable? That seems silly. They're only secret because of their exclusivity and some of their activities are concealed. Anything from a college fraternity to an intelligence agency would count as a secret society.

West Africa and China[edit]

This article should have info on the many secret societies of West Africa (such as the Ekpe), as well as those of China (Triads, Tiandihui etc.) -- (talk) 00:04, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

Great, care to start compiling some sources?Yadojado (talk) 07:58, 12 April 2016 (UTC)