Talk:Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund

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Good summary of other sources:


Response, neutral:

Neutral, also mentions swift boat:

That's a start. Let's work to integrate these sources. StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 18:59, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Here's a pretty comprehensive link from the Chicago Tribune [1] Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 19:32, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

"Relevance not obvious"[edit]

Here's the passage:

Another spokesperson and former Navy SEAL, Ben Smith, was a spokesperson for Tea Party Express and has taken extreme positions against President Obama, including referring to him as "Heir Communist-in-Chief Hussein Mao-bama"; asserting that Obama is a Marxist, a socialist, and a Muslim; and claiming that Obama was not born in the United States and is attempting to create a "Caliphate through the incrementalism of Socialism".

Given that OPSEC has been described as swiftboating Obama, the fact that one of their spokespeople is on record as having extreme positions against Obama seems somewhat relevant to me. That's probably why notes this (which, incidentally, allows us to avoid any charges of undue synthesis).

Now that I've spelled it out, is the relevance still unclear to you, Arthur? StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 07:25, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

I've already covered this in an edit summary. If somebody wants to put Ben Smith's Facebook activities on Wikipedia, they should start an article on Smith. He wasn't acting in an official capacity for OPSEC, so it has nothing to do with the organization. There is no relevance to this article. Belchfire-TALK 07:29, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't see how this relates to anything I said. Try again. StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 07:38, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Belchfire: You and I seemed to be making reasonable edits without contention, and then suddenly you wipe a whole section without trying to improve it or find common ground; what happened? I though we were doing pretty well. Descriptions of the leaders of an organization are clearly relevant, especially when that background deals with the organization's only reason for notability. It is valuable information for readers, and well-cited. I don't see much basis for removing it. guanxi (talk) 04:48, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
The edit summary should have been sufficiently explanatory. Ben Smith's Facebook activities have nothing to do with OPSEC. Nothing. At all. Belchfire-TALK 04:55, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure one can drudge up all the stuff they can on the other people involved in this political advertisement. However it's defraying from the point and should only be about the video or group itself and reactions towards the video or group. It's like the Mitt Romney - Akin connection which didn't even make sense in the talk page. "Oh Mitt Romney works with B which B has worked with C therefore there is a connection!" If you want to talk about the person, then take it to that person's article page. ViriiK (talk) 05:00, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Re: your last edit. No, that doesn't cut it. You need to establish that what Smith said has relevance, and you haven't approached that. The "compromise" is that I allowed the assertion Smith is a "spokesperson" to stand - a statement that is dubious at best. Smith appears in the film, but only one source out of numerous sources that mention Smith say he is a spokesman. It seems like journalist licentiousness to me. Belchfire-TALK 05:03, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
You're welcome to your opinion as I am to mine. So suggest something we can all agree on. Regarding being a 'spokesman', it's from an NPOV RS; that's not a matter of our opinions. I did dial it back from "primary spokesman", which is what the RS called him. I stated above why it's relevant, and so did StillStanding-247; it's pretty straightforward. ViriiK's comparison of Smith's own statements on the subject, to Akin's relevance to Romney is a bit hard to grasp. guanxi (talk) 05:26, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree with BelchFire—Ben Smith's personal opinions are irrelevant here. I said so in my edit summary. --Kenatipo speak! 06:55, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Try offering explanations, not naked conclusions, because when your conclusions are inexplicable, we wind up politely disregarding them. Start by explaining how the fact that their spokesman is a Birther is "irrelevant". I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 07:08, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

It's not relevant. How can I make it more clear? The fact that their "spokesman" is a nut factually challenged individual may be relevant, but the details of how he is is not. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:20, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
You can't make it more clear, Arthur. You're dealing here with a horse that won't drink the water you've brought him to. --Kenatipo speak! 22:46, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Kenatipo is half right: I do indeed reject your conclusion. The part he's missing is why. I reject it because you haven't justified it. The fact that their spokesman has a huge anti-Obama grudge is specifically relevant, whereas his general [redacted] (as you put it) would not be. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 23:29, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Arthur, it's like trying to explain NPOV to someone who has been drinking the NYT Kool-Aid too long; someone who believes that "reality has a liberal bias" or whatever the expression is. We're wasting our time. --Kenatipo speak! 23:36, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
This is rather counterproductive statement that verges on personal attack, and is certainly uncivil. It also reveals extreme bias on your part, as well as a WP:BATTLEGROUND mentality. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 23:39, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Rewriting of whole page[edit]

Correct me if I am wrong, first time really saying this, but I think this page needs to be totally rewritten from scratch. Several sections and sentences are direct copies from the articles from which they are taken. They are cited properly yes, but I think we should reword them to make them our own, instead of just copy and pasting them. Wishinguponyou (talk) 22:49, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

No original research, please. Thank you. Belchfire-TALK 04:56, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Wishing, if you recognize any portion as plagiarism, please point out the original and we will, at the very least, rewrite that portion in our own words. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 05:35, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

"Social Welfare"[edit]

There are multiple number of sources for this.

  1. The organizaton's webpage where at the bottom of the page it clearly says "Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization."
  2. Page 51: [2] Social welfare. To establish that your organization is organized exclusively to promote social welfare, you should submit evidence with your application showing that your organization will operate primarily to further (in some way) the common good and general welfare of the people of the community (such as by bringing about civic betterment and social improvements).

This is not disputed unless you can prove to me that they did not define themselves this way. ViriiK (talk) 05:14, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

It's not how they define themselves that goes in Wikipedia, but how an NPOV RS defines them. You need to provide one to support the statement. The IRS isn't an NPOV RS, but they are an authority on tax status. However 501(c)(4) organizations are not necessarily "social welfare"; per the Wikipedia page they can be one of many things. Finally, the IRS is only an authority on tax status; if you found a cite, we'd have to be unambiguous that we're taking about tax status and nothing more. guanxi (talk) 05:32, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
To put it another way: If you have an NPOV RS cite, provide it. If you are at the 3RR rule, I'll post it myself (if I'm still around). guanxi (talk) 05:33, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
And you're at 5RR. ViriiK (talk) 05:34, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
ViriiK, did you read the source you cited? I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 05:40, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Did you read the new source you cited? The first one questions the whole "social welfare organization" status. The second one puts it in scare quotes and says nothing to endorse the accuracy of the category. These are not valid citations for what you want to say. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 05:46, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Would Reuters be good enough for you? Maybe the Wall Street Journal? Both sources are in this article describing OPSEC as a "social welfare" org. At one point in time, I'm pretty sure at least one of those cites was attached to the statement, but with so many people ripping and tearing away carelessly, it seems to have gotten separated. Nevertheless, the cite IS in the article, and you really should have simply asked for clarification and waited, oh maybe 5 minutes or so, for an answer. Belchfire-TALK 05:44, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
I can keep going on and finding more. It's sourced and it's in the article. Removing sourced information is vandalism. ViriiK (talk) 05:45, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
You need to find one that says it's actually a social welfare organization, not just that it's registered as one. The whole point is that we have reliable sources -- including the one you added -- that question whether that description is at all accurate for such a politically partisan organization. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 05:47, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Here's a good list if you want.

  1. [3]
  2. [4]
  3. [5]

Are we done fighting over what's valid for you as a "reliable source"? Any more removal of sourced information is vandalism. ViriiK (talk) 05:49, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Seriously, do you actually read any of these sources?
From the first:
Obama's campaign is likely eager to tie the Special Ops group to the Romney campaign in order to undermine its claim to be a "social welfare," rather than political organization.
The group, Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, was established as a social welfare 501(c)(4) group, rather than as a political group, which means that it doesn't have to disclose donations to the public. The social welfare classification, as Reuters explains, means that "its primary purpose is to further the common good and its political activities should be secondary." The group's president is former Navy SEAL Scott Taylor, who failed to win the Republican nomination for a Virginia congressional seat in 2010.
OPSEC has registered as a non-profit “social welfare” group, under section 501(c)4 of the U.S. tax code, a provision that allows it to keep its donors secret.
While the 501(c)(4) social welfare organization has the mission to teach elected officials and the American people the vital need to keep secret a large portion of military information, and that “politics should never come before national security,“ major publications like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times have described OPSEC as a shill to the GOP for engaging in attacks against ”Mr. Obama’s strong points on national security.”
All of the sources we've seen put "social welfare" in scare quotes and avoid endorsing the accuracy of the term, outside of the fact that the organization claims to be covered under this status, and this is disputed by the IRS, the DNC and others. These are great sources for me, but not for you. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 05:58, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Hey, a cite. That's great. No need to accuse each other of vandalism, wow. I'm going to add to it that it's a tax status, which it is, but otherwise that's fine with me. Do you think it belongs in the first sentence -- is an organization's tax status that important? Do other organizations have their tax status listed? I suppose 'non-profit' would be descriptive (if that's accurate). guanxi (talk) 05:54, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

There's no point. All 501's are non-profits. ViriiK (talk) 05:55, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
The point is that the cites don't support calling it a social welfare organization. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 05:58, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes I do, Still. Thank you for asking anyways. Removal of sourced information is vandalism, FYI. ViriiK (talk) 06:00, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree that the cite supports a tax status of 'social welfare organization. Regarding the terminology: If all 501's are non-profits (that seems right to me but I'm not sure), wouldn't 'non-profit' be more descriptive to most readers? It removes the requirement on readers to understand the tax code -- how many know what 501 means (I'm not even sure myself)? Almost everyone knows 'non-profit'. How about putting "non-profit" in the intro, and the details of their tax status in the body (probably under funding)? guanxi (talk) 06:01, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
No, because it gives more clarification of what kind of tax status they have. Simply saying "non-profit organization aimed for social welfare" isn't enough. The 501 link helps clarifies it on the IRS' page and directs the user there if they wish to do so. ViriiK (talk) 06:03, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Seems like too much detail for an introductory sentence, and too much weight on their tax status. Regardless, it's not a big deal, it just looks a little funny to me. guanxi (talk) 06:10, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The problem is that we have reliable sources questioning "social welfare organization" so we can't just state it uncontroversially. Even our sources that don't question it still keep it in quotes and explain it solely as a tax status, not an accurate description. This is a huge NPOV problem! I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 06:17, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

That's why we Wikilink "501(c)(4)", so people who are curious can find out more. That's all the information that's needed. Most literate adult's know what a 501 is. A "(4)" organization is an educational, social welfare, or similar type of organization. So we need only say "a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization", which is a complete thought unto itself. Scare quotes are BADEMPHASIS - fine for HuffPO, but we don't do that here. Adding "tax status" is clumsy and redundant - we've already said it's a 501, which IS a tax status. You are trying to color the meaning of this perfectly good (and sourced) statement with your POV crap, and it needs to stop. Belchfire-TALK 06:26, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────And yet our reliable sources put "social welfare organization" in scare quotes and discuss how poorly the term applies. Why should we ignore our sources? I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 06:37, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

RFC Ben Smith[edit]


I've protected the article for three days due to edit warring. Let's discuss additions on the talk page instead of a continuous add/revert cycle. Thanks, Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 08:04, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Already launched an RfC on one of the edit-warred topics. Prepared to launch one for the other. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 08:30, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Random list of things to do[edit]

1. the first sentence of the lead should tell us what the organization is and what it does, e.g. "OPSEC is a U.S. 501c4 organization formed to educate American citizens about the dangers of compromising operations security in special operations by disclosing sensitive information about the operations. OPSEC was formed in 2012 by former special operatives and intelligence community members in reaction to disclosures made by the Obama administration following the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011. ...."

2. change "Operational Security" to "Operations Security" which is more accurate (my mistake—I took "Operational Security" directly from the OPSEC website).

3. move Leadership section down, move Activities section up.

4. add bi-partisan nature of outrage over Obama leaks to Activities section, e.g. Diane Feinstein, Bob Kerry, 2 DOJ investigators appointed, etc.

5. add ref from OPSEC website to sentence about "contributions are not tax-deductible". --Kenatipo speak! 16:20, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

We don't need an additional citation from the site about tax deductability, as that follows necessarily from its 501c4 status. Item 4 is a potential coatrack and item 1 violates NPOV by pretending that their self-description is accurate. So, on the whole, we should not make any of these changes, except perhaps 2 and 3. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 18:19, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Obviously item 4 is not relevant, per section above. Hal peridol (talk) 19:26, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Hal, which "section above" are you referring to? --Kenatipo speak! 21:57, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Re: item #4. Doesn't seem relevant to this article, since it's not in any way related to this article's subject. Might be a good seed for a new article about the leaks, however. Belchfire-TALK 00:45, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
I would agree that Item #4 is not relevant and doesn't really contribute to the article. If people wanted to contribute to this organizations, they would find out the information first anyways. ViriiK (talk) 03:45, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
If you believe that the sole purpose of OPSEC is to "swift boat" Obama before the November election, then you are probably right about item #4. On the other hand, if you believe that OPSEC has legitimate concerns about compromised future special operations and even the safety of their own family members due to the Obama admin leaks, then it is appropriate to mention the objections of prominent Democrats to Obama admin leaks and that the DOJ (finally) appointed special investigators. (The article as it stands tries a little too hard to portray OPSEC as secretive, illegitimate and fringe.) --Kenatipo speak! 05:36, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
Your points are well-taken. Thing is, "secret, illegitimate and fringe" is pretty much the tenor of most news coverage on this outfit, and it's hard to stay faithful to the sources without bringing some of that along. I'm leery of bringing in other voices to back up OPSEC's message. That might be a little bit too much like taking sides, and it would clearly stray off the straight and narrow path of simply describing OPSEC and its activities. Belchfire-TALK 06:05, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

The unexplained change[edit]

I changed that webpage after reading the New York Times story attached to it. I didn't think the change needed explaining as it was obvious improvement and more like what the news said. Old webpage said only criticized Obama, with no meaning. New page explains what they accused Obama of, from the first page of the news story. Also old page made it sound like the Obama Campaign made all of those comments about the opsec, when it was the Times news story who made most of them. Sally — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sally Season (talkcontribs) 23:32, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

It was changed back[10] but I think it was better in Sally's version. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 00:41, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Before reverting it again, please explain your objection to it. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 01:05, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Still no explanations here, but some people have removed my edits or stuck Who? or Citation? inserts into the article. To clarify

1- The Obama campaign isn't the only source for the "swift boat" comparisons. VetPAC is another. News sources such as Christian Science Monitor say this: 'Swift-Boating' Obama? Pentagon denounces politics of attack ad. The US military is pushing back against the campaign of a group of former Special Operations Forces officers who have spoken out against President Obama in what some have described as a latter-day “Swift Boat” campaign. see

2- Many news sources have picked apart the Republican membership and leadership of the group, at least the members that have stepped forward or can be identified to date. The Associated Press and Navy Times say this: Its identified members have Republican ties. see It's leader is Taylor, a Republican. Every single person mentioned on its public record documents is Republican.Sally Season (talk) 22:49, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Of course the elephant in the room (sorry) is the Republican connection. It must be named, per the good sources found by Sally Season, as coming from more than the Obama campaign. Binksternet (talk) 00:49, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Every single person mentioned on its public record documents is Republican.
Thank you for this superb demonstration of WP:OR, Sally. Suggest you follow the link and read up so you can understand why that sentence is utterly worthless here on Wikipedia. I hope this helps. Belchfire-TALK 00:55, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

I read that link, Belchfire. It told me that you don't know how to read. It mentioned you by name in fact. The sources tell us what the public records say, not me. The sources did the research, not me. You should keep trying to understand, you will get it eventually. I hope this helps.Sally Season (talk) 21:25, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

The problem is that we do not have any reliable sources clearly describing the group as a Republican effort. What we have are political supporters of Obama accusing this group of being run by Obama's opponents and media reports noting that the group's members have connections to the Republican Party. Any decent journalistic source is not going to explicitly label the group a Republican effort without clear evidence. Until that happens we should only state that the claims have come from Obama supporters and that media have noted connections between members of the group and the Republican Party.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 05:11, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
I would agree with that unless there are sources that specifically say that this is a "Republican effort". I am not that firmiliar with this group or all the issues so take that for what its worth. --Malerooster (talk) 21:00, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
RS, and FACT tags were removed by Sally here. These "news reports" should be specified per WP:ATTRIBUTE. Additionally, there should be a citation after the sentence where a RS was requested, otherwise it is subject to WP:BURDEN. I am not going to re-add these tags until at least Tuesday 16OCT2012 if the issue is not resolved to avoid an edit war and I caution Sally regarding her edits so she is not found in contempt of it. Additionally, may I remind Binksternet of WP:CIVIL due to this edit summary.
I'm happy to overlook the civility deficit in the interest of focusing on the fact deficit. Binksternet falsely claims, "Dude, the cite is already there!", when in fact, no, there is no cite there and there has never been a cite there. I imagine he is claiming the support is buried in one of the 6 citations bunched up at the end of the paragraph, but it shouldn't be necessary to explain to an experienced editor that such would be inadequate to back up a contested fact. Those who want that sentence to remain in the article need to cough up their own citation and place next to the disputed statement. Failing that, other editors are fully justified in removing it. Belchfire-TALK 00:04, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Per WP:CITE, citations are perfectly legit even if they are "bunched up at the end of the paragraph". CITE says "An inline citation means any citation added close to the material it supports, for example after the sentence or paragraph, normally in the form of a footnote." It is clear to anyone looking at the article that the disputed text "The group has been described in news reports as a Republican led effort using smear tactics" was followed by two more sentences in the same paragraph and then the proper cite, titled "Obama campaign accuses Republicans of smear tactics over bin Laden, leaks", from Reuters. Exhortations against inserting "unsourced" material do not pass muster when the inline footnote is right there to prove otherwise. Binksternet (talk) 00:32, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
I fear that this article may be devolving into an attack article against the organization.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 23:46, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

How is explaining something as Republican an attack? That sounds partisan.Sally Season (talk) 22:21, 15 October 2012 (UTC) When I went to the ATTRIBUTE page, it says that policy is under dispute?Sally Season (talk) 22:27, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Undue criticism[edit]

The largest paragraph, of this article is about criticism of the subject. It has the longest paragraph, and the largest amount of references. Now there references I have no issue with, however the article seems to have an Undue amount of criticism of the subject, and certain things can be summarized to resolve this issue.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 00:46, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Suggestions?Sally Season (talk) 00:54, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

We can include obvious counterpoints or note what kind of people are making these criticisms. VetPAC, for instance, is clearly noted in these news reports as being a pro-Obama PAC, but that fact is not noted in this article.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 13:48, 19 October 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps quotations could be removed, and summarized. Perhaps cotent can be better summarized or merged.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 03:19, 23 October 2012 (UTC)