Talk:The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America

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RFC - the applicability of using WP:BLP criteria to preclude a list of the professors names[edit]

The question in dispute it this: Does including a list of the professors mentioned in the title and included in the book constitute a WP:BLP violation? The title characterizes them as "dangerous." Most of these profs are living so care must be taken where they are concerned. Some editors want to apply a broad interpretation of the BPL rule and judge it to be in vio. Others point out that this is not a biography but an article about a book. All claims made in the book are simply the opinion of the author and are(were) presented that way. Nowhere would the article maintain that these are objective facts about the professors involved. Thus, no BLP vio.

My personal concern is that there seems to be a concerted attempt at censorship going on here and that this goes against the open spirit of the encyclopedia. Anyway you can read for yourself above. Thanks in advance. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 19:46, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Anyone that drives a vehicle on a public road is "dangerous" to others. These professors are notable public figures, often published multiple times or heading important institutions, departments or organizations. Probably more than half have been notable enough to have pages here already. They take controversial positions so have been criticised many times before. Wikipedia will not be taking a stand. The list is not negative itself, it is NPOV. Horowitz's opinion has already been mentioned on several of the professors pages. A reader will be able to click on an entry in the list and see whether they are likely to agree with Horowitz's assessment. The source is of the highest quality, there can be no better source for who Horowitz has this opinion about than the book itself. I don't see any possible libel concerns from having the list in the article, since wikipedia will be remaining neutral. In fact, I don't see any possible lible violation for Horowitz himself for labeling them "dangerous". That is obviously not a fact but an opinion. Any liability for him would rest on factual allegations in the book, not using the word "dangerous" I don't see a BLP violation. Including the list makes the page more informative might save readers the trouble of tracking down the book to clear up the mystery of who Horowitz could possibly have in mind. -- (talk) 20:51, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
On the contrary, while some of those named are known among scholars, many are not. The latter are known only to their students, colleagues, their friends and family, and to their employers. I reject the idea of reinstating a table to copy names from a book that is famous for egregious errors of fact. A very few of those errors are described in this article. Many more can be added. Do we need to remind ourselves that Horowitz was uninvited from speaking to a scholarly association because of a vicious and personal attack he made against a scholar? As I have argued for quite some time, there is no problem with naming the individuals who are on record as having replied directly to Horowitz's attacks in a book that even he admits suffers from errors of fact. Any naming of their names should include their replies to his attacks. That is called fairness. If these scholars have not replied, I see no reason for Wikipedia to create controversy. Skywriter (talk) 00:19, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
I doubt that the list compromised BLP in any form. It was not a matter of BLP CYA as long as the article does not subscribe to "burn them all" attitude. Rather, it's all a matter of quality article writing. The list alone, without critical remarks, is as good as a telephone directory. It does not belong to an encyclopedia (being named in a fringe books is not a defining property that deserves a proper list). I agree with Skywriter: individual cases from H's boook that were independently reviewed in RS (i.e. noticed and analyzed by the community) may stay in the article. May because there is no need to reprint all names; even if all 101 entries become subjects of serious review, only a few public cases will suffice. NVO (talk) 07:12, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Response to RFC - WP:BLP applies to all articles, not just biographies. I don't see that the article gains much by including a comprehensive list duplicated from the book. If people are really interested, they can read the book. The article should only describe why the book was notable, with only passing mentions to what was said in the book as it relates to its notability. AzureFury (talk | contribs) 15:41, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

  • Reply from uninvolved editor: I mostly agree with AzureFury, except that I don't think adding the list violates BLP. In my opinion, the entire list should certainly not be in the article because it would place undue weight on the actual list instead of why the book is notable. If there are a couple people from the list—that are covered by reliable, third-party sources—it may be appropriate to mention them. -Atmoz (talk) 19:33, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Mostly agreed with the above statement. It is not the purpose of WP to recreate the author's complete list. Once notability has been established, if there are NPOV secondary sources that discuss perhaps a selected number of people on the list as illustrative of the type of arguments being made that might be appropriate but no complete lists. Ngaskill (talk) 21:41, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Copyright concerns of 'The List'[edit]

My opinion on the BLP RFC is moot. However, there would seem to be a copyright problem with posting a complete list that is the original work of Horowitz. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 12:15, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Request for Mediation[edit]

The person who filed a mediation request regarding the issues at stake here, has asked for the mediator to "provide an objective opinion(s) on whether there is any WP:BLP violation and whether the list should appear or not." By definition, a third party providing a binding ruling is not a mediator, he/she is an arbitrator. Arbitration is not something that WP:MEDCAB provides. However, if all participants agree to be bound by an arbitration decision, I will arbitrate. This is in the spirit of solving the issue quickly and cleanly. However, if just one participant is uncomfortable with a neutral party interpreting policy and making a decision, we'll do this through the standard mediation process. Because WP:MEDCAB is for mediation, it is not appropriate to do it there, and I will do it here on this talk-page instead. If you agree to settle this through the opinion of a neutral third party who will be interpreting the various rules without a personal stake in the outcome, I can provide that for you. I'll need the consent of everyone, because anyone who does not consent is not agreeing to arbitration, which means you'll go right back to arguing with them after I decide. So if we can get everyone, I'll end this for you so you can all move on. Signify your consent by signing your name below mine. By signing, you agree to support the arbitration decision, thereby forming current consensus around it. ɳorɑfʈ Talk! 16:11, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Simple consenus-building is better[edit]

I think the consensus is clear. Relying upon such consensus is better in the long run. --Ronz (talk) 17:29, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

If consensus is clear, congratulations! Will someone please withdraw the case from WP:MEDCAB then? ɳorɑfʈ Talk! 04:40, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Consensus is far from clear. If editor Ronz refuses to go along does that mean the use of MEDCAB is out? ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 17:02, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
I already noted [1] that I will not participate in MEDCAB, because this appears to a case where a few editors are simply ignoring policy. At this point, I'll add that they are refusing to accept clear consensus as well. --Ronz (talk) 17:11, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Use of MEDCAB is not necessarily out. Is Ronz the only user who has a difference of opinion with you? Or are there other users in the same "camp"? ɳorɑfʈ Talk! 20:28, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
I count 5 of the users that responded to the RFC (including myself) who agree with Ronz that the full list should not appear in a Wikipedia article. I am not sure if there is a consensus, nor do I see an obvious way to determine consensus, so mediation would be as good a resolution as any. Since I came in as an uninterested party, I don't plan to participate in mediation, but I am prepared to the outcome that the parties agree to I have one condition: I request that the mediation, if it goes ahead, be advertised at the WP:CP noticeboard. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 11:43, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

For reference, this is the link to the proposed mediation:

Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal/Cases/2010-03-08/The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.

--Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 11:25, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

ɳorɑfʈ Talk!'s Opinion[edit]

Alcmaeonid has signed on for arbitration. The rest of you can sign on behind him if you agree with my decision. Here it is:

Selected Relevant Policy Statements[edit]

All from different parts of WP:BLP:

Editors must take particular care adding information about living persons to any Wikipedia page. Such material requires a high degree of sensitivity, and must adhere this policy.

— BLP lede
Note that we must take particular care and adhere strictly to the policy.

Biographies of living persons (BLPs) must be written conservatively...

— BLP lede
We must be conservative.

This policy applies to BLPs, including any living person mentioned in a BLP even if not the subject of the article....

— BLP lede
This means it applies to every person on the list.

Material that may adversely affect a person's reputation should be treated with special care; in many countries repeating defamatory claims is actionable, and there is additional protection for people who are not public figures. Any potentially damaging material about living persons, whether public or private figures, may be included only if it is corroborated by highly reliable sources, it is relevant to the subject's notability, and the Wikipedia article assumes no position on the material's veracity. But take special care when dealing with private figures so that Wikipedia is not responsible for extending the remit of the person's notability and does not become a secondary source of information about that person.

Everything said here is specifically relevant to the case at hand.

ɳorɑfʈ Talk!'s Interpretation[edit]

I have read the WP:MEDCAB case as well as this talk page. Taking the above policies into consideration, it is clear to me that:

  1. The people on the list are covered by WP:BLP.
  2. We have little latitude in interpreting the policy.
  3. Publishing the list does not demonstrate a "high degree of sensitivity."
  4. Inclusion of the list is not relevant to the subject's notability.

Therefore, the names on the list cannot be included. ɳorɑfʈ Talk! 13:27, 6 April 2010 (UTC)


Trying to figure where the tags came from:

  • Missing information and unbalanced: [2]
  • Unbalanced moved to indicate entire article: [3]
  • Refimprove: [4]
  • Bias (without indicating what bias): [5]
  • Bias changed to pov: [6]
  • Tags merged: [7]
  • Disputed tag changed from blpdispute: [8]

From this, I'd say the disputed tag is an error. The BLP dispute over the list has been settled and it should have been removed rather than changed into a disputed tag. The bias/pov tag was added without an explanation, so it can be removed as well. I'm not sure the missing information/unbalanced and refimprove problems have been resolved, so I'm restoring them. --Ronz (talk) 03:14, 20 January 2011 (UTC)