Talk:The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better

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This passage got lopped:

Inequality enhances health

According to professor Andrew Leigh, the effect observed by Wilkinson and Pickett is not statistically significant. Moreover, their methodology cannot distinguish between income differences and other differences between countries. Therefore, one must compare each country to itself and not to the other countries. By doing this, Leigh and his collegues have obtained in scientific research that inequality enhances health: when inequality has risen in a country, so has life expectancy and health too, and infant mortality has decreased, at least on recent decades. When you getting richer helps individuals and countries, but so seem income differences do too: others getting richer is not bad for your health. <ref name=change>[ Look at the changes, not at the levels] (sekä sivulla mainitut tieteelliset artikkelit), Andrew Leigh, Professor, Economics Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 14.12.2009. Leigh describes himself as an extreme anti-inequality and says that he had hoped in vain to get results against inequality in his research but the facts turned to be of the opposite kind.</ref>

Is it thought that this is somehow an unacceptable POV? Should there be a separate article on arguments for or against the Wilkinson/Pickett thesis or is it valid to have a section of the article on the Book headed "Criticism" ? Vernon White . . . Talk 14:59, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

undue weight[edit]

undue weight is given to criticisms and very little is said of there rebuttals. Having said that i wouldn't recommend a long flowing debate within the article, just a summary of the main points and their reply —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:33, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

What rebuttals? The responses I have seen clearly misses the points and rebuts exactly nothing. --OpenFuture (talk) 06:47, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
The IP probably meant "the responses" that you are referring to. Also, I don't know how well you know policy, it's not up to us to judge whether authors have missed the point or not. Itsmejudith (talk) 07:44, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
That would mean we have to quote the answer verbatim. Otherwise we have to pick the part of the response that addresses the criticism, and there is none. Obviously this is done in the article already, and I find that a problem. The part quoted fo the responses do not actually respond to the criticism. --OpenFuture (talk) 08:15, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

No links to outside sources within the article![edit]

To my knowledge W.P. rules do not allow to link from the article directly to outside sources. So there needs to be a footnote instead to the passage in the article, which in turn may contain a refenrence to its source. -- (talk) 17:13, 21 June 2010 (UTC)


I have some concerns, and have posted to WP:NPOVN. Itsmejudith (talk) 10:34, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. There is no section of people which support the book for example, plus the critisism spills into the other sections... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:29, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

There is no section of people which oppose the book either. It's split up into "press", "academia" and "others", not "supporters" and "opposers". There are several positive reviews mentioned. That the critique takes up more space is just a reflection of reality. We cant make up supporting academic reviews that doesn't exist, for example. The general criticism of the book is that it is fundamentally flawed, and Wikipedia must remain neutral and reflect this. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:57, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Book reviews[edit]

It'd be good to get a full list of academic peer reviewed journals that have done book reviews. Can anyone do this? Wikidea 17:45, 10 October 2010 (UTC)


I feel that this edit: [1] by an IP-editor introduces a non-neutral point of view, adds rewordings that are non-neutral and links to a source that uses bad language, all in a deliberate attempt to cause controversy and edit wars. I have reverted it, and would like the opinion of other editors here. --OpenFuture (talk) 22:49, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

But this edit was just a restoration of a previous edit providing important information that was unjustifiably removed. It was not written by the editor who restored it.

And it does not introduce a non-neutral point of view. Rather it just factually reports an important development in public discussion and criticism of the book. Why do you feel it does ?

Non-neutral rewordings are not introduced. Can you give any examples ?

And if the alleged bad language is the word 'screw', when has Wikipedia ever banned quotations with bad language ?

There is no deliberate attempt to cause controversy nor edit wars here. The text will be restored and you may then seek support for your wish to remove this important information, but please do not do so beforehand and without substantial support. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:08, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Who originally wrote the snipped it not relevant. I don't think it was unjustifiably removed (and no I didn't remove it) I don't think that edit should be here, it creates a pointless bias in the article. It is perfectly possible to point out that this book is incorrect without resorting to inflammatory comments and pointless hyperbole. The text will be removed and if you wish to seek support re-add this pointless POV text you may do so, but please do not do so beforehand and without substantial support. --OpenFuture (talk) 06:17, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
OpenFuture, have you clicked on any of the IP's that are editing the main article(not this discussion page) to see their editing history? Do you see any pattern there? Somedifferentstuff (talk) 19:33, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, and yes. What are you trying to say? --OpenFuture (talk) 19:56, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
I asked you a question. Do you have any opinion about what you saw? Somedifferentstuff (talk) 20:43, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't play silly games. If you have something to say, say it. --OpenFuture (talk) 09:24, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Let me rephrase my previous comment. What are your thoughts about this pattern? Somedifferentstuff (talk) 12:52, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

What does the book show ?[edit]

This article has often made the strong POV claim that the book evidentially demonstrates or shows its thesis. For example, it recently claimed

”It shows that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries.“

But although it claims such, in fact it shows no such thing. Let us clearly understand why not.

In the first instance its main claim is that whereas for the richest countries (i) average income is not an important determinant of health and social welfare, (ii) income inequality is. But even for the most important health and welfare indicator of life expectancy, and even for a highly select set of 23 rich countries out of the richest 50 just in 2002, it fails to publish/show a negative correlation coefficient r any stronger than 44%, whereby income inequality accounts for less than 20% (r-squared) of the variation in life expectancy. This thus shows income inequality is not an important determinant of life expectancy as claimed, but at best a very weak determinant, contrary to the book’s central thesis.

Moreover no statistic whatever is published to also show that average income is not an important determinant of life expectancy, as crucially claimed.

But further to these crucial failures, it seems that even the poor 44% inequality-longevity negative correlation was only achieved by an apparent invalid cherry-picking of 23 out of the richest 50 countries for the year 2002. For whereas the book claims to have omitted only those countries with populations less than 3 million (allegedly to eliminate tax havens for some unstated reason, and albeit tax havens do not coincide with countries with less than 3 million people) and also countries that have no inequality data. But analysis of the same United Nations Human Development Report data reveals that these eliminative criteria leave 32 countries out of the richest 50 rather than only 23 as Wilkinson & Pickett claim. And these 32 rich countries show a big 72% positive correlation between average income and life expectancy, contrary to the book’s crucial claim that there is little or no such association, and a negligible 11% negative correlation between income inequality and life expectancy, contrary to the book's claim that income inequality is an important determinant of life expectancy.

These statistics can easily and quickly be verified simply by getting the data for 2002 from the 2004 UN Human Development Report freely available on the UN Human Development Reports website @ , and analysing them on a spreadsheet that computes correlation coefficients.

This finding is reported here just to underline the justice of various critics accusations of invalid cherry-picking. In fact the Wilkinson & Pickett hypothesis on life expectancy and income has never had any valid confirmations, ones that do not rely on invalid cherry-picking of countries or years or indicators. It seems it only has many counterexamples for various different years of UN Report data. If publications of claims that it has been confirmed have been peer-reviewed, this only further demonstrates the well known unreliability of already largely discredited academic peer-review. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:48, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

So future edits certainly should not restore POV claims that the book evidentially shows its thesis. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:51, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the article should not say that the book shows anything. And in its current form it doesn't.. --OpenFuture (talk) 07:28, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
The entire beginning of this section is made up of an editor's( unsourced POV. Maybe he'll provide sources for this info if he has them. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:11, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
"This section"? This is the talk page. It doesn't need to be sourced. The only source that is needed is WP:NPOV. We should not say that a book "shows X" when there is a big controversy about wether it in fact shows that. Which it is. Which is evident from the criticism section. --OpenFuture (talk) 08:43, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
WP:NPOV isn't a source, it's a style guideline. Regarding my previous comment, I stated that the beginning of this section wasn't sourced. I didn't say it needed to be sourced for a talk page as if that were a rule. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 10:39, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
No, WP:NPOV not a style guideline, it's policy, which all editors, including me and you, need to follow. It seems to me that something about this is unclear, but I dont know what, so if you explain what you feel is unclear (if any) then I will try to explain. --OpenFuture (talk) 13:04, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
My mistake. It's a policy, not a style guideline. In your previous comment you said it was a source, which was incorrect. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 13:15, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Could you just post a link to the data? Aattss (talk) 18:18, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Regarding sources[edit]

Here are some of the sources used in The Spirit Level:

"1. European Values Study Group and World Values Survey Association. European and World Values Survey Integrated Data File, 1999-2001, Release 1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, 2005.

2. National Opinion Research Center. General Social Survey. Chicago: NORC, 1999.

3. United Nations Development Program. Human Development Report. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

4. US Census Bureau. Population Division, Interim State Population Projections, Table 2. Internet release date: April 21, 2005, 2005.

5. World Bank. World Development Indicators (WDI) September 2006: ESDS International, (MIMAS) University of Manchester.

6. US National Center for Health Statistics. Table 105, Statistical abstract of the United States. Washington, DC: CDC, 2006.

7. International Obesity TaskForce. Obesity in Europe. London: International Obesity TaskForce in collaboration with the European Association for the Study of Obesity Task Forces, 2002.

8. International Obesity TaskForce. Overweight and obese. London: International Obesity Taskforce, 2002.

9. Ezzati M, Martin H, Skjold S, Vander Hoorn S, Murray CJ. Trends in national and state-level obesity in the USA after correction for self-report bias: analysis of health surveys. J R Soc Med 2006;99(5):250-7.

10. Demyttenaere K, Bruffaerts R, Posada-Villa J, Gasquet I, Kovess V, Lepine JP, et al. Prevalence, severity, and unmet need for treatment of mental disorders in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys. Jama 2004;291(21):2581-90.

11. Zahran HS, Kobau R, Moriarty DG, Zack MM, Holt J, Donehoo R. Health-related quality of life surveillance--United States, 1993-2002. MMWR Surveill Summ 2005;54(4):1-35.

12. OECD. Education at a glance. OECD Indicators, 2003.

13. US Department of Education NCfES. The Nation’s Report Card: Reading Highlights 2003. Washington, DC, 2004.

14. US Department of Education NCfES. The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics Highlights 2003. Washington, DC, 2004.

15. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre. A league table of teenage births in rich nations. Florence: Innocenti Report Card, 2001.

16. U.S. Census Bureau. Statistical Abstract of the United States:2000 (120th Edition). Washington: Census Bureau, 2000.

17. United Nations Crime and Justice Information Network. Survey on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth): United Nations, 2000.

18. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States 1999. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1999.

19. US Department of Justice BoJS. Incarceration rates for prisoners under State or Federal jurisdiction. File: corpop25.wk1.

20. Blanden J, Gregg P, Machin S. Intergenerational mobility in Europe and North America. London: Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics, 2005." Somedifferentstuff (talk) 11:44, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

We only need the sources used by the wikipedia article, not the actual book itself. Aattss (talk) 19:33, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Reception and POV[edit]

I think the split into academia and press is pretty bad. I think the split into praise, criticism and mixed isn't very good too. Combining them makes even less sense. And worst of all, there is a "Academia Praise section" which is empty but marked as "Requiring expansion". But what if there isn't any academic praise? How do you expand that? And the fact is that most academics has nor praised the book, because of it's fundamental flaws.

I have a hard time seeing how this kind of split can remain POV. We'll have to put in sources that isn't particularly notable in some sections but skip notable sources in others, because there are different amounts of sources available for each section. That surely goes against the principles of POV. This article should reflect the reception, and should rather just include the most notable of receptions, regardless of if they are positive or negative, and the summarize each source fairly instead of forcing it into a "positive/negative/mixed" slot. --OpenFuture (talk) 09:31, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

The current layout is best. It's broken down into different sections(press, academia, etc) and allows for criticisms. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 00:38, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Why's the layout you recommend the best one? Why not the other one I've proposed using the sections praise mixed and criticism (as is the layout for most book reviews on Wikipedia)? The latter layout makes loads more sense as the sections capture the point of the book reviews...which is to either praise, criticized or to praise and criticize the Spirit level book. Sleetman (talk) 00:57, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
  • This needs to be taken into account. Given the controversial nature of the book, this article needs to distinguish where criticisms are coming from. Seeing where criticisms are coming from is important and supported in the current layout. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 01:52, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
And how does "where" the criticism are coming from take a front seat to "what" the criticisms are saying? Are you suggesting that the main reason people read book reviews is to find out where the criticisms are coming from as opposed to what the criticisms are? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sleetman (talkcontribs) 02:12, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Although I agree that it is relevant that the praise all comes from journalists and the criticism from academia, I don't think splitting the criticism in press/academia/other helps making this clear. You will still have to actually read the criticism. :-) --OpenFuture (talk) 06:44, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
You stated, "Although I agree that it is relevant that the praise all comes from journalists and the criticism from academia". What are you talking about here? This doesn't even make sense. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 13:11, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
As mentioned in my previous comment, where the criticism is coming from is an important factor in this article. With the current layout we see both where the criticism is coming from as well as what the critics are saying. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 14:52, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I repeat that it has no benefit over the praise/mixed/criticism that is more commonly used. I think we should follow what others do here. Perhaps there is a good place to discuss this in general, maybe there will be support for changing to a press/academia split in general? But until then, let's follow what others do. I reverted the change. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:23, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

I think I may have introduced the academia/press/general split, in any case I was around when it was first laid out in that way. What I suggest is as follows. We don't need subheadings if we are careful to include only a selection of most important reviews and summarise them concisely. We ought to put the reviews in academic journals first, then those by academics writing in the press. Then any others, if there is a reason to consider them worth including. Most media that thought the book worth reviewing asked academics or people close to academia to write the reviews. We shouldn't structure by our reading of whether the review was positive, negative or mixed. Itsmejudith (talk) 15:32, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

But why should the reception to the book be structured according to the content of the review (positive, negative or mixed) as opposed to the type of source of the review (academic, press, etc)? It sounds a bit odd to me that we'd categorize book reviews not according to the type of reaction, but the kind of source of the review. Nearly every wikipedia summary of book reviews uses the former structure (documenting the type of reaction whether it was positive, negative or mixed as opposed to the latter one. Sleetman (talk) 23:13, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
That in itself is a good reason. If you want to change this practice, you probably need to join some relevant project and discuss it there. --OpenFuture (talk) 10:10, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Works for me. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:45, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree with user Itsmejudith in the sense that "We shouldn't structure by our reading of whether the review was positive, negative or mixed." I reverted back to the previous. The next step would be to organize the material according to the quality of the source. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 20:08, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
1. You are misrepresenting what she said. 2. Stop revert warring. --OpenFuture (talk) 20:55, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
You need to read her comment again. She stated, "we shouldn't structure by our reading of whether the review was positive, negative or mixed." The old format is a closer representation of that. The next step would be to organize the material according to the quality of the source. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 20:16, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Nothing in her comment supports the new format. There is no expressed support here for the split into press/academia except from you. You are making changed against consensus, and you do the repeatedly. That is against Wikipedia policy. If you want to change into your heading, you need to find support for it here *before* doing the change. Itsmejudith's proposal is to do away with the headings completely. You are welcome to do that if you want, but reintroducing your organization at this point is vandalism. --OpenFuture (talk) 10:10, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm not interested in teaching you comprehension skills but I will repeat part of what I stated earlier. When she stated this, "we shouldn't structure by our reading of whether the review was positive, negative or mixed", she is saying that she is not in favor of the format you reverted to. The next step would be to organize the material according to the quality of the source and remove the subheadings. This in itself creates a dilemma. Due to the controversial nature of the book, it is important to know where the criticism is coming from. For example, in the current article, it is made clear that Christopher Snowdon is not part of the Press nor Academia. This is also true of Peter Saunders. I would only be in favor of removing the current subheadings if the new structure continues to make this clear. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 13:06, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
"it is made clear that Christopher Snowdon is not part of the Press nor Academia." Then surely for ease of classification, it's easier to split the reception of the book into the content of the review (criticism, praise , mixed) as opposed to the source of the review given the multitude of different sources that there are. Sleetman (talk) 16:00, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
How would your suggestion make explicitly known where the criticism is coming from? Somedifferentstuff (talk) 00:04, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

  • Added article tag regarding dispute of current article format(praise/mixed/criticism). Somedifferentstuff (talk) 23:59, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
No you didn't. You added a POV tag, which has nothing to do with format. Please remove it. --OpenFuture (talk) 04:13, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
On Wikipedia, POV can be a problem in both article structure(formatting) as well as the text used. Regarding this article, the core issue is regarding the neutrality of the chosen structure. Here is a quote from the Wikipedia article on NPOV: "The internal structure of an article may require additional attention, to protect neutrality, and to avoid problems like POV forking and undue weight. Although specific article structures are not, as a rule, prohibited, care must be taken to ensure that the overall presentation is broadly neutral."
I don't think that section of the article represents an NPOV structure, which violates a Wikipedia neutrality guideline. Don't remove the neutrality tag unless this dispute is settled. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 11:41, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
That POV can be a problem in formatting does not mean all formatting is POV. This is not a POV dispute. You are misusing the tag, which is why I asked you to remove it. We even seem to have an agreement on how to solve the dispute, but nobody seems to have had the time to fix it yet. I sure don't have it. --OpenFuture (talk) 12:11, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Then at least explain what the POV problem is, which you haven't done. You can't just tag things POV because you don't like the structure. --OpenFuture (talk) 12:28, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
  • I didn't claim all formatting was POV which is why I used a section tag, as opposed to an article tag. You violated a Wikipedia policy by removing a tag without having settled this dispute. Don't do that again. And yes, I have a problem with the POV of that section which is presented through the use of this structure: (praise/mixed/criticism). The tag should remain unless someone has the time to implement user:Itsmejudith suggestion to remove all section subheadings and organize the material by relevance. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 12:52, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
You just say it is POV, you didn't explain in what way it is POV. That structure is used on many articles here. Are they all POV? --OpenFuture (talk) 13:17, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Show some examples of articles that use the current format that is being used in this article. Here are 2 articles for books by Glenn Beck, here and here, that use a format similar to the one suggested by user:Itsmejudith. Here's another article for a book by Ron Paul, here, and an article for a book by Stephen King, here. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 13:58, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
I notice you don't even try to explain what it POV with the format. QED, it's not a POV issue, you are just being disruptive. --OpenFuture (talk) 17:13, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
The POV issue has to do with format choice. Given the controversial nature of this book, knowing where the criticism is coming from needs to be taken into account to avoid undue weight being an issue. The previous format used for the reception section (press/academia/others) made this very clear. Organizing the material by relevance doesn't solve this issue entirely but is better than the current format. Also, I noticed you didn't provide any examples in regards to the claim you made earlier when you stated, "That structure is used on many articles here. Are they all POV?" Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:02, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

I need to get going. We can continue this unsettled POV dispute later this evening or tomorrow. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 14:38, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

It's not a POV dispute, it's just you who are wasting your (and my) time on sillyness instead of actually improving the article. If you have time with this nonsense, why don't you put that time on moving the article to the agreed format instead? --OpenFuture (talk) 17:13, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Your use of language is in violation of WP:Civility. I can't assist you but I can suggest you contact a seasoned editor for further understanding of POV issues. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:02, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

I vote for itsmejudith, most reliable sources should be at the top, and preferably show both the statements for and criticism of the book. looks like only criticism in the reception section. does that mean i should not believe the material in the book? i rely on wiki to help me understand what the consensus is on world events, objects, peoples and history. Can i trust that the scientific community is being represented properly here? after all specialists wrote this book, does the paradigm hold up amongst people who are studied in such things? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:55, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

The reorganisation proposed have been implemented. Yes, the book has been heavily criticized by experts. See also this and this. But it has also been praised by many non-experts. --OpenFuture (talk) 20:40, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for the links. So you are saying that the main criticism is that the graphs only show correlation and not causation? If most of the charts in the book come from peer-review, then the criticism comes from their presentation of the info? When you say that it has been heavily criticized by experts do you mean that most experts heavily criticize it or just that some experts criticize it heavily? In saying that its praised by many non-experts, do you mean that it has not been praised by experts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:26, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

The answers to these questions should be available by reading the reception section. :-) --OpenFuture (talk) 06:28, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Added TAG - "may be of unclear or questionable importance or relevance to the article's subject matter"[edit]

The reception section needs to be trimmed down to include only the most relevant information. I added the necessary tag. Above, user:Itsmejudith stated, "We don't need subheadings if we are careful to include only a selection of most important reviews and summarise them concisely. We ought to put the reviews in academic journals first, then those by academics writing in the press. Then any others, if there is a reason to consider them worth including." I think this should be used as the guideline for the reception section. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:02, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

So further disruptional tagging from your side. Why don't you actually *help* instead? --OpenFuture (talk) 04:07, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Undue prominence of 'Authors' note'[edit]

Is there any justification for giving the ‘Authors' Note’ its own section at the bottom of this page? One of the authors' ways of responding to criticism has been to say that since some of their book is based on studies published in peer-reviewed journals, all debate about their book should take place in peer-reviewed journals. As an argument this doesn’t make any sense. Their studies HAVE been criticised in peer-reviewed journals while their book and articles have been criticised in books and articles.

The logic or otherwise of that argument is not my main issue however. By giving such prominence at the end of the page to a slightly snide comment from the authors’ website, readers are likely to think that (a) Wikipedia is endorsing it as the ‘final word’ in the matter, (b) this is a profound and important point and (c) the criticisms above it are of no importance. Since the editor who added this section originally wanted to title it ‘Disclaimer’, I guess I am not the only person to see interpret it this way.

I recently added a new section for the book’s impact which is the logical conclusion to the page and can be used to add updates as they come along. The authors’ desire to debate only in journals was mentioned in the ‘debate’ but this, too, has been deleted by the same editor.

It wasn't deleted, it was put back into the "author's note" section which you had deleted. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 08:12, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

I welcome other users’ input. It would be nice if this page could expand and improve rather than being gradually chopped away. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:13, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

If you read the discussion above we decided to not split the Reception section up in positive or negative parts. I think it is a decent size now, although I agree that somedifferent stuffs shopping has been problematic and biased, but I haven't had time to do anything about that. I also thing the "Authors note" section is weird and would like it to go away (as well as the Impact and Debate sections which are equally out of place). --OpenFuture (talk) 05:56, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
I read it. My edit was an attempt to resolve things by using NPOV sections ie. 'Reviews' and 'Critiques'. Obviously 'critiques' implies criticism but that's unavoidable seeing that's what they are. If there is a better word to use, let's use it, but I think the page needs breaking up in some way for the sake of readability. One long block of text would not be an improvement IMHO. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:33, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it's unavoidable, which is why we decided to not have headings at all and not organize the reviews according to if they were positive or negative at all, you see. --OpenFuture (talk) 11:09, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
  • If you read the above section you'll see why the reception section is being trimmed down to contain only the most relevant information. Adding material from the "New Scotsman", which is not a peer-reviewed publication, is not helpful to this process. Sticking the "debate" into the reception section doesn't make sense as a debate is a separate event and should be treated as such. If at some time you come across new material from a peer-reviewed publication criticizing the book, add it to the article while at the same time removing material that is less relevant. Lastly, given the controversial nature of the book, the "author's note" is not an example of undue prominence. Also, most of the material used in the book was peer-reviewed and requesting that future criticism take place in peer-reviewed publications is not unreasonable. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 08:12, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

All in all I think the current version [2] is the best version of the article so far. I do think we should have some more positive reviews, but otherwise it's OK. --OpenFuture (talk) 08:29, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

You didn't address any of the above-mentioned issues. Reverted to previous. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 08:47, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
They do not need addressing. There is no requirement that all reviews of a book must be peer-reviewed. Stop edit warring, and stop claiming ownership of the article. Your edit style is highly disruptive. --OpenFuture (talk) 10:02, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
They do need addressing. Sticking the debate into the reception section even though it doesn't belong there? It's a separate event and not part of reception. And most of the reviews are already from non peer-reviewed publications. You want to add another one even though relevance has been discussed previously. Ignoring these issues doesn't make them go away. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 16:55, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
You are right about the debate part, I missed that, my bad. Now fixed. If there are specific sources you don't want there we can discuss them, but do not just blatantly revert this again. Your editing is disruptive and bordering on vandalism. Seek consensus on the talk page before edits. --OpenFuture (talk) 18:10, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
You blanked the debate section, not fixed it. This constitutes possible vandalism. Read the previous regarding the relevance of the recently added source. Please stop being so disruptive and seek assistance from a seasoned editor. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 18:27, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the debate section is not relevant or notable. --OpenFuture (talk) 19:11, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
And yet again I ask you to not make blanket reverts of big changes because you have one issue with one of the changes. Discuss the issues here. Seek consensus. Stop edit warring. --OpenFuture (talk) 19:19, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Please stop edit warring. I have more than one issue with the changes as stated above. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 19:19, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

I still think that the mention of the "Authors note" is POV, aimed at discrediting the authors without having a source to support it by implying that they don't want to debate the book, and generally weird. It gets even weirder as the same person who insists on this authors not also insists on mentioning a non-notable debate in the article text. I don't think mentioning the authors note adds anything to the article, it's non-POV and gives undue weight to something peripheral. This article is not about the authors and who they want to debate, but about the book. --OpenFuture (talk) 16:25, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

You stated, "without having a source to support it", which is a direct falsehood as the information is sourced. Please don't do that again. It is also the only quote in the article that focuses solely on how the authors' feel about general criticism towards the book. It is relevant, sourced, and belongs in the article. You are again being disruptive without providing a sound argument. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 16:40, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
There is no source for the point of view. --OpenFuture (talk) 17:47, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
What are you talking about? The material is sourced. It is reference number 7. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:53, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Please read WP:NPOV. The material is sourced, the but point of view that material pushes is not attributed. As such it violates the NPOV policy. Why do I still have to explain basic Wikipedia polices for you? --OpenFuture (talk) 12:13, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
You just demonstrated that you don't quite understand how WP:NPOV policy works on Wikipedia. Not surprising. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 12:41, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
The 'authors note' is clearly POV for the reasons given by myself and other editors. It takes an argument from the website of one of the sides and places it verbatim and unchallenged at the end of the article in an attempt to poison the well. It's also out of place in the article, unless we are going to start including everything each side has ever said about the other. SomeDifferentStuff seems to have an obsession with including this zombie argument in the article as a 'disclaimer'. No one else has ever supported its inclusion and it has been removed countless times. As usual, moving the article forward is impossible while SomeDifferentStuff continues edit warring. (There is no NPOV issue with the debate as both sides got equal time. That is a matter of relevance, and it is right that it be an external link, but the 'authors note' is so obviously POV (with added undue prominence) I can't believe we're still talking about it.)— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:55, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
No, that's not how it works. First, it is not at the end of the article (check the recent revision history). Second, it doesn't have its' own section. Third, it is the only quote in the article that focuses solely on how the authors' feel about general criticism towards the book. Fourth, the information is sourced. Fifth, directly quoting the authors' about something related to their book is appropriate and relevant as this article is about their book. Your argument is faulty. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 12:41, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
That's exactly how it works. If you try to push a POV you are breaching Wikipedia's guidelines. Every change you make removes critical reviews of the book or pushes the author' viewpoint. Your 'disclaimer' is a specious argument that poisons the well and is out of place in this article. There are already several links to the authors' website should anyone want to visit it and there are links in the text to their responses to critics.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:14, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
@Somedifferentstuff: Yeah, that's exactly how it works. You just demonstrated that you don't quite understand how WP:NPOV policy works on Wikipedia. Not surprising. --OpenFuture (talk) 22:11, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

About your Third Opinion request: In accordance with the guidelines at the Third Opinion project page, since no editor has chosen to give an opinion upon your request within six days, it has been removed. While you may re-list it there if you still desire an opinion, you are much more likely to obtain assistance if you move on to some other form of dispute resolution or make a request for comments. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 12:55, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Debate section[edit]

A videotaped live debate including one of the books most outspoken critics clearly belongs in this article. User:OpenFuture removed this information against consensus by blanking a section. The information has been in the article for over a month now and 3 previous editors(Itsmejudith,, and myself) left material regarding the debate in the article. User: did not remove the mention of the debate from the article. He edited it and put it into the wrong section as user:OpenFuture verified above when he stated, "You are right about the debate part, I missed that". Somedifferentstuff (talk) 19:19, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for taking up one of the issues you have separately so it can be discussed in a sensible way. You have no basis for claiming the removal is against consensus. Instead of your edit warring, we can discuss the issues calmly and rationally, if you are just willing to do so.
[interjected] Your previous edit warring has not been helpful. I show above why your removal of the "debate" was against consensus. It is now up to you to provide information explaining how your edit was not against consensus. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:50, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
This debate do not belong, the debate is not notable. You do not normally list any debate that is had about a topic including a book author. Can you list prominent examples of other books having a list of debates about the books? The section only mentions that there was a debate. Well? OK? How does that add to the article in any way? Does it contribute to the understanding of the book or the issues? No.
[interjected] You have a limited understanding in terms of what can be used in an article. Information that explains a topic as well as information that provides context can be used in articles. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:50, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
It's been here for a long time to a large extent because there has been so many issues with this article that I haven't had the time to fix all of them. This is still the case after your butchering recently, which just so happened to remove mostly positive reviews. Well, that was NPOV, right? --OpenFuture (talk) 19:55, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
You need to list the positive reviews I removed from the article. As you'll find, I didn't remove any (search the history). Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:50, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

I've asked for a third opinion on this. To make it easier for any person providing a third opinion, here is the full text of the section in question:

In July 2010, a debate hosted by the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), took place between Kate Pickett, Richard Wilkinson, Peter Saunders and Christopher Snowdon and was subsequently uploaded to YouTube.[1]

--OpenFuture (talk) 20:11, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

The latest time it was added to the article it was no longer sourced to YouTube, but to the RSA site itself:

In July 2010, a debate hosted by the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), took place between Kate Pickett, Richard Wilkinson, Peter Saunders and Christopher Snowdon and was subsequently uploaded to the internet. (REFERENCE) "RSA Debates The Spirit Level", accessed 30 June 2011(REFERENCE)

Somedifferentstuff (talk) 15:32, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

I know. --OpenFuture (talk) 22:12, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

  • I think it is good that you sought outside help. You state that English isn't your native language on your personal page so getting assistance from seasoned editors on Wikipedia may clear some things up. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:50, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't feel strongly about the debate either way. It is not strictly relevant to the book but users may find it of interest. However, I wish Somedifferentstuff would stop using this issue as a way to revert back to edits that go against the consensus. All but one of the reviews are from the mainstream press, as would be expected. There is no requirement that book reviews come from peer-reviewed journals and the undue prominence of the 'author's note' has already been dealt with. I agree that these tiresome reverts are bordering on vandalism. I've left the reference to the debate where it was while we get other opinions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
The addition you made from the "New Scotsman" has not been dealt with, nor has the additional information you added to the Christopher Snowdon section. Please read the previous regarding the consensus against expanding the reception section. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 04:39, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
1. There is no issue to deal with there, see above where I already answered this. 2. Stop making block reverts of many changes because you perceive a problem with one of the changes. --OpenFuture (talk) 06:19, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
They have not been dealt with. See above. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 00:12, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
You obviously are of the opinion that the only way to deal with it is to do what you say. Wikipedia doesn't work like that. --OpenFuture (talk) 06:08, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Then back up your argument. Why do you want to add another review to the Reception section? The section is alrealy quite long and contains countless reviews. Only the most relevant information should be used in that section. Why add another? And why should Snowdon have such a long section? He's at the end of the article for a reason. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 13:32, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Third opinion[edit]

I am responding to a request for a third opinion.

If the debate has multiple independent reliable sources attesting to its notability, it may merit inclusion in the article citing those sources. A link to the video itself is not sufficient for that, and this applies whether or not the participants in the debate are themselves notable. – Athaenara 21:55, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Please discuss the area of adding context to an article. Thanks. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:57, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Are you asking me? If so, in what context? (Wikipedia:Context redirects to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (linking)#Overlinking and underlinking.) – Athaenara 00:43, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the answer. Now we have two people saying this, perhaps Somedifferentstuff will listen now. There is no notability proven. The video can be an external link. --OpenFuture (talk) 06:11, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
You are welcome. – Athaenara 23:08, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
  • It is okay to use a primary source to document that a debate took place and use it in the article. I've changed the former link (which was to the RSA page on YouTube) to the RSA site itself (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). Somedifferentstuff (talk) 00:12, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
The debate is not notable. This has now been concluded by three people. You are the only one that want to keep it. Your re-adding of it is against consensus. --OpenFuture (talk) 06:06, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
There is no consensus either way on whether to include the debate or exclude it. The one uninvolved 3O response is welcome but mistaken, because we only need one good source to include a line about an event related to the book, and the RSA is a good source. This is no big deal, actually. The article is OK with it or without it. Itsmejudith (talk) 13:46, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
No, we don't just need only one good source to include mention of an even when that source is the event organizer, which is the case here. That does not in any way establish notability. And in this case the whole part was just saying "There was a debate. It's on youtube." OK? That doesn't add ANY value to the article at all, which is why it should be an external link, not a part of the article itself. --OpenFuture (talk) 17:10, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
That's not the case at all. The RSA is a highly reputable organisation. If it says it organised a debate, it did. If by a rare chance there was a simple error, then there will be a correction somewhere. On balance, I think this is probably notable enough to go in the article. The RSA doesn't organise debates about every book. Itsmejudith (talk) 18:32, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
This is getting ridiculous. Of course RSA did organize it, there is no dispute about that. That doesn't mean we should mention it here. Wikipedia does not mention everything that happened everywhere. See also WP:WEIGHT:

An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject. For example, discussion of isolated events, criticisms, or news reports about a subject may be verifiable and neutral, but still be disproportionate to their overall significance to the article topic.

If you want it in, you have to escalate it in WP:Dispute_resolution. Since you did not agree with the third opinion, the next step is to make a WP:Requests for comment. --OpenFuture (talk) 19:25, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Ok, well glad to know that there is no dispute about sourcing. I really don't have strong opinions about whether it should be in or out, and I find it a bit weird that anyone would have strong opinions, but am going to look a bit deeper. It is just a little fact related to the book, as far as I can see. But if anyone is trying to use it for coatracking, then that needs attention. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:08, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't know if the reason Somedifferentstuff absolutely wants it in is some sort of coat-racking. It's possible, but I doubt it. It seems to me that he just is trying to disrupt as much as possible, and will revert-war about every edit that is done, for no apparent reason. It makes it very hard to improve the article, as every change becomes an indefinite war. --OpenFuture (talk) 20:31, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
  • I'll share a few of my thoughts regarding this. As noted above, adding the debate to the article meets Wikipededia's primary sourcing guidelines. Also, not only does its' inclusion add context to the article, it also makes note of the largest videotaped debate that has so far taken place in regards to this book. From what I can tell, one of the main reasons User:OpenFuture has deleted this addition is because I originally added it !!!. This is also known as a power struggle. Unfortunately, I'm being serious. If you read above you'll notice that nowhere does he state why he doesn't want it in the article, other than his misunderstanding of the sourcing guidelines (see Primary Sourcing). Since it has now been established that adding it to the article meets Wikipedia's requirements, I invite User:OpenFuture to explain his reasoning behind deleting this content. Let's hear his argument.
  • Lastly, I wanted to give an appreciation to User:Itsmejudith for chiming in with her thoughts regarding the sourcing for this section of the article. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:05, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
It does not add any context to the article whatsoever. A debate about the book is not context. A note about the debate is best done as now: In an external link. I deleted the addition because it adds no value to the article. This has nothing to do with you, I do not edit based on personal conflicts. The only one involved in a power struggle here is you. I have stated why I think this should not be in the article repeatedly, over and over and over. And above I explained why it does not meed Wikipedias requirements.
So in fact, everything you claimed above is incorrect, with the probable exception of you being serious. But everything else you say is factually wrong. --OpenFuture (talk) 22:15, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Well you've just made it abundantly clear that you don't understand what context is. You need to speak to a seasoned editor regarding that. You also ignored User:Itsmejudith's comment above regarding sourcing where she stated, "Ok, well glad to know that there is no dispute about sourcing". And let me correct what I stated earlier; nowhere have you made a sound argument regarding why the debate section shouldn't be in the article. So unless you make a sound argument regarding why it shouldn't be here, it will continue to be a part of this article. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 23:17, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
I *am* a seasoned editor, as you well know. You are not. It is *you* who need to talk to a seasoned editor, and I am that seasoned editor talking to you, explaining how it works. The problem is: You don't listen. --OpenFuture (talk) 16:40, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I think it's best to allow other editors to determine how "seasoned" you are. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 13:05, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Your personal attacks are getting tiresome, but at least they help clarify that you are not interested in consensus-building. --OpenFuture (talk) 21:37, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Don't make claims that aren't true. You stated, "I *am* a seasoned editor, as you well know." Putting words in my mouth is disrespectful. Furthermore, claiming to be proficient doesn't make it so. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:05, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Normally I would tell you to Comment on the content, not on the contributor. but it is at least better than your edit warring. --OpenFuture (talk) 05:26, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Glad you took my comment to heart. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 12:22, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Disappointed with the tone of the argument. I had no view about this but now I think of it, it is clear that the fact that so notable an organisation as the RSA thought fit to organise a debate about the book is a notable fact that needs a brief mention. It is intrinsic to understanding how the book was received. Points made, for example, by Matthew Taylor in his introduction to the debate can potentially be cited, briefly. Itsmejudith (talk) 22:35, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Can you lend assistance in terms of how it should be worded in the article? It was placed under its own heading previously because technically it is not part of the reception section. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 23:17, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
How is it "intrinsic to understanding how the book was received"? There was a debate about it. That says *nothing* about how the book was received.
"Points made, for example, by Matthew Taylor in his introduction to the debate can potentially be cited, briefly." - Well that is a WHOLE DIFFERENT ISSUE. Yes, the debate is a reliable source. Points made in the debate can be taken up here. That is not what this discussion is about. It is about if there should be a bit in the article saying "There was a debate. It is on Youtube". And it shouldn't. I instead made it an external link, as is appropriate. --OpenFuture (talk) 16:39, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it does say something about how the book was received. It says that the book was considered important enough to be worth debating at RSA. As I said, RSA doesn't organise a debate about every book. By the way, I am not particularly interested in us carrying the YouTube link. Readers can find it on YouTube if they are interested. OK, about whether to quote Taylor is a different issue. Itsmejudith (talk) 19:16, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree that it can be used to establish notability of the book. But the notability of the book is not at question here, so it still does not add anything to the article. We have plenty of sources to establish notability of the book without saying "There was a debate. It's on youtube". It is a clear and unquestionable external link. --OpenFuture (talk) 07:53, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh man, you didn't even understand her comment. You stated: "I agree that it can be used to establish notability of the book." That isn't what she was saying. I know that English isn't your native language, and I'm not sure if that's the reason for your confusion, but this has gotten really old. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 13:05, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Although I think some users would be interested to know that a debate took place, I think OpenFuture is correct to say that it doesn't meet Wikipedia's standards of notability. As far as I can see, it didn't receive any media attention at the time and hasn't been mentioned since, even on the book's authors own website. The fact that the RSA is a respected institution is not enough to make the debate notable. That being the case, listing it in the External Links seems sufficient. This also has the advantage of keeping the structure of the article simple. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:45, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

It indeed doesn't meet standards of notability, i.e. it is nowhere near notable enough for its own article. But that is the case for all sorts of things that are mentioned in articles. I think one line in the Reception section saying that the RSA hosted a debate, date, names of participants. I can do it but not tomorrow. Itsmejudith (talk) 00:00, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I feel like Bruce Willis in Sixth Sense...
What has this to do with Reception? Why can't it be an external link as it is now? --OpenFuture (talk) 16:22, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree with user:Itsmejudith that it deserves mention within the article itself. I think it should have its' own section but I can go along with it being in the Reception section if you think that is most appropriate. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 22:26, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I think it should stay as it is now, as you are quite correct in that it does not belong in the reception section, and having it's own section is giving it undue weight. We as of now have one person thinking it should have it's on section, one thinks it should be in reception, and two thinks it shouldn't be in the main text at all. There is no consensus to add it. If you want it in the main text, I again suggest an RFC on this. --OpenFuture (talk) 12:03, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
You clearly don't understand Wikipedia's policy on consensus,[3]. Here is a quote from the help page: "In determining consensus, consider the quality of the arguments, the history of how they came about, the objections of those who disagree, and existing documentation in the project namespace. The quality of an argument is more important than whether it represents a minority or a majority view." In other words, the fact that recently, 2 editors think it belongs in the article and 2 editors do not, is not the most important aspect of whether or not it should be in the article. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 17:03, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
And I have the arguments, with references to policy. Each claim you make to me not understanding policy are clearly false and nothing but WP:NPA from your side, in what you according to your own admission see as a power-struggle. --OpenFuture (talk) 17:45, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Still waiting for you to present a sound argument. I've read this section of the talk page and you've yet to present a sound reason as to why the debate shouldn't be mentioned in the article. And your claim to understand consensus policy doesn't make it so. You clearly show above by stating, "We as of now have one person thinking it should have it's own section, one thinks it should be..." that you don't have a firm grasp on how the policy works as a whole. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 21:27, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
You don't need to wait. The arguments are above, sound, and without response. --OpenFuture (talk) 05:28, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Going to RfC now. I don't see anything as a power struggle. It is just something that we could do with some outside opinions on to break deadlock. Cheers. Itsmejudith (talk) 19:17, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Per the original 3rd opinion, if the debate has multiple independent reliable sources attesting to its notability, it may merit inclusion in the article citing those sources. That's established. Therefore the votes seem Athaenara, Somedifferentstuff, Itsmejudith, and me (4) for inclusion and OpenFuture and (2) against. Done. -Trift (talk) 22:10, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Firstly, it does not have any multiple independent sources attesting it's notability. Secondly notability is about articles, and hence only relevant if you want to start an article on the debate itself. Also, Wikipedia is not run by voting. --OpenFuture (talk) 22:20, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
The debate doesn't need to be notable because we aren't trying to start a new article about the debate. User:Itsmejudith has explained above why it is okay to add a mention of the debate in the article. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 01:00, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Right, it's not notability but WP:NOT that is relevant here. Namely "Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information". See also WP:HTRIVIA. --OpenFuture (talk) 05:48, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree that notability is not the issue, as User:Itsmejudith also stated above, but your claims regarding Wikipedia policy are incorrect. The debate is relevant because it adds context to the article. The context it adds shows up in two ways. First, it is the only videotaped debate of its kind regarding the book, which makes it a unique event. Second, it features one of the books' most outspoken critics, Snowdon, who actually wrote his own book that is largely a critique of The Spirit Level. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 10:21, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
It adds no context. It's a piece of trivia. The current compromise of having it in External links is fine for any reasonable purpose. --OpenFuture (talk) 10:27, 24 August 2011 (UTC)


This is more or less an unofficial third opinion. I came upon this situation through User talk:Brambleclawx, where User:OpenFuture had requested help. Reviewing the situation, the answer seems simple to me, although perhaps too simple.

On the issue of an author's note (two sections above), I believe mention of the note could be added, although the quote does not need to be fully reproduced. For example, "In response to criticism, the authors stated that, given the peer-reviewed nature of all research in the book, they believed future debate should only take place in peer-reviewed journals." Then source it to the original statement. Note that my example is by no means final, just a rough idea of what might work. That would be one sentence, enough to cover the information, but not at all undue weight.

For the debate, my interpretation of policy is much the same as Atheanara. Mention of the debate can be made if there are reliable sources backing its notability. A link to the group hosting it, no matter how notable, is not enough. Valid proof of the notability, through reliable third-party sources, must be made. At that point, inclusion would be perfectly acceptable.

I hope both of these ideas provide some direction for compromise and further advancement of the article. Finally, I would like to remind all parties that discussion should be civil and assume good faith of other parties. PrincessofLlyr royal court 14:48, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

I believe the intention of adding mention of the authors note is to throw mud at the authors, by showing that they aren't prepared to properly debate their paper or answer criticism. Although this may be correct, I don't think it is Wikipedias place to act as a soapbox for these things. I do not think the issue is important or notable, and that having it there violates WP:UNDUE. Even your neutral reformulation gives the impression that whoever added it wanted to make a point, because by itself it doesn't add anything to the article.
I agree about the debate. If we can have reliable sources explaining that the debate itself (and not just the book) was important and why, I'm sure we could write something about it. But no such sources have come up so far. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:42, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
My reasoning is that the author's note shows both sides of the argument. It covers the authors' response to criticism. There is nothing about the statement that literally implies anything bad about the authors. That is purely reader's interpretation, not soapbox. If you will notice, my example is clearly phrased as a statement of what the authors have said, not an endorsement or condemnation thereof. It is then up to the reader to decide if they agree with the authors or not. PrincessofLlyr royal court 16:27, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree that some form of the author's note belongs in the article. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 15:10, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Suggest a form then, maybe? --OpenFuture (talk) 05:48, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Request for Mediation[edit]

A request for mediation regarding this article has been created at Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better --OpenFuture (talk) 05:30, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

We must be careful that WP does not become influenced by ideological anti-scientific efforts such as appears in the article Global_warming_denial when searching on the word "tobacco". -Trift (talk) 22:37, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
We are in complete agreement there. --OpenFuture (talk) 06:00, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

The discussion during the mediation confirmed consensus: The disputed text should not be added to the article. --OpenFuture (talk) 10:56, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

What are you talking about? There was no consensus. Here is a direct quote from the mediatior:
((Also, I am not aware of any consensus about this matter. consensus refers to agreement by editors of an article. Sunray (talk) 20:48, 5 October 2011 (UTC))
And the mediation I initiated was in regards to adding material to the body of the article, not the external links section. These are two different things. The link to the mediation is at the top of this section. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 11:53, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Adding an external link was a compromise you rejected. Have you changed your mind? Have you now accepted the consensus regarding the disputed text, and that it can not be added to the body? If that is the case we can start a discussion on whether to add an external link or not. Also note that the consensus here is absolutely clear. Everybody except you have accepted that to add this material it's notability needs to be supported by third-party links. --OpenFuture (talk) 14:20, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

I posted what the mediator stated above regarding consensus. Are you saying the mediator is wrong? Somedifferentstuff (talk) 14:29, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes. Have you changed your mind? Have you now accepted the consensus regarding the disputed text, and that it can not be added to the body? Or do you intend to continue your lone star fight against consensus? In that case you should escalate this in conflict resolution, not edit war. --OpenFuture (talk) 14:48, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the mediator that no consensus was reached as verified above. I can't assist you. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 14:56, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Good, because I neither asked for, need nor want assistance from you. I did ask a question though, twice, which you refuse to answer. I take your refusal as confirmation that you are not willing to accept consensus, and that you intend to continue your fight against the general opinion. You will have to do that by normal means of dispute resolution, and not by edit warring. I believe that the next step in dispute resolution is Arbitration, I look forward to you submitting this to the ArbCom. If you wish (but I guess you don't) I can assist you in the request.
I do understand that you aren't doing this to improve Wikipedia, but to win what you think is a power struggle (in your own words), and I still believe that this dispute can be settled in no time if you just drop that attitude and as I do try to look at this from the point of view of improving the article instead. But as long as you see this as a power struggle, everybody loses. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:12, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Since you continue to be unaccepting of the finding from a mediator, all I can do in terms of you reverting this addition, in regards to violation policy, is to report you if that ever becomes necessary. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 15:28, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
You are in other words promising to continue edit warring and vandalising against consensus, and you are refusing to engage in constructive discussion and also refusing to to follow Wikipedia policies and Wikipedia dispute resolution processes. Thank you for that clarification. It was not unexpected as you also refused to continue the mediation after you realized it didn't go your way. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:53, 4 November 2011 (UTC)


  • UPDATE: We have come to an agreement to add the debate to the external links section and not the body of the article. Somedifferentstuff (talk) 10:59, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Page protection?[edit]

Somedifferentstuff: Why can't you just wait for the outcome of the Mediation that was started? You rejected my compromise and started mediation. Why are you adding back the compromise that you rejected? Have you changed your mind? Do we need to request page protection of this to stop the edit warring while we wait for the outcome of the mediation? That seems enormously silly. --OpenFuture (talk) 14:12, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Confusion regarding the number of sources required and notability[edit]

There is lots of confusion regarding what is required to add material to an article on Wikipedia. I will just talk about two things here.

First, multiple sources are not needed to add material to an article. If you look at the WP:Verifiability policy, it states that only one source is needed, by using the word source in the singular. This is also made clear by the fact that lots of information in articles on Wikipedia only have one source attributed to them. Second, regarding notability, if you look at the WP:Notability policy it states, "These notability guidelines only outline how suitable a topic is for its own article or list. They do not directly limit the content of an article or list". In other words, notability is only required for the creation of the article itself, not for everything contained in the article. Also, see the section (here). Somedifferentstuff (talk) 16:06, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Creation of a 'Criticism' section[edit]

The current article dumps both positive and negative reaction into the one category and also fails to distinguish between a negative review by a journalist and an attempted scientific rebuttal by an academic. I suggest we create a criticism section, as is common with other scientific theories (which is basically what this book entails) and restructure it accordingly. It seems poor that one large and badly formatted section which jumps between positive analysis from academics, to negative reviews by journalists, to attempted scientific rebuttals and then back to positive reviews by journalists should be longer than the rest of the article combined without being broken up. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Repeated deletion of response to a critique[edit]

I'm concerned about this repeated deletion. Per WP:BALANCE, if the authors of the book decide to publish a response to a critique of their work on their web site, that has at least as much prominence as if the authors responded directly to the critique themselves, and therefore it should be included per WP:IMPARTIAL which is basically the core of the WP:NPOV pillar policy. It does the reader a grave disservice to be informed of and linked to a critique without learning anything about the refutation of that critique that the authors of the original work selected.

WP:COMPREHENSIVE is also important here: If the author of the critique wanted to reply to the response to the critique, we should include that too, for the same reasons. These kinds of back-and-forth threads are critical to understanding controversial works, and we can't just chop them off wherever we feel like because it suits our political preferences, especially when there is no valid policy reason for doing so. Sources cited in an article do not have to clear the notability hurdles that subjects of articles do to be included. Paum89 (talk) 02:11, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ "RSA Debates The Spirit Level", accessed 22 March 2011